Thursday, April 6, 2017

Enter to Win over 55 Cozy Mysteries and a Kindle Fire!

Hi, folks!
I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the signs of spring that seem to be popping up all over. After months of not walking outside on my beautiful hills, I finally managed to carve out some time this past weekend for two good walks. Yes, it was still FREEZING (34 and foggy on Saturday, 38 and sunny on Sunday) but the fresh air felt so good, and reconnecting with the beautiful hills overlooking the Genesee Valley has regenerated my spirit. I heard red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, cardinals, and woodpeckers, sure signs that spring must be coming. Although we actually have a little snow predicted tomorrow, I'm still holding out hope for next week when the temperatures are supposed to dance into the seventies! ;o)

By the way, I want to offer a welcome to my new readers and a warm embrace for my steadfast supporters, some who have been reading my books since 2004! Thank you.

Today I'm involved in another Booksweeps contest where you could win many cozy mysteries (including Double Forte', the first book in the eleven-book series featuring Gus LeGarde!) You can check out all my books as always at www.lazarbooks.com, where you can read excerpts, synopses, see all the series laid out in order, and more.

Here's a link for the contest if you wish to check it out. It's good through April 10th, my sixth grandson's first year birthday. ;o) I hope you win!

(scroll down for more news)

I also wanted you to know I'm thrilled to announce two new audiobooks that were recently released. The third book in the Bittersweet Hollow series, Devil's Spring, is narrated by the talented Gwendolyn Druyer, the same lady who brought you all the unique voices of Portia, Boone, Grace, Anderson, Dirk, and Daisy in Devil's Lake and Devil's Creek! Here is a link to an audio sample of Devil's Spring:

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Devils-Spring-Audiobook/B06WV8GK4V/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1491472519&sr=1-2

Last, but certainly not least, it's been a long time coming, but I was finally able to convince Erik Synnestvedt to come back from his insanely busy production schedule to narrate the third "young Gus" book in the LeGarde Mystery series, Voodoo Summer! 

In Tremolo: cry of the loon and Don't Let the Wind Catch You, Erik created a memorable world with perfect voices for young Gus, Siegfried, and Elsbeth. He also mastered the Maine accents for Gus's grandparents, and brought to life Gus's parents as well as Oscar and Millie Stone, and many other featured characters in these books. Now, he's done it again in Voodoo Summer,bringing to life "Willy DuPont," the young black girl who works in the nearby Seven Whistles fishing camp on Great Pond, in Maine, and who becomes an important part of Gus's life. You can listen to Erik's sample here: 
Listen to Voodoo Summer Sample
http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Voodoo-Summer-Audiobook/B06XNSRZ19/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1491472965&sr=1-1
If you possibly can, head outside and breathe in some of that fresh, spring air. It will do you worlds of good. ;o)

Next time, as promised earlier, I will share some of my reviews for new books I've discovered. Some of them may even be free, so stay tuned!

Happy reading!

Aaron Paul Lazar

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day -- Writing Love Scenes


Writing Love Scenes

Aaron Paul 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 the 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.
As you can well imagine, 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 longtime allegiance to his wife Elsbeth, who’d died 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 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, over time I relaxed and, where it seemed appropriate, included some new scenes for my readers, including a love scene in the shower 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 begin to experiment writing about sex and lovemaking. This is rather tame in nature, mind you, and since then I’ve graduated to sizzling love scenes that I’ve included in my romantic suspense series (Bittersweet Hollow series, Devil’s Lake , Devil’s Creek, and Devil's Spring and my Paines Creek Beach series, The Seacrest, The Seacroft, and The Seadog.)
Here’s a short scene I inserted into Mazurka just before it went to press. It was a first step in crossing over the “purely wholesome” boundary which I’d put up for myself in earlier years. I hoped to imitate the impressions I’d gained over the years from John D. MacDonald’s writing. I adored his love scenes, and often wanted to see if I could do it, too. I'm sure I’m not even close here, but see what you think.
“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.”
In hindsight, this passage is pretty tame, isn’t it? But it felt like a huge leap for me when I “allowed” myself to write more freely.
By the time I’d written many LeGarde Mysteries and three Green Marble Mysteries (featuring Sam and Rachel Moore), I realized no matter how many free copies I’d give my daughters, they just weren’t interested in reading at this time in their lives.
Now they’re all adults with husbands and kids. I knew it was time for me to let loose with whatever I wanted to write. And if they somehow, someday discovered that Dad had thoughts like a real man, well, so be it. (grin)
Here’s a scene from Essentially Yours, book 2 in the Tall Pines Mystery series, where I’m not only writing a romantic scene, but doing it from a woman’s POV. Let me know what you think. It’s definitely spicier than my two previous forays into this realm.
“Unbidden, scenes from our youth tapped at the edge of my mind’s vision. I felt the warm breeze blowing across my bare back while we lay in Sky’s family’s pontoon boat in the middle of Honeoye Lake at midnight. His feathered touch traced my spine; his fingers trailed around my hips and lower. I pictured the blond curly hair on his strong, young chest; the hard body that lay beneath the soft fuzz.
Damn. He’d been amazing. And he’d really cared about how I felt, if I’d been satisfied. I figured I’d been lucky. Most teenage boys rushed to conquer their hill, uncaring of the pain or condition of their lovers’ bodies. And most girls just took it, thinking it was part of the “first time,” anticipated hell.
Yet, Sky had read extensively before he approached me, looking up oriental techniques I’d never heard of. He’d known about special places that make a woman moan in pleasure. Made me moan in pleasure. Focused and careful, he’d done embarrassing things that made me crazy, disappearing beneath the blanket for long spells of time. He’d worked on me until moisture coated all of my tender parts. And he’d waited until I was so ready I didn’t think I could wait another second.”
Since these books were written, I’ve released several love stories and romantic suspense books. These types of novels—while certainly not erotica—allow for much more specific love scenes than a cozy mystery or an adventure story. If you read them, however, be forewarned, they contain explicit content. The “heat level” is about the same sizzle you might find in bestselling contemporary romance stories on the market today.
         In my humble opinion, there’s room for a little romance in almost every genre. Mysteries, thrillers, suspense, fantasy, and even science fiction can all be spiced up a bit without dropping suspense or departing from the main story. So don’t feel hamstrung when you write your next book. If it fits into your story, give yourself the freedom to explore your characters’ life in the bedroom, too. 

***

Today, in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm featuring a romantic mystery set in the wintry Adirondacks Mountains for 99 cents. Betrayal: a Tall Pines Mystery is book 4 in the series, but they can be enjoyed in any order. ;o)

https://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Tall-Pines-Mystery-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00N2134W0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487070040&sr=8-1&keywords=betrayal+a+tall+pines
 

Marcella Hollister realized a lifetime of hopes and dreams when she was given custody of a child. A cousin of her half-Seneca husband, Quinn, the baby’s mother was murdered in a political plot—and Marcella, who’s never been able to have children of her own, formed an instant bond with little Kimi.


Then a distant relative comes forward to claim Kimi—and Quinn, who Marcella thought understood her pain better than anyone, allows them to take the baby without a fight.

Confused and deeply wounded, Marcella takes off for Tall Pines, their secluded Adirondack cabin. She hopes the peace and natural beauty of the mountains will help clear her head and decide whether to forgive Quinn…or leave him.


But the situation at Tall Pines is anything but peaceful. Her high school lover, Sky, arrives to help out—and Marcella discovers her old feelings may not be as distant as she thought. Worse, a serial killer is stalking young women in the area. And when a teen girl whose mother works with Sky goes missing, Marcella and everyone she cares for wind up dead center in the killer’s sights. 

***

Check out Aaron's books and get a free copy of Devil's Lake at www.lazarbooks.com.


http://www.lazarbooks.com

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Writing Skinny and Puppy Love


How to Slenderize Your Manuscript by Kim Smith



This is a post from 2011 - I am recycling for you today. Since next week is Valentines Day, I want to wish you much love. Go get my latest love story. It has a dog in it. You will be in LOVE!


It's called PUPPY LOVE _ click the link below to magically be transported http://a.co/aw0E6tR

On with the post...

One of the things that gives me a happy frame of mind when writing is to have a clean, unfettered manuscript. When I wake up in the morning and open a WIP that has been edited, that has a streamline feel, and there isn’t garbage cluttering it up, I feel great.

When, on the other hand, I open my book and find extra plot-lines/unnecessary characters or just bad writing all over the place, it stresses me out.

These are a few tips for getting the junk out:

Do it in small chunks. Set aside 5 pages to work on at a time, and when that 5 is satisfactory, stop. Then tackle another 5 the next day. Conquering the entire work can be overwhelming, and you might decide it is hopeless and find yourself uncomfortably blocked.

Set aside a couple hours to do it. This may seem elementary… and it is. It’s simply a different strategy, and I say do whatever works for you. Sometimes, for me, it’s good to set aside part of a manuscript, or an entire scene to do in a set amount of time. The weekends are perfect! Just whatever works best for me in the time I have.

Sort through your manuscript and cut scenes and rearrange them. Have a folder to put the cut scenes in handy. When you pull everything out of a scene, send it to the new folder (I call this OUTTAKES but I am an old videographer, too). Put in new material, and make a decision: trash the old, add old to new, or keep new and leave old for a while until you are certain it won't hurt anything else in the book. Don’t put it back in the pile for a good while. You may find you never need it again, but that scene could fit in another work, or give you a muse-tweak that sends the book in a new direction.

Study your habits and see if you are making these unnecessary plots or characters out of a bad habit. Sometimes there’s a reason you have pages of crap all over the place, and an OUTTAKES folder that is stuffed full. Craft books with emphasis on writing tight might help.

Celebrate when you’re done! Give yourself a big old pat on the back. This sort of cleaning out the old junk and rearranging or reordering or plain old remaking your book is very therapeutic.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Five Tips for Book Marketing and Promotion

Book marketing and promotion is like an ocean. Wide and vast. Are you uncertain about doing your own marketing? Feel like too much of an introvert to be successful as a marketer? Don't know what a marketing plan is? Can't distinguish between promoting and marketing?

Well, you've come to the right blog then.



1. Authors should get as much knowledge about book marketing/promotions as they possibly can.

Recently, I watched over twenty videos, listened to over thirty podcasts, and am reading one of many many good books on this subject. I am not trying to toot my own horn here, just letting you know that I have done my homework, and encourage you to do likewise. There are more than enough resources out there.

2. Book marketing takes a lot of time, so if you have prepared a plan and know when and how to execute, you will find it a lot less burdensome.

A book marketing plan is the outline of how you are going to sell your book. Make it detailed, include what you want to achieve out of this plan, how you intend to get there, including book packaging (cover, edits, etc.), distribution (where will it be available for sale) and price (how much will you charge for it). Don't forget to include who will be your target market. Who is going to buy and read your book?

3. Understand the difference between marketing and promoting.

There is a gulf here that a lot of authors don't understand. Promoting your work is a piece of the marketing plan. They are a collective. Marketing can be about pricing structures, but promotions is about how to get that buyer to like that structure enough to hit BUY.

To promote a book, you should know what you are selling and who you are selling to. You can go out and talk about your book until the cows come home but until you understand that you are in the midst of bulls and not cows, you will never make a sale.

4.Get started early. Before that book is on the virtual shelf, you should already have plans in place and already actively be using them to sell that book.

It is important to get started with your book marketing plans before you self-publish.

While writing the book, ask yourself who am I writing this for? What do I want them to take away from the reading of my book? These sorts of questions will help you get that book marketing plan rolling.

5. Use promotions wisely. This facet of book marketing takes a lot of savvy and time.

If you are going to promote from your blog, be focused with your posts. You do not have to post all the time about writing the book, and so on - readers love to know the WRITER behind the book too.

A word to the wise: if you are interested in gaining readers for the book pre-publish, don't make everything about you. Readers are readers after all. Give them some excerpts, details about the cover art, like a cover reveal. Keep them interested.

I am happy to answer your questions, and love comments!















Thursday, January 26, 2017

What inspires you to write?

Yo', Murderers...Happy Thursday!



I hope this post finds you writing and plotting a novel like never before. I am reading a good book on creativity. It is inspiring me. What inspires you to write? Do you have a special place to write? I used to. Now I am a write wherever I am kind of person. I can write long-hand, or on computer, doesn't matter.

What gets you in the writing chair? Do you set deadlines for yourself?

Post up your comments, and let us know!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Starting out the new year by writing a novel

Good day, Murderers...



So we made the 101 Best Sites list again (Writers Digest Writers Yearbook 2017), and I wanted to thank everyone for being a part of our little family here. We have had ups and downs *personally I am having a lot of downs right now* but this site has survived it all.

This week I want to address those of you (us)who are starting out this new year writing a book-maybe for the first time. Maybe it is not your first book, but you are finally committed to finishing it.

Either way, this post might be of some benefit.


What does one do when they have an idea that won't leave them alone? Characters that talk to them all day and night? A setting that demands to be developed in a literary way?

Well, WRITE IT DOWN!


That's the real first step to writing anything. Just start. One page a day. 250 words on a computer screen will get you far when it becomes a daily habit. Try it. Try writing 250 words on a blank Word Doc and see if you don't discover that once you get started you could keep going on and on.

My problem is not getting started sometimes, sometimes it is STOPPING!

And do this without thought for correct spelling, syntax, or anything else...just write!

I would love to hear what your process is, or your questions are...post them up below!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Murderers, as writers

Good day, Murderers!

I hope this finds you doing something that fulfills you.

What is everyone reading?



Yes, reading is a part of being a writer. I am usually reading two books at a time, one electronically and one in paper. At the moment, I am reading The Book of Joy in paper. It is a very good read. It is written by a gentleman who spent time with The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu as they celebrated one of the holy men's birthday. It is filled with wonderful advice on how to live a joy-filled life. We all could use that, right?

The other one I am working on my Kindle app is Dare to Love by Carly Phillips. It is romance, not something for everyone, but still a worthy read.

I am supposed to be writing a page a day on the next Shannon Wallace book but have some personal family things going on at the moment that is blocking any sort of creative endeavor beyond blogging. I sure hope 2017 doesn't keep going like it has begun. So far, it has pretty much sucked.

But you don't want to hear that do you??

Murderers, as writers, you should be reading something. And as writers, you should be writing something. Even blog posts. EVERY DAY. Don't forget if you do this for 21 days it will become a habit.

Do not do as I do. Do as I say do.

Happy Thursday, y'all.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Happy New Year and what are you doing?

Ahoy, Murderers!

It's a new year and I hope you are writing like mad. I have been working on the next book in the Shannon Wallace Mysteries, and if you didn't catch the promo, you definitely want to read Schooled in Murder. I have a cool new subplot in this book that is carried over into the next two books.

Ah here is the link:
Schooled in Murder by Kim Smith

What are you reading? This year I hope to get more books consumed than ever before. I am reading The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams and I am also reading Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher. Both very intriguing books for different reasons.

In my personal life, I have once again begun the annual trek for good health. I was very bad over the holidays and have to rein it in. I am eating veggies and drinking water as a way to calm my inflamed tastebuds. They are still screaming for fudge, and Chex Mix. I hate to tell them that Super Bowl season is on its way.

That's about it for me, you MB4 fiends. Hope your first week back into the world has been one of viral-substance.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Spring-Bittersweet-Hollow-Book-ebook/dp/B01N3PGKI1/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1483010096&sr=1-1&keywords=devil%27s+spring

Hi, folks!

I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed a wonderful holiday. It can be a hectic time of year, and when the new year comes 'round, sometimes it's nice to sit back and relax with a good book. Lots of folks get Kindles for Christmas, and if you have an ereader of any kind, I hope you discover some intriguing stories that transport you to other worlds.

I wanted to let you know Devil's Spring is now available on Amazon! It seems we've waited forever for this January 1st release, doesn't it?

The eBook is on sale for its premier launch for only $0.99, but will go back to its usual price of $2.99 in a few weeks. So get your copy soon!

The print book is also available through Amazon, but the audiobook won't be here for a few months. Fortunately, we've won the services of Gwendolyn Druyor again, so we can hear the familiar voices of Portia, Grace, Anderson, Boone, Daisy, Dirk, and more. ;o) I'm so excited to start this project!
Devil's Spring ebook
Devil's Spring paperback
Bittersweet Hollow Romantic Suspense series:

1) Devil's Lake  (free)
2) Devil's Creek
3) Devil's Spring

These books can easily be read in any order. ;o)
 

http://www.lazarbooks.com


If you'd like to read more excerpts from my other mysteries or love stories, stop by Lazarbooks.com to check them all out. And thanks in advance for any reviews you leave on Amazon. Writers love to hear how their stories and characters affect their readers. So, don't be shy!

Next on the horizon? I plan to start writing book 12 in the LeGarde Mystery series soon. Stay tuned.

Here's to a Happy New Year and healthy 2017!

Aaron Paul Lazar


www.lazarbooks.com