HOTXSINC Meeting: January 14, 2018

Our mission is to promote
the ongoing advancement, recognition,
and professional development of women crime writers.
                                             ~ SINC Mission Statement
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NEW LOCATION on January 14: CAFE EXPRESS!

Program: US Army Lieutenant Colonel Michael Grygar
Art Taylor: Sue Grafton, A Remembrance (of Sorts)
HOTXSINC Election of Officers
The Word on Our Members
Selected Sites
May Your Coming Year
Nolo Contendere

 

 

Sue Grafton: Alphabet crime author dies aged 77

 “As far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y,”
her daughter said in a statement posted to Facebook.

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On January 14, Join us at HOTXSINC’s

NEW LOCATION in 2018!

We’ll meet at the delightful

Café Express

   3418 N. Lamar, Austin 78705
512 452-9888

~ Same time ~
Second Sunday, 2:15 p. m.

Parking behind restaurant!
Great menu!

http://www.cafe-express.com/locations/austin

*

Our dues remain the same
~ $20 for the year ~
and should be paid
at the first meeting.
Cash or check, please.

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Our 2018 programs will be terrific
starting with

US Army Lieutenant Colonel Michael Grygar

LTC Grygar will speak about his work as a Military Police officer (MP) and Foreign Area Officer (FAO). 

If you have questions about the Army, military police, or how the US Army trains and supports foreign military forces, bring them to the meeting.

 LTC Michael Grygar entered military service in June of 1992, enlisting in the US Army Reserve as a Combat Medic. He was commissioned as a 2LT in the Military Police Corps through the University of Texas at Arlington ROTC program in 1996, while simultaneously earning a degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. LTC Grygar entered Active Duty in 2002. In 2009, he began Foreign Area Officer training at the Defense Language Institute where he studied Portuguese. He has completed a Masters in National Security Studies with a focus
on Latin America at the Naval Postgraduate School.  

 LTC Grygar has been assigned to Fort Leonard Wood, MO; USAG Bamberg, Germany; Iraq; Monterrey, CA; US Military Group, Guatemala; Fort Polk, LA; Afghanistan; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Fort Sam Houston, TX. He has served in a wide variety of assignments as a Military Police officer and then as a Foreign Area Officer, including positions as a Battle Captain in Iraq; Commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 793rd MP BN; Director of Emergency Services/Provost Marshal of the US Army Garrison in Bamberg, Germany; visiting instructor at the Guatemalan Command and General Staff College; Battalion Operations Officer, and Battalion XO of the 2nd Battalion, 353rd Infantry Regiment; instructor at the Brazilian Command and General Staff College in Brazil; and as the Political Military Affairs Division Chief within the Regional Affairs Directorate.

He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal (1 OLC), the Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), the Army Commendation Medal (1 OLC), the Army Achievement Medal (1 OLC), the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the NATO Medal, the Parachutists Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

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Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month, at 2:15 p.m. at Cafe Express,  3418 N. Lamar, Austin 78705512 452-9888

For information about the Heart of Texas Chapter contact Joyce Arquette, Publicity, (512) 266-6543.

Check out our blog/newsletter at https://sinc-heartoftexas.com/posts/

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Sue Grafton: A Remembrance (of Sorts)
by Art Taylor

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HOTXSINC Election of Officers

At the December 10, 2017 meeting, HOTXSINC elected officers for 2018. There being no nominations from the floor, the nominating committee’s slate of candidates was elected by acclamation:

President – Helen Currie Foster
Vice President/President Elect – Noreen Cedeno
Secretary/Membership – Francine Paino
Treasurer – David Ciambrone

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THE WORD ON OUR MEMBERS

K. P. Gresham’s radio play “The Case of the Poisoned Holly” was performed by a cast of HOTXSINC members at the annual holiday party on December 20, 2017. She spoke and signed copies of her mystery MURDER IN THE SECOND PEW at BookPeople on December 8.

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SELECTED SITES

Most of the articles listed below appeared on The Passive Voice: A Lawyer’s Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing. Subscribe to The Passive Voice to receive daily blog updates via email.

Amazon Review Policy Change & More

“Amazon now requires you to purchase a minimum of $50 worth of books or other products before you can leave a review or answer questions about a product. These purchases, and it looks like it is a cumulative amount, must be purchased via credit card or debit card — gift cards won’t count.”

Stability in the book marketplace does not mean commercial publishers continue to maintain their share

American Literature Needs Indie Presses

How Indie Presses Are Elevating the Publishing World

The Secret Life of ‘Um’

Business Musings: Sustainability

Astronauts Get Writer’s Block, Too: An Interview with Scott Kelly

Another Bay Area Barnes & Noble bites the dust

The Rise of Surender Mohan Pathak: HarperCollins India Wins Big With Hindi Pulp Fiction

“Hindi pulp fiction writer Surender Mohan Pathak has been made ‘the Agatha Christie of India’ by Minakshi Thakur, who saw potential in a genre ignored by other publishers.”

Google Chrome will block autoplay video starting January 2018

Content duplication issue briefly keeps Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s latest self-published chapbooks off Amazon

“Now, Amazon is in a strange situation; it cannot itself decide if it’s a publisher or a distributor, but in either case the demand for a copy of our contract with our publisher is out of line, and Steve and I will not comply.”- Author Sharon Lee

The Passive Voice: “In an update to the OP, TeleRead says Amazon customer service solved the problem. PG is happy to hear that in part because the authors seem like nice people.
“PG is usually on the little guy’s/gal’s side in these kind of disputes, but in this case, he understands Amazon’s concerns:…”

5 Things I’m Not Doing to Launch My Book—Plus What I’m Doing Instead

Nobody Has a Clue Barnes & Noble (BKS) /Q2 2018 Earnings Conference Call / November 30, 2017 10:00 AM ET

Barnes & Noble losses: Blame it on Harry Potter

Barnes & Noble Wants to Clear ‘Tchotchke’ Clutter, Sell More Books

Anti-Amazon: A Favorite Investment Theme For 2018

How to use Authentic Historical Detail to Trigger Emotions and Memories in Your Reader

But what about us?

ON THE PERILOUS PLIGHT OF THE PART-TIME LIBRARIAN

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May Your Coming Year…

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful,
and don’t forget to make some art–
write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year,
that you surprise yourself.

~ Neil Gaiman

***

NOLO CONTENDERE

  1. Members, send news for HOTXSHOTS! to kathywaller1 at gmail dot com. Send links you’d like included. Deadline – January 28, 2018.
  2. Send a headshot and titles of books and/or stories (plus links) for the HOTSHOTS! author page. In addition, send a link to your website/blog.
  3. Send links to your website/blog for the HOTSHOTS! blogroll.

Just Published: For the Children’s Sake

The Heart of Texas: Sisters in Crime chapter congratulates member N.M. Cedeño on the publication of her second book For the Children’s Sake.

Father Ingall Bryan is already dead, murdered outside his home, when his brother Nate finds his body. The priest had been the single-minded champion of the voiceless Allergen Children, whose inexplicable genetic mutation causes their touch to be deadly. Now that Father Ingall has been murdered, who will speak up for them? The priest’s enemies were too numerous to count—from the families of those accidentally harmed by the children, to those fearful that the children may wipe out humanity at will. Are they ruthless killing machines, or innocent victims? It soon becomes clear that Nate will have to find his brother’s killer on his own. Nate’s investigation raises questions that somebody doesn’t want answered. Traps lie around every corner as the killer tries to stop him and any research that could help the Allergen Children. As the body count increases and the attacks on the researchers escalate, the situation for the quarantined children becomes explosive. Can Nate solve his brother’s murder in time to save the researchers’ lives, defuse a political time bomb, and prevent further injustice? He must, for his brother, and for the children’s sake.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

N. M. Cedeño lives in Round Rock, Texas, and writes mystery short stories and novels, most of which are set in Texas. Her first novel, All In Her Head, a romantic suspense set in Dallas, was published in 2014 in partnership with Lucky Bat Books. Her science fiction/mystery short story A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy was published by Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine in 2012. This short story and several others are available as ebooks. She is working on a near future mystery series with paranormal elements, i.e. ghosts, set in central Texas. The first stories of the new series are set to be published in 2016. For more details or to contact the author, visit her website nmcedeno.com.

December 14, 2014 ~ HOTXSINC Meeting & Party @ Book Spot in Round Rock ~ PLUS ~ K-HOT’s “Holly Through the Heart,” an Old-Fashioned Radio Play

Reminder: Vote for 2015 officers Sunday.

HOTSINC’s 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. December 14 meeting at

New Venue

The Book Spot

near the intersection of 620 and IH 35.
1205 Round Rock Avenue#119 (in a strip mall)
Round Rock, TX 78681

Please bring refreshments for our party.
Finger foods, please–especially foods that don’t require spoons.

Agenda

1. Call to Order

2. Announcements
Reminder: SINC dues are dues this month.
(The treasurer will be most happy to accept payment before or after the meeting.)

3. Vote for 2015 officers

4. Radio Station K-HOT

presents

“Holly Through the Heart”

an original play by

Gale Albright

Cast

Gale Albright
Valerie Chandler
Alex Ferraro
Kathy Waller

& Dave Ciambrone as

ta-da!

Sherlock Holmes

sound effects by Valerie Chandler

4. Refreshments and Polite Conversation

*****

The Book Spot, which does not open on Sundays, opened today just so HOTXSINC would have a good place for today’s gathering.
Please remember to thank them for supporting our chapter. If you can, buy a book. We know they would appreciate it.

The Book Spot on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/TheBookSpot

Map
https://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&pc=FACEBK&mid=8100&where1=1205+Round+Rock+Ave+Suite+119%2C+Round+Rock%2C+Texas+78681&name=The+Book+Spot&mkt=en-US

 

Rehearsing “Holly Through the Heart”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

November 9, 2014 ~ Terry Shames Speaks about Professionalism and the Mystery Writer

terry-shamesMystery author Terry Shames will speak about professionalism at the meeting of Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas Chapter at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 9, 2014. She will tell about her determination to be professional, how professionalism paid off for her in finding a publisher, and how it continues to pay off now that is she published.

Terry Shames writes the Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious small town of Jarrett Creek, Texas. She grew up in Texas and has abiding affection for the small town where her grandparents lived, the model for Jarrett Creek. Her first novel, A Killing at Cotton Hill was nominated for the Left Coast Crime award for best mystery of 2013, the Strand Magazine Critics Award, and a Macavity Award for Best First Novel of 2013. MysteryPeople named it one of the five two debut mysteries of 2013.

Her second novel, The Last Death of Jack Harbin came out in January. MysteryPeople dubbed it one of the top ten mysteries of 2013. Her third novel, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek came out October, 2014.

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter, meets on the second Sunday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at Recycled Reads. The address is 5335 Burnet Road, Austin.

Meetings are free and open to all. For more information, check out the Sisters in Crime website at http://sinc-heartoftexas.com

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A Pitch-Perfect Paragraph – for Readers Who Know Cows

English: Herefords, The Park, Ashford Carbonel...
English: Herefords, The Park, Ashford Carbonel. The light coloured bull calf (1 month old) belongs to the cow on the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I head into the house for my hat and my cane and the keys to my truck. There’s not a thing wrong with me but a bum knee. Several months ago one of my heifers knocked me down accidentally and it spooked her so bad that she stepped on my leg. This happened in the pasture behind my house, where I keep twenty head of white-faced Herefords. It took me two hours to drag myself back to the house, and those damned cows hovered over me every inch of the way.

~ Terry Shames, A Killing at Cotton Hill


 This post appeared on To Write Is to Write Is to Write on January 22, 2014.

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Book Not-Quite-Review: Terry Shames’ A Killing at Cotton Hill

It took me two hours to drag myself back to the house, and those damned cows hovered over me every inch of the way. ~Terry Shames, A Killing at Cotton Hill

Waterhouse's The Lady of Shalott Looking at La...
Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott Looking at Lancelot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in my teaching days, I handed a student a copy of T. H. White’s The Once and Future King and told her I thought she might like it. She did. So much, in fact, that she volunteered to write a review for the school newspaper.

The review went something like this: I loved this book. It was just so…Guinevere was terrible. She was just so… It was so sad…It’s a wonderful book. I just love it.

Unfortunately, the review was never published, because instead of turning into ideas and thence into sentences and finding its way onto paper, it remained a clump of molecules of emotion lodged somewhere in the vicinity of the student’s corpus callosum. Only a few tiny bits escaped as babble.

The reason was no mystery: The writer was too close to her subject. She lacked distance, detachment. She needed, as Wordsworth said when defining poetry, to recollect her powerful emotion in tranquility.

Lack of detachment is a common condition. I’ve suffered from it for weeks.

Several days ago, I posted part of a paragraph from Terry Shames’ first novel, A Killing at Cotton Hill, and illustrated it with a photograph of four white-faced Herefords. That was all.

That’s still all. I’m too close to the book. I wouldn’t dare try to review it now.

If I did, it would come out like this:

I love this book. It’s just so…There’s this wonderful sentence on the second page about hovering cows…That’s exactly what cows do…I can just see those cows…The person who wrote that sentence knows cows…And the dialogue…It’s just so…I just love it.

As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with that cow sentence.* I’ve read well past page two, but I can’t erase hovering cows from my mind. So I’ll say no more about A Killing at Cotton Hill.

I can report that yesterday evening I attended a reading at BookPeople celebrating the release ofkilling at cotton hill Terry Shames’ second book, and the second Samuel Craddock mystery, The Last Death of Jack Harbin.

Terry spoke, read an excerpt from the book, and finished up by taking questions from the audience. To prevent this part of the post from turning into babble, I’ll simply list some of the notes I jotted down:

  • Terry is from Lake Jackson, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas and then worked for the CIA. [KW: I have your attention now, right?]
  • Both of Terry’s books were finalists for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award.
  • The Last Death of Jack Harbin is about a veteran who comes home from war damaged in body and in spirit. The book is about what people do with their guilt.
  • Library Journal gave Jack Harbin a Starred Review. [KW: And they don’t hand those out to every book that comes along.]
  • Scott Montgomery, BookPeople’s Crime Fiction Coordinator, says Jack Harbin “subtly works on you”–that you don’t realize its depth until you’ve finished–and you’ll still be thinking about it a week later.

Because of the hour, and my lack of detachment, this is as far as my not-quite-review will go. Suffice it to say that I enjoyed Terry’s reading, that I love A Killing at Cotton Hill,** and that The Last Death of Jack Harbin has gone to the top of my To Be Read list.

For more about Terry Shames and her books, read Terry’s “What’s Next for Samuel Craddock” and “MysteryPeople Q&A with Terry Shames,” both on the MysteryPeople blog.***


  • The sentence isn’t really about cows. It’s about Samuel Craddock. But I am fond of white-faced Herefords, and the image Terry painted is so vivid, the cows overshadow the protagonist, at least in my mind.

** I forgot to take my camera to the reading, so I’ve illustrated with a photograph I took myself. The fur on the right of the book shouldn’t be there, but it was easier to just take the picture than to move the cat.

***Terry’s third Samuel Craddock mystery, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, was published in October 2014. Catriona McPherson, author of As She Left It and the Dandy Gilver Mysteries says about this book, “Small towns in mysteries can be too cute or too weird to be true, but Jarrett Creek is the real deal and Samuel Craddock is the jewel in its crown. Flawed, complex, decent, and captivating—spending time in this town with the Chief is a delight. And what a terrific story, too.”

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This post first appeared on To Write Is to Write Is to Write on January 28, 2014.

Scones, Shortbread, & Structure: P. D. James & the Mystery Genre

When did you last attend a genuine English afternoon tea?

English: An Afternoon Tea

English: An Afternoon Tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I helped host one yesterday at Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter in Austin. The program focused on the life and work of English mystery novelist P. D. James, who recently marked her ninety-fourth birthday. Ms James’ latest novel, Death Comes to Pemberley, will be aired on PBS Masterpiece Mystery later this fall. All things considered, this seemed the proper time to celebrate the author’s contribution to literature. What better way than with a tea?

Here I must insert a disclaimer: When I call it a genuine English afternoon tea, I really mean a genuine Texas-style English afternoon tea. Dress was admittedly casual–very few hats or tea dresses–and I forgot to take the table linens. And the Earl Grey was made with teabags. But we had scones and shortbread and sandwiches, clotted cream, china teapots and cups and saucers, and boiling water. For an Austin Sisters in Crime chapter, that’s about as genuine as we can manage on our first endeavour.

P. D. James is my favorite mystery writer. I’ve read all of her novels, but my favorite of her books is Time to Be in Earnest: A Fragment of Autobiography, a diary she kept from her seventy-seventh to her seventy-eighth birthday. The book is a joy to read. It has an intimate tone, as if the author were speaking directly to the reader, sharing stories of her post-World War I childhood; her school days; her marriage and family life during World War II;  her work in government service; her many honors; and, of course, her novels.

The parts I enjoy most, however, are Ms James’ observations about literature and about her own work. She never thought about starting with anything other than a detective novel, she says. She had always read mysteries for recreation, and she has “a streak of skepticism, even of morbidity, which attracted [her] to the exploration of character and motive under the trauma of a police investigation of a violent death.”

She also loves structure. The detective story, she notes, is “probably the most structured of popular fiction.”

Here is the point where I must put in my oar. Critics often suggest that genre fiction doesn’t qualify as literature. It’s formulaic, they say. The writer of mystery novels simply fills in the blanks, and, Voila!–a novel appears.

I’ve read that so many times that when I started work on a mystery novel, I apologized to everyone who asked what I was writing.

But after thoughtful consideration, I no longer apologize.

The sonnet is formulaic: fourteen lines in iambic pentameter, following one of two rime schemes. Do critics complain that Shakespeare’s sonnets are formulaic?

For that matter, Shakespeare’s tragedies have a set structure: five acts with the technical climax, a reversal of fortune, at the midpoint. At the middle of Act III, when Hamlet could kill his uncle Claudius but decides to wait–because Claudius is praying and, if killed now, would go straight to Heaven–do theater-goers whisper, “Well, it’s a pretty decent play, but this thing  about Hamlet not killing Claudius–that’s just part of the formula, you know.”

In Pride and Prejudice, Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth and her immediate refusal occur at the exact center of the story. Open the book to that event–half of the pages will be on the left and half on the right. The novel is perfectly balanced. Elizabeth spends the first half of the book believing the worst of Darcy, ridiculing him, complaining about his pride, and the second half regretting the prejudice that blinded her to her own faults. That’s a definite reversal. Do we find articles pointing out that even though Pride and Prejudice is one of the finest novels in the English language, it isn’t really a big deal? Because all Miss Austen did was follow the formula?

Furthermore, the epic properly begins in medias res and comprises twelve books. Do we dismiss Paradise Lost because Milton was just copying Homer?

Enough. I’ll take out my oar. Ms James is more secure than I, and therefore presents her argument in measured tones and fewer words:

I love structure in a novel, and the detective story is probably the most structured of popular fiction. Some would say it is the most artificial, but then all fiction is artificial, a careful rearrangement by selection of the writer’s internal life in a form designed to make it accessible and attractive to a reader. The construction of a detective story may be formulaic; the writing need not be.

 The construction of a detective story may be formulaic; the writing need not be.

That’s what separates the works of Shakespeare, Austen, and other greats from the works of lesser writers.

It’s also the secret to James’ success, the reason that in her hands, the mystery genre rises to the level of literature: She takes the form, the structure, the skeleton, and covers it with art.


Kathy Waller blogs at To Write Is to Write Is to Write (http://kathywaller1.com) and at Austin Mystery Writers.

Find her on Twitter @KathyWaller1 and on Facebook.


This post appeared first at Writing Wranglers and Warriors.