A Time Travel Tagging

I was recently tagged by Lynn over at Books & Travelling with Lynn. The subject is all about books and time traveling, in one way or another. I really enjoy these tag posts as they often give me something to talk about without having to use a lot of brainpower. Here are the Q&A.

SummersOwlDanceWhat is your favorite historical setting for a book?

It’s hard to pick just one. I’ve read plenty of stories set in ancient Greece (Mary Renault), Roman murder mysteries & ‘celebrities’ (John Maddox Roberts, Conn Iggulden), and the 1800s of the American West (David Lee Summers, Cherie Priest). Also, the Tudor era attracts me. In fact, I’m currently wrapped up in Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory.

AsimovStarsLikeDustWhat writer/s would you like to travel back in time to meet?

Isaac Asimov is near the top of my list. His books feature prominently in my childhood/teen years. I read his Lucky Starr series but also many of his adult novels. For kicks, I’d love to meet Homer and put to rest the age-old argument on whether Homer was male or female or collection of authors. I wouldn’t mind meeting Pearl S. Buck. Her novel, The Good Earth, was required reading in both the 5th and 9th grades (I moved and changed school districts, so that’s why I got hit twice with this classic) and I loved it both times. She had a very interesting life and it wouldn’t just be her books I’d pester her with questions about, but also her travel and years living in China.

LynchTheLiesOfLockeLamoraWhat book/s would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?

There’s so much good stuff out today! Apart from a few classics, most of the ‘safe’ or required reading I had access to as a kid was boring and often felt fake or like it was missing a big element of life – you know, all the gooey, messy bits that make all the good parts that much better. Luckily, I had full access to any SFF novel in the house and there were plenty of those. So to supplement my childhood bookshelf, I would give myself Andy Weir’s The Martian, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.



What book/s would you travel forward in time and give to your older self?

I would speed ahead to my future self and hand her a copy of Robert E. Howard’s stories. His writing is some of the best I have enjoyed and yet several of his stories, Conan or otherwise, have certain sexist and racist elements that really repel me. This book would remind me that humans, including myself, are flawed and that things change over the years, such as views on a woman’s proper role in high fantasy adventure. Yet despite these shortcomings, a person can still love a story, or a person, or a country, etc.

ChaneyTheAmberProjectWhat is your favorite futuristic setting from a book?

I always enjoy closed systems and several feature in SF stories. These are domed cities (Logan’s Run by Nolan & Johnson), underground villages (The Amber Project series by JN Chaney), underwater towns (Lucky Starr & the Oceans of Venus by Isaac Asimov), very large space stations (The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey), etc.. There’s the wonder of discovering these places, seeing how they are supposedly working and will go on working forever, and then watching it all come apart in some horrible way that means death for most of the people in the story. Yeah, welcome to my little demented side.


Grahame-SmithAustenPrideAndPrejudiceAndZombiesWhat is your favorite book that is set in a different time period (can be historical or futuristic)?

For fun, I wouldn’t mind visiting Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I really like the idea of making polite ball jokes, decapitating zombies, working out in the dojo, and politely trading British insults over tea. Honestly, I think that is the only way I would survive the Victorian era.

RobertsTheKingsGambitSpoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book just to see what happens?

Back when I was eyeball reading printed books (I do mostly audiobooks now) I had a ritual. I would start a book and at that moment that I knew I was hooked, that I had fallen in love with the story, I would turn to the last page and read the last sentence. Most of the time this didn’t spoil anything, but every once in a while there would be a final line that gave away an important death or such.

PriestMaplecroftIf you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?

Actually, I do have a Time Turner. My husband bought it for me at the start of September while he was at an SCA event. It was right after we learned that I was quite sick but a few weeks before we learned just how sick. So, lots of bitter sweet emotions tied up with that piece of jewelry.

Anyhoo, if I had a working one, I would go everywhere and do everything. I would start with planning things that Bill and I have wanted to do together (like celebrating Beltane in a pre-Christian era) and then add in things that I have always wanted to do but which my be a big snooze fest for Bill (such as Charles Darwin’s Beagle voyage).

JonasAnubisNightsFavorite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods?

Currently, I’m enjoying the Jonathan Shade series by Gary Jonas. Time travel really becomes an element in this urban fantasy series in the second trilogy with Ancient Egypt featuring prominently. I also adore Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I finally read a Stephen King novel, 11-22-63. The characters were great even as the underlying premise was only so-so for me. The Dinosaur Four by Geoff Jones was a fun, crazy creature feature.

ButcherColdDaysWhat book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, for sure. I’ve read the early books several times each and I get a laugh out of them each time. Also I would like to experience Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey all over again for the first time. That book showed me how prudish some of my ideas were when I first read it. I wonder what it would show me now? Perhaps the same thing, if indeed this book has had as big an impact on who I am as I think.

Tagging Other People

So in general with these fun tagging posts, I never want anyone to feel obligated to play along. As usual, if any of you want to play along, I definitely encourage you. You can answer any of the questions in the comments or you can throw up your own blog post and then let em know about it so I can come read it. Here are some people who I think would like this particular time travel subject:

David Lee Summers

Under My Apple Tree

Beauty Is A Sleeping Cat

On Starships & Dragonwings

Guest Post: Inkitt, The First Readers-Driven Book Publisher

Discover Inkitt: The First Readers-Driven Book Publisher

By Eleanna Sbokou, Team Lead at Inkitt Publishing

Since the invention of the movable printing press back in the 13th century, the publishing industry has never stopped evolving. Especially when eBooks were introduced in the mid-90’s, things changed substantially: it was a major move aiming to satisfy readers’ changing habits and preferences when it comes to selecting and buying books.

However, if we think about the decision-making process regarding which books deserve to be published and which are left in the dark, things have remained the same for centuries. The task of predicting the next bestsellers is assigned to editors and literary agents who select books based on their experience of past market behavior, their gut feeling and personal view on whether there is an audience out there for that specific book. As a result, Harry Potter and Twilight initially got rejected 12 and 14 times respectively before seeing the light, and Carrie by Stephen King got 30 rejections. This is just the tip of the iceberg though and luckily those authors did not lose their courage; they kept trying till they made it. But think about all those new writers that send out their manuscripts and after a series of rejections feel that they’ve just hit the wall: there’s so many talented and potentially bestselling authors out there whose work never reaches the surface because they get frustrated and discouraged to keep trying to break the barriers of the traditional publishing process.

This is exactly what we’re aiming to change at Inkitt: We’re a Berlin-based startup and the world’s first data-driven book publisher, on a mission to democratize publishing by putting the decision in readers’ hands.

Predicting future bestsellers with the Inkitt algorithm

We’re living in the age of data: there’s so much information available out there that we no longer need to make unfounded assumptions and rely on hunches. If we want to find out whether readers are going to love a book or not, all we need to do is observe them while reading it: Inkitt has developed an algorithm which captures data and analyses over 1,200 reading behavior dimensions to understand how strong a potential a novel has to become the next bestseller. This is a far more objective and accurate way to predict future trends.


Data-driven decisions can and will transform traditional processes that have so far been accepted as the standard for the publishing industry. Artificial Intelligence and algorithms like the one we have developed at Inkitt help us better understand readers’ preferences and also make the publishing process more democratic and fair, especially for up and coming authors trying to make their first steps.

Helping emerging talent get found

In just 18 months since launch, Inkitt has attracted 700,000 members: fiction lovers looking to discover great new novels and new writers who want to share their work and kickstart their career. Apart from a readers-driven publisher, Inkitt is a great platform for authors looking to find an audience for their work and get honest and constructive feedback for free. We also hold writing contests regularly where the winning authors get a publishing deal.


In addition to the above, Inkitt offers a variety of resources to support and guide emerging writers: from AMAs with published authors, to writing groups and articles where writers can find tips and guidance on the writing craft and the road to publishing your work.

If readers love it, it gets published: The revolution has started

Inkitt’s founder and CEO, Ali Albazaz, has one vision: to make sure great books will never again miss the opportunity they deserve. And the best toolset available for that is to analyse behavioral data and understand what readers want: that’s the only way to ensure publishers will never again reject a great novel.

The first book selected by Inkitt’s algorithm, Erin Swan’s Bright Star will be published by Inkitt and Tor in 2017. Back in September, Inkitt published Charlotte Reagan’s YA novel Just Juliet and a month after that, Emily Ruben’s I Was A Bitch followed: both of them immediately became bestsellers in their respective category: a clear sign the Inkitt algorithm ‘has an eye’ for best selling novels.

And this is just the beginning; there’s many more books in Inkitt’s publishing pipeline for the next few months.


We’ve made the first steps in our journey to revolutionize publishing. And the response we’ve seen so far from both our authors and readers gives us even more strength to carry on: It’s so rewarding to have a community of hundreds of thousands who share your vision!

Inkitt is here to help new talent rise and bring great novels to book lovers looking to discover new authors.

If you have questions or want to find out more about Inkitt, please send your email to marketing@inkitt.com. Thanks for reading!

Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: C. T. Phipps, Author of Cthulhu Armageddon

CTPhippsAuthorEveryone, please give a warm welcome to author C. T. Phipps. I really enjoyed his book, The Rules of Supervillainy and am very excited to see his latest, Cthulhu Armaggedon, out in audiobook. So don’t miss the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post – an Audible.com version of Cthulhu Armageddon, narrated by Jeffrey Kafer. 

If you could be an extra on a horror movie or TV show, what would it be and what role would you have?

I’d have to say I’d probably do best as an extra on SUPERNATURAL. I wouldn’t really fit in as the bearded pudgy Southern author unless it’s as a zombie on The Walking Dead. I also was a huge fan of the show for the first five seasons with my wife making a regular ritual of it. As for what role I’d have, I’d love to be the guy who gives them a vital clue before dying horribly. I’m realistic about my chances in such a situation.

I’d also love to have a guest starring role on an adaptation of one of my books but baby steps. Hehe.

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonWhat makes you cringe?

It’s funny but I’m not afraid of things like spiders, clowns, closed spaces, heights, or any of the usual things but am mortally terrified of embarrassing situations. I could probably deal with the Slenderman more easily than I could an awkward conversation about emotional stuff. It’s funny because my wife thinks I’m a big baby about that while we have our weekly horror movie-a-thons but flee at any romance films.

Ironically, I had a lot more trouble writing the emotional beats of THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY and its sequels than I ever did with the zombies or demons. It’s similar with CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsTheRulesOfSupervillainyWhat now-dead author would you like to interview? What are some of the things you would chat about?

I’d like to say H.P. Lovecraft because while I’d love to interview J.R.R Tolkien, I probably wouldn’t be able to come up with any interesting questions for him. With H.P. Lovecraft, I would have a bunch of them ranging from talking about racial issues, the meaning of his monsters, and so on. It’d be a conversation he’d probably walk out on me during but it would certainly be enjoyable. Then again, we might just bond over our shared love of the weird. I did, after all, write the novel CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON to follow up on some of his ideas.

Personally, I’d like to know what he thought of the way his stories have spread out and become so influential.

PhippsEsoterrorismIf you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

That’s a tough call because I really do love to resist books I’ve read in the past and see if I can get anything new from a re-read. I’ve re-read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE over and over again. I’ve also done the same with the LORD OF THE RINGS. So I’ll avoid the usual answers and go with THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher. Those books have been something I’ve enjoyed for almost seventeen years now and helped create my love of urban fantasy. I loved reading about Harry’s crazy adventures, his myriad femme fatales, and experiencing the crazy combination of humor with dramatic storytelling which is the heart of the series. Being able to enjoy that all for the first time again would be grand. It was a big influence on THE SUPERVILLAINY SAGA, ESOTERRORISM, and STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON.

PhippsStraightOuttaFangtonWhat has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

Writing is my most difficult job! Well, actually, no, it’s all the things around writing. The job of editing, advertising, and selling your book to your audience is a full-time job well after the “fun” part of making it work. Being an indie author definitely has its advantages over one of the big publishing houses but one of the reasons I could never be a self-published author is because I’m overwhelmed with the parts I do do. LOL.

Still, I would never do anything else.

PhippsTheGamesOfSupervillainyWhat book should be made into a game (card, PC, board, etc.) and why? Is there a specific character who you would want to play in this game?

I’m a very video game-influenced author as I love the interactivity of being able to project a portion of yourself into the game world, particularly RPGs. So it’s actually a complicated question as the majority of books are more like movies in that you’re along for the ride but don’t really have a way of impacting the plot. The exception to this was the fabulous “Witcher” games which managed to preserve the feel of the classic fantasy series while also allowing you a lot of choice in the narrative. I also loved THE SHADOW OF MORDOR which isn’t about any of Tolkien’s characters but set in his world with someone not so morally pure.

If I were to see one of my books adapted to a video game, I’d definitely choose THE RULES OF SUPERVILLAINY, STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON, and CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON in no particular order. I think Rules would be particularly awesome as you’d have this big wide open sandbox full of colorful characters. You could also decide whether Gary goes the Anti-Villain route or becomes pure evil.

PhippsTheSecretsOfSupervillainyWho are some of your favorite book villains?

If I had to choose favorite villains from books other than my own, I would choose Grand Admiral Thrawn from THE THRAWN TRILOGY, Jaime Lannister from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ Sauron. In the first case, Grand Admiral Thrawn is such an elegant and cultured character you actually want him to win despite being up against our heroes.

Jaimie is such a three-dimensional character that it’s hard to even say he’s a villain rather than a differently valued protagonist. Sauron? Sauron never even shows up in-person but casts such a shadow over everything that he manages to become a pervasive presence nevertheless. I also have a strong fondness for Gentleman Johnny Marcone and Lara Raith from THE DRESDEN FILES.

If I had to choose my favorite villain from my books, I’d probably choose Alan Ward from CTHULHU ARMAGEDDON. He’s a scientist and wizard with knowledge dating back to the Pre-Rising world which everyone has forgotten. Alan has the desire to save humanity from destruction and is willing to do anything, break any taboo, and do whatever horrible thing is necessary to figure out a way to preserve the human species.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Warning – Easily Distracted.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?


I always saw myself as a writer, too. Which is why becoming one is such a gleeful thing.

Thanks for the interview!

Book Blurb for Cthulhu Armageddon

PhippsCthulhuArmageddonCthulhu Armageddon is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters).

John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and the suspicion that he’s “tainted”. Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of the man who killed his friends. It’s the one thing he has left.

Places to Find C. T. Phipps









C. T. Phipps is generously offering up 5 copies of the Audible.com audiobook of Cthulhu Armageddon. You can enter the Rafflecopter below or you can answer these questions in the comments: 1) Do you have an Audible.com account? 2) Who are your favorite book villains? 3) Please leave a way to contact you if you win. Giveaways ends November 19, 2016, midnight.

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Interview: Bob Kat, Author of the YA Series Time Shifters

KatNotMyLifeEveryone, please give a warm welcome to authors Kathy Clark and her husband Bob Wernly to the blog today! Kathy and Bob Wernly write as a team under the pen name of Kathy Clark for their adult books and Bob Kat for their YA series, Time Shifters. Kathy has answered the questions, totally disregarding Bob’s input because he’s watching a football game!

If you could, what book/movie/TV series would you like to experience for the first time all over again and why?

There are so many books that I loved at different stages in my life. As a child, I devoured all the Marguerite Henry and Walter Farley books I could find. In junior high, I loved Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney. Then I discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss. The Flame and the Flower was a delicious introduction to romance novels that changed my life because it made me want to write books like that. I also remember fondly Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught. And I loved the Twilight series. It’s magical when you find wonderful characters who touch your heart and stay with you forever.

Who are some of your favorite book villains?

I think Karen Robards writes the best villains because she takes you inside their heads. They are vicious, cold, cruel, and totally insane.

If everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Warning! Kathy and Bob will use anything you say or do in their next book if it’s entertaining!

As a published author, what non-writing/reading activities would you recommend to aspiring authors?

Just sit back and listen. Everyone has such a great story to tell about their life. That’s the theme of our latest YA romance/time travel/mystery, NOT MY LIFE. It’s about a homeless man who lives under the pier on Fort Myers Beach and is befriended by our teenage characters. When they have a chance to find out what brought him to such a drastic place, they discover that beneath his weathered exterior is an amazing person with a rich, full life.

What does your Writer’s Den look like? Neat and tidy or creative mess? Can you write anywhere or do you need to be holed up in your author cave?

We are sort of unique in our writing style because we write as partners. First, we sit on our deck with some wine and Diet Coke and thoroughly plot our books. Then Bob writes the first draft, usually in the morning, sitting at our bar and using his laptop. I am strictly a night writer. I have zero creativity during the daylight hours. I can’t even make a complete sentence before noon. So, I sit on the couch and add flesh and color to the bones that Bob has given me, often working until two or three in the morning. Then, we both polish it before passing it on to our beta readers.

If you could sit down and have tea (or a beer) with 5 fictional characters, who would you invite to the table?

Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler would be first. Never have there been two characters that were so well-developed that you felt like you were in the room eavesdropping.

I’d also like to hang out with Kelly, Scott, Austin, and Zoey from our Time Shifters series because they are so much fun to write about, it’s as if they are real.

Side characters can make or break a story. What side characters have you enjoyed in other works? What side characters in your own work have caught more attention than you expected?

We just finished an adult romantic suspense series called Austin Heroes. It was about three brothers, all in different branches of law enforcement. They were wonderful characters, and I fell in love with all of them. But their grandmother, Grammy, somehow became a bigger-than-life secondary character. We’ve gotten more fan mail about her than anyone else. In the last book, ANOTHER CHANCE, that will be out in November, she finally got to tell her own story.

Finally, what upcoming events and works would you like to share with the readers?

NOT MY LIFE, book #5 of the Time Shifters YA romance/time travel/mystery series will be out on October 18th. ALMOST FOREVER, book #2 of the Austin Heroes series came out in July, and ANOTHER CHANCE, book #3 of the Austin Heroes series comes out on November 1st. All are available on Amazon and most other ebook sites. We are currently working on book #1 of our Breathless series, an adult romance set in Cripple Creek, Colorado. And in between, we’re dying to get our toes in sand somewhere tropical.


Visit us at our website www.LoveRealityRomance.com or write us at Kathy@Nightwriter93.com. We would love to hear where and when you think our teenagers should travel to in the next book. Reviews are always appreciated.

Kathy Clark and Bob Kat love to hear from our fans. Write us at TheThrillOfSuspense@gmail.com and tell us where you’d like to have Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey travel to next.

Places to Find Kathy Clark and Bob Wernly

Website: www.LoveRealityRomance.com

Email: LoveRealityRomance@gmail.com
Sign up for our Newsletter at http://nightwriter93.us4.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=36aefea91512cdbd3abf603cf&id=b02a931508

Link to purchase NOT MY LIFE on Amazon
Link to purchase ANOTHER CHANCE on Amazon

KathyClarkBobWernlyBobKatAuthorAuthor Kathy Clark’s Bio: 

NOT MY LIFE is Kathy Clark’s 42nd novel.  She’s been a Vice-President of the Romance Writers of America, Co-Founded the Colorado Romance Writers and has been a member of the Mystery Writers of America Rocky Mountain Chapter for many years. She’s been a RITA Finalist, Romantic Times award winner, NY Times best seller, had several books named Best Indie Book and has won the Reader’s Choice competition in addition to several top film festival honors.  Her books have sold over 3 ½ million books globally.

Her website has all her books and links and information about her screenwriting career.  Find it at www.LoveRealityRomance.com  Find her on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/150098.Kathy_Clark .  The universal link to Amazon is http://lrd.to/not-my-life .

KatNotMyLifeBook Blurb for Not My Life, Book 5 of Time Shifters: 

Right place wrong time…that’s never happened before and what they don’t know could kill them.

On their way home from a trip to the Stanley Hotel in 1911, an accidental detour drops Kelly, Austin, Scott, and Zoey in 1977.  They discover that their old friend, Dan Denucci has been arrested for murder.  They knew him as a homeless man living under the fishing pier and making jewelry.  How had this gentle old man become a killer?

He needs their help, but first they must convince him they have the power to travel through time.  But can they trust him?

Audiobook Giveaway & Interview: Lauren Carr, Author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries

CarrTheMurdersAtAstaireCastleEveryone, please welcome Lauren Carr to the blog today. I really enjoyed her Mac Faraday mystery, The Murders at Astaire Castle. Lauren has been kind enough to give us a bit of her time for this interview. Also, don’t  forget to check out the tour-wide audiobook giveaway! If you want to find out about the GIVEAWAY, then scroll to the bottom.

What makes you cringe?

A very messy kitchen that needs cleaning.

Who are some of your favorite book villains?

This is such a hard question to answer. I know what I like and don’t like in a villain. Not being a fan of serial killer books, I don’t like Hannibal Lecter, no matter how elegant and educated he is. I actually get angry when the villain escapes justice at the end of a mystery so that he or she can return in another book, which has become a popular gimmick that some writers use. It leaves me with a heavy sense of injustice. There’s too much of that in the real world. I read books to escape. So I want to see the villain captured and getting what he or she deserves in the end.

Do you have any phobias?

No, but I live in fear of a horribly dirty house that I have to clean. But I don’t have a fear of germs. I just hate cleaning. I’m not afraid of it. I simply hate it.

CarrItsMurderMySonIf everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Caution, murder mystery writer at work. Careless treatment of this writer could result in ending up in one of her book.

In this age of publishing, self-promotion is really necessary for the author. What do you enjoy most about advertising yourself and your works? What do you find most challenging?

I always enjoy talking about my books and my writing. So I have to say that I love book tours and the opportunity to talk to readers and reviewers about my murder mysteries. As for what is most challenging? That’s easy. Keeping my website up to date. I get so wrapped up in my writing and answering questions that I forget about my website. There have been times that I have actually forgotten to list my latest book or even tour dates.

If you could sit down and have dinner with 5 dead authors, who would you invite to the table? What would they order?

1. Agatha Christie. She would order something French in honor of Hercule Poirot, who was Belgian, not French.
2. Erle Stanley Gardner. He would order a manly steak and potatoes and smoke a cigarette over scotch for dessert.
3. Carolyn Keene, which is a pseudonym for several writers who wrote the Nancy Drew books, which I read while growing up. She would order rice cakes. Since she’s not real, she wouldn’t be eating real food.
4. Of course, at the other end, we can’t not have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the master who created Sherlock Holmes. He will order kidney pie.
5. And a mystery dinner would not be complete with the author of the first mystery, Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote The Purloined Letter. He would order a poultry dish, most definitely not raven.

CarrBlastFromThePastWhat do you do when you are not writing?

I love to cook and especially enjoy trying new and exotic recipes. But I hate cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Did I already mention that?

Side characters can make or break a story. What side characters have you enjoyed in other works? What side characters in your own work have caught more attention than you expected?

I really enjoy Archie Goodwyn in the Nero Wolfe mysteries. Here is a side character who, in reality, is the protagonist. He’s witty, even snarky. As the narrator and the front man for Nero Wolfe, he is in the forefront—yet, he’s the side character.

I have been completely floored by how Mac Faraday’s side character, Gnarly, his German Shepherd, has caught so much attention. I have included animals in every one of my books, because I love animals. I myself grew up as a farm girl. I knew my readers would have to love animals, too, but the immediate attraction to Gnarly took me completely by surprise. Would you believe Gnarly was not in the first or even second draft of It’s Murder, My Son, the first Mac Faraday Mystery? I wrote him in a later draft of the book.

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

The Bobbsey Twins. That was the first chapter book I read. I believe I was in the second grade. The actual book was in our family’s book case. It had been one of my mother’s school books from when she was a child. I remember it was an old worn book and didn’t even have a front or back cover. That’s how old it was.

CarrTheMurdersAtAstaireCastleBook Blurb for The Murders at Astaire Castle:

Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop – even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the 10 top haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago – and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.

What starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet – including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

Buy the Book:   Amazon  ~  Audible

LaurenCarrAuthorAuthor’s Bio:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The twelfth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Candidate for Murder will be released June 2016.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


This giveaway is part of the iRead Book Tour. Don’t forget to check out more interviews, reviews,  & guest posts on the blog tour! Win an audiobook copy of The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr (2 winners – open int’l), a stand alone Mac Faraday mystery, narrated by Dan Lawson. Contest ends Oct. 30, 2016.  Just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway.

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The Murders at Astaire Castle by Lauren Carr

CarrTheMurdersAtAstaireCastleNarrator: Dan Lawson

Publisher: Acorn Book Services (2014)

Length: 8 hours 9 minutes

Series: Book 5 Mac Faraday

Author’s Page

Note: Even though this is Book 5 in the series, it works just fine as a stand alone novel.

Set on Spencer Hill, in Deep Creek, Maryland, Mac Faraday won’t balk at exploring his property in full, and that includes the Astaire Castle which has been closed up since his biological mother passed away. It’s haunted and even his own half-brother David O’Callaghan (local police chief) thinks it’s a very bad idea to go exploring the castle. The Astaire Castle is the site of suicides, disappearances, and murders. As Mac Faraday, retired homicide detective, delves into the castle’s history yet more bodies turn up, and he and David are soon forced to reopen the case of the missing horror writer Damian Wagner.

This was an entertaining story, especially for the Halloween season. This tale has the haunted castle, a missing horror writer, and a wolf man! And that’s just the opening few chapters to this book. Mac and David argue like brothers and there’s a real  friendship there even if they disagree on things. Hector, the blunt Australian, was a favorite character as well. I liked his (sometimes snarky) humor. Gnarly, the big friendly, food-oriented German shepherd, often stole the show.

While the men get to do most of the action and decisions for the book, there are a few ladies that stand out. Archie, Mac’s lover, has  some role attached to the police department, though the details of which remained a bit fuzzy to me. While the guys often left her behind as they went off to adventure, she did have her moments with her gentle teasing, easing info out of this character or that. Chelsea with her medical condition and her service dog, Molly, also added to the story, specifically as an interesting love interest for one of the characters.

The wolfman was an interesting touch and one I didn’t expect. It definitely added a dimension to the book. The reveal of who did it came as a surprise as well. The wrap up left me wondering if there was a supernatural element to the story after all. All told, my only quibble is that I would have liked the ladies to be a bit more involved. Other than that, it was a pretty fun read.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author (via iRead Book Tours – thanks!) at no cost.

Narration: Dan Lawson makes a great Mac Faraday. He sounds decisive and also  captures the characters fondness (and sometimes exasperation) for Gnarly. His female voices were believable.  His voice for David was similar to Mac’s  (which makes sense since they are related) and he kept it distinct from Mac’s most of the time.

What I Liked: Haunted castle; multiple bodies from different methods; the wolfman; Gnarly and his willingness to put anything in his mouth; Chelsea and her service dog; Hector the blunt Australian; good ending. 

What I Disliked: The ladies often get pushed to the backseat. 

What Others Think:

For Life After

The Journey Back

Just Reviews

Bless Their Hearts Mom


Kushiel’s Mercy Part II

Streak being calm & snuggly.

Streak being calm & snuggly.

The read along continues with Kushiel’s Mercy, Book 3 of Imriel’s trilogy! Everyone is welcome to join in. Here is the SCHEDULE for the read along.

This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host. We’re covering Chapters 11-22, so be prepared for spoilers below!

1) Imriel visits a few of the Houses with Astegal. If you were to visit Carey’s Terre d’Ange, would there be a particular house you’d be interested to see?

Such a hard choice! I think we had a question similar to this one way back at the beginning of the series and now that we’ve come so far, experienced so much with these characters and the discussions, I bet my answer has changed. I’m waffling between Jasmine (for pleasure’s sake), Eglantine (to create is to live), and Balm (rest and be soothed). You know, I think I will make the rounds to all three like a good D’Angeline would.

2) The Carthaginians’ scheme was some of the most blatant magic that I think we’ve seen in the series. Given that there is a whole country of people who are not fooled, do you think they really expected to get away with it cleanly in the long-term? Do you think they have an alternative plan?

You’re right about the magic being upfront and in our faces with this story. After the more subtle, perhaps even bordering on magical realism, in past books, it’s a bit of a change, isn’t it?

It’s been some years since I last read this book, so I’ve forgotten the details. But based on Carey’s intricate plots, I would say that there is more to this plot that what we’ve seen so far, and what we’ve seen so far has the D’Angeline monarchy, a chunk of its priesthood, and its army enslaved. So, yeah, I bet there’s more coming.

3) Barquiel l’Envers goes from a petty antagonist to one of Imriel’s only allies. Does this change your opinion of him? Do you think this adventure will alter his perception of Imriel?

Quite frankly, I love this part. It’s very much like how Barquiel gave Phedre such the stink eye yet still rode out to save her from a skinning. I can say from experience that Barquiel’s role in this book made me look more kindly upon him during rereads later on.

4) We finally see Melisande again! What do you think of what she has become? Do you think she still deserves execution for her crimes?

It was good to see her interacting with someone she wouldn’t consider seducing (probably, hopefully!). It was a different side of her and also I think she has gained some wisdom over the years. It was both fascinating and chilling to see how honest she was about her amorality.

Yes, she does deserve to be punished for her crimes. Those people who died during the Skaldi invasion are still dead. There are still plenty of repercussions from that act of treason. However, this is not always a just world and I think Imriel’s compromise (banned from D’Angeline soil for life) is the best he could get. Sometimes making a final ruling, as such, lets people move on, whether they think it is fair or not.

5) What do you think will be Imriel’s key to change out of the form and mind of Leander? Do you think you would be willing to undergo such a transformation?

So I do recall the answers to the first question. And I recall how each happens –  and I think you will all enjoy those scenes as I did.

Would I be willing to undergo such a transformation? Well, for the love of my life, sure. No problem. Heck, even just for Halloween I might do it. It might be interesting to be a fairly attractive young man with a randy attitude for a day or week or so.

Other Tidbts:

Imriel’s little trick with the pillow was simple and perfect for getting info. Our young man has come pretty far since he was a kid. I don’t think he would have done that even at the beginning of this trilogy.

Madness for a whole month! And then when you get your wits back, you have perfect recollection of all the hurtful, crazy shit you said and did. That is one nasty piece of magic.

It was silly for Imri to bring the Bastard but I think he really needed a D’Angeline friend at the time.

The Wise Ape! Fascinating man. I would love to see some fanfic about his life.

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Emily at Emma Wolf
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

We also have a Goodreads Group started for SF/F Read Alongs in general, and there is a specific folder for this read along. You are welcome to follow the fun there as well. If you want to be on the weekly email, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email with KUSHIEL’S MERCY in the subject (nrlymrtl@gmail.com).