Guest Post from Author Dan O’Brien

 

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First of all, I want to thank you for hosting me today.

My name is Dan O’Brien and I’m probably best known for my Lauren Westlake books, especially the bestselling Bitten. I stopped by today to talk about the ongoing series, as well as a limited-time sale on the Lauren Westlake eBooks in preparation for the next release, Besieged.

Before I pitch you on the first five books for only 99c, I want to take a moment and answer a few questions so you can get to know me a little better, dear reader.

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing has always been an important psychological outlet for me. I can’t imagine a life where I don’t write in some capacity. It certainly energizes me. And perhaps more importantly, it rescues me when I feel alone or if I’m having a poor mental health day. I think writing means different things to different people. For me, writing is a grounding principle in my life. If I need to work through something, I write about it. Sometimes that catharsis even becomes a part of a book.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

It really depends on the genre. Unsurprisingly, many of my characters are based on aspects of people I have met during my life. Sometimes, I name them based on who they remind me of; other times, I keep trying names until I feel like the name reflects the character. For the Lauren Westlake series, the names came quite naturally. When I work on a science fiction or fantasy story, I will research traditional names from ancient societies or combine base terms with interesting prefixes and suffixes to create something unique.

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I imagine I would have been a scientist in some capacity or taught math. I studied psychology in graduate school and even entertained getting my PhD and teaching at a university. However, I decided on a different path that took me away from that possibility. Teaching is such a brave profession. As well, I might have pursued a career in film. Once upon a time, I really wanted to be involved in the filmmaking process, but I didn’t go to film school. I could see myself on that path as well.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Always. Much like TV shows and movies hide things in plain sight for eagle-eyed viewers, I like to leave clues along the way that are much more than simple foreshadowing. Often, someone’s name will reference something that will happen later or is a part of a larger theme. I also like to leave references to some my favorite novels and films.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I always liked telling stories. When I was a child, I would create entire plays with people on Popsicle sticks and small stages built from scratch. I also used Legos and other toys to tell elaborate tales. The more I read, the more I wanted to be a storyteller. I published my first story in 2002 and never looked back.

 

How long does it take you to write a book?

That depends on the book itself. If I am in the middle of telling a larger story, I can sometimes finish a first draft in 6-8 weeks. I wrote a novel in 10 days once because I was so interested in the story that I didn’t want to do anything else. For the Lauren Westlake novellas, I finish a draft in a couple of weeks in order to get it to the editor.

 

What does being a successful author look like to you?

As many people as possible reading what I write. Being well known might be interesting, but I would prefer that readers enjoy what I write and want to read more.

 

Now that you know a little more about me, I’d like to talk about the Lauren Westlake series. This weekend, Bitten and its sequels will be only 99c as a promotion for the release of Besieged. Here are the synopses and links for those eBooks that are on sale.

 

 

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Bitten:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005METJLU

A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

 

 

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Drained: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RJI8DVO

A frightening new case. A mysterious journal. The beginning of the end. Lauren Westlake has left behind the horrors of northern Minnesota to investigate a strange package with a cryptic return address. Crossing the country to the city by the bay, Lauren discovers that Locke was only the beginning. Crossing paths with a stoic SFPD detective and a surprise from her past, she must figure out what hunts the foggy streets of San Francisco in this new novella. Is it vampires? Is it something more?

 

 

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Frighten: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KJD12BS

Lauren’s time in San Francisco hasn’t gone as planned. After reconnecting with her brother Billy and discovering that vampires are at the heart of the murders in the foggy city, Lauren is faced with a terrible decision that will affect her career. Can she find a way to bring the killers to justice? Will she be able to find the Stranger in time to stop the nightmares in San Francisco?

 

 

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Burned: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KJ9V3SJ

Lauren’s pursuit of the Stranger has led to Las Vegas. A series of supernatural murders leads the team to believe that warlocks are behind the deaths. The return of an old ally and a new threat complicates Lauren’s investigation. Can she stop what’s coming in time to avert the apocalypse?

 

 

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Awaken: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LH7GFVP

Lauren’s world is turned upside down when she is introduced to the Order and Elder Andras. The Stranger’s plan to wake Awanyu begins to take form, threatening not only Las Vegas, but all of reality. Can Lauren put together the puzzle pieces in time to stop the Stranger and save Winona?

 

I hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity and catch up on the Lauren Westlake series. You can connect with me on Twitter and Facebook, as well as visit my website. Happy reading!

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorDanOBrien

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authordanobrien

Website: https://authordanobrien.com/

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Broken Bone China by Laura Childs – Blog Tour and Guest Post


Synopsis: 
Theodosia Browning serves tea and solves crimes in Charleston, a city steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out.

As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them. An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers.

Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.

Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO’s soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO’s personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques’ dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancée of one of Theodosia’s dear friends, who turns out to be an employee—and whistle-blower—at SyncSoft?

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

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Broken Heart Attack by James J. Cudney – Guest Post and Giveaway

 

Synopsis: When an extra ticket becomes available to see the dress rehearsal of King Lear, Kellan tags along with Nana D and her buddies.

When one of them dies of an apparent heart attack in the middle of second act, Nana D raises her suspicions and asks Kellan to investigate the death. With family members suddenly in debt and a secret rendezvous between an unlikely pair, Kellan learns that the Paddingtons might not be as clean-cut as everyone thinks.

But can Kellan find the killer, or will he get caught up his own stage fright?

 

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To Fetch a Thief – Guest Post and Blog Tour

Synopsis:

To Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth. Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.

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Pineapple Upside Down Murder by Jodi Rath – Guest Post Recipe

Introducing Jolie Tucker, an introverted yet passionate restaurant co-owner of Cast Iron Creations, who, at her best friend Ava’s request, steps out of her comfort zone which leads her into the shade of a killer in the small, cozy village of Leavensport, Ohio. The victim is the villages beloved Ellie Siler who runs the village sweet spot, Chocolate Capers. Jolie finds her grandma Opal is a prime suspect and goes on a search for answers only to find out that her families secret recipes may not belong to the Tucker family at all. Jolie’s job, family, and livelihood are all on the line. The answers are assuredly lethal.

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5 Excellent Books To Read If You Love Film Adaptations

This is a guest post.

5 Excellent Books To Read If You Love Film Adaptations

It seems as if more and more books are being turned into films these days. While there are still plenty of wholly original screenplays making it to the big screen, it seems that in many cases studios find it easier to work with existing material and pay a writer to adapt a book into screen form. Often, particularly lately, this leads to excellent films. However, as the old adage goes, “the book is better” – most of the time at least! Because of this, and because if you’re reading here you’re presumably a book lover, I’m doing a list of five excellent books to read if you’re interested in those that get turned into films. This list concerns primarily recent material, either having led to recent cinematic releases or being adapted even now.

1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Putting it simply, Crazy Rich Asians became something of a sensation this past summer. Billed as a rare Hollywood film that would have a primarily Asian cast without stereotypical roles, it wound up being a resounding success – in fact, the top grossing romantic comedy in 10 years! There’s already talk of a sequel, and various cast members involved appear to be on their way to far more glamorous careers than they might have imagined before 2018. With all of this success, the novel figures to be irresistible to some who never came across it before. It was published in 2013, and was a bestseller, with author Kevin Kwan having expressed a stated goal of introducing a new, contemporary Asia to a primarily American audience. Mission accomplished; the book is as terrific as the film.

2. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

Love May Fail is a book that was published in 2015. It essentially concerns a group of characters one wouldn’t ordinarily place together, who wind up helping one another to rediscover the joys of life. That alone may sound like just another hit-or-miss story until you recall that Matthew Quick is the clever and sensitive author who produced Silver Linings Playbook. Love May Fail offers a similarly heartfelt blend of real-life issues, unlikely but plausible circumstances, and an inexplicable touch of wonder. Whether or not the film adaptation lives up to the extraordinary Silver Linings Playbook one remains to be seen, though with Emma Stone cast in the lead as Portia Kane, it’s off to a good start!

3. Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

This is a different sort of book in that it’s essentially a memoir. But it’s one I find more fascinating with each passing year. These days, we mostly think of casino culture as being purely digital. Poker tournaments are held online, casino games are now mobile arcades, and the betting side of it all has morphed into matched deposits and free games appealing to bettors around the world. Molly’s Game paints a different and decidedly more human picture: an underground poker world, full of wealth, secrecy, and back rooms, and all completely real! Bloom herself was busted by the government for running high-stakes games featuring prominent celebrities, and this book is her own stunning account of the story – a story that was brilliantly adapted by Aaron Sorkin. If you want to believe in the more mythical side of casino culture, it’s one to read and watch.

4. The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson

If you’re familiar at all with the work of Erik Larson, you know he brings history to life with novel-like quality about as well as anyone. In this case, he does so with two dueling narratives concerning the architects and engineers in charge of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and the infamous serial killer H. H. Holmes who stalked the Chicago area at the same time. It’s an absolutely riveting read from beginning to end, and an educational one at that, painting a picture of what was in some ways a smaller world focused on international competition and collective achievement. As with Love May Fail, the adaptation is not out yet, but Leonardo DiCaprio has the rights, and Martin Scorsese is on hand to direct. DiCaprio is likely to play the role of Holmes in what ought to be a terrific film.

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

It’s difficult to describe what makes The Goldfinch such a great book, because there’s a temptation to say something vague, such as “it’s just kind of magical.” That’s the case, however; there’s a mysterious quality to this book that makes it easy to immerse yourself in and hard to put down. More directly, the book concerns a boy who loses his mother in an apparent terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and who – in something of a dazed panic – takes a small painting (“The Goldfinch”) in the aftermath. His entire life from that point forward unfolds as a series of consequences for these early actions, and it’s quite a journey to read through. The film is not out yet but fans of the book have been eagerly awaiting it, and now that there’s a cast, it feels fairly imminent, with a possible release late in 2019.

Wreath Between the Lines by Daryl Wood Gerber – Recipe / Guest Post & Giveaway!

The Agatha Award–winning author of Pressing the Issue returns to the Cookbook Nook, where Jenna Hart is busy decking the halls and ducking a killer . . .

The holidays are Jenna Hart’s favorite time of year, but just as she’s decorating the Cookbook Nook for all the festive events, her imperious older sister makes a surprise visit, anxious that her husband’s been more naughty than nice. To make matters worse, her father’s good friend Jake shows up on her doorstep with a frantic report that his friend has been murdered—trussed with Christmas lights and impaled with a tree star.

Worried that Jake was the intended victim, Jenna makes a list of suspects and checks it twice. Swapping her Santa’s hat for a sleuthing cap, she gets busy investigating Jake’s long-lost sister, his Grinch of a neighbor, and a stamp collector who covets Jake’s most treasured piece. When Jake himself is poisoned and nearly dies, Jenna knows she’ll have to do whatever it takes to corner the culprit before it’s lights out for Jake . . .

Includes tantalizing holiday recipes!

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