Seedlings by Aaron Paul Lazar

What They Say

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton


Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A bestselling Kindle author of 22 books, including 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 release, UNDER THE ICE. Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers.


SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2015
FINALIST Readers Favorites Awards 2013
SEMI-FINALIST Kindle Book Review Awards 2013, Mystery Category
HONORABLE MENTION Eric Hoffer 2013
GRAND PRIZE * FINALIST 2013 EPIC Book Awards  * FINALIST 2012 FOREWORD BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS * Finalist DaVinci Eye Cover Award 2013 * WINNER 2011 EPIC Book Awards, BEST Paranormal * FINALIST 2011 FOREWORD BOOK AWARDS * WINNER 2011 Eric Hoffer BEST Book, COMMERCIAL FICTION *Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads for 2012 * 2X FINALIST Global eBook Awards 2011 * Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award – 2nd place 2011* Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Top 10 Books of 2012 * Winner of Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s 9th Annual Noble (Not Nobel!) Prize for Literature 2011 * Finalist Allbooks Editor’s Choice Awards 2011 * Preditors&Editors Top 10 Finalist  * Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books 2008MYSHELF Top Ten Reads 2008  * Writer’s Digest Top 101 Website Award 2009-2012

Contact Aaron at aaron(dot)lazar(at)yahoo.com.

 

Voodoo Summer (LeGarde Mysteries Book 11)
Available now at Amazon.com

VOODOO Summer by Aaron Paul Lazar

Every family has its secrets…

Summer, 1966: For thirteen-year-old Gus LeGarde, summertime always means Loon Harbor, his grandparents’ idyllic fishing resort on Great Pond. The season is a grand tradition of swimming, boating, and new adventures with his best friends, twins Siegfried and Elsbeth. But this summer, everything changes when a new lodge down the shore threatens the resort—and triggers a chain of events that will transform Gus and his friends forever.

 

 

The Seacroft (Paines Creek Beach Book 2)
Available now at Amazon.com

The Seacroft by Aaron Paul Lazar

The Seacroft: a love story

Falling for the wrong guy can be hazardous to your heart. Vivian Wood is desperate. After her beloved brother dies of a sudden aneurism and her mother develops Alzheimer’s, she needs a good job and a place to stay. She finds it at The Seacroft, a Cape Cod seaside mansion ruled by ...

 

Books by multi-award winning, Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES
DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)  
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
THE LIARS’ GALLERY (print, eBook, audio book)
SPIRIT ME AWAY (print, eBook, audio book)
UNDER THE ICE: COUNTERPOINT (coming soon 2015)
LADY BLUES: forget-me-not (print, eBook, audio book)
VOODOO SUMMER ( print, eBook, audio book)

GREEN MARBLE MYSTERIES
The Disappearance of Billy Moore (formerly Healey's Cave) (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES
FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (print, eBook, audio book)
BETRAYAL (print, eBook, audio book)

PAINES CREEK BEACH SERIES

THE SEACREST (print, eBook, and audio book)
THE SEACROFT (print, eBook, audio book)
THE SEADOG (print, eBook, audio book)

BITTERSWEET HOLLOW Romantic Suspense Series
DEVIL’S LAKE (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVIL’S CREEK (print, eBook, and audio book)
DEVILS SPRING (print, eBook, and audio book)

 

Seedlings
by Aaron Paul Lazar, author of the LeGarde Mystery Series.

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Illustration © 2006 GinELF

 

August 2017

"Your Preface: what it is, and when to write it" Copyright © 2017 Aaron Paul Lazar. All rights reserved.
Excerpt from Write Like the Wind volume 3 by Aaron Paul Lazar. Re-printed by permission of the author.

Write Like the Wind volume 2 by Aaron Paul Lazar

Your Preface: what it is, and when to write it

According to the dictionary, a preface is “an introduction to a book which typically states its subject, scope, or aims.”

That's as opposed to a foreword, which is traditionally written by someone other than the author.

Naturally, if you want to address some of the plot elements without spoiling the story, you’d best write an “afterword.”

Have you ever written a preface? Do you remember any particular favorites from books or authors you love?

When I wrote my first two books, I didn’t consider a preface. In hindsight, I wish I had.

There’s so much behind each book that was documented only through interviews and columns appearing after the mysteries were released. I wish I’d had those facts tidily catalogued with the books themselves. Fortunately, I’m doing rewrites of all the earlier books, and have had the chance to reconsider.

For example, I wrote DoubleFortéas a tribute to my father, a music professor who had just died. I based Gus LeGarde largely on his character, and although Gus morphed and changed along the way, the novel was a testimony to my father that I should have documented. Of course, I dedicated the book to him and every loved one in my life, as well as to my dedicated team of editors and beta readers. That helps.

Upstaged came after haunting the back of the auditorium during my daughter Melanie’s thirteen musicals and plays in high school. All of the color, teenage angst, drama, and excitement had to be released from my brain and documented. I couldn’t keep it inside. And I wish I’d told readers a bit about that history.

With Tremolo: cry of the loon, I finally woke up. I felt the need to explain to my readers about the source of the story elements and people within the pages. I wanted them to know that Tremolo came from my childhood and family, and that Gus’s father and Oscar Stone were actually testimonies to my family as well. Think back to books you may have already written. What would you put in your own preface today? Here are some examples.

Preface (Tremolo: cry of the loon)

If you’ve ever stayed at a lakeside camp, you’ll understand my fascination for the Belgrade Lakes of Maine, where I spent many childhood vacations. Tremolo: cry of the loon whirls with nostalgic memories from that era, based on some of the happiest times of my youth.

The word "tremolo" describes the laughter of loons. It's a lovely yodel that cascades over the lake, rippling the waves with enchanted song. But the bewitching loon’s laugh is actually a distress call, often heard when humans come too close to their nests. Danger stalks young Gus and his friends in this novel; thus, Tremolo: cry of the loon seemed an appropriate title for this lakeside coming-of-age mystery.

Tremolo’s mysteries are founded in pure fantasy. Thank God. I wouldn't have enjoyed being chased through the woods by a drunken murderer at age eleven, or at any age. And wouldn’t my life be a rather fearsome thing, if all my fictional villains were based on reality?

There are some events, however, that jump right from my childhood, such as the "bat" scene. I'll always remember my dad running around the living room in his boxer shorts with a butterfly net, chasing a trapped and confused bat while I cowered behind my bedroom door. Or, the time he took me to see "To Kill a Mockingbird." I distinctly remember sitting in the dining room after the movie, when he turned his forearm in the sunlight and said how lovely it would be to have golden brown skin, like Tom Robinson.

Dad was like that. Passionate and liberated, he embraced all people and welcomed life’s full gamut of experiences. And guess what? He was quite a bit like the man Gus becomes in the LeGarde Mystery Series.

The lake, cabins, buildings, boats, loons, and the swing were real. The horses I knew as a child, though not in Maine. That's one of the attractions of writing fiction—to be able to summon sublime scenes from childhood, decorate them, combine them in any fashion, and populate one's books with them.

The words from Oscar Stone’s slide show in chapter thirty-nine are based on writings found in my maternal grandfather's papers, the man who inspired Oscar’s character. In addition to being a fine pianist and devoted husband, he was a gifted photographer.

I'll never forget those sun-drenched days in Maine. I still dream about them and summon the memories when life gets tough. Magic lived there, and although the camp has long been torn down and replaced with condos, it remains alive and will forever endure in my mind.

Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy this romp through Gus's childhood.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

***

When do you write a preface? Do you pen it before you start your novel?

Absolutely not.

You know how a book can transform during its creation. Twists and turns you never anticipated frequently arrive on your story’s doorstep to surprise and delight you. And sometimes that ending you imagined drops away and a whole new scene takes its place.

So, wait until your job is done. When the book is polished and almost ready to go, reflect on the process and content and if you wish, share some secrets with your dear readers.

When Mazurka was almost ready to go, I decided it needed a few words of introduction, too. I wanted my readers to understand the origins of my passion for Europe, and why I had such a burning desire to beat up a few Nazis.

Preface (Mazurka)

In 1986 I accepted an engineering assignment for Kodak in their Mülhausen manufacturing plant nestled in the Schwäbian Albs of West Germany. I settled with my wife, three baby daughters, and in-laws in the charming town of Denkendorf, near Stuttgart. We soon fell in love with the village and its people, and the affair changed our lives, fostering a passion for all things European.

Every other weekend my wife and I took road trips to Switzerland, France, Austria, or outlying areas of Germany while my in-laws babysat. We pioneered through cities in advance, creating maps of places to stay, dine, and tour. Then, on alternate weekends, I cared for my daughters while my wife treated her parents to the same trips we’d completed—a perfect arrangement.

I can still feel the mist from the waterfalls of the Schwarzwald, taste croissants in the Parisian cafés, and imagine frost on my breath while cross-country skiing at the base of the Eiger Mountain in Switzerland. Most vibrant is the memory of the glacial green water in the Plansee, an Austrian lake that still beckons. Life was good, and we were blessed with this exotic adventure before our world crumbled with numerous heartaches to follow.

My love for Chopin encouraged the historic link with the great master. I’m mad about his mazurkas, nocturnes, waltzes and more, admittedly influenced by my father and grandfather’s passion for his work. And although there’s no seed of truth in this fanciful story, I enjoyed studying the composer’s past and relating it to Gus’s travels in Europe.

When my daughter Melanie performed in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” my hatred for Nazis deepened. So, I threw in a few of the worst villains I could imagine. It’s not surprising that they became neo-Nazis.

Since then, the visions, tastes, aromas, and tantalizing details of Europe branded in my brain have begged to be released. And although in this book I’ve strayed only temporarily from East Goodland where the LeGarde family resides, I felt compelled to transport Gus, Camille, and Siegfried to Europe—for at least one visit.

Thanks for supporting the LeGarde Mysteries and for your allegiance. I pray you enjoy this romp through Europe.

Auf Wiedersehen,
Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

***

Sometimes it’s important to address topics you’ve incorporated with a little bit of fantastical twisting. For example, in the above preface, I wanted to explain in no uncertain terms that master Chopin did not have a steamy affair with Gus’s ancestors.

And in books to come, such as FireSong (2011, Twilight Times Books), I need to explain that the links to the underground railroad in Gus’s hometown are loosely based on theories of possible routes of escape wending through Western New York.

In Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, I needed to clarify and apologize for screwing with the history of Groveland, New York. When I go to great lengths to discover that the Tory ambush that happened just down the road from Gus’s house was actually a set-up, the local historians might get a wee bit flustered. So, explanations in advance can be a good thing. And save you from angry petitioners.

When I was working on the final polishes for The Disappearance of Billy Moore, featuring Sam Moore, I realized I needed to “talk” to my readers to share the motivation for suddenly abandoning Gus LeGarde and his family to begin this new series. I explained that Gus will continue, and that I never anticipated a whole NEW series would arise from an off-hand comment my wife made.

Preface (The Disappearance of Billy Moore)

I blame this book on my wife.

I was minding my own business, wrapping up another novel in the LeGarde Mystery series, when she turned to me and said, “You need to write a book from the killer’s point of view.”

I laughed out loud. I’d always written in first person, as a man whose character was diametrically opposed to villains. He was a good man, a man I admired and wanted to share with the world. Sure, he had his faults, but how could I switch from that kind of mindset to the inner thoughts of a killer?

Dale reads Stephen King and James Patterson. She loves psychological thrillers and even a little horror. Not like me with my relatively wholesome mysteries that skirt around the gruesome details of murder.

I put aside the thought until shortly thereafter, while rototilling my garden, I unearthed a green marble, a cat’s eye. I held it in my hand and wondered about the little boy or girl who lost it. I imagined how neat it would be to hold the marble tight in my hand and have it whisk me back in time to the boy’s life. I’d be able to see what he saw, walk beside him, and maybe witness some horrible crime. And what if the villain were still alive today? What if he was my next-door neighbor?

That was all it took to dislodge me from the LeGarde Mysteries for a few months. With my wife’s urging, I gave into the desire to create a new world. I didn’t expect it to turn into another series. But it did.

This is book one in the Green Marble Mystery series, also known as Moore Mysteries. And yes, I blame my wife for the whole thing.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com

***

Now that I’ve analyzed my own prefaces, I realize exactly what they are: a vehicle for me to take my reader’s hand, look into his or her eyes, and tell her what burning secrets I need to share about each particular child (er, book).

Think about the books you’ve written or plan to write. What will you want to tell your readers before they begin page one?

Or will you want your book to stand on its own, mysterious in its beginnings and influences? Will those secrets go to the grave with you?

In some cases, perhaps they should.

Aaron Paul Lazar
www.lazarbooks.com


Write Like the Wind cover artwork

WRITING ADVICE: 

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

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, thrillers, love stories, and writing guides, 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 releases, UNDER THE ICE (2015) and DEVIL’S CREEK (2015). Aaron has won over 18 book awards for his novels and finds writing to be his form of "cheap therapy." Feel free to connect with him on Facebook or his website; he loves to connect with readers!