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 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Finding the Right Plot - by mystery author Susan Cory



Have you ever wondered what could happen if you didn't totally wipe your hard drive before getting rid of your old computer? Or what could happen if any of the blank checks sent by credit cards fell into the wrong hands?

I live in a close-knit community in Cambridge, Mass. Most of us know Joe, our long-time mail deliverer, and he knows us. So when Joe was instructed to forward a certain household's mail to an address in a neighboring town, he knew that the family hadn't moved. He alerted the police who discovered a ring of con artists who were diverting people's mail in order to steal their identities and checks.

While this scam was coming to light, I was busy trying to figure out how to get rid of my old computer.  Some computer stores and charities advertise that they'll remove your personal information before recycling your old equipment, but what if one of their employees is less than honest?

These two ideas came together to suggest a plot for my third book in the Iris Reid mystery series, DOPPELGANGER. A family of grifters uses Iris Reid's stolen identity to commit a crime. While stripping Iris' data off of her old computer, Rosica Bakalov, notices her own striking resemblance to this new “mark”. She becomes fascinated with Iris and starts to stalk her. Meanwhile, Iris, out on bail, is desperate to pick up her doppellgänger's trail before her case goes to trial.

Kirkus reviews says: “The plot becomes more unnerving as it progresses, and an impressive twist leads to a lengthy final act featuring Rosica (the Doppelgänger) at her most ferocious...Cory’s concise prose establishes a consistent pace that never wavers, and even her descriptions of architecture are exhilarating. An engagingly nerve-wracking tale with gradually escalating suspense.”

I'd love to know how YOU get rid of your old computers, and also, what you think of DOPPELGANGER.

By the way, my husband smashed my hard drive with a hammer before I took my last computer to be recycled. I wasn't taking any chances...

Let me know on my author's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorsusancory
or check out my author's website: http://www.susancory.com/

CONUNDRUM, FACADE and DOPPELGANGER are all available here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075V2LWNX/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075V2LWNX/

Susan Cory lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her architect husband and bossy rescue dog, Chloe. Like her sleuth, she is a residential architect practicing out of a turreted office. Also, like Iris Reid, she has a brown belt in karate.

Susan grew up in New Jersey devouring mysteries and loved seeing order restored by ingenious sleuths. But the visual arts were her medium of expression. As an Art major at Dartmouth, she imagined that designing buildings was just a larger-scaled version of creating sculpture. Susan soon discovered the many differences. At graduate school at Harvard's G.S.D., she found a setting—insecurities and egos riding a runaway train of Design Obsession—just ripe for murder.

Conundrum, Facade and Doppelgänger are odes to her profession and all the deviously clever practitioners within it. She's hard at work on Book 4 in the series in which Iris Reid will continue to uncover the architecture of evil in her world.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter: FREE AUDIOBOOK SAMPLES!

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Happy Easter!
 
I wish you a blessed day and hope you get a bit of warmth and blooming flowers today. We've had some beautiful days this past week but it's gotten all cool and rainy again. Today dawned with heavy fog! I hope the Easter Bunny can find his way out there. ;o)
 
I haven't posted in a while 'cause I had surgery a few weeks ago, on April 3rd. It was to hopefully fix my reflux that was getting into my lungs and stopping me from doing pretty much anything, such as walking to the mailbox or carrying a laundry basket or especially planting or weeding. You should have seen the weeds last summer! It wasn't a fun experience, but the operations is in my past now and I'm getting a little bit better every day. 
 
The Asylum has just been released as an audiobook, and it you'd like to listen and review I will have a limited amount of special codes to share soon. It's recorded by the phenomenal Gwendolyn Druyor, who can create any voice type in the world. The way she represents Carmen and Rosita, my two Mexican American heroines, or Rocco, a warmhearted African American gentle giant, is simply outstanding. She really "gets" my writing and every nuance is just as I intended. 
 
I'll only be able to choose a few special listeners to do this, so let me know if you'd like to review. ;o) 
 
All of my books are available as audiobooks and if you haven't tried them yet, it's really easy and fun. You just download the Audible app on your phone and sign in. You can even use your Amazon account ID and password. Once you select a book, you can listen while you walk, drive (via Bluetooth), fall to sleep, or do household chores. I love audiobooks and listen constantly. ;o) The cool thing is you have them forever in your Audible library, to listen and re-listen whenever you wish. 
 
I'm often asked which of my books is my favorite. It's a hard question to answer. I enjoyed writing them all so much. The Seadog springs to mind first. I'm not sure if it's because I can uncover secrets on Cape Cod again, or because of the awesome dog, "Bubba," who my character, Scout, gets to adopt.  Then there's The Disappearance of Billy Moore, a green marble time travel novel steeped in nostalgia and mystery. Lady Blues: forget-me-not, is another favorite, where Gus is an integral part of saving a man's memory and reuniting him with his forbidden, lost love. And then there's Essentially Yours, with a case of the most delicious unrequited love supporting one of the wildest chase scenes through the Adirondack wilderness. But if I was forced to choose, I think I'd go back to Gus's childhood, in Don't Let the Wind Catch You, where young Gus befriends a hermit and the spirit of a Native American girl in the woods. Riding horses in the woods with young Siegfried and Elsbeth is the best. And the secrets Gus uncovers include some deep life lessons about tolerance and love. 
 
It's hard to choose. Almost like picking a favorite child, which is impossible!
 
I've decided to load up some audiobook samples for you to listen to at Soundcloud.com. Just click on the play button and see who is your favorite narrator of all. I'd love to hear what you think. ;o)
 
I've  included some books by fellow authors, below, for you to browse and enjoy. 
 
I hope you have a wonderful Easter Sunday and can enjoy family and friends today. 
 
Best wishes always,
 
Aaron Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com
 
 
 
Free audiobook excerpts (click on image for sound link)
 
 
The Asylum, narrated by Gwendolyn Druyor:
 
 
The Seadog, narrated by Gwendolyn Druyor:
 
 
The Disappearance of Billy Moore, narrated by George Kuch:
 
 
Lady Blues, narrated by David Kudler:
 
 
Don't Let the Wind Catch You, narrated by Erik Synnestvedt:
 

Don't Let the Wind Catch You

When young Gus LeGarde befriends a cranky old hermit in the woods who speaks to an Indian spirit, he wonders if the man is nuts. But when the ghostly Penni rattles tin cups, draws on dusty mirrors, and flips book pages, pestering him to find evidence to avenge her past, things change. 

What Gus doesn’t understand is why his mother hates Tully, until his relentless investigation uncovers a hint of scandal about Tully and Gus’s grandfather, Marlowe Wright. 

On horseback, Gus and his friends ride through woods overlooking Conesus Lake to Tully’s abandoned house, reportedly still infected with the Genesee Valley Fever from the 1700s. Unafraid, they enter and find shocking evidence that could rewrite history. 

Can Gus convince his mother to forgive Tully? And will the proof he found free Penni’s spirit? Gus summons courage beyond his years in this poignant and powerful telling of the summer of 1965.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

New Book by Aaron Paul Lazar - The Asylum

https://www.amazon.com/Asylum-Carmen-Garcia-Bittersweet-Hollow-ebook/dp/B07MXFCWLJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1548507944&sr=8-1&keywords=the+asylum%2C+lazar
 
Hi, folks.
 
How are you all doing? Surviving this crazy winter? Last weekend we had a huge snowstorm. It was only the third significant storm since November, but it dumped well over a foot of snow on us with tons of gigantic drifts. Before we got a path shoveled for them, my poor dogs had to pee on the back porch! See Balto, below, with the appalled expression on his face. 
 
Temps dropped to MINUS six on Monday, and a few days later, it rained all day in the forties! Crazy, huh? For those of you in the warmer climates, I hope you're enjoying your nice weather!
 
I can't believe January's almost gone. One more month for us of guaranteed cold and snow, then comes March, where we sometimes get nice little hints of spring. Or sometimes we get another monster snowstorm, lol. 
 
Our grill on the back porch always gets this tall mound of snow on it, and my four-year-old grandson Chris insists it's a snowman. So, of course, we go out and give him eyes, a carrot nose, a scarf (not easy on a grill!), and a hat. 
 
Although I'd love to go on and on about my grandchildren and how they've kept us in stitches during this cold weather, I should probably talk about books, huh?
 
After a very long wait, my 28th book, The Asylum, is now ready to order! This novella was first released last year as part of the limited edition USA Today Bestselling boxed set, Love Under Fire. The Asylum features Carmen Garcia, granddaughter to Rosita Garcia, who appeared in Devil's Spring, book 3 of the Bittersweet Hollow romantic suspense series. Set on the wintry coast of Maine, it's a fun read and will be available on March 1st, 2019. I've set the price at 99 cents, but it will go up to the usual $3.99 soon thereafter. ;o) Print and audiobooks to follow. Check out the cover and synopsis, below. 
 
 
Keep safe and warm!
 
All my best,
 
USA Today Bestselling Author Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

 
Carmen has a secret, and his name is Dr. Micah Worthy. 

Affairs aren’t permitted between staff members at St. Michael’s Asylum, but Carmen and her handsome young psychiatrist find a way to sneak in a kiss or two in empty storerooms when no one’s looking. It doesn’t take long for her suspicions to rise, however, as she gets to know some of the patients. Why are some kept locked in their rooms, doped to the gills? And where are the two-dozen patients whose names appear on the med lists, but whom she’s never met? Moreover, what’s so forbidden about the ancient passages snaking beneath the two-hundred-year old monastery? 

Something’s off in the asylum, and when nothing seems to add up, Carmen and Micah unite to uncover the truth.

When staff members learn she’s on to them, the threats begin. Can Carmen report her findings before she ends up in the icy Atlantic?

Set on the rugged Maine coast in the dead of winter, The Asylum is an intriguing story of romance and danger, filled with characters you’ll love and breathless action that’ll keep you up way past your bedtime.

Order The Asylum Here

Saturday, December 29, 2018

HOW TO INJECT EMOTION INTO YOUR WRITING BY JP O'Donnell


Dear Murderby4 friends and fans. 
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you'll enjoy an equally marvelous New Year's Eve. Please help me welcome back writer Joe O'Donnell today with his brand new article on how to evoke genuine emotion from readers. And don't forget to check out his books and movie below!

- Aaron Paul Lazar, USA Today bestselling author

HOW TO INJECT EMOTION INTO YOUR WRITING
http://www.jpodonnell.com/ 
By
JP O’Donnell
 
       One of the most difficult concepts for writers of mystery fiction to master is the art of injecting emotion into their writing. Too often, the description of a scene or passages of dialogue come off as being trite or too familiar and, as a result, the intended emotion completely misses the mark.  Even worse, the reader chuckles rather than being touched or moved by the story. Why do so many writers struggle with this concept? The answer is simple: it’s a really hard concept to master.
       Fiction editor Beth Hill of the Editor’s Blog (theeditorsblog.net) has written a number of excellent essays that deal with the subject of emotion in fiction writing. These essays are “must” reading for any writer of mystery fiction. In her blog of January 30, 2011, “Creating Emotion in the Reader,” Beth states:One technique the writer can make use of to create reality out of fiction is to induce emotion in readers, make them feel something of what the characters are experiencing. Writer and reader know the fictional events aren’t real, but the emotion can be. Readers can fear and feel joy and be excited and know grief. They can laugh and cry, shiver and rage. All from reading a story.”
       So, how does a writer do this? First of all, don’t just “tell” how one of your characters reacts to an event; make sure you “show” how the character reacts. If, for example, a female character in your novel is being held captive, and you want to convey a feeling of fright and hopelessness, don’t just write, “Susan was frightened and feared that she would never get out of this captivity alive.Rather, try to show the depth of her fear and create a vivid, emotional image of Susan as follows:
“For Susan, the nights were the most frightening time of all. She struggled to fall asleep. Every sound startled her. She felt a chill as she stared up at the ceiling. Her hand trembled as she reached for her cup of water.  She was isolated and alone in this cabin—held captive for six days and too afraid to attempt an escape.  She began to sob quietly. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she said to herself, “Will I ever get out of this place alive?”
       If you want to elicit emotion in your readers, you need to practice writing about those times in your own life that affected you emotionally. Write a paragraph or two about an event that brought you to tears. Was it a wedding ceremony, a death, your first public speaking event or the break-up with your first love?  Describe how you felt. Did you feel overwhelmed? Helpless? Did you swallow hard or did your mouth go dry? Was your body quivering uncontrollably? If you were frightened at some point, did you sweat, stammer, or find it difficult to breathe? Was your heart pounding? Did your knees feel weak? Were you hyperventilating?
       All of these descriptive phrases help readers to fully grasp the emotion of your characters. Remember, you are trying to create a clear image in the mind of your readers. Is your character truly feeling joy, pain, fear or despair? You want this image to be impactful and draw them into your story—to feel connected and want to read more.
       Love scenes can also pose a difficult challenge. Too often they are formulaic and present a sweaty, X-rated, four-letter-worded anatomy lesson rather than creating a compelling emotional bond between two lovers that will truly inspire a reader. One of the best ways to improve your ability to put emotion into love scenes is to listen to the lyrics of love songs. Take notes on how the words affect you. Do they grab at your heart? Make you look back at a lost love?  Recall a special moment in your life?  Make you feel regret? Make you appreciate your current relationship more than ever? Put these feelings into writing—don’t hesitate to dig deep into your own emotions—and soon enough you will be creating passages and dialogue that will be full of emotions that will not only affect you, but will bring your reader closer to your characters.
In a passage from Pulse of My Heart: A Gallagher Novel, the once vibrant relationship between my protagonist, Gallagher and his love interest, Kate, had become strained and distant. He struggled to get close to her, but she had pushed him away—both physically and emotionally. See how the following scene ignores the temptation to use hard-core descriptive phrases and, instead, delivers vivid, emotional imagery in order to create a memorable connection—a true bond—between the reader and the characters.  
       “Then one night, while he slept on the couch, he felt her hand on his face. She leaned over and kissed him.
       Softly.
       Tenderly.
       No words had been spoken. She had rested her head on his chest and caressed his neck. Then she had led him back to the bedroom.
       He remembered lying next to her naked body, feeling her smooth warm skin once again.
       But that was Kate—always warm.
       At times it seemed like a fire burned within her.
       After weeks of ice, their bodies had melted together passionately that night. Kate’s body had come alive with a new level of arousal and urgency.
       She had pulled him closer, desperate to feel him within her in order to satisfy a deep longing.
       Perhaps to create a lasting memory.
       An hour later, as they rested quietly on the bed, he had looked at her.
       “A chuisle mo chroi,” he had said, reciting again the Irish phrase “pulse of my heart.” Words that always perfectly summed up his feeling for her.
       He loved her more than ever.
       “Mo chuisle,” she had said softly. But her voice had quivered. Her eyes had filled with tears. She had looked away.
       Nothing more had been said, but he had known what was about to happen.
       He was powerless to stop her.
       The next day she was gone.
       And his life had been torn apart.
       Similarly, your dialogue can help to create a vivid image of your main character, or even a minor character without the use of descriptive passages.  Is he/she clever, sharp-witted, intelligent, or shrewd?  These are only a few of the dozens of characteristics that can be demonstrated through good use of dialogue.
       Take, for example, this brief encounter in a hospital emergency triage room after Gallagher is attacked by an intruder and suffers a knife wound to his abdomen. For a variety of reasons, Gallagher prefers to keep the police from knowing about the attack.
       The triage nurse in the emergency room lifted the towel away from the wound in Gallagher’s side.
       “You’re lucky. It’s not too deep, but it’s going to need some stitches,” she said with authority.
       “I figured it needed stitches. That’s why I came here,” said Gallagher.
       “Who brought you?”
       “Drove myself.”
       “With a gash like this?”
       “Didn’t want to wait for a cab.”
       “What happened?”
       “Cut myself shaving.”
       She flashed a skeptical smirk. “Maybe you should try a Norelco.”
       He smiled. Her spunky retort had momentarily taken his mind off the pain in his side.
       She placed a clean towel over his wound, turned and began to walk out of the cubicle. Then she looked back at Gallagher with a parting shot.
       “If you stick to that story about the shaving accident, I’ll tell the doctor to just have you bite on a bullet while he’s placing the stitches.”
       Gallagher gave her a thumbs up, acknowledging the good comeback. She winked as she pulled back the curtain and left the cubicle.  
       Although this scene has no physical description of the triage nurse, her dialogue alone creates a striking, positive image in the reader’s mind. Notice that the lines are short—more like everyday speech. Long lines of dialogue should be used sparingly. Also note that you don’t have to use the dialogue tags, “said” or “replied,” after every line. Pacing is so important in fiction writing. Once you establish the back and forth of the communication exchange, the tags only serve to slow things down and distract the reader.
       Always remember: Write to please yourself. If a passage in your novel strikes you emotionally and causes you to well up, it’s likely to do the same to your readers. If you continue writing with this focus, the door to success is clearly within your reach.
***
JP O'Donnell
JP O’Donnell is the author of Fatal Gamble and DeadlyCodes: A Gallagher Novel. Pulse of My Heart is the latest in JP’s Gallagher series. Pulse of My Heart is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Outskirts Press as a soft cover, hard cover and digital format.  An audiobook version will be released in January 2019. 
The feature length motion picture, Bent (2018) is based on characters created by JP in his Gallagher novels. Bent stars Karl Urban as Gallagher, Sofia Vergara as Rebecca, and Andy Garcia and Grace Byers in supporting roles. Bobby Moresco, Academy Award winner for Crash (Best Picture 2004), is the screenwriter and director of Bent.

For more information, please visit the author’s website: www.jpodonnell.com.