Thursday, December 17, 2015

Review for Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy's Curse, book by Stephanie Osborn, review by Aaron Lazar have always loved Sherlock Holmes stories. As a teen, I read The Hound of the Baskervilles and was immediately hooked. As an adult, I continue to read or watch stories featuring Holmes, whether from the eyes of Mary Russell (Laurie R. King) or those of the modern day Sherlock in Stephanie Osborn’s The Displaced Detective series. To date, I have been particularly enamored with the contemporary BBC series featuring Sherlock Holmes, and anticipate each new episode’s release.But now I have a new favorite – The Gentleman Aegis series, starting with book 1: Sherlock Holmes and the Mummy’s Curse.

It’s almost like going full circle, because this book is written in a style unique to the Victorian era, not unlike that first Sherlock book I read as a youth. Aside from a riveting good tale, replete with a wonderful mystery steeped in ancient cultures and vibrant personalities, this book stands out from the usual offerings in contemporary fiction.

Readers like to be brought right into the scene when they’re reading a book. They like to feel “present” in the moment, to feel the character’s joy and discomfort, to hear the sounds of the forest, or to taste the piquancy of a freshly made sauce. It’s not something a lot of writers can pull off – but in this case, Ms. Osborn has accomplished this both elegantly and with great style.

Part of the reason is because Ms. Osborn uses dialect and phrases that match the decade in which her story takes place. The societal norms, everyday phrases, science of the day, the medical treatments, the objects, the clothing, food, the methods of transportation, even the curses, are all genuine to the times. The research behind these elements must have been gargantuan.

Another component that brought this story to life is the richness of linguistics, in other words, the frequent phrases in unique languages such as Portuguese, French, and Arabic. With a good set of footnotes at the end, there is no doubt what each of these phrases meant. However, in most cases it was easy to discern the meaning by the context in which the phrases were used.

Now on to the plot and characters, both of which mesmerized this reader. The local color of Egypt and the all-time favorite topic of mummies, lost pharaohs, scarabs, ancient curses, and the like would be enough to hook me. But add to that a splendid cast of offbeat and delightful characters, each bent on their own agenda, and a wonderful unrequited love subtheme, and Ms. Osborn has created a genuine treasure with this story.

The characters of Holmes and Watson were charmingly delineated, each with distinctive voices and accompanying actions. Never for one moment did I doubt that they were “real”; they convinced me from the very first chapter. I rooted for them every step of the way, and could only relax when they were safe and sound back in London, ready to chase their next adventure.

Bravo, Ms. Osborn, and thank you for a beautifully rendered book. 

(Click in book cover above for link!)

Aaron Paul Lazar

Thursday, November 26, 2015

*** FIVE FIRSTS FREE *** 11/27 and 11/28 only.

Hi, folks!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are still enjoying the leftovers, too!

We had a good crowd at our house, and I cooked up a storm, like I do every year. I love it.

Today and tomorrow I'm doing something I've never done before. I'm giving away FIVE of my Kindle eBooks at the same time. These are the first books in each of my series. Each series has won numerous literary awards, which is amazing, since I guess maybe I don't stink too badly at this job. ;o)

Here's a bit about them:
Double Forté - from the ten-book LeGarde Mystery series set in the beautiful Genesee Valley, this is a family-centric, wholesome, old-fashioned mystery series full of great characters, music, nature, food, and of course, the obligatory nasty villains.  Double Forté is a satisfyingly riveting tale with an appealing hero, whose love of music and gourmet food is as fundamental as his courage.” Laurel Wemett, Finger Lakes Magazine
Gus LeGarde’s life essentially ended four years ago, when his beloved wife leapt to her death. Today, Gus lavishes love on his family, trying to bury the pain. But trouble arrives when his arrogant son-in-law’s business partner goes missing, and Gus’s innocent friend is set up to take the fall.
The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave) - from the Green Marble Mystery series, a three-book time travel series featuring Sam and Rachel Moore. Wholesome, family-centric, featuring flashbacks to the fifties and even a ghost, this series is told from the point of view of a garden-loving, retired family doctor who can't seem to avoid trouble. "Beautifully descriptive, the characters were real, the dialog totally believable, the action exciting. At the same time, the story was insightful and thought-provoking. Highly recommended." Joan Hall Hovey, bestselling author

When Sam Moore discovers a peculiar green marble in his garden, it links him to his vanished little brother and thrusts him back in time, where he battles a faceless serial killer to untangle the maddening mystery and stop the murder of his beloved grandson.
For the Birds - from the four-book Tall Pines Mysteries series set in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, this series is a contemporary, sexy set of mysteries with a touch of the paranormal. Told from a woman's point of view, these books take the "heat level" up a notch from LeGarde Mysteries and the Green Marble Mysteries.  

For the Birds, by Aaron Paul Lazar was one of the most unique and refreshing mysteries I’ve read in a long time—with a huge surprise ending.” - Marilyn Meredith, the author of Angel Lost.

When Marcella Hollister’s prize parakeet gets zapped by a wayward power line in the same pool as her mother, the ensuing psychic link helps Marcella chase her mother’s kidnappers through the Adirondack Mountains, where she unearths a fifty-year-old secret about her dear father with shocking links to a hidden treasure.
Devil's Lake - from the Bittersweet Hollow romantic suspense series, these books are set in Vermont and were inspired by true events. "Loved this book! DEVIL'S LAKE is a riveting read, and It could have been ripped from today's headlines." Joan Hall Hovey, Canada's best selling, award-winning Mistress of Suspense. (Spice level: high)

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?
The Seacrest - from the new love story series, Paines Creek Beach, this sensual story set on beautiful Cape Cod will capture your heart while maybe even adding some sizzle to your love life. (Spice level: high) The Seacrest is a poignant love story that will have you reaching for the tissues. Every woman needs a Finn McGraw!” – Victoria Howard, bestselling romantic suspense author of RING OF LIES and more.

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees. 

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.


Well, there you have it! Five Firsts Free. I don't know if I'll ever do this again, so I hope you can take advantage of it and enjoy yourself with plenty of choices of genre and style. Either way, happy reading!

Take care, and enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend,

Aaron Lazar


Mystery, suspense, adventure, romance, thrillers, and a few paranormal thrills propel readers through the Genesee Valley, Adirondack Mountains, Cape Cod, and even Paris, the city of lights...You'll fall in love with the characters and love to hate the villains. Check out the eBooks, paperbacks, and audio books available everywhere books are sold. 

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.” 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Write LIke the Wind, volume 1, just released!
Love to write? Always wanted to try? Check out this updated writing guide, just released. Now available on Amazon, with 30% more articles, updated links, and guest essays by best selling authors. 

Ever wish you could peer into the brain of a published author and learn what tips he’s absorbed over the years? How did he get where he is? How many times did he submit manuscripts before he sold his books?

Or maybe you’d like to delve into the psychology of writing, and learn what motivates him. How does he balance life with writing? How can regular tweeting help?

In volume 1 of WriteLike the Wind, Lazar offers advice on “forbidden words”, “hooking your reader”, and “writing like you talk.” These hard skills are complemented by recommendations for promotion, such as “writing reviews to build your platform” and step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for a radio show.

Join award-winning mystery author Aaron Paul Lazar as he shares the cream of the crop from seven years of writing blogs in this fresh and unique offering of advice for fellow scribes. 

Thanks to Michael Prescott, Uvi Poznansky, Christine Amsden, and Mayra Calvani for their wonderful guest essays in this first volume. Stay tuned for articles by Stephanie Osborn, Polly Iyer, Dora Machado, Joan H. Young, and more in the next two volumes. ;o)
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review for The Music of Us, Still Life With Memories, book 3 by Uvi Poznansky
When I write a book review, I don’t like to rehash the plot—that information is easily accessible in the book description. What I prefer is to share how the book made me feel, and what I valued between its covers.

Uvi Poznansky is a literary tour de force in a contemporary age when the quality of writing often takes a back seat to the quick thrill, or to be more precise, the quick buck. She writes as she paints, with careful, vibrant strokes of amazing clarity and color. Whether you are a reader or writer, teacher or student, you owe it to yourself read her work. You will be transported to a world where life is examined from a poet’s point of view, where you live in vignettes so real that you can’t help but love and care for the characters.

I have read all of Poznansky’s work, but this book resonated more deeply with me than all the previous titles, which I truly enjoyed. I suppose it is because I am an inveterate romantic. I ached for the young, “flashback” characters to come together. I shouted at them to wake up and smell the coffee when they missed opportunities to get together, and I reveled in the sweet endings when they finally connected.

The atmosphere of the 1940s is beautifully portrayed, and on a secondary level only to the (mostly) unrequited love story, it was my next treasured experience while reading this book. I loved the sounds and sights of the era, the music, the cars, and the lifestyles so well depicted. It was a fascinating dip into the life of those dynamic times.

If you are aching for a lyrical read, for something above and beyond the usual offerings in the field of fiction, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Uvi Poznansky’s The Music of Us.

--Aaron Paul Lazar 

P.S. And don't you just love that cover art? Uvi is an amazing artist, as well. Check  out her website at:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I Believe in Heaven by Aaron Lazar

I believe in Heaven with all my heart.

I firmly believe we all rise to our next life when we die to be with Jesus and our loved ones who have passed before us.

And I know my mother’s having a blast up there since she passed on June 13th this year.

When my father died in 1997, he “visited” me three days later in a dream. It was to comfort me, to tell me he was okay. I appreciated that, and have had many such dreams in the eighteen years since. We have long conversations and fun visits in my dreams. I know some folks might think it was self-soothing or wishful thinking, but I really think my father’s reaching out to me. I still miss him so much, and I feel him in my everyday life—all the time.

But my mother hasn’t shown up in my dreams for seven long weeks. I kept praying for a dream that would reconnect us. But she didn’t come through. Until last night.

My mother, sister and I walked along a winding dirt road in the woods. It was beautiful, and somehow I knew I’d been there before. I thought maybe I’d ridden horses on it in my past, and kept trying to figure it out. My mother walked along with healthy strides, and to my surprise, she looked like the teenage picture we discovered of her in all the photos that we’d never seen from her basement. Long dark hair, curled so prettily, a lovely face with bright blue eyes…Tall and slim, she was dressed to the nines, with a dark skirt and fitted jacket. Very stylish, don’t-you-know?

We approached a river that flooded over the road. It was deep, churning, and a little bit scary. My sister and I swam across it, and looked back at my mother, who hadn’t yet reached the crossing. We grew nervous, wondering if she would be able to make it. And then we both decided that, yes, she could do it. And she did.

She easily crossed over, just before a big turquoise tidal wave crested and rolled over. We watched it, but it didn’t harm us.

Then we ended up in a cafeteria-style restaurant looking at quinoa and lentil something or other, and I had to find a bathroom. Okay, so that part comes in all my dreams. LOL.

I think this dream was her way of telling us it is okay to move past the horrible, paralyzing grief that has gripped us in its clutches since she passed. She wants us to move past that river, to embrace life, to try to find happiness and joy again.

I can’t promise that the pain will lessen so quickly, as a matter of fact, I know it will take years and years. I now remember why I recognized that long dirt road—it was the path we took when my father died, the road we traveled to come to terms with his leaving us (temporarily, of course). I know we’ll meet again, and I look forward to that reunion with all my heart.

So, Mum. I understand now that you have been having too much fun up in Heaven to come visit me in my dreams, and that’s okay. I’m sure you’ve been reconnecting with loved ones and your beloved animals, that Dad has been cooking you some amazing soups, that you’ve been enjoying Heaven’s weed-free flower gardens, taking long walks with Trixie, and enjoying chatting with your parents and extended family. It’s a good sign that you’re finding your next life incredibly fulfilling and wonderful. So, I forgive you for waiting seven weeks. ;o) And make sure you come back soon, because, damn it, this is really hard.

Aaron Paul Lazar

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Mother's Shirt

I hung my mother’s favorite shirt in my closet last week. Bright and airy, with pastel stripes, it reminds me of her. It smells like her. And every so often, I go in and hold it close, needing to remember her scent, to feel her presence.

Of course, I know she’s with me, all around me. I know her spirit is free and out of pain. I know she loves me and watches from on high. But somehow, I need this physical reminder of her, this piece of airy fabric that I remember her wearing so often.

My mother was sweet and funny and oh-so-practical. She had great common sense and a contagious love for life. She taught me well, and I see much of her in myself: that passion for a pastoral scene, for kids, for animals, for food, for anything to do with nature. Yes, that all came from her.

I’ve been catching up on laundry, hanging up my own shirts in front of hers. And today, as if afraid I’d lose her more than I already have, I frantically moved her shirt to the front of the closet again. Afraid it would be lost behind my boring dark-colored shirts. Afraid she’d disappear a little more.

I want her to come to me in dreams, like my father did when he died eighteen years ago. But she hasn’t appeared yet. It’s been five weeks. I think she’s having too much fun reconnecting with her loved ones, but especially with all her animals. Heidi, Trixie, Lil Sis, Mama Kitty, Red, Tag…they are all up there, crowding around her, loving her. And I’m sure she’s smiling from ear-to-ear, enjoying her reunion. I think she’s even petting our old tiger cat, Leprechaun, who had beat-up ears, a stick-out tongue, and some naughty habits I won’t elaborate on here.

I believe she’s sad to be parted from those of us who are still on earth, but she also knows that we’ll meet again. And that probably sustains her, like it will me when the raw, aching pain lessens. I'm trying. I really am.

I love you, Mum. 

Aaron Paul Lazar

Friday, June 05, 2015

A New Writing Contest!

Writing contest for Mystery / Thriller stories “Fated Paradox” Inkitt's latest contest is open for submissions!

What is Inkitt?

Inkitt is a free writing platform that helps authors reach their full potential. Users collaborate with fellow writers and readers to give each other feedback and improve their work. Inkitt's vision is to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet, without having to jump through the fiery hoops of traditional publishing or wade in the shark-infested waters of self-publishing. They are opening a new writing contest for entries in June.

Mystery and Thriller - Fated Paradox

The theme for the contest is “Fated Paradox: Tales of gripping suspense”. They want you to keep them on the edge of their seats with your best mystery and thriller stories. Submit accounts of murders and red herrings, or have them biting their nails over stories full of adrenaline and espionage. Leave them breathless with your tales of unmatched suspense.

What are the guidelines?

They accept original fiction stories of any length. Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible. The contest opens on June 4th and closes on July 4th. The contest is completely free to enter, and authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest. The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

What are the prizes?

1st Prize: $50 cash, 5 printed copies of the winning story with custom Typography (created by Inkitt’s designer).
2nd Prize: $40 cash
3rd Prize: $20 cash

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Twitter Handle: @Inkitt
Hashtag: #FatedParadox

Friday, May 29, 2015

Name That Hurricane! (for my next book)

Hello, all!

It's been a crazy season in my author's life, as well as in "real" life. But the garden's in, my mom's surgery is over, and we're fully enjoying life with my daughter and her one year-old-son. (We adore that baby boy!) I've also released the sequel to Devil's Lake, entitled Devil's Creek, and am on the way to finishing up another sequel as well.

This time it's The Seacroft, which follows The Seacrest (a love story set on Cape Cod). We haven't finalized the cover art yet, but then again, I'm only halfway through the story. ;o) Here's how you can help! 

NAME THE HURRICANE: I need to choose a fictitious hurricane name. I've decided to stick with "D" names, and you can vote on it here: NAME THE HURRICANE 

YOUR HURRICANE STORIES: I need descriptions of hurricanes, and if you've lived through one on Cape Cod, even better! I want my readers to feel the wind, hear the howls, and be shocked at the destruction that follows.

My main protagonist (Vivian) is escaping from a mansion on Cape Cod (bay side). The hurricane is raging. A big elm tree goes down in front of her. The shed door flies off sails across the yard. It's dark, almost blindingly so with heavy downpours and a sideways wind that is howling like mad. She is seeking shelter outside the mansion, because she found the guy she likes in bed with their boss lady (LOL). Plywood loosens off window in garage, pinwheels across the yard. She's going to sleep for a while in the garage, then head out to her mother's nursing home at daylight, but the storm will still be continuing. I'll show her making her way through the horrors, then I'll show the aftermath in the community. I think we'll have flooding in the nursing home and she'll have to get her mother to the higher elevations in the building. ;o) So, any details you might like to share like that would be great!

Thanks in advance, and feel free to add your memories in the comment section, below!

Have a great weekend,

Aaron Lazar

“Addictive, award-winning fiction.” 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Seven "Secrets" - from me to you

Writer extraordinaire, Polly Iyer, tagged me to list 7 things about my writing people might not know. So, here I go, revealing my deepest secrets!

1) In Double Forté, my first book, I didn't have a love interest for poor Gus LeGarde, who has been mourning the loss of his soul mate for four long years. My wife convinced me that he NEEDED someone, so I came up with Camille, Gus's secretary's daughter who splits her time between counseling teens and coaching the drama club.

2) I rewrote Upstaged a few years ago, and changed the name of the darling Down Syndrome character, Ethel, to Cindi. I also changed the plot and let her live. In the end, I couldn't bear to have her fall victim to that horror show of a psycho. 

3) Mazurka was written based on my experiences when I lived in Germany. It features all my sensory memories from Paris, Germany, and Austria. 

4) Tremolo features a script that my maternal grandfather used when showing his slides of the life of his Magnolia tree. He chronicled all of the stages of his beloved tree, and had lovely words to go with the photos. I still haven't found the slides, but I have his notes. Oscar Stone is the reincarnation of my grandfather in all LeGarde Mysteries, and he's the one who delivers this slide show to the guests at Loon Harbor. 

5) For the Birds was my first book written from a woman’s POV. Most of my fans say I did a pretty good job getting into a woman’s head – LOL. But I had lots of experience because I lived with my wife, mother in law, and three daughters! I wrote this book because I had a vivid dream about Ruby (a ring necked parrot) where I was taking her to a bird show in the Adirondacks. I couldn't get it out of my head!

6) I found a real green marble in my garden one day which prompted me to imagine Healey’s Cave, the first of the “green marble” mysteries. My wife urged me to write segments from “the killer’s POV” and thus I had to get into the head of a very nasty villain. ;o)

7) I fell in love with Young Living Essential Oils when I was writing the sequel to For the Birds, Essentially Yours. It was just natural that my characters also discovered and learned about the oils and their amazing properties! 

I tag Holly Jacobs, Barb Caffrey, Dora Machado, Kim Smith, Uvi Poznansky, Eileen Register, Maria Dougherty-De Vivo to answer these questions about themselves!

You can see all my books at:

Thursday, April 09, 2015

FOR KEEPS: A Sam Moore Mystery - FREE DOWNLOAD through 4-13-15!

Hi, folks. I like to share any deals with you as they come along - and this one is already in full swing. You can get a free download of FOR KEEPS today through April 13th at FOR KEEPS is part of the Moore Mysteries series (otherwise known as the "green marble mysteries") and can be easily read as a standalone.

Here's a link: 


When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel, the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleague whose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam in med school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat.

Sam’s world falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in the laundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world of denial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up in the very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago. Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, who communicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Sam through time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past.

Sam’s plan: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life. 

2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category

What they're saying:

“An emotional roller-coaster ride: well-plotted, well-planned, and one of the best mysteries I have read to date. An accomplished author with a grand novel under his belt about loss, renewal, death, love, and what really matters to us all.” 

- M. Kim Smith

“Aaron Paul Lazar's deft paranormal mystery starts off quietly and builds to a powerful finish. More than a thriller, For Keeps is a heartfelt story of love and devotion, family ties and emotional crisis, loss and redemption. A winner!”

- Best selling author, Michael Prescott

“Lazar does it again with Sam Moore's explosive return in FOR KEEPS, a story of sordid pasts, buried secrets, and ultimately, true love. This tale will break your heart--and then tenderly stitch it back together--all while you're biting your nails to the quick. Every book in the Moore Mysteries series just keeps getting better!

- Sonya Bateman, author of Master of None & Master and Apprentice

Read an excerpt here.  

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, 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 and watch for his upcoming releases, THE SEACROFT: a love story and DEVIL’S CREEK.

Monday, March 23, 2015

An Excerpt from Pam of Babylon by Suzanne Jenkins (from the At Odds With Destiny Book Set)

Hi, folks!

Remember the new book set I've been touting for the past month? It offers ten critically acclaimed, best selling authors all in one place - and each book is only NINE CENTS. It's crazy, and it's a super deal. 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!

★ Kindle  Nook ★ Apple 
★ Kobo ★ Smashwords ★ 

Today I'm featuring another author from this collection, Suzanne Jenkins. Enjoy the excerpt, and thank you, Suzanne, for sharing with us!

Aaron Lazar

From Pam of Babylon by Suzanne Jenkins

Suzanne Jenkins

Jack Smith was thinking, I am the luckiest man alive. Sitting at a white-linen-covered table on the sidewalk outside of his favorite restaurant, he gazed at the perfect face of his mistress of nine months. This place was their place. They’d spent a rare night together, and in the early morning they could have a leisurely breakfast, enjoying the perfect weather of late May in New York.

“What do you have to do this weekend?” Jack asked, knowing this could be a dangerous topic. Sandra was sipping her coffee, head bowed but eyes on him. She slowly put her cup down and straightened up. He really wanted to know. He was interested in her life outside of where it meshed with his.

“After you leave, I’ll start getting ready for the week, and then I can relax tonight and tomorrow. Monday I’m having lunch at my sister’s in New Jersey. My schedule next week is fairly packed, so the more I can get done now, the easier it will be.” She thought of her messy apartment, the empty refrigerator, the pile of laundry, but didn’t mention it. Jack’s solution to it would be to say, pay someone to do those things for you so you can do what you want. Your time is worth more than what it would cost. “One thing I would really like to do is get back to that gallery on Houston and see if there isn’t a deal I can work out for the piece we saw last night.” She smiled at Jack and they nodded their heads, remembering the vibrant painting of the Riverside Gardens. It was so colorful, the yellows and reds and blues exaggerated, the flowers oversized. They loved it.

“You should have said something while we were there!” he said, smiling at her. She knew he would have bought it then and there for her. But she really wanted to buy it for herself. She knew it was wise to keep things like community property out of their relationship.

They ate the rest of their breakfast in silence. Soon, Jack would start fidgeting, pushing his chair back slightly, looking around him and fighting the urge to look at his watch. Their time together would be over for now. Sandra would try to beat him to the punch; it was easier for her to be in control of this aspect of their life. His schedule would dictate when they could see each other, but she could be in charge of when it would end. She hated those last minutes while they waited for the check to come, feeling like she was sitting in a vacuum. Today was a little different, maybe because of the night before. It was so special having the evening together and then spending the night with him. The hotel was the same one they always used. It was clean and comfortable and—impersonal. But she didn’t allow herself to think of it.

He suggested early on that they go to her apartment, but she didn’t know how long they would be together and didn’t want those associations in her home. It would be hard enough to end the relationship without memories of him permeating where she lived. No thank you. It would be bad enough having to see him at work every day. Besides, he was wealthy enough to afford a hotel, and she was worth it.

He would not have argued if he knew what she was thinking. On one hand, he was wondering what was taking so long to get the check, as he had a lot to do at home, but on the other he would miss her terribly. It took all the strength he had not to pout like a child when he was away from her. He thought of his home, close to the sea, the smell of salt air. He imagined the two of them sitting on the veranda overlooking the beach grass. But the face of his wife kept popping up on Sandra’s body, not allowing anyone to take her place, even in his thoughts.

She walked him to the subway, refusing to have him walk her home first. He often preferred the subway over taking a cab. She would shop on the way home and he had a long commute, over an hour to his home on Long Island. They walked arm in arm, a striking couple to look at. He mature, graying at the temples and in good shape for his age; she young, model thin and beautiful. Heads turned to look. Were they famous? The attention they got when they were out in public together pleased them and they became even more animated, laughing, standing up straighter, happiness radiating from them both.

On Broadway, another observer took note of the radiant couple. Jack’s sister-in-law, Marie waited in the Saturday-morning bagel line at H&H. She happened to be uptown because of having gone to the theatre the night before with her friend, Arthur, staying the night at his apartment. Marie stood with her mouth open, heat spreading through her body, shocked and furious. The man behind her tapped her on the shoulder; it was her turn already.

“Never mind, go ahead,” she said as she moved out of line. Her body turned toward her brother-in-law as his back and that of his companion continued down the street toward the subway. She inched along the pavement staying close to the storefronts, not wanting to be seen, but dying to see. When they reached the subway the woman, a girl really, didn’t go down the stairs with him. Marie found it incredible that Jack was going to take the subway. What the hell was that all about? The couple stood at the entrance to the stairs talking, his arm around her shoulder protectively. It was clear that they were a couple, not just work associates, not just friends.

Standing out of sight in a doorway, Marie could barely tolerate the physical sensations she was experiencing. Her entire body was vibrating. It was a combination of disgust, shock, and excitement. She had loved Jack as her brother. She was certain her sister, Pam had no idea her husband was cheating on her. Pam would have said something. Marie didn’t yet think of the implications this would have on her relationship with her sister. If she didn’t know, it would remain that way because Marie wasn’t going to tell her. She would confront Jack and insist he tell Pam. That was the only way. Let him do the dirty work. Her patience paid off; Jack took the girl into his arms. He didn’t look around first to see if they were being observed, although this was a neighborhood in which his relatives lived. Then they kissed. He kissed her passionately; she reached up and with her arms around him, kissed him back. They parted, reluctance obvious to all who looked upon them, intimacy flourishing in a public place. Jack went down the subway stairs, looking behind him and smiling. The young woman stood there smiling down at him, waiting to move away until he was out of sight.

Marie watched as the young woman, beautiful in a white sundress, turned her back to the stairs and starting walking up Broadway. Marie didn’t have all day to play detective, but she knew that for her sister’s sake, she would need to find out as much as she could about this person. So she followed her, supposing she was headed for home but having no way of knowing. She stayed about half a block behind her. Watching her from the back, she made mental notes: tall; slender (of course); long, dark hair. Marie thought the woman should be blonde, but that didn’t make any sense. She told herself to just keep walking. When they got to 80th Street, the woman crossed and went into Zabar’s. There was no way Marie was going in. She would wait outside for a few minutes. She didn’t have all day. If the woman was doing a big shopping trip, Marie would leave. She stood across Broadway watching, not wanting to miss it when she left the store. She looked up at the sky and could see blue between the buildings, sunlight peeking down from the east. It was going to be a beautiful weekend. Memorial Day was Monday. Marie was going to her sister’s house on Long Island for a picnic. She had been looking forward to it all month. Now this.

The young woman stepped out of Zabar’s with two bags of groceries. She turned left and started walking up Broadway again with Marie following closely behind. When she got to 82nd she turned left, walking toward West End. It figures, Marie thought, remembering her own apartment in no-man’s land. About midway down the block she made another left and walked up to a lovely beige-brick mid-century. She turned the key in the lock, opened the door and disappeared from sight. Marie stood in the center of the sidewalk, disappointed. Well, she had an address, just in case.

She walked back to Broadway, thinking about what she’d seen all the way. She wanted to call Jack’s cell and tell him off. Suddenly, overcome with nausea, she moved to the curb and threw up in the gutter.


About the author:
Suzanne Jenkins writes contemporary fiction, a reflection of American fantasy but with historical reality. Pam of Babylon books consistently rank in the Top 100 Best Sellers in American Drama with over 500,000 downloads.

A second series, The Greektown Stories, includes The Greeks of Beaubien Street, The Princess of Greektown, Christmas in Greektown and A Greektown Wedding.

Stand alone novels include Someone Like You, Alice's Summertime Adventure, The Savant of Chelsea, Slow Dancing, The Liberation of Ravenna Morton and Atlas of Women.

Burn District, Jenkins new sci/fi series, follows an American family as they flee from political insanity to save their lives in the Arizona Desert.

Her short story, Vapor appeared in Willow Review, Spring 2013.

A retired operating room nurse, Jenkins divides her time between the west Michigan lake shore, the Brandywine River Valley, and the mountains of Southern California where you may subscribe an email list entitling you to free stories and excerpts of soon to be released and new releases.

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Monday, March 09, 2015

An Excerpt from Janet Morris's Tempus: (Sacred Band of Stepsons: Sacred Band Tales Book 1)

Hi, folks!

Remember the new book set I've been touting for the past month? It offers ten critically acclaimed, best selling authors all in one place - and each book is only NINE CENTS. It's crazy, and it's a super deal. 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!

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Today I'm featuring another author from this collection, Janet Morris. This synopsis and excerpts are from Tempus. Thank you, Janet, for sharing this with us!

Aaron Lazar

Tempus (Sacred Band of Stepsons: Sacred Band Tales Book 1) by Janet Morris

Relive the iconic adventures of Tempus, the Riddler, and his Sacred Band through the eyes of Nikodemos, his right-side companion, as Niko seeks his spirit's balance on Bandara's misty isles. Five pivotal Sacred Band stories from the earliest adventures of the Stepsons in a world of thieves. Ride with Tempus and his Band once again, for the first time. PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Parts of this work have been published in substantially similar form in several volumes of the Shared Universe Series, Thieves World®.

Excerpt from Tempus by Janet Morris © 1987, 2013


There was a little mist in the streets by the time Tempus headed his Trôs horse across the east side toward the Mageguild – nothing daunting yet, just a fetlock-high steaminess as if the streets were cobbled with dry ice. He’d had no luck intercepting his sister at Lastel’s estate: a servant shouted through a grate, over the barking of dogs, that the master had already left for the fete. He’d stopped briefly at the mercenaries’ hostel before going there, to burn a rag he had had for centuries in the common room’s hearth: he no longer needed to be reminded not to argue with warlocks; or that love, for him, was always a losing game. With his sister’s scarf, perhaps the problem of her would waft away, changed like the ancient linen to smoke upon the air.
Before the Mageguild’s outer wall, an imprudent crowd had gathered to watch the luminaries arriving in the ersatz-daylight of its ensorcelled grounds. Pink clouds formed a glowing canopy to the wall’s edge – a godly pavilion; elsewhere, it was night. Where dark met light, the Stepson Janni waited (one leg crooked over his saddle horn, rolling a smoke, his best helmet dangling by his knee and his full-length dress-mantle draped over his horse’s croup), while around his hips the ragged crowd thronged and his horse, ears flattened, snapped at Ilsigs who came too near.
Tempus’ gray rumbled a greeting to the bay; the curly-headed mercenary straightened up in his saddle and saluted, grinning through his beard.
He wasn’t smiling when the Mageguild’s ponderous doors enfolded them, and three junior functionaries escorted them to the “changing rooms” within the outer wall. There they were expected to strip and hand over their armaments to the solicitously smirking mages-in-training before donning proffered "fete clothes" (gray silk chitons and summer sandals) the wizards had thought-fully provided. Aškelon wasn’t taking any chances, Tempus thought but did not say, though Janni wondered aloud what use there was in checking their paltry swords and daggers when enchanters could not be made to check their spells.
Inside the Mageguild’s outer walls, it was summer. In its gardens – transformed from their usual dank fetidness by artful conjure into a wonderland of orchids and eucalyptus and willows weeping where before moss-hung swamp-giants had held sway over quagmires – Tempus saw Kadakithis, resolutely imperious in a black robe oversewn with gems into a map of Ranke-caught-in-the-web-of-the-world. The prince-governor’s pregnant wife, a red gift-gown splendid over her child-belly, leaned heavily on his arm. Kittycat’s approving glance was laced with commiseration: yes, he, too, found it hard to smile here, but both of them knew it prudent to observe the forms, especially with wizards….
Tempus nodded and walked on.
Then he saw her, holding Lastel’s hand, to which the prosthetic thumb of his disguise was firmly attached. A signal bade Janni await him; he did not have to look back to know that the Stepson obeyed.
Cime was blond, tonight and golden-eyed, tall in her adept-chosen robe of iridescent green, but he saw through the illusion to her familiar self. And she knew it. “You come here without your beloved armaments or even the god’s amulet? The man I used to know would have pulled rank and held on to his weapons.”
“Nothing’s going to happen here,” he murmured, staring over her head into the crowd, looking for Niko; “unless the message I received was in error and we do have a problem?”
“We have no problem –” glowered Lastel/One-Thumb.
“One-Thumb, disappear, or I’ll have Janni over there teach you how to imitate your bar’s sign.” With a reproachful look that Tempus would utter his alias here, the man who did not like to be called One-Thumb outside the Maze lumbered off.
Then he had to look at her. Under the golden-eyed illusion, her char-and-smoke gaze accused him, as it had chased him across the centuries and made him content to be accursed and constrained from other loves. God, he thought, I will never get through this without error. It was the closest he had come to asking Vashanka to help him for ages. In the back of his skull, a distant whisper exhorted him to take his sister while he could… that bush on his right would be bower enough. But more than advice the god could not give: “I have my own troubles, mortal, for which you are partly responsible.” With the echo of Vashanka’s last word, Tempus knew the god was gone.
“Is Lastel telling the truth, Cime? Are you content to face Aškelon’s wrath, and your peril, alone? Tell me how you came to half kill a personage of that magnitude, and assure me that you can rectify your mistake without my help.”
She reached up and touched his throat, running her finger along his jaw until it found his mouth. "Ssh, ssh. You are a bad liar, who proclaims he does not love me still. Have you not enough at risk, presently? Yes, I erred with Aškelon. He tricked me. I shall solve it, one way or the other. My heart saw him, and I could not then be the one who stood there watching him die. His world beguiled me. His form enthralled me. You know what punishment love could bring me.... He begged me leave him to die alone. And I believed him… because I feared for my life, should  I come to love him while he died. We each bear our proper curse, you and I, that is sure.”
“You think this disguise will fool him?”
She shook her head. “I need not. He will want a meeting. This,” she ran her hands down over her illusory youth and beauty, “was for the magelings, those children at the gates. As for you: stay clear of this matter, my brother. There is no time for quailing or philosophical debates, now. You never were competent to simply act, unencumbered by judgment or conscience. Don’t try to change on my account. I will deal with the entelechy, and then I will drink even his name dry of meaning. Like that!” She snapped her fingers, twirled on her heel, and flounced off in a good imitation of a young woman offended by a forward soldier.
While he watched, Aškelon appeared from the crowd to bar her path, a golden coin held out before him like a wand or a warding charm.
That fast did he have her, too fast for Tempus to get between them, simply by the mechanism of invoking her curse: for pay, she must give herself to any comer. He watched them flicker out of being with his stomach rolling and an ache in his throat. It was some little while before he saw anything external, and then he saw Nikodemos showing off his gift-cuirass to Janni.
The two came up to him wondering why it was, when everyone else’s armaments had been taken from them, Niko, who had arrived in shabby duty gear, had been given better than ever he could afford. Tempus drew slowly into his present, noting Molin Torchholder’s gaudy figure nearby, and a kohl-eyed lady (who might easily be an infiltrator from the Mygdonian Alliance) talking to Lastel.
He asked his Stepsons to make her acquaintance:
“She might be smuggling drugs into Sanctuary with Lastel’s help, but don’t arrest her for trifles. If she is a spy, perhaps she will try to recruit a Stepson disaffected enough with his lot. Either of you – a single fighter or half a broken pair – could fit that description.”
“At the least, we must plumb her body’s secrets, Stealth,” Janni rumbled to Niko as the two strutted her way, looking virile and predatory.
With a scowl of concern for the Stepson to whom he was bound by ill-considered words, Tempus sought out Torchholder. As he slid with murmured greetings and apologies through socialites and Hazard-class adepts, Tempus recalled Niko’s blank and steady eyes: the boy knew his danger and trusted his commander, as a Sacred Bander must, to see him through it. No remonstrance or doubt had shown in the fighter called Stealth’s open countenance, that Tempus would come here against Aškelon’s wishes, and risk a Stepson’s life. It was war, the boy’s calm said, what they both did and what they both knew. Later, perhaps there would be explanations – or not. Tempus knew that Niko, should he survive, would never broach the subject.
“Torchholder, I think you ought to go see to the First Consort’s baby,” he said as his hand came down heavily on the palace priest’s bebaubled shoulder.
Torchholder was already pulling on his beard, his mouth curled with anger, when he turned. Assessing Tempus’ demeanor, the priest’s face did a dance which ended in a mien of knowing caution. “Ah, yes, I did mean to look in on Seylalha and her babe. Thank you for reminding me, Hell Hound.”
“Stay with her,” Tempus whispered as Molin sought to brush by him, “or get them both to a safer place –”
“We got your message this afternoon, Hound,” the privy priest hissed, and he was gone.
Tempest was just thinking that it was well Fete Week only came once yearly when, above him in the pink, tented clouds, winter gloom began to spread; and beside him, a hand closed upon his left arm with a numbingly painful grip: Jihan had arrived.

Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels, many co-authored with her husband Chris Morris or others. She has contributed short fiction to the shared universe fantasy series Thieves World, in which she created Tempus and his the Sacred Band of Stepsons, a mythical unit of ancient fighters modeled on the Sacred Band of Thebes. She created, orchestrated, and edited the Bangsian fantasy series Heroes in Hell, writing stories for the series as well as co-writing the related novel, The Little Helliad, with Chris Morris. Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of non-fiction, as well as papers and articles on nonlethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.

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