HOTXSINC March 12, 2017: Drones


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


Reminder: HOTXSINC now meets on the 3rd floor of

603 N. Lamar (6th St. and Lamar), in Austin, Texas.


SINC heart 4

News from Our Members
From SINC National
Events @ MysteryPeople
Writing Groups

Conferences, Workshops, & Retreats
Prompts and Challenges
Selected Sites
Nolo Contendere

Last Month’s Meeting

SINC heart 4

Andrew Maximow, Business Development and Training Instructor at Drone Dynamics, will speak about drone technology at the HOTXSINC meeting on March 12, 2017.

If you want to be the worst spy ever, fire up your drone and launch it to gather intelligence.  The buzzing motors and bright flashing LED lights will help maintain your stealthy position.  Seriously?  Unfortunately, drones have received a bad rap in recent years especially with negative newspaper headlines like, “killing war machines,” “invasion of privacy,” “ban the drones,” “threat to the public,” etc.  Much of this stems from the complete lack of understanding, increased use of drone by the military, and a few “bad apples” that makes for sensational news.  All that being said, counter-drone is top of mind for Public Safety organizations and law enforcement departments across the nation.  With advanced technology like autopilots, night vision, autonomous navigation, augmented reality, and optical flow & thermal sensors, drones are quickly becoming the tool of choice for terrorists, bad guys, and overall nefariousness.  The good guys are scrambling to understand and acquire the technology for all sorts of applications, including  counter-drone, situational awareness, search and rescue, crime scene investigation, missing person, drug interdiction, fire fighting, barricaded subject, and disaster relief – all in the name of saving lives!
"Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)" by CISRO licensed under CC BY 3.0. Via Wikipedia.
“Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)” by CISRO licensed under CC BY 3.0. Via Wikipedia.

Andrew Maximow, Business Development & Training Instructor, possesses more than 20 years of advancement and achievement leveraging technology to transform the customer experience, including 4 years in the drone/UAV/sUAS industry. In his business development role at Drone Dynamics, Mr. Maximow is responsible for solution selling to AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) market segments as well as local and state government entities. Andrew created the Drone Dynamics Drone Training Program. Prior to that Andrew led the Enterprise Services organization at 3D Robotics, resulting in engagements most notably with BNSF Railways, Kiewit, Liberty Mutual, and Google Fiber. Prior to 3DR, Mr. Maximow held a variety of senior positions at Cisco Systems, including development of Channel Partner services, and as Dir. Professional Services with P&L responsibility, with over $50M in recurring revenue. He has also demonstrated expertise in business development, solutions selling, planning, executing growth, and exceeding profitability and customer satisfaction goals.

He possesses B. S. and M. S. degrees in Industrial Engineering.

HOTXSINC meets from 2:15 to 4:00 p.m. the second Sunday of each month at BookPeople, 6th St. and Lamar, in Austin. For more information, email JArquette (at) austin (dot) rr (dot) com.


Photographs used by permission of CISRO under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence.

“English: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer a cost-effective way of inspecting power lines, bridges, buildings, and cooling towers. CSIRO researchers are developing technology that will allow UAVs to safely and reliably perform such tasks with only minimal guidance from a ground-based operator. This UAV research is part of the Smart Skies project, which will develop and demonstrate automated separation management technologies that allow greater use of the National Airspace System by manned and unmanned aircraft through the integration of information and communication technologies. The CSIRO Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) component of the Smart Skies project will allow UAVs to safely fly close to structures such as power lines, bridges, buildings and cooling towers and transit through controlled airspace.” –


  My friends call me Miss Worst Case Scenario. ~ Patricia Cornwell


SINC heart 4 News From Our Members

sue-cleveland-photo-02-14-2017Sue Cleveland read an excerpt from her piece “Decoy” during the 2017 Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference & Bookfair (AWP) at Minerva Rising’s contributor event in Washington D.C. “Decoy” appeared in the spring 2014 issue, Turning Points. The issue received a Notable Edition nod in the 2015 Best American Essays edited by Ariel Levy.

Writers published in Minerva Rising gathered during the AWP conference to celebrate the literary journal’s fifth birthday by reading their work and applauding Executive Editor Kimberley Brown’s vision of creating a journal that “celebrates the creativity and wisdom in every woman.”

Where were the writers from? There were too many to ask, but here’s a sampling: Maine, Texas, New York, the Carolinas, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts. What moved me the most about the readings? Gutsy honesty.


George Wier @ HOTXSINC, February 2015
George Wier @ HOTXSINC, February 2015

George Wier will be the keynote speaker at the Cuenca International Writers Conference in Cuenca, Ecuador, March 14 through 17. According to the conference website, “There is something magical in the Andean air of Cuenca—sparks of creativity and possibility which will open up your mind and bring fresh ideas to your writing as well as helping you gain valuable knowledge of the publishing industry.”


Nancy G. West
Nancy G. West

Nancy G. West has released “Book News: The First Ever Newsletter.” To subscribe, email her at

A podcast and the transcript of Nancy’s interview with Laura Brennan can be heard on or downloaded from on the February 10, 2017 post on Destination Mystery.


Solar eclipse, Our First Century, ca 1876; Internet Book Archive. No known copyright restrictions. Via Flickr.
Solar eclipse, Our First Century, ca 1876; Internet Book Archive. No known copyright restrictions. Via Flickr.

Stories by Laura Oles (“Ocean Fifty”) and M. K. Waller (“I’ll Be a Sunbeam”) will be published in crime fiction anthology DAY OF THE DARK, compiled and edited by Kaye George. DAY OF THE DARK will be released by Wildside Press on July 21, 2017, exactly a month before the North American total solar eclipse on August 21.



Manning Wolfe will present Legal Issues for Authors at the Houston Writers Guild Annual Conference, April 28 – 30. Click here to register. Manning writes, “My LIFA presentations are part of my service to the writing community. They are free to any organization or group when and where I can reasonably fit them into my schedule. If you need a speaker, email and ask when I’ll be in your area.”


Alexandra Burt has published the following guest posts: “So I Wanted to Be a Writer,” at My Reading Corner; “The Summer of Evil” at; and “What Remains When Your First Language Fades Away at Literary Hub.

Kirkus Review says of Alexandra’s novel THE GOOD DAUGHTER (Berkley, February 7, 2017), “Burt knows how to propel a strongly character-driven novel forward, using intrigue, mystery, plot twists, and rich—sometimes grisly—sensory imagery. . . .  both fascinating and unsettling and speaks to the strength of the human will to survive even under the most adverse conditions. Burt’s tale captivates to the bitter end, by which time ‘everything that was done in the dark has come into the light.’”

Alexandra spoke and signed THE GOOD DAUGHTER at BookPeople on February 21.


 In first person, readers feel smart, like it’s them solving the case.
~ Patricia Cornwell


 SINC heart 4 From Sisters in Crime National

To active members:

Volunteers are needed for the SINC booth at the American Library Association conference in Chicago, June 22 – 26. You may volunteer your time and/or donate your books (up to 3 books, signed or unsigned OR send 5 copies of the same book for our new Book Club Bags). If interested, fill out the web form in the Members Only section of the SINC website. If you have any questions, please contact Cari Dubiel, Library Liaison.


I never know what’s going to happen in a novel.
I don’t have a plan or an outline. ~ Donna Leon


SINC heart 4 Events @ MysteryPeople

MONDAY, 3/06/17, 7:00 p.m. –

7% Solution Book Club discusses The Red Death by Walter Mosley

MONDAY, 3/20/17, 1 PM

Murder in the Afternoon Book Club discusses The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

WEDNESDAY, 3/29/17, 7 PM

Hard Word Book Club discusses Find A Victim by Ross Macdonald.

SATURDAY, 4/8/17, 6 PM

Philip Kerr, speaking and signing his latest Gunther mystery, Prussian Blue.

TUESDAY, 4/18/17, 7 PM

Greg Iles, speaking and signing his final installment of his epic trilogy featuring Penn Cage, Mississippi Blood.

THURSDAY, 4/20/17, 7 PM

Megan Miranda, speaking and signing her sophomore crime novel, The Perfect Stranger.

WEDNESDAY, 5/31/17, 7 PM

Lori Rader-Day, speaking and signing her latest psychological mystery, The Day I Died.


All of us sing more from sorrow than from joy.
It is tragedy that leaves a mark on the mind and calls for the tribute of a song.
Happiness is its own gift, and needs no other. ~ Sharon McCrumbThe Songcatchers


SINC heart 4 Writing Groups

© David Davis, Alien Resort
© David Davis, Alien Resort

15 Minutes of Fame, a writing

practice group, meets the third Saturday of the month at Twin Oaks Branch Library, 1800 S. Fifth (corner of S. Fifth and W. Mary), Austin, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Participants do timed writings, then read aloud what they’ve written (but only if they want to read aloud). Strictly recreation–no critiques.





Horse sense is the instinct that keeps horses from betting on men.
~ Josephine Tey


SINC heart 4 Opportunities

The Masters Review Blog
“March Deadlines: 10 Awards and Deadlines to Meet This Month”


Crime is a very hard genre to feminise.
If you have a female protagonist
she is going to be looking after her mum when she gets older;
she is going to be worried about her brother and sister;
she will be making a living while bringing up kids. ~ Denise Mina


SINC heart 4 Conferences, Workshops, & Retreats

DFW Writers Conference 2017 – Dallas, TX ; May 6 – 7

Killer Nashville 2017  – Franklin, TN; August 24 -27

Elizabeth George on “Process and the Novel” – Tuscany, Italy; May 22 – 31

California Crime Writers Conference 2017  – Culver City, CA; June 10 -11
(Presented by Sisters in Crime LA / SoCal Mystery Writers)

Writers’ Police Academy – Green Bay, WI; August  10 – 13

Mystery Writers Conference 2017 – Corte Madera, CA – September 7 – 10

Bouchercon 2017: Passport to Murder – Toronto, Canada; October 11 – 15

Write, Travel, Transform: Machu Pichu and the Sacred Valley of Peru – Machu Pichu, Peru; October 17 – 31

Find more conference listings at–

Association of Writers and Writing Programs, “Directory of Conferences and Centers”
Author E.M.S., “Upcoming Conferences and Events”
Shaw Guides, “Guide to Writing Conferences and Writing Workshops”
LitReactor, “A List of 2017 Workshops & Conferences for Writers”
Sisters in Crime, “Conferences, Events, and Trade Shows”

Writers Retreat Workshop: Memories, Guidance, Inspiration Since 1987 – San Antonio, TX; May 6 – 13

The Write Life“31 Incredible Writing Retreats to Attend in 2017”

Writing Retreats with Laura Davis

Women Writing Retreats


I always make a point of keeping the most pleasant-sounding name for the murderer.
As he or she is bound to come to an unpleasant end,
it seems the very least the author can do. ~ Ngaio Marsh


Prompts and Challenges SINC heart 4

Blogging from A to Z Challenge [April 2017]


My work is less violent because we tend to write what we want to read…
and I’m not that interested in gruesome books.
Any violence, to fit in well with a crime novel, has to have compassion.
~ Ann Cleeves


SINC heart 4 Selected Sites & Pages

Mystery Thriller Week
“How to Write a Thriller in the Style of Alfred Hitchcock”

The Stiletto Gang
“Two Years of Wisdom in 250 Words or Less”

Ramona De Felice Long
“4 Tough Questions for Your Critique Group”

Mysterious Writers
“Writing Ideas from Some of the Best” 

The Short Fiction Mystery Society Blog

Mystery Writers of America
“Amendment to Active Membership Status Guidelines”

Nightstand Book Reviews
The Edgar Awards – 2017

Thanks to The Passive Voice for sharing the following links:

“Revenge of the Copy Editors: Grammar Pros Find Internet Stardom”

“Real Writers”

“Why I’ve Ditched the Kindle for Print Books (and Why You Should, Too)”


She always says, my lord, that facts are like cows.
If you look them in the face long enough, they run away.
~ Dorothy L. Sayers


SINC heart 4 Nolo Contendere  

  1. Member authors – Send headshots and info about publications–titles of books and short stories (publishers, dates, where stories were published, links to books, if you wish). Also send links to your websites/blogs.
  2. Members – Send your news for blog, at least two weeks before meetings if possible. I try to publish at least a week before each meeting. Whatever I have when the blog is published is what I’ll include.
  3. Members – Submit brief (~ 300 words) book reviews, articles (about classes you’ve taught; tips for writing; the writing life; links to websites you like, info about conferences, workshops, anything you think will interest readers.
  4. Members – Send links to your blog and /or website for inclusion in our blogroll.
  5. If you notice errors or omissions, please let me know so I can correct them. Regarding odd variations in spacing, font size, and other such matters–those are WordPress’ idea. It will take a conversation with tech support to root them out.

Kathy Waller, Editor
kathywaller1 at gmail dot com


 Chemists employed by the police
can do remarkable things with blood.

They can weave it into a rope to hang a man.
~ Marjorie Allingham


 Last Month’s Meeting 

Texas Ranger Cody Mitchell spoke about Interdiction for the Protection of Children, a program he created, designed to train law enforcement officers to recognize indicators of missing, abducted, and exploited children during routine traffic stops. The program also teaches officers to identify, in the absence of a child, indicators that an adult individual has, or will, offend against a child.


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To All HOTXSINC Members–A Call for Submission

Knife Challenge

–from Eugenia Parrish

eugenia-parrish-knife-0109171014At the HoTSinC meeting on Jan 8, I offered a writing challenge to the members, with this knife as the prize. The parameters are taken from Ellery Queen magazine’s guidelines for a short story, which are between 2500 and 8000 words (approx 10 to 32 pgs depending on the font, word processor, etc.)  For those who weren’t there, the knife is a “hunting knife” of 8.5″ overall length and a blade of 4″.  Surgical steel blade, Paka wood handle and comes with a leather sheath.

I wish I could accept emailed manuscripts, but I’m just not set up for it, so at the next meeting, Feb 12, everyone give me their printed out manuscript with their name on, of course, and the word count.  We will announce our winner at the March meeting at BookPeople.  We are all pros, but I’ll just mention that the font should be pretty standard, like Times New Roman, nothing fancy or hard to read, and the usual size 12 or 14.  Please no pink paper!

The story has to be a crime/mystery that includes the knife in this picture.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be THE weapon, just in the story somewhere.
I look forward to reading some great stuff!
Note: The Knife Challenge is open to members of SINC Heart of Texas Chapter. If you’re not a member but would like to participate, you’re welcome to join now. Membership form and instructions are here: 

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?

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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



Malvern Books


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


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.

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.

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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.