Monday, April 18, 2016

My First Play



So, the first play I was ever in was "Rosencranz and Guildenstern are Dead." I was in junior high school, seventh grade, but it was a high school play. I was one of the Tragedians. Kris Estep Ginley came to Math class and told me I got the part. I couldn't believe it. That was the real start for me, the exploration of art, of character, and the pursuit of a dream larger than I could grasp. I was involved in theater for the rest of my time in high school. It saved me, gave me a community where I belonged, a place to be safe, where I could be myself. It was the 1970s in a little high school in a Midwestern town, surrounded by corn fields, and we were doing a Tom Stoppard play. Amazing. Lucky. A million words can't describe the good fortune of being in the right place at the right time. We had a great time. We had a great teacher (thank you, Ron Clark), and a priceless education that we took for granted. Teachers change lives... Art changes minds. I'm still chasing the dream. And I will love Rosencranz and Guildenstern for all of eternity (It never stops!).


Monday, April 11, 2016

Here's some info for the upcoming release of the second Marjorie Trumaine novel, SEE ALSO DECEPTION (Seventh Street Books):


SEE ALSO DECEPTION: A MARJORIE TRUMAINE MYSTERY
 
Larry D. Sweazy’s 12th published novel, See Also Deception, features freelance indexer and North Dakota farm wife, Marjorie Trumaine, who first appeared in the critically acclaimed See Also Murder (05/2015). The novel will be released on May 10, 2016. Book signings are listed below.
 
ABOUT:

October 1964—Just months after freelance indexer Marjorie Trumaine helped solve a series of murders in Dickinson, North Dakota, she is faced with another death that pulls her into an unwanted investigation. Calla Eltmore, the local librarian, is found dead at work and everyone considers it suicide. But Marjorie can't believe that Calla would be capable of doing such a thing. Marjorie's suspicions are further aroused when she notices something amiss at Calla's wake, but the police seem uninterested in her observations. Despite pressing job commitments and the burden of caring for a husband in declining health, Marjorie sets out to uncover the truth. What she finds is a labyrinth of secrets—and threats from someone who will kill to keep these secrets hidden.
 
PRAISE:
 
“A satisfying sequel.” — Publishers Weekly
 
“The second of the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery novels does not disappoint. Marjorie is a strong, fairly independent woman –still somewhat unusual in 1964 –which sets her up as an appealing heroine… The setting is perfect for the desolation that Marjorie struggles with, and her love/hate relationship with what her life has become. **** –COMPELLING” - RT Reviews

“Brimming with atmosphere and filled with well-drawn characters, See Also Deception is bound to delight mystery readers everywhere. Marjorie Trumaine rings as solid and true as any heroine ever created.” —SUSAN CRANDALL, bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard
 
BOOK SIGNINGS:
 
05/10/2015 - 5 to 8 PM, Barnes and Noble, 17090 Mercantile Blvd., Stony Creek Marketplace, Noblesville, IN 46060
 
05/14/2015 - 12 to 4 PM, Barnes and Noble, 8675 River Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46240

Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring

"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child who knows poems."  -- Rainer Maria Rilke


Shaking the gray, gloomy grip of winter is always welcome around our house.  I like winter, the silence of it, the solitude, but it can linger too long, even for my liking.  This past winter was mild and the best kind of winter to bring a new pup into the house.  Kassi has done well, adjusted and matured into our routine so that it is like she has always been there.  Now that it's spring, she is ready to go. I'm looking forward to a great many new adventures with her and Sunny as we continue our daily walks. The truth is, we all need to get out of the house a little more.  And that is part of the lengthening days and the warming of the sun that I enjoy the most.  The renewed hope of what is to come. In spring, anything is possible.  We all need that after the deep silence of winter.   It's like starting with a blank page.  Happy Spring.







Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spring.html
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spring.html
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spring.html
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spring.html
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/spring.html

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fog

Sometimes the story is lost or just out of reach.  The best thing that I know to do is keep writing, keep working your way out of it.  If you pay attention when you're lost in a cloud, the sounds are amplified, all of your senses are working to together to help you find your way out.  Don't panic.  Don't give up.  Keep moving forward.  That's the only way I know how to make the fog clear.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Influences: Pat Conroy



I was sad to learn this week of author Pat Conroy’s passing.  As a reader, I discovered Conroy in the 1970s with The Water is Wide, but it really was with The Great Santini and The Lords of Discipline that I began to understand that the reason I loved Pat Conroy’s books so much was that I was able to bring my story to his.  I understood his pain and anguish, his difficult family relationships and torn devotions.  I recognized myself in his stories and I felt less alone, less isolated.  And it was in that understanding that helped free me to explore my own emotions, my own story in the form of fiction.  I loved his beautiful use of language and was captivated by his flawed characters.  I knew them all, had lived with some of them, and was a few of them myself.  Very simply, I was inspired to write because of the emotional scope and depth of Pat Conroy’s books.  There were no boundaries, no reasons to restrain the darkest, deepest feelings.  If it was honest, it belonged on the page.  I will read his books over and over again, and will miss knowing that his work is complete, that there are no more stories from this master of voice.  I can think no higher complement to a writer.

“I’ve never had anyone’s approval, so I’ve learned to live without it.”

                                                                                 -- Pat Conroy, The Great Santini

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

SEE ALSO DECEPTION giveaway

My publisher, Seventh Street Books, is giving away copies of my upcoming novel, See Also Deception: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery on Goodreads. To enter click here to go to Goodreads.

 

“Brimming with atmosphere and filled with well-drawn characters, See Also Deception is bound to delight mystery readers everywhere. Marjorie Trumaine rings as solid and true as any heroine ever created.”

—SUSAN CRANDALL, bestselling author of Whistling Past the Graveyard

“Welcome to Dickinson, North Dakota, 1964—a place so real you can smell the rakfisk cooking…. Bookish farmwoman Marjorie Trumaine is the ideal amateur sleuth—steely, steady, and in tune with the subtle rhythms of small-town life. Sweazy’s perfect pacing, spine-tingling tension, and living, breathing characters make See Also Deception one of the best mystery novels I’ve read in a long time. You’re going to love this book.”

—JENNIFER KINCHELOE, author of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc


“Sweazy’s lean writing style and consummate storytelling skills will sweep you up and dump you onto the harsh prairies of North Dakota. The mouth-dropping ending will have you marking the days till Marjorie Trumaine’s next case.”

—DEBORAH MORGAN, award-winning author of the Jeff Talbot Mystery Series and of Junction

“The riveting See Also Deception rewrites the rules for small-town mysteries, adding a retro element that evokes times long before cell phones and the Internet. But Larry D. Sweazy’s formidably stalwart heroine, Marjorie Trumaine, is still more than up to the task of peeling away layers of secrets and subterfuge in getting to the bottom of a local librarian’s death. This is deceptively dark mystery writing par excellence, a potboiler of a tale that proves an able mix of Peyton Place and Agatha Christie.”

—JON LAND, USA Today bestselling author of Strong Light of Day

Monday, February 29, 2016

Repetition: This Week's Blog Post



I thought for a while that I could sustain the blog with an interaction between training Kassi and how that training and those commands related to writing.  I still think there’s still value in that idea, but I also think that I need to broaden the parameters of posts.  I’m not sure yet what that will entail, but I’ll probably experiment with the format over the next few weeks...

As I’ve said before, Sunny was nine years old when Kassi came along, and to be honest with you, I had forgotten how I had trained him, at least until I started training Kassi.  The basics, sit, stay, etc. came easily enough, but the more specialized commands seemed difficult, until I realized that my secret to training Sunny was repetition.   Every time I put his leash on him, I said, “Get your leash on,” and he would go to the same spot and wait to be leashed.  Kassi followed suit.  Now she does it, sits alongside Sunny just like Sunny sat alongside Brodi.  Every time we leave, I tell Kassi, “Go get in your crate.” And she does, willingly because I also give her a treat and put in her favorite bone to chew.  She knows what’s going to happen long before it does by our actions, getting on our shoes, coats, readying to leave, but I say it anyway.  Every time.  When I release her from her crate, I say the same thing every time. And I will always keep on saying it to calm her, to give her comfort, so she knows what to expect.  When I give the dogs treats, I always tell them to “Be Nice.”  It's a command that means be patient, wait, don’t bite the hand that feeds you, be gentle.  Kassi watched Sunny from the start and now she’s a pro at "Be Nice."  If I fail to give that command it’s all about the food, and I’m risking and encouraging aggression and that's something I don't want to do.  If I got a nick on my finger it would be my own fault.  So, the secret is repetition…always, even when the dog shows you that they know what's coming next.

As a writer, or artist of any kind, the same mindset can be applied to make life easier.  Show up every day, establish a routine, keep doing it over and over until the patterns become established and you are able to get out of your own way.  Repetition is boring, but it almost guarantees a body of work over a period of time, over a career.  But repetition is a necessity to sustain a creative life and to train a sane, relaxed hundred eighty pound hunting dog.