Monday, January 21, 2019

Larry Sweazy Message Celebrates 10 Years Since His First Published Novel

I hope your 2019 is off to great start. I have to tell you, mine has, thankfully, been a whirlwind. It’s interesting that this year is my tenth anniversary as a published author. My first book, THE RATTLESNAKE SEASON (Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger #1) was published in 2009. I was 49 years old, so I got a late start. But, as you may know, it took me fifteen years of near misses, near heartbreak, and a lot of determination to get published. My hope was to write a book a year, but more than that, my real hope was to be able to keep writing, publishing, and get better. No matter what, I was going to write. And that’s still true today. I write every day.

I’m happy to tell you that my fifteenth book, THE LOST ARE THE LAST TO DIE (Sonny Burton #2), is slated for publication in November of this year (2019). This book is the follow-up to A THOUSAND FALLING CROWS, and I couldn’t be happier that Five Star is going to continue this series. It will be available in hardcover, ebook, and large print. The next Sonny Burton book in this early-20th century western/thriller series, WINTER SEEKS OUT THE LONELY (Sonny Burton #3), is scheduled to be published in mid-2021.

There’s more good news for Josiah Wolfe fans. The books in the Josiah Wolfe series have steadily and continually gained fans and readers since 2009. I’m happy to say that none of these books, which started out as paperback originals (PBOs), have been out of print, though the series did end with THE GILA WARS (#6) in 2013. Five Star has enthusiastically decided to continue the series with THE RETURN OF THE WOLF (Josiah Wolfe #7) to be published in mid-2020 in hardcover, ebook, and large print. The chance to revisit Josiah and the Frontier Battalion-era Texas Rangers ten years later is a thrill, and I’m really excited about the future of this series.

And finally, if all that isn’t enough to pop a cork for, I have also contracted with Kensington to write a new western series featuring U.S. Deputy Marshal, Trusty Dawson. Publication dates will be forthcoming, but the first one will most likely debut in late-2020. Once I know more, I’ll let you know.

I know some of my Marjorie Trumaine fans might be disappointed that I don’t have any news about that series. Don’t give up hope. I haven’t. Josiah Wolfe is a good example. A series can continue on a few years down the road. As it stands right now, SEE ALSO PROOF is last book in the Marjorie Trumaine series—but I have other ideas and irons in the fire for that series. Marjorie still has plenty of stories to tell as far as I’m concerned, and I hope there are more Marjorie books in all of our lives. The audio version of SEE ALSO PROOF will be available later this year.

In the meantime, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to continue to write for and work with some of the best editors in the business. Ten years down the road, I could have never dreamed that I would be so lucky to get to write every day like I set out to do. Writing is something I never take for granted, and feel privileged to do. I’m lucky to have the support that I have from Rose, my agent, my editors, and everyone involved who make it possible for me to be able to tell the stories that I do. But none of this would be possible without the people who read and enjoy my books. Thank you. I’ll try my best to continue to entertain you.

THE LOST ARE THE LAST TO DIE (Sonny Burton #2/Five Star) – available 11/19

WINTER SEEKS OUT THE LONELY (Sonny Burton #3/Five Star) – available mid-2021

THE RETURN OF THE WOLF (Josiah Wolfe #7/Five Star) – available mid-2020

U.S. Deputy Marshal, Trusty Dawson series (Kensington) – dates forthcoming

SEE ALSO PROOF (audio) - available mid-2019

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Sisters in Crime Launches "SinC Talks" Jan 15: Learn How to Create Your "Author Brand"

Looking for a great way to jump start your year? Want to learn how to grab readers’ attention and increase your readership? Join the International Sisters in Crime organization for the first in a series of LIVE Webinars with Dana Kaye. The first event is FREE to members and non-members alike. 

“Your Author Brand”  will be presented by Dana Kaye on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 3:00-4:00 pm ET

Online Registration is available until: 1/14/2019

Each year, millions of books hit the market, both online and in-stores. How will yours stand out?

While some readers are willing to take a chance on a new author or a book they’ve never heard of, most want a guarantee that the next book they pick up is worth their time and money. That means the established names, the books getting tons of media attention and the current award winners get chosen.

So how can new or midlist authors tap into that buzz? How can you get readers’ attention and build an audience in such a crowded marketplace?

By establishing an author brand.

This workshop will lead you through the steps in identifying your author brand, creating a tagline or brand message, and establishing that brand online.

Dana Kaye is  veteran publicist, social media pro, and brand manager. She founded Kaye Publicity, Inc., a boutique PR company specializing in publishing and entertainment in 2009. Known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends, she coaches her clients on how to identify and establish their unique personal brands. Kaye is also the author of Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales, and the creator of Branding Outside the Box, where she helps driven entrepreneurs and aspiring leaders become more memorable.

All registered attendees will receive an email with the time and log-in information prior to the event.

The next two SinC Talks will be:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019: Growing an Engaged Community
Social media and email marketing should not be a one-way conversation or a constant wave of self-promotion. The most successful authors are the ones that cultivate relationships with their readers and grow an engaged community.

This workshop will illustrate what happens after a reader becomes familiar with your work, focusing on email marketing, social media, and in-person events.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019: Launch Your Own PR Campaign
Whether you're self-publishing a book, working with a small press, or under contract with a Big Five publisher, most of the promotion responsibilities fall on the author. Between securing review coverage, booking TV and radio appearances, and locating influential bloggers, the book promotion process can feel daunting and overwhelming.

Following the live presentations, all webinars will be available for replay in the MEMBERS ONLY section of the website. Watch for additional programming.  If you have any questions, please email us at Education@sistersincrime.org.

Sisters in Crime is an international organization that promotes the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of (mostly) women crime writers. However, male members are welcome. The organization offers networking, advice and support to mystery authors. The 3600 members in 51 chapters include authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by our affection for the mystery genre and our support of women who write mysteries. 

Speed City Sisters in Crime is the Indiana Chapter which meets on the fourth Saturday of every month at Barnes and Noble Bookstore, 8675 River Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46240 (next to Keystone at the Crossing).

Membership in Sisters in Crime is $50 per year, and membership in the Speed City Chapter is $15 per year. Information on membership can be found at https://www.sistersincrime.org and http://www.speedcitysistersincrime.org

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Crystal Rhodes Play Selected for American Stage Theatre 21st Century New Play Festival

Writing and Winning!
Crystal V. Rhodes

In January 2017,
Crystal Rhodes
I presented a play that I wrote to the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime critique group for review.  The title of the play is The Diary of Annie Mae Franklin.  Sisters in Crime is an international organization that offers networking, advice and support to mystery writers. 

Although I do write cozy mystery novels,  The Diary of Annie Mae Franklin is a play, but it’s not a mystery.  It is a heart wrenching story about an African American family that harbors a fourteen year old Japanese American boy who has escaped from one of the U.S. sanctioned internment camps during World War II.  

I’ve been writing novels for years.  I’ve been writing plays even longer, and presenting my work to this critique group was the first time I ever sought the opinion of those outside the theatrical community about one of my plays.  In my opinion, good writing is good storytelling, no matter the form.   

The members of the SIC critique group are excellent writers.  I respect the talent in this group, and trust their judgment.  Their suggestions are usually right on point, and the suggestions they made about the characters and the dialogue in my play proved more than helpful. 

Writers look for different things when joining a critique group.  Since I’m a versatile writer, one of the things I was seeking in such a group was fellow writers who were open to the challenge of appraising different types of work.  That’s what I consider a winning critique group.  I found what I was looking for in the Speed City Sisters in Crime organization.

Speaking of winning, I entered The Diary of Annie Mae Franklin in  two theatre festivals.  Last year, the play was chosen as one of a select few to be read at the National Black Theatre Festival.  Less than a month ago The Diary of Annie Mae Franklin was selected out of 500 entries as one of the winners of the American Stage Theatre 21st Century New Play Festival!  

From my point of view, being a writer who is a part of a good critique group is a real winner.
C.V. Rhodes is a member of the Speed City Sisters in Crime chapter and co-author, with L. Barnett Evans, of the Grandmothers, Incorporated cozy mystery series.  Visit their website at www.grandmothersinc.com also visit Rhodes’ romantic suspense website at www.crystalrhodes.com.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Larry Sweazy Book "See Also: Proof" Selected True West Magazine's Top 2018 Western Novel

Speed City member Larry Sweazy's third Marjorie Trumaine mystery has been honored as the was True West Magazine's 2018 Best of the West 20th-21st Century Western Mystery. 

Larry topped a list of notable authors, including Craig Johnson's most recent Longmire novel, Depth of Winter (Longmire #12).  Also listed in the top 5 were:  Reavis Z. Wortham, Gold Dust: A Red River Mystery; Steven F. Havill, Lies Come Easy;  and Keith McCafferty, Depth of Winter.

Larry's lead character, Marjorie Trumaine, is an early 1960s South Dakota farmwife, whose husband was left an invalid by a farm accident.  To raise extra money, she indexes books, an occupation that was actually encouraged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early 1960s.  Her job leads to the titles of the books:  See Also: Murder; See Also: Deception, and the latest See Also: Proof. 
Larry D. Sweazy

In addition to the Marjorie Trumaine series, Larry has also written seven westerns in the Josiah Wolf, Texas Ranger series. His other books include "Where Can I See You,"The Devil's Bonesand "A Thousand Falling Crows," as well as short stories included in several Western anthologies.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Speed City Sisters in Crime BIG HIT at Annual Indiana Historical Society's Authors Fair

Co-editors Marianne Halbart and Diana Catt*
Several members of the Speed City Sisters in Crime participated in the Indiana Historical Society's Annual Author's Fair on December 1 at the Indiana Historical Society in downtown Indianapolis.
Authors were selected by the Historical Society.

Members greeting readers and signing books were:

Diana Catt, editor of the just released Speed City Sisters in Crime anthology Homicide for the Holidays. The recently released book includes 12 seasonal tales of murder, mayhem and Christmas joy, along with a dozen recipes that correspond with each story. The book is available at local Barnes and Noble stores, as well as online at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and Walmart.com.
Author Larry Sweazy*

Larry Sweazy, author of the Marjorie Trumaine series and recently named by Indianapolis Monthly Magazine to its annual Book Recommendations list for his western, "Pointe Blank, Texas."

Author Janis Thornton*
Janis Thornton, author of "Too Good a Girl," a true crime book about a 1965 unsolved murder in Tipton, Indiana. The book has been receiving high praise, including a feature article in the Indianapolis Star and appearances on Indianapolis television stations.

*Photos by Crystal Rhodes.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Speed City Sisters In Crime Featured at Historical Society's Dec. 1 Holiday Author Fair

Sisters (and Misters) Among the Featured Authors 
at This Year’s Holiday Author Fair
By Janis Thornton
Author of "Too Good a Girl"

Sisters in Crime member Janis Thornton
and David Williams, author of Indianapolis Jazz
at 2015 Author's Fair
The Indiana Historical Society’s 2018 Holiday Author Fair, scheduled for Saturday, December 1, will host more than 70 Hoosier authors and their latest books, including the Speed City Sisters in Crime and two individual members.
            The event is unquestionably the place to be for anyone who loves books. It’s even better for those who enjoy mingling with homegrown, Indiana authors. And it’s better still because visitors can take home as many books as they can carry, all of them personally autographed by the authors.
            Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime latest anthology “Homicide for the Holidays” is among the books selected for the event. Book editor and Speed City member  Diana Catt will host the Sisters in Crime table. 
            Two other Speed City Chapter members were selected for their own books. Larry Sweazy will be there with his Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, “See Also Proof.”  Janis Thornton will be be present with her gripping true crime mystery, “Too Good a Girl.”
        While it’s an awesome honor to be selected for this affair, it also is exciting and fun. I was privileged to participate in 2012 and 2015, and both times, I relished the unique opportunity to meet several of the other authors as equals and to exchange ideas and tips. Among those I talked with were James Alexander Thom, Jennifer McFadden, Dick Wolfsie, Angie Klink, Nelson Price, Barbara Shoup, Ray Boomhower, Sandy Sasso, and David L. Williams. In fact, I talked non-stop with fellow authors and visitors during the four hours and almost lost my voice. What a fabulous experience!
        The range of book topics at the 2018 event is vast — from politics and history to young adult nonfiction and mysteries (and true crime!).
            Please don’t miss this opportunity to support and rub elbows with some of Indiana’s finest authors.
            Doors will be open from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 in the William Henry Smith Memorial Library at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis.
            And, as a gift from the Indiana Historical Society, admission is free.
            We hope to see you there!
            Click to download the Author Fair brochure.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Co-Winners Selected for Magna Cum Murder Sisters in Crime Flash Fiction Contest

Ted Hertel and Marian Allen were co-winners of the Annual Speed City Sisters in Crime Flash Fiction contest at Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis. The theme for the contest was “Merry Christmas Music.”

Marian’s co-winning entry was “Sing a Song of Murder.”  Ted’s co-winning entry was “Slay Bells Ring.”  Both winning entries are set out below. Ted and Marian both won memberships in the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Sing a Song of Murder
By Marion Allen

“We don’t get many murders around here” the sheriff complained.  “None that are mysteries, anyway.”
His sister, barista at the coffee shop, handed him a jumbo cup of black-two-sugars.
“How is this a mystery?”
He used the cup to point to the scene.  “One set of footprints in the snow. Paul’s corpse at the end. Bloody tire iron beside it.”
“Saul never got over Paul’s being five minutes older.”
“And he’d be my first choice. But how?”
She reached up and patted his shoulder. “You’d have got it, eventually.”
He squinted at her over the rim of his cup, steam fogging his glasses. “Okay, what?”
She put a hand to her ear and pointed to the library clock as it chimed a carol.
“Last verse, first line,” she said.  “Twins.”
The clock began another verse of Good King Wenceslas and the siblings sang, “In his master’s step he trod.”

Slay Bells Ring
By Ted Hertel

Blinky, Santa’s favorite elf, lay on a carpet of red at the base of the tall Christmas tree.  Standing over him the fat man in  red held a gun. “Here comes Santa Claus” played over the loudspeakers.
“Shut that off,” Santa growled. “Play something somber.”
“Silent Night” immediately filled the glass dome covering the workshop. On this holiest of nights, the moon shone through, hitting Santa in the eye like a big pizza pie, as the song goes.
The other elves stood around, sobbing. Mikey, Winky, Janey, Morey and Bob, all heads of different departments, professed their love for Binky, sorrowful at his loss.
Santa looked around. “Who did this?” he asked. No one responded, but Santa knew each had a grudge against Blinky, no matter how they protested.
Finally, Santa pointed at the elf he knew was the killer. The others stood back in shock. “How did you know it was him?”
“It was easy,” Santa said.
“Where the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s a Morey.”