Sterling and Me: Tail of a Mystery Author and Her Dog #4—and a Giveaway! @TheMysteryLadie

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

Killer Deadline marks Lauren’s first venture into mystery’s purely cozy sub-genre with a female protagonist. 

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram ~ Pinterest

Why I Didn’t Write Today

As the author of close to thirty books, I take great pride in declaring that I write every single day. It keeps my writing skills taunt, much like how an athlete has to hit the gym every day. Even after taking over iRead Book Tours, I still managed to spend a few hours working on my own books in the evenings and weekends.

Sadly, this all went out the window when the pandemic hit because authors were forced to abandon in-person book events in favor for virtual book tours. Buried under an avalanche of work, I have had to scrape together what little bit of time I could to work on my next Mac Faraday mystery.

As things have started to open up a bit, I finally managed to shuffle things around to piece together two and a half days a week, the weekend, to work exclusively on my own books.

Finally, after over a year of mayhem, I was making creative progress on my next Mac Faraday mystery, A Homecoming to Die For. In this new installment, Mac and Archie return to Deep Creek Lake after a year abroad to encounter a mystery when Mac’s son finds the remains of a missing woman in a dismantled swimming pool of his new home.

That was when my dishwasher decided to launch its attack on my routine.

It was two-thirty Sunday morning when I awoke from a nightmare. It was awful. The world had been hit with a dreadful chocolate and dog biscuit shortage. There wasn’t a chocolate truffle to be had anywhere. With no reward for good behavior, Sterling transformed into a werewolf.

I awoke with a start.

Sensing that I was awake, Sterling announced that it was time to start my day. I figured I could bribe him to go back to sleep with a dog biscuit.

We shuffled into the kitchen to attack the biscuit jar (and check the cookie jar to ensure that my nightmare was only a dream) to discover a puddle in the middle of the floor. Not only that, but the dishwasher was running. The control panel showed an error code that read HE.

Now at this point, I did what any normal person would do. I gave Sterling his biscuit, mopped up the puddle, and returned to bed in hopes that when I woke up in the morning, I would find that it was all a bad dream.

After five minutes of staring up at the ceiling in terror, I returned to the kitchen to discover that it was true. My dishwasher was still running.

Sterling thought, “What luck!” as he ate another biscuit. (This is why his diet is not going well. The dog has no self-control.)

An LE website listed the HE code as one to indicate overheating or not heating up enough. It suggested resetting the dishwasher by turning it off. So, I hit the power button to turn it off.

Fifteen seconds later, it turned back on by itself. This time, the error code was AE. The website said this code meant that there was either a clog or a leak.

Well, the mystery writer in me concluded that since there had been a puddle in the middle of the floor when I entered the crime scene, a leak was the culprit.

At this point, it was after three o’clock in the morning. I decided to turn off the dishwasher and confront the issue in the morning. I turned it off.

It turned back on.

I turned it off again.

It turned back on. With the motor running and grinding and running.

There’s no water in you, you stupid, dishwasher! So turn off all ready before you burn out your motor!

Unable to turn the thing off, I went to the circuit board and flipped the switch. After counting to thirty, I turned it on again.

I could hear the dishwasher running again like a machine gone mad all the way down in the basement.

The website said to reset the dishwasher, turn off the power for ten to fifteen minutes and then turn it back on.

Well, the dishwasher was on the same circuit as our refrigerator and freezer, but I figured they would stand ten to fifteen minutes without power.

During that time, I worked a bit on A Homecoming to Die For. Mac Faraday and David O’Callaghan were getting the autopsy results from Doc Washington on the latest victim of a nasty murder when my husband shuffled out of the bedroom.

“What’s going on?” He peered with suspicion at the mop propped up against the wall. Something had to be horrendously wrong for me to mop the floor in the middle of the night.

I recounted the events of the night to him. He did what any normal person would do. He went back to bed in hopes that he would wake up later to discover that it was all a bad dream.

I turned the power back on to the dishwasher (and the fridge). Instantly, the dishwasher turned on and flashed that AE message. A repairman on YouTube stated that the dishwasher does this because it wants me to know that there is a leak and wants me to fix it.

Yeah, I’ll fix it all right. Give me a stick of dynamite and I’ll fix it good.

Now would be a good time to tell you about my recent history with dishwashers. You might want to grab a cup of coffee or something stronger. I’m going to grab a bag of Hershey kisses.

I have a dishwasher for a reason. I hate washing dishes. I have never liked washing dishes.

Everyone has one chore that they would rather stick needles in their eyes than do. My husband’s detested chore is cleaning up pet do or changing diapers. When my son was a toddler, I came down with pneumonia. I was bedridden for four weeks. My mother stayed with us to take care of me. In the hours between when I got home from the hospital and my mother arrived, Tristan did something in his diaper. Hysterical, my husband carried him with outstretched arms to me and begged me to find the strength to change it.

Six summers ago, I spent two months washing dishes. We had a Samsung dishwasher that was under warranty. It stopped working. Samsung sent out a repairman who assessed the issue. They sent out a part. Two weeks later, the repairman came out to install the part. The dishwasher still would not work. They sent out another part. Two weeks later, the repairman came out to install that.

And so on and so on throughout the summer from June to August.

That was not a good summer.

The repairman said that I needed a new dishwasher and told Samsung that. Still, Samsung would send out different parts for him to replace and still the dishwasher would not work.

About mid-August, I was on the phone with Samsung when I read the portion of the warranty stating that if they could not fix it that they would replace it. The customer service rep said that they were replacing it—and this is not an exaggeration—it is a direct quote: “One part at a time.”

Do you know how many parts there are in a dishwasher? A lot!

I went all the way to the store manager where we had purchased the dishwasher. A week later, we had a new dishwasher. This one is an LG.

Fast forward two summers.

The motor went out. LG was fast and furious compared to Samsung. In less than one miserable July, I had a new motor and was back in business.

Last May, my husband walked in and handed me a notice from LG informing me that our extended warranty was going to expire in one month. They offered to renew the extended warranty for a cool price. “Do you think we should renew it?”

As if to answer him, the dishwasher stopped working.

In less than a week, a repairman was at our home. His assessment: the dishwasher needed a new motherboard, seals, you name it. Basically, it needed to be rebuilt.

Remember, this was during the pandemic. It took an entire torturous summer for the parts to be hunted down and smuggled from remote regions of Asia to West Virginia for him to rebuild my dishwasher.

I washed dishes by hand from May to August.

It was a long, hot, horrendous summer.

But we ended the summer with a five-year-old dishwasher (now out of warranty) that had been completely rebuilt with all new parts.

Eleven months later, it was running and running like some possessed appliance out of a cheap sci-fi film. The only way to shut it off was via the circuit board, which also shuts off the refrigerator.

Armed with a screwdriver, vice grips, and three YouTube videos posted by appliance repair people, I broke into the dishwasher in search of the leak that threatened to ruin yet another summer.

As long as I’m in the vicinity of the biscuit jar, Sterling requested biscuits to soothe him. He hasn’t seen me in such a state since last August.

It was during the morning hours that I had planned to spend working on my next mystery, that I dismantle this lemon in search of the leak.

Finally, I find it! The leak was in a piece of plastic attached to the vent in the door. This piece of plastic is attached to another piece of plastic. Together, they look like they are probably twenty to thirty dollars. After all, they are made of nothing but plastic.

YouTube says that you can’t buy one piece of the plastic part. You have to buy both.

Easy for him to say. Nowhere on the Internet does any parts website recognize these parts by name or part numbers.

Well, I figure, I can repair the leak with duct tape. Maybe since I tore the demented appliance apart, that will convince the demon inside that I have sufficiently addressed the issue of the leak and stop running.

I proceed to put it back together—and it won’t go back together. None of the screw holes will line up.

By now, it was noon. I was running on caffeine and fury.

My husband emerged from his study to announce, “Home Depot is having a sale on dishwashers. Their website says delivery will be July 14.”

After kicking the lemon out into the garage, we went to get lunch (cheesecake for me) and ordered the new dishwasher.

Delivery is August 9 due to backorder. So much for “delivery will be July 14.”

It’s going to be a long miserable summer. The stores have better stock up on chocolate truffles and dog biscuits.



Three winners will receive an Audible download
for It’s Murder, My Son! To enter the
drawing, leave a comment telling us

what appliance you can’t live without. The winning names will be drawn on Friday, July 16th.