Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Introducing Heidi Skarie and Call of the Wind


Hello, book lovers. 

I've always been addicted to writing. It was (and is) my cheap therapy. For years I wrote mysteries—and more—that provided wonderful virtual adventures in my challenging life. Many of you know about these various traumas, from my posts over the past years. Guess what? We survived and/or learned to deal with all of it. In the meantime, I published twenty-nine books in the background. 

When the pandemic started, I lost my "day" job and needed to find another way to keep the family going. I decided to capitalize on my absolute passion for helping other authors with their books. So I added "writing coach" to my resume and now am pleased to announce that I have a number of superb clients I help with polishing, formatting, and getting them ready to publish on Amazon KDP. 

This month, Heidi Skarie has published a book in her Star Rider series, Call of the Wind. I'm so proud of her. You can read a bit about the story as well as learn about her in the following interview. Let us know what you think in the comments, below. 

Stay safe and warm this February. 

All my best,

Aaron Paul Lazar

www.lazarbooks.com

Meet Heidi Skarie and Call of the Wind



What inspired you to become a writer and eventually write Call of the Wind?

 

I had a series of six dreams that was like watching an exciting space opera, sci-fi movie such as Star Wars. Each dream continued where the last one had left off. The story had such a great plot and interesting characters that I was inspired to turn it into a novel. After writing the first book, it was as if I’d turned on a faucet to a creative waterfall. The next novels flowed out as I continued to write about the same characters. Writing became my passion. The first three books center around a strong female protagonist who is an undercover operative during an interplanetary war. This book is about her son who continues in his mother’s footsteps and becomes an intergalactic fighter pilot. Call of the Wind can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel since it focuses on new characters.

 

What do you think your readers will love about Call of the Wind?

 

It’s a powerful coming-of-age story of a young man told in the story-within-a-story structure. Baymond is a young fighter pilot sentenced to be executed in five days. While awaiting his death, he shares his life story with a fellow prisoner. The novel has brave heroes and heroines, exciting adventures, a tender love story, and space battles. But as one reviewer said, “It’s also a compelling vision of the enlightened who can transcend the confines of time and space, even death.”

 


What is your writing process?

 

I write the first draft without getting any feedback that would interfere with my vision of the novel. Depending on the complexity of the plot I may use storyboards, character sketches and detailed outlines. Then I work with a critique group and go through each chapter until it shines. Next, several beta readers read the entire novel and give feedback. Last, I hire an editor and go through it again.

 

What other books have you written?

 

I’ve published four books in the Star Rider series, a science fiction, space opera set in a futuristic world during an interplanetary war. Star Rider on the Razor’s Edge is the first in the series. Call of the Wind is about the next generation.


I’ve also written two historical novels. Red Willow’s Quest about a Native American woman studying to become a medicine woman. Annoure and the Dragon Ships about a young woman kidnapped off the coast of England by the Vikings.

  

What are you currently working on?

 

I’m in the final edits of Call of the Eagle, which continues the story of Baymond and Fawn as the interplanetary war escalates.

 


Your book is so unique in that it is full of spiritual references to "Soul" and "Inner Light" and so many more wonderful themes involving a greater being and His teachings. Are these references fictional? Or were you inspired by another part of your life to include these in the stories? 

 

The original idea for the Star Rider series came from a dream about a female undercover operative, Toemeka, who works for the Coalition of Free Nations. She’s sent on a mission to help an occupied country regain their freedom during an interplanetary war against world conqueror, Samrat Condor. What makes the story unique is that Toemeka is a spiritually awakened person. She is able to communicate with her friends telepathically, leave her physical body and travel into higher levels of existence, and remember some of her past lives. 

 

The novels were influenced by my own spiritual beliefs. I’m a member of ECKANKAR, the Path of Spiritual Freedom and believe that we are Soul, a part of God. I believe that when we die we, as Soul, leave this body and go into the higher worlds, what some religions refer to as the heavenly worlds. We don’t stay there according to the teachings of ECKANKAR, but return to earth many times for Soul’s education. Eventually we awaken spiritually and live in the higher worlds of God permanently.

 

In the series, Toemeka follows the Secret Teachings of Light and Sound. The Light and Sound are essential aspects of the ECKANKAR teachings. It’s the voice of God. In the novels Toemeka sings HU, an ancient love song to God, to attune herself to the presence of God. She follows a living master who is the leader of the Secret Teachings. This is also drawn from ECKANKAR that has a living spiritual leader, Sri Harold Klemp, who keeps the teachings pure. 

 

Toemeka’s spiritual training is an important element in the story because Samrat Condor,  is a powerful black magician who portrays himself as a god. Toemeka uses her spiritual training to see a higher truth and fight his spread of evil psychic powers. The series is the struggle between good and evil, the light and the dark forces.

 

The Call of the Wind is about Toemeka’s son, Baymond, who follows in his mother’s footsteps and joins the Coalition as a fighter pilot. He is also a student of the Secret Teachings. Toemeka is a minor character, but still plays an important role in this novel.

 

Your books are full of luscious natural settings and descriptions. They are most artistic. Do you enjoy creating on any other level? Are you fond of the outdoors? 

 

Before I became a writer I was a visual artist. My mother encouraged my art abilities because learning to read was hard for me and she wanted me to excel in something. I started college as an art major, but switched to getting a teaching degree, specializing in helping children learn to read. I studied pottery, painting, drawing, etching and engraving, and photography. I continued painting and doing photography after college. 

 

The visual arts teach us to look at the world differently. When I gaze at the fresh snow outside my window, I don’t see white snow with gray shadows. I see the sun reflecting golden light on the snow and the light blue shadows infused with violet. When I’m writing, I drew on my background as a painter and photographer to create vivid descriptions that can transport the reader so they can see the scene and feel like they are there.

 

I also love nature and have enjoyed backpacking in the Rocky Mountains and the Bitterroot Mountains. I’ve also gone canoeing in the wilderness Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota. My own experiences of enjoying the beauty of the woods and mountains, cooking over a fire, dealing with bugs and encounters with wild animals—like bears—has also helped me to write more vivid descriptions and write more authentically. 

 

For example, once I was walking along on a narrow wilderness trail in the Rocky Mountains when I came face to face with a large moose coming straight toward me. There was a moment where we both looked at each other in surprise. Then he slipped into the woods before I could move. I was fortunate as moose can be ornery—my father was once chased by one. I drew on that experience as I wrote Call of the Wind. My characters sing and wear bells on their backpacks so they don’t startled wild animals.

 

Did you enjoy reading science fiction as a youth? What was your favorite genre?

 

When I was a child my parents read me fantasy books by George MacDonald such as Back of the North Wind and Princess and the Goblin. They also read me classics like Heidi by Johanna Spyri, which takes place in the mountains of Switzerland. In sixth grade I discovered the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and Gone with the Wind. I also liked Mary Stewart’s mysteries Nine Coaches Waiting and later her Arthurian Saga. Another favorite was The Once and Future Kingby T. H. White. These novels opened the doors to the enjoyment of a good story with wonderful characters that take place in the interesting worlds.

 

My interest in science fiction came later. In the fifties and sixties science fiction was just gaining popularity with nuclear energy and space exploration. Ideas of space, dystopia, robots, computers, and alternate futures became of interest after World War II. The genre was just getting going. I didn’t really get into science fiction until Star Wars came out and sci-fi space operas novels became popular.


***

Thank you so much for your time, Heidi!



Friday, January 21, 2022

Murder by 4: Lost Shots

Murder by 4: Lost Shots:   How long will it take before we can burn images stored in our brain onto a computer? Do you think it will ever come to pass? I hop...

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Murder by 4: For Writers: Updating Your Backlist - Add Some Piz...: by Aaron Paul Lazar, January 2022   So, how do you know when you’ve written enough books? Is it when your muse holds up her hands and says, ...

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

How Covid Affected this Writer

Hello, dear friends and book lovers!

I've been conspicuously absent from... everywhere... this year. If you've missed me, you can read about my life, losses, and books here.

Always, 

Aaron Paul Lazar

www.lazarbooks.com

USA Today Bestselling Author
 
          "If Mark Twain and Mary Higgins Clark got married, their author-child would be Aaron Paul Lazar.” 
 
- Joan Hall Hovey, best-selling author
 
 
I hope you have all emerged from the past year with your health intact and your hearts full of appreciation for what pleasures lie ahead. Please let me know how you're doing by replying to this email - I miss our chats!
 
After giving up so much over the past fifteen months - some lost loved ones to the dreaded disease, suffered in hospitals themselves, and everyone sacrificed freedom and family, things are somewhat settling down, and every little opportunity seems like a gift, doesn't it?
 
My "day" job ended last December (thank you, Covid!), and for several months we suffered untold uncertainty about our future - where we'd live, how we'd survive, etc. But after lots of research and finagling finances, we found a way to stay in our beloved home. Dale and I weren't able to see two of our three girls and five of our seven grandchildren since Christmas of 2019. Since this past May, each time we reconnect with one of them we feel incredibly blessed. We're still waiting to see Melanie and Luke (5) from New Hampshire, but are looking forward to a visit this summer. ;o)
 
Blatant request: I am offering editing services now for fiction, technical, or engineering content. I will help you write your dreamed of novel, get it formatted and published, and put you in touch with cover artists. Or, I can help your engineering firm write reports, specifications, procedures, etc. in straightforward, easy-to-understand formats. If you know anyone who is hiring for part time, remote work, give me a heads up! (Thanks!)
 
 
In spite of the tragic losses of 2019/2020, there were a number of good things that happened. Being isolated with someone you've loved since you were a teenager is a very good thing. Aside from not seeing family and friends, we actually didn't mind hanging out at home one bit. (okay, so we missed eating out, but that was a small price to pay for being safe.) We focused on fixing up our home, cooking fun and healthy meals, obsessively organizing closets, and playing tons of board games with Chris (7) and Joey(5) who fortunately still live with us. They provided such comic relief all year and kept us very busy! I also found a passion in re-purposing old stuff, like our 30-year-old outdoor metal table and chairs. Spray paint in multiple colors is so much fun! ;o) (see the spiderwebs I left on our white iron bench before spraying, below.)
 
Oddly enough, I didn't write a thing.
 
I know, crazy, right? After 29 books, I lost my urge to write and simply focused on other things (like becoming OCD over organizing, as I said above! You should see my tool closet!! LOL.) I suspect the writing bug will return, but I'm not worried about it.
 
As you read this, Pete Milan is recording the audiobook for The Return (book 13 in the LeGarde Mystery series) and it promises to be stellar!
 
Right now, I'm filling the future well of creativity by collecting all the sights, scents, tastes of today. I've been drowning in glorious colors in my gardens, already harvesting veggies galore (squash, peas, beets, greens, basil, etc), and have been manically weeding and mulching. I do love it, and it's good exercise. You'll find an assortment of all kinds of photos inserted in here, from flowers to veggies to book covers. What can I say? It's just who I am. ;o)
 
 
I hope you were able to enjoy your July 4th weekend. Our Independence Day holiday was suffused with sadness. On July 3rd we had to put our beloved Balto to sleep. He was the best family dog ever, and is the model for Gus's new puppy  Siegfried gave him in the last chapter in Murder on the Brewster Flats. He had lost almost all of his faculties at the age of fifteen, and it was time. But he had a wonderful life and provided us with untold joy. Little Amber, his lifelong pal, is confused and lonely. We're giving her extra special love and treats. You may have noticed many of my books are dedicated to "Balto and Amber." It's so hard losing your furry friends, isn't it?
 
 
 
I love sharing my books with readers, and as I've said over the years, the best part of being a writer is connecting with people. I've given tens of thousands of my books away, but now the Lazar coffers are low and I need to try to sell some actual copies, lol. I hope you've enjoyed them, and perhaps you'd like to discover or rediscover some more?
 
Today I'm going to give you links to all five series, and hope you can find something you love for your summer reading fun. ;o)
 

 
Please let me know how you're doing! And if you'd like, I'd love to hear which of the series and/or books are your favorites. I might be coming back to ask you for more ideas, because after 29 stories where almost everything possible happens to my characters, I'm looking for inspiration! ;o)
 
By the way, my email address author@lazarbooks.com hasn't worked in forever. I'm just using aaron.lazar@yahoo.com for now. I've tried half a dozen times to get webs.com to fix it, but it never works, ugh!
 
So if you want to connect, please email me at aaron.lazar@yahoo.com or gusandcamille@yahoo.com. ;o)
 
Take good care! If you haven't been vaccinated, please seriously consider it. And as I always say, take pleasure in the little things!
 
Always,
 
Aaron
 
aaron.lazar@yahoo.com
 
 

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. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming releases.

 

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.” 

Lazarbooks.com



Friday, August 14, 2020

 

Hot off the press - a new boxed set with Devil's Lake (#1), Devil's Creek (#2), and Devil's Spring (#3).  
 
You can save several dollars with this combined set of the first three books in the series. Book 1 is free for now anyway, but books two and three cost $3.99 normally. With this set, you get all three together for $5.99. What a deal! ;o)
 
 
Devil's Lake: 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?
 
Devil's Creek: Grace may have problems, but Anderson Rockwell loves his sassy, spicy, and slightly unfaithful wife. A recovered heroin addict who’s now struggling with sex addiction, Grace tries her best to control her inner demons. She’s relapsing less often, and when she does, she always calls. Until this time.
Time is running out for Anderson to rescue Grace from danger that’s beyond imagination, before the past drowns them both for good. Because this time, it’s personal.
 
Devil's Spring: Grace’s homecoming takes a horrific turn when her daughter and nephew are abducted, sending the family on a frantic search. Several states away, Lollie Belvedere had no idea her adopted children would turn out to be kidnapping victims. But something in her snaps when she’s forced to return the babies—now she’ll do whatever it takes to get them back.
 
Happy Reading!
 
Aaron Paul Lazar
 
 

Friday, August 07, 2020

August 2020 Newsletter

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

FREE audiobooks (limited time)

Hi, folks. 

In the spirit of giving during this trying time, I'm providing copies of all my audiobooks for free. Stop by and snag a free code. A few of the titles have run out of codes (Betrayal and The Liar's Gallery) but keep trying, there are plenty to take advantage of. Happy listening and I hope this provides a bit of comfort and a few thrills during our continued stay-at-home time.

https://bit.ly/2D1KDod 

 Stay safe,

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

Friday, October 04, 2019

Connecting with Fellow Authors - and some books for you!

Hello, writers and readers!

Can you believe it's already October? The summer just flew by, didn't it? We had a wonderful season here in Western NY. Plenty of good "swimming" days and one of the best growing seasons ever. I fed seven different families with my tomatoes and cukes this summer! The weather has been phenomenal, perfect for morning walks, where I snapped this photo of Jerulsalem Artichokes and wild purple asters. 

I'm working on my twenty-ninth book, book 13 in the LeGarde Mystery series. But it's going slowly. Sometimes I feel discouraged, but when I reach out to my author friends, things get better fast. ;o)

One of the best ways to feel connected with other writers is to share in the process of creation and to finish the cycle by reviewing your friends' work. 

Some of my closest writer pals and I swap chapters as we write them. We catch errors and provide feedback to each other as the stories develop. It's incredibly rewarding with well-chosen writing partners.

I also belong to a group of wonderful authors who swap books and post honest reviews for each other. Fortunately, each of the members was carefully selected by our leader and so far I've really enjoyed each title. 

I thought I'd share some of these books and reviews with you today. Sound good?

Happy reading and writing!

Aaron

Aaron Paul Lazar
USA Today Bestselling Author
www.lazarbooks.com

https://www.amazon.com/Reign-Fire-Deep-State-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07MBCJ4JM/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_pdt_img_top?ie=UTF8
Reign of Fire by Casi McClean

Reign of Fire by USA Today bestselling author, Casi McClean, is the first book in the Deep State Mysteries series. Set in dazzling Washington DC, this fast paced mystery is also part political thriller, part steamy romance, and part paranormal.

I’m not going to rehash the plot, because you can easily read about it in the book description or in the many other reviews. I’d rather tell you what I enjoyed.

Several characters dominate the story, including the fiery protagonist, Emily Rose, dynamic detective Ashton Frasier, Emily's murdered twin sister Alyssa, who appears as a spirit, her amazing war veteran brother, Wyatt, and the brave Pets for Vets dog, Duke.

As always, although it wasn’t the primary theme in this story, I absolutely love the elements of the wounded warrior and the dog who I’m hoping will become his best companion in the next books in the series.

I also really appreciated the deep sense of true patriotism shown by the author in her analysis of what’s gone wrong in government, why we need to return to our ideals as a nation, and how the “Deep State” has taken control of so many aspects of our lives purely for power and money. Many of the fundamental ideas discussed by the characters rang true to me and I cheered them on as they tried to “drain the swamp” and expose the sleazy politicians.

While there is a great deal of political theorizing and revelation going on, there are also many action-packed scenes that move the plot forward. My favorite scene was the sting set up between the heroes and the villain in a Washington park at night. The tension was high, the action was well-depicted, and the environment was beautifully described. I felt as if I were right beside Ash and Emily. I could feel the cool March breeze on my face, smell the cherry blossoms, and relate to the adrenaline shooting through the heroes’ veins.

Anyone who reads this first story in the series will want to continue to see what ungodly secrets our new heroic team discovers about our government. I, for one, will be cheering them on throughout the series!


www.casimclean.com

https://www.amazon.com/Overdose-Suspense-Thrillers-Dash-Romance-ebook/dp/B07VP4S6PK/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=overdose+by+uvi&qid=1570205638&s=digital-text&sr=1-1-catcorr

Overdose (Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance Book 3)

Overdose is the third volume in the “Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance” series. I’ve enjoyed all three books and must say this one was just as good if not even a tad better than the others!

Ash is a young college girl to whom terrible things happen, but she always comes through with guts and courage to survive, thrive, and get even with the villains. In this edition, Ash becomes a victim of a very powerful player, whose name I’ve withheld so as not to spoil the story for you!

The characters created by Ms. Poznansky are vivid and truly enjoyable. I especially love the dialog and relationship between Ash and her mother, otherwise known as “Ma.” We didn’t see much of Browny (her beloved dog) in this episode, but I’m sure he’ll be back for more in the future. Love the dog!

After surviving a harrowing ordeal in the last book, where she barely survived a horrible attack and ensuing coma, Ash now suffers from mysterious and frequent headaches with other bizarre symptoms. Buy the book and discover the nefarious plot behind her symptoms that has far-reaching consequences.

I read both the eBook and listened to the new audiobook, which I found extremely well done. The narrator was a pleasure to listen to.

I’ve always enjoyed Ms. Poznansky’s writing. It is smooth, lyrical, and original. Well done!

Highly recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar.

http://uviart.blogspot.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Moon-DeathSpeaker-Codex-Book-ebook/dp/B07Y9Y2KRQ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=dark+of+the+moon+sonya&qid=1570205948&s=digital-text&sr=1-1#reader_B07Y9Y2KRQ

Dark of the Moon (The DeathSpeaker Codex Book 9)

I’ve loved every one of the DeathSpeaker series, in spite of the fact that I don’t normally read this genre. I’m usually an “it’s all mysteries” kind of reader. But it’s the author I love, and her amazing ability to create addictive characters whose worlds become so real you truly think you’re there standing alongside Gideon Black and his family and friends.

In this book, Dark of the Moon, everything is racheted up tenfold! The action, the wild and colorful environments, the emotions…. Oh, the emotions! If you read the last heartbreaking edition, you’ll know what I mean.

Gideon is suffering from a terrible, black-hole kind of loss. His brother, Taeral, died in the last book to save Gideon’s life. This crusty, grumpy, wonderful, and also lovable guy was a huge loss, and I was MAD at Bateman for taking him away from us.

But in this book, well, let me say without spoiling things that Bateman has a chance at redemption.

The vivid descriptions of lands you could never imagine in your whole life, the ACTION (oh my gosh, the action was incredible), the nonstop suspense and the thrills were just out of this world. Well, much of it did happen “out of this world,” but really, no pun intended. ;o)

Give yourself a treat and read what may become your very favorite of all the great books in this series!

www.sonyabateman.wordpress.com

https://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Robert-Sells-ebook/dp/B07KV4RD3K/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=revelations%2C+robert+sells&qid=1570206221&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

Revelations by Robert Sells

Revelations by Robert Sells captured me from page one. The story is full of suspense and doesn’t let up for a minute. I’m normally a “mysteries only” kind of reader, but I made an exception for this book as I’ve enjoyed many of Sells’ previous titles, including Reap the Whirlwind, another story that required incredible imagination. I found Revelations to be engrossing and immensely entertaining.

Robert Sells has a background teaching physics, and his knowledge is beautifully showcased in this book. Not only is he a man of science, but he’s also one heck of a writer.

I loved his ability to put together a story from multiple points of view set over the expanse of the entire nation. His characters jumped off the page, used “true to life” genuine dialog, and made you either root for them or jeer them as the story progressed. Being invested in the characters is the most important element for this reader. If you don’t care about them, you might as well stop reading!

You have to be a bit impervious to gore in certain sections, because the nature of a fight against alien insect-like creatures must, by needs, be brutal!

My favorite characters were by far scientist Aster Worthington and the army Ranger Brock Adamson, who was assigned to help protect her and beat the teeming hive of aliens living in the giant Dome. Loved the oppositional personalities (at first) and the surprising resultant relationship.

Well done, Mr. Sells!

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