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Archive for March, 2008

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ISBN-10: 1-55404-538-X
ISBN-13: 978-1-55404-538-9
Genre: Science Fiction – Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 411 Pages
Published: January 2008
Imprint: Double Dragon Publishing

The Blurb:

Follow Gisel Matah and the thunder of hooves as she strikes back at the Imperial armies that threaten all she has worked for. She must defy every established world power to bring justice to common peasants and workers in societies now ruled by greedy aristocrats. Her covert activities require her to protect her fledgling Radical movement from both friends and enemies.

Risking her life and her love, Gisel negotiates even greater hazards in a wide ranging adventure. Her partner, Yohan Felger, becomes a problem when the Baron has him smuggle a steam engine to the Empire. Gisel knows of the subterfuge but cannot admit it, while Yohan is almost torn apart by the need to deceive her. Faced with removing the pressure on Yohan as he moves his contraband engine, she accepts the offer of General Lord Ricart, an ex-lover, to command a cavalry unit in battle. Her reckless courage is needed to carry out missions against two Imperial armies.

The fight finds her opposed by ever increasing odds until in the final confrontation she must outwit two enemies who vie to dominate Iskander. New friends, allies, and enemies as well as all the old ones fill the pages when Gisel Matah sets out to gain “The Wildcat’s Victory”.

The Author:

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I live with my wife, Shirley, and two shelter dogs, Coco and Emmie, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. As a lad I lived, breathed, and dreamed aeroplanes; I won a place at RAE Farnborough learning to engineer them. But the reality didn’t fit my dream, so I took off into a stint in the army and then away to join the oil circus. Flying objects are tools when they now appear in my writing. I guess that’s the effect of maturity, but I hope, not a constricted, resigned, and unimaginative maturity. The mind still soars, even without wings, and the dream of carrying others to a better future is now on the page.

Some readers comment that none of my stories take place next door to the lives most people live; the less charitable find similarity in characters who tend to be stubborn, independent, and out of step with the world’s expectations. Perhaps there’s a connection between the worlds I portray in fiction, and my working life in oil exploration in the Libyan Desert, the Canadian Arctic, and the mountains and forests of Western Canada.

I’ve written stories set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in modern industrial projects, in the alternate world of Gaia, and the fantasy world of Rast. Sometimes I satirize jobs I’ve done. Many of my central characters are smart, beautiful, and dangerous women who lead unwilling males to fulfil the duties before them. Lt. Gisel Matah in Deadly Enterprise is perhaps the most Bond-like of these. I like writing novels about realities my readers can enjoy in the guise of dashing adventurers; loyal comrades; lovers; or pledged sovereigns. I hope they find there the spark that brings them to realize greater dreams of their own.

You can also visit me and my author friends at www.novelpro.com

The Excerpt:

Prologue

Robert Matah looked up from the keyboard when he heard a warning chime transmitted from somewhere in the bowels of the starship Iskander. A caution signal – with the overhaul of the Intruder complete, the workers were clearing the hangar in preparation for a launch.

He stared at the viewport across the empty control room. Below the starship’s stationary orbit the distant globe of Gaia shone like a turquoise jewel in full sunlight. It looked a lot like his Earth, but with a few big differences – no signs of space traffic, no huge grey blotches of cities, no Twenty-second Century bustle. This Earth was primitive, a world cast back in time — the nearest guess they’d been able to make suggested five hundred years back. Nothing but sailing ships and cannon here, until his father got the steelworks and factories going.

Robert hated visiting the surface, resented losing the sophistication and stimulation of the world he’d grown up in. He and his sister, Gisel, had come along with their father on a mission to develop industry and resource extraction for a new colony called N-3 in their own galaxy. Intended as a ten-year stint, they’d go home with enough salary banked to set up any career they desired. Instead, they’d wound up here — another Earth, but one with a different history. Five goddam years wasted so far! Somehow the Iskander had jumped right out of their own reality and wound up in something he’d believed was only a wild theory — an alternate universe.

He glanced at the Situation Screen, almost the only instrument in the control room they hadn’t transported down to their base on the surface. It showed a map of the world, oh so similar to the map of home, but with enough differences in place names and coastlines to make it foreign.

He’d built up the map with individual strips of spectroscopic imagery from the low orbit satellite system he had charge of. The Intruder would launch one more of the satellites on its way down to the surface. One more with imaging capability as well as communications and navigation systems — all brought from Earth to be used around N-3. Hope those folks were okay without them. He’d had to calculate an orbit that would allow this satellite to keep checking on a huge army headed their way from the Skathian heartland.

More goddamn trouble, it looked like — as if they hadn’t enough. Gisel, the crazy one of the family, lapped this world up. Who would have thought the gawky little gymnast kid would blossom into their best agent, and damn-near best officer too? He had to admire her, if only begrudgingly. She’d switched from competition gymnastics to foils when she hit thirteen. Talk about landing in a pile of gold dust. Turned out, swordsmanship was the one damned thing they’d needed to make their way when they arrived. She’d been every crew member’s instructor. If you could carry a rapier, and at least keep from getting spitted, you were counted a gentleman among the locals. Lady? Not so sure, but Gisel carved her own way. Status was everything — too bad he couldn’t even draw steel without damn-near cutting his own fingers off.

He stared down at the jumble of numbers on his computer screen, that he’d hoped would show how they’d wound up here. Another false trail — nothing here to explain the jump out of their own universe. Best he get back to his other priority project. He was debugging the routine he’d written to decipher the Trigon Empire’s primitive radio messages they’d intercepted. It had to be in some language nobody had heard of. If only he had the key to it.

President Scopes — plain old Dirk Scopes, intended to be N-3’s administrator five years ago — had given him the task of piecing together all the data they’d gathered on the mysterious rulers of the Empire. He was damned certain the Trigons were also off-worlders who had wound up stranded on Gaia as well. Hardly anyone believed him, except Gisel. She’d sent him an account of an empire based around the Mediterranean, that the Trigons had conquered two hundred years ago.

That empire had probably descended from the Carthaginians — seemed there’d never been a Roman Empire here, nor any of the institutions that had grown out of it. Nobody knew where the Trigons had come from, but rumors of some weapon called the Sky Thunder abounded. A spaceship? If it was, it seems it had crapped out in the intervening years; the Trigon Empire now enjoyed the same technology any other Seventeenth Century nation would have — except for their analog radio.

The Emperor and his Trigon cohorts ruled this Empire with a heavy hand. They allowed no one to make a voyage of exploration or invent anything — not even a mousetrap — without Imperial say-so. Until the Iskander arrived.

As a team of resource scientists and engineers sent to develop the technical infrastructure on N-3, it had been a foregone conclusion they’d set themselves up to do the same here. They’d landed in Sweden — called Tarnland on Gaia — and intervened in a war of independence to ingratiate themselves with the Autarch and his nobles. Now his father, Henrik Matah PhD PEng, ran a modern steelworks and factory complex — well almost modern. The Old Man had decided on a gradual development in order to train the locals to carry on the Iskander legacy. These people could learn steam engines and iron founding; whereas semiconductors, nuclear physics, and bioengineering were right out of everyone’s league. Damned hard to find enough of these dumb Gaians who could learn to swing a wrench without stripping every thread in sight. And even half the Iskanders were lost in anything more complex than matrix algebra.

So the Empire was out to get them. Gisel had experienced trouble with some heavy called Zagdorf, and the Imperial army had intervened in the war Iskander was helping its Tarnland ally win. Whomped the bastards at sea, though. The Empire ships were small sailing ships armed with a mess of mismatched cannon, so Father’s updated warships from the Napoleonic era had swept them from the Inland Sea. Baltic, that was. Yeah, sailing ships — all the locals knew, except for the few steamships Iskander and the Felger Partnership had put to sea in the past eighteen months.

In the past year they’d made a big jump in production, now they had the Felger family enterprise to help move the products of Iskander factories. The Felgers were locals who owned the biggest trading, banking, and mining business in European Gaia. Gisel had been instrumental in getting the family on their side, probably because she could twist the Baron and his nephew Yohan around her little finger. Yohan was her new lover, the third she’d had since hitting the planet, and she insisted she was going to marry this one. She’d said that before. Good luck to the girl. She certainly carried more than her share of the load down there on the surface.

The warning chime came again; that meant the Intruder was about to launch. He’d better get back to work and quit staring out at Gaia floating amid the stars. With only six people who could work on the space plane, out of a hundred off-worlders, it had taken two months to complete a thousand-hour overhaul. Intruder was their lifeline, the shuttle between the Iskander in its stationary orbit and the surface. He hated the surface, so why did he feel so claustrophobic whenever Intruder left? If anything happened to it, he’d be even more stranded than his sister below, immersed in Gaian society.

Iskander had no fuel to move out of orbit, and couldn’t enter the atmosphere. Father had said it would take at least ten years to build and send a rocket up from the surface — and he had no people to spare to work on such a project. Every person they had was stretched to the limit keeping what infrastructure they already possessed working. With only a hundred people trying to make over the whole world, they hit their heads against a wall as often as they made a breakthrough. Every small movement was a victory.

Get your copy from Double Dragon Publishing.

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For over 30 years Jim Hardt, PhD has been studying the electrophysiological basis of spiritual states. He has traveled to India to study advanced Yogis, studied Zen meditators and Zen masters, and explored Christian prayer and contemplation.

Jim began studying consciousness at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center while earning a Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University. He discovered the link between brain wave patterns and peak performance. And he learned how people can take charge of their brain waves: with just the right feedback mechanism, they can create joy-producing and creativity-enhancing alpha waves.

Thousands of people, from Zen masters to Green Beret commandos to scientists and students and children and parents and grandparents, have joined Biocybernaut programs to achieve spiritual growth, emotional healing and peak performance, including boosting IQ and creativity.

You can visit his website at http://www.theartofsmartthinkingbook.com/.

The Blurb:

How would you like to access all of your brain’s innate capacity to learn, invent, create and solve problems? Would it improve your life if you could think more clearly, access your intuition, reduce stress and anxiety, and prevent your brain from aging? We’ve all heard that we use only a tiny percentage of our brain s natural capacity. If you’ve ever wondered why, The Art of Smart Thinking will provide some answers and solutions.

Every experience you have is the result of certain brain waves. Unfortunately, most of us are only accessing two of our four brain waves, and the two left out, Alpha and Theta, are actually the most important for exceptional creativity and intelligence!

You can learn to produce these two types of brain waves on command, which will allow you to:

Restore your youthful brain wave patterns

Enhance your creativity, empathy and problem-solving ability

Improve your personal relationships

Reduce your feelings of stress, anxiety, anger and depression

Enhance your special skills and abilities

Achieve physical and mental peak performance states The Zone

Improve your mental clarity and memory

*******

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Aaron Lazar is the author of the Legarde and Moore mystery series. He’s currently promoting the release of his latest novel, Tremolo: Cry of the Loon.
Nice to have you here, Aaron. Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your book, and what inspired you to write such a story?

Thank you, Mayra. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’d love to tell you about Tremolo and the inspiration behind it. Here’s a blurb that describes this coming-of-age mystery featuring young Gus LeGarde:

Tremolo: Cry of the Loon, takes place in the summer of 1964, when Beatlemania hits the States, and the world mourns the loss of JFK. For eleven-year-old Gus LeGarde, the powerful events that rocked the nation serve as a backdrop for the most challenging summer of his life.

After Gus and his best friends capsize their boat at his grandparents’ lakeside camp, they witness a drunk chasing a girl through the foggy Maine woods. She’s scared. She’s hurt. And she disappears.

The camp is thrown into turmoil as the frantic search for Sharon begins. Reports of stolen relics arise, including a church bell cast by Paul Revere. When Gus and his friends stumble on a scepter that may be part of the spoils, they become targets for the evil lurking around the lake. Will they find Sharon before the villain does? And how can Gus — armed only with a big heart, a motorboat, and a nosy beagle — survive the menacing attacks on his life?

I wrote Tremolo for myself, first of all, and intended it to be the “quintessential joyful shout of childhood,” so-to-speak. I know that sounds strange and possibly selfish, but I was compelled to write it. My summers in Maine were so magical, so precious, that I needed to capture each and every memory. The drive was strong — impossible to ignore.

It just so happened that I’d already referred to these magical summers in my first two books in the adult Gus LeGarde series, so Gus fit right into the camp. I loved picturing him as a young boy with Elsbeth (his future wife) and Siegfried (before his debilitating accident). What fun it was to introduce Gus’s parents and grandparents, who are distant memories in Double Forte’ and Upstaged. And being able to present Elsbeth as a living, breathing girl, rather than a mournful memory, was most satisfying.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this novel? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline? How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the first draft of Tremolo in about three months, working about two hours per day. Years later, I did add a chapter or two in during revisions, but mostly the edits were writing style changes and tips I’d picked up since writing the draft. It just poured out of me, no outline was written, nor did I have a list of events that would happen in upcoming chapters. I had vague ideas of themes that would come into play — such as meeting a mysterious famous figure, Gus’s first crush, the blueberry scene, the missing girl, etc. But I hadn’t put it together in any logical form. It just tumbled out, as most of my twelve books have done.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? What seems to work for unleashing your creativity?

Once in a while I get stuck on a scene. It just doesn’t seem to come as freely as it should. One thing that doesn’t work is to just sit and stare at the screen! That’s useless, in my case. So I snap my laptop shut and let my brain recharge. I stop what I’m doing and go about living life for a while. I take long walks, play with my grandkids, visit friends, cook great feasts, take photos, and garden. After a few days I usually find the creative juices rejuvenated and the ideas spring forth.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

This is a tough question. It all depends on what intended market for which one writes. If you want to be successful financially, independently able to support yourself on your writings, and known globally, you need a hell of an agent and a big publisher with deep pockets. Of course, on top of that, you need to write a book that will sell hundreds of thousands and propel you to the top of your field, lots of luck, and good timing. If you’re happy with moderate sales and local success, you will do well with a small press or independent publisher. And if you just want to hold your book in your hand and have it available for friends, family, or a narrow niche market, you can do well with a POD publisher. I’m quite happy right now with Twilight Times Books — it’s an excellent traditional press with a great reputation and a dynamic owner.

What type of book promotion seems to work the best for you?

I’ve done well with local book clubs, book sales events (like at local wineries!), word of mouth, and Internet efforts. I love Gather.com, and have earned many wonderful readers on that site. I do blog and have an extensive list of email recipients who receive the LeGarde newsletter. (If anyone’s interested in receiving it, please email me at aaron.lazar@yahoo.com)

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

I know it sounds like a copout, but I really have too many from which to choose. Some of my all time favorites include works by John D. McDonald, James Patterson, Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Laurie King, Lillian Jackson Braun, Rex Stout, Peter Mayle, Tony Hillerman, Dean Koontz, SW Vaughn, Lesia Valentine, Marta Stephens, Patry Francis, Beryl Singleton Bissell, Bob Burdick, and Lad Moore. Recently I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series. What I love about all of these writers is their ability to transport me to their worlds — seamlessly. I love mysteries most of all, and find them most satisfying when they’re done well.

I can tell you my favorite movie of all time, however… without a doubt, it’s To Kill a Mockingbird!

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

Indeed, I do! Folks may stop by at http://legardemysteries.com to learn about the nine LeGarde mysteries that are in various stages of publishing. Also, they may visit http://mooremysteries.com to get to know Sam Moore and the three green marble mysteries that have been completed so far.

Do you have another novel in the works? Would you like to tell readers about your current or future projects.

Yes, I’d love to tell you all about the books that are already in print and those coming.

LeGarde Mysteries by Aaron Paul Lazar

Double Forté is a chilling mystery set in the Genesee Valley in Upstate NY. When Gus discovers a child shackled to a bedpost in a remote cabin, an ex-cop gone bad terrorizes his family from the wintry woods. Packed with memorable characters, hair-raising chase scenes, and touching family moments, it’s a solid page-turner. ISBN: 9781413728385 Available Now

Upstaged, features a disturbed stage mother, a deviant predator, and a twisted saboteur who lurks backstage, terrorizing the drama club with deadly, psychotic games. Lush, vibrant, and delicious. A feast for the senses that will leave you breathless! ISBN: 9781413772586 Available Now

Tremolo: cry of the loon, the prequel to Double Forté, features eleven-year-old Gus, Elsbeth, and Siegfried in a stirring and nostalgic trip back to the summer of 1964. Gus’s first crush, the potential birth of a new sibling, a murderous lakeside camper, and a mysterious high profile guest vie for top billing. ISBN: 1933353082 Available Now

Mazurka, a contemporary mystery set against the dazzling backdrop of Europe, follows newlyweds Gus and Camille LeGarde as they chase down a family secret with the potential to change history. When Gus’ brother-in-law is framed for the murder of a Nazi, the couple is plunged into a cat-and-mouse game where the stakes are lethal and the future of Europe hangs in the balance. June, 2008

Firesong: an unholy grave, pits Gus and Camille against drug lords with a backdrop of a tornado, forest fire, collapsing salt mine, and the discovery of a fantastic local link to the Underground Railroad. The entire town is threatened as Gus and Camille unravel the truth behind reprehensible dealings in their country church and the scandal of a missing town supervisor.

Virtuoso spirits Gus into the world of art forgeries and teenage traumas. A deadly but talented tenor takes the family to New York City for a near-death escape at the Met and a chase through Central Park. In this story, Gus reconnects with an old friend who shares a stunning secret as he struggles to recover from the loss of a long time companion. Gus and Camille discover a tie to the past via his great, great aunt, Emma Cunningham.

Portamento takes place in 1969 when Elsbeth and Gus were students at the New England Conservatory. White slave rings, an engaging flower child, the Boston Rock scene, and the titillating reckless abandon of the sixties set the stage for Gus’s sudden need to grow up fast for the sake of his grief-stricken father and impending fatherhood.

Counterpoint showcases Gus’s friend, Officer Joe Russell, and the return of Camille’s abusive ex-husband, Greg. As Joe slowly loses his mind, Greg slithers back into Camille’s life, absconding with daughter, Shelby. Gus needs Joe’s help to rescue his newly adopted daughter and struggles to save both from fates most deadly.

In Lady Blues: forget-me-not, Gus LeGarde unravels twin mysteries of an abused Korean seamstress and a 1940s jazz ingénue whose pianist lover disappeared overseas on the same night Glen Miller’s plane was lost in English Channel. Gus helps an Alzheimer’s patient reclaim his identity, while dodging a drug company who will silence any witness to keep the truth of their breakthrough Alzheimer’s treatment under wraps.

Introducing Moore Mysteries:

In Healey’s Cave, sixty-two-year old retired family doctor Sam Moore still mourns the loss of his little brother, who disappeared fifty years ago. While working in his garden, he discovers a marble that glows green and warms to his touch. Sam is whisked back and forth through time as he untangles the mystery of Billy’s disappearance. With the support of his wife, Rachel, who suffers from MS, he fights to prevent the murder of his grandson by a serial killer who has engaged in ghastly murders for five decades. 2008

In One Potato, Blue Potato something is seriously wrong when the Moore’s daughter Beth goes missing. Meanwhile, a bomb explodes in the back of Yasir Khoury’s Dry Cleaners, escalating fears of terrorism and anti-Iraqi bigotry. As Sam fights the tide that threatens to sweep his daughter away, the green marble thrusts him between past and present, revealing a shocking link between Beth and the terrorists.

For Keeps: In the third Sam Moore mystery, Sam’s old girlfriend shows up dead, inciting suspicions about his involvement and the coroner, a med school colleague whose husband is about to leave her, reveals she has a crush on Sam. When she is murdered in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat. A member of Sam’s own family is brutally killed, and he is locked in a psyche ward until he reconnects with his talisman, the green marble. His goal: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life.

Thanks for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here!

Thank you, Mayra, for the invitation. It was an honor!

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