Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter

Promoting Women Crime Writers


Leave a comment

HOTXSINC January 8: Death by Firearms or, What Really Happens When You Shoot Someone

Author Dave Ciambrone will present Death by Firearms or, What Really Happens When You Shoot Someone at the January 8th Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meeting, 2:15 p.m. at the Yarborough Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Dave Ciambrone

Dave Ciambrone

In addition to describing different types of firearms and ammunition, Dave will discuss how to fire a gun successfully, and how the impact from a bullet affects the human body. He will also talk about using firearms for self-defense.

He will address the differences between reality and Hollywood shootings. Using visual aids, he will show the impacts of ballistic gel bullets on actual gun shot victims, none of whom survived.

Following his presentation, Dave will take questions from the audience.

Dr. David (Dave) Ciambrone spent 40 years developing weapons for the military and special equipment for government clandestine organizations. He took the “short course” at Camp Perry for the CIA. He worked with a police department and was a consultant to the LA County Coroner. Dave did consulting for police and sheriffs around the country. He has also consulted for National Laboratories.

Dr. Ciambrone was appointed a U.S. Treasury Commissioner and a board member of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) by President Clinton. Since moving to Texas he has served on library and theater boards, a water district board, and an appraisal review board. He is Chairman of the Williamson County Historic Commission.

An award-winning and best-selling author, Dr. Ciambrone has published 19 books, (2 textbooks, 4 nonfiction, and 13 mysteries) and has more in work. He wrote three newspaper columns and a business journal column. He has been VP of the Orange County, California, Sisters-in Crime chapter, and twice president and treasurer of Heart of Texas Chapter of sisters in Crime. Dave has spoken at numerous writing conferences around the country.

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meets at the Yarborough Branch of the Austin Public Library, 2200 Hancock Drive, Austin, Texas. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information, email Joyce Arquette, Publicity, JArquette at austin dot rr dot com.

*****

Opening Line

On November the twenty-first, the day of her forty-seventh birthday, and three weeks and two days before she was murdered, Rhoda Gradwyn went to Harley Street to keep a first appointment with her plastic surgeon, and there in a consulting room designed, so it appeared, to inspire confidence and allay apprehension, made the decision which would inexorably lead to her death. ~ P. D. James, The Private Patient

*****

Call for Submissions

from Kaye George’s Travels With Kaye:

“Last bit of news for this week. I decided to put together a short story anthology that I’m calling DAY OF THE DARK. It’s inspired by the total eclipse of the sun coming up August 21st, 2017. Wildside Press has agreed to get it to publication in time! I’ve gotten several submissions already, but the deadline is 1/31/17. (Yikes, it’s almost 2017!) Here’s the details from the announcement I sent out. Feel free to ask me about this if you’re interested!”

Find complete guidelines here.

 

*****

“Everyone predicted a bad reunion. Few expected murder…”

For the December 2016 HOTXSINC meeting, members of the dysfunctional Stout clan gathered at their ancestral home in the mountains. The next morning, the elderly head of the family, Malachi Stout, was found dead, smothered in his sleep. The safe in his study was open and–the family jewels were gone.

Phone lines were down, and rain had washed out the road to town, so it was up to the Stout family to determine–Whodunnit?

Armed with the mystery game Malachi Stout’s Family Reunion, Valerie Chandler led HOTXSINC members in a rousing murder investigation. Which of the suspects pictured below killed Malachi Stout?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*****

Opening Line

They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days. ~ Daphne DuMaurier, My Cousin Rachel

 *****

Book Notes

unsettling-crime-thumbAN UNSETTLING CRIME FOR SAMUEL CRADDOCK: A Samuel Jarrett Mystery by Terry Shames is out today.

“Shames’s superior sixth Samuel Craddock mystery…a prequel set possibly during the early 1970s, explores a significant case at the start of the retired police chief’s career. Skilled depictions of the lawman’s formative choices and emotions enhance a timely story with resonance in the era of Black Lives Matter.”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

*

RIVER CITY DEAD, Aggie Mundeen Mystery #4, by Nancy G. West will be out on January 17.

“The characters are believable and the plot is fascinating. Fast-paced, intriguing, and like an Agatha Christie novel…River City Dead is one adventure I highly recommend to all. ”  ~ Danielle Urban, Goodreads

 

*****

Selected Sites

MysteryPeople

Events

Malvern Books

Events

Texas Mountain Trail Writers

Ramona DeFelice Long

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog

Derringer Awards Procedure

Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity

47 Calls for Submissions in January 2017 – Paying Markets

*


2 Comments

In Memoriam: Gale Albright

Posted by Kathy Waller

 

Gale Albright

Gale Albright, November 2016

Gale Albright, 2016 president of Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas chapter, a member of Austin Mystery Writers and the Writers’ League of Texas, an author, and our dear friend, died on November 19.

Gale was born in Tyler, in the Piney Woods of East Texas, where her family has lived for generations. She attended the University of Texas at Austin, and in the late 2000s completed a degree in English Writing and Rhetoric at St. Edwards University.

In an interview posted on the Austin Mystery Writers website, Gale spoke of how important her East Texas upbringing was to her writing:

“I always have to write about Texas. I had many conversations with older people in my family when I was a little kid, so I heard a lot of stories about hard times picking cotton, taking a lunch to school in a lard bucket and going barefoot until it was time to start school in the fall. I am fascinated with the Great Depression and the WW II years, all from an East Texas point of view. I love Southern story telling, all the rhythms of language and colloquial expressions.”

Gale had a fine ear for language. One of her stories, Eva, winner of the 2008 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest for Young Adult Fiction, and based on her aunt’s childhood in East Texas, demonstrates her ability to duplicate the rhythms of East Texas speech on the page. You don’t just read Eva; you hear it.

In the following passage, for example, the main character, twelve-year-old Eva, describes the new boy at school:

Mama had raised me to be polite and not stare at folks, but it was hard not to stare at this boy. He looked like he had slept in a mud puddle. His overalls were patched and filthy and his shirt collar was ragged. The shirt was so dirty I didn’t even know what color it used to be. And he was barefoot. Now, some of the farm boys kept on coming to school barefoot, at least as long as the warm weather held, but this boy’s feet were solid black! …

West Jonah was a small town in East Texas. Everybody knew everybody else. Where had this boy come from? It had been three years since the hard times started, but things kept on getting worse. It was 1932 and we still had hungry strangers coming through, looking for jobs, looking for a meal. Whole families sometimes, in beat-up old cars with furniture piled high and kids sitting on top of the furniture. But I had never seen a boy my age on his own.

By lunch time, everybody was calling the new boy “Dirty Billy.”

Gale Albright check for grant from the national SINC to Lake Travis Community Library Director, October 2016

Gale Albright presenting check for grant from the national SINC to Lake Travis Community Library Director, October 2016

Gale’s first ambition was to be an actress–she said by the time she was three years old, she was singing and dancing for an audience of women in her grandmother’s beauty shop. Years later, she played the role of Stella in a little theater production of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire. But for a profession, she turned to writing and editing. In a training program at the Chicago Tribune, she learned to typeset news and proof galleys when the technology involved hot metal. Later she worked for twenty-three years at the University of Texas as a typesetter and an administrative assistant, first for the Petroleum Extension Service, and later for the School of Engineering, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and finally, the School of Law. After retiring, she wrote and edited for the Hutto News.

Gale loved her family: her husband, Joe; her daughter, Sarah; her brother, Stuart Inman, and her sisters, Molly Inman and Dawn Holmes. She loved her friends and co-workers at UT; the members of her Sisters in Crime chapter and of Austin Mystery Writers, and many others.

img_2439

AMW members Kathy Waller, Laura Oles, Gale Albright, and Valerie Chandler, outside Habana Restaurant.

She loved the butterfly garden she was building in her yard in Hutto; Pashmina shawls and scented soaps; reading crime fiction; going to writing workshops–“I’m a workshop junkie,” she said; organizing workshops; going on writing retreats, especially those held in Alpine, Texas; and her cat, Maggie, a rescue cream tabby she adopted from Austin Pets Alive!. Maggie supported Gale’s writing career by spending a goodly portion of her time meowing to be let into and out of Gale’s office. (Gale spent a goodly portion of her time opening and closing the door).

Gale loved the Hutto Public Library and belonged to Friends of the Hutto Library. She volunteered, wrote about the library for the Hutto News, and took Spanish and drawing classes there.

And Gale loved writing.

She did say, now and then, that she’d been avoiding working on a piece because writing was hard, and that she knew if she just started writing, the words would begin to flow, and what had been torture would become fun; and that she was so frustrated because she avoided doing something she would inevitably enjoy. Actually, I usually said that to her and she agreed. But for a person who admitted to avoidance, she put a lot of words on paper.

She loved National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrimo). Every November, she focused on writing 1667 words a day–a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. Last year she organized two NaNoWrimo Write-Ins at the Hutto Public Library, and this November, she hosted another for the 2016 round. She proudly wore the tee-shirt proclaiming her a NaNo winner.

I met Gale at a Writers League of Texas meeting dedicated to helping members form critique groups. We read a few pages of each other’s work, decided we could work together, and agreed to meet once a week. Of course, we wanted to be published, but we’d been told writing just to be published wasn’t a good idea–because publication is an iffy thing–our reason should be deeper, more philosophical. So we chose a reason and a name to match: the Just for the Hell of It Writers. At the time, Gale was working on a mystery novel entitled One Small Monkey. It was set in the 1970s Austin music scene, a time she remembered fondly.

Austin Mystery Writers: Gale Albright, Scott Montgomery, Laura Oles, and Valerie Chandler.

Austin Mystery Writers: Gale Albright, Scott Montgomery, Laura Oles, and Valerie Chandler.

A year or so later, we dissolved JFTHOI and joined Austin Mystery Writers. In the larger group, we read more manuscripts, heard more comments about our own work. Gale was a discerning reader. She focused on the positive elements in a manuscript and gently pointed out negatives. She explained how she learned to critique in a blog post: “Critic or Critiquer?”

In 2015, Austin Mystery Writers published its first crime fiction anthology, MURDER ON WHEELS. Two of Gale’s stories appear there: “Aporkalypse Now” and “Mome Rath, My Sweet.” Both showcase her ability to infuse suspense with humor.

“Aporkalypse Now” is the story of a woman obsessed with pork ribs and pistachio ice cream, and resentful–and suspicious–of her husband’s sudden obsession with his bicycle.

In “Mome Rath, My Sweet,” she merges Lewis Carroll, the Brothers Grimm, and Raymond Chandler.

Gale Albright and novelist Marsha Moyer at the MURDER ON WHEELS book launch, BookPeople, August 2015.

Gale Albright and novelist Marsha Moyer at the MURDER ON WHEELS book launch, BookPeople, August 2015.

The story begins, “Joey Dormouse was dead and I was heading for a fall.” With that terse statement, private eye Jacob Grimm turns down the brim of his fedora, leaves his dingy office, and tangles with turquoise-eyed women and tough-talking men to rescue Alice Wonderland from the clutches of the gangster Mome Rath.

This story is probably the only example of noir fiction featuring a dormouse.

Gale joined SINC Heart of Texas in 2009. As vice president for programming, she introduced the chapter to many local authors. She edited the chapter newsletter. She coordinated the annual Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event. She helped facilitate a writing workshop co-sponsored with BookPeople bookstore. She moderated a panel at the Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors Conference, and, with host Hopeton Hay of radio station KAZI 88.7, interviewed mystery author Sue Grafton. For the December 2015 party, she wrote, produced, and acted in a radio play, “Holly Through the Heart,” in which Sherlock Holmes meets Tiny Tim. Gale brought  new energy to the chapter. And her involvement wasn’t going to end after her presidency–there were other projects she wanted to pursue.

Cast of "Holly Through the Heart": Alex Ferraro, Kathy Waller, Dave Ciambrone, Gale Albright, and Valerie Chandler; Book Spot, December 2014.

Cast of “Holly Through the Heart”: Alex Ferraro, Kathy Waller, Dave Ciambrone, Gale Albright, and Valerie Chandler; Book Spot, December 2014.

And there was her own writing. At the time of her death, she was working on edits of two stories to be included in Austin Mystery Writers’ second anthology. She was also revising Eva for middle grade readers.

Gale is survived by her husband, Joe Albright; her daughter, Sarah Hathcock; her brother, Stuart Inman; and her sisters, Molly Inman and Dawn Holmes.

She also leaves behind many friends. We miss her.

A memorial service for Gale will be held on Saturday, December 10, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Northland AA Group, 2809 Northland Drive, in Austin.

Memorials may be sent to Friends of the Hutto Library or to SINC Heart of Texas chapter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Read more of Gale’s writing at her personal blog, Crime Ladies, and at the Heart of Texas chapter’s newsletter, HOTSHOTS!

Watch a production of Gale’s “Holly Through the Heart.”

*****

Some of the information in this post was provided by Gale’s husband, Joe Albright. Some came from the linked sources, above. Most came from memories.


Leave a comment

Upcoming events

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas chapter will have a reading and book signing on Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Malvern book store at 1 p.m. at 613 W. 29th St. Come on down and join us.

Our monthly meeting will be at 2 p.m. on November 20 instead of the second Sunday of the month at the Yarborough Library at 2200 Hancock Drive in Austin.

Our program will be about short mystery fiction, including where to submit short fiction and readings from short fiction. Hope to see you there.


Leave a comment

Miles Arceneaux for Sept. 11th Meeting

Miles Arceneaux is the author of four mystery novels set on the Texas Gulf Coast:Thin Slice of Life, LaSalle’s Ghost, Ransom Island, and North Beach. He writes in a style that one reviewer has called Gulf Coast Noir.
“He” or rather, “they,” will be Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas guest speakers on Sunday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Yarborough public library in Austin at 2200 Hancock Drive. 
Miles Arceneaux, the crime fiction author, is actually composed of three people who write novels together using one pen name. They will show you how to write about murder without killing your partners.
MA headshot
BRENT DOUGLASS
International businessman Brent Douglass writes in airports, hotel rooms and drinking establishments around the world. At present he is a principal owner of KBC Networks and peddles data transmission equipment in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is the cultured, cosmopolitan writer of the Miles Arceneaux trio. 

JOHN T. DAVIS
John T. Davis has been writing about the music, culture and personalities of Austin and the Southwest for more than 30 years for local, regional and national publications. He is the streetwise and roguishly irreverent co-author of the Miles Arceneaux canon, albeit its most discerning. 

JAMES R. DENNIS
James R. Dennis, a Dominican friar, practices law in San Antonio and across Texas. He writes and teaches on spiritual matters and lives with his two ill-behaved dogs. Of the three writers, he is the good-looking, funny one. He has just published a collection of his poetry, Correspondence in D Minor.


Leave a comment

Diane Vallere on August 14

Diane Vallere, national vice president of Sisters in Crime, will be the guest speaker at our Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter meeting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 14 at the Yarborough branch of the Austin Public Library at 2200 Hancock Dr. in Austin.Diane Vallere

Vallere’s newest mystery is Silk Stalkings. She is on a book tour and we are fortunate to have her as our guest presenter.

Please make sure you have August 14 penciled in your date books. Vallere will talk about how to write mysteries.

Afterward, we will adjourn to La Mancha (across the street from the library) to celebrate her visit. Please join us.

Diane Vallere's new book Silk Stalkings

 

All-Day Mystery Workshop at College Station Oct. 15

THE ART & SCIENCE OF CRIME
Brazos Writers’ 2nd Annual Crime Workshop
Focus on Forensics:
Blood, Bugs, DNA and Facial Recognition
JUST THE FACTS
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Southwood Community Center
1520 Rock Prairie Road
College Station, Texas 77845
$60 (includes lunch and reception)
Capstone Speaker Lois Gibson

Register at

The Art and Science of Crime: A Forensics Workshop

Saturday, Oct 15, 2016, 9:00 AM

Southwood Community Center
1520 Rock Prairie Rd. College Station, TX

13 Writers, editors, poets Attending

Featuring capstone speaker Lois Gibson, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as The World’s Most Successful Forensic Artist. She has helped the Houston Police Department bring in over 1,266 criminals.Also featuring:Priscilla A. Hill, a Forensic DNA Analyst with over 10 years experience. She serves as the DNA Interpretation Manager at the Harris…

Check out this Meetup →

(Meetup.com → Brazos Writers of Bryan-College Station → Calendar → click on October 15