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

*

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.

September 14 – Birthday Tea for P. D. James’ 94th Birthday

At its September 14 meeting, Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter will host a program about novelist P. D. James, followed by English tea, in celebration of author P. D. James’ 94th birthday.

James, popularly acknowledged as the premier writer of the modern mystery novel, published her first book, Cover Her Face, featuring detective Adam Dalgliesh, in 1962. Since then, she has added twelve more Dalgleish mysteries, two featuring detective Cordelia Gray, and three stand-alone mysteries. She has also published three works of non-fiction. Her works have been featured on PBS’ Mystery series. The latest, Death Comes to Pemberley, will be aired this fall.

The HOTXSINC program will feature presentations by members on James’ life and work, including Youtube videos of interviews with the author. Special guests Maria Rodriguez, Director of Programming for KLRU-TV will present an overview of KLRU/PBS “Mystery!”, based on mysteries by female authors, and Linda Lehmusvirta, KLRU Senior Producer for Central Texas Gardener and a P. D. James enthusiast, will speak about P. D. James’ televised mysteries on KLRU/PBS.

Following the program, members and guests will be treated to a traditional English tea, during which they will be free to engage in polite conversation.

sinc teapots web 2014-08-27 007

The meeting will take place at Recycled Reads, 5335 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., on Sunday, September 14. The meeting is free and open to the public.

 

Upcoming Events

July 13 – How to Critique: Constructive Criticism and Critique Groups

paper stack - Ladyheart - morguefile - file0001845175736
Paper Stack by Ladyheart, Morguefile free photo, http://mrg.bz/bIf0HV

Dr. Timothy E. Green, Professor of English at St. Edward’s University, will tell HOTXSINC members how writers can discuss fellow writers’ work without engaging in tears or fisticuffs.

Joining Professor Green for a panel discussion will be Amanda Robinson of North Austin YA Writers, and Kathy Waller and Valerie Chandler of Austin Mystery Writers. After the program, writers wanting to join or start a critique group will break up into small groups to get to know each other and to practice critique.

Writers interested in forming or joining a critique group should bring 1 – 3 pages of work in progress for practice critique in breakout groups

 

August 10 – Story Building: Getting From Idea to Final Draft

 

Meg GardinerMeg Gardiner, author of Phantom Instinct, will discuss how she went from her first attempts at writing to getting published, and about some of the major building blocks of a crime novel. Q & A session will follow.

 

 

 

September 14 – Happy Birthday, P. D. James

 

Lyme Hall at Lyme Park in Cheshire, England. T...
Lyme Hall at Lyme Park in Cheshire, England. This location served as Pemberley (Mr Darcy’s estate) in the 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by the BBC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). By Mike Colvin from Manchester, UK (IMGP3721) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Death Comes to Pemberley, a spin-off of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, will air on PBS/KLRU this fall.

To prepare, members will present an overview of James’ life and her writing. An English tea will follow in celebration of the author’s 94th birthday.

 

***