Interview with Carrie Lightfoot for Women’s Gun Show

Liz Lazarus interview with Carrie Lightfoot and Barbara Baird

I had the pleasure of talking to The Well Armed Woman (TWAW) founder, Carrie Lightfoot, for her podcast, Women’s Gun Show, with Barbara Baird.

It was a terrific interview – Carrie had definitely done her homework asking me everything from the inspiration for my novel to the theme song.

If my book tour isn’t routing through your city, this podcast will share some of what I discuss in my talk.

Enjoy, and thanks again, Carrie.


An Easter Story

Liz Lazarus with copy of Free of Malice

Making goods things happen

I recently received the following message:

“Hello! I have an unusual request. My daughter, Shelli, was at the event this past weekend and met you! She so enjoyed meeting you and getting the signed copy of your book. After she returned home, she was reading it in bed and laid it down to shower. When she returned, her mini Chihuahua Bessie had chewed part of the cover and the corners of the book off. She is very outdone, to say the least. She was so touched by your story and so very proud that signed book. I am interested in purchasing her another (copy of your book) for Easter and wanted to see if you could sign it as well. Let me know if you can help. Thanks for being an example for empowering women!!!”

So, I offered to send a complimentary replacement copy. I mean, what a great mom to see her daughter upset and to find a way to make it right. I decided to also send the music CD that goes with the book as a bonus to show that when something bad happens, something so much better can be a result. I’ve felt that first hand – writing about my attack in college has led to a published book and a speaking tour that is thankfully touching a lot of women.

Shelli, I hope you enjoy the replacement copy of Free of Malice and the music —  I’m sure you already know it, but what a terrific mom you have!

All my best,


Review of Behind Her Eyes

Recently, I shared my “Lazarus Rating System” for reviewing books. Here’s my latest book review. Let me know what you think of the rating system. Did you find the review useful? Does this type of review help you to determine your next read?

Title – Behind Her Eyes

Author – Sarah Pinborough 

Overall Score – 4

The best part of Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes was that it was addictive and so cleverly told from 3 points of view – Louise, Adele and a narrator. I couldn’t figure it out and now understand why – the #wtfthatending is not something most readers would guess. While I would have preferred something more conventional, the superb storytelling, human insights and character development were very well done.

Book Cover – 4

I don’t like covers with “people” on them, but this one only shows just an eye so it doesn’t spoil the mental picture in my mind of the characters. The title will make sense at the end.

Plot – 4

Is Adele psychotic like Amy of “Gone Girl” or a trapped woman like Grace of “Behind Closed Doors” or something else? Is Louise a jilted, alcoholic single mother like Rachel of “Girl on the Train”?

Lots of comparisons, but the ending has no comparison … well, except for a few I’ve seen from Hollywood that I won’t share in order to avoid spoilers.

The plot had me guessing the whole time, especially as I tried to figure out Adele’s motive and to tie the backstory explained by the narrator to the current events. I finally decided to just enjoy the ride, and though I wasn’t a fan of the ending, I did come to understand why I couldn’t figure it out.

Character Development – 5

Louise – 5; The protagonist, so relatable that anyone would forgive her flaws and root for her

Adele – 5; A beautiful mystery of a woman

David – 5; A monster or misunderstood, not revealed until the end

Pace – 5

When I was 2/3 done, the storyline was spinning up so fast that I truly wondered how there could only be 1/3 to go, but it kept me entertained! Diving into this book made time disappear – I was hooked!

Basics (Grammar, Punctuation, Format) – 5

All good.

PS – if you listen to the audio book it is narrated by Anna BentinckJosie DunnBea HollandHuw Parmenter — you won’t be disappointed, especially the Scottish accent given to David.

Price – 4

Hard Cover – 16.94; which is fair compared to other novels of this type.

Kindle – 12.99; which seems a bit high compared to the hard cover price.

Any other criteria that you think I should add to my “Lazarus Rating System”?

About the image: recently the New York Public Library opened their digital collection. It’s like a candy store of art, graphics, history and style. As a writer I am fascinated by desks, working spaces and styles. Wouldn’t you love this desk in your office?

Image Credit: CABINET MAKER AND ARTIST’S ENCYCLOPEDIAThe New York Public Library. artist: Thomas SheratonThe New York Public Library Digital Collections


Free of Malice National Book Tour 2017 – Liz Lazarus

Liz Lazarus Free of Malice National Book Tour Spring 2017

We’re taking Free of Malice on the road for a series of book events. I’ve teamed up with local chapters of The Well Armed Woman for events in the following cities. Please contact the chapter for event details.  Join me in a city near you!

Date City
June 27 Orlando, FL
July 7 Kansas City, MO
July 8 Springfield, MO
July 21 Orange County, NY
July 22 Long Island, NY
August 5 Atlanta, GA (GA Carry)
September 9 Sacramento, CA
September 11 Reno, NV
October 16 Central Maryland
October 17 Lancaster, PA
Thank you for hosting me:
March 12 Florence, MS
March 31 Raymond, MS
April 1 Naples, FL
April 4 Saint Peters, MO
April 5 Evansville, IN
April 6 Haubstadt, IN
April 21 South Jordan, UT
May 8 La Porte, IN
May 9 Fort Wayne, IN
May 10 Anderson, IN
May 17 Cleveland, OH
May 18 Columbus, OH
May 19 Cincinnati, OH
May 20 Johns Creek, GA
June 8 Des Moines, IA
June 10 Brooklyn, MI
June 21 Canton, GA

If you are interested in hosting a Free of Malice book event or signing, please contact me at liz [at] lizlazarus [dot] com – more event details coming soon.

See you soon,



Review of The Mask of Sanity

Writing, Reviews and Musings

In the January blog, I shared my “Lazarus Rating System” for reviewing books. Here’s my latest book review. Let me know what you think of the rating system. Did you find the review useful? Does this type of review help you to determine your next read?

jacob m appel, the mask of sanityTitle – The Mask of Sanity

Author – Jacob M. Appel

Overall Score – 4.5

Overall, I give this novel a 4.5. The story drew me in quickly and the first 2/3 went very fast. For the last 1/3, I began to wonder where the story was going and how it would get resolved. I actually had an idea of what could happen, but was off.

The characters were interesting, especially Balint. My only real disappointment (and what kept me from giving a 5) was the ending which left me hanging. I’m the type that likes things wrapped up in a bow … or ribbon (pun intended), though I’m sure there are others who will enjoy debating the last tidbit.

Book Cover – 5

I really like the gray with a spark of color in the male’s eye and a green ribbon running vertically down the front, which ties to the plot line.

Plot – 3.5

I looked forward to how the author, a psychiatrist, would tell a story about a psychopath and he did not disappoint, from how meticulously Dr. Balint planned his murders to how his love for his daughters was really an extension of his own ego. Appel did a very good job showing the reader “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” – how he thinks, how he behaves, how he rationalizes his actions. I did question how quickly Balint acquiesced on the very thing that fueled his motive – you’ll understand my point when you read the book. The medical references were interesting – having worked in cardiology myself, I enjoyed being taking into that world again.

Character Development – 4 ***SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT***

Jeremy Balint – I didn’t really root for this character but was definitely intrigued by him and did appreciate his cleverness. The author wrote in 3rd person. 1st person might have been even more powerful to draw me into Balint’s mind.

Amanda Balint – A no nonsense, pragmatic wife. Without giving too much away, I thought that Balint might have been wrong about her which would have been a crazy twist.

Warren Sugarman – A fitting “rival” – I pictured him looking a bit like a young Hemingway which may have been more of my imagination than anything that was described.

Delilah Navare – The feminine contrast to Amanda. For a good portion of the book, I felt she was far too naive, especially with google, social media, etc., but learned more about that closer to the ending.

Pace – 5

I read the book in a few days (and I’m a slow reader). It held my interest and I was eager to find out what was going to happen next.

Basics (Grammar, Punctuation, Format) – 5

I didn’t find a single error. A major bonus for me was learning some new vocabulary. Kudos to Mr. Appel for including words like hirsute, unctuous, invective that had me pulling out a dictionary. It’s been awhile since I’ve had a book educate me to that level.

Price – 5

The hard cover book is $28 on Amazon, but if you write to Jacob Appel <>, he might give you a complimentary copy.

Any other criteria that you think I should add to my “Lazarus Rating System”?

About the image: recently the New York Public Library opened their digital collection. It’s like a candy store of art, graphics, history and style. As a writer I am fascinated by desks, working spaces and styles. I can only imagine the correspondence and poetry that danced across this intricate desk.

Image Credit: George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library. “Marquetry writing desk by F. G. Teune.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Spoiler Alert: An Idea for Reviewing Books

The “Lazarus Rating System”

As I look for new books to read, I always refer to the Goodreads reviews, for both the number of stars and the write-ups. I may be the outlier here, but when I read a review, I don’t necessarily want a summary of the plot. That, in of itself, is a bit of a spoiler to me. Anything more than the few sentence synopsis is more than I want to know.

So, when I review books, I don’t summarize the story but rather point out what I liked and didn’t like. Just recently, it occurred to me that I should use a consistent format, no different that the supplier quality audits I did years ago in corporate America. So, from now on, I’ll be using my newly created “Lazarus Rating System” with the elements that I think are worth noting, each with the highest possible score of 5 points.

Here’s an example with the most recent book I completed on New Year’s Day – how’s that for a fresh start to 2017!

Title – Behind Closed Doors

 Author – B.A. Paris

Overall Score – 5

Overall, I give this novel a 4.5 rounded up to a 5, primarily for the pace and character development.

Book Cover – 4

The bold red font is eye-catching and the red has significance in the story, so good tie-in there. The door and doorknob are a bit mundane, but I do prefer objects versus people on book covers so appreciate that the characters’ images were not shown—better to leave to the reader’s imagination what they look like.

Plot – 4.5

I read a Q&A from the author that she had suspicions of a friend’s marriage and her imagination took it from there. I found the story line to be original and, for the most part, believable. Towards the end, I was worried that the author would miss a loose end (like the paintings Grace did that were hanging in the basement) but she wove them into the story, leaving a satisfying ending.

Character Development – 4.5  ***SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT***

Grace – 5; The author did a very good job of showing how an independent woman could become trapped over time. Often when I thought Grace should do something or act in a certain way, she did, which made her character very believable.

Milly – 4; Milly’s truncated language made her stand out as a character. I did question how she could be as clever as she was portrayed given her limitations, but I have to admit, I liked that she was. The George Clooney references were hilarious. (He should make this book into a movie and play Jack for that alone!)

Jack – 3; Although Jack’s childhood was explained briefly, I would have liked to see more motive behind his actions. Also, why was having Grace not enough for him? Why did he need Milly, too?

Pace – 5

Never once did I think “get on with it already.” Paris did an outstanding job of keeping me interested and eager to find the next block of time when I could continue with the book, which to me, is the single most important criteria if I like a book.

Basics (Grammar, Punctuation, Format) – 5

All good.

PS – if you listen to the audio book, narrated by Georgia Maguire, you won’t be disappointed.

Price – 4

Hard Cover – 12.99; which is on par with other novels of this type.

Kindle – 9.99; which seems a bit high compared to the hardcover price.


Any other criteria that you think I should add to my new rating system?

  • T (Title)
  • A (Author)
  • O (Overall)
  • 1C (Character Development)
  • 2B (Book Cover, Basics)
  • 3P (Plot, Pace, Price)

Leave a comment below or on twitter @liz_lazarus to share your thoughts.