Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Congratulations to Twilight Times Book Authors!

Hi, folks.
I thought it would be nice to pay tribute to the authors who happen to reside with Twilight Times Books today. I've been with this company since 2007 and am very pleased with our publisher, Lida Quillen. She's an amazing leader with great vision - so happy to call her my publisher!
Please join me in congratulating these TTB writers for their recent awards in the 2011 Global eBook Award ceremony.

Mega Congrats to our 2011 Global eBook Award
Finalists and Category Winners!

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines by Beverly Stowe McClure in Teen Literature Fiction

Doggie Biscuit! by Darrell Bain in Animals/Pets Non-Fiction

Healey's Cave by Aaron Paul Lazar in Mystery Suspense

Out of the Psychic Closet: the quest to trust my true nature by Toby Fesler Heathcotte in Self-Help Non-Fiction

The Golden Crusader by Linda Langwith in Mystery General

The Immortality Virus by Christine Amsden in Speculative Fiction SF CATEGORY WINNER

The Last Protector by Daniel Starr in Speculative Fiction SF

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards in Reference Non-Fiction CATEGORY WINNER

Tremolo: cry of the loon by Aaron Paul Lazar in Historical Fiction Contemporary

Thanks, and if you love to write, remember to write like the wind!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Zen and the Art of Editing

copyright 2011 Ron Adams

Ed McBain once said the only true creative aspect of novel writing is the first draft. The rest, is the hard work of editing and re-writing. I spent most of my summer off editing and rewriting my novel, Lake Effect, to prepare it for re-release with Charles River Press, and finally finished it this past week. There are experts who say to write your whole manuscript first, the whole first draft without looking back. Once you finish the final page, if you are like Stephen King, you put it away for a while to get some distance and perspective before taking the proverbial scalpel to it. And there are others who see a value to revising as you work, stopping every so often to edit on the fly. So which one do you go with? It depends on the writer and their own particular work style. Remember, first and foremost, the goal is a finished novel. 
The great thing about “finish first, edit later”, is that you finished. You can go back in and fix grammar, work on continuity and plot development as a whole rather than piece meal. If you had done the editing as you went along, you might still be stuck on page whatever,
struggling with the right phrase, the right quote, the right twist advance the plot. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it. Finish it first, fix it later.

But there is the camp that believes the process needs to be played out as you go along. It allows you to fine tune the plot, form new ideas for plot or character development, and you get to daily
reinforce exactly what is happening in your novel. When you get back to it the next day, you are tuned in to exactly what was going in, and can pick up the scent from the previous day’s work and build accordingly. Maybe you will even head off a few glitches in the plot before they happen, and that will make the final edits easier to handle. 
In the end though, regardless of which technique you use, the goal is to produce a novel the is satisfying to you and enjoyable for the readers. Personally, I have used both techniques, and feel comfortable in both. I would suggest trying both editing as you go and doing a final draft edit, and see which one works best for you.
PS: Published this post after two re-writes. Have fun kids!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Book Review for A View of the Lake, by Beryl Singleton Bissell

 Review by Aaron Lazar

Title: A View of The Lake
Author: Beryl Singleton Bissell

Publisher: Lake Superior Port Cities
ISBN-10: 0942235746
ISBN-13: 978-0942235746
Price: $16.95
Author’s website:

A View of the Lake
by Beryl Singleton Bissell
Book review by Aaron Paul Lazar

A View of the Lake, by Beryl Singleton Bissell, is a vibrant collection of reflective essays centered on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Minnesota. Each slice-of-life chapter transports the reader into Ms. Bissell’s life in this majestic country, as well as connecting us to her gentle spirit.

Sometimes thoughtful, often humorous, and ever delightful, the work spans topics dealing with the life of “newcomers” in the town of Schroeder to an intimate and stirring connection with the great outdoors. From encounters with bear, moose, deer, and rare bird species, to a private viewing of the Northern Lights, to poignant experiences with neighbors, this assortment of day-in-the-life type stories will charm the most jaded reader.

Take, for example, this excerpt from “Historical Society”, when the author joined the Schroeder group to help document stories of the residents. Oftentimes the locals lamented not having recorded stories from their parents and grandparents, and expressed a sadness over this loss.

“There were times when, as I sat taping others’ memories, I experienced this loss personally. My mother died before I was wise enough to ask questions. I now hold only fragments of her life, each piece bristling with questions, each piece weighted with the unknown.

We are born. We die. We do what others do. Some of the elders wondered why I wanted to know about their lives when they’d been so uneventful. In the telling, they came to a fresh appreciation of themselves and the community in which they’d lived for such a long time. Like a musical score played over and over again, the sound, timing, and interpretation are never quite the same.”

Who among us hasn’t experienced such thoughts? Universal themes such as this loss of family history, this common plight among man, resonate throughout the book. I often find myself up against the same dilemma. Even now, fourteen years after the death of my father and last remaining grandmother, a question about our heritage pops into my mind, and I reach to pick up the phone to call one of them, before realizing once again, it’s too late. Ms. Bissell’s themes resonate with this reader on a rare and special frequency.

But Beryl Singleton Bissell’s book is not all sadness and longing. No, on the contrary, it is filled with the spirit of adventure, love for fellow man, a passion for and connection with each and every tiny aspect of nature, and most of all, the embracing of life. Ms. Bissell frequently shares philosophical gems, such as this excerpt from the chapter named “Shrike Attack”.

“Winter focuses a harsher light on North Shore living, reminding me that nature, while beautiful, caters to no one and no thing; beauty is not always benevolent.”

Each of the chapters is enjoyable, and although filled with literary gold, the book remains entirely readable, broken into small chapters that can be enjoyed in a sitting or in a full-fledged marathon as I did while flying overseas to Germany last week. I longed to join this author at her side as she bent over emerging flowers in the spring, slogged through snowy trails, or watched the wonders of the sky, as in this segment from “Northern Lights.”

“…I bounded into the bedroom to wake Bill. Together we rushed out into the subzero temperatures dressed only in our pajamas and robes. Together we stood on the deck and entered ground zero of an incredible light show that shuddered around us like fireworks behind gauzy veils. It rippled and spun and folded; it expanded and dissolved; it burst and flared. I felt a searing joy.”

Although her readers may never physically see the Northern Lights, in their minds they’ll never forget this dazzling show.

Ms. Bissell has been through some incredibly tough times in life (see her first book, The Scent of God), but it’s her faith in God, her indomitable spirit, and her ability to enjoy the little things in life that carry her through, in addition to her devotion to her wonderful husband, Bill. But I believe it’s her ability to commit all of this to the written page that may have helped her purge her spirit of those sufferings best of all, and which will continue to inspire us all. The process is sublime, for writer and reader, and I for one thank her for taking the time to share these gem-like stories with the rest of the world.

I’d like to finish with one last quote from A View of the Lake, taken from the chapter entitled “A Night of Shooting Stars.” In this essay, the author has just witnessed the Leonid meteor showers.

“Small, vulnerable, and intensely alive at that moment, I gave thanks for the incredible universe that sustains and enlivens all creatures. I was no longer sipping from the cup of life, I’d become one with it.”

Very highly recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar. Buy it here.


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines Mysteries 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 Twilight Times Books releases, FOR THE BIRDS (OCT 2011), ESSENTIALLY YOURS (2012), TERROR COMES KNOCKING (2011), FOR KEEPS (2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (2012), and the author’s preferred edition of DOUBLE FORTÉ (2012).