Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Hello, MB4 friends!

Maria DeVivo, a great gal and fellow Twilight Times writer, author of the incredible story, The Coal Elf, tagged me for a Writing Process Blog Tour. I absolutely love talking about writing, so I jumped on the opportunity to chat with you today about the process.

I’ll answer questions about my work and my mysterious methods, and will subsequently tag three wonderful writers to continue the topic. 
 But first, please check out Maria’s book, which has over 100 reviews on Amazon!!   Here's what her readers are saying:

 "Just when you think you've reached a safe place in a DeVivo story, she plunges you into terror again.  No author can wrench your stomach into knots like this lady."
-Dechen Paldron
"Great characters and just a good story."
-Eric T Healy
"Do yourself a favor and read The Coal Elf--I highly recommend it."
-Daniel Springer

Q. What are you working on?  I'm up to my ears in books this year, so I thought I'd share the status with you below!

 1) A new boxed eBook set of Double Forté: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, Book 1, Upstaged, Mazurka: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, and FireSong will be released soon by Twilight Times Books. Cover art by Kellie Dennis is ready and will be revealed soon.

2) SPIRIT ME AWAY, book #8 in LeGarde Mysteries, is undergoing its Beta reads right now and will be probably released within the month. Cover art by Kellie Dennis is done and will be revealed soon!

3) For Keeps: A Sam Moore Mystery, Book 3, will be offered next week for 99 cents!

4) Devil's Lake, a new standalone suspense, is 3/4 done and cover art is ready (again, thanks to Kellie). Will be revealed and released soon.

5) Starting on LeGarde #7 cover and final edits - VIRTUOSO should be ready in a few months.

6) Next comes final edits and polished on LeGarde #9, UNDER THE ICE (Counterpoint), the books 3 and 4 in Tall Pines (already written) SANCTUARY and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA. They should all be out by fall I hope.

Q. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

A. My books are pure country, and by that I don’t mean country as in heart throbbing, twanging singers, I mean they are steeped in the woods, fields, lakes, rivers, and mountains of the Genesee Valley and Adirondacks of New York State. Sometimes we go abroad (Mazurka takes my characters to Europe), and sometimes we go back in time (Tremolo: cry of the loon is based in Maine in 1964), but my characters are always surrounded by nature and its beauty. 

You’ll inhale the aroma of the fetid earth when you fall into a pile of leaves if a villain’s chasing you, or you’ll taste the buttery potatoes Gus just dug from his garden and cooked for his family, or feel the sweaty back of a horse beneath your bare legs while you’re cantering along a trail in the woods. My characters will always let you know how they’re feeling inside, and for the most part, they try to set good examples of loyalty, morality, and courage in the face of horrible villains. 

Caution: You may also feel a voraciously hungry after reading the LeGarde Mysteries, where Gus cooks weekend feasts for his friends and family.  I have been blamed for screwing up my readers’ diets in the past. 

Q. Why do you write what you do?

A.  Obsession, I guess. I can’t stop the stories that percolate in my head. I also need an escape from real life—frequently—and I’m just thrilled to be able to run wild in my parallel universe. To love, live, chase villains, and pursue happiness. It’s a blast. And it's cheap therapy. ;o)

Q. How does your writing process work?

A. A nugget of an idea will set in my subconscious for a while, based on a television show, movie, book, news report, or family event. Anything can get the muse rolling. For example, when the news reported the kidnappings of those poor girls in Cleveland by the creepy Ariel Castro, I couldn’t stop thinking of how horrible it was. I kept picturing those poor women in that boarded up house. Eventually, the story I’m working on now, Devil’s Lake, was born. It morphed quite a bit from the original inspiration, and opened up a new genre for me.

Normally, once I get this idea and can’t stop thinking about it, I picture a broad, sweeping idea of a story. I start to think about twists and turns. I pick a locale. Next, I picture the first chapter. And then the real writing starts. Once I put fingers to keyboard, the story evolves in a way that is almost out of my control. But I have to be actually physically writing it for it to “come out.” Isn’t that odd? Sometimes I feel like a conduit for my characters. I’m just fingers and they use me. LOL. 

That's it! Thanks, Maria, for asking me to participate in this fun blog hop!

I’m passing the baton to: 


Ring of Lies

Thursday, April 03, 2014

What Happens When Two Music Men Get Together in a Mystery?
copyright 2014 Aaron Paul Lazar

Gus LeGarde’s affable, but pushy, minister from his local church is always pressuring him to play piano for extra church services on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it’s the local prison, sometimes it’s nursing homes, but in Lady Blues: forget-me-not, Reverend Hardina asks Gus to accompany the hymns at the new Bello Mondo Manor, a beautiful new facility for Alzheimer’s patients.

Gus has his plate full on Sundays, literally, as he always prepares an afternoon feast for his extended family and friends, including the dear Reverend Hardina. So when he’s asked to do even more for his church, he hesitates. How can he get it all done?

On this particular Sunday, he agrees, however, and is shocked to find a “jewel” of a chapel at Bello Mondo, featuring real stained glass windows, beautiful woodwork, velvet drapery, and most shocking of all, a pipe organ. He wonders how the place can afford such luxury, and uncovers ties to a big drug company.

Meanwhile, the residents in wheel chairs and bathrobes seem dead to the world in their pews, until they hear the music. They sing their hearts out when Gus plays familiar hymns like “Rock of Ages” and “Morning Has Broken.”

Most interesting is an elderly gentleman dressed in a black suit and red bowtie, who stands and conducts the hymns with his pencil, and whose fingers move in concert with the notes, as if he’s playing piano. Gus learns that this fellow—dubbed “the music man” by Kip’s nurses—has been in homes since he was dropped on their doorstep by the Armed Forces in 1946.

Kip Sterling doesn’t know his own name—but he speaks Gus’s language, spouting jazz terms like “cadence” and “interlude” and “riff.” He’s also obsessed with “his Bella,” but nobody knows who she is.

Because Gus is a music professor (actually based on my own father who was a pianist and professor of music) the Bello Mondo nurses suggest that maybe he can connect with Kip through music. Although Gus’s expertise is in classical works, including his obsessions with Chopin, Khachaturian, and Puccini, he also is passionate about jazz and blues, and strangely enough, plans to write a book on Ella Fitzgerald and her generation. He befriends the old gentleman, and when a new medicine starts to restore Kip’s memories, things heat up.

Music is woven throughout the Lady Blues story, from Gus’s “Opera 101” and “American Composer” classes he teaches at the local university, to his daughter Shelby, whose voice is startlingly beautiful and to whom he’s teaching Ella Fitzgerald’s songs at home, to Bella’s background as a bluesy nightclub singer… it ties the book and the entire series together.

I’ve even put in a plug for my good friend Paul Stuart, who is an award-winning composer in his own right. He’s written operas and symphonies that are played worldwide, and I refer to them within the story.

Side by side, both “music men” piece together the puzzles, which reunite long lost lovers and shed light on a historical mystery dating back to World War II.

You can check out LeGarde Mysteries here at, and can read them in any order. ;o)

In book 10 of the LeGarde Mystery series, Gus unravels twin mysteries of an abused Korean seamstress and a 1940s jazz ingénue whose pianist lover disappeared overseas on the same night Glen Miller’s plane was lost in English Channel. Gus helps an Alzheimer’s patient reclaim his identity, while dodging a drug company who will silence any witness to keep the truth of their breakthrough Alzheimer's treatment under wraps.