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. Join me in a city near you!

Date City Details
March 12 Florence, MS  Thank you
March 31 Raymond, MS
April 1 Naples, FL
April 4 Saint Peters, MO Contact host
April 5 Evansville, IN Contact host
April 6 Haubstadt, IN Contact host
April 21 South Jordan, UT
May 8 La Porte, IN
May 9 Fort Wayne, IN
May 10 Anderson, IN
June 8 Des Moines, IA
June 9 Brooklyn, MI
July 8 Springfield, MO
July 21 Orange County, NY
August 4 Columbus, OH
August 5 Ona, WV
September 9 Sacramento, CA
October 16 Central Maryland
October 17 Lancaster, PA

To schedule:  Texas, South Carolina and maybe even Alaska!

More event details coming soon.

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

See you soon,

Liz

 

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.

Playing Favorites.

My favorite character in “Free of Malice”

I was recently asked who was my favorite character in my book, “Free of Malice.” Some folks thought it would be Laura, the protagonist, but it’s actually the criminal defense attorney, Thomas Bennett.

Do we love him or hate him? Do we trust him or suspect him? And why is he doing pro-bono work for a journalist – what’s in it for him? At one point, Laura says, “he sounded sincere, but there was this little nagging voice inside of me—aren’t most psychopaths also charmers?”

My editor, Jan Risher, may have said it best, “This book is not a traditional whodunit. The author pulled off a tough balance of having me both suspect yet somehow root for the lead male character.”

My best friend from college, Thomas Barnette (not a psychopath, by the way), was my inspiration for the lawyer character. He and I met our first day at Georgia Tech – we were both lost trying to find the civil engineering building – and we’ve been friends ever since. We make an odd pair, I’ll admit – he’s a black, gay, Christian guy and I’m a white, straight, Jewish gal, but we have that kind of connection where I’ll be thinking about him and the phone will ring.

We were so focused on our studies at school that I didn’t really learn about Thomas’ creative side until after we graduated. One day he popped a CD into the player in his car and asked what I thought. The singer reminded me of a cross between Lionel Richie and Seal and I really liked it. When Thomas said it was him, I didn’t believe him at first. He actually had to start singing in the car to convince me.

From that point on we talked a lot about him cutting a full CD. He already had quite a few of the songs, many of which he wrote, but there were also some covers. So, one day I pulled out my computer and started tallying up the work ahead of him to finish the CD – the mixing, mastering, photos, production, etc. and came to a number. The next day, I kid you not, I received a check in the mail for some deferred salary for nearly the exact number. I took it as a divine sign and we were off to producing his debut album.

An author’s viewpoint

In my book, the Thomas character takes Laura to hear him sing at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta. At that point, you can pull out your QR reader or go to my website, www.freeofmalice.com/music-let-me-breathe.htm, and hear the first song from his album, “Let Me Breathe.” I thought it would be an added treat for the reader to get to hear Thomas’ voice, plus he sang at my launch party and we are doing a few joint events around town to promote the book and the CD.

Who knew when our paths crossed that first day of college that we would have such an enduring friendship and that we’d find a way to blend our creativity and support one another. So, my favorite character – was based on one of my favorite people.

Captivating: An Evening with Mary Kubica

Author Book Event – Atlanta, GA

I had the pleasure of hearing Mary Kubica speak at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta, GA, as part of her Don’t You Cry book tour. I connected with her on Twitter, @MaryKubica, along with my friend and fellow author Chelsea Humphrey, @suspensethrill, so we were super excited to meet her in person.

I’ve heard many authors speak, reading excerpts from their book and sharing their story, but I have to say, Mary was one of the best! During her presentation, “captivating” was the word that kept coming to my mind.

Mary shared that she loved to write as a child, but never really considered a career as an author. Like most kids, she didn’t necessarily think about the person behind the book or the possibility of writing as a vocation. She became a high school history teacher until her first child was born. She then opted to stay home and raise her baby and began writing The Good Girl. As Mary described it, something about that book felt special, the characters spoke to her. As she spoke, I found myself nodding in agreement – I’ve often felt like I was watching a movie and taking dictation as I wrote Free of Malice.

It took her nearly five years and she wrote in secrecy – I can relate here as well. It was quite a leap to let my mother and fiancé read my book. Mary had no contacts in the publishing world (ditto!) so she looked up how to query agents and got a few bites. As she noted, it’s sometimes easier to share your work with strangers than friends.

Although there was some initial interest, she didn’t get any takers, so Mary shelved her book and went on with her life. Two years later, she received a letter from an agent who asked if her book was still available. This woman had read her book when it was first submitted and had since been promoted to a position to make a decision to move forward. This was in 2012 and Mary was offered a two-book deal, with the gentle nudge that it couldn’t take another five years for her next book, which was Pretty Baby.

When she embarked on her third novel, Mary described how the characters “fought her.” She felt like an outsider looking in and didn’t seem to find a natural flow. Given the success of her first two books, this one didn’t feel worthy of following in the same footsteps and was giving her a good deal of angst. Much to her relief, Mary’s editor didn’t want to move forward with the draft so she set it aside. With a blank canvas, she quickly started writing again and that became Don’t You Cry. With a deadline looming and limited time, Mary described how she would get up at 4:30 am to write and instead of editing along the way, she just kept moving forward to advance the story. From the rave reviews, it sounds like it was a smart plan. Hearing her story was such an inspiration—to learn that she had a two-year wait to be discovered and just experienced putting an entire book aside to quickly write a new one. Amazing!

There is a great deal of tenacity and heart in that petite body of hers and I’m so thrilled to have had the chance to learn more about her and her journey as an author! Thanks to the Margaret Mitchell House for making this event happen and to Mary for stopping by Atlanta on her book tour!

Thank You, Lady Gaga

On Thursday, Lady Gaga was nominated for an Oscar for her original song “Til It Happens To You” from CNN’s “The Hunting Ground” documentary on finding justice for college rape survivors.

In a statement, Gaga dedicated her nomination to sexual assault survivors. “This nomination lends a voice to so many victims and their families around the world,” she wrote. “Thank you to The Academy for recognizing the movement of people who have come together around ’The Hunting Ground’ and ’Til It Happens To You’ in the name of sexual assault. Diane Warren and I are simply honored to represent the voices of so many survivors.”

Lady Gaga’s song has been so meaningful to me, especially in writing Free of Malice and thinking through some difficult memories. I just wanted to take a moment to thank Gaga for her bravery in sharing her own story and for helping to shine a light on this difficult topic. Her courage continues to inspire me, and so many others who have experienced trauma from sexual assault and/or abuse.

Thank you.

Goodreads “Free of Malice” Book Giveaway

Free of Malice by Liz LazarusEnter to Win a Signed Copy of Free of Malice

Did you hear the news? I’m giving away a signed Free of Malice Advance Reader copy on Goodreads.

Enter today for a chance to win.

Giveaway dates
Jan 10 – Jan 20, 2016

Good luck.

Liz