Sunday, March 25, 2012

Writing Love Scenes

copyright 2012, Aaron Lazar

When I first started writing the LeGarde Mystery series in 2001, my daughters were teenagers. I was very careful to imply desire, to hint at bedroom scenes, and to be sure all references to intimate sexual relations were confined to a healthy marriage.

After all, I couldn’t let them think that Dad “thought” like that, or that I blithely wrote about all the things about which I constantly warned them.

Raising girls in late nineties and early in the millennium was not easy. Social pressures abounded. From what I heard, most of my daughters’ classmates lost their virginity in middle school, and if you were one of the few who didn’t have a boyfriend, you were an outcast, a reject who wasn’t worthy of friendship.

It drove me nuts.

So I was very careful not to write about things I preached against, and thus my first and even second mystery series were quite wholesome. Not that Gus and Camille had more than a Victorian relationship until they were married. Sure, Gus longed for Camille in a very real and normal fashion. But he respected her past – a sad life with her abusive ex-husband – and he also had trouble ridding himself of his long time allegiance to his wife Elsbeth, who’d passed before the first book was written.

By the time I was working on my third LeGarde book, my star-crossed couple was finally united in marriage, and I wanted to write their honeymoon consummation scene. It was important for me to show Gus’s tenderness and his gentle treatment of his bride. And after all, my fans had been waiting a while for this moment. I had more than a few letters from readers (mostly men), asking when the heck Gus was gonna get the girl, so to speak.

Something funny happened around the time I wrote Mazurka. I realized that my girls were not reading my work, (not much, anyway) nor were they in the least excited about Dad’s writing career, awards, or publishing credits.

No, their lives consisted only of real relationships, school plays, and boys, boys, boys.

How do you think I got this sprinkling of silver on my temples?

As difficult as it was in this phase of their development, it did free me up to write a bit more spontaneously. So I penned the scenes with tasteful romance, including only a few references (again implied) about the actual acts involved.

With a feeling of relief, I just relaxed and where it seemed appropriate, included some new scenes for my readers, including a shower scene after Gus and Camille were almost killed in the underground Parisian Catacombs. It was an affirmation-of-life type of scene, and gave me the freedom to experiment with some scenes.

“The soap and water streamed down her skin, intimate in its contact, curving along her hips and down her thighs to her feet. As we lathered each other, a mad desire to celebrate life consumed me. My lips touched hers. She hesitated for a moment, looked up at me through long, wet lashes, and then kissed me back.
It was different from the first time, almost frantic now. There was no shame in her eyes, no glimmering ghosts of our past. Although some of my injuries ached when we pressed together against the shower wall, the warm, moist coupling washed away the blood and pain.
When it was over, we embraced beneath the spray. Without warning, I choked up. She began to shake and looked at me. I recognized the hot burst of emotion that seared and welled in her eyes.
I fluttered sweet kisses over her mouth so she wouldn’t cry. She circled my waist with her arms, and kissed me back urgently. Dark hair streamed down her back as the water flowed through her sodden curls. She lay her wet face against my shoulder and held me tight.”

By the time I’d written seven more LeGarde Mysteries and three Moore Mysteries (featuring the green marble, a talisman between Sam Moore and his long-dead little brother Billy), I realized no matter how many free copies I’d give my daughters, they just weren’t interested in reading that much. Now they’re all adults with husbands and kids and it was time for me to let loose with whatever I wanted to write. And if they somehow, some day discovered that Dad had thoughts like a real man, well, so be it. LOL.

Next week I’ll write about how to pen love scenes from a woman’s POV, which I’ve done in my new Tall Pines Mystery series (For the Birds, Essentially Yours, Sanctuary) as Marcella Hollister, wife of Quinn and former lover to Sky Lissonneau. When Sky reappears after being MIA for 18 years, Marcella goes through some deep and difficult emotional challenges when he drops back into her life.

In my humble opinion, there’s room for a little romance in almost every genre. Mystery, thrillers, and suspense can all be spiced up a bit without dropping suspense or departing from the main story.

Enjoy your weekend, and remember, if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Three new releases!

Hi, folks.

One of the things we authors occasionally allow ourselves is to post announcements when our new books are released. I realized this week that I've been pretty remiss this spring letting you all know about my newest books. We've got three of the seven new releases out in the stores now, with several more coming soon. I thought the best way to introduce these would be by giving you a short synopsis of each, and a link to an excerpt in case you'd like to read a bit.

Remember, if you love to write, write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar

TERROR COMES KNOCKING (book 2 in Moore Mysteries, sequel to Healey's Cave)
FEB 2012 

Sam’s daughter Beth has been unreachable for days. No ransom note arrives, no kidnappers call. When Beth’s roommate Zafina Azziz arrives on their doorstep worried about Beth, Sam realizes it’s time to call the FBI.

In the midst of the investigation, Zafina’s larger-than-life personality wows Sam’s wife, Rachel, and when brother Hashim Azziz arrives on the scene, she welcomes them with open arms. But Sam thinks there’s something fishy about the woman who slinks around like an Egyptian temptress and her brother with the deadpan eyes.

While the Moores unravel with worry, the green marble—a talisman connected to Sam’s missing little brother—whisks Sam between past and present to reveal the truth about his daughter. Meanwhile, the town goes wild preparing a welcome for the U.S. President who will attend the Arts Center opening gala.

But all is not well in the small village. A bomb explodes in the back of Yasir Khoury's Dry Cleaners, escalating fears of terrorism and anti-Iraqi bigotry. Events grow out of control as the gala grows closer. That’s when Sam learns the awful truth: someone in his hometown plans to blow up the President, along with most of the residents of Conaroga, NY.

Sam fights the tide that threatens to sweep his daughter away, digging deeper into local secrets. When he discovers an unsettling link between his daughter and Zafina Azziz, too many questions arise. Is Zafina friend, or foe? Can Sam unravel the lies in time to save his daughter and the President?


Sam stood over his brother’s grave. A curious combination of sorrow and liberation flitted through him. Like a tapestry of death, its weave created patterns of loss and love that gutted his soul, twisting him inside.

The agony of grieving again for his little brother had hit him hard. Although he’d mourned in stages since Billy disappeared fifty years ago, he’d never had closure. Until now. A week ago, his three best childhood friends admitted to burying Billy’s body in the pool near Healey’s cave. When the boy had slipped from the crossing log and slammed his head in a lethal fall, they’d panicked, afraid of being charged with murder. Their childish fears escalated, and they’d pinned Billy beneath heavy stones, his eyes wide open and dulled, hair waving in the water, skin wrinkled like prunes.

Sam shook himself.

Stop it. Stop torturing yourself.

He glanced at his SUV sitting under the shade a hundred yards away, its four doors gaped open to provide relief from the heat. With her motorized scooter parked alongside, his wife of forty years, Rachel, perched sideways on the passenger seat, a cell phone clamped to her ear. Their grandson Evan rhythmically tossed and caught a softball nearby. They’d accompanied him to the gravesite and had left after his request for a few minutes alone.

To think. To stare at the earth. To remember that the physical markers of Billy’s young life were just that. Placeholders. Reminders. Cold ground and stone.  (read more here)

ESSENTIALLY YOURS (book 2 in Tall Pines Mysteries, sequel to FOR THE BIRDS)
MARCH 2012 

Marcella Hollister’s first love has been MIA for eighteen years, with no confirmation of his death or military desertion. Callie, her quirky best friend and Sky’s sister, flips out when a mysterious package from Sky arrives on her doorstep containing his old backpack. Are these his final effects? Or is he alive?

Marcella and Callie look for clues in the little brown bottles with the colorful labels holding precious essential oils. And what’s with the password-encoded memory stick? Stranger yet, where did Sky get a musty velvet bag filled with emeralds?

When Marcella’s half-Seneca Indian husband Quinn hears about this package from Sky, his jealousy spikes. He and Marcella have been married for seven years, and he’s not about to let some punk from the past mess that up.

When Callie is kidnapped and her older sister is found murdered, a high stakes chase through the Adirondack Mountains begins, where Marcella, Quinn, and Callie’s Bernese Mountain Dog find Sky in the woods, guarding the secrets of an essential oil cancer cure from the goons at MedicuRx a drug company that will lose all if the oil makes it to market. They use every weapon in their arsenal to locate the secret medical records Sky hid on the memory stick.

The foursome search for Callie in the wilderness of the Adirondacks while trying to avoid struggle to keep the data safe and bring Callie home alive.


Callie waved a yellow scarf from her pontoon boat and headed erratically toward my dock. The girl who’d been like a sister to me since I was thirteen had never mastered the art of steering. Matter of fact, she’d avoided getting her driver’s license for the past twenty years, and would probably never drive that old Buick her dotty mother left moldering in the garage.

Shocked to see her outside, I waved back, then swam to the dock and scrambled up the ladder to avoid getting crushed by her two-ton vessel. I grabbed my towel, blotted water from my face and hair, and wrapped it around my new bright pink one-piece suit. I’d been nervous to wear it—I thought it made my thighs look big. But now I’d been caught, and I couldn’t get that towel around me fast enough.

I watched the boat drift closer, shocked at my friend’s appearance. Her face twisted in despair. Her coal black hair hung limp on her shoulders, and her eyes puffed red. Instantly, my brain ran through the possibilities.

What got her out of the house? (read more here)

 DOUBLE FORTE', author's preferred edition. (Book 1 in LeGarde Mysteries)
FEB 2012

Gus LeGarde is mourning the loss of his wife Elsbeth, who leapt from the Letchworth Gorge cliffs four years ago. He plays endless Chopin etudes on his antique piano and lavishes love on his family and dog, but nothing buries the pain or answers the burning questions.

Why didn’t she say goodbye? What prompted her to jump? And how will he be able to live life without her?

Harold, Gus’s arrogant son-in-law, is caught in several love affairs, and begins to verbally abuse Freddie, Gus’s daughter. With a two-year-old grandson in the mix, Gus worries it’s escalating and warns Harold that he’ll be out of the house the next time he messes up.

When Harold’s law partner goes missing, a police search in the Gus’s woods reveals a shocking find. The mystery deepens, the plot twists and turns, and Gus’s innocent friend is set up to take the fall. In the deep cold of winter, threats erupt from the dark woods, spinning events out of hand, and Gus braces for the fight of his life.

DOUBLE FORTE', Chapter One:

We’d been skiing across the snow-covered field for twenty minutes when I heard the howl. The sound echoed over the frozen landscape, sending chills down my spine. Was it a coyote? A wolf?

I turned to Siegfried, my best friend and brother to my deceased wife. “Did you hear that, Sig?”

He slid to my side in a white spray of snow, courtesy of the fresh powder that coated the two-foot base. It had been swirling white since we started out in the murky dawn, hoping to get some exercise before we started our busy Saturday.

He slowly shook his massive head. “No, Professor. Was hörten Sie?”

At six-eight, Sig was taller than me. With broad shoulders, huge hands, and tree trunk legs, this man who’d stood by my side since childhood appeared a gladiator among normal men. But I knew his secret. He was an angel on earth, put here for the animals and children, sent to teach us how to be better people. I loved him fiercely, and he’d been my friend since I was five.

We listened at the crest of the hill. I pulled back my hood, but the biting cold of the January gusts sliced into my face and neck, numbing my skin. This windy ridge, which overlooked the east side of the gently rolling Genesee Valley, boasted the most beautiful view for miles. Today I was almost too cold to notice.

“I’m not sure, buddy. It was a—”

The cry came again. This time it was louder, more plaintive. (read more here)


Monday, March 12, 2012

Papa Jay's - a huge surprise, right in my own backyard!

copyright 2012, Aaron Paul Lazar

When I headed out for my book signing yesterday, I didn't have high hopes for sales. After all, Papa Jay's is a small local restaurant that had just opened a year ago, and -- embarrassed as I am to admit it -- I hadn't really noticed it in my travels. I vaguely remembered an old collision shop used to sit on that lot. But I had met the owner, Papa Jay, himself, when I stopped by a few weeks earlier to drop off my book. It was Monday, and the restaurant was closed. But Jay, his wife Kathy, and his children were taking down the outdoor Christmas decorations on that cold and sunny day, and it seemed like they were having fun. We chatted for a few minutes, and I immediately liked Jay, whose warm persona sparkled from his eyes.

What I did have high hopes for was a good time. I'd be joining my long time family friend Rob Sells, who I really hadn't spent quality time with in years, but whose first book, a historical adventure entitled RETURN OF THE WHITE DEER, had just been released. Together, we'd sit and chat about the world or writing, meet a few nice folks, and hopefully sell a few books.

I'd envisioned the interior to be like a small diner. You know what I mean, right? I pictured booths and formica tables and a few waitresses bopping between the tables. What I hadn't expected was to be completely astonished by the transformation of this old garage into what I now will consider my local oasis for comfort food with a gourmet twist, at fast food prices!

When I entered with my books in hand yesterday morning, I was thrilled to see a beautiful table set up for Rob and me. Right up front - not set in the back corner. A red tablecloth and two potted mini rose plants adorned the table. Rob and his wife Dale (who has the same first name as my wife!) were already setting up when I got there. But I just stood and stared--totally unprepared for the scene. Behind our table nestled a comfy couch and chairs in front of a gas fireplace, all arranged around a coffee table, with plenty of end tables to set your coffee or brown sugar drenched corn cake on. (I can't wait to try that!)

To the left of the high-ceilinged room was the ice cream counter and ordering area. All ice cream is homemade, and I know where we'll be this summer! Behind a counter -- which happened to be laden with goodies like cookies the kids had just pulled out of the oven and that afore-mentioned corn cake -- stood a smiling young woman, taking orders.

The menu was scrawled on large blackboards that plastered the walls behind the counter - with an array of soups that made me salivate (try the spicy potato! Mmm...) and enough choices of what all the customers are calling "real food" that you couldn't possibly go away disappointed. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered, with homemade pies and mile high sandwiches.

Strategically placed about the space, which included the front room I've just described and a cavernous and beautifully done back room filled with nooks and tables for plenty of patrons, were large glass coolers of ice water, complete with tall stacks of glasses for customers to help themselves and quench their thirst. I'm a huge ice water fan, and loved the idea that I could fill my glass to my heart's content at any time without having to bother the servers.

The place was packed, Rob and I both sold a very respectable number of books, had wonderful converstations with friends old and new, and we were fortunate to sample some of the delicacies, like Jay's clam chowder, fresh baked cookies, and the truly delicious homemade poppy seed dressing. I felt so at home there that I could picture myself sitting by the fire with a nice cup of mint tea, writing my next chapter. I can't wait to go back and sample more. ;o)

So, once again I was humbled. I used to think I should focus on selling books at book stores, my winery niches, and vendor sales. I hadn't considered restaurants. Even after eight years of selling books, I'm still learning.

Many thanks to Dale Sells for setting this all up, to Rob for inviting me, and to Jay, Kathy, and their family for having us there yesterday.

If you're anywhere in the Geneseo, NY area, be sure to stop by and pay a visit to Papa Jay's!

Check out the video here.

Aaron Lazar