Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review for Struck, by Keith Pyeatt, reviewed by Aaron Paul Lazar

Title: Struck

Author: Keith Pyeatt

Publisher: Quest Books

Publisher Addresses:

ISBN number: 978-1935053-17-0

Price: $19.95

Publisher website: http://

The books I count among my favorites are those whose well-drawn characters linger with me for days, or even weeks. They are the stories that rise above the norm, whose scenes are painted with such skill that I feel a deep sense of place, and suffer a bit of separation anxiety when I approach the last page and realize it’s almost over. Struck, Keith Pyeatt’s debut paranormal thriller, was such a book.

It’s been two weeks since I finished the book, and Barry Andrews, Pyeatt’s protagonist, still haunts me. Barry’s life was preordained the minute his mother was struck by lightning when he lay curled in her womb. And when lightning finds him again at Albuquerque’s Petroglyph National Monument, a series of predestined events are put into motion. The energy now stored within this likeable young man stir powers unimagined.

Against a backdrop of ancient pueblo ruins, slumbering volcanoes that unpredictably awaken, and bizarre disturbances in Chaco Canyon, Pyeatt introduces characters with great depth and a subtle touch of humor. After being struck, Barry begins to notice bizarre effects. His palm, now marked by a symbol that pulses electric blue on occasion, helps him connect to other souls and carries messages to him about their sadness or fate. He knows when someone is about to die, and can help them peel the layers of pain away so they’re free to move on to the next world. Sleep eludes him, and while he stumbles through his job in a daze, strange sensations continue to build within him.

Inexplicably drawn to Native American tribal elder Walter, Barry is invited into his mystical world, from the village of Amitolita where Walter and his wife live, to kivas in the Amitole Pueblo, to ceremonies in a sweat lodge where sage is strewn across the floor and piñon-infused water is boiled to scatter on hot stones to create cleansing steam. Pyeatt’s writing style is easy to swallow, yet innovative with strong poetic influences.

“It only took a moment until he got the sensation of being folded into a deep mixture of past and present that carried him far away from the kiva, far away from his body. He was cocooned somewhere, safe and warm and dark, yet all around him dozens of individual battles raged. Barry only sensed them, but it was enough to recognize their struggles. Life fought death, winter resisted spring, and chaos tugged at order.”

The story plunges ahead, and we discover tribal elder Walter spent time training and working with Thomas Maguire, a browbeaten young man raised by a forceful, cruel grandfather. The tribal elder was driven to “prepare” this young man for a yet unnamed climatic event seen only in his spirit-visions, yet doubts have been mounting about the validity of Thomas as the earth’s savior. The future holds something monstrous and potent, and Walter realizes he plays an integral role in its outcome.

When a bizarre power transfer ceremony based on Anasazi’s ancient history drives supernatural powers into Thomas’s being, he gradually turns from a man with a tumultuous and fragile psyche who simply needs to be loved, into a monster. Walter reluctantly recognizes this, and transfers his focus to Barry, the true warrior he’s been waiting for all his life. Jealousy pushes Thomas further from his true nature, building inside him with an uncontrollable black force. Destiny calls for a showdown between Barry and Thomas, and the book rockets toward a surprising culmination.

Several of Pyeatt’s characters are gay, and the author paints them with professional, loving brush strokes. Barry’s sidekick Martin, an overweight waiter at Los Cuates Mexican restaurant, is diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition that leads to a torturous diet. Loveable and real, Martin becomes a clear favorite from the start and plays an important supporting role.

The story and characters are mesmerizing, but it was actually the writing that made me sit up and take notice:

“Pain pierced his lungs, as if the air he breathed had alchemized into something powdery and rough, toxic and thirsty. The agony spread. He couldn’t stop it. Every cell in his body pulled at the poison, needing it, expecting it to provide oxygen as before.”

See what I mean? Keith Pyeatt’s books are available through all bookstores, including, or purchase autographed copies via his website.


Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries and Moore Mysteries savors the countryside in the Genesee Valley in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his websites at and and watch for Healey’s Cave, the debut book in the new paranormal Moore Mysteries series, coming in April 2010 from Twilight Times Books.

Double Forté is the founding book of the LeGarde Mystery series and was released in November, 2004. Upstaged followed in October, 2005. Lazar’s third, Tremolo: cry of the loon, was released via Twilight Times Books in November 2007. Mr. Lazar is currently working on his fourteenth book, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. The fifth book in the LeGarde Mystery series, Firesong: an unholy grave, is scheduled for 2010 release. He is a regular columnist for FMAM (Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine), and has been published in Great Mystery and Suspense magazine and the Absolute Write Newsletter. Contact him at:, visit his Writer’s Digest Best 101 websites blog at,,, or stop by his websites at and

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wyoming Writes - Face to Face with Writers
copyright 2009 aaron paul lazar

You recognize this picture, right? Or at least the guy in it? That's because I'm all over the web, and co-owner of this blog. So I probably look a bit familiar.
But how many of us have met in person? Face to face? Breathing the same air?
My writerly life is full of people I adore, but most of them are a voice on the computer (or phone) and an image on my screen. I feel as if I know them intimately - at least my closest friends - and would be able to pick up a conversation in a snap if and when we meet in real life. I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting S.W. Vaughn at a book signing in Syracuse. We clicked immediately and I knew we would.
Of course these online friends are "real". And the fact that I don't get to physically meet with them is okay. But last night, for the first time in my writing life, I joined a Writers Group and went face to face with other writers.
I was very hesitant. I had no knowledge of their writing skills. Would they all be amateurs and ask me to critique their books? Not that there's ANYTHING wrong with amateurs. Heck, we all were amateurs at one point in our lives. And I do help fledgling writers all the time. But I knew in advance that I wouldn't be able to take on that kind of a work load. Hell, I have to turn down my online writer friends all the time. Would they ask me to read and review their books? As many of you know, I fit in just a few mysteries per year and struggle to get those reviews written up within 3-6 months. I wish I could do them all, but then I wouldn't be a writer, I'd be a reviewer. ;o)
On the other hand, this stupid brain of mine worried I that maybe they'd be all highbrow super academics who would look down on my mystery series. I'd read them a chapter from my WIP and they'd exchange looks of amused tolerance. Or worse. Tell me all the things they thought are horribly wrong with it. I'm open to critiques, but I was afraid of being ripped to shreds. Yeah, even after publishing four books, writing fourteen, and getting lots of great praise and reviews. I was still nervous. I don't think I'll ever outgrow the fear of being "exposed" as a horrible writer in front of academics. LOL.
Wayne, one of my old friends from Kodak showed up the other day. I hadn't seen him in ten years, and there he was on my doorstep. I was thrilled, as I'd been missing my old pals at Kodak more and more. Wayne's now a journalist for a local paper, and he urged me to attend the Wyoming Writes group as well as do an interview for his paper. He'd been wanting to check out the group himself, and thought he'd write an article about it for his paper.
So, with trepidation rolling around in my brain, I dressed up nice casual clothes and took off for Perry, New York. The bookstore where the group meets is called Burlingham Books. It's a beautiful little shop on what I call Main Street USA - a lovely historic village not far from Letchworth State Park. Wayne and I got there early, did the interview, and waited as folks started to arrive.
All my fears were completely ungrounded. The people - Tanya, Deb M, Deb S, Cindy, the Scribbler, Mr. Newton, and Wayne, were welcoming and supportive. They were mature writers who had stories and work to share. We listened to a chapter about a small country church, quirky poems, poems that painted luscious imagery, and a frank and hilarious opening to a book of memoirs. All were well done and simply delightful. I read the first chapter to Don't Let the Wind Catch You, and to my joy, the folks enjoyed it and wanted to know what happens next. :o) Always a nice sign!
After an hour of reading and sharing, we took a "field trip" to a local art gallery where a delightful assortment of paintings and watercolors were on display. We each chose a piece that "spoke" to us, and had fifteen minutes to write. On other writers' sites I've joined we called this flash fiction. You might call it postcard fiction. But whatever, it was a ball. When we were done, each writer shared his creation as we stood in front of the painting and listened. I've gotta tell you, these works were amazing.

My choice was a gorgeous watercolor. A blue vase with red/pink poppies and iris, by Sandra Tyler. This camera shot doesn't do it justice by any means, but it is truly vibrant and lustrous.

Here's what I wrote in my fifteen minutes. Now don't laugh, it's not polished or anything. And in spite of the beauty of the painting, my mind turned to mystery.

What else?

Blue with Flowers by Sandra Tyler

Celeste placed the vase on the table and dropped into the chair beside it. She’d picked her mother’s poppies before, but today was different. Today her mother lay – not in the cot beside her – but beneath the ground.

The salmon poppies were the color of her mother’s favorite sweater, a fuzzy number that
Celeste now wore, wrapped tight around her thin chest. She touched the fragile petals, and couldn’t help compare it with the feel of her mother’s soft cheeks. Cheeks that had sunk deeper and deeper against her bones in the past months. Cheeks that became concave, but which still cradled a smile when her mother’s thin lips curved into a ribbon of delight. Cheeks that Celeste now saw in the mirror, reflected back at her.

She’d inherited more than just her looks from her mother. Her stubborn nature, her love of cupcakes, and her passion for all things pink had clearly sprung from the genetic well that was Mom. Dad had given her the bright red hair. But not much else.

She wished he’d come to the funeral today. At least to make things look normal. Where was he? Off with on a dalliance with a rich bimbo? At the casino? Searching for more unwitting victims?
Celeste knew what had happened. She watched her mother eat the oatmeal every morning. The oatmeal her father had prepared. And she knew. She just knew there had been something in it. Something not right.

Being ten was hard. Especially when your father murdered your mother.

LOL. Okay, so there it is. But the point is, if you haven't joined an in person writers group, give it a try. I'm hooked and will be attending every month.

And always remember, if you love to write, write like the wind!


Mazurka, the fourth book in the LeGarde Mystery series is now available through the author, in special pre-release copies. Email him at for details.

Visit Twilight Times Books for special deals Oct 1 - Nov 15th.

This year is the 10th anniversary of the founding of Twilight Times Books (1999) and the 5th year since we went to print (2004). Those are significant milestones. In celebration, Twilight Times Books will have a print book sale from Oct. 1st to Nov. 15th. Most titles will be offered to the general public at a 10 - 30% discount. For a limited time, and while quantities last, we are offering a 30% - 50% discount on selected titles.

(one of the deals is: Buy Mazurka for $15.15 and get Tremolo for $10.15 (a 40% discount))

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Paradise, Part 3

copyright aaron paul lazar, 2009

As I’ve mentioned in the first two pieces on “Paradise,” my goal is to catalog the extraordinary experiences I’ve had since losing my job of twenty-eight years. Exploring that lustrous silver lining that comes with life traumas helps me stop feeling sorry for myself, so I’m doing my best to document things that never would have happened if I’d still been working at Kodak.

My engineering career was long and satisfying. Sadly, this week Kodak’s laying off another 20% of the few folks who are left in my old group. When my boss told me I was laid off last January, he said, “It’s the beginning of the end, Aaron.” I guess he was right. There are now less than 7,000 Kodak employees in Rochester, compared to the 60,000 that were there when I was hired in 1981. I’m struggling not to relive the unsettling feelings I experienced when it was my turn to be rejected. Er. I mean laid off. Of course, the actual term is “involuntary separation,” or “forced early retirement.” Except the powers to be messed with our retirement money when they sold us and bought us back from Heidelberg, so there’s no hope of actually retiring yet. God, I wish there were, with every fiber of my being. But such is life.

I hope to help my former colleagues as best I can in the weeks to come. Although I expected to have a great job by now, and to be able to bring in some of my former coworkers into the fold of a wonderful new company when they got the axe… Um… that hasn’t happened yet. But it will. So everyone tells me.

Frankly, I’m starting to wonder if anyone who’s 56 years old gets a good job. Sure doesn’t seem like it. And get this - I have more energy than both of my 24-year-old daughters put together, and dozens of productive years ahead of me. (Ahem. Any prospective employers listening?)

Okay, enough of this raving. The feelings are real, but it’s not very helpful to wallow.

If you remember, I introduced you to “Frank,” in Paradise Part 1, and “Bella” in Part 2. Today, in Part 3, I’m discussing a group of people who stole my heart. I plan to return to this magical place, frequently, when I retire for real.

(This photo was taken from an online collection. The expression on this man’s face is priceless!)

When I worked at Kodak I never had enough vacation. Much of it was spent taking family to doctors and trying to keep up with my gardens and chair caning business. Even five weeks a year didn’t cut it, so I never had time to take out to volunteer, though I’d always wanted to do it.

About a month ago my daughter invited me to volunteer at her summer job, a fine “day care” facility in Rochester, NY. I’m going to change the names of everyone – from the institution to the individuals – because I respect their privacy. I was honored to help out at this fine establishment that cares for and nurtures the artistic talents of disabled individuals.

Each year, this wonderful facility celebrates its clients by orchestrating a special “summer fest.” The theme this year was “Hollywood,” and each of the individuals was encouraged to dress up in costumes from Batman Costumes suits to Cinderella gowns. My job was to play “paparazzi” and take photos of them as they arrived via limo and walked down the red carpet we lovingly laid for them.

My heart leapt every time a new carload of people was delivered at the entrance. Whether they suffered from Down Syndrome, blindness, autism, muscular dystrophy, or a multitude of other conditions, they arrived dressed to the nines. Boas were flipped over saucy shoulders, bowties were straightened with pride, and hats were tilted in jaunty angles. The gals showed off prom gowns with sparkling tiaras, twirling around for the photos with such excitement that I couldn’t help cheer them on. The pride in their beautiful faces shone brighter than the sun that didn’t show up that morning.

Melanie introduced me to dozens of her “favorites,” and I fell for all of them. They displayed such innocence, pride, camaraderie, love of music/dance/art… they inspired the hell out of me and I honestly felt as if I’d made 50 new friends that day.

After a morning of helping out in the art, dance, and music rooms, we served lunch and helped carry trays for those who couldn’t manage. When everyone had feasted, we gathered for an assembly where awards were given out for most improved skills, and then various groups (blues band, musical theater, dance troupe, etc.) performed for their parents and the rest of us. Although I’ve witnessed many a performance in my day (thanks to Melanie’s love of theater and music), I must say I’ve never seen performers glow with such unparalleled pride.

I’ll tell you, after feeling a little sorry for myself because I haven’t found a job yet, the whole experience was humbling. Here were folks with what the rest of the world called “disabilities,” yet in their worlds, they hardly noticed. They had circles of friends, special sweethearts, and favorite teachers – just like in a “normal” school. And who the hell knows what normal is, anyway? Right?

I was privileged to meet Mona, a blind wheelchair-bound woman with speech difficulties. Yet this big hearted woman loves to sing, and asked Melanie every single day if she’d brought her guitar so they could go through their special playlist together. She held my hand when she sang her heart out, and her love of my dear daughter just about brought me to tears.

Then there was joyful Jordan, a young man crippled physically, but with a smile that warmed the room every time he entered, couldn’t wait to tell me how he played the drums. He was so proud of his skills that he practically burst.

Five or six teenaged girls with Down Syndrome all danced with their princess gowns, twirling around the dance hall with such abandon that I was reminded of prom night. There was no less joy, and certainly a lot less angst.

Tami wrote beautiful, sensitive poetry that broke my heart. We talked about writing, and I gave her some of my bookmarks. Thrilled to death, she asked about my books. I brought her a copy of one of my LeGarde Mysteries last week, and received one of the most enthusiastic hugs that I’ve had in a very long time.

Nahum wove lovely needlepoint on his quilting patches. I stared in amazement and complimented him on his skills. He received a special award for his hard work, and although he had to wheel up to the podium, he received thunderous applause from his peers.

Tony drew pictures so beautiful they sold for good money in local art venues. He loves to draw vertical strokes of mixed colors. I stood and stared at his work for a very long time. The subtle blends of hues were mesmerizing.

And Reggie, who never spoke before Melanie worked with him, insisted on saying “Hi,” and “Bye” when we left, tugging at her sleeve for attention. The enormity of the work she does with these people stunned and humbled me. Music therapy works, in ways I had never imagined.

This whole experience made me wish I could start all over, get a degree in therapy or social work, and devote my life to a cause much more meaningful than designing and testing high speed digital printers. If it weren’t for annoying things like paying for prescriptions and mortgages, I would do it in a heartbeat.

Maybe in my next life?


Preorder Aaron’s latest book, Mazurka, at Barnes and Noble for a significant discount!

Aaron Paul Lazar wasn’t always a mystery writer. It wasn’t until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. “When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn’t find elsewhere.”

Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ (2004), a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar’s father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a “Renaissance man caught in the 21st century.”

The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written nine LeGarde mysteries in seven years. (UPSTAGED – 2005; TREMOLO:CRY OF THE LOON – 2007 Twilight Times Books; MAZURKA – 2009 Twilight Times Books, with more to come.)

One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat’s eye marble, which prompted the new paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and zealous gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother’s dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (HEALEY’S CAVE: A GREEN MARBLE MYSTERY, 2009; ONE POTATO, BLUE POTATO, 2010; FOR KEEPS, 2011) Lazar intends to continue both series.

Lazar’s books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, “country mysteries,” although reviewers have dubbed them “literary mysteries.”

“It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it’s the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page.”

The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, mother-in-law, and Cavipoo, Balto. Recent empty nesters, he and his wife are fixing up their 1811 antique home after twenty-five years of kid and puppy wear. He worked as an electrophotographic engineer at the Eastman Kodak Company, in Rochester, New York for 28 years, and plans to eventually retire to write full time.

Lazar maintains several websites and blogs, is the Gather Saturday Writing Essential host, writes his monthly “Seedlings” columns for the Voice in the Dark literary journal and the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine. He has been published in Absolute Write as well as The Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine. See excerpts and reviews here:

Contact him at

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Paradise, Part 2

copyright Aaron Paul Lazar, 2009

Last week I told you that I was "born to be home, tending grandkids, working the land, cooking meals from the garden, and writing 'til my heart squeezes the last words onto the page." I said that this life without a day job is the dream-come-true, the life I've yearned for every single day for the past few decades. It's my heaven on earth, my own private nirvana, my paradise.

I also mentioned that I was starting to get nervous. After applying for 35 jobs, I've had one interview (just heard the job isn't mine) and one rejection (never got an interview). No calls, no emails. No nothing! If I'm not careful, I'll start to think I must've deluded Kodak for 27 years because they consistently gave me nice promotions and always said they loved my work. I have to stop myself mid-thought, because that's a shaky place to tread for the sometimes frail ego of a mid-fifties white male in a time of few jobs and gazillions of overqualified applicants.

So, in order to squelch the nerves that are trying to break through and mess up my happy place, I've decided to write about all the wonderful things that happened because Kodak got rid of me.

Last time we discussed my new friend, Frank. G. In Part 2, I'd like to share the joy of having more time to spend with my granddaughter, Isabella.

There she is. The little angel with the curl in the middle of her forehead. This thirteen-month-old-child is too good to be true. But maybe that's because she had such a tough entrance into the world, fraught with an emergency C section, almost not making it, and spending a week in the NICU. This baby sleeps 12-13 hours straight every night, takes a two hour morning nap and a two hour afternoon nap. She wakes with sweet smiles and a rosy blush on her peaches and cream skin. Okay, so maybe there's a stinky diaper thrown in there occasionally. But although my daughters ranged from what I thought were "easy" to "difficult" babies, I never knew what easy was. This child makes caring for her a breeze. Which is a good thing, since I often have her for days at a time and while I'm pretty damned energetic, I don't have the unlimited reserves I had in my twenties and thirties.

Bella is so easy to please! Bella loves cow or soy milk, and will happily drink water or juice. She eats all the garden produce I put in front of her with gusto: green beans, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, kale, beets, potatoes, name it, she'll eat them with unabashed enthusiasm. When she's done, she lifts her arms high above her head and somehow communicates that it's over. It's not a whine, or a screech. Just two syllable baby words that sound like "all done." She chatters like a magpie, in her own language, but on occasion we've been certain she said, "Trot, trot!" (a game we play bouncing her on knees), "dog," (we have two who love her and her mom has three), "Hi," and "Peekaboo." She hasn't said them a lot, but it was a treat to hear them for the first time and not have to get a call at work to tell me about it. Being there first hand certainly has its advantages.

Isabella started walking a few months ago, and now runs from person to person and place to place. And man, is she smart. I'm not just saying that because I'm her grandpa, but darn it, this girl is bright! We have a toy camera that makes clicking sounds like a real shutter. It lights up and says, "Smile!" But it takes a lot of pressure to push in the button, and her teensy little fingers aren't strong enough. She quickly learned to take MY hand, grab one of my fingers, and push my finger on the button whenever she wanted the toy to do its thing! Now she does this all the time, and even holds her own little wrist to help give herself strength on the tougher jobs. It cracks me up. But then again, I'm easily amused. She's got me enchanted. ;o)

Bella had her very own first "garden tour" with Papa a few weeks back. We sampled blueberries, red and black raspberries, gooseberries, jostaberries, and cherry tomatoes. She lowered her little mouth to my outstretched hand and ate berries off it as if she were a pony taking a sugar cube from my hand. And she carried a cucumber around with her for hour after that, gnawing on it. It probably felt good to her little gums where more teeth are pushing through.

We had our very first cooking session together, something her big brothers Julian and Gordie love to do. We picked lots of veggies, then she sat on my lap while I chopped and cooked. Of course I was super careful with the knife and put her in her high chair when I needed to get near the stove. She wasn't much interested in those things, anyway, since I kept her hands full of goodies. She loved the orange pepper, but her favorite was the cucumber. And believe it or not, this little girl loves eating fresh lemons! (just like me) There wasn't a grimace or a squinch of her eyes. She sucked those babies dry.

The most exciting discovery I've made about Bella is her passion for music, which thrills me, since my father was a music professor, my grandfather was a piano teacher, my daughter is a singer and music therapist, and my main character in the LeGarde Mysteries is a music professor as well.

As soon as she arrives for a visit, Bella runs for the piano, and starts pressing keys. Her great grandmother (my MIL) holds her on her lap and plays the Hungarian Rhapsody for her. I do the same, and Bella holds my two index fingers while we play chopsticks together. Okay, so I'm a little rusty on my Chopin waltzes... She has a peculiar way of asking for me to repeat the song, a sort of little jiggle and bounce with big eyes turned up at me. There's no doubt that it means, "Do it again!"

When daughter Melanie plays her guitar, Bella is fascinated. Unlike Bella's older brothers, who we helped raise, and who would have grabbed and broken the guitar strings in a boyish macho fit of excitement, she delicately strums the strings. It's similar to the way she gently taps the wind chimes on the porch and seems to delight in their sounds. When I used to lift Gordie up, he'd smash them with a fist and laugh at how they flip flopped all over. He didn't mean it to be an act of violence. He's just a boy. ;o

So, once again, thank you God (and Kodak) for freeing me up this summer. Thank you for the time I've had with my darling granddaughter, for the weeks of play and tenderness, for the first time I took her swimming in the pool and her little feet paddled so strong, for the strolls in the garden with Bella holding my finger toddling beside me, and for the time I've enjoyed when she got sleepy and lay her little head on my chest. I've grown so close to her, it hurts when she leaves.

So what's this got to do with writing?

Everything. It's life. And that's where stories come from. I'll end up using many of these observations as traits for Gus LeGarde's twin granddaughters (Celeste and Marion) and even for Sam Moore's grandson, Timmy. Almost every scene I've ever used with these children has been based on my real life: daughters, grandsons, and now Bella.

The next time you get stuck on a story, or feel that dreaded block coming on, just stop, get up, and live life for a while. Not only will you have participated in your own life (a very good thing!) but soon the words will pour out of you, I promise.


Watch for Part 3 in a few weeks. I'll be delivering my daughter back to grad school in Boston next week and visiting my family, so probably won't get to post next weekend. Have a wonderful few weeks!

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries and Moore Mysteries 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 websites at and and watch for his upcoming release, MAZURKA, coming in 2009.

Hello friends,

I had hoped to write a new episode in my "Paradise" series this week. But the vagaries of life often intervene, and it was no different this time.

When my Dell laptop crashed, I ordered a new MacBook Pro just in time to have it delivered before my trip to Boston to bring my daughter, Melanie, back to grad school and visit family in the area.

Uh huh. You guessed it. The poor little laptop missed its Fed Ex connection in CHINA, and didn't make it. Actually, it arrived two hours after we left for our trip. So I've been without a laptop for about three weeks now.

The old Dell, which I had just spend many hundreds on to upgrade with a new hard drive and extra memory- decided not to take a charge anymore. I after being told by two local repair shops that it was too old (six years), I looked up advice online, tried to open it up to find the supposed bad solder joint, and failed miserably. Sigh. So I made the psychological switch to Mac (after salivating over my daughter's Macbook and getting a few lessons on it) and waited with bated breath. I haven't written anything in two weeks. It's killing me, the itch to write has been so pervasive I almost sent my beloved grandsons home early to free up the old Muse.

Instead, in between making meals, doing dishes, keeping them in relatively clean clothes, and playing with them, I methodically transferred all my backed up files (from the old PC, which thank God keeps on kickin') to the new Mac, got my email working through their mail client, and just now finished transferring my 60 Gig plus photos and music onto the MacBook. There are a few glitches yet to work out, but I am a PC-to-Mac switcher, so I need to research it, or call the Mac center. I've been told they are wonderful for support, and we'll find out soon.

I hope you're all well and thriving. I'm still looking for a new "day job," and am really hoping the Man Upstairs has something marvelous planned for me. Soon. Summer's almost over, and it's time to get back to work.


If you love to write, remember to WRITE LIKE THE WIND!


Preorder Mazurka at Barnes and Noble for a huge discount!