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.

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.

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.” 


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

At Odds With Destiny - Fall in Love with Four New Series by Sampling our First Books!

At Odds with Destiny: Double Forté book 1 in LeGarde Mysteries

Inspired by St. Patrick's Day, which is just around the corner, I want to give you a taste of Gus LeGarde's heart.

As I walked back into the bedroom, I stopped at the mantle, kissed my fingertips, and touched them to the silver frame that held Elsbeth’s photograph. She stared at me with her beautiful, dark brooding eyes. For the first time in four years, I felt a twinge of guilt. I’d been undeniably attracted to Maddy’s daughter, in spite of the promise I’d made to myself to remain faithful to Elsbeth’s memory. I’d vowed I’d never love another woman. Ever. 
How could I? How could anyone replace a lifetime soul mate? Elsbeth and I had known each other since I was five and she and Sig were four. We'd been close friends in our youth, and had married when she’d turned eighteen. It had seemed out of the question that any other woman could fill my life the way she had. 
And yet…there had been a certain pull when I met Camille today. An undeniable pull. 

Excerpt from Double Forté by Aaron Paul Lazar, included in At Odds with Destiny

Four amazing novels in one boxed set
Open it at your own risk:

It's a FREE gift! Get it now:
At Odds with Destiny
★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 
"The variety here is phenomenal, from intrigue and mystery, to gut wrenching, to fantasy, one thing is consistent, the quality." 

-Dennis Waller, Top 500 Reviewer

Monday, March 07, 2016

Anna del Mar's THE ASSET - Review by Aaron Lazar is the first book I've read from Anna del Mar, and all I can say is it won't be my last.

Packed with powerful characters that will ensnare your heart by the end of the first chapter, this very suspenseful romance is full of heart, soul, and intelligence.

Protagonist Lia is a woman shattered by her past. Little by little, the author reveals the deep, dark secrets that haunt her. How she survived the ordeals she endured was beyond my understanding, but as I learned more about her I grew to respect her more with every revelation.

Ash-the brilliant, brave ex Seal-is the only one capable of helping Lia see herself for who she is, bringing her back to sanity, and healing her fully from the inside out. He's a devoted and brilliant partner to this brave, damaged woman.

Neil, Ash's German Shepherd, was another favorite. The dog had a beautiful soul and distinct personality, and I rooted for him all the way.

On top of the fast-paced suspense, the author paints the most erotic and beautiful love scenes out there. Fully fleshed out (no pun intended), these steamy, very moving scenes are top notch with skillful writing and authentic sensations woven throughout.

Kudos, Ms. Del Mar, for a wonderfully rendered, deeply satisfying tale.

Highly recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar

Sunday, February 28, 2016

At Odds With Destiny - a fantastic bargain!
At Odds with Destiny offers four critically acclaimed, best selling authors all in one place - and the whole set is on sale now for only 99 cent! It's a super deal. I'm honored to have the first book in my own LeGarde Mystery series included. ;o)

The really cool part of this is that in AT ODDS WITH DESTINY, each full length novel is BOOK ONE in a series. So if you fall in love with an author and his characters, there are many more to turn to in their stable of works!

Here's the Amazon buy link. I'll be featuring some excerpts for these amazing books here and on my personal blog, in the next few weeks. So stay tuned!

This book excerpt is from Uvi Poznanski's RISE TO POWER. Her writing is astonishingly lyrical and poetic, and it really inspires me. See what you think?
Rise to Power
I hear the jingle of keys. To my ears, it is such a lovely sound...
“Come,” I cry out, “crack it, crack open the door! Step into my chamber... If my memory isn’t playing its tricks on me, you must be the first to visit me here for quite a long while…”
No one answers.
“Come in,” I plead, hoping that no one could catch the shaky tone of my voice.
My fever is gone. In its place, now come severe bouts of shivering. I try, as best I can, to control myself. I slow down the chattering of my teeth as I call out, “Of one thing I’m sure: Reading what I’ve been working on—which, for lack of a better term I would call a memoir—you would think me a madman.”
Suddenly I suspect there is more than one of them out there. Putting my ear to the iron door I hear them shuffling their feet on the other side, without uttering a single word. To make them speak to me I let myself admit, out loud, “You’re right. Perhaps I am.”
There, through the keyhole—I can somehow sense it—an eye is observing me.
There are limits to power. When afflicted by an unexplained illness, even a king can be placed in quarantine. The words freeze on my lips, Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony… My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?
I am tempted to kick the door, to startle them—but the isolation in this place is such that it forces me to talk, because I need to hear a human voice, and I need someone to listen.
So I call out, “Perhaps it’s me who’s confused,” but I refuse to believe it.
The door creeks on its hinges, only to reveal two shadows stirring out there, one blurring the other. They let silence reign over me, so in spite of myself I start wringing one hand with the other.
I hang my head over these knuckles, over these pale, veined wrists which I hardly recognize as mine, finding myself overcome by a new enemy, one I never expected: the chill of old age.
In my youth I became famous for being a fine, eloquent speaker, with a particular talent for eulogies—but now it seems that my listeners have left me. Why write another psalm? Who would read it? Who would take it to heart?
Being abandoned is not something I take lightly. I want to tell the crowds to come back to me, and not only to take a listen—but to adore me, too!
Glancing at the shadows, “Come in,” I beseech. “Let me see, let me touch you. Talk to me… And let me tell you my story.”
Where will I start it? From my childhood, from the first time I came to the court. The moments of my life are vivid in my mind, too vivid to be dismissed as merely the wishful thinking of a locked up old man. My fingers still carry the sense, the cold touch of Saul’s crown, when at last I laid my hands on it. And I know, in a way that no one else can begin to imagine, how heavy it is.
This was the thing—or so I thought, back then—the very thing that would make me what I wanted: larger than life.
Larger than life? I start laughing, at myself most of all, only to be startled by echoes. I listen in alarm to the way they peel, pealing away from the walls.
“Listen,” I say, “whoever you are: I am a poet, a bard. For me, reality is a hard thing to grasp, at least your kind of reality: one that’s confined, as if by a straightjacket, to the task at hand. Trapped in such a life I would feel... Oh, what’s the right word? Condemned.”
Somehow I catch them, out there, holding their breath. They must be astonished by my unstoppable chatter, and by the unstoppable echoes of my chatter.
“Yes,” I stress. “Being a Philistine, you may think that such a reality sets you at ease, that it removes any doubt in your head as to your purpose here.”
One shadow separates from the blackness behind it, and all of a sudden he cannot help himself, and his voice bursts out, “Don’t call me a Philistine!”
I say, “A bit touchy, aren’t you!”
And he says, “I’ve killed my share of those bastards, out on the battlefield. Everyone knows I’ve earned my medals, being in your service for so many years. I’ve bloodied my hands for you! So now, listen to me: you owe me.”
I am in no mood to offer an apology. Instead I tell him, “You bloodied your hands for your own sake, for the thrill of the kill.”
He says nothing. Over his silence I say, “Now then, consider this: even as you’re trapped here, in this reality, your mind—just like mine—would misbehave. It would fly, swinging wildly to and fro, far away from this place. But enough about you. It’s me we are talking about.”
I can hear him taking a step back. In a minute he will slam the door shut.
To hold his attention, “True,” I grant him. “My grasp on life is somewhat looser than yours. For an isolated man it may be a strange thing to say—but trust me: it sets me free.”
“Ha!” he sniggers.
“Oh, stop it!” I wail. “What, you think I’m deaf? Don’t you laugh at me. It makes me doubt myself, question my own sanity.”
Then I bang, bang, bang the wall. I close my eyes. Here I am, a child again... And at once my ear catches a thud. Then come the echoes, shrill echoes singing all around the royal court, as the spear has hit the wall, missing me by a hair.
“Wake up,” says his voice, a bit softer now.
In a flash the wick of a candle is lit. It flares up and then, in an instant, darkness curls away into the far recesses of this space. The flame seems to lick the gilded decorations of the door as it swings open. Having stepped in, a man leads a figure clad in a dark coat into my presence.
He lays a hand on my shoulder, trying to steady me. Then he whispers, “You must be dreaming again.”
“No!” I shake my head. “No, no, no! If this were a dream, I would have forgotten it, the way most of us do come morning, which lets us focus on the task at hand. But what if your task—now that all is lost—is to remember? Reflect on it. Think of the ways the mind works, yours and mine. Perhaps we’re more alike than you wish to admit.”
“I’m nothing like you,” he insists.
It is then that I come to my senses, and by the scars on his hand I know who he is. Joav is my blood, my family, one of the three sons of my older sister, Zeruriah. He is the man I have trusted to become my first in command. But these days, he is a stranger to me. Everyone is.
“I thought you admired me,” I say.
“I did,” says he. “But this I know: it’s a risky place to be, stuck in your shoes.”
“And I thought that risk excites you.”
“No, not anymore. Risk is for the young.”
Thrashing around, I start kicking at this thing and the other. “I’m far from being stuck,” I shout at him over the metallic din. “And there go my shoes! Here, see? I’m barefoot!”
Over my words, Joav raises his voice. “Stop that,” he cries, which in any other royal household would be an unheard of thing to do in the presence of a monarch. He points the candle at the thing I have made fly, with such clink and clank, across the chamber.
Now I catch its glitter, flashing out from the shadow down there, in the corner, reflecting the dance of the flame.
“Why d’you kick the crown?” he grumbles. “D’you even know who you are? Do you? Then, tell me: what’s your name?”
“Guess it, will you?” I narrow my eyes with suspicion, refusing to confide even in him. “Can’t you see? I’m a boy, reaching for the crown.”
Joav bites his lips. Perhaps, like me, he is tired of this game. I know what he wants: recognition, which I am too stubborn to give. “No, David. You’re not a boy anymore.” He dares to contradict me. “And the crown is yours. I mean, it’s yours to lose.”
“Don’t I know it,” I sigh, gathering the thing to my chest.
Joav smiles at how hard I clutch it.
“At this point,” he chuckles, “the only power you still have is the power to give it away.”
“What? Give it away? I’ll do no such thing.”
“You’re going to depend on your successor,” he says, and there is a tone of warning in his voice. “Choose well, your majesty. If you do, perhaps he’ll let your legacy live on.”
With that, Joav turns around to face the figure standing there, so quietly, behind him. She is holding a pile of silk sheets and wool blankets. With a firm hand he pushes her forward, in my direction.
“Don’t be angry with me,” he says, removing the dark coat from her shoulders and flinging it aside. “I’m just following orders, and so does this girl. She’s yours to keep.”
“I have no use for a girl. What I need is a woman.”
“Bathsheba is asleep.”
“I see.”
“Really, she is.”
“She is? Is she, really? I haven’t forgotten how hard you fought for me. What have you become, Joav? A has-been war hero?”
He peers into my eyes, surprised to realize that I recognize him.
“In my name,” I press on, “you used to lead our nation into great wars, and now, look! Look at you, doing the bidding of a woman! I suppose my dear wife told you what to tell me. And she instructed you to cover me with blankets, and most of all, to keep me still.”
He gives no answer, other than hanging his head in shame before me.
“The Queen knows me all too well,” I growl. “It’s her I need.”
He holds himself back from repeating, Bathsheba is asleep. And I go on to groan, “She knows she should be here.”
“In her place, here’s the girl. Your wife told me to bring her.”
“I’m too cold for that—”
“The girl knows it,” says he, “and she knows her duty. I made sure of it.”
“What’s her name?”
“Abishag. She’s sure to keep you warm.”
With that he sets the candle down on the bedside table, and gives me a sly look under those hairy eyebrows of his, which seem to have thickened even more with age. Then he leaves the chamber, not before breathing in my ear in his coarse, scratchy voice, “Listen, why are you being so difficult?”
“Me? Difficult?”
“I went to plenty of trouble to find this one. Virgins aren’t easy to come by anymore.”
I am just about to say, They never were—but Joav has already disappeared. So there I am, left standing opposite the girl, and finding myself drawn towards her, perhaps because of the fresh fragrance of soil and fruit emanating from her skin. For the first time I take a close look at her.
This is awkward. I take a step towards her, and can almost guess her thoughts. These words may be on her mind, “Don’t stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun… My mother’s sons were angry with me, and made me take care of the vineyards… My own vineyard I had to neglect.”
She turns her head, and her long, dark lashes flutter nervously over the cheekbone. By the flicker of the flame I can tell that they are unpainted, and so are her lips. She must have been brought directly here, to my chamber, with no proper preparations at the women’s quarters, let alone a dab of perfume.
Thank God for that! I hate proper preparations, and I cannot stand that nauseating mixture of fixatives and solvents they call perfume.
Her face and bare, slender shoulders have been bronzed by the sun. I notice that her feet are large, just like mine, and her toes are still soiled from the long journey, like some farm girls I used to know.
The girl is a long way from home. I know it, because so am I.
Later that night, when the girl has fallen asleep, I slip out of bed. The blanket keeps her warm, which you can tell by her moist, rosy cheeks—but it is of no help to me. Her pupils move under the eyelids, as she dreams of being somewhere else. She utters a cry in her sleep, and turns away from me. I take a step back. Then I start pacing back and forth across the chamber.
This palace is richly decorated, because such was my ambition in recent years: to show the world the finest of marvels in a new city, which is mine: the city of David.
Here, I thought, is a new center of power, commanding a view of our twelve tribes, yet set upon newly conquered territory, one that does not belong to any of them. With the divisions that afflict us, Jerusalem is yet to become a symbol of our nation, our unity.
At this point, the city has no history yet. Erected log by log, with cedar trees imported from Lebanon, and slab by slab, cut out of the hardest rocks in the Judea mountain range, this city will become my mark, my political statement. It will stand for hope.
Alas, it is so far from where I grew up. Bethlehem seems like a place lost in fog. I have lived in Jerusalem for decades. Still, it does not feel like home.
Without even knowing it, the girl has reminded me how I ache to see the soaring mountains, the rolling fields around the place where I was born. Even the trees smell different, back there. I long to go back. One thing is clear to me: this is not the first time in my life to be locked up—but perhaps it is the last.
I unfurl a papyrus roll, and start scratching minute Aramaic letters in it. The flame has died out some time ago, and already the tip of the wick has lost its glow. I stand up, stare around me, and in my confusion I think, What is this? Where am I?
I am an old man, it is late at night, and I am gathering my thoughts, somehow...
In exhaustion I curl on the floor, and peer at the darkness, at the way it tumbles over the ceiling, over the stone walls, painting everything gray.
It is an uncertain color, which reminds me of certain places in the Paran wasteland, the caves in which I used to hide back then, when I was a fugitive.
I remember: I could spot the fingerprints of other fugitives before me, mark upon mark, one blood smear over another fading into the decayed matter, trying to record a forgotten history, the history of those who had been conquered. I used to wonder who they were, and asked myself if I, too, am destined for oblivion…
At other times, these walls remind me of the interiors of burial places in depths of the pyramids. Great artists were summoned there to paint invented scenes, scenes from the lives of entombed monarchs. I tell myself, such is the way to ensure your legacy!
What is at stake here is the virtue of the office, the sanctity of the crown, which I tried to preserve most of the time—but certainly not always… My appetite for sin would get out of control, and threaten to undermine my best efforts to establish myself, establish my glory for all to cherish. Even so, future generations must revere my name.
I made sure of that.
At the time I gave orders to imprison quite a few of my court historians, for no better reason than a misspelling, or a chance error in judgement, for which they tried to apologize profusely. Of course, to no avail. They never saw the light of day again. I knew I was right, because who are they to strive for something as misleading as reporting the bare facts?
Both Saul and I were anointed to rule the nation, which without fail caused a civil war. We fought over something larger than the crown. Ours was a battle between two contending versions of history. The outcome would decide who would be called a hero and who—a villain.
And having won that struggle, I was not about to allow the scribes in my court to report any faults in me, any wrongdoings. My record would be clean. There was, I decided, no truth other than mine.
But now, quite strangely, I find myself in need of telling my story, of reporting it just the way they tried to do, those damn fools: with no spins. Faithfully. Perhaps it serves me right for throwing them in jail.
The tip of my pen is dull, and the ink has dried—but that cannot stop me from writing. Nothing will. I am grasping for power once again, but in a different way than I did back then. This time I can see, with great clarity, that power does not come from the crown. At long last I have no urge anymore to keep my grasp on it.
Now I know, power comes from within, from something else entirely: my skill with words. I wish I would have recognized it a long time ago, on my first visit to the royal court. Perhaps then I would have become a poet. Not a king.
It is still a long time from daybreak, and the girl’s breast heaves as she mumbles something, some unclear word. She is so close at hand and yet, so far out of my reach.
When I was first crowned king over my own tribe, I was such a vigorous young man that no illness could keep me away from my dear wives and concubines. If I would catch a cold, all of them would be sneezing. Not so this girl. Unlike all the women I have had since then, she is immune to my weaknesses. She is the one I will never know.
I am here with her, yet this chill is meant for me alone.
I hold my breath until she lulls herself back to sleep. Faint shadows start dancing on the wall. I read the shapes, trying to invent someone, a listener.
I whisper, Come in... Call me insane, who cares? Who really cares if you refuse to trust me, if you insist on clinging to your kind of reality, which is as dull as it is solid... Mine, I insist, is not a dream.
But even if it is... Even so, it is true! How can you deny it? Here is my story. I am opening it up to you.
I can see why at first glance what you see here—these letters which I jotted here, on these papyrus rolls—may seem scattered, even scary. I understand why you step back from my door, why you look over your shoulder to find the guard...
Come in! Will you? Will you read these scribblings? Can you see my sword, which I have drawn here, look! Can you see it the way I do, lifting out of the ink and into the air, turning magically over, around and around, right here in the center of the space?
If you can, then—by the flash of it—I shall take you along, to leap with me into the surface of the steely thing. Down into its depths. Into my reflection.
★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 

Here's a bit about the four books:

Each one of the novels in this boxed set is Outside the box! Open it at your own risk. Notoriously creative authors from across the book continuum join forces to bring you At Odds with Destiny, everything you've wanted in a boxed set but thought you'd never find: full-length novels brimming with cozy mystery, suspense, romance, and biographical historical fiction. 

Rise to Power by Uvi Poznansky
Notorious for his contradictions, David is seen by others as a gifted court entertainer or a traitor leading a gang of felons. How does he see himself? Can he control his destiny and strike a balance between ambition and longing for purity?

Double Forté by Aaron Paul Lazar
In the deep cold of winter, threats erupt from the dark woods, spinning events out of hand—and Gus, tormented by the unexplained death of his wife, braces for the fight of his life.

Pam of Babylon by Suzanne Jenkins
After Jack dies, his wife Pam discovers secrets and lies. Is she destined to succumb to vengefulness against his two lovers, or will she find a different way forward?

Dream Student by James DiBenedetto
Everything was going according to plan, until the night when college junior Sara Barnes started seeing other people’s dreams. Is she the only one witnessing the secrets of a serial killer? 

Hope everyone has a great Sunday! Enjoy your loved ones and if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Saturday, February 27, 2016

FREE AUDIOBOOK LISTEN - The Disappearance of Billy Moore
Hi, folks! 

I have just received complimentary audiobook codes for the brand new audiobook production of my mystery, The Disappearance of Billy Moore. I'm happy to share while they last!

The Disappearance of Billy Moore, book 1 in Green Marble Mysteries

(formely entitled Healey's Cave

FREE LISTEN: (retail value: $19.95)

Fifty years ago, Sam Moore’s little brother Billy vanished without a trace—leaving Sam with guilt that haunts him to this day.

Fifty years with no body, no leads, and no answers. Until now.

When Sam unearths a mysterious green marble buried in his garden, he’s shocked to find himself transported back in time—to Billy. Whisked between past and present with no warning, and receiving only glimpses of their childhood, he struggles to unlock the secret of his brother’s fate.

But the marble isn’t the only secret the ground holds. Further digging uncovers human remains—the legacy of a serial killer who’s been targeting one boy every five years since Billy vanished. The next five-year mark is coming up fast. And now, Sam’s grandson may be in the killer’s sights.

Can Sam tie the past with the present and unravel the mystery of his brother’s disappearance—before the killer strikes again?

Comment or message me and I'll get you all set. Even if you aren't a member of Audible and don't want to be, there are ways to listen for free. Really easy to listen from your phone, tablet, Kindle, or computer. ;o) I'll walk you through it!

Here are a few awards we won for this one: 
• 2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
• 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
• 2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
• 2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Nobel!) Prize for Literature
• 2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards

Green Marble Mysteries (featuring Sam Moore)

1) The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave)
2) Terror Comes Knocking
3) For Keeps 

Contact me at author@lazarbooks dot com and we'll get your new listen to you ASAP!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Aaron Lazar

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Let's Talk About Love (interview and giveaway!)

Happy Valentines Weekend!

Hi, folks! 

Today I'm featuring, um, myself. I know, it feels a little strange. But Dennis Higgins did a great job interviewing me on his blog a while back, and I thought you folks might enjoy the Q&A we shared, especially the parts about writing sensual love scenes and where my inspiration came from.

Below, we talk about all aspects of life. Dennis is a wonderful writer and a super guy, and we had a blast. Hope you enjoy the conversation!

To check out Dennis's wonderful books and his blog, click here!



DH: Hi Aaron. Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by me.

APL: Hey, Dennis. Thanks for inviting me!

DH: My pleasure. First let me start off by congratulating you on your many accomplishments.

APL: Thanks so much. It’s funny, but I don’t feel so much as if they are accomplishments as releasing of those stories that must be told, you know? 

DH: I like that viewpoint. We are led by our characters sometimes, aren’t we?

APL: That’s for sure. I feel as though these parallel universes that I create aren’t always born the way I picture them. They seem to grow into entities themselves, and take off in directions my characters decide to go. 

DH: So, how many books do you have published?

APL: I have twenty-five books published to date. Most are in eBook, print, and audiobook format, although a few, like my Write Like the Wind writing guides, are just in eBook and audiobook.

DH: Wow, my seven books pale in comparison. When did you start writing?

APL: I started to putter around with it in 1997, but I really got hooked in 2001, when I finished Double Forte and started on Upstaged, the second book in the LeGarde Mystery series. Since then I’ve been unable to stop. It’s like an itch that must be scratched, this writing obsession. I’m sure you know exactly how I feel. 

DH: Indeed, I do. This is an unfair question, I know and I’m sorry. But can you pick a favorite?

APL: Being an author yourself, Dennis, you know how tough a question this is! But if I absolutely had to pick just one book, I think it might be Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. This is part of my “young Gus LeGarde” series, and it’s a sequel to Tremolo: cry of the loon.

DH: Why is that, Aaron?
APL: Well, because writing as an eleven-year-old boy is just plain fun. I also love the nostalgia of the era. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, and man-oh-man did we have fun! 

DH: That’s awesome, Aaron! I had fun in the sixties too. I’m going to have to put that on my to-be-read list.

Like me, you have a family, a day job, as well as your writing career. What is your method for balancing all that?

APL: Dennis, it’s a little easier now that my daughters are grown and moved out to start their own lives. Sure, we have many grandkids around all the time, and we also care for my wife’s 92-year-old mother. But my best way to balance all this is to go to bed super early, and get up at 4:00 AM to write to my heart’s content. This way I can get all my chores done, do my exercise (walking for an hour), write several chapters in whatever book I happen to be held captive by at the moment, and still leave for work by 8:00. Of course, when I get home, my wife and I pretty much just eat and go to bed, LOL. We watch a little TV, but we fall asleep fast!

DH: Aaron, I knew we were kindred spirits. My day is pretty much like yours. Early to bed, early to rise. I’m also a morning writer.

If you had the opportunity to quit your day job and write full time for a living, would you?

APL: That is my dream, Dennis. I’d do it in a heartbeat.

DH: Oh, me too, that’s why I asked.
DH: With all your books out there in the world, I am ashamed to say that so far, I have only read The Seacrest, but my wife has read Spirit Me Away and she loved it. But speaking of The Seacrest, I love your style of writing and how you switched back and forth between 1997 and 2013. I guess I liked it because it’s a style I use in my own time travel books.

But there is something else that struck me. It’s the way you write sensual scenes. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and the way you wrote them resonated with me from my own memories of the past. I think female written erotica tends to be much more blunt…at least in the scenes I’ve read. Bravo on your subtle style. How does it feel to write erotic scenes like those in The Seacrest?

APL: I’m glad you read The Seacrest, and especially grateful for your comments from a guy’s POV. You see, my whole life, I wrote relatively “wholesome” mysteries. I was afraid to “go too far,” and didn’t want my daughters to know that I “thought like that.” LOL.


 DH: I get that. I have a daughter too.

APL: So, it took me a long time to actually reach a point where I realized it didn’t matter anymore. (Daughters are all over 30 now with their own kids!) When my wife asked me to write a love story, “like Nicholas Sparks,” I laughed. But then the idea grew on me. It was a particularly strong urge when I stayed with her on Cape Cod near Paines Creek Beach, in Brewster, Mass. I have always loved the Cape, but the sensuality of the beach convinced me to write The Seacrest.

DH: Sounds like a wonderful place to become inspired.
Paines Creek Beach (photo, Aaron Lazar)
APL: I also wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite characters of all time, Mr. Travis McGee (John D. MacDonald’s character). So I created a feature character to do just that.
When it came time to write the love scenes, I decided to just let go. I’d read a little erotica, and found that a bit too graphic for my own tastes. So I felt I knew where to stop. I still am not sure if I achieved that, because although most of the reviews are just wonderful for The Seacrest, a few readers have been shocked by the sex scenes and recoiled in horror that their “wholesome” author went down such a scandalous road. LOL.


DH: I don’t like the graphic scenes either, as you could probably tell from reading my book, Pennies From Across the Veil, and I would say you managed to achieve the perfect balance.

APL: Your comments about the scenes meant a lot to me, coming from another guy. This is not usually a man-centric genre, you know, and I was really challenged with it. I thought back to the days when I was a teen, and how desperately I hungered for my girlfriend (now my wife of 35 years), how I worshipped her, and could not imagine anything more beautiful than making love to her. Those were the thoughts I used when I was in Finn’s head, when he was a teenager as well as further on in the story when he reconnects with Libby. I’m really relieved to see the scenes worked. Thank you!

DH: They worked wonderfully for me. It’s beautiful to think it was your dear wife that inspired you.

APL: Regarding the alternating time chapters. Phew. That was one of the hardest writing challenges I’ve ever faced, Dennis, and I take my hat off to you for being able to regularly pull that off!

DH: Thank you, Aaron!

APL: I really found it difficult to keep in the head of the person of the correct timeframe. Normally, I have this movie playing in my head, and it’s easy to see the next scene. But here I had to stop, remember which time I was in, and then move forward. I don’t think I’ll do this again, and I didn’t for The Seacroft and for The Seadog, the two sequels of The Seacrest.

DH: Well, well done, sir.

APL: Thank you!

DH: Can the books be read in any order?
APL: Yes. The Paines Creek Beach series has three books so far, The Seacrest, The Seacroft, and now book 3, The Seadog, and they can all be read as standalones very easily. I purposefully do this with my series so folks can pick up anywhere in the series and have fun. If they are intrigued, they can go back and "see what happened before," without losing their place in the lives of my characters. 

DH: A lot of your books are mysteries. What made you interested in mysteries?

APL: Dennis, my whole life I read mysteries. Even as a kid they were the only type of book that interested me. I was very likely influenced by my parents, however, who were avid Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, PD James, and John D. MacDonald fans! Even in my love stories, like The Seacrest, I can’t help but infuse some themes you might find in a mystery, as well. ;o)

DH: I noticed. By the way, what started you on a writing career?

APL: Dennis, I always wanted to write, because I loved reading so much. I pictured it would be later, when I was older, maybe when I retired. But when my father died unexpectedly in 1997, it knocked me for a loop. I found writing to be supremely therapeutic, and the writing bug bit me hard. I had a brief stalling period with my first book, which I picked up after a few years of doing nothing. Since then, I can’t seem to stop. ;o)

DH: As you know, I relate to writing after a loss as well... Now, can you name three words in priority that describes you?
APL: That’s a tough one. My first impulse is to say husband, father, grandfather, but if you let me string those together, I’d say husband/father/grandfather, obsessed writer, and fanatical gardener.

DH: Who were your major influences growing up? (Writer, actor, musician…)

APL: My father was a classical music professor who played piano and filled our home with culture, wild artistic personalities, and amazing European influences in the culinary and art fields. He was also an organic gardening fanatic, like me. My mother was a dedicated and loving mom who made sugar cookies and sewed our clothes. She was a great cook, too. Both of them influenced me hugely. All four of my grandparents also played a big role in my life – from my musical, Victorian-antiques-loving maternal grandparents to my outdoorsy-Maine-loving paternal grandparents.

DH: So do you love antiques as I do?

APL: Because of my grandparents and mother (who ran an antique shop for many years), I LOVE antiques. I can’t figure why people would buy new furniture, when for half the cost they can get handcrafted, real wood products that will last centuries. My house is full of them. None are perfect – we will live normally with lots of grandkids running around – but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Most came from my grandparents and parents. But some we also found lots of them via excursions into local places here in upstate NY. There are some amazing antique shops around here. For example, when my daughter got married, I found her a Duncan Phyfe carved leg dining room table that normally would have cost $800 in the higher priced shops – for $225.00. What a deal! I also inherited my most prized possession this past year when my mother passed away, a bittersweet moment for sure. I’d much rather have my mom than all the antiques in the world, but I cherish this thing. It’s a Regina music box (cherry with carved wood and a beautiful picture/engraving on the inside lid). It came with 50 disks and a carved cherry cabinet to hold them. This kind of family treasure makes me feel blessed.

DH: I understand this perfectly. Like I said, kindred spirits. Antiques are links to the past. In your case it was my mom. When my mom passed, I found an old WWII scrapbook in her possessions. I didn’t know the people in it, but several months of research uncovered their identities and I even found the maker’s children. It inspired my upcoming novella, simply called The Old Scrapbook.

What can we expect to see next from the collection of Aaron Paul Lazar?

APL: I'm working on a new Gus LeGarde book, another "young Gus" book that takes us back in time to his childhood in 1966 in Maine. It's called Voodoo Summer.  I’m really having a blast writing it.

DH: Sounds fantastic. What else would you like to discuss?

APL: I’d like to tell folks that I’m an accessible author who loves to connect with readers. Feel free to check out my website at, or contact me via email at

​You can connect with me, too, at these sites:

Amazon Author Page
APL: Dennis, thanks for asking such fun questions. It’s been great fun!

DH: My pleasure, Aaron. I admire you greatly. I am giving away three eBooks from my series this week. So comment below for a chance to win, either The Seacrest,
For the Birds
or Devil’s Lake

Winners will be chosen randomly. Good luck!

To check out Dennis's wonderful books and his blog, click here!

About Dennis Higgins:

Relative of Davy Crockett...World traveler.
As a native of Chicago, Illinois, Dave has always possessed a romance with things of the past that are gone but not forgotten. He now lives in the suburbs with his lovely wife, their dog and a couple of birds.

Among his influences are: Richard Matheson, Jack Finney, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, Joan Wester Anderson, Peter S. Beagle and Audrey Neffenegger .

The Time Pilgrims series is exciting, treasured, and loved by YA, NA as well as adults.