A Fine Year for Murder 002 - A Fine Year For Murder Book Spotlight
Book Description:

 

After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

 

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.

 

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?

 

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~ Add on Goodreads

 

 

Book Trailer:

 

 

How Long Is Too Long? Does Word Count Really Matter?

By Lauren Carr

 

Back in the days of the giant lizard (aka dinosaur), I wrote my first book, which I call The Great American Catastrophe. This was back before the delete button was invented and traffic on the expressway during morning rush hour was often held up by a T-Rex chowing down on a Volkswagon on the on-ramp.

The Great American Catastrophe was over about 1200 pages long. Don’t ask me about the word count. Bill Gates, who was in puberty at the time, hadn’t invented that function in MS Word yet.

However, I can tell you the word count for A Fine Year for Murder, the latest installment in the Thorny Rose Mysteries, which was released on January 30. At 327 pages long, it has a word count of 97,247 words. That is a fraction of the length of The Great American Catastrophe, which is currently buried in my mother’s basement.

My writing has definitely tightened up over the decades. By tighter, that means my writing is leaner. (This is not my assessment, but that of reviewers who have praised my mysteries for being quick, fast paced reads.) Extemporaneous scenes or facts that add nothing to the mystery are left out, nor is there an overabundance of adjectives and adverbs. Part of that can be attributed to my laziness. I have better things to do than sit at the laptop trying to think of a creative way of describing a tree. (It’s tall, made of wood, and has green things hanging from the branches.)

But just because I don’t like to sweat bullets coming up with flowery ways of describing nature, does that mean description is bad? Has the Charles Dickens’ style of writing gone to the wayside with readers’ longer attention spans? Is there still a place in literature for sweeping epics like Moby Dick and Gone With the Wind.

Good question.

As an author who has mentored new writers, occasionally, this question will find its way to the forefront. At practically every book event, I will get asked about word or page count. “What word count should my book be?” “How many pages are too many for my sci-fi?”

When I started writing, I didn’t ask that question. My belief was that my book will be as long as it needs to be. Not all stories can be fit into a box dictating a specific size.

My first published book, A Small Case of Murder, was 134,000 words. It did well. However, when my next book, A Reunion to Die For (121,000 words) was picked up by Five Star Mystery, I was told to trim it down. With the removal of a subplot, it came in at 112,000 words. At a mystery writers’ conference, I was perplexed by comments from other authors about how thick my book was. I didn’t think it was that big of a book.

Compared to A Fine Case for Murder, A Reunion to Die For and A Small Case of Murder are epic novels.

The trimming of my books has happened not due to any dictate from anyone. It has happened as a natural progression in my writing style. With It’s Murder, My Son, I found my voice. While I insist my mysteries are not written by a formula, I am now able to see the fat that prevents the story from moving forward and trim it.

I have found it surprising to discover that my mysteries, stretching across three series, have been enjoying great success in sales and reviews, while other authors I know, who have thicker books with large word counts, are having difficulty in even getting reviewers to take them on, even though their books are great literary pieces. For some time, I have concluded that the issue was a common problem with new authors. Reviewers didn’t want to risk investing the time on new authors with big books that would require more time to read and write a review.

Then, one Christmas, I released a mini-anthology, A Gnarly Christmas, (along with Lucky Dog, another short story) and was shocked when this twenty-seven page short story (without any marketing to speak of) began to outsell my full books. Years later, it has been consistently in the top one hundred among mystery anthologies on Amazon.

While a host of explanations for the volume of sales could be offered from fans of my books snapping up the short stories to fans gravitating toward the dog on the cover, I can’t help but wonder if readers are clamoring for a quick read.

Think about it: How many of us, even those of us who are readers, have the time to commit to a four-to-five hundred page book? Sociologists have been reporting for years about how busy our lives are compared to our parents. With only sporadic portions of time to sit down to our e-reader, most people may prefer books that they can quickly devour over the few hours they may have to read over the course of a week rather than invest weeks in a longer piece.

Publishers have been trimming back the word count for years. It used to be anything goes, and then it was down to 120,000 then to 100,000, until it was 80,000, and so on. Their explanation: Readers want shorter books.

Another explanation: Longer books make for more publishing material, which makes for higher production costs, which makes for more expensive books for which readers don’t want to pay when it comes to new authors.

E-books took that explanation out of the equation. They don’t require paper and ink. Therefore, an author can make their book as long as necessary to tell a great story without any consideration for production cost.

Based on the surprising success of my short stories, I have come to suspect that there is truth in publishers’ assertion that most readers are seeking quick reads over long reads.

Is the market for longer books reducing?

A few years ago, I asked that question to a fiction writing class I was teaching, I was almost lynched by this roomful of avid readers. Those wanting longer books were offended by the very question. So I can say, yes, there are readers for longer books.

But then, why are authors of longer books, great longer books, having difficulty achieving good sales?

Well, while there are avid readers crying out for big fat books, there are other readers who will confess that they do gravitate toward shorter books.

Does word count really matter? Answer: Yes and No.

With the revolution in publishing, and authors taking the power back for their creative literary success, we no longer answer to publishers dictating the word count to us. We can make our books as long as they need to be to tell our story and still get it out there to the readers.

HOWEVER, if we want our books to be successful in sales, we need to keep in mind that while there are readers who love big fat books, there are also a large number of readers who don’t want to commit to a big read—especially for an unknown, unproven author. They only want something to read on the train into work or at night before they go to bed, or while their child is practicing fencing, or they have a short attention span. Whatever the reason, there are many readers who won’t buy or commit to large books.

That being the case, if your book has a large word count, this segment of readers won’t be buying your book.

Another way to look at it:

Authors of quick reads can attract readers from both pools. Thus, these authors can enjoy a wider audience.

Authors of longer books do lose that portion of the reading audience who run screaming like little girls at word counts above 100,000. However, while these authors may not rake in as much in sales, that does not mean that they cannot be successful.

It depends on your definition of success.

If success is measured by how many books you have sold, then you want to keep your word count down.

If your definition of success is measured by the praise of a smaller audience for having created a great literary piece that will stand the test of time, then word count is an irrelevant issue. Take heart. Everyone loves a good cheeseburger, but it takes an educated palate to enjoy the fine taste of caviar. Point in fact: Moby Dick was discovered decades after Herman Melville died penniless.

Conclusion: Does word count matter? The answer is up to each ind

BOOK SPOTLIGHT Tour Schedule:

 

Feb 1 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 1 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / guest post

Feb 1 – Books for Books – book spotlight

Feb 1 – Sylv all about books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 2 – Working mommy Journal  – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 2 – fundinmental – book spotlight / author interview

Feb 2 – Books, Dreams, Life – book spotlight / guest post

Feb 3 – Nighttime Reading Center – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 3 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 6 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 6 – My Journey Back – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Feb 7 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

​Feb 7 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight

Feb 8 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 8 – The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 9 – fuonlyknew – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Feb 10 – A Holland Reads – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 13 – For Life After – book spotlight / guest post

Feb 14 – Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / giveaway

Feb 15 – Carol’s Notebook – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 16 – Laura’s Interests – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 17 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight /

Feb 21 – JBronder Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post

Feb 22 – Christa Reads and Writes – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 23 – Within The Pages Of A Book – book spotlight / author interview

Feb 24 – Thoughts on Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 24 – Rainy Day Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Feb 27 – The World As I See It – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway

Feb 28 – Jessica Cassidy – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Feb 28 – Elsie’s Audiobook Digest – book spotlight / author interview

March 5 – Writers and Authors – book spotlight

 

Author’s Bio:

Lauren Carr 2 002 - A Fine Year For Murder Book Spotlight

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

 

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

 

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

 

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

 

Say Your Piece

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About The Author

My kids are finally all in High School. One is driving. I am FREE! I want to discover all there is to do and be now that the vomit diapers and carpool are over. Let the ADVENTURE begin!

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