HOTXSINC August 13: Austin Bomb Squad

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

August 13 Program: Officer Jeffrey Joseph of the Austin Bomb Squad

Call for Readers @ the October Meeting
The Word on Our Members
Launch Party for Meredith Lee’s SHROUDED
Selected Sites
Counting Down to the Eclipse
The One Thing More


Austin’s Bomb Squad

On Sunday, August 13, Officer Jeffrey Joseph of the Austin Police Department will present a detailed overview of  the Austin Bomb Squad Unit and the services provided by the bomb technicians and their K-9 counterparts. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

Officer Joseph is a twenty-year veteran of the APD and has worked in the Bomb Squad Unit for five of those years. Given the tumultuous times we live in, his presentation promises to be a fascinating and relevant presentation for all.


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

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


Most crime fiction plots are not ambitious enough for me.
I want something really labyrinthine
with clues and puzzles that will reward careful attention. ~ Sophie Hannah


Call for Readers @ the October Meeting

SISTERS IN CRIME Heart of Texas Chapter


Excerpted Readings from Heart of Texas Chapter Authors

An important goal of Sisters in Crime is to promote and assist our authors in as many ways as possible.

OCTOBER 8, 2017: At the regular October meeting, members who have paid their 2017 dues may read from a current work or a work in progress. Each reading will be limited to five minutes in order to allow time for as many writers as possible to take advantage of this opportunity.

If you are a current member in good standing and are interested in presenting excerpts of your work please send in your name to Sisters in Crime Vice President Noreen Cedeño, noreenm74 at There are a limited number of slots available and the deadline for sign-ups is September 1, 2017.

Non-members please join us. In addition to the members’ excerpted readings a portion of the meeting will be devoted to HOW TO GET REVIEWS – More information to follow.


I’m sold as a literary writer in Holland; I’m sold as crime fiction in England.
I think of it as just literature. ~ Karin Slaughter


The Word on Our Members

Dave Ciambrone

from Dave Ciambrone
I’ll be speaking at the
Llano Quilt Guild on August 21st at 10:30 a.m., at the Country Quilt Shop, 100 E. Exchange Place, in Llano, Texas; and
the Main Street Quilt Guild on September 26, at the YMCA, 1812 N. Mays Street in Round Rock, Texas.
I have a booth at the Chisholm Trail Quilt Guild quilt show on September 29 and 30 at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas.


Nancy G. West

from Nancy G. West
Susan Yerkes writes an article about the Aggie Mundeen mystery, in Rio Magazine:



Laura Oles

Kathy Waller

from Laura Oles and M. K. Waller
DAY OF THE DARK: Stories of Eclipse,
edited by award-winning mystery writer Kaye George, was released by Wildside Press on July 21. The anthology was inspired by the upcoming August 21 total solar eclipse, the first visible across the entire continental U. S. in ninety-nine years. DAY OF THE DARK comprises twenty-four stories, including Laura’s “Ocean’s Fifty” and M. K.’s “I’ll Be a Sunbeam.” Authors talk about their stories on Debra Goldstein’s blog, “Day of the Dark, Part I” and “Part II.”


He won’t hurt me. I have a secret weapon. ~ Sandra Brown


Launch Party for Meredith Lee’s SHROUDED

Sue Meredith Cleveland & Dixie Lee Evatt

ThirtyNineStars will sponsor a book launch for Meredith Lee’s debut
mystery novel, SHROUDED, on September 9, 2017, at The Writing Barn
in Austin, Texas. The event is set for 3:00 to 5:00 pm.

Meredith Lee is the pen name for the Austin-based writing team of
Dixie Lee Evatt and Sue Meredith Cleveland. SHROUDED, the first
installment in the Crispin Leads Mystery Series, is the story of a
graduate student whose trip to Rome to study burial rituals at the
Vatican is derailed when she is witness to a murder.

Copies of the book will be on sale at the event for $14.99, plus tax.
Authors will be present to sign books and answer questions. Prelaunch
commercial sale of the book is scheduled on Amazon and at
BookPeople, Austin’s independent book store at 6th and Lamar, in
mid- to late August.

The book is already receiving pre-publication praise. SHROUDED was a
finalist in the 2017 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.

The Writing Barn is located at 10202 Wommack Road, Austin, Texas

To learn more visit


I had a vision … of being found on the pavement by some passerby,
with a small punctuation mark ending my sentence of life.
~ Mary Roberts Rinehart


Selected Sites

Thanks to The Passive Voice for the following suggestions.

Amazon Prime will be in more than half of US households by year’s end

Is There Anything Better than BookBub?

The End of Typing: The Next Billion Mobile Users Will Rely on Video and Voice

Links to The Passive Voice on



Subscribe to The Passive Voice by email on the blog’s sidebar.

Thanks to Writer Unboxed for posting the following.

Stealing from Aesop

Writing Through Life’s Stages: The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

Storyboarding with Scrivener (or, A Love Affair with Virtual Index Cards)

Publishing Moves On. Do Readers?

What to Read When You’re Not Reading Books

Every Good Book is a Mystery, Even When it’s Not

Using Ergonomics to Design the Optimal Workstation


The point of quotations is that one can use another’s words to be insulting.
~ Carolyn Heilbrun


Counting Down to the Eclipse


This image of the moon crossing in front of the sun was captured on Jan. 30, 2014, by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observing an eclipse from its vantage point in space.
Credits: NASA


NASA Eclipse Website

Earth and Sky


I feel like I need to give people a note with the book that says,
‘I’m OK, no worries!’ ~ Gillian Flynn


The One Thing More

Woody’s Words of Wisdom from Paws N Reflect

If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face,
you should go home and examine your conscience. ~ Woodrow Wilson


Nolo Contendere

  1. Members, send news for HOTSHOTS! to kathywaller1 at gmail dot com. Deadline for inclusion in the August issue is Friday, August 28.
  2. Member authors, send head shots and titles of your publications to kathywaller1 at gmail dot com for the HOTXSINC Author page.

Kathy Waller, editor
kathywaller1 at gmail dot com

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.

June 14’s New Topic: From Play to Publication: Creating an Anthology of Crime Fiction

Murder on WheelsThere is a change in Sunday’s program. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Minerva Koenig cannot present the program at the HoTXSinC meeting.

But the meeting will go on!

In Minerva’s place, HoTXSinC members Gale Albright, Valerie Chandler, and Kathy Waller, and Scott Montgomery, Crime Fiction Coordinator at BookPeople Bookstore, will discuss the stages in creating a crime fiction anthology–from coming up with an idea through unpacking their own author copies.

They’ll also read excerpts from their own stories in the recently published MURDER ON WHEELS: 11 STORIES OF CRIME FICTION ON THE MOVE–“stories that transport you from an eighteenth-century sailing ship to the open roads of modern Texas, from Alice’s Wonderland to a schoolbus yard in the suburbs of Dallas.”

A number of members have said they would be interested in submitting stories for a HoTXSinC crime fiction anthology. This program will offer information about that process. We hope it will also encourage more members to participate in the project.

As always, the meeting is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend, and to gather with us for dinner after the meeting at La Mancha, across the street from the Yarborough Library.

Authors who bring books to sell may sell them after the meeting, off library property.

If you stay for dinner, please move your car from the library parking lot to La Mancha’s parking lot. We want to leave plenty of spaces open for library patrons.

We also hope to reschedule Minerva’s presentation at a later date.


Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meets monthly on the second Sunday at 2:15 p.m. at the Yarborough Branch Public Library. Meetings are free and open to all. Speakers include published mystery authors and technical experts who help writers craft better mysteries and readers enjoy what they read.

Sisters in Crime is an international organization of women and men whose mission is to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.

For information contact Joyce Arquette, Publicity (512) 266-6543.



Call for Submissions: Micro-Mysteries for APL’s Facebook Page

Attention: All Members of Sisters in Crime ~ Heart of Texas Chapter

Call for Submissions!

Austin Public Library (APL) invites HoTxSinC members to submit a total of four (4) micro-mysteries for publication on the APL Facebook page this February.

One micro-mystery will be published each Sunday in February 2015.

Submission period is open NOW. Email your micro-mystery to Kathy Waller (kathywaller1 at as soon as you can.

For details, read on.

APL Guidelines

per Cesar Garza, Reference Librarian, Austin Public Library

SINC heart 41. I’m requesting 4 micro-mysteries, one to run on the APL Facebook page each Sunday in February.

SINC heart 42. Each micro-mystery must be emailed to me (cesar.garza at by the Friday before the story is to run; the sooner the better, so I can schedule it for Sunday.

SINC heart 43. In submitting a micro-mystery to APL, each writer gives APL permission to publish his or her story on APL’s web properties (Facebook, blog, etc.)

SINC heart 44. APL will give credit to each writer whenever his or her story is published.

SINC heart 45. Each micro-mystery should be between 95 and 100 words, excluding the title.

SINC heart 46. Each should have an element of crime or mystery fiction, yet be public-friendly to the extent possible for this genre; no sex or gratuitous violence.

SINC heart 47. Feel free to tell friends and family members about the micro-mystery series, especially after the story is published on the APL Facebook page ( Something like this can really benefit from word of mouth, so don’t be shy about hitting the Facebook like and share buttons!

SINC heart 48. The Micro-mystery event will appear on the APL event calendar. Members will receive a link when it’s ready.

HoTxSinC Procedures

SINC heart 4Email your micro-mystery to Kathy Waller (kathywaller1 at Copy and paste your story into the body of the email OR attach it in a Word document.

SINC heart 4Write your name and the date on the submission. Write the title at the top of the story. The 95-100 word limit does NOT count the title.

SINC heart 4In the subject line, write “APL MICRO-MYSTERY ENTRY – [Your Name] – [Title]

SINC heart 4Each member may submit as many micro-mysteries as she wishes.

SINC heart 4HoTxSinC Deadlines

Kathy must receive micro-mysteries by 5:00 p.m. on the following days:

Wednesday, January 28      (for publication February 1)
Wednesday, February 4      (for publication February 8)
Wednesday, February 11    (for publication February 15)
Wednesday, February 18    (for publication February 22)

SINC heart 4BUT—To repeat–Start sending micro-mysteries ASAP (aka NOW).
Stories not chosen one week will be eligible for consideration the next.

SINC heart 4The four stories to be published will be selected by a panel of highly professional and remarkably impartial members. No member will judge his own manuscript.

SINC heart 4A designated HoTxSinC member will email selections to Cesar Garza at APL.


SINC heart 5

APL is giving us a wonderful opportunity to get our work before the public. Special thanks are due to Cesar Garza, Reference Librarian, and Mindy Reed of Recycled Reads for helping make this possible.

Let’s show our appreciation by Liking the APL Facebook page and by doing what we love most–writing mysteries.