Inside Scoop

Liz Lazarus | Free of Malice Launch Team
The “Free Ladies” PR Team.

Free of Malice will be available in mid-February 2016. So what’s happening in the meantime?

Quick back story. I have a full-time job so writing is my hobby and has been a therapeutic release for me since the book is based on my own experience. In the words of my PR team:

Free of Malice is a psychological, legal thriller set in Atlanta and based on the author’s experience. In 1989, Liz Lazarus was attacked in her off-campus house while attending GA Tech. Out of this trauma she has crafted a well-researched novel exploring the themes of self-defense, the criminal justice system, EMDR therapy, and gun ownership. Since her attack, Lazarus earned her MBA, lived in Paris, obtained her pilot’s license, had an exciting corporate career and is a Managing Director at a consulting firm focusing on strategic planning.

Among friends, I refer to Free of Malice as FOM so I’ll start doing that here as well. FOM has been a labor of love. I’ve written and honed the book over a series of years. Writing and then setting the draft aside. Once I met Jan Risher, my first of several editors, the momentum really picked up. Earlier this year, I decided to focus on completing the book. After several attempts to find a publisher I set off to self publish. This spring, following several deep edits to the draft, I went into design and layout. Over the summer I assembled a team to work with me to bring the book to market. We have a plan, timelines and milestones. We’re hard at work.

Currently, I’m in the final edit phase. I think the poetic term is looking for gentle readers. The working term is attracting advance readers and book clubs to kick the tires a final time.

With Mimi Schroeder and Erika Childers discussing PR and book clubs.

Additionally, the plans are coming together to launch the book in February 2016. I’ve assembled a dream PR team to bring FOM to life (or to a store near you). I call this group my “Free Ladies” because it’s a kick#@! group of women ((photo above L to R) NancyJeannette C Long, Lynn Epstein, Jill Dible, Dayl Soll, Mimi Schroeder and Erika Childers (not pictured)). With their talent and dedication the website is live. The media kit is available. Notes for book club discussions are downloadable. Outreach to book clubs is in full swing. And we shot footage for a book trailer last week. There is so much to do and they get the job done.

It’s exhilarating. It’s fun. It’s nerve racking. Bottom line, I’m loving every moment of planning and preparation.

More later,


P.S.: You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Let’s stay in touch!


Book Clubs

New-book3dI met with my first book club this summer. It was an exhilarating experience. I loved sharing my novel, Free of Malice with a dynamic group of women who had read the book and wanted to discuss the characters, plot-line and dive into their moments — and details.

Attention book clubs: I’m available for in-person or Skype book club discussions. During the balance of 2015 I’m looking for book clubs to be advance readers of Free of Malice. In addition to discussing the book and answering your questions, I’ll ask for your input or suggestions. You still have time to influence details in the book!

Input from the first club discussion created several adjustments to the book:

Wardrobe. I had the lead female character, Laura Holland, wearing a “little black dress” to Eddie’s Attic, a music listening room in Decatur, Georgia. The book club suggested that Eddie’s is more informal so we switched her to jeans. Great call.

Uber. At one point in the story, I had a character “calling” an Uber vs. “commanding” an Uber for a ride. What terminology do you use to describe getting a ride via Uber?

Two terrific tips. I’m looking forward to talking with your book club. Let’s dive into the plot line together.

Want to be an advanced reader? Or would you like to sign your book club up be advance readers of Free of Malice. Sign-up here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Buckwheat So here I am. I’ve written a book. My first book. My debut novel-Free of Malice. That backstory and ongoing narrative will be fodder for future posts. Today I’m sitting in my Atlanta-area living room with the last afternoon autumn light streaming in the windows with Buckwheat, my cat, about to write my first blog post.

I’ll be candid; I fought the idea of having a blog at every twist and turn. But here I am writing…so let’s start with the questions I’m asked most frequently when people learn that I’ve written a book.

Where did you get the idea for the book?  Like the main character, a stranger attacked me in my home in the middle of the night. In order to heal, I started to write about how I was feeling and what had changed in my life. At the time, I didn’t know about EMDR therapy to heal from trauma, so I used writing as a catharsis.

Also like the main character, all I had for self-defense was a can of Mace. After the attack, I said to my brother-in-law, if I had owned a gun, I would have shot the guy as he left. My brother-in-law informed me that I was fortunate that I didn’t—as the shooting might not have been a clear case of self-defense. That idea sparked my interest in learning about the criminal justice system and inspired me to write the hypothetical case portrayed in the book. The ending, which I won’t spoil, was prompted by a question from my mother. Once you’ve finished the book, you can write to me at and I’ll tell you more about that.

One of the best compliments I received was that my book was educational while entertaining. It has a lot of information about therapy, gun ownership and the criminal defense system, but wrapped into a suspenseful thriller. I wrote it to be a fun beach read…and maybe a movie! And if you know Atlanta, you’ll enjoy reading about all the familiar places.

What advice would you give to authors who are thinking about writing their first book? I postponed writing this book for many years to pursue other opportunities—I moved to Paris, got my MBA from Northwestern and got my pilot’s license. But this book kept nagging me to write it so I finally relented. I would tell other authors, if you have the calling, listen to it.

What made you decide to self-publish?  The publishing industry has changed so much over the years and self-publishing has become a viable alternative, especially for a first time author.

What made you decide to write under a pen name?  I’ve just recently reread my grandfather’s book, Follow My Leader. It’s a children’s book first published in 1957 and still has fans to this day. He published using a pen name so I’ve followed his lead.

When will Free of Malice be available?  We’re in the advance reader stage right now. Individuals and books clubs are reading the book and giving me the final round of suggestions and edits. If you are interested in being an advance reader or having your book club preview the book send me an email for details. The book will be available in February, 2016. Sign-up for my periodic (very infrequent) newsletter for insider information on the book launch, important dates and sneak previews.

Curious for more…check back later in the week for my next post.