Thursday, May 15, 2014

Growing Up in the Sixties, by Aaron Lazar


http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Me-Away-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00K7RA8QW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1400147007&sr=1-2&keywords=spirit+me+away
copyright 2014, AP Lazar

I was sixteen years old in 1969. Man, was that a time to be alive, especially for a young man with access to Boston and all the happenings of that era.

There was the Psychedelic Supermarket, where I saw Traffic (Stevie Winwood, Chris Wood on flute), The Boston Tea Party (where I saw Led Zeppelin in their first ever USA appearance, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, and more), and the Cambridge Commons, where the Love-Ins happened every Sunday afternoon. We enjoyed so many bands for free in that sunny park, from Alice Cooper to Chicago to the many “Boss-Town Bands” that cropped up in that era like Ultimate Spinach, Eden’s Children, and so many more. I listened to Tom Rush play and sing in a tiny hall at Northeastern University, and of course we always bought tickets when the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Johnny Winters, and other bands came to town.

Yes, it was a time of heady music, flamboyant behavior, and plenty of love.

Granted, at the time, I was just madly in love with my soul mate (now my wife of 33 years), who also loved the music, and like me, didn’t love the drugs. We stayed healthy and sober while getting “high” off the music. And we both liked it that way.

When I started writing the LeGarde Mystery series in 1997, I pegged a point in time when my protagonist was just recovering from the loss of his lifetime soul mate, Elsbeth, his first wife and childhood best friend. Gus is in his forties when the series starts, and he has one daughter (Freddie) and a two-year-old grandson, Johnny.

As time went on, I wrote many more books in what I call the “adult” Gus LeGarde series. Not because the content is x-rated, LOL, but because it deals with Gus “after Elsbeth died.” By the time I’d finished writing Double Forté, Upstaged, and Mazurka, I had an uncontrollable craving to take Gus back to his childhood in the summer of 1964. I wanted to see Siegfried (his best friend and first wife’s twin brother) in his youthful glory before he was struck by the motorboat that incapacitated him when he was twelve. And I wanted to see Elsbeth, full of fire and spunk and youthful exuberance. I wanted to see her alive, and not just a memory in Gus’s mind.

So, I wrote this book in Gus’s childhood, Tremolo: cry of the loon, soon to be followed by another “young Gus” book, Don’t let the Wind Catch You. Gus, Elsbeth, and Siegfried are 10, 11, or 12 in these books. And I must say, it was a blast to go back in time and write from my own eleven-year-old brain.

Some time between writing FireSong and Virtuoso (the next “adult” Gus books), I decided I’d like to document just about every year of his life.

I know. Crazy, right?

In spite of this nutty idea, I went ahead and picked the time when Gus and Elsbeth were attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and I carefully selected the year 1969, because I had such strong memories of the year, and because…well, I wanted to.

I cheated a little on the characters’ ages (Gus would’ve been 16, not 19, in 1969), but I pleaded my readers’ forgiveness in a note that explained why I wanted to do this.

I also wished I could have attended Woodstock way back then, but since I was just 16, I didn’t have wheels or money, so it never happened for real.

But, it happens in Spirit Me Away, book #8 in the LeGarde series! (by the way, you can read these books in any order) I let Gus, Elsbeth, and his friends attend the greatest rock festival of all time. And though there were problems, I had a blast.

If you decide to head back to the era of flower children, peace, and free love with Gus, I hope you have a wonderful time!

Here’s a list of all the LeGarde books in chronological (not publishing order or the order I wrote them!)



LEGARDE MYSTERIES – in order of chronology

TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON

DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU

SPIRIT ME AWAY

DOUBLE FORTÉ

UPSTAGED

MAZURKA

FIRESONG

THE LIAR’S GALLERY (COMING IN 2014)

UNDER THE ICE (COMING IN 2014)

LADY BLUES



Thanks for stopping by today!

Aaron 


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming SPIRIT ME AWAY (2014), DEVIL’S LAKE(2014), and THE LIARS’ GALLERY (2014).

Monday, May 12, 2014

What's New? SPIRIT ME AWAY and more!

http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Me-Away-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00K7RA8QW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399907004&sr=1-2&keywords=spirit+me+away
Hi, folks.

One of the good things about deciding to go off on my own to publish the rest of my titles is that I can do it fast. I can have complete control over the cover art. And I can set the price and monitor sales without having to bug my publisher.

Lida Quillen (Twilight Times Books) and I still are partners. She published fifteen of my titles and is continuing to support me 100%, including with a new LeGarde Mysteries Omnibus featuring the first four books in the series.

I'm working fast and furiously to increase sales of existing books by providing more audio books and print/eBooks to entice readers to fall in love with our mystery series: LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines Mysteries.

Since last fall, I've written two new books (The Seacrest and Devil's Lake) and have polished up two older LeGarde Mysteries that were waiting in the queue for a long time (Lady Blues and Spirit Me Away). I have two additional LeGarde books to polish and release (Virtuoso and Under the Ice), and two more Tall Pines Mysteries that were waiting in the queue for over a year (Sanctuary and Murder on the Sacandaga). Here's a line up, starting with the newest LeGarde Mystery, set in 1969.

Spirit Me Away: A Gus LeGarde Mystery

http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Me-Away-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00K7RA8QW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399907004&sr=1-2&keywords=spirit+me+away


RELEASE DATE TODAY, MAY 14th, 2014!

Boston, Massachusetts: It’s the summer of ’69—the parks are flooded with flower children and a hot new band called Led Zeppelin is set to appear at the Boston Tea Party. But for one newlywed couple just beginning their lives together, there will be no peace.

In the cradle of sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll, Gus and Elsbeth LeGarde are music students attending the New England Conservatory of Music, after a wedding kept secret from their families. When they discover a bruised and sobbing teenage girl on the Boston Commons who can’t remember who she is, or how she got there, the couple decides to “adopt” her to help find her identity.

But Gus and Elsbeth aren’t prepared to be plunged into a violent world of rape, abuse, and a ring of white slave traders who’ll stop at nothing to take back their property—or to acquire new flesh in the form of Gus’s beautiful young bride.
At times nostalgic, heart-stopping, and breathlessly dramatic, Spirit Me Away is a thrilling romantic mystery set against the colorful backdrop of the sixties—with an unforgettable conclusion at the greatest rock festival of all time.

LEGARDE MYSTERIES OMNIBUS (Twilight Times Books)

http://www.amazon.com/LeGarde-Mysteries-Omnibus-Aaron-Lazar-ebook/dp/B00K5HGIWC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399932778&sr=1-1&keywords=legarde+mysteries+omnibus 

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's 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.

LADY BLUES: forget-me-not  (A Gus LeGarde Mystery)

http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Blues-forget-me-not-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00IS6EXG0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1399933186&sr=1-1&keywords=lady+blues


SPECIAL DEAL MAY 15th - FREE Kindle eBOOK! 

Music professor Gus LeGarde is just doing a favor for a friend when he agrees to play piano for church services at a local nursing home. He doesn’t expect to be drawn into a new friendship with an elderly Alzheimer’s patient dubbed “the music man” or to stumble across a decades-old mystery locked inside the man’s mind.

Octogenarian Kip Sterling doesn’t know his own name—but he speaks Gus’s language, spouting jazz terms like “cadence” and “interlude” and “riff.” He’s also obsessed with “his Bella,” but nobody knows who she is.

When Kip is given a new drug called Memorphyl, he starts to remember bits and pieces of his life. Gus learns Bella was Kip’s first and only love, but their relationship was shrouded in scandal. Intrigued, Gus agrees to help search for her. Could she still be alive?

Horrified when the miracle drug suddenly stops working and patients begin to backslide, Gus panics. Can he help Kip find his beloved Bella before his newfound memories disappear?

The Seacrest (a love story)

On April 5th-6th, The Seacrest was #1 for all Kindle free downloads in fiction and nonfiction, with over 59,000 downloads! Find out what all the hype is about:

They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Finn McGraw disagrees.

He was just seventeen when he had a torrid summer affair with the girl who stole his heart—and then inexplicably turned on him. Finn may have moved on with his life, but he’s never forgotten her.

Now, ten years later, he’s got more than his lost love to worry about. A horrific accident turns his life upside down, resurrecting the ghosts of his long-dead family and taking the lives of the few people he has left.

Finn always believed his estranged brother was responsible for the fire that killed their family—but an unexpected inheritance with a mystery attached throws everything he knows into doubt.

And on top of that, the beguiling daughter of his wealthy employer has secrets of her own. But the closer he gets, the harder she pushes him away.

The Seacrest is a story of intrigue and betrayal, of secrets and second chances—and above all, of a love that never dies.

Up Next: Devil's Lake, a standalone romantic thriller

Four years ago, Portia Lamont disappears from a small town in Vermont, devastating her parents and sister, who spend every waking hour searching for her. When she suddenly shows up two years later at their horse farm in a stolen truck with a little mutt on her lap, they want to know what happened.

Was she taken? Or did she run away?

***
That's it for now. I hope to have these books released by end of this year:

Virtuoso
Devil's Lake
Under the Ice
Sanctuary
Murder on the Sacandaga

Wish me luck!

For those of you confused over all these books and series, here's a complete list:

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
VIRTUOSO (COMING IN 2014)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (May 14th 2014)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (COMING IN 2014)
LADY BLUES (print, eBook, and audio book)

HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)

STANDALONES
THE SEACREST (2013)
DEVIL’S LAKE (2014)

WRITING ADVICE: 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (ebooks and audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming SPIRIT ME AWAY (2014), DEVIL’S LAKE(2014), and VIRTUOSO (2014).


Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop


Hello, MB4 friends!

Maria DeVivo, a great gal and fellow Twilight Times writer, author of the incredible story, The Coal Elf, tagged me for a Writing Process Blog Tour. I absolutely love talking about writing, so I jumped on the opportunity to chat with you today about the process.

I’ll answer questions about my work and my mysterious methods, and will subsequently tag three wonderful writers to continue the topic. 
 But first, please check out Maria’s book, which has over 100 reviews on Amazon!!   Here's what her readers are saying:

the-coal-elf-novel
 "Just when you think you've reached a safe place in a DeVivo story, she plunges you into terror again.  No author can wrench your stomach into knots like this lady."
-Dechen Paldron
"Great characters and just a good story."
-Eric T Healy
"Do yourself a favor and read The Coal Elf--I highly recommend it."
-Daniel Springer

  
Q. What are you working on?  I'm up to my ears in books this year, so I thought I'd share the status with you below!

 1) A new boxed eBook set of Double Forté: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, Book 1, Upstaged, Mazurka: A Gus LeGarde Mystery, and FireSong will be released soon by Twilight Times Books. Cover art by Kellie Dennis is ready and will be revealed soon.

2) SPIRIT ME AWAY, book #8 in LeGarde Mysteries, is undergoing its Beta reads right now and will be probably released within the month. Cover art by Kellie Dennis is done and will be revealed soon!

3) For Keeps: A Sam Moore Mystery, Book 3, will be offered next week for 99 cents!

4) Devil's Lake, a new standalone suspense, is 3/4 done and cover art is ready (again, thanks to Kellie). Will be revealed and released soon.

5) Starting on LeGarde #7 cover and final edits - VIRTUOSO should be ready in a few months.

6) Next comes final edits and polished on LeGarde #9, UNDER THE ICE (Counterpoint), the books 3 and 4 in Tall Pines (already written) SANCTUARY and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA. They should all be out by fall I hope.


Q. How does your work differ from others of its genre?


A. My books are pure country, and by that I don’t mean country as in heart throbbing, twanging singers, I mean they are steeped in the woods, fields, lakes, rivers, and mountains of the Genesee Valley and Adirondacks of New York State. Sometimes we go abroad (Mazurka takes my characters to Europe), and sometimes we go back in time (Tremolo: cry of the loon is based in Maine in 1964), but my characters are always surrounded by nature and its beauty. 

You’ll inhale the aroma of the fetid earth when you fall into a pile of leaves if a villain’s chasing you, or you’ll taste the buttery potatoes Gus just dug from his garden and cooked for his family, or feel the sweaty back of a horse beneath your bare legs while you’re cantering along a trail in the woods. My characters will always let you know how they’re feeling inside, and for the most part, they try to set good examples of loyalty, morality, and courage in the face of horrible villains. 

Caution: You may also feel a voraciously hungry after reading the LeGarde Mysteries, where Gus cooks weekend feasts for his friends and family.  I have been blamed for screwing up my readers’ diets in the past. 


Q. Why do you write what you do?


A.  Obsession, I guess. I can’t stop the stories that percolate in my head. I also need an escape from real life—frequently—and I’m just thrilled to be able to run wild in my parallel universe. To love, live, chase villains, and pursue happiness. It’s a blast. And it's cheap therapy. ;o)


Q. How does your writing process work?


A. A nugget of an idea will set in my subconscious for a while, based on a television show, movie, book, news report, or family event. Anything can get the muse rolling. For example, when the news reported the kidnappings of those poor girls in Cleveland by the creepy Ariel Castro, I couldn’t stop thinking of how horrible it was. I kept picturing those poor women in that boarded up house. Eventually, the story I’m working on now, Devil’s Lake, was born. It morphed quite a bit from the original inspiration, and opened up a new genre for me.


Normally, once I get this idea and can’t stop thinking about it, I picture a broad, sweeping idea of a story. I start to think about twists and turns. I pick a locale. Next, I picture the first chapter. And then the real writing starts. Once I put fingers to keyboard, the story evolves in a way that is almost out of my control. But I have to be actually physically writing it for it to “come out.” Isn’t that odd? Sometimes I feel like a conduit for my characters. I’m just fingers and they use me. LOL. 


That's it! Thanks, Maria, for asking me to participate in this fun blog hop!

I’m passing the baton to: 


 Picture


Ring of Lies



http://www.booksleavingfootprints.com/graphics/bury-coverFINALe-200.jpg

Thursday, April 03, 2014

What Happens When Two Music Men Get Together in a Mystery?


http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Blues-forget-me-not-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00IS6EXG0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396533441&sr=8-1&keywords=lady+blues
copyright 2014 Aaron Paul Lazar

Gus LeGarde’s affable, but pushy, minister from his local church is always pressuring him to play piano for extra church services on Sunday afternoons. Sometimes it’s the local prison, sometimes it’s nursing homes, but in Lady Blues: forget-me-not, Reverend Hardina asks Gus to accompany the hymns at the new Bello Mondo Manor, a beautiful new facility for Alzheimer’s patients.

Gus has his plate full on Sundays, literally, as he always prepares an afternoon feast for his extended family and friends, including the dear Reverend Hardina. So when he’s asked to do even more for his church, he hesitates. How can he get it all done?

On this particular Sunday, he agrees, however, and is shocked to find a “jewel” of a chapel at Bello Mondo, featuring real stained glass windows, beautiful woodwork, velvet drapery, and most shocking of all, a pipe organ. He wonders how the place can afford such luxury, and uncovers ties to a big drug company.

Meanwhile, the residents in wheel chairs and bathrobes seem dead to the world in their pews, until they hear the music. They sing their hearts out when Gus plays familiar hymns like “Rock of Ages” and “Morning Has Broken.”

Most interesting is an elderly gentleman dressed in a black suit and red bowtie, who stands and conducts the hymns with his pencil, and whose fingers move in concert with the notes, as if he’s playing piano. Gus learns that this fellow—dubbed “the music man” by Kip’s nurses—has been in homes since he was dropped on their doorstep by the Armed Forces in 1946.

Kip Sterling doesn’t know his own name—but he speaks Gus’s language, spouting jazz terms like “cadence” and “interlude” and “riff.” He’s also obsessed with “his Bella,” but nobody knows who she is.

Because Gus is a music professor (actually based on my own father who was a pianist and professor of music) the Bello Mondo nurses suggest that maybe he can connect with Kip through music. Although Gus’s expertise is in classical works, including his obsessions with Chopin, Khachaturian, and Puccini, he also is passionate about jazz and blues, and strangely enough, plans to write a book on Ella Fitzgerald and her generation. He befriends the old gentleman, and when a new medicine starts to restore Kip’s memories, things heat up.

Music is woven throughout the Lady Blues story, from Gus’s “Opera 101” and “American Composer” classes he teaches at the local university, to his daughter Shelby, whose voice is startlingly beautiful and to whom he’s teaching Ella Fitzgerald’s songs at home, to Bella’s background as a bluesy nightclub singer… it ties the book and the entire series together.

I’ve even put in a plug for my good friend Paul Stuart, who is an award-winning composer in his own right. He’s written operas and symphonies that are played worldwide, and I refer to them within the story.

Side by side, both “music men” piece together the puzzles, which reunite long lost lovers and shed light on a historical mystery dating back to World War II.

You can check out LeGarde Mysteries here at www.lazarbooks.com, and can read them in any order. ;o)



In book 10 of the LeGarde Mystery series, Gus unravels twin mysteries of an abused Korean seamstress and a 1940s jazz ingénue whose pianist lover disappeared overseas on the same night Glen Miller’s plane was lost in English Channel. Gus helps an Alzheimer’s patient reclaim his identity, while dodging a drug company who will silence any witness to keep the truth of their breakthrough Alzheimer's treatment under wraps.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lady Blues: Food Matters in a "Literary Sine Wave."


copyright 2014 Aaron Paul Lazar

http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Blues-forget-me-not-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00IS6EXG0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395274623&sr=1-1&keywords=lady+blues

Gus LeGarde, the main character in Lady Blues: forget-me-not, has always loved to cook for his friends and family. Every Sunday he invites his mother-in-law, her cop boyfriend, the reverend from church, his daughter’s fiancé, elderly family friends, Oscar and Millie Stone, and anyone else who he happens to befriend in each new book in the series of ten mysteries starting with Double Forté.

I didn’t plan it this way, but when I wrote the first book and every novel since then, I’ve employed the device of tension and release, or what I like to call the "literary sine wave." I feature an action vignette first – someone’s being chased or there’s a tornado coming, or a saboteur is pulling nasty tricks backstage on high school kids…then when the scene fades, I “pan” to a family vignette. Gus is cooking, or playing with his grandkids, or walking through his gardens. Family is shown in their every day chaos or quiet, and I use these scenes to encourage my readers care about Gus and his family, who will be most definitely threatened in scenes to come.

It just so happens that when we’re the “lower” half of the sine wave, beneath the x axis, if you will, in those quiet times, Gus tends to be cooking.  

I’ve pulled meals from my own life every time I need material for these scenes. Yes, every meal Gus cooks, I’ve probably just cooked the weekend before I wrote that chapter. Yes, in a large family feast. Yes, for lots of family around a table much like Gus’s. But how Gus and I are alike is an article for another day.

Some of my readers have expressed interest in recipes from the books. In Lady Blues, I do feature a fair amount of comfort food.  Problem is, I don’t cook by the book. I just sort of estimate everything and throw things together. That’s how Gus does it, too. But today I’ll try to make things a bit more specific. ;o) Use your own judgment, though. If you need more or less of something to make it work, just do it. We don’t stand on ceremony in the LeGarde…er…Lazar household.

Here are a few of the meals Gus cooked in Lady Blues: forget-me-not. I’m not a recipe writer, I’m a seat-of-the-pants cook. So I hope the quantities I estimated here will work for you.

Scalloped Tomatoes (that’s right, not potatoes!)

This dish is very popular in my house. It’s also very fattening, but we don’t care when it’s a special occasion. It’s also very easy to make. I use frozen tomatoes from my garden, defrosted and drained, but you can use chopped canned tomatoes if you have them, or whole roma tomatoes, canned or fresh. I leave the skins and seeds in, and they taste just fine.

This will feed a huge crowd, and I bake it in an enormous rectangular baking pan, but you can use whatever is handy and cut the amounts in half if you’re serving a smaller family.

Ingredients (roughly estimated)

- 8 cups chopped, diced, or whole plum tomatoes, drained of all liquid (squish ‘em in a colander)
- 8 cups Mozzarella or cheese of your choice, shredded
- 1 pound butter
- 1 box of coarsely crushed ww Saltines or regular Saltines (other crackers or crumbs can work) (I put them in a big baggie and mash them with a rolling pin.)

Directions

1. Melt the butter and mix with the crushed crackers. (You can add parsley or any seasonings you prefer, but it doesn’t need much!)
2. Build layers of tomatoes, cheese, buttered crackers (like lasagna) until the dish is full. I usually get about three layers of each.
3. Cover with shredded cheese and/or crumbs.
4. Bake for ~ an hour until the cheese is melted and crispy on top.

That’s it!

(I told you it was fattening, but it’s so delicious, it’s worth the calories!)

Homemade cranberry sauce with pears

This is so easy to make, I often prepare it when we serve baked turkey legs, or turkey patties. I made it for Thanksgiving, too, but I’m the only one who likes it over the gelled type of canned cranberry, LOL. I buy bags of cranberries around Thanksgiving and freeze them for the whole year. That way, I can just grab one from the freezer and make this in 15 minutes.

Ingredients

- One package fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1-2 cups sugar or sweetener of your choice (I used Blue Agave sometimes)
- Two pears, skinned and diced
- Cinnamon
- Nutmeg

Directions

1. Place frozen or fresh cranberries and pears in a large stockpot and cover with water.
2. Boil until nearly softened.
3. Add sweetener at the end to make it syrupy. If using sugar, you need several cups to counteract the delicious tartness of the berries.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon and a little bit of nutmeg.

Gus LeGarde is now officially proud of you.  ;o)


 Bavarian Cabbage

This dish goes great with pork chops, mashed carrots and parsnips, or a pork loin roast. Adjust the flavors as you go to suit your taste.

Ingredients

- One head red cabbage, sliced
- Six tart apples, peeled and sliced.
- Two onions, thinly sliced
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Vinegar OR Apple cider, about 1 cup
- Brown Sugar, about 1 cup, but add more or less to taste
- Clove powder, just a tiny sprinkle at the end.

Directions

1.     Sautee onions in EVOO until translucent.
2.     Add red cabbage and apples, apple cider (or vinegar).
3.     Cook down until the cabbage and apples are tender, keep stirring.
4.     Add brown sugar to taste halfway through cooking. The color will become more purple/blue as the dish cooks down.  
5.     Adjust flavors until it has a sweet/sour taste and sprinkle just a touch of clove powder in at the end. 

Enjoy!!

Aaron Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com
 

Friday, March 07, 2014

A Miracle Cure for Alzheimer's Disease?

copyright 2014, aaron paul lazar



http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Blues-forget-me-not-LeGarde-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00IS6EXG0/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394222795&sr=1-10&keywords=lady+blues
I can’t help myself.

I wrote about a fictitious cure for leukemia in Essentially Yours (Tall Pines Mysteries, book #2) because my cousin suffers from this dreaded disease and I wanted so badly for someone to find a cure. I can’t help but imagine the day when a real cure arrives, and somehow, I was compelled to write about it.

My grandmother died from Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of ninety, in 1997. This woman was a powerhouse of personality. I based my character Maddy Coté in the LeGarde Mysteries on her flamboyant and gushing mannerisms in Gram’s honor.

Gram was a real rebel for her day. Imagine a “grandmother” DYING her hair BLOND in the fifties! Whoa, now that was a shocker. She always wore colorful outfits, loud chunky jewelry, gave loud smacking kisses, and smashed me to her bosom when she saw me. And worst and most shocking of all, my grandmother drank BEER. Yes, a green bottle of Narragansett accompanied every meal.

Indeed. She was one wild woman.

And I adored her.

I will never forget how the illness stole her away from us, and how I felt the first time she didn’t remember me. I also remember the intensely personal and amazing moment when I sang one of “our songs,” to her, and she came back to me for just a few minutes, calling me by name and saying “Isn’t it nice to be with family?” just before the curtain fell again and she disappeared forever.

Sigh. It still makes me very sad.

So, here I am seventeen years later, making up a miracle cure for the dreaded disease that has affected so many people. I just hope it’s prophetic.  

In Lady Blues: forget-me-not, my protagonist Gus LeGarde, befriends an elderly gentleman, Kip Sterling, in a new nursing home for Alzheimer’s patients.

Gus refers to himself as “a hopeless romantic, a Renaissance man caught in the twenty-first century.” No stranger to passion or heartache, Gus lavishes love on his family and dog as he mourns the loss of his lifetime soul mate, Elsbeth, in the first book of the series, Double Forté. He teaches music at Conaroga University, imparting the love of the classics to his young students. Gus is passionate about French Impressionist painters, gardening, and cooking lavish gourmet meals for his family and friends. His rambling, 1811 Greek Revival farm house lies among the rolling hills and bucolic splendor of the Genesee Valley. He plays Chopin etudes to clear his mind and feed his soul, and has an impeccable inner moral compass. By the time we get to Lady Blues, book ten in the series, he has fallen in love with and married Camille Coté, Maddy’s daughter. 

Now, back to our story about the miracle.

When a new drug called Memorphyl starts working on Kip and memories start to bubble to the surface in this fascinating fellow, all kinds of trouble is stirred up. But one persistent memory keeps on bugging him, and he asks Gus for help.

Back in 1946, Kip lost the love of his life, Miss Arabella Mae Dubois, affectionately known as Bella, a lusty and talented blues singer he met in the Harlem clubs. Kip is obsessed with finding her, and Gus promises to help.

Now that I think about it, the Bella I created here actually has quite a bit in common with my grandmother, personality-wise. Hmm. Interesting parallels, I think. Bella and Kip, a biracial couple in a very intolerant age, were quite the rebels, themselves.

Wouldn't it be great if someday, somewhere, somehow, we really do get a cure for Alzheimer’s? What if all the memories came pouring back, and patients in nursing homes began to be released back to their families?

I love the idea. Hey, maybe if I write about it enough, it’ll come true someday!

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

***
Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning author, Aaron Lazar:

DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)     http://www.legardemysteries.com/doubleforte.htm
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
VIRTUOSO (~2014)
LADY BLUES (2014)

HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)

STANDALONES
THE SEACREST (2013)
DEVIL’S LAKE (2014)

WRITING ADVICE: 

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (ebooks and audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming SANCTUARY (2014), DEVIL’S LAKE(2014), and VIRTUOSO (2014).


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