HOTXSINC Meeting: May 20, 2018–the 3rd Sunday–at Cafe Express

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


Program: Ed Martin – Fraud Investigation Techniques
and Breaking the Madalyn Murray O’Hair
Kidnapping and Murder Case

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The Word on Our Members
Upcoming Programs
Who’s Blogging?
What Are You Reading?

Selected Sites

Nolo Contendere

Ed Martin


Fraud Investigation Techniques


Breaking the Madalyn Murray O’Hair

Kidnapping/Murder Case


Ed Martin, our Sisters in Crime speaker on May 20, is a former U.S. Treasury agent and now a private investigator at Sage Investigations.  In 1975 while working for the Treasury Department, he and his family moved to Austin where he became a senior agent and lead agent in the investigation and prosecution of income tax evasion and fraud investigations.  He resigned from the US Treasury in 1984 and became a Supervising Examiner for the Texas State Securities Board in Austin. He became adept in broader definitions of fraud: Ponzi schemes, oil and gas fraud, and securities fraud. 

Ed returned in 1991 to the IRS Criminal Investigation Division as a Special Agent to investigate fraud and money laundering cases.  He was the lead agent and instrumental in solving the 5-year old mystery of what happened to Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her two adult children.  After the trial of one of the criminals convicted in the O’Hair case, the Austin Chronicle stated: “If not for the methodical investigation of Special Agent Ed Martin and the FBI they (Gary Karr and David Waters) would have gotten away with murder.”


Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 2:15 p.m.; however, since Mothers’ Day falls on the second Sunday in May, we will meet on the third Sunday, May 20, 2018.We will meet at Café Express at 3418 N. Lamar.

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. Speakers include published mystery authors and technical experts who help writers craft better mysteries and readers enjoy what they read. Meetings are free and open to all. For more information, check out the Sisters in Crime website at

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

Check out our blog/newsletter, HOTSHOTS!, at



To do and detect all crimes by fair and reasonable means;
to conceal no vital clues from the reader; to honour the King’s English …
and to observe the oath of secrecy in all matters communicated to me
within the brotherhood of the Club. ~ Rules of The Detection Club


In the hands of Detection Club members during the Golden Age,
the novel at last became the natural form for the detective story.
It has remained so ever since.



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Detective stories offered readers pleasure at a time
when they feared for the future.
As the Wall Street Crash brought the Roaring Twenties to a shuddering end,
writers prided themselves on coming up with fresh ways
of disguising whodunit or howdunit,
but the most gifted novelists itched to do more,
to explore human relationships
and the complications of psychology. 


The Word on Our Members

Patricia Flaherty Pagan

ENDURING SPIRIT, STORIES, a short collection of my award-winning literary, crime, and fantasy stories, will be released on May 25 by Spider Road Press.


Meredith Lee

Meredith Lee, aka Sue Meredith Cleveland and Dixie Lee Evatt, were guest speakers at the noon luncheon of the Austin Woman’s Club on Thursday, April 5, 2018. They talked about their debut mystery, SHROUDED: A CRISPIN LEADS MYSTERY, and plans for the sequel, DIGGING UP THE DEAD, due for release this fall. The Austin Woman’s Club has been meeting at its historic downtown home since 1939, hosting artists, historians, civic leaders, and authors.





Her room sat at the top of a steep and slippery spiral staircase
made of iron which looked stylish, but was a death-trap
for anyone unlucky enough to lose her footing.
One day, she would turn that staircase into a fictional murder scene


 Who’s Blogging?

Helen Currie Foster  The Backward Dive or, Pulling the Threads

Noreen Cedeño  Background Research Fun: Marketing Via Sensory Input

K.P. Gresham  Research Pot of Gold, Thy Name is Billy Kring

M. K. Waller  Ice Cream Cone, 1958 ; Boo-Boo or, The Whisky Rebellion


A statue featuring a bust of Christie stands in Covent Garden,
the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul has an Agatha Christie room,
and her face smiles from a billboard welcoming tourists to Gran Canaria.
On the 120th anniversary of her birth,
cooks around the world baked a Delicious Death cake from a recipe by Jane Asher.
The book with the thickest spine in the world has been created
from the complete Miss Marple stories.
In Harrogate, a plaque in the Old Swan Hotel  (formerly the Hydropathic Hydro)
commemorates her disappearance,
the reason for which continues to provoke debate.
Agatha Christie is, in short, an icon
whose name is synonymous with detective fiction and mystery.


What Are You Reading?

Patty Flaherty Pagan – I just finished the first and second installments in Jane Harper‘s amazing Araon Falk mystery/thriller series set in Australia: THE DRY and the recent release FORCE OF NATURE. Her use of setting is masterful! Highly recommend it to fellow members (and everyone else).

Manning Wolfe – HUNTER’S MOON, by Billy Kring (going back over all his books before TONTON, my favorite)

Valerie ChandlerA GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles

M. K. WallerTHE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER: The Mystery of the Writers Who Invented the Modern Detective Story, by Martin Edwards


Father Brown: “It must be very hard work to be a gentleman,
but, do you know, I have sometimes thought it was may be
almost as laborious to be a waiter.”


Selected Sites

 The Passive Voice

 Writer Unboxed

Jane Friedman

Feedspot:  “The Top 100 Writing Blogs and Websites for Authors to Follow in 2018”



The climax of one of Berkeley’s novels was so shocking
that when Alfred Hitchcock came to film it,
even the legendary master of suspense,
the man who would direct Psycho, lost his nerve.
He substituted a final scene that was a feeble cop-out
in comparison to Berkeley’s dark and horrific vision.



 HOTSHOTS! Wants You 

HOTSHOTS! welcomes reviews and articles written by members. Query kathywaller1 at gmail dot com.


The book was finished on 8 February, but Sayers usually found,
as many authors do,
that once she had finished a book,
she went through a phase of self-doubt,
because the execution had not lived up to her original concept.



The quotations above are taken from THE GOLDEN AGE OF MURDER: THE MYSTERY OF THE WRITERS WHO INVENTED THE MODERN DETECTIVE STORY, by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins, 2015)



No Lo Contendere

Members, send news to kathywaller1 at gmail dot com. Include both past and upcoming events. Include pictures if you have them.

Also send head shots and a list of your book titles/short story titles to Kathy for the HOTXSINC author page.

And send titles/authors of books (articles, websites, blogs) you’ve read or are reading, and that you recommend to other Sisters in Crime.

HOTSHOTS! welcomes reviews and articles written by members. Email  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.

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.