Thursday, June 28, 2012

My I Will- and yes, you may steal my I Will

Today I am short on ideas for  my weekly blog post so I semi-stole an idea from another blog and rewrote it for my own purposes. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you will use it as well. On July 7, I will be going on vacation - yes, AWAY FROM THE KEYBOARD, but you will get a review from me on a new book. Because that is going to happen next week, I will probably not post a regular post on Thursday. As it is right after the Independence Day holiday, I am sure you won't miss it --LOL.

Here ya go:

I Will

I will get up on time and spend a few moments exercising my body to nourish and protect it.
I will see to it that I spend at least one hour a day doing something that fulfills me even if it is simply watching a television show that I really enjoy.
I will not allow one single person or thing to make me feel like I am slacking off when I decide not to write a blog post, or a short story, novel, or poem.
I will sit in the sun and allow the majesty of its heat to permeate my soul and fill me with light.
I will breath deeply every hour and thank God for the ability to breathe.
I will love those I love with an everlasting love.
I will pray or meditate on all that has been placed in my care for the benefit of someone other than myself.

Happy Thursday, Murderers -

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ideas for stories: aka the answers to such dilemmas

Some time ago, I had a very strange dream,whereby upon awaking, a part of my real-life lopped over into my dream. I kept dreaming about a very loud annoying bell, and it turned into my alarm ringing. Or chiming, as it were, as my alarm is my cell phone, and the ring tone is a church bell pealing.
Ugly, I know, but such is my life in certain arenas.

Have you ever had that happen? It's something akin to surreal when your dream-state becomes your reality. Many great stories have come from dreamers/writers who brought their mind-meld ideas to the world of the waking. Situations where ideas for stories fall into our laps don't happen often, at least not for me, so this was just an invitation to dig in and do something with the free material. Never sniff at blessings even when they come from a dream. Do something with it! And if you cannot remember the entire thing, well, fudge it until you make it into something.

And of course, I did.

What came out was a short story I called the Case of the Missing Body, which I am offering at Amazon  as a serial story. I am going to be posting segments about once a month. It is totally YA (young adult) mystery, and safe for family consumption.

(Blatant Self Promo-- the first installment is up now for 99 cents! BUY IT NOW

I hope you will go out and get it, Murderers.

The cover art is mine own. For the first time in my writing life, I was author, editor, cover artist, and publisher. Thank you very much, Amazon, for allowing us to take control of our work. Oops, that's a post for another day.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Book Review for THE WOMANIZER by Warren Adler, review by Aaron Lazar

Title:  The Womanizer
Author:  Warren Adler
Publisher: Stonehouse Press
Genre: Literary fiction
Kindle eBook: $2.99
Trade Paperback: $9.95
ISBN-10: 1590060210
ISBN-13: 978-1590060216
Author’s website:

Warren Adler is a master student of the human mind, its inner workings, and the interesting, bizarre pathways that occur in (particularly) disturbed or non-heroic figures. In THE WOMANIZER, Mr. Adler delves into the life of Allen Harris, a man who has had three intense love affairs while being married to his adoring, long-time wife, and in his usual, inimitable fashion, the author evokes unexpected empathy for this seriously flawed character.

I despise the behavior of infidelity, (I believe marriage is forever unless there are some very bad extenuating circumstances, and I really look down on adulterers!), but Mr. Adler actually made me sympathize with his Mr. Harris. Now that's true talent. I admire the writer who can take a despicable man or villain and elicit sympathy from his readers, in spite of the awful truths that cannot be denied. Mr. Adler is very good at shades of gray in the literary painting of his characters; he provides a great example for those of us who always seek to improve our own writing and characterization.

The journey from current day reflection ("I am up for a new prestigious job, will they find out about my affairs and disqualify me?") to the intense and really convoluted thoughts flashing back to past relationships ("I really love my wife and would never leave her, I don't know why I'm doing this, but I'm still a good husband...") to the obsession about how deeply our protagonist must have affected the women with whom he had these affairs ("Will they seek revenge? Will they ruin my chances?") to the deeper, darker thoughts that made me wonder if this guy would simply kill them all to shut them up...  it was quite a ride!

Here is a passage that depicts the inner workings of Mr. Harris's delusional brain, with apologies to Mr. Adler for removing a few of the more provocative words for the sake of making this review easily accessible to all:

"In a strange way, time had distorted the old fear. Once his primary anxiety had been exposure, blatant, in-your-face exposure, a full-blown confrontation, in the midst of, as they say, flagrante delicto in living color, imagined as a kind of movie in his mind. There he would be, caught in the act by someone, a photographer perhaps, disengaging in panic, revealed with moist dwindling tumescence, his skin flushed pink by aborted passion and embarrassment, while his partner of the moment was poised and ready. There they would be the three of them in a tableau of expectation, rage, shame, and humiliation.

Explanation would be impossible, although he had gone over the possibilities in his mind again and again. He would have had to compound the felony with meaningless protestations as if the female human he had held in thrall at that moment did not exist, was an illusion, a kind of ghost. It was nothing, he might whine, merely a roll in the hay, a passing moment of pure lust, “commanded by the one-eyed monster,” as McNaughton, his partner, a blatant philanderer, put it often. The truth lay elsewhere. He could, of course, find excuses and rationalizations like Sandborn’s contorted explanation, implying the ruthlessness of the male libido, which could attack self-discipline like a virus.*"

*Adler, Warren (2010-09-23). The Womanizer (Kindle Locations 1515-1520). Stonehouse Press. Kindle Edition.

There is a lovely surprise twist toward the end, and although it felt like the very end was a little abruptly ended (my humble opinion), it is worth the read, especially to those who marvel at the capacity of the human mind to delude itself.

Mr. Adler professes to write "genre-less" fiction. If pressed to assign a genre, I'd say this falls into literary fiction or psychological drama. Not that it matters, it's still a fascinating read.

Recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar,

Friday, June 15, 2012

For the Love of Writing

copyright 2012, Jack Whitsel

As my release date approached, I was bombarded by questions about I how I felt. I had always answered with the usual…I’m nervous, I’m excited, blah, blah, blah. But if truth be told, the emotion that overshadows them all is gratitude. Maybe it’s because this is my first novel, or perhaps I wasn’t expecting Shadows of Kings to get noticed as quickly as it did, despite my faith in its quality. But for whatever reason, I am consumed with gratitude, not only for being published, but for the many souls who have supported me during this journey. So this blog, instead of being about ME, is designed to help YOU, the aspiring writer. This article is an amalgamation of snippets from prior articles that focus on some of the philosophies and tricks of the trade I’ve embraced. So let’s get to work. 

There is one notion I express to all aspiring authors I talk to: There is a story within all of us. Granted, having it come to life can be a little tricky, but the emphasis should be the DOING! What is DOING? Sitting down and committing yourself to putting thoughts on paper. The victory is building a routine that keeps you consistently in front of your notebook, laptop, typewriter, or 3-ring binder on a daily basis. If you're just beginning, start small, and don't punish yourself if you fall short of a goal. Just pick it up the following day and move forward.

Another key toward my writing is what I expressed earlier…gratitude. I've been humbled by the attention and interest so many have expressed. The process from scribbling my imagination on paper to having it committed to print is a long one. As exciting as the journey is, having Shadows of Kings go through the publishing process while continuing to write can be an arduous affair. All of the wonderful sentiments from my supporters and fans have calmed the storm and revitalized my resolve. Remember to express your gratitude, for the universe will always pay it forward. 

Lastly, let your work be seen and have confidence. Cast aside former rejections by agents, critics, and publishers. In the end...we are our worst critics. It's somewhat akin to hearing a recorded sound of your own voice. 

We always cringe when we hear ourselves played back, but this is the sound that everyone around us hears. Think of your writing in that light. You will find the perception of others to be quite different from the "cringe" you might be feeling.

With that said…I’m open to any questions you may have about the writing process or my novel in particular. A big THANK YOU to Aaron Lazar for allowing me to play with you today. I’m thrilled to be on this site during the first day of my release.

Oceans of Love,

About Jack Whitsel:
Jack is a native Californian, but has made Oregon his home since 1982. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Finance from Portland State University, but studies medieval history in his spare time. His favorite genres are fantasy and historical fiction with a medieval emphasis. Shadows of Kings, the first novel of the Dragon Rising Series is the love child born of these two passions.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Interview, much?

As I was perusing the web, nursing a terrible headache, I found an interview done recently with the author John Irving by the Sunday book review in the NY Times. Mr. Irving, in my opinion, was a man of few words. He still writes in longhand, not on a computer as well.

How many times have I had to answer the same questions over and over in interviews through the years? A lot. But do I mind? Not at all. I figure new readers will ask the same questions that the new interviewer is asking, and I do forgive repetition.

Recently, in a group of writers, the question was posed about what the writers thought about interview questions. Whether or not there was one or two that they just simply detested.

I truly couldn't come up with any, but did agree the one that someone posed "where do you get your ideas from" has to be the worst.  Not because it is offensive, but because it is so darn hard to answer. In reality, there is no bad question. All interviews are different, and while some questions seem to be repeated, it is the writer's job to make the answers seem a bit different.

This is especially true if you are doing a book tour and the bulk of your tour is made up of interviews on various blogs.

So, dear Murderers, as I sit here and allow the Ibuprophen to kick in, I wonder, what do you think are good interview questions? What would YOU *if you were interviewing* want to know most?

Bang your Head

Have you ever had one of those times where you want to sit down to write, but nothing will happen when you do?

I am going through a dry spell, I guess.

I have planned on sitting down to write for three days now, and every time I head to the computer, something stops me. I just cannot bring myself to sit in that chair. If I get to the chair, I can't open the laptop, and if I get the laptop booted up, I just slump and decide to play on the Internet rather than write.

It's like I am blocked. I know I know, there is no such thing as writer's block, but truly, I am not able to get into it at this time.

I am doing a lot of blogging though!

I blog at Writingspace, and Be Mindful, and here, and on my website which is also a blog type, and of course, I am on Facebook, and Twitter, and I just signed up for Shelfari, and revisited my Amazon author page, and...

Okay, wait a minute.

Maybe I am all typed out?

I think I just figured out why I don't want to write. I am writing, in a sense, but not on a piece of work. This is like a Eureka! moment to me. Happy Thursday, Murderers. I hope you have a very productive weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Learning to Write by Reading

copyright 2012, Pat Bertram

I learned to write by osmosis. I used to read more good books in a month than most people read in a lifetime, and the elements of storytelling seeped into my soul. I still have to work at writing, probably more so than writers who took classes or who are naturally talented, but I have an instinct of what works and what doesn’t. The problem comes when I try to put what is in my mind down on the page, which is why I later augmented the osmosis with reading books on how to write and edit.

A friend also learned to write by reading, but not by osmosis. She rips apart the books she adores, literally tears out the pages. Sometimes she types a passage from a book (like Cormac McCarthy’s landscape passages in All the Pretty Horses) then types over the passage with different settings, different entities within that setting, different verbs, different moods, but keeps the rhythm of the words. She learned well. Her stories have a lyricism that rivals the best of Ray Bradbury.

And no, I won’t tell you who she is. People give her flak for mutilating books. But, as she says, “A book that shows no evidence of ever having been touched is probably not very touchable to begin with.” I’m sure those authors whose books she rips apart to learn from would be thrilled to know how much she appreciates their work. I know I would be, but I doubt anyone will ever try to emulate my prose. It’s utilitarian at best (mostly because I edit out any metaphors and lyricism that end up on the page. Unlike my book-mutilating friend, I have no use for them.)

And what is so terrible about ripping a book apart to learn from it? Worse things happen to books. Like burning.

I helped out at a book sale once, and dozens of boxes of category romances were left over. The librarian asked if I had a woodburning stove. She said, “These books burn well, that I know.” I was shocked. Even crappy books I wouldn’t read if they were the only books left in the world are sacred to me. After the sale, I got to wondering what else could one do with books that have no resale value. Throw them out? At least if they are used for fuel, they would serve their purpose. Aren’t cheap romances all about getting people heated up?

(For the record, I have never, will never burn a book. I never even tortured one, though once I did throw a book against the wall because I hated the ending.)

Pat Bertram


Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book — character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre — she decided to write her own. Second Wind Publishing liked her style and published four of Bertram’s novels: Light Bringer, Daughter Am I, More Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and one non-fiction book, Grief: the Great Yearning.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Book Review: Listen to the Shadows by Joan Hall Hovey, review by Aaron Lazar

Author:  Joan Hall Hovey
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Genre: Suspense, 298 pages
Price: Kindle eBook: $3.99
Author’s personal website:

I must say right up front that I have been a fan of Joan Hall Hovey since I read CHILL WATERS a few years ago. After that, I sought each release with the same excitement I do for new books by bestselling authors like Dean Koontz. I’ve read all of Ms. Hovey’s books, and simply loved them.

That’s why it was so fascinating to read Ms. Hovey’s very first novel, LISTEN TO THE SHADOWS, which is now available as an eBook.

Completely aside from the entertaining plot, from a writer’s point of view I enjoyed glimpsing the emerging elements of this grand lady’s talent in her early work: the wonderful scene-setting, the bone-chilling fear she instills, the creepy villain(s), and the underlying romantic tension. Although not as developed as her current day works, the story was most enjoyable, and I found myself flying through the pages to discover what would happen to her likeable protagonist.

The plot is intriguing: artist Kate Summers is stalked by an unknown assailant; a definite nutcase who tortures her in a very disturbing fashion, setting up straw figures in her car and home to horrify her at the most unexpected moments, lurking in the background, in those decidedly frightening shadows. And to balance that creepiness, there’s a dark and troubled yet quite intriguing psychiatrist to whom Kate Summers is drawn, a nice counterpoint to the villainous happenings. I also particularly enjoyed the well-drawn and engaging character of Kate’s friend, Jason Belding.

 My favorite scenes were those by Black Lake in the house Kate inherited from her dear departed aunt. I smelled the fragrance of the water and pines, and felt the old floorboards creaking when I walked over them with Kate. When the protagonist felt chilled in the unheated cottage, I reached for a blanket.

These are some of the skills at which Ms. Hovey excels.

Another setting I enjoyed was the damp, dark cellar of the old house. Wow, great action, tension, and suspense happened down there in that very creepy locale. Well done, Ms. Hovey.

Most authors learn as they progress, and I’m not different. I am prouder of my later books than my first or second or third, and I can see the progression quite clearly in all of Ms. Hovey’s works. They just keep getting better and better, but this early book is most enjoyable. I gave it five stars because I’ve read all the others and they are definitely five plus, plus stars. It’s hard to judge when you’re comparing against an author’s more advanced works, isn’t it?

I’m looking forward with great anticipation to Ms. Joan Hall Hovey’s next release, and hoping it comes soon.

Recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of three award-winning mystery series at

Friday, June 8, 2012

Literary Exhibitionist or Secretive Lover?

copyright 2012, David Berger

Does writing intoxicate you? When you’re typing away, do you have that smirk of confidence that says, “If I could do this all day, I’d be in heaven”? Do you dream about writing? Then, you love doing it. But, when you’re cranking out your story, does your audience ever come to mind? Does it matter to you who would read this piece of scripted gold? Can’t you just write what you love without considering who will read it? Shouldn’t that transcend the audience barrier?

Well, that depends. Don’t you want to know who thinks like you do?

Having a healthy balance of both makes successful writers, but just how much of each? Ever since I was a kid, I loved fantasy fiction, starting with comic books and moving into novels as I got older. I am a true escapist—when this world gets to be too much, I find a David Eddings novel or lose myself in The Return of the King. So, it’s no surprise that when my fingers clack at the keyboard, I’m envisioning Xanth, Mount Olympos, or Mordor. My heart gallops when I write fantasy worlds with swords, sorcery, monsters, and especially, gods. It’s that L-O-V-E love that makes me want to turn off my phone, lock myself in my office, and—yes—log out of Facebook.

As I’m building a world, do I care who will read it? Probably not right then, but I do have to stop and wonder at some point if anyone else would be interested. Don’t I? When I’m in the middle of things, I write for me, not caring about other fantasy readers. As the muses do their work, this crafting is intimate and personal. Truth be told, if I could just write and feel like that all the time, I’d quit my job. It would become my addiction. I imagine many writers feel the same way, especially those who can generate a few novels a year. Then it comes down to the “others,” those who validate us or vilify us: the audience. While we’re crafting what we feel is this intricate tapestry of language and meaning, imagery and metaphor, we have to realize that the “others” may find our work less than their ideal. So what we spent much of our energy on, sold our soul to Mephistopheles for, and would have walked naked through a forest of poison ivy to deliver is at the mercy of the reader.

And yet, we love it. Somewhere, deep inside that storyboard you keep locked up in your mind, behind that character you wish you were or that landscape you can’t bear to flee, you think about those outsiders who will look at your syllables, your words, and get tangled up in syntax and diction. You want them to. But, at the same time, you put your blood, your synaptic energy, and your inspired thought into that story, the one you hope will win you a Pulitzer but may never get that far. You're really doing this because it satisfies that longing to swim with sentences or prance with prepositions. This plotline makes you an insomniac, hearkens you to call in sick to work, and makes you want to pay the babysitter another $20 just so you can have an hour or two more to craft your ideas. Ultimately, it comes down to the question: will you be satisfied if you’re the only one who sees this? Can you bear to keep that stacked pile of paper, your betrothed, to yourself, or do you, like your mother told you when you were young, need to share?

I wrestled with my novel for over 25 years. We had it out, and I wasn't winning. As a short story, “The Olympus Corps.,” it dangled itself in front of me, asking to be finished. We’d have a falling out for a time, and then the novel, in its adolescence, would challenge me, goad me, like a petulant teenager. Nights beguiled me to continue; days lured me into otherworldly places where I could build my story. I was writing this for me, mostly because I never thought I’d ever see it published. In fact, for a short time, I didn’t want to finish the story because even I wanted to be surprised by the ending. Getting toward the adulthood of the work, renamed TASK FORCE: GAEA, wrapped in a cocoon of syllabic silk, I was stuck. Freedom meant being able to make that choice of giving an audience a risky chance to endorse my work or shun it. Once I came to that conclusion, the only one I could really approach, the web fell away, and I realized that the “others” mattered more to me than I thought.

As I neared completion of the work and, later, the editing process, I shared some of the pages with people (since people always ask if they can get a peek anyway), and letting them become an audience made me uneasy. I felt nauseated, dreading the inevitable tepid response or the truly honest friend who would say, “Don’t quit your day job.” Thankfully, that didn’t happen. What did happen was the ignition of a spark of validation when one of the “others” actually understood what only I had known for so long, and it made me… giddy. Sharing my dearest with others didn’t frighten me as much as I thought it might. Oh, make no mistake—I was terrified. I still am. But, even if people don’t buy what I write, the relationship I have with my muse will never end.

So. While you’re having your own torrid affair with the computer, you’ll have to decide if the product of that union is worth sharing or not. Does the audience matter that much in the process or are they that voyeur, lurking behind you, whom you can just ignore? Some of your work will never be sensual serifs on the printed page, while some of your literary offspring will be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords, with a myriad of readers, flipping pages, ready to be the “other” in your life. 

And, face it, you like it like that.

About David Berger: 

Bio: David Berger, a Long Island native, received his B.A. in English from SUNY Albany and, later, his masters in Secondary Education at Suffolk University in Boston. Writing since he was young, David has a portfolio of short fiction and poetry, with one short story being the impetus for his debut Greek myth-inspired fantasy novel, TASK FORCE: GAEA. He has been an avid reader of fantasy fiction and comic books, especially Wonder Woman, since childhood, taking from that experience and reading mythology to build his work. After spending over 25 years on this first novel, he aims to finish the sequel by the end of 2012. Currently, he's living the dream teaching AP and IB English in Land O' Lakes, FL. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A trio of villains

Today it occurred to me as I looked at a writing prompt, what exactly do we know about villains? Well, I suggest to you to take a look at a popular trio, found in Cinderella stories. And yes, I say stories, because the famed fable has many takes.

Now, what do we really know about those sisters?

Well, first of all, they have been portrayed as ugly in face, and in other incarnations, as ugly in spirit. Either way, they exhibit some very necessary ingredients for us to see in order to love Cinderella. Their terrible attitudes and vengeful ways come against the sweet and forgiving soul of Cinderella, which makes us like her a lot.

And what about the third member of our trio?

The ugly stepmother. Or the wicked one. Yes, she is equally as evil. And these ladies and their villainy are the fodder for many a fairy tale including a Chinese fable, and a Disney movie.

By the way, the writing prompt was to start the story at the point where the shoe fits. Only it doesn't, and in fact, fits one of these mean old women. ha. Gotta love the muse!

Go out and kill someone today, Murderers. Literatively speaking, of course!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writer's Rant, or My Name is not Paul!

 (an older pic of me from 1987 - look at that dark beard and hair! LOL)

When I published the first edition of DOUBLE FORTÉ back in 2004, I had to decide how I'd brand myself as an author. That started, of course, with my "author's name." At first I chose a pen name - "Jack Beauregarde". I was pretty happy with it - after all, there are many beloved "Jack's" in our country's history! But soon I was chastised by a colleague who convinced me to just be me, and to use my own name on the cover.

So I thought about authorly sounding presentations. Aaron Lazar seemed boring. Aaron P Lazar seemed weird. Aaron Paul Lazar (my real, full name) sounded a little pretentious, but it also reminded me of other author's who have used their middle names to distinguish themselves from other folks with their name.

When I tried to start up my website, I soon learned that there was indeed another Aaron Lazar (an actor from NYC) who already had, and it was at that point I realized it might be a good idea to include the middle name. Here's how it looks on my book covers:

So, I made my decision and stuck with it all these years. It's worked for the most part, but now I deal with this WEIRD situation all the time.

People keep calling me PAUL.

Why is that???? It drives me kind of nuts. I'm telling you, it happens all the time - either at book signings or on Twitter or on Facebook.

I could see if I used my first initial, like A. Paul Lazar. Then of course people assume you don't want to use your first name and you go by your middle name.


So what's up with this?

Guess I'll never know.

While we're on the subject, let me rant a little more. The other day I was on a longgggg and exhausting call with our medical supply company. This call could warrant another whole rant, but let me just say that the third person I talked to asked me my name (again). I told him, and he said, "E-R-I-N?" I tried not to flip out, because over the years this frustration has been building in me. The poor guy probably didn't know why I answered in such a loud voice. "NO. That's the GIRL's name!" I felt bad afterwards, and apologized, but we got past that. Anyway...

Why don't people understand the difference between AARON and ERIN? Aaron is the guy's name, Erin is the girl's name. And unless you live in Rochester, NY (where they pronounce them both like AERON with a nasal twist), they don't even SOUND alike.

The "a's" in AARON are pronounced like the "a" in APPLE. Doesn't everyone say "apple" the same way?

The "e" in ERIN is pronounded like the "e" in "EGG."

How simple is that? If you remember your phonics from grade school, that's a "short a" and a "short e." Least it was in my school.

I guess it's pretty silly to get upset about such mundane things. But once in a while you have to get things off your chest, don't you?

Do you have any stories like that about your name? Share below in the comments section.

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

Aaron Paul Lazar (Please don't call me Paul!)

Friday, June 1, 2012

The E-Book Intrusion by Warren Adler

Hi, folks.

Today is Warren Adler day! We will feature this well-known author of books like WAR OF THE ROSES and RANDOM HEARTS on the first Friday of each month throughout 2012.

Please help me welcome this most generous bestselling author today to Murderby4. Warren, welcome and thanks for sharing your insight with our readers.

Aaron Lazar
It was completely predictable that the e-book phenomenon would spawn various enhancements like video and music designed, according to their creators, to “enrich” the reading experience.

I suppose there are some readers who will welcome having their e-books enhanced by such accompaniments. Indeed, I have known many writers who compose their books while listening to music.

Packaging e-books with musical backgrounds has been announced with much fanfare while video book enhancements have already begun their march into the marketplace.

Alas, I will not succumb to such alleged blandishments. Call me a purist, but as a creator of works of the imagination, meaning works of serious fiction, I consider such embellishments intrusions on the author’s intention and the reader’s reception of this intention.

Boiled down to its essence, the author to reader is a one-on-one communication experience. In telling his or her story, the author has plumbed to the depths of his or her subconscious and conceived their characters to pursue their destinies in a parallel world that grows in the author’s imagination in ways that are often mysterious and unexplainable.

In this imaginative world, the white noise of inspiration already fills the reader’s mental space as organ music reverberates in a giant cathedral. One does not require a musical accompaniment to capture and thrill to the emotional suspense of the author’s creation.  I intend in no way to negate the beauty and power of music, but words, too, have their intrinsic artistic power to speak to the human psyche and the reading experience is a prime example.

Nor does one need a musical accompaniment to feel the true power, for example, of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Melville’s Moby Dick, Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and yes, the Old and New Testament and a long line of fabulous works of the imagination created by authors that have enriched our lives and given us insight and knowledge into the human condition. Indeed, one might say that the music is already inherent in the prose and can be heard by the reader with great emotional impact within the author’s composition.

I know this sounds a bit highfalutin and perhaps flies in the face of those who will cite the movies as a prime example of how musical accompaniment embellishes a story line. The fact is that movie background music is designed as a kind of guide to the emotional high points that manipulate the action on the screen. It is designed to tell you how to feel and anticipate what a movie character is experiencing or is about to experience as the plot unfolds. There is no need for such an accompaniment in reading.

Nevertheless, I do believe there is probably a place for enhanced e-books, especially in the area of young children’s books where moving images and music could be helpful in engaging a child’s interest. I am somewhat tentative in that assessment since my experience with my own children was reading to them without benefit of other sounds except my own voice, which in retrospect seemed sufficient for their rapt attention.

Perhaps, too, musical and reality sounds will be useful in certain genre categories, particularly science fiction and books that are based upon comic book characters.

But the idea of adding anything more than words to the reading experience gives me pause in another area, such as opening the door to adding advertising to e-books. Using e-books as a platform for advertising is a real possibility and, for me, it is chilling.

I well remember going to the movies in London and, for the first time, being trapped into seeing advertising on the screen prior to the features, which I found offensive. I was apparently premature in celebrating the fact that this practice was not then found in American movie theaters.

It is now standard in most movie theaters in America to be forced to watch advertising before the feature is screened, a practice that intrudes on the pleasure of the movie experience. But then, today’s mass-market movies are all about toys, popcorn and selling a captive audience whatever is on offer.

From my perspective, reading has always been both a solitary and sacred celebration of the imagination, a gift of creation from the author to the reader. What worries me is that first will come the music, then the video and once that intrusion is thrust upon us, then will come the advertising. Advertising does, indeed, have its informational uses, but there are limits to its intrusion, especially for the serious and dedicated reader.

Frankly, I don’t want to open a book by a favorite author and be solicited to save 15% or more on car insurance or be pushed to buy the latest cure for acne.

Warren Adler

Warren Adler is a world-renowned novelist, short story writer and playwright. His 32 novels and story collections have been translated into more than 25 languages and two of his novels, The War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Random Hearts with Harrison Ford, have been made into enormously popular movies, shown continually throughout the world.

Today, when not writing, Mr. Adler lectures on creative writing, motion picture adaptation and the future of Electronic Books. He is the founder of the Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference and has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jackson Hole Public Library. He is married to the former Sonia Kline, a magazine editor. He has three sons, David, Jonathan and Michael and four grandchildren and lives in New York City.