Following the journey of award winning author, Alex Azar, as he travels the publishing world and all things interesting. To reproduce or publish any material found within this blog, please contact me at

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Rating System

If you've been following the blog you'll know that I've been posting reviews of books that I'm reading.  What I plan on doing is beginning to give a rating for these books, but anyone who knows me, knows I don't do anything normal, so here's how it'll go;

1) Inside Flap = This book is so bad you should stop reading after the inside flap, and save your money and time.

2) Chapter 2 = One and done.  The book's premise showed potential, but the writing killed any upside before getting to the second chapter.

3) Page 75 = This is typically reserved for books opposite than Chapter 2's.  The writing is at least good enough to keep you going longer than you should, but the plot ruins any hopes, and you just need to stop reading before you get sucked in past the point of no return.

4) Cover to cover = Book was well written with an engaging story, and will leave you satisfied once you close it for good.

5) Multiple Reads = The only thing better than reading and liking a book, is finding a book you enjoy reading more than once.  This doesn't happen often and isn't a rating I expect to use often.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What I'm Reading Now 3/13/13 UPDATE

Although I haven't written about it, I assure you I've read several books since my last (and first) installment of this.  I've been negligent about posting on the blog the past few months, but I've renewed my vigor and plan on posting here more often.  And in that vein, here's what I'm reading now...


Heat Wave
by Richard Castle

"Heat Wave" is the first novel by Richard Castle from the TV show 'Castle'.  Basically the premise of the show is that a mystery author follows a homicide detective as a muse to his new character Nikki Heat.  I really enjoy the show, and I always felt it'd be beneficial to have a relationship with an officer to answer questions that arise while writing.  

So "Heat Wave" is proposed to be the character Richard Castle's, played by Nathan Fillion, first book about the detective he follows, Kate Beckett.  ABC published the book through a sister company as a joint effort.  It's a great marketing strategy that promotes each other, and convinced me to pick up this book.  

Real word murder mysteries aren't my typical foray, and with that said I don't think I'd have kept reading it, however I most enjoy trying to piece together what parts of the books are inspired by the show.  

While the writing is better than I was expecting, I feel it's relying too much on the gimmick of the premise rather than the writing.  Initially I wasn't very happy with it at all thinking the characters didn't seem too analogical to the characters in the show.  Primarily the main character seemed out of place being over-sexualized.  It wasn't until a friend explained that the characters were written as Richard Castle would have liked to see them in the first season of the show, and that in the subsequent books better portrayed the characters.  

It may seem trivial reading it here if you haven't watched the show, so let's focus on the actual story within the book.  Jameson Rook is a celebrity journalist following homicide detective Nikki Heat during a murder investigation.  I won't give away details of the plot but it seems run-of-the-mill to me, and as I said earlier the actual talent of the writing is fair.  As you'd expect there's the inevitable false leads, twists and incorrect accusations. I will say the best element of the writing is the humor the characters find in the random situations they find themselves in (much like in the show).  There's enough to the book and the writing to keep me reading it, however I'm not too sure I'll be picking up the next book in the series.  We'll see once I've finished this one.


I've since finished the book, and while it was good for what it is, it is not my type of story.  Obviously, I knew this was a real world mystery from watching the show it's based on, I kept waiting for a supernatural element.  This is of course no fault of the book or the author, who did a good job of translating the characters from the show into inspirations for a book series.

For me there's some disconnect between current mysteries and the hardboiled noir from the 40's and 50's that originates in the difference in eras.  Being a part of this internet age, reading a detective hit the bars and clubs with a cigarette in mouth wherever he goes, beating up goons without abandon in a manner a modern detective could never do is like reading a time travel story.  Modern mysteries are more like watching the news tied too much in the legality of their actions.  That probably says more about my own damaged psyche than the current state of literature, but to get back on point, that's a major factor in my feelings for this book.

At this point, I'm going to pass on picking up the next novel, however if you're a fan of the show Castle, or of crime mysteries, I recommend picking this up.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Intro 4: "Remember Me"

The following is the beginning of my most controversial published story (to date).  I'm going to save the description until after the intro, so read on;

Remember Me
Alex Azar

Monday January 3rd 2011, 3:03 AM

Martin Jackson Jr., the star wide receiver for the Philadelphia Bald Eagles, is used to running these streets of his hometown, but when he was a youth and not so late at night.  Now he’s running for his life as he’s chased by a bald madman wearing glasses, who is steering a horse drawn stagecoach.  The chase started after Martin’s car was forced off the B.F. Turnpike by the wagon.  Something apparently no other drivers seemed to notice.
After slipping on some fresh snow, the chase has ended for Martin and his pursuer.  The metal rimmed wheel of the stagecoach runs over Martin’s lower back, cutting all synaptic communication to his legs.  After running the football player over the horse circles around only to trample his neck, sending agonizing pain throughout his body before all feeling leaves his body. 
Standing over Martin’s limp body the bald man raises his walking stick and shouts, “Remember me!” before beating in Martin’s head; the hit smashes his nose, and sends bone shards into his brain.  The second blow ruptures his right eye socket, bursting his eye with it.  The third, and ultimately final, strike caves in Martin’s skull, ending the pain he was unable to emote.
The bald man rides away on his stagecoach after placing a bouquet of small purple flowers.  The wagon disappears into the night leaving behind no tracks.
“It’s a damn shame.” Detective Colyn Whyte proclaims as he watches the football star bagged and loaded in the coroner’s van. 
Shocked at his partner’s uncharacteristic emotional display, no matter how minor, Detective Kevin Shepps agrees, “Yea, the kid was young, he had a great career in front of him.  When I was still a beat cop he was a kid growing up in these parts.  He kept his nose clean, but always hung with some regular juvies; he could have gone down a bad path.”
“Huh? Yea that and I had five hundred on Sunday’s game.  They’re sure to lose without him, and that’s if they even play.”
Disgruntled at Whyte’s amoral response, “You always have a knack for making things about you.”
“Blow me cupcake.  Round up all traffic surveillance footage in a mile radius from here and also where his car was located.  God night, and give Jeff a kiss for me.”
“Fuck you.”
That Friday Detectives Whyte and Shepps are on the defensive from the verbal attack of their lieutenant.  “I’m telling you this murder makes no sense.  It was a cold case before the snow covered up his blood.  We’ve got no footage from the area Jackson’s body was found, and street surveillance by his car shows him erratically driving off the shoulder, and then him inexplicably running away.”
“Listen Whyte, we need to wrap this yesterday.  We’ve got a star athlete who grew up on these streets, went to college here and played pro-ball here, perceived as a role model the whole while.  Philly doesn’t get these kinds of legacy celebrities, and now the media is up my ass to get this in the books.”
Detective Shepps decides to chime in, not so much to support his partner, but so the lieutenant would remember he’s in the room also, “But lieutenant Colyn’s right.  Even the tox report came back clean.”
Shepps’ plan back fires as the lieutenant does turn his attention to him, and scolds “Shut up Shepps.  I don’t know why you’re still with this guy, but don’t drown in his shit.”
Most of the weekend passes with little communication between the partners.  Kevin spent the majority of it with his life partner trying to figure out his next move professionally.  What the lieutenant said made him reevaluate his career and current rank of gay stereotype underappreciated sidekick to Colyn, the precinct wash up.
“Honey, if you’re career is at a standstill, you need to request a transfer.  From what the lieutenant said, it seems like he’d understand and grant it.”
Resting his head in Jeff’s lap Kevin looks up and with concern replies, “But if I can’t close this Jackson murder, I’ll never get assigned a real case again.”  The half hour conversation continues cyclically for another fifteen minutes before the two go to bed.  Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t easily come to Kevin’s worried mind.
The same can’t be said for Colyn, who was aided to a dreamless slumber by a fifth of Jack, a routine of his that’s repeated most nights of the week.

 Monday January 10th 2011, 4:12 PM

John Luther Briggs Jr., the youngest African American senator ever has taken the day to spend with his daughters, who are currently flying kites in Franklin Park on this record breaking warm day.  A day made more special following so soon after the recent snow storm.  “Girls careful your lines are going to get tangled.”  Sure enough moments later the kites form a single entwined braid.  The wind picks up tugging the strings out of Sue and Linda’s hands.  Quickly grabbing hold, John Luther prevents the kites from flying away.  Trying to untangle the airborne toys he doesn’t realize the twin twine lines have begun to wrap around him.


If you want to read about what happens to John Luther Briggs Jr., and what caused Martin Jackson Jr's untimely demise, or why one story has three Juniors in it (yes there's a third) buy the anthology Obsession from Static Movement Press pick it up at

Several years ago there was a call for submissions, from a now defunct publisher, asking for gory horror stories related to a holiday, the more obscure the holiday the better.  I looked at a calender of all the holidays and found that two holidays were on the same day that year, 2011, so I decided to write a story about both. Telling you which two holidays they are will give away certain details about the story and the mystery surrounding the deaths.  So pick up the book and find out what the holidays have to do with a dead white guy, dying black guys, a talent-less detective, and a transvestite that has a bigger secret than one might think.