Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dead on Ice Virtual Blog Tour

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Meet Irving: Lovers in Crime Third Wheel—and he doesn’t like it one bit! 
By Lauren Carr 

A famous man once said, “The more I get to know people, the more I like my dog.” 

As a writer, I have come to agree with him. 

It all started with Gnarly. Actually, it started with Ziggy. Or was it Admiral? 

The truth is that, in the back of my mind, animals have always played a role, even if it was a small one in my mysteries. Growing up as a farm girl, animals are as much a part of my life and being as my mother and husband and son. Since I can’t imagine a world without animals, they have to be part of my fictional world.  

In my first two books, Joshua Thornton, a single father of five children, has a huge Great Dane-Irish Wolfhound mix named Admiral. I was surprised when readers connected to Admiral because, as I had written him, he was little more than a piece of furniture—and always on the lookout to climb up onto it. In A Small Case of Murder, Admiral does have a fight scene with a bad guy, but that was about the extent of it.  

It wasn’t until my third book, and the Mac Faraday Mysteries, that the dog really came to life as a character. Gnarly, Mac Faraday’s German shepherd side-kick, was almost by accident. I had written two drafts of It’s Murder, My Son before Gnarly’s character abruptly came to life.  

About that time, my family had acquired Ziggy, an Australian shepherd puppy, who was unloaded on my son during halftime at a football game. A woman had come up to my seven-year-old son and asked if he would like to hold her puppy. I thought, “What harm can come from holding a puppy?” As soon as Ziggy was in my son’s arms, the woman said, “You can keep him. He’s free!”  

Suddenly, she was out of there!  

Well, Ziggy proved to be a challenge. He got into everything. I grew up with dogs, but this dog was un-trainable. You’d try one technique and it would work. The next day, it wouldn’t because he would find a way around it.  

Yet, I love the daylights out of him. 

I had him analyzed by a dog trainer who explained that Ziggy was extremely smart and, as a result of his high intelligence, he is easily bored. Thats why he gets into trouble. As long as he has something to do, he’s fine. But let boredom set in … 

Gnarly, the kleptomaniac canine, was born. By the end of the next draft, Gnarly had grown from a simple dog next door to a full fledge anti-hero. Since It’s Murder, My Son, I have been collecting dog stories about bad-but loveable canines. 

My editor and I had a disagreement about the opening of Shades of Murder, in which Gnarly plays the troll on the bridge. He blocks access to delivery vans going to Spencer Manor until they pay the “toll” in the form of a dog biscuit. My editor claimed that was unbelievable. No dog would do that. 

Well, that whole segment is based on a Siberian husky named Sarge who lives one road from me!  

By the time Old Loves Die Hard came out, readers were saying I needed a cat counterpart to Gnarly. I was already working on creating the Lovers in Crime, Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates, to introduce in Shades of Murder 

It was easy to know which cat I would base Irving on. 

Duchess was a Maine Coon. She was my companion in my single days. She weighed over twenty pounds and, unlike Irving, was the reverse of a skunk. She was all white with a black streak down her back from her head to the tip of her tail. 

Irving has to go through life with the curse of looking exactly like a giant skunk. At twenty-five pounds, hes all black with a white stripe down his back, from the top of his head to the tip of his tail. 

Like Irving, Duchess was a one human cat. She loved me and no one else. When my husband came along, she tolerated him at best. However, when it became apparent that Jack was to be a constant in her life, her dislike grew. 

One evening, I had prepared a gourmet romantic dinner for my then new husband. It was chateaubriand for two. In our new home, the dining area was combined with the living room. The back of the sofa was up against the dinner table. We had just sat down and toasted this beautiful gourmet meal of love when Duchess jumped up onto the back of the sofa and walked the length of it to where my husband was sitting.  

“Look at that,” Jack told me to notice the intense look in Duchess’s eyes. 

She was aiming right for him. When she got to where he was sitting, she stretched over and “Blah!” discharged a giant juicy hairball right into his plate! 

That was twenty years ago and whave never eaten chateaubriand again. 

The relationship between Joshua Thornton and Irving is much the same. Irving liked Joshua when they first meet in Shades of Murder. However, by Dead on Ice, eight months into Joshua and Cameron’s relationship, Irving has grown to dislike the other man in his mistress’s life. 

 Joshua knows that homicide detective Cameron Gates and Irving are a package deal. Winning over the skunk cat is a must to keep the peace between the lovers in crime. 

Can Joshua win over Irving? Well, Irving does like Admiral. Will Irving get over his jealousy and grow to accept the rival for his woman’s love? 

We’ll see what happen when happens when the lovers in crime sit down to chateaubriand for two.


Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime.

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Lauren’s fifth mystery, Shades of Murder has been receiving rave reviews since its release.

Lauren’s sixth book,
Dead on Ice, has just been released. Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit her websites at and


In this Loves in Crime Mystery, Spunky Pennsylvania State Homicide Detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer.
Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates.
In this Loves in Crime Mystery, Spunky Pennsylvania State Homicide Detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.


Lauren Carr said...

Thank you, Melissa, for inviting me here today to discuss Irving's issues with the man in his mistress's life. I love to hear stories from readers about the animals in their lives. It makes for great material for my books. If any of your readers have stories to share, I've love to read them.

Best, Lauren

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Thanks so much for being here Lauren! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to open up your guest blog to find it was about your pets and the inspiration for your characters' pets...that's exactly the type of posts I usually ask my guests to write :)

Lauren Carr said...

Thank you so much, Melissa. I'm glad to come by anytime to talk about my pets (both real and fictional!). You get me started, you can't stop me. As a matter of fact, I can't never remember the names of my friends' children, but never will I forget the name of their pets, including the fish.

I know. That's terrible.

Melissa, Mudpie and Angel Truffles (Mochas, Mysteries and Meows) said...

Nothing wrong with that...I'm the same way :)