Book Tours: Guest Post for A Wedding and A Killing

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I’m hosting a guest post today for mystery author Lauren Carr. She writes about tips for mystery authors, so whether you’re an author or a reader, you should check this out!

Practical Tips for Beginning Mystery Writers

By Lauren Carr

Everyone wants to be Jessica Fletcher. Do you remember Jessica Fletcher? Oh, that’s right. She was in the 80’s. I guess I’ve dated myself. Okay! I admit it! I’m THAT old. Do you want to make something of it?

All right. My mood is swinging back into the other direction. … Where was I? Oh, yes, you want to be a mystery writer.

Number One: Research. Research in mystery writing is very important. However, I strongly advise against hands-on research. No matter how good you may be, if you kill your ex-husband, they are going to catch you and you will go to jail. Then you will be spending so much time fighting off a muscle-bound, tattooed roommate calling you “Cupcake” that you won’t have time to write your book.

It is best to do your research online. Google is a good starting source. There is an unbelievable wealth of sources on the Internet now, geared specifically toward writers for research in law enforcement and forensics. I know one author who found a video on YouTube on how to build a bomb.

Number Two: Once you’ve done your research into murder, you now need to come up with a story line.  The best place to start is to come up with a protagonist. Another word is hero. Some writers base their detectives on themselves. Others base them on their fantasy hero. At this point, ask yourself: Who do you want to save the day? You or some dashing, sexy, man with piercing eyes and a big gun? …

(Hold that thought while I go get a glass of cold water.)

Number Three: Your victim. You can’t have a murder mystery without someone getting killed. You may already have a murder victim. Many murder mystery writers have victims in mind before they have even thought of writing a book. If they are honest, many mystery writers were driven to write murder mysteries because of their victims.

This is the one case where it is okay to ask: Who do you want to kill? Bosses are a favorite. Once at a book event, a reader told me that she had two ex-husbands that she wanted me to kill between the pages for her.

Number Four:  How are you going to kill your victim? If you are basing your victim on someone in particular, you may already have a murder method in mind. Or you may have so many ideas that you don’t know which one to choose from. It is all a matter of preference. Do you want your murder victim to go out with a whimper or a bang? Is he or she worthy of going out in a blaze of glory? If not, maybe you want a particularly tortuous death, like being dined on by a komodo dragon. Or, you could have him die “off-stage”. In this case, you don’t need to write it out. You could simply have the reader hear about it later.

Number Five: The solving of the case. This is where many mystery writers get tripped up. They have so much fun with steps one through four that they’ve forgotten that someone has to solve their victim’s murder. Maybe because subconsciously, they don’t want their victim’s murder solved. That is something for the writer to take to Dr. Phil to sort out.

As much fun as it was killing their boss or ex-husband or nasty neighbor or lawyer who rolled over and played dead in divorce court or—How about that teacher in high school who gave me a “B” on the essay when I bloody well deserved an “A” and because of that I didn’t get into the Harvard and my life was ruined and now I’m cleaning gutters for a living—

Excuse me. Back on track.

Your mystery does need to get solved. After the murder, you need to lead the reader on the path through the detection, solving of the crime, and the capture of the killer.

That’s right. In the end, the killer is captured by the detective.

That’s why in the beginning I warned you not to practice this in real life at home.

Unless you want to evade capture when they find out by getting cosmetic surgery, dressing up like a member of the opposite sex, joining a rock band and then spending the rest of your life on the lam—which is another blog post.

Happy Mystery Writing!

 About The Author

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This year, several books, over a variety of genre, written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services, which is currently accepting submissions. Visit Acorn Book Services website for more information.

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

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

For More Information

  • Visit Lauren Carr’s website.
  • Connect with Holly on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Visit Lauren’s blog.
  • Is your group looking for a speaker for your next event?  Click here.
  • Contact Lauren.

About the Book 

When Mac Faraday decides to do something, there’s no stopping him … even murder!

Not wanting to wait until their big day to start their life of wedded bliss, Mac Faraday and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. However, before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a dead body in the church office.

As they dive into the investigation, Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world? Which of the seemingly kind-hearted church members is really a cold-blooded killer?

Then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?

For More Information

  • A Wedding and a Killing is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads. 


  1. Warning: Don’t try these tips at home. 🙂

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