Monday, November 23, 2015


Over the weekend we drove to Missouri to pick up our new Rhodesian ridgeback puppy, Kassie. She is our third ridgeback and we couldn’t be happier with her.  All puppies come with challenges.  Potty training, teething, integrating into the household when there are other pets, you name it.   We figured we had a handle on the baby stuff, but it was the integration that kind of worried us, especially considering we have another ridgeback, Sunny, who is nine.  Luckily, he’s a sweet boy and Kassie seems welcome just a few days in.  We also have a cat, Nigel, who is a little annoyed at the pushy interloper, but after a few halfhearted hisses, he has walked away and has chosen to ignore Kassie at all costs.  He did the same with the Sunny, and they accept each other now in a gentle, happy manner, and I can only imagine it will go the same with Kassie. 

Sunny is a great dog.  We don’t have to do much but live with him, and to be honest, I have forgotten a lot of his training because he just does what he needs to do to get through the day.  I figure Kassie will be like that, too.  But training her is like starting all over from scratch. 

Training a dog never gets easy, and honestly, neither does writing.  I’m writing my thirteenth novel and some days it feels likes it’s the first, that I don’t know a thing about writing a novel.  And mostly, I don’t.  Not this one.  It’s its own journey.  Other days, the writing glides along because I have experience with it.  I suppose everything is like that if you do it long enough.  But it’s easy to forget the beginning stages of any worthwhile project and the fundamentals that have to be employed.  Sit.  Stay.  Wait.  Leave it.  All great commands to teach a dog and know as a writer…

I’ll probably write more about dogs and ridgebacks in the future, but for now, I have a lot to learn and my hands full with our Kassie.  But I can tell already she’s going to be a good one.

Here’s our three RRs as puppies:

 Brodi 01/01-06/14

Sunny  09/06

Kassi 09/15

Monday, November 16, 2015


I was talking to a friend recently and he made the comment to something we were talking about, 
 “You always answer your emails quickly.” 

And it’s true, I do.  I said. “I’m usually sitting at my desk, and I always end the day with an empty inbox.” 

“Really?”  he said. 

Yes.  Ending the day with an empty inbox has been a habit I’ve had for a very long time. It really is just a matter of doing it at this point in my life.  Somedays I have to go back to an email, or I have to set it aside. But I have folders for that.  I organize myself the best I can. Here’s the reason: When I sit down to write fiction or index a book I can focus as intently as I can on what I’m doing.  I’m not thinking ahead or behind.  I’m looking straight ahead at what I’m doing.  Indexing one page at time, or writing one word at a time.  I’m there, as present as I can possibly be.    

I also told my friend, “I make quick decisions. And sometimes, I get it wrong.”  Which ultimately means, to me at least, is that I’m willing to make mistakes.   Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t answer everything off the hip and there are times I have to get up from my desk and walk away or delete an answer and start all over, but most of the time, I keep my answers short and concise.  Or try to.  But some interpretation takes time.  There have been emails I’ve sent that I regret sending to this day.

The process is really just the old office directive for efficiency, “Touch a piece of paper once.”   Solve it, file it, or throw it away.  Touch it once.  Move on to the next thing.   

Touch It Once works for me most of the time, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone.   I don’t expect answers to my questions in the same amount of time that I give them.  Maybe it would be better to linger on some things a little longer and maybe not.  When it comes to indexing, a job offer will come in and the answer is demanded right away, or at least is expected promptly.  My intent is to solve the problem for the editor so they can know who the indexer is as soon as possible.  If there’s a problem in production, then an editor always needs an answer right away, because production editors always have more than one problem at one time to solve.  I’d rather be the one who gets right back with a solution instead of making someone wait an hour or two.  It’s part of the deal when I get hired either by an indexing client or get a contract with a book publisher.   I really think the simple act of answering an email promptly partially explains why I have been freelancing for almost twenty years.  Publishing moves slow as a snail at times and fast as a supersonic jet at other times.  If I’m still stuck on yesterday’s email, then I’m part of the problem and not part of the solution…and it makes the next day a lot easier if I start with a blank page.

Monday, November 9, 2015


One of the questions authors get most often is, “Where do you get your ideas?”  And the answer is difficult at best.  We have all faced it, and other writers have come up with more eloquent or smart-ass answers (I’m thinking of Harlan Ellison: “Poughkeepsie.”) than I probably will.   I’ve thought about this a lot, and like a lot of habits and personality traits that follow us as adults, I think the answer lies, at least for me, in my childhood.

In a lot of ways, I was an only child as a kid.  I had two half-siblings, and both were older than I me. One was nine years older, and the other eight.  My mother was also a single mother for the first ten years of my life, so the truth of the matter was that I spent a lot of time alone.  I had to find ways to entertain myself.  I did that by reading, but probably more importantly was that I played with Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars for hours on end.  I’d make houses out of cards, towns out of Velvetta boxes, anything I could find; we didn't have a lot of money for toys.  I had police cars, ambulances, firetrucks, hot rods and farm trucks.  Cars wrecked.  Banks got robbed.  Dream vacations got taken.  Monsters showed up at the worst possible time.  I love the old Godzilla movies.  They were on TV in the afternoon on Saturdays.  At six years old, I was learning how to plot, how to imagine, how to entertain myself with stories that I made up.  Very simply, I think that’s where ideas start, by playing, by exploring the stories around us.  Imagination is a muscle that needs to be strengthened, just like a ballet dancer’s legs, or a singer’s voice.  When it came time for me to sit down and write, I already had a skill and the ability to conjure ideas.  All I had to do was entertain myself and mesh that skill with the power of language, which would, of course, take a long time to learn.  That time alone as a kid, was more a blessing than a curse, no matter what it seemed at the time.

The answer: My ideas come from playing just like they did when I was kid.   

It’s no a coincidence that when I’m writing the Marjorie Trumaine Mysteries that her truck, a small die-cast toy, sits on my desk. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Writing Update as of 11/02/15

OK, so I haven’t posted a writing status in a good while.  Here's what's coming:

 A Thousand Falling Crows (Seventh Street Books) publishes January 05, 2016.  This is a standalone crime novel featuring ex-Texas Ranger, Sonny Burton.   Here’s some info:
       After a shoot-out with Bonnie and Clyde takes his arm and forces him into retirement. His son has stepped into Sonny’s role as the local Texas Ranger and just wants his father to keep out of the way. While Sonny struggles with recuperating, Aldo Hernandez, a friend from his days at the hospital, asks him to help find his daughter, who has gotten mixed up with two brothers involved in a string of robberies. Sonny agrees to help, but he is also concerned about a wholly different criminal in town, one who has taken to killing young women and leaving them in local fields for crows to feast on.

“A powerful, gripping novel of the American West. Gritty and deeply atmospheric, Sweazy has created one of the most fascinating leading characters in crime fiction. With the one-armed Sonny Burton at its helm, A Thousand Falling Crows crackles with menace and drama.”

—MARK PRYOR, author of Hollow Man

“A richly atmospheric and powerfully intense historical thriller that brings to life the ethnic complexity and free-range lawlessness of Depression-era Texas. Sweazy is always good, but this is his best book yet.”

                                                            —DAVID BELL, author of Somebody I Used to Know

“With a panoramic sweep of vision and language that borders on poetry, Sweazy brings to life a historic period in the Texas Panhandle, during the Depression and the days of the last outlaws—when America was trembling on the edge of the modern world.”

—TERRY SHAMES, Macavity Award–winning author of the Samuel Craddock mysteries

“A setting so authentic that I could almost feel the hot, dry sun beating down on me and the dust in my eyes. This skillfully crafted mystery kept me on the edge of my chair for hours. The characters stayed with me, refusing to let go, until I was able to finish the story and learn their fate.”

—DAVID THURLO, coauthor of the critically acclaimed Ella Clah and Charlie Henry mysteries


·       See Also Deception  (Seventh Street Books), the second book in the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series is set to publish May 10, 2016.  Here’s some info on it:

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.  Despite pressing job commitments and the burden of caring for a husband in declining health, Marjorie recruits Deputy Guy Reinhardt to help her uncover the truth. What she finds is a labyrinth of secrets that she had no knowledge of— and threats from someone who will kill to keep these secrets hidden…


·       I’m currently writing a standalone police procedural thriller, also for Seventh Street Books, to be published in early 2017.  The third novel in the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series is also scheduled to publish in mid-2017.
        I recently obtained the rights back to the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series.  Speaking Volumes will be publishing both print and ebook versions of the series, starting with the first book, The Rattlesnake Season, in 2016, with the remaining books to follow quickly afterward. 
        Graphic Audio will be publishing the audio version of the first three Marjorie Trumaine Mystery books starting in 2016.  This is a full cast recording with cinematic music and sound effects, so it will be a little different from the conventional audio book.  Once I have a release dates, I'll post them here.
       See Also Murder, the first book in the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series will be published in Turkey.  I’ll post more information here when I have it. 

Stop by Next Monday. The topic will be the beginning of imagination.  Thanks for reading.  ~~ Larry