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!

JOIN OUR AUDIOBOOK EVENT!!

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https://www.facebook.com/events/911642219210617/


Friday, June 14, 2019

Coming Clean...and Queen





Hello, friends!

For the past year I've been trying to gloss over what was happening to me when I posted. After all, who wants to hear about a writer who's too sick to write??? Sure, I mentioned a bit about the strange form of esophageal reflux I had (LPRD) but I really didn't share the whole truth. Now that I've had surgery and am feeling pretty darned good again, I thought I'd "come clean."

So, it's a long and complicated story, but I'll try to spare you the gory details. After one year, eight very specialized "specialists," a gazillion tests that were absolutely not fun, and multiple appointments every week, I'm finally getting back to my old self. Since last May I could barely walk to the mailbox and back without getting horribly out of breath and coughing up a storm. I was even breathless when I bent over to tie my shoes! Ack! And I could barely get out to the garden to pick my beautiful tomatoes. My flower beds and veggie garden sported four foot high weeds...a nightmare for the gardener in me. They put me on oxygen at night and tried to figure out why my O2 dropped to 75 every time I did any little thing. On top of that, work cut me to half time due to business pressures, and we have been seriously struggling ever since.     
 

Well, long story short, they found that although I have existing issues with scarring in the lungs, and I've always had big time asthma, the whole mess was exacerbated by tons of acid coming up from my stomach and going down into my lungs. So, I got fundoplication surgery ("toupet" variety, this is where they fix the esophagus/stomach interface to make the valve stronger) on April 3rd. I was back to work 3 weeks later, and now at 9 weeks later I'm so sore all over I can barely move, because I WEEDED my gardens for hours and hours every day this past weekend! Woo hoo! I know that's a weird thing to be happy about, but I was outside! I was in the sunlight and felt the fresh breeze on my skin! And guess what? In mid-May, I planted my garden full of tomatoes, kale, collards, squash, melons, cukes, beets, beans and more. ;o) Everything's doing great and we even had a few strawberries this week. The flower pix I'm inserting within here are all my morning walks through my flower beds - they have been the most lush I've ever seen this year. ;o)  

I honestly thought my gardening and writing days were over, which I'm sure contributed to the deep depression. Thank goodness, that's over.  

So, I guess you could say, I'm "back." And although last year I didn't have any energy or even care about writing much, now I've got the writing bug back and I'm planning the next Gus LeGarde mystery. I have ideas that are starting to gel, and some of them will be based a little bit on stuff that happened to me.  

No, Gus and his family won't be getting sick. My gosh, I've had enough of that! But I think my Chopin-lovin' guy is going to fall in love with some rock music that might surprise you. I'm tempted to tell you all about it, shall I? I know this article is already too long by conventional standards, but here goes.

When I was in college for engineering (1973-81) I basically tuned out modern day music. I turned back to classical, started playing my Chopin waltzes and mazurkas again, and went nuts for opera, finding and falling in love with the best tenors and sopranos. It goes without saying, Pavarotti was my all time favorite. My wife and I had loved rock and blues and folk in the sixties and early seventies. We went to all the concerts. We saw Led Zep in 1969, as well as tons of other "new" British bands who performed in Boston in tiny little clubs. Oh, we just loved The Doors, Stones, Beatles, Jeff Beck, J.Geils, PP&M, Rod Stewart, Traffic, and so many more cool bands. But we thought it all ended there and that "nothing" in modern day (translate that to 1973 and beyond) rock would ever, ever touch the beauty of the bands we already loved. 




Boy, were we wrong.  

Dale and I saw Bohemian Rhapsody a month ago. We had known absolutely nothing about the band Queen. Nothing! Okay, so a few songs like "We Are the Champions" and "We Will Rock You" were familiar from television, etc. But we both were absolutely seriously and fundamentally moved by that film, and immediately watched the live concert, then bought the greatest hits album. Now I play these tunes EVERY SINGLE day on my way to work, and while I'm weeding outside, and while on the treadmill, etc. My wife is doing the same and blasts them from our apple TVs. We are so hooked And I'm just amazed at how incredible the musicianship is, including the beautiful ballads, complex harmonies, arpeggios that make my spirit soar, and of course, the driving beat. Wow. Now we discovered (yes, we were absolutely like aliens coming down to earth for the first time in this regard!) that there's another "greatest hits II" album and a ton of individual albums as well. Can't wait to explore them all.

Just imagine Gus tooling down the country roads with hard rock blasting out of his car windows. I can just see the looks on his students' faces as he pulls into the school parking lot. Heh heh.  

What else will happen in this new book? What about Sig and Lily, who are pregnant with their first child? Now living in their new log cabin, Sig and Lily will have their baby (boy or girl? What's your guess?), Shelby will get into a lot more trouble than usual, and there will be a new creepy neighbor who buys the old Marggrander farm next to Gus. We have to have a villain, right? So stay tuned for more as I start writing this one soon. ;o)

Speaking of rock music, have you read Spirit Me Away? This LeGarde Mystery takes place in Boston in 1969 (when I lived there) and is full of hippies, music, and mysteries galore. Gus even gets chased by a peacock while trying to rescue Elsbeth. And yes, that also happened to me. LOL. I'll tell you about it some day.
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Here's a bit about the story:
Boston, Massachusetts: It’s the summer of ’69—the parks are flooded with flower children and a hot new band called Led Zeppelin is set to appear at the Boston Tea Party. But for one newlywed couple just beginning their lives together, there will be no peace.

In the cradle of sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll, Gus and Elsbeth LeGarde are music students attending the New England Conservatory of Music, after a wedding kept secret from their families. When they discover a bruised and sobbing teenage girl on the Boston Commons who can’t remember who she is, or how she got there, the couple decides to “adopt” her to help uncover her identity.

But Gus and Elsbeth aren’t prepared to be plunged into a violent world of rape, abuse, and a ring of white slave traders who’ll stop at nothing to take back their property—or to acquire new flesh in the form of Gus’s beautiful young bride.

At times nostalgic, heart-stopping, and breathlessly dramatic, Spirit Me Away is a thrilling romantic mystery set against the colorful backdrop of the sixties—with an unforgettable conclusion at the greatest rock festival of all time.

Chapter 1
June 28, 1969

The girl slumped on a park bench clutching a battered old guitar case. Long copper curls tumbled forward in an untidy mass, nearly obscuring her eyes. She covered her face with her hands, and it was at that moment I noticed her shoulders shaking.

The poor thing was crying.

Concerned, I stepped closer to the balcony railing to get a better look, wondering what was wrong.

I’d just wandered out to our terrace after working for two solid hours on my music theory homework. I needed fresh air, because I didn’t think my brain could process any more post tonal theory, 12-tone series, octotonic scales, or especially the impossible analysis of Bartok's String Quartet Number 4, first movement. And although the scenes on the Boston Public Garden were usually quite lively, filled with hippies sitting cross-legged on the grass, mothers pushing strollers, and dogs chasing Frisbees, I hadn’t expected to see this poor creature sobbing on the park bench.

I called to Elsbeth, who’d been playing a salty Brazilian tango on our beat-up baby grand. “Honey? Can you come here for a minute?”

The expression in Elsbeth’s dark eyes swung from musical enchantment to mild curiosity. She pushed back from the piano and joined me on the balcony. “What is it?”

I pointed to the girl. “Over there.”

My wife peered across Beacon Street to the sidewalk bordering the park, where the girl sat on the bench, weeping harder now.
“Oh, the poor thing. Another lost flower child.”

“Yeah.” A pang of empathy banged through me, which was always a bad sign. It meant I’d probably do something I’d regret. 
Regardless, I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the girl, who looked to be about our age, maybe eighteen or twenty. She wore typical hippie garb, like most of our Bean Town flower children, with patched bellbottom jeans, sandals, a tie-dyed tee shirt, and a suede vest with beaded fringe.

I slid my arm around Elsbeth’s waist, watching the street below bustling with activity. Groups of vibrant young hippies, flowing with beads, long hair, and whorls of colorful fabric, tripped and laughed, floating across the park to gather and play music.

Fat pigeons gathered and cooed at the girl’s feet, as if in tune with her sorrow. Their green metallic feathers winked in the sunlight. 

Strains of the Doors’ “Break on Through” wafted from someone’s transistor radio. Taxis, cars, and buses engorged with passengers trundled past, honking and billowing black smoke. Throngs of businessmen hurried through the park, dressed in neatly pressed suits and crisp white shirts, ignoring the forlorn figure on the bench.

No one stopped. 

No one gave her a second glance. 

I turned to my wife. “We can’t leave her there.”

“I know.” She grabbed my hand, pulling me toward the door. “Come on.”




Donations to Pets for Vets
Remember the Love Under Fire boxed set, with 21 books? It was only available for a short time, and we told you we'd give half of our profits to Pets for Vets. I promised the pictures when they were available.;o) 
We were honored when Kathryn Knight, one of our authors, presented this wonderful organization with $1,725.00 in their Maine chapter. Two of the other authors in the set just presented our other donation...another check for $1,725.00 to Pets For Vets, Washington, D.C. Chapter! Thank you to everyone who helped raise this money, and if you'd like to learn more about the set and support the authors involved, you can read more here.
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Following are a few deals from author friends. Enjoy!
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DO NO HARM is an extraordinary, limited collection of medical thrillers written by USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Amazon best-selling authors!

And check out this FREE story by wonderful author and artist, Uvi Poznansky. 
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IN SUMMARY...
Thanks for reading my rant today. I know many of you are amazingly supportive folks who I consider friends, so thanks again for all you do to pass on the word of this starving artist!  

Send me an email if you have any comments, ideas for Gus's new book, or questions. If you don't know this already, I LOVE hearing from my readers. It's the best part of being an author.

Best always,


Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com
aaron dot lazar@yahoo.com