Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Spring Thaw by Lauren Carr

Audiobook Details:

Book Title: Spring Thaw by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, Unabridged Audiobook
Genre: Murder Mystery, Short Stories
  • Narrated by: Mike Alger
    Length: 6 hrs and 59 mins
    Release date: October 23, 2018
  • Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Content Rating: PG (mild violence and sexual suggestion)

Book Description:

In today’s hectic world, many whodunit fans don’t have time to get their mystery fix diving into a whole novel. Lauren Carr’s SPRING THAW AND OTHER MYSTERY SHORT STORIES is for these fans—but that doesn’t mean whodunit fans who do have time can’t dive in as well.

A novella, Spring Thaw features retired federal agent Chris Matheson from Lauren Carr’s newest bestselling cold case series. When his late father’s former friend is indicted for the seven year old murder of a church bishop, Chris renews old broken friendships to thaw out the cold case.

Featuring Mac Faraday from Lauren Carr’s popular Mac Faraday Mysteries, an estate auction turns into a deadly affair after Gnarly's antics cause Mac to purchase a gem of a dress, which isn't his color in Killing Bid. (Previously published in Lauren Carr’s BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Beauty to Die For features the Lovers in Crime, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates in a race against the Angel of Death to clear the name of a dying woman's son, who was framed for murdering Miss Pennsylvania. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Countdown to Murder returns to the Lovers in Crime where Cameron and Joshua try to solve the murder of a young pregnant widow before it happens. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Mystery fans will see that every dog has his day, especially if that dog is Gnarly. In Lucky Dog, Gnarly helps Mac Faraday to solve the murder of a wealthy society girl. (Previously published in BEAUTY TO DIE FOR.)

Dog Loving Mystery Fans will get a special treat when they read The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program. In this Gnarly Mystery Short, Bert and Ernie learn the hard way that crime does not pay when they dog nap Gnarly. (Previously published as a bonus feature with A WEDDING AND A KILLING.)

Gnarly, the rambunctious German shepherd, is also features in Lauren Carr’s Christmas short, A Gnarly Christmas. It is Christmas day and Gnarly has been up to his old tricks again. Now he's in the dog house--or rather the boathouse--after stealing the Christmas feast! Moments after Archie and Mac leave Spencer Manor, Gnarly hears a call for help from Rocky, the Maltese down the street. Four assassins for hire have invaded the home of Rocky's elderly owners. While the home invaders wait for instructions from a mysterious caller, Gnarly must plot to stop them. Can Gnarly save Christmas with only the help of an 8-pound Maltese dressed in an elf suit? (Previously published as a single short story by the same name.)

To read more audiobook reviews, please visit Lauren Carr's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy Spring Thaw:

Praise for Lauren Carr's books:

“Lauren Carr is a master storyteller who combines the humor of Janet Evanovich and the investigative skills of Patricia Cornwell. She is always at the top of my reading list."
- Sherry Fundin, Fundinmental

"Lauren Carr could give Agatha Christie a run for her money!"
- Charlene Mabie-Gamble, Literary R&R

"Lauren Carr's books are never boring, that's for sure. They entertain, give us a good mystery to dig into, keep the reader guessing, give us a few good laughs and make us eager for the next book. Warning: Lauren Carr's series are addictive, so be ready to read more than just one book!"
- Laura Fabiani, Library of Clean Reads

"She is an amazing author that draws you into the story, makes you fall in love with the characters (they feel like family!) and keeps you guessing right to the very end."
- Working Mommy Journal

"Lauren Carr does a good job of moving the quirky storyline along nicely with an abundance of witty dialogue. And you have no idea who the good guys are and who the bad guys are until the end."
- Every Free Chance Book Reviews

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Where were you born and what were you like when young? Any interests or early signs you would later put pen to paper?
I was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, because Chester, West Virginia, the small town where I was raised, didn’t have a hospital. Chester is in the most northern tip of West Virginia. It’s such a small town that if you go a mile in any direction, you end up in Pennsylvania or Ohio.
Writers are born. It is not a profession, it is who you are. You can tell a writer by asking them a simple question like, “Why were you late to work this morning?” A normal person will tell you, “I slept in.” Not a writer. A writer will tell you, “I was having this weird dream. It was a dark and stormy night …” Then she will go on with developing the characters in her dream, the feel of the blankets against her skin, the scent of her cat’s breath when it jumped up onto the bed.
I was doing that from the time I could talk—before I learned penmanship or how to read. I had imaginary friends who were fully developed characters. Then, when I did learn how to read, I would rewrite the books in my head. The Bobbsey Twins was my first introduction to mysteries. Only in my version of their books, the case of the missing seashell turned into a kidnapping story.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
That’s a hard question to answer. I write four series in which the series characters cross over from one series to the other. The main series characters have become an extended family, parents, in-laws, grown children. Yet, and I emphasize this, YET, I write each book as a stand-alone. There is no dramatic subplot going on behind the scenes (extra-marital affairs, family secrets, etc.) of the mystery that renders a reader lost if they pick up an installment in the middle of the series.
Having said that … When I started out writing a series, I envisioned my books as being like Perry Mason or Hercule Poirot where the protagonists never change from one book to another. They were just main characters who solved their cases. You never knew where Perry Mason grew up. You never met his father or mother or knew if he had ever been in love. He was just Perry Mason—the world’s greatest lawyer.
While there is no drama going on behind the scenes, my characters have changed and grown from one book to another. Many of my readers and reviewers have commented on this point. You can read the books as stand alones, but it is great fun to start from the first book and read them in order to observe the growth and development of the characters and their relationships throughout the series.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t allow the subjective opinions of others to shake your confidence in your talent.
After I had finished my second novel (my first one ended up in my mother’s attic—seen by no one), an acquaintance had suggested that I go to a writer’s conference. I was so na├»ve that I thought only professional writers with agents could attend conferences. But she assured me that it was cool. The featured author for this conference was a New York Times bestselling mystery author. For a hundred dollars, she would read the first three chapters of your book and critique it for you. So, I paid the hundred dollars, in addition to the fee and other expenses to travel across three states to go to this conference.
Several days into the week-long conference, I finally got my sit down with the author, who ripped me and my book apart. She was vicious, rude, and totally unprofessional. By the time she was through, I asked if she liked my typing—I mean she didn’t like anything. It was bad enough that she liked nothing, but she didn’t offer any constructive criticism. As far as she was concerned, the premise for the book stank and she offered nothing constructive about how to improve my writing.
I left the session feeling like I had just been beaten up. I was numb. I had spent my whole life dreaming of being a writer. After telling some of my new writer friends at the conference what had happened, one pointed out that one attendee who I had noticed sitting alone and speaking to no one for the entire week had her session with the author on the first day. This author had told her that she had no talent and to hang it up! It plunged this poor woman into a depression.
But that wasn’t the worst part of it. I discovered that this author had been showing my sample chapters to other conference attendees and making jokes about my writing! Devastated and humiliated, I left the conference early and quit writing for a full year.
Then, I decided that as a writer, I had to write, even if only for myself and started over again. It was over ten years before I ever attended another writer’s conference. NEVER, did I ever, invest in a critique again.
It took years for me to realize that with all the readers and reviewers who have complimented my writing, why did I invest so much of my confidence in a stranger who was so lacking in character, integrity, and human compassion.
It was after It’s Murder My Son became number one in mysteries on Amazon that my husband suggested I look this New York Times best-selling author up on Amazon to see what her ranking was. My author ranking is consistently higher than hers. Recently, I saw that she was dropped by her New York publisher. There is a thing called karma.   

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It took years to publish my first book. A Small Case of Murder went through several revisions and was edited several times. A Small Case of Murder was self-published through iUniverse. After it was named Independent Publisher Book Award in the mystery category, then A Reunion to Die For was picked up by Five Star Mysteries.
So, I had gone through paying for a self-publishing company to publish one book. Then, I went through a traditional publisher. When I compared by responsibilities for success between the two, I realized that there really wasn’t much of a difference. In both cases, all of the marketing fell into my own lap. Not only that, but I had an uh-huh moment. I had spent over ten years working as an editor for the federal government. I also did layout in their publishing house. I had the skills and technology to invest in publishing my own books. It was one of those moments where you whack your forehead with the palm of your hand.
Two traditional publishers made offers for It’s Murder, My Son, which I published myself. I turned them both down and never looked back.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Oh, man! I don’t know. Several. My very first book, which I call the Great American Catastrophe, is in a box in the back of the closet in my studio. I wrote that when I was nineteen years old. I had spent a whole summer working on it. Now, I am dating myself here—I wrote it on an electric typewriter—before they had the delete key. I had spent a whole summer working evenings and weekends on it. By the time I finished, I had over nine hundred pages.
I lived in Ohio and this was before email. I knew no literary agents or publishers. I had no idea what to do with it. To mail it to someone meant copying it—and mailing it hard copy. Just imagine how much the postage would be.
It ended up in a drawer in my mother’s house. Last year, when she passed away, I found it and it is now in my closet.
More than once, I have gotten partially through a book and get a sense that it is not working. Sometimes I know what is wrong with it. Other times I don’t. But I don’t delete them. I hang onto them.
The first Lovers in Crime mystery, Dead on Ice was one of those books. I had written it after A Reunion to Die For, and before It’s Murder, My Son.  After I wrote Shades of Murder, where I brought Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates together, I realized that it was the perfect vehicle for them. All I needed to do was change some of the characters to bring Cameron Gates in. I made those changes in a matter of days and released it a few months later.
Recently, I happened upon the very first draft of It’s Murder, My Son. That was a completely different book with a different mystery. Look for that to be rewritten and released in the future with a whole new set of characters.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on the fourth Lovers in Crime Mystery, The Root of Murder:
Homicide Detective Cameron Gates learned long ago that there is no such thing as a typical murder case. Each mystery is special in its own right—especially for the family of the victim.
The homicide of a successful executive, husband, and father seems open and shut when the murder weapon is found in his estranged son-in-law’s possession. The circumstantial evidence is so damning that when J.J. Thornton agrees to act as the defendant’s public defender, he assumes his first murder case will be a loss.
Only the report of a missing husband proves that this case is not as open and shut as it seems. Strap on your seatbelts for a wild ride in this mystery that all started with a simple DNA test for a genealogy website.

Look for The Root of Murder to be released in early 2019.

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Dec 22, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review:

Spring Thaw: A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery Novella and Other Mystery Short Stories is a collection of seven novellas by Lauren Carr. These novellas include:
Spring Thaw: A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery Short - Chris Matheson gets caught up in a cold case murder mystery of a bishop and his father's former friend is the accused.
Killing Bid: A Mac Faraday Mystery Short - Mac Faraday gets into a predicament because of his German shepherd, Gnarly.
Beauty to Die For: A Lovers in Crime Mystery Short - Joshua and Cameron has to help solve a murder of a beauty queen, Miss Pennsylvania.
Countdown to Murder: A Lovers in Crime Mystery Short - Joshua and Cameron finds themselves helping a pregnant widow.
Lucky Dog: A Mac Faraday Mystery Short - Mac gets the help from Gnarly to solve another murder.
The Gnarly Rehabilitation Program: A Gnarly Mystery Short - Gnarly gets abducted!
A Gnarly Christmas: A Gnarly Short Story - It is Christmas time and Gnarly gets himself into a little bit of trouble.

I enjoyed every one of these stories. Since I have just discovered Lauren Carr recently, I got a good taste of what her other series are about They are fun and entertaining stories with laugh out loud humor. My favorite story would have to be A Gnarly Christmas. That pup sure knows how to cause trouble. This one is the one that made me giggle throughout. So much fun!

Spring Thaw: A Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery Novella and Other Mystery Short Stories gets a well deserved five plus stars from me. I cannot wait to read full length novels the series the stories are from. Most definitely worth a read. Highly recommended!

I received an audio version of this book from the author. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much, Amy, for the fabulous review for SPRING THAW! I am so glad you enjoyed these mystery shorts. I am certain your followers will enjoy them as well. Here's wishing each one luck in the giveaway and a very Merry Christmas!