HOTXSINC Meeting: December 10, 2017 at BookPeople

Our mission is to promote
the ongoing advancement, recognition,
and professional development of women crime writers.
                                             ~ SINC Mission Statement

Program: HOTXSINC Holiday Celebration
“Holly Through the Heart” ~ An Original Radio Play
Election of Officers
Refreshments ~ Finger Foods

The Word on Our Members
Article: “Using Those Movies in Your Head to Promote Your Novel”
Report: Texas Book Festival
Call for Submissions
Selected Sites
Nolo Contendere 

 It’s the Season

Heart of Texas
~ Holiday Mode! ~

Sunday, December 10, 2017
2:15 p.m. at Book People

Election of Officers


*****A Radio Play by Kathy Gresham*****

“The Case
of the
Poisoned Holly”

Refreshments & Finger Foods

Come One & All
Free & Open to the Public 

Celebrate the Holiday Season 

Say Goodbye to 2017 

Look Forward to an
Exciting New Year


Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 2:15 p.m. at Book People, 603 North Lamar, Austin, phone 512-472-5050.  Take the elevator to the third floor.

For information about the Heart of Texas Chapter, contact Joyce Arquette, Publicity (512) 266-6543, and check out our website at


An I had but one penny in the world,

thou shouldst have to buy gingerbread.

                                                                   ~ William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost



The popular idea that a child forgets easily is not an accurate one. 
Many people go right through life in the grip of an idea
which has been impressed on them in very tender years. ~ Agatha Christie


 Election of Officers

At the December meeting, HOTXSINC’S members will elect officers for 2018. The nominating committee presents the current members of the board, who have agreed to remain in office for 2018  if members so desire.

Nominees are the following:

Helen Currie Foster — President
Noreen Cedeno — Vice President/President Elect/Program Chair
Francine Paino — Secretary/Membership
Dave Ciambrone — Treasurer

Nominations from the floor will also be accepted.

The Word on Our Members

K. P. Gresham will speak and sign copies of MURDER IN THE SECOND PEW, at BookPeople on December 8, 2017.
The Pastor Matt Hayden returns to BookPeople to solve the latest murder (or was it a missed attempt to kill him?) in MURDER IN THE SECOND PEW. I’m looking forward to seeing all of my Sisters in Crime there!


DAY OF THE DARK: STORIES OF ECLIPSE was reviewed in Mystery Scene magazine. Stories by Laura Oles and M. K. Waller appear in the anthology. Former HOTXSINC member Kaye George edited the book.




Meredith Lee’s SHROUDED was reviewed in Blue Ink Reviews. Sue Cleveland and Dixie Evatt, who write under the name Meredith Lee, spoke and signed at their book launch at BookPeople on November 10.



Manning Wolfe’s second novel, MUSIC NOTES: TEXAS LADY LAWYER VS L.S. BARON was released November 24.
Merit Bridges is left to sort out the truth while navigating the music business and the dark web, but she soon finds herself confronted with a web of lies so masterfully woven that she fears he may never find any answers. Merit must fight not only for justice but for her reputation, livelihood, and her life.


Members, please email links to your websites and/or blogs to kathywaller1 at gmail dot com so we can list them in our blogroll. Email your news/announcements to the same address.

When you send news, please provide working links to everything you want linked: book covers, titles, your name, your website, venues for book launches, signings, panels, preferred vendor, etc. The editor is regrets she can no longer search for them. If you don’t provide a link, there won’t be a link.


People walking under the Zilker Tree. Christma...
People walking under the Zilker Tree. Christmas in Austin, Texas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) by That Other Paper, licensed under CC BY-SA-2,0


Using Those Movies In Your Head to Promote Your Novel

Sue Cleveland & Dixie Lee Evatt

by Sue Meredith Cleveland and Dixie Lee Evatt (aka Meredith Lee)

When you’re writing do you sometimes visualize a scene as a movie in your head? Many of us do but few of us ever see our novel on the big screen.

Now there is a way you can bring a little piece of that movie to life and sell your books at the same time. For about $100 it’s possible to produce videos to promote your book and book events through social media.

These video trailers can be produced using advanced Powerpoint or Keynote software and tapping into websites that sell royalty free images, stock footage and stock music. It’s a four (or four and a half) step process.

Step #1: Conceptualize a simple storyboard. Ask yourself: What is my core message? (Example: “Shrouded goes on sale August 16, 2017.”). Think in terms of bumper stickers and billboards not broadcasts. You have less than 10 to 12 seconds to attract potential on-line customers. Viewers will flash through the material pretty fast. What images, colors, sounds and words build tension for your key points? In Shrouded we used graveyards with weeping angels and a night view of the Paris skyline as backdrops.

Step #2 Produce your video. You do this by uploading text, images and sound to your application (Keynote, PowerPoint or similar software). Experiment with the animation tools available to you and synchronize the music for maximum impact. This is where the creative side of your brain gets to play. Select royalty-free images and music from websites that sell these:

Once you have your royalty-free images and music, upload them to a template. The Keynote application on Mac is useful as are the animation options. Experiment with the tools offered for transitioning between slides, confetti, blur and many more, for building transitions between slides.

Set aside some quality time at the computer to synchronize all of this. It gets easier as you work with it.  

Step #3. Post production. Pick your platform (Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, etc.). Read up on the file format required for a particular platform. Convert the now animated slide show to the format required by your online site of choice. Each website will list its specifications. For instance, Amazon will take any of several (AVI, FLV, MOV, MPG, WMV ad MP4).

We uploaded our trailer to our website, Instagram account, author’s pages on Amazon and Goodreads,, and to We added links to the companies that carry our book.

Step #4. Distribution. Now you are ready to let the world see what you have done. You can track whether or not your video trailer is attracting attention for your book or event. When our promo trailer ran, our Amazon ranking hit a high of 47,815. Our ranking dipped as low as 945,856 when we did not run book trailers. These rankings reflect our books standing against other books in our genre, not the number of books sold.

Step #4.5. Targeting. Some platforms allow you to “boost” by targeting selected demographics. For instance, our Facebook author’s page offered boosts. We purchased $35 – $50 “boosts” to run for a week. We selected our demographic. An example: Men and women between the ages of 35 – 80 living in Austin who read mysteries. The “boosts” of our trailers on our Facebook author’s page reached between 4,000 to 6,000 people.

With eight million print titles on Amazon and a million ebook titles, it can be hard to get attention for your book when you have a shoestring budget. We’ve found that video book trailers are one more way to boost sales on a budget.

Click here to view sample trailer:


I have patches of insomnia,
and I’m fascinated by the otherness of the world at night.
The stillness.
Daytime preoccupations fall away, 
standards change, thoughts change.
It’s a canvas for reinvention, I think. ~ Morag Joss




Texas Book Festival

by Helen Currie Foster, HOTXSINC President

Sisters in Crime awarded HOTXSINC a grant to fund a booth and other necessities needed for participation in the Texas Book Festival November 4 and 5. Below is an excerpt of the report President Helen Currie Foster submitted to Sisters in Crime.


Sisters in Crime, Heart of Texas Chapter (HOTXSINC) so appreciates SINC’s $500 grant to us for our non-profit booth at the Texas Book Festival. The Festival is huge; it stretches from the Texas Capitol Building down Congress Avenue and this year up Colorado Street as well.  Thousands of people from all over the country attend every year (we talked to visitors from Seattle, Chicago, Sicily, Turkey…). We were assigned a great location—Booth 417 in Exhibit Tent 4. I’m attaching the information for Exhibitors (you can find us listed therein). We were busy at our booth ALL DAY SATURDAY Nov. 4 and ALL DAY SUNDAY Nov. 5 until the Festival closed at 5:30.

HOTxSINC BOOK SALES!  At our booth we sold books by HOTXSINC members (including Kathy Waller, Dave Ciambrone, Noreen Cedeño, Francine Paino, Kay George, Valerie Chandler, Laura Oles, Helen Currie Foster, Kathleen Phelps, Dixie Lee Evatt, Sue Cleveland, and including two anthologies including member contributions).  We offered bookmarks and information on the plots and authors. The booth was staffed from time to time by Kathy Phelps, Noreen Cedeño, Fran Paino, Dave Ciambrone, Helen Currie Foster, and Dixie Lee Evatt, Sue Cleveland, Valerie Chandler and Pam Baggett-Wallis.

BANNERS:  We had banners! HOTXSINC banners, our SINC banners and the giant SINC table-skirt.

SINC Brochures: We had a purchased Plexiglas table stand to hold SINC brochures, and another stand for our HOTXSINC brochure, which tells the history of our chapter. People were very interested in the history of both SINC and our organization and SINC, and by the end of the festival ALL brochures had been taken.

HOTXSINC Brochures: Fran Paino developed a brochure for the Festival recounting HOTxSINC’s 27-year history—very popular.

Also, we had a HOTXSINC membership signup form with our website listed, and have only a couple left.

CONVERSATIONS!  We talked to many, many people during this two-day event. We talked to Austinites, out-of-towners, foreigners, students, retirees, friends, strangers. As you might expect, a number were writers/aspiring writers. The eye-catching banners drew people who were curious about HOTxSINC and SINC and loved hearing that we were local authors who were there to sign our own books. We made some good contacts with future members and had great conversations with others about critique groups, writing processes, the supportive nature of HOTXSINC, and of course the excellent programs we’ve had this year.

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR THIS GRANT.  We believe we’re establishing a presence at the most important book festival in Texas, one heavily attended and publicized, and we think it’s really important for the advancement of SINC and HOTXSINC for us to be there.



I do read P.D. James because she pays much more attention to character,
to a particular atmosphere or setting.
But most mystery writers, I think,
are controlled by the plot. ~ Martha Grimes


One definition of noir is where a not-so-good man or woman
tries to touch something good – and fails. ~ S. J. Rozan


Call for Submissions

HOTXSINC lists the following websites for information only.  Readers themselves will need to evaluate reliability and quality. 

Writing Career

Level Best Books

East of the Web

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog



 Selected Sites

The Passive Voice

Writer Unboxed

Jungle Red Writers

Mystery Writers of America

Mystery Fanfare

The Authors Guild
What Authors Need to Know About the New Tax Bill

N.Y. Times Scales Back Free Articles to Get More Subscribers

Electric Lit
A New Story by the  Master of Hardboiled Detective Fiction



Nolo Contendere

Members, when you email news to kathywaller1 at gmail dot com. Send a headshot or snapshot and titles of books and stories for inclusion in the author page. Send the URL of your website or blog so the can be included in our blogroll

Also – When you send news, please provide working links to everything you want linked: book covers, titles, your name, venues for book launches, signings, panels, etc., and make clear which link goes with each item. (The editor is a little slow on the uptake and needs help). The editor will no longer search for these. If you don’t provide a link, there won’t be a link.

Kathy Waller, editor
kathywaller1 at gmail dot com


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