Friday, April 07, 2017

Enter to Win 55+ Cozy Mysteries and a Kindle Fire!

Hi, folks!

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the signs of spring that seem to be popping up all over. After months of not walking outside on my beautiful hills, I finally managed to carve out some time this past weekend for two good walks. Yes, it was still FREEZING (34 and foggy on Saturday, 38 and sunny on Sunday) but the fresh air felt so good, and reconnecting with the beautiful hills overlooking the Genesee Valley has regenerated my spirit. I heard red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, cardinals, and woodpeckers, sure signs that spring must be coming. Although we actually have a little snow predicted tomorrow, I'm still holding out hope for next week when the temperatures are supposed to dance into the seventies! ;o)

By the way, I want to offer a welcome to my new readers and a warm embrace for my steadfast supporters, some who have been reading my books since 2004! Thank you.

Today I'm involved in another Booksweeps contest where you could win many cozy mysteries (including Double Forte', the first book in the eleven-book series featuring Gus LeGarde!) You can check out all my books as always at www.lazarbooks.com, where you can read excerpts, synopses, see all the series laid out in order, and more.

Here's a link for the contest if you wish to check it out. It's good through April 10th, my sixth grandson's first year birthday. ;o) I hope you win!

(scroll down for more news)

I also wanted you to know I'm thrilled to announce two new audiobooks that were recently released. The third book in the Bittersweet Hollow series, Devil's Spring, is narrated by the talented Gwendolyn Druyer, the same lady who brought you all the unique voices of Portia, Boone, Grace, Anderson, Dirk, and Daisy in Devil's Lake and Devil's Creek! Here is a link to an audio sample of Devil's Spring:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Devils-Spring-Audiobook/B06WV8GK4V/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1491472519&sr=1-2

Last, but certainly not least, it's been a long time coming, but I was finally able to convince Erik Synnestvedt to come back from his insanely busy production schedule to narrate the third "young Gus" book in the LeGarde Mystery series, Voodoo Summer! 

In Tremolo: cry of the loon and Don't Let the Wind Catch You, Erik created a memorable world with perfect voices for young Gus, Siegfried, and Elsbeth. He also mastered the Maine accents for Gus's grandparents, and brought to life Gus's parents as well as Oscar and Millie Stone, and many other featured characters in these books. Now, he's done it again in Voodoo Summer,bringing to life "Willy DuPont," the young black girl who works in the nearby Seven Whistles fishing camp on Great Pond, in Maine, and who becomes an important part of Gus's life. You can listen to Erik's sample here: 
Listen to Voodoo Summer Sample

http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Voodoo-Summer-Audiobook/B06XNSRZ19/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1491472965&sr=1-1

If you possibly can, head outside and breathe in some of that fresh, spring air. It will do you worlds of good. ;o)

Next time, as promised earlier, I will share some of my reviews for new books I've discovered. Some of them may even be free, so stay tuned!

Happy reading!

Aaron Paul Lazar

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day! Today we're talking about Writing Love Scenes!


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Writing Love Scenes

Aaron Paul Lazar


When I first started writing the LeGarde Mystery series in 2001, my daughters were teenagers. I was very careful to imply desire, to hint at bedroom scenes, and to be sure all references to intimate sexual relations were confined to a healthy marriage.
After all, I couldn’t let them think that Dad “thought” like that, or that I blithely wrote about all the things about which I constantly warned them.
Raising girls in the late ’nineties and early in the millennium was not easy. Social pressures abounded. From what I heard, most of my daughters’ classmates lost their virginity in middle school, and if you were one of the few who didn’t have a boyfriend, you were an outcast, a reject who wasn’t worthy of friendship.
As you can well imagine, it drove me nuts.
So I was very careful not to write about things I preached against, and thus my first and even second mystery series were quite wholesome. Not that Gus and Camille had more than a Victorian relationship until they were married. Sure, Gus longed for Camille in a very real and normal fashion. But he respected her past—a sad life with her abusive ex-husband—and he also had trouble ridding himself of his longtime allegiance to his wife Elsbeth, who’d died before the first book was written.
By the time I was working on my third LeGarde book, my star-crossed couple was finally united in marriage, and I wanted to write their honeymoon consummation scene. It was important for me to show Gus’s tenderness and his gentle treatment of his bride. And after all, my fans had been waiting a while for this moment. I had more than a few letters from readers (mostly men), asking when Gus was gonna get the girl, so to speak.
Something funny happened around the time I wrote Mazurka. I realized that my girls were not reading my work, (not much, anyway) nor were they in the least excited about Dad’s writing career, awards, or publishing credits.
No, their lives consisted only of real relationships, school plays, and boys, boys, boys.
How do you think I got this sprinkling of silver on my temples?
As difficult as it was in this phase of their development, it did free me up to write a bit more spontaneously. So I penned the scenes with tasteful romance, including only a few references (again implied) about the actual acts involved.
With a feeling of relief, over time I relaxed and, where it seemed appropriate, included some new scenes for my readers, including a love scene in the shower after Gus and Camille were almost killed in the underground Parisian Catacombs. It was an affirmation-of-life type of scene, and gave me the freedom to begin to experiment writing about sex and lovemaking. This is rather tame in nature, mind you, and since then I’ve graduated to sizzling love scenes that I’ve included in my romantic suspense series (Bittersweet Hollow series, Devil’s Lake , Devil’s Creek, and Devil's Spring and my Paines Creek Beach series, The Seacrest, The Seacroft, and The Seadog.)
Here’s a short scene I inserted into Mazurka just before it went to press. It was a first step in crossing over the “purely wholesome” boundary which I’d put up for myself in earlier years. I hoped to imitate the impressions I’d gained over the years from John D. MacDonald’s writing. I adored his love scenes, and often wanted to see if I could do it, too. I'm sure I’m not even close here, but see what you think.
“The soap and water streamed down her skin, intimate in its contact, curving along her hips and down her thighs to her feet. As we lathered each other, a mad desire to celebrate life consumed me. My lips touched hers. She hesitated for a moment, looked up at me through long, wet lashes, and then kissed me back.
It was different from the first time, almost frantic now. There was no shame in her eyes, no glimmering ghosts of our past. Although some of my injuries ached when we pressed together against the shower wall, the warm, moist coupling washed away the blood and pain.
When it was over, we embraced beneath the spray. Without warning, I choked up. She began to shake and looked at me. I recognized the hot burst of emotion that seared and welled in her eyes.
I fluttered sweet kisses over her mouth so she wouldn’t cry. She circled my waist with her arms, and kissed me back urgently. Dark hair streamed down her back as the water flowed through her sodden curls. She lay her wet face against my shoulder and held me tight.”
In hindsight, this passage is pretty tame, isn’t it? But it felt like a huge leap for me when I “allowed” myself to write more freely.
By the time I’d written many LeGarde Mysteries and three Green Marble Mysteries (featuring Sam and Rachel Moore), I realized no matter how many free copies I’d give my daughters, they just weren’t interested in reading at this time in their lives.
Now they’re all adults with husbands and kids. I knew it was time for me to let loose with whatever I wanted to write. And if they somehow, someday discovered that Dad had thoughts like a real man, well, so be it. (grin)
Here’s a scene from Essentially Yours, book 2 in the Tall Pines Mystery series, where I’m not only writing a romantic scene, but doing it from a woman’s POV. Let me know what you think. It’s definitely spicier than my two previous forays into this realm.
“Unbidden, scenes from our youth tapped at the edge of my mind’s vision. I felt the warm breeze blowing across my bare back while we lay in Sky’s family’s pontoon boat in the middle of Honeoye Lake at midnight. His feathered touch traced my spine; his fingers trailed around my hips and lower. I pictured the blond curly hair on his strong, young chest; the hard body that lay beneath the soft fuzz.
Damn. He’d been amazing. And he’d really cared about how I felt, if I’d been satisfied. I figured I’d been lucky. Most teenage boys rushed to conquer their hill, uncaring of the pain or condition of their lovers’ bodies. And most girls just took it, thinking it was part of the “first time,” anticipated hell.
Yet, Sky had read extensively before he approached me, looking up oriental techniques I’d never heard of. He’d known about special places that make a woman moan in pleasure. Made me moan in pleasure. Focused and careful, he’d done embarrassing things that made me crazy, disappearing beneath the blanket for long spells of time. He’d worked on me until moisture coated all of my tender parts. And he’d waited until I was so ready I didn’t think I could wait another second.”
Since these books were written, I’ve released several love stories and romantic suspense books. These types of novels—while certainly not erotica—allow for much more specific love scenes than a cozy mystery or an adventure story. If you read them, however, be forewarned, they contain explicit content. The “heat level” is about the same sizzle you might find in bestselling contemporary romance stories on the market today.
         In my humble opinion, there’s room for a little romance in almost every genre. Mysteries, thrillers, suspense, fantasy, and even science fiction can all be spiced up a bit without dropping suspense or departing from the main story. So don’t feel hamstrung when you write your next book. If it fits into your story, give yourself the freedom to explore your characters’ life in the bedroom, too. 

***

Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm featuring a romantic mystery set in the wintry Adirondacks Mountains for 99 cents. Betrayal: a Tall Pines Mystery is book 4 in the series, but they can be enjoyed in any order. ;o)

https://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Tall-Pines-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00N2134W0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487070040&sr=8-1&keywords=betrayal+a+tall+pines
 

Marcella Hollister realized a lifetime of hopes and dreams when she was given custody of a child. A cousin of her half-Seneca husband, Quinn, the baby’s mother was murdered in a political plot—and Marcella, who’s never been able to have children of her own, formed an instant bond with little Kimi.


Then a distant relative comes forward to claim Kimi—and Quinn, who Marcella thought understood her pain better than anyone, allows them to take the baby without a fight.

Confused and deeply wounded, Marcella takes off for Tall Pines, their secluded Adirondack cabin. She hopes the peace and natural beauty of the mountains will help clear her head and decide whether to forgive Quinn…or leave him.


But the situation at Tall Pines is anything but peaceful. Her high school lover, Sky, arrives to help out—and Marcella discovers her old feelings may not be as distant as she thought. Worse, a serial killer is stalking young women in the area. And when a teen girl whose mother works with Sky goes missing, Marcella and everyone she cares for wind up dead center in the killer’s sights. 

***

Check out Aaron's books and get a free copy of Devil's Lake at www.lazarbooks.com.


http://www.lazarbooks.com

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Sunday, January 01, 2017

https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Spring-Bittersweet-Hollow-Book-ebook/dp/B01N3PGKI1/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1483010096&sr=1-1&keywords=devil%27s+spring

Hi, folks!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a wonderful holiday. It can be a hectic time of year, and when the new year comes 'round, sometimes it's nice to sit back and relax with a good book. Lots of folks get Kindles for Christmas, and if you have an ereader of any kind, I hope you discover some intriguing stories that transport you to other worlds.

I wanted to let you know Devil's Spring is now available on Amazon! It seems we've waited forever for this January 1st release, doesn't it?

The eBook is on sale for its premier launch for only $0.99, but will go back to its usual price of $2.99 in a few weeks. So get your copy soon!

The print book is also available through Amazon, but the audiobook won't be here for a few months. Fortunately, we've won the services of Gwendolyn Druyor again, so we can hear the familiar voices of Portia, Grace, Anderson, Boone, Daisy, Dirk, and more. ;o) I'm so excited to start this project!
Devil's Spring ebook
Devil's Spring paperback
Bittersweet Hollow Romantic Suspense series:

1) Devil's Lake  (free)
2) Devil's Creek
3) Devil's Spring

These books can easily be read in any order. ;o)
 

http://www.lazarbooks.com


If you'd like to read more excerpts from my other mysteries or love stories, stop by Lazarbooks.com to check them all out. And thanks in advance for any reviews you leave on Amazon. Writers love to hear how their stories and characters affect their readers. So, don't be shy!

Next on the horizon? I plan to start writing book 12 in the LeGarde Mystery series soon. Stay tuned.

Here's to a Happy New Year and healthy 2017!

Aaron Paul Lazar


www.lazarbooks.com

Friday, December 02, 2016

Hi, friends.

For those of you who enjoy romance, check out this amazing selection of free books this month. You might even find one of my titles in there :o) 

https://www.booksweeps.com/christmas-romance-extravaganza-2016/

https://www.booksweeps.com/christmas-romance-extravaganza-2016/

Enjoy!

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Seacrest: FREE through Nov. 30th!

https://www.amazon.com/Seacrest-story-Paines-Creek-Beach-ebook/dp/B00G1TDBRI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480246719&sr=8-1&keywords=the+seacrest
The Seacrest is free to my wonderful readers today through November 30th. Happy Holidays!
  • 2015 Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards
  • 2014 Best Beach Book Festival WINNER, Romance category
  • 2013 ForeWord Book Awards, Romance, FINALIST

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. 

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.

Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left. 

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away. 

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies. 

Amazon link 

Aaron Paul Lazar

Monday, October 24, 2016

Free Book: Devil's Lake

http://www.lazarbooks.com/sign-up-form


Devil's Lake: Bittersweet Hollow, Book 1


Two years ago, Portia Lamont disappeared from a small town in Vermont, devastating her parents and sister, who spent every waking hour searching for her. When she suddenly shows up on their horse farm in a stolen truck with a little mutt on her lap, they want to know what happened. Was she taken? Or did she run away?

·       2015 Finalist Readers’ Favorites Awards
·       2015 Semi-finalist in Kindle Book Review Awards

Aaron Paul Lazar is obsessed with writing. He's completed twenty-six books to date, and has earned nineteen literary book awards. He writes mysteries, suspense, love stories, and more. You'll usually find him writing his heart out in the early hours of the day - preferably in the dark, quiet hours when no one else is awake in his bustling household.

http://www.lazarbooks.com/sign-up-form


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Free Excerpt from VOODOO SUMMER, the new Gus LeGarde Mystery

Hi, folks!

I hope this finds you all healthy and happy. Spring has finally sprung in our neck of the woods. The birds are singing like mad all morning, and color is popping out all over, with tulips and daffodils blooming everywhere.

I wanted to share the first chapter with you from my newest LeGarde book, Voodoo Summer.  For those of you who've read the other ten books in the series, this one actually takes place in 1966, two years after Tremolo: cry of the loon and one year after Don't Let the Wind Catch You, both which feature Gus as a young man. In addition to a couple of nasty bigots who threaten Gus's family and way of life, there is the joyful summertime boyhood you've experienced with the previous books. You also get to see what happened to Siegfried all those years ago that changed his life forever. I loved writing this one, and will miss my writing time in the early mornings when I was able to "be" thirteen again. ;o) Hope you enjoy it! And by the way, you can read this easily as a standalone - all LeGarde books are written to be enjoyed in any order.


http://www.amazon.com/Voodoo-Summer-LeGarde-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B01CYXKW0S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461159053&sr=8-1&keywords=voodoo+summer

Chapter 1

Early July, 1966

“We made it.” My father eased our old station wagon over the rutted dirt road and turned into the Loon Harbor parking lot. The twelve-hour trip from East Goodland, New York to South Belgrade, Maine was finally over. He glanced at me in the rear-view mirror with a tired smile. “I’ll bet you’re glad we’re here, Gus.”

“Yes, sir.” I shoved open the door and escaped into air fragrant with balsam. Shadow hopped out behind me, his beagle nose already leading him in frantic circles around the mammoth pine trees shading the lot. 

A long white building with red shutters lay just below us. One end housed the office, where my grandmother kept the camp records. The other end featured a huge kitchen where my grandfather and his staff of waitresses bustled to feed the camp guests three hearty meals per day. In the middle of the office and kitchen sat the spacious knotty pine paneled dining hall. 

I caught the aroma of homemade donuts and smiled. Gramps was already frying them for me. I knew the donut holes would have my name on them.  

We’d left at four in the morning, and now at just after four in the afternoon, I stared longingly down the hill toward the lake glinting green in the sun. 

“Mum?” I asked. “Can I go for a quick dip?”

I expected an answer like, “Later, son. We need to say hello to your grandparents,” or “Help us with the suitcases first, honey.” Instead, she gave me a sweet smile. “Sure. I’ll meet you down on the dock with a towel in a little bit.”

I didn’t hesitate. Today I wore shorts, an old tee shirt, and flip-flops, and I didn’t intend to waste one more second changing into my swimsuit. The shorts would do fine.

“Thanks, Mum.” Before my father could take issue with this unprecedented decision, I kicked out of my flip-flops and took off at a run, dashing down the hill as fast as my thirteen-year-old legs would carry me. The sandy path was crisscrossed with embedded logs, and I leapt high over each one, loving the rush of air against my skin. I felt the lake calling me, and imagined the cool water encircling my body.

I streaked past the shower house, three more cabins, the communal living room, and the sun porch. I pounded over the dock, stripping off my shirt as I ran. Bam, bam, bam, I ran across the weathered gray boards. Finally, I reached the end. I flew into the air, legs kicking and arms spread wide. Into the cool water I plummeted, making a titanic splash. Beneath the surface, a trail of yellow bubbles floated upward. When my feet hit the soft sand, I pushed up and burst into the warm July sunshine, arching to float on my back and gaze at the blue cloudless sky. 

“Hi, Gus,” a familiar voice said. 

I pulled upright and grinned, glancing around for her. “Elsbeth?”

Beneath the dock, her sweet face appeared, dark curls plastered to her cheeks. My friend rebelled against bathing caps, unlike all the other girls at camp, and let her hair go wild in the water. I didn’t blame her. The darned things looked awfully uncomfortable.

I swam closer to her. “Hey. When did you get here?”

“Monday,” she said in her German accent. “We’ve been dying for you to arrive. I have so much to tell you, Gus.” Her dark eyes flashed in anticipation.

Ja,” a voice came from up on the dock. “Where have you been, anyway?” Siegfried, Elsbeth’s fraternal twin, smiled down at me, his long blond hair even more enviable than it was at the end of school last week. Wet bangs plastered his forehead and in the back, his hair hung down an inch below where his collar would be. He backed up a few steps and then took a running leap into the water, almost landing on me. 

I waited for him to surface, and then scooped water toward him, splashing his face with an unbridled laugh. “My father had to train the new guy to run the pharmacy. It took longer than he planned.”

“Well,” Sig said. “It is about time you got here. Race you to the swing.”

Before I could respond, Elsbeth began feverishly dog paddling toward shore. Siegfried, taller and leaner, easily pulled past her, stroking hard toward the rope swing that dangled from a cluster of white birch trees. It never ceased to amaze me that twins could be so different in appearance and personality. Elsbeth—short, petite, dark, and wild—was the complete opposite of her brother, who sported blond hair, startlingly blue eyes, and who boasted an analytic, brilliant mind. 

I began splashing toward the shore behind them, anticipating the giddy feeling of the rope swing flying out over the water, and the delicious drop that followed. “Hey, wait for me.”

I scrambled onto a granite boulder to climb up the mossy ledge where I joined the twins. Sig poised there, ready to soar over the water on the swing. 

“Geronimo!” he cried. With legs flailing, he leapt from the porch.

I caught the excitement in Elsbeth’s eyes, and beamed at her. We’d been grounded at home last year because my father’s intended substitute to run his pharmacy became seriously ill, and instead of swimming and boating we’d spent our summer on our horses, riding through the woods. Not that it was a bad way to spend the season. In fact, we’d had an amazing adventure, had met a young Indian spirit named Penni, and had made some lifelong new friends. 

In spite of the wonderful time we’d had, I’d still missed the lake.

“I’m so glad we’re here. I really missed it last summer.”

“Me, too,” Elsbeth said with a giggle. “But this summer we’ll make up for lost time, Ja?”

“You bet,” I said.

Siegfried landed with a respectable splash and the rope came swinging back toward us. 

I snagged it for her. “Here you go.”

She accepted it gratefully. “Danke, Gus.” With a delightful laugh, she gripped it tightly, jumped into the air, and sailed over the water.

The Marggrander family had escaped from East Germany eight years ago when the twins were just four years old, and they still used some German words in their daily speech. I’d also learned a few key phrases and sometimes I found myself saying “danke,” instead of “thank you,” and “kein problem” instead of “no problem.”

Siegfried had already climbed up and stood dripping beside me. “It’s good to see you, Gus.”
I fake punched him. “You, too. It was pretty lonely without you guys at home the last few days.”
He grabbed the returning rope and handed it to me. “Your turn.”

With gleeful anticipation, I wrapped my hands around a thick hemp knot and swung out over the water, letting go at just the right time. After a delicious, stomach twisting fall, I plunged into the water, feet touching the sandy bottom in seconds. I popped up again, grinning from ear-to-ear. 

“Watch out below,” Siegfried called. 

I swam to the side to get out of his way, and then hurried back to shore for my next turn.

***
Every family has its secrets…

Summer, 1966: For thirteen-year-old Gus LeGarde, summertime always means Loon Harbor, his grandparents’ idyllic fishing resort on Great Pond. The season is a grand tradition of swimming, boating, and new adventures with his best friends, twins Siegfried and Elsbeth. But this summer, everything changes when a new lodge down the shore threatens the resort—and triggers a chain of events that will transform Gus and his friends forever.

Customers are leaving Loon Harbor in droves for The Seven Whistles, owned by the wealthy LaFontaines. The Baton Rouge family arrives with better amenities and a much larger staff—among them Wilhelmina “Willy” DuPont, a young black girl whose family works for the LaFontaines. Gus and the twins immediately bring Willy into their circle…but their friendship is soon challenged when events at The Seven Whistles take a terrifying turn.

A mysterious figure haunts the windows of women and young ladies at both camps, escalating from peeper to dangerous stalker. Then the LaFontaines’ spoiled and demanding daughter goes missing—and Willy’s innocent older brother is arrested.

Gus soon discovers that dark secrets lurk beneath the surface of the LaFontaine family, and the stakes are higher than ever imagined as they race to exonerate Willy’s brother and find the real perpetrator—before he finds them.

http://www.amazon.com/Voodoo-Summer-LeGarde-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B01CYXKW0S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461159053&sr=8-1&keywords=voodoo+summer


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of many mystery and suspense series, love stories, and writing guides, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.”