Category Archives: Humor

Update


Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. We’ve all experienced detours. Recently I’ve had a few, including a surgery with complications. That’s the downside.

The “up” side is a more fun. I had a bit part in an historical program at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. If you wish to watch my “acting” debut, cue the video to about the 4:12 mark. May it put a smile on your face.

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Hair Flying Over Hagerstown


This weekend is my time to read the critiques of the Beta readers.  If you hear weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth or if you see hair flying over the rooftops of Hagerstown, you will know that I have become a mad woman as I try to figure out how to get the last re-write done in time for publication this month. A September release may not be possible. Yet, I will give it my best effort.

Good thing I got that head shot taken before I pulled all my hair out. Not to mention the dark circles under my eyes from pulling all-nighters trying to meet deadlines. I don’t bounce back like I used to. It may take me a month to look human again.

I better make sure someone is doing a buddy check on me to make sure I haven’t passed out from dehydration or sleep deprivation. Face flat on the floor, tongue hanging out,  random wisps of mad-scientist hair still clinging to my now-bald pate–isn’t that a scary sight?? Yeah, I’m glad I got that photo taken!

Writing Seminars in the Greater Washington, DC and Baltimore Areas


Writing & Publishing Events: Sign Up Now!
Fall 2013
Lauren Carr Schedule of Events
Courses, Workshops & Conferences to Fit Any Schedule

Dear Fay,

This is the greatest time to be a writer.
The good news: Technology has turned the publishing industry on it’s ear so that any  writer who is serious about being a published author can get their book  out into the hands of readers.
The bad news: Poorly written books that are sloppily published are leaving uninformed authors confused and down heartened where their books don’t sell, or worse, reviewers rip their beloved books apart.
There is more to writing a book and publishing it than typing it up and uploading files to an online publisher. It takes more to becoming a best-selling author than getting a feature in the local newspaper and setting up a table at the local bookstore.
Unfortunately, most writers don’t know how or where to go to get the information they need to become successful authors.
Now is your chance to be informed. Over the course of the next several weeks and through the fall, I will be appearing at numerous workshops and conferences on writing, publishing, or both. Some will be during the day, others in the evening, and even a few weekends. Cost vary as well.
So, if you are a budding writer, or even a published author who wants to learn how to succeed in today’s literary arena, check out this schedule and sign up today!
Sincerely,
Lauren Carr Best-Selling Author and Publisher

Creatures, Crime & Creativity Conference: Friday-Sunday, 9/13-15
Meet Acorn Books Authors Lauren Carr, Cindy McDonald, and Fay Moore at the C3!
The conference is scheduled for September 13, 14 and 15 of 2013 in the  Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore. It will present three days of panels and  workshops of interest to both writers and fans.

Everyone who attends the C3 conference will receive an anthology, published by Acorn Books, which is exclusive only for conference attendees. This anthology is filled with stories written by attending authors, including Lauren Carr and Fay Moore, whose debut novel will be released in September. There is still time to register to meet authors of mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, and other creatures!

From Writers to Published Authors Conference: Saturday, 10/5. 8:45 am-5:00 pm
First Annual Conference in Charles Town, WV

The From Writers to Published Authors Conference offers writers the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of writing and publishing directly from those who have gone before them. At this first annual event, authors and publishers will gather together to spend the day helping new writers to reach their goal of not only publishing their books, but doing it right.
Click here to view the list of authors, illustrators, and publishers attending.
Click here to view the panels scheduled for the day.
Visit Acorn Book Services Website for more information. Click Here to download brochure.
Date: Saturday, October 5, 2013
8:45 am-5:00 pm
Place: Oakland Church
  70 Oakland Terrace
  Charles Town, WV
Cost: $60 (early registration) $75 After Sep 23

10-Plus Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers: 4-Week Course Starting Tues, 9/3
10 Plus Most Common MistakesJefferson County Adult & Community Education   Does your book suffer from Good-Parent Syndrome? Do you know what your crutch word is?  Lauren Carr will discuss all of these topics, and other writing errors that can negatively impact your book’s success, during her four-hour presentation entitled: 10+ Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers (Grammar and Punctuation Are Not On the List).

Dates: Tuesdays, 9/3-9/24. 6:00-8:00 pm
Place: Charles Town Middle School
Cost: $35
Contact Judy Slusher, Facilitator, Adult & Community Education, Jefferson County Schools at 304-728-9237 to register or for more information.

Speaking Engagement: National Novel Writing Month: Mon., 9/16: 6:30 pm
National Novel Writing MonthWriting a Novel: You Can Do ItIn preparation for the 2013 National Novel Writing Month (November), Havre de Grace Library, in Havre de Grace, Maryland is offering 4 sessions to help writers get started. Lauren Carr is scheduled to appear at this first session to help new writers in this introduction, which will  offer tips, planning, and much more. Sign up for a single session or all four sessions scheduled. Visit the Havre de Grace Library website for more information.

Date: Monday, 9/16. 6:30 pm
Place: Havre de Grace Library, 120 N Union Ave  Havre de Grace, MD 21078. (410) 939-6700
Tuition $50 for Four Weeks. Pre-registration required.

Authors in Bathrobes:  How to be a Successful Author Without Getting Dressed: 4-Week Course Starting  Thurs, 10/10
Authors in Bathrobes Berkeley County Arts Council: Berkeley Art WorksEvery writer dreams of big book events in book stores with lines going out the door. Unfortunately, for 95% percent of published authors, this is not a reality. It is not uncommon to have a book event and have no one show up. Today’s technology has made it possible for authors to gain a following, and make money with very little overhead and without getting dressed.In this course, author and publisher Lauren Carr will discuss how writers can now walk through the doors that have opened to not only write and publish their own books, but how to do it successfully-without getting dressed!

Dates: Thursdays, 10/10-10/31. 9:30-11:30 am
Place: Berkeley Art Works, 116 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV – 304-620-7277 web: artworks.berkeleyartswv.org email berkeleyartswv@gmail.com
Tuition $50 for Four Weeks. Pre-registration required.

Authors in Bathrobes:  How to be a Successful Author Without Getting Dressed Writing  & Publishing Workshop: Sat. 11/2: 9:30 am-4:30 pm: FREE
Authors in Bathrobes Washington County Free Library: Central Location
9:30 am-12:30 am: Book Writing: 10+ Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers

 Does your book suffer from Good-Parent Syndrome? Do you know what your crutch word is?  Lauren will discuss all of these topics, and other writing errors that can negatively impact your book’s success, during her four-hour presentation entitled: 10+ Most Common Mistakes Made By New Writers (Grammar and Punctuation Are Not On the List).

1:30 pm-4:30 am: Book Publishing: Authors in Bathrobes: How to Be a Successful Author Without Getting Dressed

Every writer dreams of big book events in book stores with lines going out the door. Unfortunately, for 95% percent of published authors, this is not a reality. It is not uncommon to have a book event and have no one show up. Today’s technology has made it possible for authors to gain a following, and make money with very little overhead and without getting dressed.

In these two presentations, author and publisher Lauren Carr will discuss how writers can now walk through the doors that have opened to not only write and publish their own books, but how to do it successfully-without getting dressed!

Date: Saturday, 11/2. 9:30 am-4:30 pm
Place: Washington County Free Library, Central Location 100 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown  MD 21740 Phone: 301.739.3250 For more information about this and other Washington County Free Library events, Phone: 301.739.3250 or email Pat Wishard at pwishard@washcolibrary.org. Visit http://www.washcolibrary.org/index.asp for more information.

Acorn Book Services                 415 Moonridge Lane
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia  25425
If you’re a budding writer, or even published author who wants to learn more about being successful in today’s publishing arena, then come out out. Take note of the deadlines and which courses you need to register for.
I look forward to seeing your there!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THESE EVENTS, CONTACT acorn.book.services@comcast.net

First, an Apology, Then an Announcement


Hi, sweet people. I owe you an apology. During August, I have been swamped and inattentive to you, to your comments, and more. Sadly, I remain under water with obligations and medical care until sometime in October. I want you to understand why I am behaving badly and not getting back to you when you write. Very soon, I promise to make it up to you and get back on top of things again.

I want to announce that I have started a Facebook page. Oh, heart, don’t fail me now. I swore I would never go on Facebook or any other similar strictly social network. Well, it seems that Facebook has evolved into more and so have I.

Since I am only, I don’t know, a millennium behind everyone else on the planet and haven’t a clue what I am doing, please be patient with me as the Facebook page evolves.

Finally I want to remind everyone who is interested in the FROM WRITERS TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS CONFERENCE on October 5, to get your registration in. The price of $60 for 6 sessions will rise to $75 in September. Why pay a penalty for procrastination? Be proactive and save $$$. Remember, lunch is included in the admission.

Click here to register:

Email acornbookservices@gmail.com or phone 304-285-8205 for more information.

You may read about the conference at http://acornbookservices.com/Writer_to_Published_Author.html

or see the brochure about the conference below.

WRITERS TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS BROCHURE USE THIS

For Good Luck


Kirin kiss cropped

 

In several Asian cultures, there is a mythological beast called the Kirin. According to Wikipedia, the Kirin heralds the arrival of a wise sage or illustrious ruler. It’s appearance is a good omen and brings the one who sees it prosperity.

 

Not only did I see the Kirin, but I kissed him when we discussed the late summer release of my novel Dead with Envy and my short story “Strange.” Seems that kiss had a powerful effect; the Kirin’s eyes blazed! He promised me lots of readers and a successful new career as a best-selling author. Wow.

 

He urged me to get cracking on my next murder mystery, One Way Ticket to Las Vegas. Alrighty then!!

 

Guest Post from Lauren Carr–June 2013


Lauren Carr photo

 

I’m Sorry If I Offended You … Now Grow Up

By Lauren Carr

 

The year: 1508

Setting: Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo enters the Sistine Chapel with his paints and scaffolding. He has a great image in his mind. This will be his piece of art that will define him as an artist. The creation that he puts on this ceiling is going to put his name in the history books to immortalize him as a great master painter.

As Michelangelo is setting up, someone comes in. Spying one of the cans of paint, he asks, “Is that red paint you have there?”

Michelangelo says it is. The red will be needed for much of the paintings: for example, in the Creation of Man.

“Can’t you use another color?”

“No,” Michelangelo says. “Red is one of the primary colors.”

“But it is so offensive.”

“How?”

“Red is the color of evil,” the visitor says. “Evil is offensive. Therefore, red is offensive.”

“It is the color of blood, which gives us life,” Michelangelo says.

“Maybe according to you, but a lot of people don’t like the color red and if you use it you will offend them, which will make you and us look bad. People will think we’re endorsing evil.”

With a shrug of his shoulders, Michelangelo relents and takes the bucket of red paint out of the chapel. He is thinking about how he is going to adjust his painting when he comes in and sees someone else standing over the bucket of yellow paint.

“Is this yellow paint?” the new visitor asks with a glare in his eyes.

“Yes,” Michelangelo manages to say before the gentleman launches into his offense.

“Are you saying that we’re cowards? Yellow is the color of cowards used in terms like yellow-belly and—“

“No!” Michelangelo throws up his hands. “I just need to use yellow because it’s the base color in brown—”

But before Michelangelo can finish the second visitor hurries from the chapel while muttering about bigots and stereotyping of some social group which Michelangelo doesn’t have time to discern before a third person comes in to spy yet another bucket of paint.

“Is that green?”

“‘I need it for the Garden of Eden,” Michelangelo says in a firm tone.

“Why green? Aren’t you discriminating against the color blue? Blue has just as much right to be used for the Garden of Eden as green. Besides, were you there? How do you know the Garden of Eden wasn’t blue instead of green?”

A month later, Michelangelo finishes the Sistine Chapel. When the great ceiling is revealed to the public, they stare up in awe at the stark white ceiling high above. After all, after Michelangelo had eliminated all of the colors that offended anyone, all he had left was white—to which, one member of the audience commented:

“Did you have to choose white? White gives me a migraine.”

* * * * *

Recently, I received a review for Blast from the Past, my latest Mac Faraday Mystery, in which the reader opens with “Thankfully, this book in the series contained no insulting-to-fat-people characters.”

I did a lot of head scratching trying to figure out what she could possibly have been talking about. When did I insult fat people? Apparently, one of my followers had the same question because she went onto the site to ask the reader, who claimed that in one of my previous books I had presented a fat character in a derogatory manner. The follower came back to say that if that was the book she was thinking of, it was the character, not fat people, who was presented in a derogatory manner.

The fact remains, this reader was so offended by my use of an obese character in It’s Murder, My Son that she felt compelled to carry out her grudge by posting a negative review four books later.

In It’s Murder, My Son, the character of Betsy is a victim. She is sloppy and, yes, obese. Often, obesity is a result, brought on by low self-esteem. Betsy’s low self-esteem puts her into the perfect situation to be manipulated by the killer—who is slender and attractive, by the way.

Rightfully, it should be the skinny people posting negative reviews about me making them out to be manipulative and homicidal. In It’s Murder, My Son, I killed five skinny people to the one fat one. I mean, if I’m prejudice against fat people because I killed one—I must really have it out for skinny people!

So, what do I, as an author, do with future books? Well, I guess I can’t ever use fat people—unless they are the hero. That means I can’t have fat characters be victims because they will offend readers like this one. I also can’t use them as killers because I will be saying that fat people are homicidal maniacs—unless they are driven to it by skinny people.

In Blast from the Past, one of my murder victims has a problem with poor hygiene. Does this mean I have something against people who don’t bathe?

I guess I should stop using women, who happen to be fifty percent of the population, as murder victims. People may start to think I’m sexist. For that matter, I should no longer have the killer be a woman. Then people will think that I’m saying that women are bad people. Heaven forbid I kill a blonde woman—then they’ll think I’m prejudice against blondes, even though I am one!

Furthermore, I really should avoid using short people—because I will offend those readers who suffer from dwarfism.

In recent history, the world has become a great melting pot. Along with the melding of cultures and people becoming more aware of each other’s differences, sections of our society have felt justified in being hyper-sensitive and compelled to demand that everyone else—including artists—walk on eggshells in order to not offend them or anyone. Children can’t even pray in school because they may offend the one atheist child in the room of thirty students.

This post is not directed toward those hyper-sensitive readers who feel compelled to throw temper tantrum by posting negative reviews because their feelings were unintentionally hurt in the name of art. Nothing I, or any author writes, can change their perception. Rather, this is directed to writers who may fear being on the receiving end of such a tantrum when they have, without intention, offended someone somehow someway.

If writers bend to such criticism, they might as well throw away their laptops: All murder victims in mysteries will need to be white men (because they deserve it); and the killer is always going to be the white man (because they’re always the bad guy).

Mind you, these white men have to be of average height and weight.

I guess they can’t be bald either because you may offend those readers who are bald.

Also, they need to be heterosexual because you can’t offend the homosexuals.

And they can’t be Muslim because the terrorists will be justified in coming after you.

I guess you need to make them American because we are the great bad guys …

The end result would be authors shaking in their boots afraid to write, “It was a dark and stormy night,…” for fear of messing with Mother Nature.

Writers: Be bold. Be brave. Damn the hyper-sensitives. Once, while appearing on David Letterman, Jerry Senfield said that he offends everyone and if he hadn’t gotten to a particular social group, just wait, he’ll get to them eventually.

Just give me time.

[BTW: In The Murders at Astaire Castle (coming September 2013), I’m coming after the Werewolves.]

Moore About Pen Names


At http://getmerewrite.me/2013/05/24/3188/ Terry Irving discusses his decision to stop using a pen name. His post is serious and offers advice to writers struggling with the nom de plume issue.

My post, on the other hand, is a tongue-in-cheek look at fun pen names I could use in the future. As a start, I’ll mention that Terry Irving’s pen name is Mike N. Mauss, a combination of the names of his cat and dog. My list follows:

T. R. Fore (from a vintage sports car of mine, a Triumph TR4)

Jacob N. William (copying Terry and combining pet names)

Guard N. Gate (thinking about the entry to a favorite outdoor place)

Nita Paycheck (referencing my current financial condition)

E. Zee Sailing (my dream about making a bestseller list)

M. R. Byers (the good folks who help me make the bestseller list)

Ann O’Tate (for my obscure–or obtuse–works)

Why don’t you share some of your funny names with me?