Monday, December 18, 2017

Cover Reveal and Gus's New Puppy's Name!

Hello readers and friends.

I hope this finds you well and enjoying the holiday season!

Last time I told you I was dreaming of a huge, aromatic live tree. I did it! Eight feet tall, it barely fits with the tree-topper! As promised, I'm including some photos of my wife's mom's vintage ornament collection, which is being displayed on this big live tree for the first time in decades! We had a great time trimming the tree - although it was also sad and nostalgic, as you might expect. 

I also have had a blast painting with my two grandsons, Christopher and Joey! Here are a few pictures of us hard at work. 

I want to thank all of you who send ideas for Gus's new puppy's name! I am thanking you all in the back of my new book (first names and dog's names). Read down to see which name I chose!

I have finished the rough draft of the manuscript for Murder on the Brewster Flats, the new Gus LeGarde mystery (#12), and have revealed the cover to you below. Also, you can now pre-order the eBook, and read a sample, too. ;o) 

I've contacted my Beta Reader team and my Advanced Reviewer team today. If you are on those teams and didn't get the email, please give me a shout!

Happy reading, and don't forget to take pleasure in the little things.

Aaron Paul Lazar

Today's post:

  • Murder on the Brewster Flats - COVER REVEAL and PRE-ORDER
  • Gus LeGarde's NEW PUPPY's Name
  • Excerpt from Murder on the Brewster Flats
  • This Week's Sale - LeGarde Mysteries Boxed Set: $1.99

Cover Reveal: Murder on the Brewster Flats, LeGarde Mystery, #12
What Do You Think? I love it. I found the beach and man images online, but Kellie Dennis did the magic and turned it into this beautiful golden masterpiece!

Here's a bit about it:

Some family secrets shouldn’t stay buried…  

Music professor Gus LeGarde and his wife Camille are looking forward to a relaxing vacation at Paines Creek Beach on beautiful Cape Cod. But Gus barely has a chance to feel the sand between his toes before a near-miss car accident drags him right into the middle of a local family feud — and a centuries-old mystery that’s begging to be solved.

As Gus is drawn further into the conflict between the Cooks and the McNabbs — two families with a grudge going all the way back to Colonial times — he and Camille keep uncovering more questions than answers. Where is the long-lost Cook family treasure? What’s really wrong with Beckett, the McNabb-side member who’s the father of young Jane Cook’s son? And who’s telling the truth about Beckett and Jane’s clandestine relationship: Jane’s grandfather, surly patriarch Albert Cook; or Beckett’s slightly odd parents?

Before long, mounting tension gives way to true danger as people start vanishing. And in the middle of a fast-brewing hurricane, Gus discovers the real secret at the heart of the feud: someone who will stop at nothing to make sure their side wins. Including murder.

Packed with shocking twists, exciting action, and fascinating tales of family lore and pirate treasure, Murder on the Brewster Flats is the first LeGarde Mysteries crossover novel with award-winning author Aaron Paul Lazar’s popular Paines Creek Beach series. Don’t miss this installment! 

Beauregard ("Beau") Gus's new puppy

Here are all the wonderful people who suggested names for Gus LeGarde's new puppy. (puppy names in parentheses!)

Murray (Beau), Elsie (Beau/Beauregard), Joan (Muffin), Linda (Beau), Sandy (Peeve), Robin (Roman), Linda (Roy), Bobbi (Natasha, Cleo, Kiki), Mort (Boo), Judy (Mozart, Bach), Heather (Remington, Boots, Pablo), Joan (Jasper), Marsha (Buc, Brad), Linda (Patches), Joan (Lucky), Danielle (Fluffers), Memaw (Remington), Janice (Balto), Nicky (Cooper, Ace, Scamp), Marta (Biscuit), T Whitmire (Lord Rambo, Jetson the First), Julia (Gunther), Ricardo (Seadog, Sea Biscuit, Harry), Michelle (Frost), Dalice (Fizzgig), Marge (Oreo, Sherlock, Holmes), Anna (Spooky), Dave (Wellington, Duke, Hudson, Jupiter, Torque, Spanner, Barkley, Dozer, Axel), Cynthia (Twinkles), Darlene (Nelson), Teresa (Gizmo), Ray (Grappa), Linda (Coda), Renee (Henry), unknown (Herman), Debbie (Magic, Romeo, Saber), Jane (River, Copper, Willow, Patch, Bramble, Theo, Mudlark, Jules, Peabody), KC (Bobbi, Bobby), Karen (Fritz, Schultz), Sheila (Balto), Steph (Fidelio, Fido), Brenda (River), Alice (Dolce),

What a list, huh? They were all so great, it was really hard to choose. ;o) Thank you all, and especially to Linda, Elsie, and Murray for suggesting Beau!
Free Excerpt from Murder on the Brewster Flats (Merry Christmas!)

Chapter 3

The next morning I woke at six, excited about the prospects of walking on the beach in the early hours before the rest of humanity rolled out of bed. I checked the tide chart on my phone and found out it would be low tide. The idea of padding through soft sand and tide pools propelled me out of sleep and into full awake-mode.
I sat up and smiled. I still couldn’t believe I was actually on a real vacation. The last time we’d tried to get away—for our honeymoon, to be exact—had ended with us captured in cells in a remote neo-Nazi compound in Austria. (Mazurka, book 3)
We found our way out of that mess, but I hadn’t wanted to chance leaving home for the last few years.
I shook off the bad memories and glanced at the sparrows chirping on pine branches outside the window. They sounded deliriously happy. The underlying sadness that persistently loomed due to the loss of my dog seemed to dissipate—just a little.
I leaned over and kissed Camille’s cheek. “Baby?”
She pulled the covers higher, snuggling into her pillow. “Go ‘way.”
I chuckled. “Too early for you?”
“Mmff.” She rolled away from me.
“Want me to go alone?”
“Mm hmm. See ya later.”
I shrugged. “Okay. I’ll be back in an hour or two.”
Her soft snoring made me smile. I got up, changed into clean denim shorts and a tee shirt, and padded down the stairs.
Coffee could wait. The shower could wait. I desperately wanted to feel the fresh sea breeze on my face.
The drive to Paines Creek Beach was quiet. No cars, no people, except a few older citizens who strode with serious expressions on their faces, baseball caps drawn down and hands pumping their fluorescent-colored weights.
The quaint houses along the way could have been featured in a travel magazine. Who knew? Maybe they had been. Cedar shake sidings, pink and white roses tumbling along fences in clouds of petals, bright blue hydrangeas waving in the breeze, and wherever they could manage to grow, thick clusters of orange daylilies lined the roads.
I pulled into the empty parking lot, making a mental note to head over to the Town Hall today to buy our beach sticker for the month. I also had to get the fridge stocked, and figured I’d try to do that early as well, before the crowds swelled into the aisles of Stop ‘n Shop.
Putting aside the thoughts of paper towels and strip steak, I opened the door and kicked off my sandals. I locked the car, snapped my keys onto a belt loop, and turned to face the azure ocean.
I breathed deeply, inhaling the tangy scent of the sea, and with it, a sense of letting go washed over me, mingled with a feeling of simple celebration of the earth.
A flock of seagulls whirled overhead, their bellies reflecting the amber blaze of the early morning sun. To my right, colorful ocean kayaks sat in their wooden berths, awaiting adventurous tourists. Cherry red, lime green, fluorescent orange, and sunny yellow crafts gleamed in the early light.
I started to walk toward the horizon, following the creek that meandered through the sand. It moved swiftly with the outgoing current, and was about calf-high now. On either side were flat, rippled expanses of damp sand and beautiful pools of water reflecting the scudding clouds overhead. In the distance, the aquamarine line of the ocean waves curled with lacy whitecaps.
I stooped to pick up a shell for Camille, admiring the pastel colors and mother-of-pearl-like sheen on it. She’d love this one.
I pocketed it, and then squinted in the distance, where I saw a figure ambling along the beach further out. I continued toward the end of the low tide area, and as I grew nearer, I recognized Albert.
He walked with his head down, holding a metal detector in his hands. When he heard me sloshing toward him, he glanced up and issued a brief wave. “Mornin’.”
“Morning, Albert.”
“Fine day for prospecting.”
“I’ll say. What’re you looking for?”
“Treasure,” he said solemnly.
“I see.” I wasn’t sure if he meant lost pocket change or pirate’s gold. “Any luck today?”
In one hand he carried an empty bucket. “Nope. Been looking for forty years. Can’t give up.”
“Are you searching for a particular treasure?”
He narrowed his eyes. “Guess I can tell you, since you’re an outta towner.” He stopped for a moment and sighed. “I’m looking for the treasure that was stole from my great, great, great granddaddy.”
“Wow. The one who built your house?”
“Yes sir. Mr. Zebediah Cook himself.” A far off look glazed his eyes.
“Cool.” I waited for a few seconds, but when he didn’t say more, I started to walk away. “Well, good luck today.”
He glanced at his watch. “Almost time to head in. You don’t wanna get caught when the tide comes in. Folks get stuck out here all the time. Have to swim in with their fancy iPhones held high in the air.”
I automatically patted my pocket where my iPhone six plus resided. “Er, thanks. I’ll turn back then.”
“See you tomorrow.” He continued to play the device back and forth over the sand.
I wandered back by a different route, alternately splashing through tide pools and padding across moist sand. Hermit crabs scuttled busily around my feet and razor clams squirted water in the air when I stepped near them.
Feeling serene and satisfied, I began to climb the bank toward the parking lot when the sound of squealing tires came from the road above.
Seconds later, a silver corvette sailed over my head, landing nose down in Paines Creek.
This Week's Sale
Today through : Jan 15th 2018

LeGarde Mysteries: a mystery/suspense boxed set

by Aaron Paul Lazar

Usual Price: 6.99 Sale: 1.99

The LeGarde Mysteries Boxed Set contains the first four books in Aaron Paul Lazar's award-winning Gus LeGarde mystery series.

Book 1. Double Forté - Gus LeGarde's life essentially ended four years ago, when his beloved wife leapt to her death. Today, Gus lavishes love on his family, trying to bury the pain. But trouble arrives when his arrogant son-in-law's business partner goes missing, and Gus's innocent friend is set up to take the fall.

Book 2. Upstaged - When Gus LeGarde agrees to play piano for the high school drama club's production of "Spirit Me Away," a sixties-style musical he wrote in college, he doesn't expect to face a barrage of menacing pranks played on his fiancée Camille and the drama club. Who's sabotaging the show? And what do they have against Camille? Gus must unravel the mystery before the backstage saboteur stakes his final, deadly claim.

Book 3. Mazurka - Join Gus LeGarde in this European rollercoaster ride where he unearths a scandalous family secret linked to a nineteenth century composer. When brother-in-law Siegfried is framed for a neo-Nazi’s murder, they’re plunged into a sizzling cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are lethal.

Book 4. FireSong - What would you do if your country church was hit by a rogue tornado during services? What if the shrieking winds unearthed the bones of a missing parishioner in a nearby wheat field? Now add the discovery of heroin in your elderly minister's bloodstream. When Gus LeGarde is thrown into the middle of the mess, he knows life has finally gone berserk in East Goodland, New York. Join Gus as he's lured into a bizarre network of underground tunnels to expose the most shocking discovery ever to rock the Genesee Valley.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Help Name Gus LeGarde's New Puppy

Hi, folks!

Thanksgiving is over and now we're madly sailing toward the Christmas holidays. ;o)

For those of you in the US, I hope you enjoyed your turkey day. I cooked up a storm, featuring a 23 pound bird, and we had nine people at the table, including five grandkids! We're still eating lots of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie. I must say, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all, and boy-oh-boy do I love the leftovers!

Now I find myself dreaming of the big aromatic tree I want to buy this weekend to stand inside our great room double windows. If you remember, last year at Christmas Dale's mother had just recently passed away. I was in charge of sorting through all of her treasures, and fortunately, I saved all of her vintage ornament collections that filled an entire sea chest. So this year, I hope to use them. I will, however, place them at the top of the tree away from little toddlers' hands! I'll take a photo and send you one with the next newsletter.

In my spare time this past weekend, I painted grandson Joey's bedroom after the fiasco of the plaster and lathe ceiling that had started to fall down! With a new ceiling, now it's all painted with historic house colors Salisbury Green walls and White Opulence trim. The furniture is back in and my daughter has started to decorate with toys and pictures. At least the poor boy is no longer sleeping in the upstairs landing in his crib! 

I also found some time to finish writing Murder on the Brewster Flats, the 12th LeGarde Mystery. It came out to 76,000 words. Next step is to take another pass through it, and then send it out to my Beta readers. So far 20 of my editing experts have agreed to take a look at it, so I'm psyched. 

In this book, Gus gets a new puppy. Would you like to help name him? (see below)

Also, Gus agrees to play in a concert with violinist Jack Remington from my love story The Seadog (Paines Creek Beach series). I am sharing a link to the music he's playing, below. ;o)

My hoped for release date will be in January, but I don't want to get the cart before the proverbial horse, so I won't make any promises right now.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, and especially for not unsubscribing ten seconds after you downloaded your free books. Believe it or not, that happens a lot, and therefore, I'm more than ever grateful for you.

Happy reading, and don't forget to take pleasure in the little things.

Aaron Paul Lazar

Today's post:

  • This Week's Sale - Upstaged: 99 cents
  • What I'm Reading - Marriage Before Death by Uvi Poznansky
  • The new Gus LeGarde Book - Help Name Gus's Puppy
  • Books from Fellow Authors

This Week's Sale
Today through : 11-30-2017 -  99 cents!

Upstaged (LeGarde Mysteries, Book 2)

(can be easily read as a standalone)

by Aaron Paul Lazar

Usual Price: 3.99 Sale: .99

Who’s playing dangerous pranks on the drama club? And what do they have against Gus LeGarde’s fiancée, Camille? Is it sex-crazed Armand, the Latino teen infatuated with Camille? Or Superintendent Marshall, whose past holds horrific secrets? Gus must unravel the mystery before the backstage saboteur stakes his final, deadly claim.
What I'm Reading


If you like romantic thrillers, please check out Uvi Poznanasky's new audiobook.

Marriage Before DeathA WWII Thriller
book 5 in the Still Life with Memories series
by Uvi Poznansky

Ms. Poznansky has done it again, but this time—and I don’t say this lightly—she has written my favorite book to date in her stable of literary gems.

Marriage Before Death continues in the Still Life With Memories series, which paints stories of the lives of Lenny and Natasha. (Book 1: My Own Voice, Book 2: The White Piano, Book 3: The Music of Us, Book 4: Dancing with Air)

In this story, Ms. Poznansky eloquently shifts from her previous genre of literary stories full of romance, to a wartime suspense story, still, however, continuing with the love story of our beloved couple.

I have always adored Ms. Poznansky's evocative writing, but this time she whisked me into the era of WWII French Resistance Fighters. And what an adventure it was! I trembled in my virtual boots beside Lenny when he was captured by Nazi soldiers, “this close” to being executed. He stood in a line of captured soldiers and resistance fighters, waiting to be sent to one group or the other. One group would be immediately hung in the gallows that loomed nearby, the other would be used in some fashion to help the Nazi cause. The tension was riveting.

I listened to the audiobook version of this fascinating story, told by the talented Mr. Don Warrick. His male character voices are outstanding, and his accents—whether it be British, French, German, Jewish, or American, the rendering is brilliant and on target. The female voices aren’t quite as effective, in my humble opinion, but honestly, one can’t fault a deep, stentorian narrator for not being able to completely sound like a woman. ;o)

Thank you, Ms. Poznansky, for allowing us to continue to believe that America still produces great writers who judiciously craft each sentence, and who can tell a great story at the same time.  

Highly recommended!

Murder on the Brewster Flats LeGarde #12

I'm almost done with the last chapter in the new Gus LeGarde novel! I won't give away any of the plot yet, but in this book Gus gets a new puppy. He's white with brown patches, has big chocolate brown eyes, and soft floppy ears. His fur is curly and soft like a stuffed animal. Okay, so yes, he looks like my dog Balto did as a puppy. ;o) But I need a really cool name for him. Would you like to comment on this piece with your suggestions, below? If you remember, the other three dogs in the series are Max, Sheba, and Boris. 

Also, as I've mentioned before, Gus and Camille are on vacation on Cape Cod in this book, where they run into characters from my Paines Creek Beach series. Jack and Scout Remington, from The Seadog, make an appearance (Among others! Remember Fritzi?!) and Gus agrees to play a piano/violin duet with Jack at an upcoming concert. You can listen to this beautiful piece here: 

Meanwhile, thank you all for the help you gave me when I was pretty depressed this year and thought I'd never write another book. I am so grateful to all of you, especially those who tossed me all their fun story ideas. ;o) Bless you all!

Balto - the model for Gus's new dog
Books By Fellow Authors
On Sale: 99 cents  Start Date: 11-21-2017 End Date: 12-15-2017

Murder in San Francisco: A Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery (Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery Series Book 8

Michelle D'Amato's pregnant with San Francisco millionaire octogenarian Bernie Snow's baby, but he's dead, and a lot of people would like to see her dead as well, so her baby can't lay claim to his vast estate. Was that why he was murdered?


Child's Play (Michael Sykora Novels Book 4)

By Darcia Helle

Price: 3.99

The search for a missing child leads Michael Sykora and his team to a place where children are a commodity for the wealthy and depraved. Following leads from daycare centers to the Darknet, this search is about to become personal.

(Note: I missed this book's sale period, but it looked so interesting I thought I'd include it anyway. What the heck, it's only $3.99!)
Start Date: 09-28-2017 End Date: 12-31-2017


By Ruth Gowan
Usual Price: 1.99 Sale: FREE

A high octane action,Romance, set to a backdrop of deceit, lies and rivalry. the fast-paced, adrenaline fuelled, challenging world of International Rallying. Twists, turns, secrets and lies, this racy story has it all: fast, furious and passionate.
Start Date: 11-27-2017 End Date: 12-24-2017

Cupcakes and Conspiracies (Sweet Baked Mystery Book 1)

By Katherine Hayton
Usual Price: New Release Sale: .99

When police accuse her sister Crystal of attempted murder, Holly Waterston must don an apron and roll up her sleeves. Things are going to get gooey if she’s to catch the real culprit AND keep the cupcake bakery going.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Demons, Curses, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

© Marta Stephens 2017 all rights reserved 

Few people know that my paternal grandfather, Marcelo Ruggero, was a stage and film actor in Buenos Aires during the 1930s and well into the mid-1950s. He was a local sensation in his days. By the time I was born, he had long retired, but his many riveting stories lived on and were passed down to us by my father. 

I was always particularly drawn to the tales about the strange things that often plagued the crew and actors during certain productions; unexplained illnesses, props and tools disappearing. One had to wonder if something or someone was trying to get their own mysterious message across.

Actors often say they have to “get into character” in order to understand who they are attempting to portray and to also comprehend the character’s motivation. Immersing him- or herself into the role of the character is what ultimately brings the character to life on the screen. As a writer, I understand this to be true, but what happens when the plot is not of this world? When demons play a supporting role and/or are the focus of attention?

Several years ago, I spoke with a good friend of mine, a retired journalist, about some of the odd and unexplained things that happened in 2008 when my second novel, THE DEVIL CAN WAIT was about to be published. He listened intently and then had an interesting story to share with me. He said that he had been lucky enough to get together with Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Billy Whitelaw at the close of filming for The Omen. They told scary yarns about what went wrong on the set – and even the destruction of a whole spool of key footage. According to the actors, it seemed Hell itself was on the job, doing all it could to put a spoiler on the famous 666 movie. 

Fortunately, none of the incidents that occurred during the final stages of my novel’s production were life threatening.  Individually, each could have easily been brushed off as coincidence, but cumulative, it was a different matter. I then decided to make a list and a pattern emerged. 

At every critical stage of production, several unexplained occurrences caused major delays; computers crashed, e-mails and manuscript pages disappeared, and three of the four graphic designers my publisher hired, left without notice. The final straw was when my publisher mailed my contract and twice it got lost in the mail. I received them weeks later; each was addressed correctly. We tried to laugh it off, but had a hard time dismissing the what if the book’s plot had drawn unwanted attention.

I don’t doubt that things can and do go bump in the night, but I refuse to let them get in my way. The proof is that THE DEVIL CAN WAIT was not only published, it went on to receive the bronze 2009 IPPY Award. Now, almost nine years to the day of its original release date (11/8/08), I’m excited to announce that it will be available again soon in e-books and paperbacks. The question is, what will try to come between it and its new release? 

You’ll be the first to know.

The city of Chandler, Massachusetts is plunged into terror when the bodies of three local teenagers wash ashore. While homicide detective Sam Harper hunts down the guilty, a sinister plot emerges overseas.  From the Vatican to the jungles of South America, a cursed black pearl ring, the demonic prophecy it represents, and the men who pursue its powers find their unfortunate way onto Harper's turf.

Enthralled by the ring's story and front-page spread, newspaper reporter, Jennifer Blake agrees to pick up the ring at a local pawnshop for her former college professor. When she does, unforeseen events shoot Blake to the top of Harper's prime suspect list. Soon, the seemingly unrelated cases converge, and the heat is on for Harper to expose the truth behind a Vatican secret and stop the self-righteous man who does the unthinkable in the name of God.

* * *
Marta Stephens is the author of the Sam Harper Crime Mystery Series and Rhonie Lude Mysteries. Stephens, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, lived in Los Angeles in the late 1970’s but has called Indiana home since the age of four. For more information about the author and her works, visit