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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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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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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Guest Post from Author Michael Christopher Carter

I’m very pleased to welcome paranormal author Michael Christopher Carter to The Book’s the Thing today. Read on for a glimpse inside this writer’s creative process…

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I was delighted when Erika asked me to write a guest post for her and that got me thinking. What would I want to learn about me if I were a reader? (Which of course I am—I read my own books a million times as part of the editorial process as well as reading other authors’ books avidly.) What would I want to know?

Well, I suppose I’d ask where it all began?

I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. My teachers from as young as nursery age would say, ‘He has to be a writer one day…’ I didn’t take their advice for another thirty-plus years. Or rather, I didn’t write a book until I was forty. I had flirted with the notion, buying a word processor, but I had no clue where to start. It all comes so easily now I wish I’d started years ago. I console myself acknowledging my greater life experiences must have led to richer writing.

Now I’ve taken the plunge, is it what I expected?

Yes. It’s the best job in the world. It doesn’t even feel like work… I get paid to do what I would do anyway for free! And I can do it in my pyjamas if I want. Don’t worry, I’m writing this fully clothed and abluted.

What about the nuts and bolts of what I do?

It’s something I’m honing all the time, but it always starts with an idea. I have lots and I usually write them all down. Then sometimes there’s one I’m super-excited about and I know I’ll write that book.

Inspiration comes from anywhere. Sometimes (perhaps frequently), it’s from conversations with my wife. Whilst discussing the ins and outs of the Universe, I’ll stop and say, “That would make a good book,” before scurrying away to make notes. This is especially true of my novel, “An Extraordinary Haunting,” which includes true-life goings on for my wife and late mother-in-law.

Most of the time you can thank my dogs. The peace and calm of being in the wild outdoors with my best buddies is a great time to think. “The Beast of Benfro,” came to me whilst walking them in the very woods the story is set. I could picture the beast rampaging down the hillside to get to me, and my subsequent dash to the safety my car gave me quite an adrenaline rush. I didn’t write the book for a couple of years after the initial conception because that’s the other thing: I have so many ideas I can’t possibly complete them all. Like choosing a novel from your (if you’re anything like me) unfeasibly long ‘To-read’ list that contains far too many titles for an average human lifespan, one just nags to be read above the others; or for me, nags to be written.

I aimed, this year, to become more prolific, releasing at least four books. But I’ve only written one so far because I’ve been so busy moving home. I’ll do my best to catch up so there should be some exciting releases before the year is out.

I’m so lucky living in The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Whenever I need to take stock and get inside my own thoughts there are limitless beauty spots to choose from to gratify me with wonder. From dozens of castles and incredible secret beaches, to woods and rivers with waterfalls, West Wales is really a writers’ paradise.

Is there anything I don’t like about being an author?

Not so long ago, I might have said editing. Now, it’s one of my favourite things: That’s when the ideas take shape, and when other people read my words for the first time and I get to share that most intimate part of myself—my thoughts.

I used to get nervous I’d hear back that my book is rubbish, but I’m not so uneasy anymore. That’s not to say things don’t need changing. First-draughts always require a lot of work. It makes me laugh reading them. When I’m letting the ideas flow, the writing can be wrought with errors. I’m amazed at the evidence of my crazy thoughts, using the word ‘exactly’ lots of times on the same page, or starting ten sentences in a row with the word ‘it’! At least I get to iron these out before anybody sees (apart from my poor editor!)

I love my job. I feel so lucky. But what do I enjoy most of all?

The thing that makes me grin from ear to ear whenever it happens is satisfied fan mail. To know my words have touched someone to the point they have taken the trouble to write to tell me often moves me to tears (usually of joy, but not always—books mean a lot of different things to different people.)

I could go on forever, but I hope this brief and gushing glimpse into my world has been of interest, and that you go on to enjoy some of my novels.

Who knows? Maybe your letter will become one of my favourite things.

 

Michael Christopher Carter,

Author.

 

About the Author

Michael is the author of several novels including the number one bestseller “An Extraordinary Haunting,” and “The HUM,” with well over 1000 four and five-star ratings on Source, and brand new “Destructive Interference” which fans and journalists are saying is his best yet!

Prior to beginning his life as an author in 2013, Michael was a success in the world of direct sales where he ran a number of businesses including a conservatory design and build company, and coordinated a several-hundred-strong army of water filter salespeople!

The illness of a family member prompted Michael to investigate a spiritual path where from Catholic roots, he diversified to qualify as a Reiki Master in 1999 before moving with his family from Cambridge to the beautiful Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in South West Wales. It’s from this unique standpoint and incredible scenery that Michael is inspired to write today.

Make sure to visit his website for more info, and check out his latest release on Amazon!

 

Destructive Interference Kindle cover 2.8.17What if a seemingly harmless choice could take away everything you love the most? 

When Matthew Morrissey takes an innocent stroll to his local convenience store to buy batteries for his daughter’s Christmas present, he doesn’t know it will change his life forever. But, when he returns home, everything has changed… There are strangers in his home, his neighbours deny ever knowing him and he ends up attracting the attention of Bristol’s finest.

Matthew has a theory about what is happening to him and who is to blame. But first, he has to escape.

Can he solve the mystery and save his family, or has he lost them forever?

If you like a twist in your tale, this latest voyage into the paranormal world of Wales’s premier writer of supernatural fiction is the most remarkable yet! 

How a book improved my appearance by Dara Carr – Author of Angela Cray Gets Real

Angela Cray Gets Real: (An Angela Cray Mystery, Book 1)Unemployed ex-party girl Angela Cray is back living with her no-nonsense mother in Phoenix. After coming within air-kissing distance of a felony charge, Angela is determined to make something of her life. When a sympathetic neighbor offers her work, Angela jumps at the opportunity. She figures it won’t be hard to track down a missing fiancé last seen with two Lady Gaga lookalikes. After all, one of her superpowers is finding badly behaved men. 

But the trail of the runaway groom has more twists than a bride’s updo. And when Angela uncovers secrets that people will kill to keep hidden, she has to decide the price she’s willing to pay for success. 

Angela will need to call upon all her charm and cunning—and the deities of her ancient Samoan ancestors—to make sure this professional growth opportunity doesn’t kill her first. 

Angela Cray Gets Real was a finalist for a Freddie Award for Writing Excellence from the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. 

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