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/

The Skeleton Makes a Friend by Leigh Perry Blog Tour & Giveaway

Synopsis: Georgia Thackery is feeling pretty good about her summer job teaching at prestigious Overfeld College, and she’s renting a rustic cabin right by a lake for herself, her daughter, Madison, and her best friend, Sid the Skeleton. Together again, the trio are enjoying the quiet when a teenager named Jen shows up looking for her friend. Georgia doesn’t recognize the name, but she learns that the person Jen was looking for is actually Sid.

Sid reveals that he and Jen are part of a regular online gaming group that formed locally, and one of their members has gone missing. Sid admits that he might have bragged about his investigative prowess, enough so that Jen wants him to find their missing player. Given that Sid doesn’t have many friends offline—none, really, unless you count the Thackery family—Georgia agrees to help him search. They manage to discreetly enlist Jen, who lives in town, and follow the clues to… a dead buddy.

Now they’ve got a killer on their hands. Probing the life of Sid’s friend, they realize a lot is wrong both on campus and in the seemingly quaint town, and someone doesn’t want them looking deeper.

Continue reading

Yesterday’s Tears by Sam Cheever – Blog Tour and Giveaway

Synopsis:

It might be a murder from decades ago, but it still has its claws in the present…and someone seems determined to drag Anna into it.

It’s way too soon to be returning to a haunted mansion, and Anna’s favorite cowboy ghost does his best to talk her out of it. But the opportunity to pick from the beautiful antiques left to her in a Crocker resident’s will is just too tempting for Anna and Pratt to pass up. So they’re going in…

They’re prepared to deal with a few cold spots. Maybe the occasional flickering light. But what Anna and the boys weren’t counting on was bumping up against the ghost of Josiah Bumgartner, a contemporary of Joss’ from the 1800s. And when Josiah claims the old woman who lived in the house hid his bones around the place, Anna agrees to help him find them. But something much darker is at work there. And, unfortunately for our happy little gang of antique hunters…Anna seems to have unwittingly stepped right into the middle of it.

Continue reading

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! 

Putting on the Witch by Joyce and Jim Lavene – Blog Tour and Giveaway

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PUTTING ON THE WITCH

Putting on the Witch (Retired Witches Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Berkley (October 4, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425268278
E-Book – ASIN: B01AHKXHTS
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Synopsis

With their coven’s spell book still missing, Molly and Elsie—along with their ghostly friend Olivia, her daughter Dorothy, and her boyfriend Brian—are all on edge, especially now that Dorothy’s infamously wicked father is back in the picture. So when they receive an invitation to an exclusive Witches Ball, the ladies jump at the chance to dress up and have some fun.

The castle locale is spectacular and the party is hopping, but the festivities come to a swift end when a member of the Grand Council of Witches is murdered. With the whole place on lock down, the coven is determined to find the cunning killer, even with an angry council and a real Spanish Inquisitor breathing down their necks… 

Putting on the Witch is a part urban fantasy, and part cozy mystery. I’ve read (and enjoyed) other paranormal cozies, but Putting on the Witch is in a class of its own. The fantasy element and magical world building was wonderfully done. The mystery is well-written, the characters are likable (at least most of them are!), and I loved every word of it.

About The Authors

I just love this picture of Joyce and Jim
Joyce and Jim Lavene

Joyce and Jim Lavene wrote award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They had written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. Joyce passed away October 20, 2015 and Jim passed on May 5, 2016. They are missed by family, friends and their many fans.

www.joyceandjimlavene.com

www.facebook.com/joyceandjimlavene

Purchase links:  AmazonBarnes and Noble

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of 5 print copies of Putting on the Witch (US Only)

Tour Participants

October 3 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
October 3 – Queen of All She Reads – SPOTLIGHT
October 3 – Blogger Nicole – SPOTLIGHT
October 4 – Sleuth Cafe – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 4 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 4 – The Angry Grey Cat Reads – REVIEW
October 5 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 5 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW (Repost Interview)
October 6 – Book Babble – REVIEW
October 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
October 6 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
October 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 7 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – REVIEW
October 8 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
October 8 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
October 9 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
October 9 – fuonlyknew – REVIEW
October 10 – Socrates’ Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 10 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW
October 10 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 11 – Deal Sharing Aunt – REVIEW
October 12 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
October 12 – A Blue Million Books – SPOTLIGHT
October 13 – Booth Talks Books – REVIEW
October 13 – The Cozy Mystery Journal – REVIEW
October 14 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, SPOTLIGHT
October 15 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
October 16 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
October 16 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
October 17 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
October 17 – MysteriesEtc – REVIEW
October 18 – Kathy Loves 2 Read – REVIEW
October 19 – ChristyMystery – REVIEW
October 20 – My Interdimensional Chaos – REVIEW
October 21 – Murder, Mystery & More… – REVIEW
October 22 – centraleast2 – REVIEW
October 23 – Lori’s Reading Corner – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – The Girl with Book Lungs – SPOTLIGHT
October 24 – Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales – REVIEW

Also Joining us with Reviews/Spotlights
Nicole G.
Linda L.
Kendrea P.
Robin C.
Daniele K.
Lisa C.
Stacie A.
Karen K.
Brittany A.
Kathy D.

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NOTE: I was provided with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Better Homes and Hauntings

My drive to work is nearly an hour each way, and I like to listen to audiobooks during my commute. I just finished this one on my way home last night. If anyone else has read this book, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Let me know in the comments!

Better Homes and Hauntings
by Molly Harper

Better Homes and Hauntings

My Rating: *** (3 of 5 stars)

This was a quick, fun read. Deacon Whitney, heir to what remains of the Whitney fortune, assembles a group of people to help him revamp his family’s ancestral home, located on its own island off the New England coast. His family has been plagued by bad luck and financial misfortune through the years, but Deacon is a successful software engineer and has the funds available to redo the old family home. Joined by a cousin who wants to find out who really killed their great-great grandmother years ago and hopes to break the family curse, an old friend, a landscaper, and an organizational expert, Deacon and his new found friends encounter ghostly presences and jealous ex-business partners. There are some spooky moments, some humor, and plenty of romance along the way.

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble