Circle Game


[Kayak on Canal, Ocracoke Island — photo by Ian Eberly]

Circle Game

It’s hard to believe last month we had our son’s graduation party and this weekend we’ll be taking him to college. At 6’3” he looks more like he should be graduating from college instead of starting out, and now that we’re down to the wire — painting, packing, switching bedrooms for the one kid left at home, getting ready for our Spanish exchange kid who arrives tomorrow, getting the oldest ready for her last year of college — I’m lamenting all the busyness of preparing that has kept me from enjoying those last bits of being together with my kids.  Move on here…

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Kirkus Reviewed


[photo credit: Lucille Famulary]

Here comes the sun because I got this really great Kirkus review for Oil and Water.



Lazos (Six Sisters, 2015, etc.) mixes childhood genius, corporate corruption, and the paranormal in this science thriller.

While the oil business is a fraught enterprise, few expect any danger from that industry to follow them to American soil, much less within their own homes. The Tirabi children—Avery, Kori, Robbie, and Gil—and David “Hart” Hartos know better. Gil has a premonition that allows the kids to escape their home just before it’s burgled and bombed, while their parents are run off the road and killed. But Gil’s unusual gifts don’t end there, as his brilliant mind and connection with his father’s spirit allow him to continue work on the man’s final invention: the Thermo-Depolymerization Unit (TDU), a machine that converts any carbon-based matter into oil. Meanwhile, Hart is reeling from the deaths of his wife and unborn child, and finds no relief in his engineering efforts for Akanabi Oil. Not only is his boss his late wife’s father, but a rash of oil spills only belies the real problem: oil is running out, and a global catastrophe is imminent. When Hart and Gil meet, it’s no wonder they experience a kinship and join forces to complete the TDU and unravel the mysteries of their own personal tragedies and the depths of the world of oil. It’s easy for a science thriller to get too bogged down in theory and explanations to have a real story, or, conversely, to use weak technical details as a backdrop for inferior drama. Thankfully, this surprising novel deftly avoids both pitfalls. The science is compelling, and balances supporting the narrative with providing relevant real-world context, while the tale possesses a depth of emotion rarely seen in this genre. The two sides actually support each other. The realities of a coming oil crisis give both characters and readers something to fear, and touches like the medical and forensic perspective on Hart’s wife’s death manage to be haunting and affecting, not just clinical. Finally, the characters are a genuine delight, all with their own voices and relationships—an especially impressive feat with four children ranging from age 11 to young adulthood.

An insightful, emotional, and deeply relevant novel about an oil industry conspiracy.

Pub Date: June 9th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5304-6145-5
Page count: 484pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: Aug. 11th, 2016
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2016

Here’s what I felt like after reading the review:

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 10.47.46 PM

Jamaican Usain Bolt winning his third consecutive 100-meter dash. (Rueters)

Oil and Water is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

p.j.lazos 8.16.16

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Maybe I was just naive, but I can’t believe how much the world has changed in the last few decades. In the summer of 1988, I did a study abroad in Athens, Greece as a Temple Law student. Who wouldn’t choose to spend the summer in Greece? It’s the birthplace of democracy, the Socratic method, and some really cool ruins.

Athens experienced exceptionally high temperatures in the summer, not just because it’s a Mediterranean city, but because for years there was no requirement for catalytic converters on cars which meant many more pollutants in the air than here in the U.S. A catalytic converter reduces pollutants from a car’s emissions by speeding up the conversion process using heat from the engine to split off the harmful gasses, resulting in steam. Athens could have used a few catalytic converters in the late 80’s because the resultant inversion that trapped the pollution at ground level rivaled the smog in L.A. and added to our thermal misery. Today we have ozone alert days. Then it was just pollution.

Read more here…

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Mary’s Message


Mary’s Message

I love books that retell a story in a way you would never imagine. Want to see every story you’ve ever read about Mary Magdalene turned on its head? Then put judgment aside and read Mary’s Message by Ann Crawford, the reimagining of what Yeshua’s life would have been like if Mary Magdalen had been his wife. In Mary’s Message, Mary is a priestess of the high temple practiced in the art of love and alchemy (could be why the Bible refers to her as a prostitute), a gifted teacher (could be why the Apostles had a beef with her), an energy healer and medicine woman (had she been born centuries later they would have burned her at the stake), and a positive thinker all wrapped up together in a powerhouse of a package, a woman in control of her thoughts and emotions and hence her reality, a woman worthy of being the mate of Yeshua ben Yosef, more commonly referred to as Jesus. I was entranced by the possible alternatives to the Bible stories and intrigued by how Crawford married the feminine nature to what has until this time been a strictly masculine-defined and patriarchal view of that time period of Yeshua’s life.

Read the review here…

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Geocaching GPS: Great Personal Stories of Romance, Adventure and Connection


Geocaching GPS
Great Personal Stories of Romance, Adventure and Connection

Have you ever cached? No? Nor have I. In fact, before a friend told me about the sport of geocaching, his newest hobby, I’d never ever heard of it. I call it a sport because it involves many things that an actual sport does: agility, tenacity, a keen eye, an intellectual curiosity (required), and more. Who knew there were thousands and thousands of people across the globe participating in this “catchy” ad hoc adventure and even stores that sell geocaching supplies and “swag”? If you’ve got no idea what all the hubbub is about then read Geocaching GPS: Great Personal Stories of Romance, Adventure and Connection, compiled by Kimberly Eldredge, the first of its kind geocaching anthology.

Read more here…

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We the People



We The People

Now that the Democratic National Convention is over, maybe I can get some rest. I’ve been riveted to the TV these last four nights and the hope I feel is palpable. The differences between the DNC and the RNC all boiled down to one theme for me: do I choose fear or love?

We live in the greatest country on earth and it is not an overblown sense of importance or hyperbole that causes me to say it. I believe it. Even when America is at her worst, bullying, beating, and bruising each other raw over issues of race, economics, who we can love, and whether a woman is fit to be a marine, or president (!), we are still trying to improve, moving forward, engaging in the dialogue, and working at reinventing ourselves to get to the next level of well-being even when it seems as though we are hopelessly far from that goal. The reason? Our democracy is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” to quote Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and since that speech in November 1863, America has been doing her darnedest to assure that such a government “shall not perish from the earth.” If the bloodiest civil conflict in American history couldn’t tear our political fabric apart then neither will the hackers, the haters, the Citizens United crowd, or even our own government who has at times justified spying from within in the name of assuring no terror from without.

We make decisions as a nation through our elected representatives. We are a government of individuals that form a conscious collective. In this system, we speak our minds and if we get others to speak with us, change happens, and if we speak alone, we still get to talk. It doesn’t happen like this anywhere else, people. The Constitution starts with “We the People…” and it keeps getting better from there. Even forward thinkers cannot always see the endgame. While the framers were brilliant and brave, they had no idea what the future would look like, but they sure left us a blueprint for navigating it. Their legacy, and our gift, was the living, breathing document that would grow with the times and change with the majority will of the people.

The United States didn’t “invent” the concept of democracy and “We the People” have always had our differences. Every brick of this social experiment we call the United States was built on dialogue and compromise. Athens may have been the birthplace of Democracy, but we saw Her to adulthood. When the framers signed the Declaration of Independence, declaring the “self-evident” truths that all men are created equal, they went the Athenians one better. Now we have our first woman running as a presidential candidate for the Democratic party. It’s unprecedented and exciting and history-making and challenging. Here we go again.

p.j.lazos 7.28.16

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Goin’ In


Goin’ In

One of my favorite ever lines, summing up the unhinged feeling that I have most days when my life spirals out in ways that I can’t control is from “The Rugrats Movie” (1998) spoken by the brave, kindhearted and adventurous Tommy Pickles, a one-year old Rugrat who despite his age has a knack for leadership: “Hang onto your diapies, babies, we’re going in.”

I’m on the train. I’m heading into Philadelphia on Day One of the Democratic National Convention and I’m dreading it. Some things you can’t avoid, like work on a Monday, or a scandal if your name is Clinton, so it’s not a shock that on the eve of the convention, the chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, stepped down as a result of her committee’s less than unbiased treatment of the then candidates, Hilz and Bernie Sanders, but only after some pressure from POTUS himself. BTDubs, it was an allegation that Sanders has been making all along.

Read more here…

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