Friday, May 1, 2015

Seven Secrets - from Lazar to you!




Hi, folks!
Writer extraordinaire, Polly Iyer, tagged me to list 7 things about my writing people might not know. So, here I go, revealing my deepest secrets!

1) In Double Forté, my first book, I didn't have a love interest for poor Gus LeGarde, who has been mourning the loss of his soul mate for four long years. My wife convinced me that he NEEDED someone, so I came up with Camille, Gus's secretary's daughter who splits her time between counseling teens and coaching the drama club.

2) I rewrote Upstaged a few years ago, and changed the name of the darling Down Syndrome character, Ethel, to Cindi. I also changed the plot and let her live. In the end, I couldn't bear to have her fall victim to that horror show of a psycho. 

3) Mazurka was written based on my experiences when I lived in Germany. It features all my sensory memories from Paris, Germany, and Austria. 


4) Tremolo features a script that my maternal grandfather used when showing his slides of the life of his Magnolia tree. He chronicled all of the stages of his beloved tree, and had lovely words to go with the photos. I still haven't found the slides, but I have his notes. Oscar Stone is the reincarnation of my grandfather in all LeGarde Mysteries, and he's the one who delivers this slide show to the guests at Loon Harbor. 


5) For the Birds was my first book written from a woman’s POV. Most of my fans say I did a pretty good job getting into a woman’s head – LOL. But I had lots of experience because I lived with my wife, mother in law, and three daughters! I wrote this book because I had a vivid dream about Ruby (a ring necked parrot) where I was taking her to a bird show in the Adirondacks. I couldn't get it out of my head!


6) I found a real green marble in my garden one day which prompted me to imagine Healey’s Cave, the first of the “green marble” mysteries. My wife urged me to write segments from “the killer’s POV” and thus I had to get into the head of a very nasty villain. ;o)


7) I fell in love with Young Living Essential Oils when I was writing the sequel to For the Birds, Essentially Yours. It was just natural that my characters also discovered and learned about the oils and their amazing properties! 


I tag Holly Jacobs, Barb Caffrey, Dora Machado, Kim Smith, Uvi Poznansky, Eileen Register, Maria Dougherty-De Vivo to answer these questions about themselves!

You can see all my books at:

www.lazarbooks.com

And you can see Dora Machado's Seven Secrets here!
 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Excerpt from OUTVIEW by Brandt Legg


Hi, folks!

Today I'd like to share another excerpt from the best selling book set AT ODDS WITH DESTINY, the collection I've been telling you about which sets a new level for all omnibuses. This one offers ten critically acclaimed, best selling authors all in one place - and the collection is only 99 cents, just 9 cents per full length book.

http://www.amazon.com/At-Odds-Destiny-Uvi-Poznansky-ebook/dp/B00SHYGG7C/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
The really cool part of this is that in AT ODDS WITH DESTINY, each novel is BOOK ONE in a series. So if you fall in love with an author and his or her characters, there are many more to turn to in their stable of works!

Today we're featuring an excerpt from Brandt Legg's OUTVIEW (The Inner Movement) Book 1. 

I've read several of Brandt's book in his Cosega series, and loved the action, suspense, and characters. See what you think and leave your comments below!

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com 

OUTVIEW Synopsis:

There is a secret so powerful that, once known, the world will never be the same. For centuries they have died to protect it. Nate found it. They know he did. Across time and dimension they are after him . . .

Four years ago, his father died. Two years ago, Nate's mother locked his brother in a mental institution. One year ago, horrific visions began to torture him. Now, a clandestine group, wielding overwhelming power, wants him silenced. Nate is only sixteen.

Nothing is what it appears and the tragedies of his life are all connected to the secret, a secret so unimaginable that it will decide whether our modern society becomes a utopian or dystopian world.

Nate embarks on a breathless quest to save his brother and unravel the mystery of their father's death. His desperate flight takes a stunning turn when, along with three school friends, he encounters mystics who teach forgotten skills and lost wisdom and reveal an extraordinary destiny.

A fantasy thriller, set in present day Oregon and California, will appeal to more than young adult fans. Outview, the first book of the Inner Movement trilogy, combines mystics, metaphysical magic, psychics and reincarnation to push this new age conspiracy beyond the realm of the Celestine Prophecy and the Alchemist.

Brandt Legg

1

I kept running. Nine of us had sworn our lives to protect the precious artifact sewn inside my belt. Six were already dead, maybe more. Struggling for breath, I pushed through the tangled jungle toward the majestic pyramid. That’s when I heard the horses. Scanning wildly, I knew my life meant nothing unless the treasure was protected. A conquistador’s maniacal cry ripped the air. The glint of a sword flashed; my chest sliced open. I crawled a few feet toward a deep, sacred pool. Soldiers laughed as one pushed my gutted body with his heavy blade. He teased me to the edge of the limestone cliff, then shoved its point through. Smiling, I fell ninety feet before plunging into the water.
A car horn startled me. The taste of blood still filled my mouth, my body screamed in pain. I was losing my mind. What the hell was going on? “My name is Nathan Ryder. I’m sixteen. I’m in eleventh grade. This is Ashland, Oregon. It’s Friday, September 12th . . . ” I repeated the mantra until the tragic scene in that ancient Mayan pool receded and I was fully back in the present. I had lived through at least a hundred deaths since the “Outviews” began a year ago.
I strained to get up off my bedroom floor, a burning ache in my chest. I was surprised to be already dressed for school. Outviews weren’t mere dreams, as their torment and physical impact could last for days. The car horn blared again. Kyle, my best friend, was waiting in the driveway. I dashed out of the house.
“Man, you look like hell. What happened?” He greeted me with a concerned look as I climbed into his old Subaru Outback. Kyle was almost two years older than me, but we’d been in the same grade since he’d arrived from Vietnam. Back then, his English was pretty bad. When the other kids were either ignoring or making fun of him, I asked if I could take a picture of the incredibly elaborate ancient city he was sketching. The drawing was so realistic you’d swear it was a photograph. He wanted me to wait until it was finished, which took another couple of days. We’d been friends ever since.
“Rough night.” I riffled through the CDs he kept in a shoebox. “Thich Nhat Hanh, Einstein’s Theories, Stephen Hawking . . . come on Kyle, don’t you have any music in here?”
“Too much to learn, no time for music, except maybe Mozart.”
“Kyle’s the only teenager I know without any music on his iPod,” his cousin, Linh, my other best friend, said from the backseat. “Why was it another rough night?”
I turned around and looked at her. She was a grade behind us and didn’t look as Asian as Kyle because her father was Irish, but there was an exotic beauty that disarmed me. Her name meant “gentle spirit” in Vietnamese, which was fitting. Her presence made me feel grounded, and during these tumultuous times, being with her was addicting.
“Just couldn’t sleep.” Normally, I told them everything, but the Outviews were too hard to explain, especially after what had happened to my brother, Dustin.

***
About the author:

Brandt Legg is a former child prodigy who turned an interest in stamp collecting into a multi-million dollar empire. At eight, Legg's father died suddenly, plunging his family into poverty. Two years later, while suffering from crippling migraines, he started in business. National media dubbed him the "Teen Tycoon," but by the time he reached his twenties, the high-flying Legg became ensnarled in the financial whirlwind of the junk bond eighties, lost his entire fortune... and ended up serving time in federal prison for financial improprieties. Legg emerged, chastened and wiser, one year later and began anew in retail and real estate. From there his life adventures have led him through magazine publishing, a newspaper column, photography, FM radio, CD production and concert promotion.

For more information, please see BrandtLegg.com

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Seven Things About My Writing People Might Not Know



by
Dora Machado



Our very own Aaron Paul Lazar tagged me on FB to share seven things that people might or might not know about my writing. So here they are!


  1. I keep vampire hours. Dawn means dusk and dusk means writing.
  2. I have a minor in medieval history and thus medieval history has a place in all my novels.
  3. I love reading all kinds of genres and I believe that variety enriches the writer’s life.
  4. I’m a news junkie and, believe it or not, the real world fuels my fantasy.
  5. The only activity I enjoy almost as much as writing is traveling. To me they’re both different ways of exploring the world.
  6. My supervisor has whiskers, pointy ears and a tail.
  7. My husband likes to think that all my epic heroes are based on him and, some days, I let him believe it.




    ****
    Dora Machado is the award-winning author of the epic fantasy Stonewiser series and her newest novel, The Curse Giver, available from Twilight Times Books. She is one only a few Hispanic women writing fantasy in the United States today. She grew up in the Dominican Republic, where she developed a fascination for writing and a taste for Merengue. After a lifetime of straddling such compelling but different worlds, fantasy is a natural fit to her stories.

    When she is not writing fiction, Dora also writes features for the award-winning blog Murder By Four and Savvy Authors, where writers help writers. She lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.

    To learn more about Dora Machado and her award winning novels, visit her at www.doramachado.com , email her at Dora@doramachado.com, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.



     

Friday, April 24, 2015

Having Fun With An Old Fashioned Detective by Chris Karlsen and GIVEAWAY!

UPDATE: Chris is giving away a copy of SILK (print or eBook) and a $10.00 Amazon coupon for one lucky person who comments below!


***

Hi, folks.

Please join me today in welcoming Chris Karlsen, who shares her writer's story with us. I loved hearing about how a former cop got into writing, and I hope you will, too.

Welcome, Chris!

Aaron Lazar

www.lazarbooks.com


Having Fun With An Old Fashioned Detective 

copyright 2015, Chris Karlsen

I spent nineteen of my twenty-five years in law enforcement as a detective. Long before I became a police officer, I wanted to be a writer. But I feared it wasn't a practical profession and lacked the confidence to an attempt at it. Shortly after I retired from law enforcement, I found the courage to try my hand writing a story that I had floated around in my imagination for years. I started taking classes to learn the craft and began my first book at the same time.

When I went to conferences and seminars the same question was asked: why don't I write a cop story? I never had the desire to write one—to relive my career through my characters. I enjoy a good police story as much as anyone. My favorite authors in the genre are Mike Connelly, Joe Wambaugh, and John Sandford. I just didn't want to take that road.
I have a great love of history. The story I had in my head all those years involved a medieval knight and a young English woman. The two subsequent books were based on characters from that original story. All were historical romances and had a medieval element. I also wrote two romantic thrillers in addition to the others where the protagonists are nautical archaeologists.

I was in the process of writing the third historical romance when I had the idea for an old fashioned detective. I knew he'd work in London and I couldn't think of a better setting for a murder/suspense than Victorian England. Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone (Ruddy) was created. At the same time, the killer came to me. Both personalities were crystal clear in my mind before I wrote the first word of Silk.

Since Ruddy was a 19th Century detective, when I started the book it hadn't occurred to me how much of my personal background would influence the story. I wanted to put my spin on a classical British mystery. I found when writing the romantic thrillers including the POV of the antagonists added a lot of interesting aspects to their characters. They remained villains, but they weren't flat, black and white ones. I knew I do the same with William Everhard, the killer in Silk. I liked the idea of showing his descent into madness. It added a cat and mouse feel to the story that I had fun with.

My detective experience became important during Ruddy's investigation. The story is set in 1888, a year before the first rudimentary work with fingertips began. He literally has no forensic science to help him. With each murder, I had to walk the scene with him, observe with him, and consider what could possibly serve as a clue. I had to think about every detail I included in the scene and then figure out how to use the potential clues. To stay true to the period, I had to strip away everything I knew from modern investigations and fall back on old-fashioned police work.

I did give him an issue that crosses timelines and can be problematic to any investigation: a high profile (receiving a lot of media coverage), the manner in which it presented to the public, and influences of a political nature. I used how the press that surrounded the Jack the Ripper cases affected Ruddy's. I also added in departmental rivalries between the two main police agencies, and political/economic forces coming to bear by making Everhard a wealthy nobleman in the House of Lords.

I found by putting the Victorian spin on it, I surprisingly loved the challenge of writing a cop story. Detective Bloodstone just may be my favorite character. He'll definitely get more cases to solve in the near future. 

http://www.amazon.com/Silk-Bloodstone-Book-Chris-Karlsen-ebook/dp/B00QSTM578/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428425451&sr=8-1&keywords=silk+karlsen



Title: Silk                  

Genre: Thriller
Author: Chris Karlsen
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Purchase on Amazon

SUMMARY
London-Fall, 1888
The city is in a panic as Jack the Ripper continues his murderous spree. While the Whitechapel police struggle to find him, Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner are working feverishly to find their own serial killer. The British Museum's beautiful gardens have become a killing ground for young women strangled as they stroll through.
Their investigation has them brushing up against Viscount Everhard, a powerful member of the House of Lords, and a friend to Queen Victoria. When the circumstantial evidence points to him as a suspect, Rudyard must deal with the political blowback, and knows if they are going to go after the viscount, they'd better be right and have proof.
As the body count grows and the public clamor for the detectives to do more, inter-department rivalries complicate the already difficult case.
AUTHOR BIO
Chris is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. Her father was a history professor and her mother a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.
Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. She's had the good fortune to travel Europe extensively, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States.
After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She currently writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.
She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.