Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to All!


Sometimes life gets in the way of...well, everything. I haven't written much since early summer. I know, it's crazy. I'm the guy who proclaimed "I hope to write a hundred books before I die." Really? I'm at sixteen books and I feel...stalled.

I guess it was family health issues that pushed me off track, for the most part. While I've recognized and handled my own issue (high sugar levels) and I'm now fit and healthier than ever before, I've needed to refocus on life and take an extra hour or two every day to exercise. 
I've loved my morning walks (yes, even in the cold & dark) because I listen to audio books and it's been fantastic. But this refocusing on health sure has done a number on my "free time.' 
In other words, my writing time has pretty much evaporated. 
It feels strange to say this in a year when my publisher released seven of my books. Seven! And we have three ready to go in 2013. And yes, I've been poking around rewriting/editing some of my yet-to-be-released LeGarde books (Virtuoso, to be exact). 
But editing and prepping and promoting  just isn't the same as writing something new and fresh. That's the fun part of being an author. I miss it, but I'm sure I'll get back to it soon.
But who am I to complain? In this age where children are shot in their own schools and soldiers are dying for our freedom, I truly have no rights to grumble. 
I'm grateful to have my family. I'm so eternally grateful... And every day I hug and hold them as much as I can without them batting me away and telling me "enough already!" 
So please, in this season of holiday joy, please go hug and kiss your loved ones a little extra today. And have a very Merry Christmas. 
Warmest wishes to you and yours...
Aaron Paul Lazar

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Since this is my last post before the holidays, I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all our readers, followers, and fans. This has been a difficult year for me and mine and I have still managed to get out some short stories for you. I look forward to 2013 and some books! I know you do, too.

If you are a writer, published or not, you are special. So many people want to do what you are doing, but for one reason or another, never do.

Remember you are special, and spread that magic throughout this season of giving.

Find someone to be kind to, love on, make a fuss over. The world needs your special sauce drizzled everywhere.

God bless you all, and may your holiday be the best you've ever had.

Merry Christmas, Murderers.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gearing up for the big holiday

Have you ever taken a moment from the shopping, wrapping, stressing, partying, eating, celebrating, and worshipping, to think about YOURSELF?

Me neither.

Why is that?

Well, I think if you are a writer, it is because you are always thinking of someone else. You think of your characters, their villains, mentors, and associates. You make up their stories, their lives, their families to the point where you sort of lose your own identity.

Now, go back to the holiday scenario.

see the connection?

You are ALWAYS thinking of someone else. Either your imaginary world, or your real one whereby others are clamoring for your attention. There just isn't enough room in the world (mental or not) for YOU.

That can be a bad thing. No, really.

Go out today and tell everyone that asks something of you, no. Tell them that just for a day you are going to say yes to only yourself and your needs. You are going to sleep later if you think you want to. You are going to make coffee just for you. A golden maple flavor is excellent in my opinion. You are going to eat bad food, including ice cream. Or better yet, go see the new movie opening tomorrow. The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey. Guaranteed to make you happy.

For this day of yours, you are going to play on the computer and not blog. NO writing either. Not unless you really want to. This is a day to do for YOU what others cannot. Only YOU can do for YOU what is needed to keep the sanity strong.

Enjoy this day, Murderers. You will find that gearing up for this big holiday coming at us like Gandalf playing bagpipes riding a unicycle isn't so bad when we have a bit of selfish peace- imposed on us by us.

And in the immortal words of Scarlett O'Hara, tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kim Smith: short stories

Just thought I would add my offerings in here for the Christmas shopping season. I have recently added to my repertoire of short stories, and have a new one up at Smashwords. It is sort of an experimental fantasy fiction entitled "Anenome Hanks". I hope you will get it for your stocking, as it is only $1.00.

If you want more of my Shannon and Dwayne mystery/adventures, there will be one up at Red Rose calledThe Christmas Heist. It is a short story as well and I am sure they will price it reasonably.

There at RRP you will find two more of my short stories, The Christmas Kiss, a sweet romance. And under my pen name, Kaycee Conners, there is Christmas Layover. That one is a spicy romance, so just saying if you are not into the love/romance/sensual thing, those are not for you.

I hope you will check out all my books this year, especially if you are a new Murderer here at Mb4. They are on Amazon for Kindle, and that will be a very good place to start shopping with that new Kindle Fire HD you get for a gift.

Didn't think I knew about that, did ya?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Are you a lonely writer? (aren't we all...)

Hi, folks.

If you're a writer and sometimes feel lonely, please don't. We're in this together and we've all suffered horrible disappointments, rejections, and bad reviews as well as our first glowing review or piece of fan mail.

I've written about my own experiences over the years through blogs and articles here on MB4, and my publisher decided it would be a good idea to gather them up to share with writers of all levels.

I've entitled the collection "Write Like the Wind," and there are now three volumes. Maybe someday when I've written more articles I'll add a fourth volume, but for now, this is it!

The eBooks are only 99 cents each, which isn't too bad. Here's a bit about them if you'd be interested in taking a look. ;o)

Kindle eBook, 99 cents each

This writing guide is a collection of articles I’ve written over the past seven years for fiction writers of all levels. Whenever I stumbled across something in the writing process, whether it was new-to-me technical skills or promotional methods, I wanted to share them with my network of writing pals. I was driven to help new writers just as my mentors helped me in the beginning of my career. Sort of like paying it forward, you know?

One of my favorite sayings I use when I sign off from my articles is “remember to take pleasure in the little things, and if you love to write, write like the wind!”

I guess it’s a strange concept, but I have this vision of unleashing swirling gusts of words just like the wind that rattles leaves in trees and blows hats along the sidewalk. Don’t stop to analyze, don’t hesitate, don’t edit yourself to death. There’s plenty of time for that later (and then you can “Edit Like an Architect” like my friend Natalie Neal Whitefield says.) Just let it all out in one big gushing explosion of words, and keep going until you reach the last chapter.

Thanks for ordering this guide. I’d love to hear from you, so if you’d like to say hello, feel free to drop me a line at or stop by my website at
Aaron Paul Lazar

Volume 1:

What Makes a Writer Tick?

1.     Motivation
2.     Balancing Life and Writing
3.     Writing From The Heart
4.     Defining a “Real” Writer

The Nuts and Bolts of Writing

5.     Advice for New Writers
6.     Forbidden Words
7.     The Hook
8.     Writing Like You Talk

Marketing and Building Your Platform

1.     Bringing Back the Dead
2.     Writing Reviews to Build Your Platform
3.     How Radio Shows Can Help Writers
4.     Tweet, tweet! (I feel like a bird)
5.     Read an eBook Week — an experiment

A Little Poetry, Please

6.     Word Painting
7.     Squeeze a Little Poetry Into Your Novel
8.     Savor the Moment

Learn to Write by Reading

9.     Listen to the Master – John D. MacDonald
10.  Speaking in Voices – Tami Hoag

Dreams – Do They Influence Your Writing?

11.  Connecting through Dreams
12.  Downtime and Dreams

Defining Success

The Ultimate Reward

Volume 2:

What Makes a Writer Tick?

1.     Finding Time to Write
2.     A Writer’s Life
3.     Cheap Therapy

The Nuts and Bolts of Writing

4.     The Dreaded Synopsis
5.     Writing Love Scenes
6.     Writing From a Woman’s POV (when you’re a guy)
7.     Tag Team Query Letters
8.     Beta Readers — who they are and why you need them

Marketing and Building Your Platform

9.    Blogging — what’s the big deal?
10.  Live Chats — do they sell books?
11.  Writing Columns and Branding Yourself
12.  Audio Books — how to get your novels into ACX

Dealing with Rejection or Unfair Criticism

13.  The Shredding
14.  Rejection! (Is your book REALLY that bad?)

Character Letters – examples

15.  Sam Moore Speaks
16.  Message from Gus LeGarde

Where Do You Write?

17.  Writing on the River
18.  Writing on the Road
19.  Writing with Kids
20.  Face-to-Face with Writers (in real life!)

Author Interviews – some examples
Interview with Aaron Lazar by Dorothy James

Volume 3:

What Makes a Writer Tick?

1.     Are All Writers Egoists?
2.     Practical Advice for Writers
3.     Chasing the Writing High
4.     Coping Skills for Writers in Hard Times

The Nuts and Bolts of Writing

5.     Dialogue Tags
6.     Your Preface: what it is, when to write it
7.     Writing the Tough Stuff (or killing the one you love)
8.     Setting the Scene in Your Own Backyard
9.     Typing “The End”

Marketing and Building Your Platform

10.  Being a Guest on Radio Shows — how hard is it?
11.  My First Book Signing
12.  Freebies — clever marketing, or foolish folly?
13.  Recording Your Character’s Voice

Plotting and Ideas

14.  What Scares You?
15.  Using Emotions to Drive Your Next Plot (“It’s Over”)
16.  Response to “It’s Over”
17.  Comfort Movies (plot themes)

Character Interviews and Letters – examples

18.  Interview with Oscar Stone
19.  Interview with Sam Moore
20.  Interview with Siegfried Marggrander
Interview with Ruby, from Tall Pines Mysteries

Thank you all and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Aaron Paul Lazar

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Falling in love again... with Dick Francis

Hello, fellow writers and readers. You may have noticed I've been sort of missing lately. I haven't posted my usual Sunday blogs in a while, and I've neglected to comment on the articles of others. This piece is my first in quite a while, and I hope it will at least in part explain what's been going on in my life.... Thanks for your patience, I love you all!  - Aaron

Falling in Love Again... with Dick Francis
copyright 2012 Aaron Paul Lazar

I've always loved mysteries, and mysteries featuring horses have topped the list since I was a kid. In my youth, I devoured books by Agatha Christie, John D. MacDonald, Rex Stout, and many more, but one of my very favorites was Dick Francis, who I've re-discovered because of a weird and frustrating event in my life.

Since I got a wake up call from my doctor last July (high sugar, type II), I've put almost all of my energy into getting healthy. I get up at 5 AM, do my chores around the house, then take off at 6:30 for a long walk up and down dirt roads with big hills (3-5 miles depending on the day) to get my stupid liver in gear.

Since doing this almost every day since July 11th, 2012, I've lost a lot of weight, gone down four pant sizes, become very anal about tracking and plotting my fasting sugar levels and two-hours-after-eating levels, weigh myself obsessively (without pants naturellement, those jeans weigh over a pound!), and eat pretty much like Ghandi.

All is good now. I'm on a routine. I'm healthy. My cholesterol is fantastically low. My BP is good again. And I'm now my doctor's poster boy for how to handle type II Diabetes without medication.

But I digress. 

One of the finest outcomes of this whole maddening situation has to do with what I do while I walk.

I listen.

I listen to so many books per week now, my intake of books has doubled, and that's on top of my eBook consumption which had already quadrupled my "normal" quota of print books. It's phenomenal!

I listen while walking for 1.5 hours daily. I listen in the car to and from work. And I even listening while grocery shopping.

I'm talking about audiobooks, of course, the latest and greatest super duper thing to come from bluetooth and wireless technology. With the help of, I've gone through all of Michael Prescott's tautly written thrillers. I've been buying and listening to  John D. MacDonald books (Travis McGee series, I intend to listen to the all), and lately I have re-discovered Mr. Dick Francis and his string (not series) of amazing British mysteries often set on racecourses or in the beautiful country-side of England.

I feel as if I'm delving deeper into this talented writer's words than ever before, when I read and coveted his paperbacks long ago. The interpretation by narrator Simon Prebble is so poignant, so intimate, so... gosh darned moving, that I think I'd be entranced listening to this man read the phone book.

Here are a few of the books that I've recently listened to by Mr. Francis, who passed away in 2010. Each time I listen to one of these books, it becomes my newest favorite. Honest, that's how good they are. I heartily recommend each one!

Decider | [Dick Francis]

The stakes are deadly at Stratton Park. Architect and family man Lee Morris never gave much thought to the shares he inherited of the Stratton Park racecourse, the multi-million dollar property owned by the powerful Stratton family. His mother had first received the shares to keep her quiet about the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her first husband, Keith Stratton. Now, much to Lee's chagrin, he is being drawn into the thick of the Stratton family squabbles as they wage a furious debate over the future of the race track. 

So when Lee packs his six sons into his renovated old bus to visit the racetrack, he finds himself embroiled in a supremely dangerous game that extends much deeper than horse racing. And perhaps too late, Lee realizes his involvement in the racetrack may cost him more than he bargained for. It may cost him his life.

My comments: This would be one of my top audiobooks to recommend. Outstanding quality, story, performance. One of my all time favorites from an already favorite author from way back. I wish Mr. Francis were alive to share my reviews with - I am so grateful for his insight, talent, and inspiration to all writers. ;o)

Proof | [Dick Francis]

With this New York Times best seller, Dick Francis creates an intoxicating blend of the good life, fast horses, and nail-biting suspense. 

After a shattering accident plunges a society soiree into chaos, an unassuming wine merchant is left with the bitter aftertaste of suspicion and fear. While catering an outdoor party for a prominent horse trainer, Tony Beach hears rumors of inferior whisky being sold under premium labels. All of that is forgotten, however, when a runaway horse trailer suddenly plows into the guest-filled tent. Later, after the last victim is pulled from the debris, he begins searching for answers to both the fraudulent spirits and the disaster. 

As Tony follows up leads, he finds himself pulled deeper and deeper into a treacherous world filled with greed, deception, and unspeakable murder. 

Incomparable storyteller Dick Francis grabs your attention on page one and keeps you riveted throughout to the smashing finish. With narrator Simon Prebble’s dramatic timing and superb accents, you’ll find Proof a vintage mystery to be savored.

My comments:  I just finished this book this morning, and I'm still mourning it's end. How will I go on without my daily fix? (aside from starting the next Dick Francis audio book!) The author brought to life a man who suffered deep and traumatic losses, and in the background, oh so subtly, makes his readers/listeners fall in love with the character. A true masterpiece!

Break In | [Dick Francis] 

Jockey Kit Fielding has been riding the de Brescous horses in a succession of triumphs on the race course. But this winning streak is about to end. Kit’s twin sister, Holly, has come to him in desperation. Threatened by financial scandal, she and her husband may lose their training stables. Kit soon finds, though, that a greater danger lurks behind the threat - one that could be fatal. 

Narrator Simon Prebble has received enthusiastic praise for his superb performances of the Dick Francis novels. His sophisticated British voice is perfect for Kit Fielding, the elegant duchess who employs him, and the other polished residents of the horse racing world.

My comments:  The rendering of the various British accents, handling of youth vs. elderly ages, women vs. men's voices... beautifully done! Kudos to an outstanding narrator, and of course, to the amazing talent of the late Dick Francis. 

Hot Money | [Dick Francis] 

Malcolm Pembroke never expected to make a million pounds without making enemies. Nor did he expect his latest wife to be brutally murdered. All the clues suggest the killer comes from close to home, but after five marriages and nine children, that still leaves the field wide open. When he find his own life in danger, Pembroke entrusts his safety to his estranged son, Ian, an amateur jockey; and through him discovers a compulsive new outlet for his financial expertise. Soon he's playing the international blood stock market for incredible stakes. Not the safest bet for a man on the run from avaricious relatives. Particularly when one of them's got a bomb.  

My comments: This book was the first freebie I got from Audible. The narrator, Tony Britton, was quite talented, but in my humble opinion, he didn't quite match the level of Simon Prebble. Don't know if anyone could! Good story, however, which held my interest throughout.