Posts Tagged ‘Creative writing; writing’

On Inspiration, the Writing Process and My best Advice for New Writers

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Three Questions Answered for Sisters in Crime

Inspiration Point

Hello there!

My dear friend Eleanor Khuns, author of the fantastic historical mysteries Death of a Dyer, A Simple Death and Craddle to Grave tagged me to participate in the Sisters in Crime  blog hop by answering the questions below.



Which authors have inspired you?

I’m one of those people who think that the human mind is influenced by every contact and every read, no matter how casual or light. I learn from every word I read. Heck, even when I don’t enjoy a writer, I’m still learning from what him or her. As a young woman growing up in the Dominican Republic, I was exposed to many different influences. I thrived on young adult novels from Louisa May Alcott. I loved Enid Blyton and blazed through The Famous Five, The Seven Secrets and The Malory Towers series. I think I wanted to be a student at Malory Towers as much as my kids wanted to go to school at Hogwarts!

But, talk about being a hybrid of many worlds! At the same time I was reading Louisa May Alcott and Enid Blyton, I was also reading the Latin American classics. Books such as A Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosas, and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende left lasting impressions. I also tapped into my parents’ wonderful library, enjoying the Russians (I favored Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy), the French (Victor Hugo), the Germans (Eric Maria Remarque), the Spanish (Jose Maria Gironella), and the Americans (Hemingway, always Hemingway).

Later, when I came to the States, I discovered fantasy and was dazzled by J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephen Donaldson, Frank Herbert, Robert Jordan, and George R.R. Martin, way before he became popular, I should add. I also fell in love with commercial fiction. Diana Gabaldon, Bernard Cornwell and Anne Rice are some of my all-time favorites.

What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?

The best part of the writing process for me is the writing itself. I love working on a first draft, laying down the ideas, characters and structure of a novel for the first time, discovering the full story in my mind. There’s something liberating about a blank screen, about the sentences turning into paragraphs and the paragraphs into chapters. I love the evolution of a story, the transformation that occurs as the story progresses, the unforeseen twists and turns that defy the outline and provoke the imagination.

The most challenging part of the writing process comes at the end for me, after the manuscript is done. I’m not one for self-promotion and yet the current publishing environment requires a great deal of it. I love talking to readers about writing and books, getting to know them, listening to their ideas and reactions to the stories and reading and writing in general. But tooting my own horn? It doesn’t come naturally to me.

If you were to mentor new writers, what would you tell them about the writing business? 

I enjoy mentoring new writers. I always tell them to educate themselves in the totality of the process upfront. It saves time if you have the basics covered, if the writer is proficient in grammar, punctuation, formatting and so forth. It also helps enormously if the writer has a good idea of how the industry works and how the market for her genre behaves.

I would also tell a new writer to submit their work to the highest possible standards of critical review prior to shopping for publishers. There’s a lot of stuff clogging the pipeline and a polished, edited manuscript can make all the difference in the world. Editors, critique groups, other writers and beta readers who know the genre can be invaluable to the new writer.

Above all, I would tell the new writer to write, to complete the manuscript from beginning to end, to edit it, to trudge through the entire creative process and learn from it. Your first manuscript may never see the light of day. Maybe your second and third won’t either, but no one can take away the treasure trove of learning that you gain each time you complete the creative process from beginning to end and the joy that comes from writing.

Thank you Eleanor for inviting me to participate in the Sisters in Crime blog hop. Hop on to the next blog and meet Barb Caffrey, the talented author of the comic, YA urban fantasy, An Elfie on the Loose.


Eleanor Kuhns books 2


Dora Machado's Books (640x237)



The Life of a Writer

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

A Guest Post 


 Christine Amsden

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  I’m delighted to welcome Christine Amsden to my blog. She’s the talented author of the Cassie Scott series, a set of four fantasy novels that—as you may have noticed—I have often and gladly recommended on this blog. I’m thrilled to be a stop in her virtual book tour, as she celebrates the release of the fourth and final book of the series, Stolen Dreams. Today, she speaks to us from the heart. If you’ve ever wanted to be a writer, listen careful to what she has to say.




So …. you want to be a writer? Are you a dreamer? A story teller? Do you simply love the way words feel when they come together to create a picture? Climb on the crazy train then, and get ready for a long, bumpy ride.

Besides being a writer, I’m also a writing coach. I’m exceptionally good at it for one reason that has come as a surprise to me: I’m honest. Now, I always knew I was honest; what I didn’t realize was how rare this quality is, even in a coach. I tell the truth as I see it because only by reflecting both beauty and flaws can I inspire growth in a writer.

With that in mind, let me tell you the hard, cold truth about being a writer. It doesn’t pay. The handful of bestsellers out there cluttering up the pop culture notion of what a writer is represent less than one tenth of one percent of traditionally published authors (I’m not even talking self pub here). If anyone has said, “Don’t quit your day job,” they weren’t trying to be mean. They were trying to be honest.

I didn’t listen. :)

I quit my day job ten years ago when I got married, urged by my husband (who made enough for the both of us to live comfortably) to follow my dreams. I took the risk; one of the biggest of my life, and I have no regrets. Children came two years after marriage, filling my days with a combination of domestic and writerly activities that I found perfectly compatible. In a way, diluting my days with a wider variety of activities helped inspire me and make me more productive. I have written six complete novels in the eight-and-a-half years since my son was born (this doesn’t include a couple of dead-end projects that were, nevertheless, learning experiences).

Creative work isn’t like other types of work. It isn’t linear. It isn’t easy to quantify. Forty hours of creative work may be enough to write an entire novel draft (under extremely bizarre I-officially-hate-you circumstances), or it may only be enough to learn one important lesson before going back to the drawing board. An inspired writer can take a few stolen hours and create magic. An uninspired writer … well, that’s the problem with the ideal of the “full time writer,” aside from the paycheck thing. Sooner or later you run out of things to write *about*.

That’s why I started coaching. It’s also why I’m currently looking for creative new opportunities for part-time work. I’ve got a gig as a judge in a cooking competition coming up soon. Should be fun!

I know a lot of writers. Their stories are all different, their day jobs all unique, but one common theme rings true: We all long for the day when we can write full time, when our income from writing will support us in a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. I think knowing this story so well is one of the reasons why I’m a fan of TV talent shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and (most recently) Rising Star. The acts all come on and say the same thing – that they dream of getting paid to perform. To do what they love.

You don’t want me to sing, but putting that aside, I understand. I really, really do.

And yet I understand one other thing, or at least, I am working towards understanding. (Self-actualization is more a journey than a destination.) I understand that I am a writer. Fame and fortune are not necessary for us to do what we love. We can do it just because we want to. Because, for whatever reason, these activities fulfill us.

One of the most common interview questions I get on tour is, “What advice would you give to aspiring writers?” I answer, “Only write if you love it.” The full answer is that if you’re writing for fame, or fortune, or for any external force, it’s not worth it. Writers write because the written word is our currency. It is an end in and of itself.

Between one thing and another, I lost track of that fact in the last year or two. I’ve taken the summer off from writing. I’m spending more time with my kids while they’re still young (6 and 8), working on promoting my Cassie Scot series, and still doing a little coaching. Writing will call to me again, sooner or later. It always does. I’ve already started to feel the pull of a project that would take me in a completely different direction from anything I’ve done before. It may pan out. It may not. Luckily, as an independent author I can write whatever I like. No one owns my time or my creativity.

If you want to be a writer, then write. It never even has to be something someone else sees. (Kind of like me singing in the shower where no one else can hear. :) ) If and when it grows to the point where you would like to share it, come seek us authors out on the Internet and join our circles of madness. But if you can, even then, try to keep it in perspective. There is always the dream; we are dreamers by nature, but don’t let the dream keep you from living your life now.


Stolen Dreams , Book 4 of The Cassie Scot Series


Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own?

Don’t miss the amazing conclusion to the Cassie Scot series!


About The Cassie Scot Series:

Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Cassie Scott 1

Secret and Lies

Mind Games

About Christine Amsden

Christine Amsdem 200 by 300

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that affects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams.

In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Contact Christine at: or:














Off to Japan: My Writer’s Packing List

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014


Dora Machado

Japan Rail Passes

If everything goes as planned, by this time you read this, I’ll be on a plane to Japan. Even though I’ve been to Asia Minor before, this will be my first trip to Asia proper. I’m so excited!

For this trip, I’ve had to make zero planning effort. That’s because I’m teaming up with one of my all-time favorite traveling companions, travel blogger Mariana Marshall of, with whom I walked the last 100 kilometers of the Camino of Santiago de Compostela. She is also my daughter.

The advantages of tagging along with a travel blogger can’t be understated. My traveling companion carefully researched and selected the itinerary and made all of the traveling arrangements, transportation and lodging reservations. I just get to come along for the ride!

We’ll be spending some time in Tokyo and then traveling on to explore Kyoto and its environs. We’ve got a very long list, but I’m looking forward to staying at a traditional Japanese guest house (ryokan), exploring the natural hot springs (onsens), and riding Japan’s fabulous bullet trains.

Packing for Japan in the winter had me asking a lot of questions, but travel bloggers are Girl Scouts at heart, and mine found this awesome packing list from a fellow blogger:

My writer’s packing list must, of course, include my computer, tablet and cell phone. We don’t speak the language, so we’ve uploaded some interesting apps that might help if all else fails. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Technology is a wonderful convenience, but I’ve learned that, when traveling, it isn’t always reliable. So in addition, I’m bringing a good, small, old-fashioned notebook to jot down my thoughts and observations, a few good pens, and my camera, all indispensable tools that will work with or without an Internet connection, and that are suitable to all environments.

But the most important elements for a successful trip are stowed not in my suitcase, but rather in my mind. They include flexibility, openness and imagination. Flexibility is key when traveling, the ability to roll with the punches, accept, adapt and adjust to the changes intrinsic to the traveling experience. From airports to hotels, from technology to people, traveling exposes us to new situations that test our comfort levels and push our boundaries.

An open mind is also vital to the traveling experience. It allows us to see the world for what it is, not for what we think it should be. It also teaches us to value the differences that make each place unique and each culture extraordinary.

And finally, I bring along my number-one writing tool, my imagination, to take in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that I’ve never experienced before, to relish the emotions of the journey, to collect the odd, the common and the spectacular, to understand and process the experience of being human. For a gal into world building, the traveling experience is a rich trove indeed.

So, wish me luck.

Sayonara, kids!

Japan bound

The Power of Repetition: A Guest Blog by Scott Eder

Monday, October 14th, 2013

I’m delighted to introduce my friend and Twilight Times Books fellow author, Scott Eder, whose first contemporary fantasy novel, Knight of Flame, was just released to great praise and excellent reviews. In his blog today, Scott shares his search for an irresistible first chapter. So it’s only fitting that we should begin with a gift from this talented author, the first five chapters of Knight of Flames, free, right here, at your fingertips:




The Power of Repetition


Scott Eder

I’m always looking for ways to take my writing to the next level. Classes, books, podcasts, conversations… the list goes on. As a perpetual student, I’m learning and practicing every single day. But some lessons are tougher than others and require multiple strikes of the hammer to drive a single point home. In my case, the single point I struggled with was grabbing the reader right out of the gate. It’s a simple concept, really. A story needs to grab the reader’s interest as soon as possible, and refuse to let him go. Compelling characters, barbed hooks, unique conflicts, scintillating writing, and a crisp, unique voice combine to clamp onto the reader’s imagination, tightening his interest with each turn of the page.

Easy, right? You’d think so, but it took listening to a panel of agents and editors at DragonCon for the meaning to really sink in.

When I first started writing, I thought I had time, story time that is. I opened at a soft, descriptive pace that gently introduced the reader to my setting and characters. After that, I stirred in the conflict, ratcheting up the stress and intensity, until eventually achieving resolution. I thought this approach meshed with the fantasy genre. I needed time for world building, and to introduce the uniqueness of my characters, right? So why didn’t I get any interest from the agents and editors I queried? The form rejection letters didn’t help, didn’t tell me what I needed to fix.

I realized that I was missing some critical piece to the story-telling puzzle, and made the decision to seek professional help. (Hehe. I felt a little crazy at this point.) After taking several classes where the instructors helped me understand that I needed to get to the conflict sooner, that I needed to hook the reader up front, I thought I had it. Instead of getting to the action within the first few chapters, I streamlined my writing, introduced setting, characters and conflict in a more compelling way by the end of chapter one.

Woohoo! With my newfound skills, I’d break into the biz in no time. My stories rocked. Or so I thought. But the growing collection of form rejections told a different story. If one of those editors or agents would take a minute and give me something, a hint, a bit of advice, anything to clue me in as to what was missing, I’d have a chance to fix it. Nope. Just a thanks for playing, and have a nice day.

Crap. Now what?

One of the things David Farland mentioned in his class was that you could meet editors and agents at certain conventions. I checked the Interwebs and found DragonCon. I’d heard about this fabled event, but never attended. Once I found several editors and agents on the guest list, I booked my travel plans.

DragonCon has an excellent writer’s track. Panels conducted by authors, publishers, agents, and editors, with topics ranging from writing basics to more advanced publishing concerns, run all day, every day. One of the most heavily attended is the combined editors and agents panel. I got there early, but by the time it started, it was standing room only. It turned out to be more of a question and answer session, than a formalized presentation, which was fine, because I had a lot of the same questions other aspiring writers in the throng dared to ask. And then it happened. The crowd disappeared, the lights dimmed, and the panelists turned to face me, metaphorically anyway. Their comments hit me hard.

One agent said, “Look, you need to draw me in right away. Like on the first page. With all the submissions I get, I don’t have time to read pages and pages, waiting for something interesting to happen.”

An editor chimed in. “Yeah. I’m rooting for you, but unless you hook me within the first page or two with something, and it doesn’t have to be your primary conflict, but something to make me keep reading, you’re done.”

“Hell, you need to grab me in the first paragraph or two,” said the agent at the far end of the table. “I’ll give you a little more time if you have a nifty voice, but not much.”

I blinked a few times as the import of their words sunk in. The first page or two? Hmm…The chatter continued, but I zoned out, churning over how make my first few pages addictive. I wanted the reader turning the pages of my book as if he’d just popped the top on a fresh can of Pringles.

After several iterations, and an enthusiastic thumbs-up from my critique group, I sent it back out. This time, it sold!

And all it took were several books, a few teachers, and one panel at a convention to make it stick. Never stop learning. Make it a part of your writing process to seek out new techniques and information. You never know which one will make the difference between rejection and acceptance.

Have fun,


Against the Shadow, burns a noble light.


Knight Of Flame

Fire. The most chaotic of the primal elements. When wielded properly by the Knight of Flame, it burns like the sun. Otherwise, it slowly consumes the Knight, burning away his control, driving him towards dark deeds.

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“In Knight of Flame Scott re-imagines traditional fantasy and forges something new from old metal–a fast-paced thriller that delivers a healthy dose of wonder. As enjoyable as it is engrossing.” – David Farland, International Best-Selling Author of The Runelords

Knight of Flame is available today for only $2.99!

Buy Links:



About the Author

Since he was a kid, Scott wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life.

Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida.


Twitter: @Scotteder



My Interview with Karen Swart

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Hi Folks,

Here’s my brand new interview with South African paranormal and urban fantasy author, Karen Swart, where she asked me all kinds of interesting questions, including whether my books had a hidden message. You know what? I had to think about that one.




Hi Dora! Did you always wanted to be a writer?

Hi Karen. Yes! I’ve wanted to be a writers since as far back as I can remember.

When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?

Good question! I think I only began to call myself a writer after my first book, Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, was published.

How long did it take to get your first book published?

About a year from beginning to end. It felt like a century!

Do you do another job except for writing?

Not anymore! These days I’m lucky enough to write full time and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in fewer than 20 words what would you say?

My latest book is called The Curse Giver. Twenty words, eh? Why, let’s give the old logline a try: An innocent healer condemned to death must ally with the cursed lord pledged to kill her to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.

Who is your publisher?

I’m a very lucky gal. The Curse Giver was published by Twilight Times Books, an independent publisher based out of Kingsport, Tennessee, that specializes in publishingcritically acclaimed literary, mystery and SF/F books. A dynamic, top-of-the-line, quality-oriented publisher, TTB has more than 140 titles in the 2013 Spring Catalogue and is the home of a talented and friendly bunch of authors who have enriched my publishing experience. Check out TTB at

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?

It takes me about four months, give or take a little. Keep in mind that the time invested is not always consecutive when you are working on a novel. Sometimes I’ll advance one project and then shift to another novel, before going back to complete the first one.

What can we expect from you in the future? More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

You can expect more stories from me in the future, more dark fantasy romance, a dark contemporary fantasy with a Latin twist, and more about the world of The Curse Giver in its companion novel, The Soul Chaser.

What genre would you place your books into?

The Curse Giver falls into the fantasy genre and fits well in the subcategories of epic fantasy, dark fantasy, fantasy romance and romantic fantasy.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

I’ve always been intrigued by the fantasy genre. I love the genre’s creative freedom, the opportunity to rethink, redesign and reinterpret the human experience, the creative challenges that that arise from world building, and the mysteries that magic brings to the human equation. I grew up in the Dominican Republic and my life always felt kind of magical in many ways. I’ve always straddled different worlds. Fantasy is a perfect fit for me.

Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?

I do. I think it’s a tossup between the main characters, Bren and Lusielle. I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog, the reluctant hero and the tortured soul. In The Curse Giver, Bren, Lord of Laonia, is all of those. He’s got the makings of a hero, but his circumstances make him an outcast and a villain in his own mind. He is weary, bitter and troubled, but he’s also dutiful and determined, and he will not betray his people. As the story begins, he rescues Lusielle from the pyre, but only because he’s hunting a birthmark she bears. To defeat the curse that has obliterated his family and is killing him, he has to murder the woman who bears the birthmark in the foulest possible way. But as he escapes with his prey in tow, she is not what he expected. He faces yet another dismal choice: Can he murder the only woman capable of healing more than his body, his soul?

Lusielle is also one of my favorite characters in The Curse Giver, but for a totally different reason. When the story begins, she’s been betrayed by her greedy husband and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. After years of abuse and slavery, the false accusations destroy her bleak but orderly world. As she flees with the bitter lord who has rescued her, she finds herself in an impossible situation: If she’s going to survive, she must help the mysterious lord who is determined to kill her to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends. What I like most about Lusielle is that she has to change; she has to muster the courage to free herself from her tragic past and find the strength within to thrive in a world she doesn’t understand.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve been writing for publication for about seven years now. I’m inspired to write by many people and many experiences, but ultimately, I write because I can’t stop writing. I swear. I’ve tried. I just can’t. My mind is powered by this story generator that keeps on going and won’t quit.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? Do you listen to music, sit in a certain chair…?

I’m one of those people who prefer to write in silence. I guess my mind is way too noisy as it is! I have a writing studio in my home, a cozy little room that opens up to a veranda that overlooks a beautiful, spring-fed river. It’s quiet and peaceful, and it’s my favorite place to write. I like to sit on my favorite chair, a Scandinavian ergonomic design that offers excellent support for the long hours of writing.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book, then choose the title?

I usually discover the title of my novels at the very moment when I write it for the first time into the story. It can happen early on, during the opening paragraph or late in the process. It’s really neat. It’s always a “wow” moment.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals such as those in Aesop’s Fables: “The moral of this story is..”)

I don’t strive to preach any kind of morality in my stories, but I do write a lot about conflicting situations, injustice, opposing beliefs, and the meaning of concepts such as truth, faith and prejudice. Sometimes, the storyline leaves me and my readers thinking about things. For example, in The Curse Giver we join with the characters as they discover how reason, knowledge and awareness are the main components of our personal sense of strength. We don’t have to be magical to be strong. We just have to believe in ourselves.

Which format of book do you prefer, e-book, hardback, or paperback?

I’m partial to the indestructible, beach-proof, throw-it-in-your-bag, good old-fashioned paperback. I love the feel of a book between my hands. But I will confess—albeit reluctantly—that my latest e-reader has been growing on me. The idea that I can carry ALL of my favorite books around in my purse is irresistible.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favorite/worst book-to-movie transfer?

I think that books and movies are two different and distinct media. I usually approach them with different expectations. What makes a book great is not the same thing that will work for a movie. The translation is particularly challenging for science fiction and fantasy. There are an awful lot of great SF/F books that have been made into terrible movies. I used to say that I never wanted to see my books made into movies. That is, until I watched George R. Martin’s Game of Thrones on HBO. It might be time to rethink the old prejudices. . . .

Your favorite food is?

Cake. I know. Not a good one. I like carrots too. Does that help?

Your favorite singer/group is?

That would be a long list!

Your favorite color is?


Remember to check out today’s spotlight to find out more about Dora and The Curse Giver.

Why Texting is a Tool of the Devil and Proofreading Your work Matters . . . A lot!

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Part Two of my Interview with Proofreader Extraordinaire Linda Au


Dora Machado

Please allow me to reintroduce my friend and proofreader extraordinaire, Linda Au, who shared her insights with us on my previous blog post, regarding the ins and outs of her profession and why an author wants a little OCD in his or her proofreader. With an incredible eye for detail, a questioning approach and an uncanny ability to find even the most cryptic of errors, Linda is an incredible asset to every project she tackles. I know. I’ve worked with her many times and benefited from her professional OCD, which as we’ve learned, doesn’t always extend to all other parts of her life, like cleaning the house.

In the second part of my interview with Linda, we tackle some of the hottest issues facing authors today. As the writing world changes and publishing gets both simpler and also more complicated, Linda shares her thoughts on what’s the real current state of spelling in the  world and why proofreading matters . . . more than ever!



Welcome back, Linda. Writers today face so many hurdles and expenses. Why should having a manuscript professionally proofed be a priority?

In this rapidly evolving publishing world, everyone can call themselves writers by simply typing in a Word document, finishing with “The End,” and uploading it to Kindle Direct Publishing. Bingo! You’re published. Offer your “book” for free and you might even skyrocket to an impressive sales ranking for the day. But you’ll soon realize that even readers who download e-books that didn’t cost them a dime have standards. Their time is worth something. The general reading public is a lot smarter than the general writer-wannabe gives them credit for. They might download your first freebie book, but if it’s riddled with errors, typos, and bad formatting, they won’t care how good the story is (if it’s any good—and you can bet I’m skeptical about that). They won’t bother to download your second one.

The publishing slush pile used to be on the publisher’s desk. Then it moved to the agent’s desk. Now the whole slush pile is right out there for sale on How can a serious writer stand out with all that competition? I’m convinced that what’s going to separate the men from the boys in the new publishing world is professionalism. Good writing. Good content editing. Good typesetting for print books and formatting for e-books. Good copy editing and proofreading.

By the way, as a side note: I am sometimes vexed that readers expect e-books to all be free or ridiculously cheap. A good, professional book still costs money to produce. The writer, editor, copy editor, publisher, and proofreader all still charge money for their services (and it’s a lot less than you think it is—none of us are retiring to the Caribbean any time soon). The only cost savings with e-books are with actual physical production: printing, binding, distribution. So yes, e-books should be cheaper, but good stories still cost money.

You are a writer too. What kinds of books do you write? Do you proofread your own books?

The two books I have out now are collections of humor essays, written under my maiden name/pen name of Linda M. Au. Although the essays are fun to write, switching gears and being funny in so many different little “stories” can feel burdensome when I’m putting one of the humor books together. I’m collecting ideas and essays for a third book, but I’ve got no personal deadline for it. Next up instead are a few of my NaNoWriMo novels, some of which have won awards (in whole or in part). Fiction is really my first love.

And yes, I do proofread my own books. (I also typeset them.) But I also run them through beta readers when they get close to being finished. That’s as much for content as for spelling and error-checks. Any problem a beta reader can point out helps me be better. I often cringe if it’s a typo or a missing word, of course, since that’s been my bread and butter for decades, but I’m relieved they’ve helped me be as good as I can be when I go to print.

What’s the hardest thing about working with writers?

The extremes in my clientele. It’s tough to have two very different clients at the same time. For instance, one writer might think she’s being helpful by throwing all sorts of formatting into her Word document manuscript, treating it almost like a layout program (which it’s not), or by learning just enough publishing jargon to be dangerous. Manuscript formatting has to be basic, especially if the next step is page layout or e-book formatting, both of which do not play nicely with overly formatted Word documents.

At the other extreme is the writer who still doesn’t seem to care if he or she spells words right or punctuates sentences properly. I’m not talking about a writer who struggles with these issues—I can appreciate the struggle and I really love helping such writers. But I don’t have a lot of tolerance for writers who insist that they are too busy being “creative” to learn the boring, nitpicky details of how to punctuate or spell. To me, that would be like a carpenter saying he’s too busy trying to create a beautiful rocking chair to learn how to use a hammer and saw.

If you’re a writer, words and grammar and punctuation are your tools. You need to learn to use them properly if you want to be taken seriously. And, I guarantee you that, once you learn these things, the creativity will still be there. In fact, it will be freed up and much more accessible to your readers because the mechanics will have become second nature.

In your opinion, what’s the current state of spelling in the world?

I think texting is a tool of the devil.

Seriously, I think that text-messaging has its place but has greatly reduced the regard for spelling conventions. I do writing coach work for eighth graders, and I see a lot of them slipping into text-messaging language in their essays: “ur” or “u” … stuff like that. They don’t even realize they’ve done it until I point it out.

I realize that language is fluid, and it’s a living thing, blah blah blah. But, there’s a big difference between language changing for practical reasons (such as “Google” becoming a verb) and language changing because too many people got lazy and misspelled a word or phrase for so long that the powers that be gave up (such as “alright” instead of “all right” slowly becoming more acceptable, though it’s not actually correct yet). Language changes that come from a lazy, uneducated populace bother me. It’s not quite the downfall of civilization, but I bet every civilization that fell had already started mistaking “its” for “it’s.”

Why will proofreading matter in the future?

As indie publishing/self-publishing becomes the norm (and it’s careening headlong in that direction already), what’s going to set the professionals apart will be their continued attention to detail and their pride in their work. And that has to include the use of the language. Not just pretty words, but properly spelled, properly punctuated pretty words. After all, writers are selling their ideas, expressed through their words. Why wouldn’t they want them to go out into the world as polished as they can be?

What’s your best proofreading advice for authors everywhere?

If you have to get yourself a grammar textbook or a copy of the Chicago Manual of Style, do it. If your first experience with a proofreader turned up ongoing issues and concerns—words you habitually spell incorrectly or grammar or punctuation issues you still don’t get right—then study and learn. It’s difficult to learn creativity or imagination, but it’s relatively easy to learn grammar and punctuation.

But never think that referring to a textbook can replace actual proofreading. Your own eyes are too forgiving of those words you missed or misspelled. Someone else’s objective eyes just may catch them … and you’ll be a better writer for it.

Language is your only tool as a writer. Learn to use it properly, and you can write anything well.

Thank you so much for this interview, Linda. I really appreciate everything that you’ve shared with us. I had a lot of fun talking to you.


Linda’s short humor essays have garnered numerous awards. Two books of her humor essays, Head in the Sand…and other unpopular positions and Fork in the Road … and other pointless discussions, are currently available on and

Linda has worked behind the scenes in publishing as a proofreader, copy editor, and typesetter since the late 1980s. She has worked with many independent authors, as well as publishers such as Carroll & Graf, Shoemaker & Hoard, Crown & Covenant Publications, Christian Publications (now WingSpread/Zur), Pegasus Books, and F+W Publications.



Blog/Web site: The Other Side of the Desk


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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 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. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats.

To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at or contact her at

Subscribe to her blog at and sign up for her at newsletter at,

Facebook and Twitter.

For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit

The Curse Giver from Amazon

Amazon: :

Are All Writers Egoists? A Guest Blog by Aaron Lazar

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

As some of you might remember, today is the official release and book bomb day for Aaron Lazar’s Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, which is available at for only $2.99.  And just in case you want to learn more about this talented author, here’s a funny and endearing guest blog by Aaron Lazar.  Enjoy! D.

Are all Writers Egoists?

Writers are terribly self-centered.

Now, don’t get offended. I’m not really talking about all of you. I’m pretty much talking about me.

Strangely enough, I don’t think anyone in my non-writer life would label me an egoist. Or an egotist, for that matter. I had to look up the difference, but there isn’t much of a distinction, as far as I could tell.* Anyway, I can’t picture someone calling me either one of those. At least not to my face.

With my family, colleagues at my day job, and with neighbors and friends, I try to be a good listener. I try to be generous. I take time to be there for them, to encourage them when they’re down, to support them when they’re mourning. I care about family and friends and frequently make sacrifices for them.

I sound pretty great, don’t I?

Ahem. Read on.

In my writerly world, I am horrified to admit that I have recently come to learn I’m a HUGE egoist.

Look at the first few paragraphs in this piece. How many times did I use the word “I?” TWELVE! It’s always all about what I think, or what I noticed, or what I wrote. Isn’t it? (Of course, I guess it might be hard to write about what you think or notice. LOL.)

I started to ponder this recently when I had a confrontation with a friend, and she pointed out to me how much I write about **me**. After a bit of soul searching, I realized she was right.

But it got me to thinking.

I try to be a good guy. I really do. This is in spite of all the stupid things I do, like dribbling my red herbal tea on the new carpet at work yesterday (I spent an hour cleaning it) and consistently forgetting to attach files to emails. If it can be screwed up, I’ll do it.

So, I’m an egoist and a klutz.

That’s not all. No. Not only am I all of the above, I’m mean.

REALLY mean.

I am merciless to my characters. I put them through the wringer time and time again, without care for their suffering. I torment them. I make them endure horrible losses. I hurt ANIMALS, for God’s sake. Okay, so I rescue them in the end, but what kind of a jerk does that to poor, defenseless animals?


I suppose we writers can always pretend to sit back and be the philosophical documenter, the great observer, the quintessential Hemmingway-esque witness of life. But however life presents itself – brutal or tender, seedy or majestic – all fiction comes from our inside our own minds. It’s all about how we see it. How we imagine. How we think our characters would feel.

Isn’t it?

So, how do we compensate for being such egoists?

It’s not as bad as it sounds. It certainly isn’t hopeless, and I’m pretty sure we can redeem ourselves.

Maybe we can find redemption by setting good examples through our characters’ actions while they’re in the midst of dashing here or there during the page turning suspense.  One thing I never intended to do with my three mystery series was to teach lessons about nurturing a family, tending to a disabled wife, dealing with trauma or loss, or being a good father or grandfather. Those things just found their way into my books, because my characters do that stuff in their everyday lives. To my surprise, my readers have come back and thanked me for doing just that. It humbles me to think that by including some amusing family scenes in the middle of the mayhem, I might have actually done some good. One fellow actually told me I made him a better dad. And another wrote to say I got him through his chemo. Like I said, it’s all pretty darned humbling.

Can examples like these make up for my weaknesses and faults? For that great big ego? For my incessant ranting about me???

Man. I sure hope so.


–Egoist, noun

1. self-centered or selfish person ( opposed to altruist).

2. an arrogantly conceited person; egotist.

Egotist, noun

1. a conceited, boastful person.

2. a selfish person; egoist.


About Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The award-winning and bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, 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 and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (August 15, 2013), the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (FEB 2013), and SANCTUARY, book #3 in Tall Pines Mysteries in JULY 2013.

Help us drive Don’t Let The Wind Catch You to Amazon’s top rankings by purchasing it on August 15th, 2013 at:

DontLettheWind-cover-front HI RES

A Review from Here Interview with Dora Machado

Monday, August 12th, 2013

This is one of my favorite interviews that I’ve done this year. It asked some tough questions and it really made me think. It is reprinted with permission from:

Enjoy! D.

1. Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Of course! I’m very excited about my new fantasy romance, The Curse Giverpublished by Twilight Times Books. The Curse Giver is about an innocent healer called Lusielle, who is betrayed and condemned to die for a crime she didn’t commit. When she’s about to be executed, Lusielle is rescued from the pyre by an angry, embittered lord doomed by a mysterious curse. You might think that Bren, Lord of Laonia, is Lusielle’s savior, but he isn’t. On the contrary, Bren is pledged to kill Lusielle himself, because her murder is his people’s only salvation.

What ensues is a dangerous journey, where Lusielle and Bren have to escape their ruthless enemies and unravel the mystery of the terrible curse that ails the lord of Laonia. They also have to overcome the distrust they have for each other, struggle with the forbidden attraction between them, and defy the boundaries between love and hate and good and evil to defeat the curse giver who has already conjured their ends.

2. Who is your biggest supporter?

My family, especially my husband, who was the one who encouraged me to seek publication. I don’t think I would have ever undertaken the journey to publication without his support and encouragement.

3. Your biggest critic?

I’m my biggest critic! It’s a heavy burden because I’m always questioning myself , but it’s also an advantage because I’m driven to do more and better.

4. What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Hmm, that’s a tricky question. I think I would have answered this question quite differently a few years ago. When I first started writing, I measured achievement step by step, the first completed manuscript, the first full edit, the first acceptance letter, etc. Then came the day when Stonewiser: The Heart of the Stone, my first novel, was published and I remember thinking that it was my greatest achievement ever; that is, until it won the Benjamin Franklin award for best debut novel in 2009. I thought I was hot stuff then!

After The Heart of the Stone came two more award-winning novels. When I finished the Stonewiser trilogy, I was absolutely sure that completing the series was by far my greatest accomplishment. But then came The Curse Giver and here I am, once again, enjoying this moment but also redefining my concept of achievement.

You see, these days, I’ve come to realize that a writer’s journey is not about a moment or a book. On the contrary, a writer’s journey entails many moments, some lived far away from any sense of achievement other than the occasional appreciation for a well-constructed sentence or an awesome plot twist. To me, an author’s accomplishments are not measured in terms of books, awards, sales, reviews or accolades. An author’s accomplishments are defined by his or her ability to bring enjoyment to the reader. These days I feel most accomplished when I hear from a reader who has connected with my stories or who has been touched by my writing.

5. What do you feel is your biggest strength?

As a writer, I feel like one of my biggest strengths is plot design. I love an interesting, fast and complex plot that surprises with clever twists. I also feel like my characters come across real and vivid and that my stories are enriched by the quality of the relationships between the characters. But perhaps my biggest strength as a writer is the passion that I bring to both the craft and the story. It’s a passion that sustains me and permeates every line I write and every character that inhabits my stories.

6. Biggest weakness?

That would be a long list! Self-deprecation, maybe? Seriously, now, let me think about that.  I think I’m shy and sometimes reticent to step into the public eye. I want to be writing all the time. I have been known to neglect my own blog or skip a FB post in favor of writing some more.

7. What do you feel sets The Curse Giver apart from others in the same genre?

The theme is a complete departure from the usual and a fresh take on magic and fantasy. The relationships are powerful, conflicted, deep and daring.  The world and the settings are diverse and inspired by my multicultural life experiences. The issues are neither white nor black but rather complex and nuanced. There’s a lot or realism to my fantasy and I’m not afraid to mix a powerful, edgy romance with a truly epic fantasy story.

8. Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?

I wish I would have started writing my stories sooner!

9. What is your favorite past-time?

I love traveling and I find a lot of inspiration for my stories along the way. In fact, I was traveling through Peru when I was writing The Curse Giver. I also love hiking, despite the huffing and puffing, which might explain why I’m answering your questions at 37,000 feet on a jet bound from Colorado. Of course I love reading, but that’s a given. My most favorite past-time involves spending time with my family.

10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I want to thank you again for having me and giving me an opportunity to reach out to your readers. If you like fast-paced, plot-twisting fantasy, epic, dark, and yes—why not?—incredibly romantic fantasy, give The Curse Giver a try. I’m betting you might like 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 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. She lives in Florida with her husband and three very opinionated cats. To learn more about Dora Machado and her novels, visit her website at or contact her at For a free excerpt of The Curse Giver, visit

Subscribe to her blog at, sign up for her at newsletter at,

Facebook and Twitter.

CurseGiver_Front Cover Final

Buy Links:


Barnes & Noble:

Romance eBooks:

Stuff is Happening: A Guest Blog and a Review of The Curse Giver by Jerry Hatchett

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Congratulations are in order for my good friend and talented techno-thriller author, Jerry Hatchett. His free Kindle giveaway of Seven Unholy Days netted over 63,000 downloads in only five days. That’s huge folks! In the middle of the well-deserved celebration, Jerry found time to review and recommend The Curse Giver because–well–that’s the kind of generous guy he is. Here’s Jerry’s blog. Enjoy! D.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Stuff is happening!

Sorry for the long dry spell without a post, folks. Life got busy and the blog got back-burnered for several weeks. I’m excited to share some news with you about Seven Unholy Days. I ran a free promo on this, my most recent novel, for the Kindle edition. The promo was a stunning success that exceeded my wildest expectations. I know many of you reading this helped to make that happen, whether it was downloading yourself or helping spread the word, so: THANK YOU!

Kindle Cover


Even better, once the free promo ended and the price went back to its normal $4.99, Seven Unholy Days has remained on Amazon’s list of bestselling technothrillers. I am appreciative and humbled by the kind reviews that are now pouring in almost daily.

Moving on, I have a couple authors/books I want to share with you. If you’ve followed my blog long, you know I don’t often do this, and the reason is simple: My credibility with you is everything. I absolutely do not trade reviews with other authors. I don’t buy reviews. I don’t do sock-puppet reviews. The first and most important purpose by far for reviews is to inform and benefit the potential buyer, not the seller. I fervently believe this to be true whether I’m reviewing a book or an automatic litter box or a pair of athletic shorts.

With all that said, if you enjoy fantasy novels, I have a couple authors I can wholeheartedly recommend for you to explore.

First up is my longtime friend and so-very-talented fellow author, Dora Machado. Her Stonewiser series was award winning and highly acclaimed for good reason, and I of course invite you to check out that trilogy. But her latest work, called The Curse Giver, is positively excellent. I enjoyed it immensely and I’m not really a fantasy reader. It’s a big, rich, robust tale told with Dora’s characteristically splendid prose, and it’s a joy.

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Next, I’ve discovered another author of (darkish) paranormal fantasy novels who is really going to be something special. Her name is Lea Ryan and I was honored to recently read her upcoming book called Pestilence Rising. You can read about it on Goodreads right now and it will be available September 18th on Amazon. Ryan’s a great storyteller, but what will really hook you with her writing is her amazing gift of language. She has that intangible ability to write sentences and paragraphs and pages that are almost melodic. Discover her now. That way, in a few years you’ll be able to say, “Oh, I was reading her way back when!”

Finally, a new chapter is coming SOON for The Projectionist!

Thanks for your patient loyalty!

An Interview with Aaron Paul Lazar

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

As you may know, this week we are celebrating my fellow TTB author, Aaron Paul Lazar’s upcoming release, Don’t Let the Wind Catch You. I thought perhaps you would like learning about this wonderful writer and the mysteries he writes so well. Enjoy! D.

BANNER windcatchyou

Q) How was writing Don’t Let the Wind Catch You different from the other books in the LeGarde Mystery series?

A) When I write from “young Gus’s” POV, I need to let myself go back to that eleven or twelve-year-old inside me. It was an age I remember with great clarity and with intense nostalgia. I simply try to be me (or Gus) at that age and let the story flow.

Sometimes I have to look up when certain songs or events took place, because I don’t remember the precise year they came out, etc. And of course I’d already created the characters of young Gus, Siegfried, and Elsbeth in Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, so it wasn’t hard at all. It can be almost like a magical trip back to childhood for me, which is probably why these types of books are among my favorites.

Q) Where does the German influence come from? Brigit Marggrander, the twins’ mother, has a real problem dealing with her past life in a Nazi concentration camp. How did this come into your story?

A) When I worked for Kodak I lived in Germany for months and visited frequently, thus my passion for German culture. And my daughter, Melanie, performed in “The Diary of Anne Frank” when she was in high school. I’d sit in the back of the auditorium during rehearsals and as time went on my hatred for the Nazis deepened. So I had to include some kind of theme here for my German twins’ mother. Also, I have always been fascinated by stories about asylums, especially in the older days. I realize that in the fifties and sixties mental illness was often considered an embarrassment, and people frequently went years without help like Brigit does in this side-plot of Don’t Let the Wind Catch You.

Q) Will you ever write a story that shows what happened to Siegfried in 1966? (The boating accident that made him lose his math genius and left him partially mentally impaired)

A) I do plan to write a sequel to Don’t Let the Wind Catch You, and it would make sense for it to take place the next year, in 1966. So stay tuned!

Q) How hard is it to take a fully mature adult character and portray him as a child? You did this with Gus LeGarde, Siegfried, Elsbeth, and also made Gus’s parents, The Marggranders, Oscar and Millie Stone, and the LeGarde grandparents thirty years younger in these “young Gus” stories.

A) It was actually a lot of fun to take the “adult” part away from my main characters who started in Double Forté (book 1 in the series) and bring them back to 1964. (Tremolo) I decided to show Siegfried, the gentle giant in Double Forté who lost his mental acuity, before his accident. It was fun to portray him as a bright, math genius who also excelled in orienteering. Bits of Siegfried transcend across time, of course, and can be found in the pre-accident young boy as well as the mature adult who works in Freddie’s veterinary clinic and around the LeGarde homestead.

Q) Where did you learn so much about horses? It seems like you really know the details. Research? Or first hand experience?

A) Ah, my horse chapters are among my favorites, mostly because I miss my own Morgan horses my wife Dale and I used to ride every day. We were both horse fanatics—one of the reasons we bonded so well before we were married. We talked horses all day long, cared for, rode, bought, and sold them. But mostly we adored them. When we were married, Dale brought her little Morgan mare out to live with us in Upstate New York, and I purchased my first sixteen hand high Morgan gelding. Oh, the rides we had. It was Heaven. As a child I also rode the woods with my buddies. But we never met up with a hermit or a little Indian ghost!

Q) You cover a difficult subject in this book with great sensitivity. Were you trying to teach a lesson in anti-bigotry here by “showing, not telling” how Gus reacts to the discovery that his grandfather loved another man?

A) I didn’t plan to do this – it just came about. I wanted to have a scandalous secret that was revealed over time, and it just happened to involve a gay couple who sadly had to give up their love because of the morés of the time. In hindsight, I think Gus’s reaction to this “taboo” subject was authentic. He hadn’t been tainted by discussion of homosexuality being an “illness” or that it was wrong. People didn’t discuss such things in those days, not openly, and especially not with children. I grew up when Gus did and never even heard about gay people until I was in college.

So I’m proud of Gus for his understanding and compassion, and glad that maybe in hindsight he can help folks young or old learn to accept people who don’t fit into a supposedly “normal” mold. I realize, also in hindsight, that I have included mini-lessons in all my books about accepting those people who aren’t perfect, like Siegfried (mentally damage) or Cindi (Downs Syndrome, from Upstaged), or Penelope (gay lover of Sam Moore’s daughter in For Keeps), or Raoul Rodriguez (transgender in For the Birds) or Slim (Huge black convict in FireSong), etc.

Q) Why did you choose mysteries? Was it an easy choice, or did you have to make a conscious decision?

A) I always read mysteries, since I was a kid. I used to read Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, and all the “animal” mysteries I could get my parents to buy on the Arrow Book Club in elementary school. I remember reading about Black Diamond (a horse) and lots of dog stories. My folks read and adored John D. MacDonald and I, in turn, fell in love with the Travis McGee mysteries of the master, Mr. MacDonald. They also had Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, PD James, and more mysteries always available in plentiful quantities. I guess it was genetics. I was born to two mystery fanatics. So I really didn’t depart from the genre. When I began writing, it was almost a defacto decision to create a mystery.

Q) Do you enjoy writing?

A) I love the process of writing. It’s as if I’m living in the movie in my mind. It’s a fantastic escape mechanism and I crave the process like a drug addict. Lately I’ve had to do more promotional efforts and I must say, I don’t enjoy that as much as the pure process of creating!

Q) Do you write in a specific place or time of day? Do you keep a notebook to jot down ideas?

A) I write mostly in the early morning hours or the later, quieter moments of the day. But I can write anytime, anywhere. I have been known to write some great scenes in a hospital, waiting for family to come out of surgery, or in the airport, waiting for a plane to Germany. It seems whenever I have a moment to myself, it is the “perfect” time to write. Although I must say my favorite time to write is the dark, early hours of morning.

I don’t keep a notebook, but there is a file I have on my computer with “ideas for stories” that I occasionally refer to. Usually I have an idea brewing for one particular story that seems to overpower me. I think about it constantly. I dream about it. And then the new book begins to take shape. That’s my typical process.

Q) Do you know the end of a novel when you begin? Do you ever change your planned plot in midstream?

A) I don’t always know the endings in advance. I usually know the beginning and the general themes I will use. I start to write and let my characters take over, then as the themes deepen and become more complex, the ending seems to fall into place. If you’ve read my works, you’ll know I usually like to end my stories in an upbeat, positive fashion. People still die, someone is still hurt, but in the end, the stories resolve to a positive outcome.

Q) Do you discuss your work with family or friends?

A) I used to drive my wife crazy, asking her about what Gus LeGarde (my first protagonist in LeGarde Mysteries) would do, or what she thought of one plot twist or another. Lately, however, I’ve been giving her a break. I think I used to drive her mad! These days, I sometimes run my plot ideas by my wonderful mentor, Sonya Bateman, who is a superb writer and a great teacher. She’s shared so much with me over the years and I know my writing has improved dramatically because of her influence.

Q) The Genesee Valley is almost a character in your novels. Have you always lived there?

A) I moved to the Genesee Valley in upstate NY (just south of Rochester, NY) in 1981, the same year I married Dale and the year I started working for Kodak. Two years later, we had our first of three daughters, and we have lived here and loved it ever since. I can’t think of another place on earth I’d rather spend my days, it is so beautiful, with the rolling hills and the Finger Lakes.


About Aaron Paul Lazar

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The award-winning and bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, 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 and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (August 15, 2013), the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (FEB 2013), and SANCTUARY, book #3 in Tall Pines Mysteries in JULY 2013.

Help us drive Don’t Let The Wind Catch You to Amazon’s top rankings by purchasing it on August 15th, 2013 at:

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