March 2015

 Anna Castle March 8 program

Learn to Plot from Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime

castle_72dpiAnna Castle, Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter’s secretary/historian, is “happily embarked on the adventure of indie publishing.” She will tell you everything you want to know about Agatha Christie’s “sneaky plot tricks” and show their relevance to modern mysteries.


“Anna Castle writes two series: the Francis Bacon mysteries and the Lost Hat, Texas mysteries. She has earned a series of degrees — BA in the Classics, MS in Computer Science, and a Ph.D in Linguistics — and has had a corresponding series of careers — waitressing, software engineering, grammar-writing, assistant professor, and archivist. Writing fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.”

 April 19 Program

The Art of the Book Cover

Award-winning graphic artist Rebecca Byrd Bretz will speak at the Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter on April 19. She will discuss her education and career, her process of working with authors to design book covers , and the elements of successful cover design. “Meeting authors to hear them describe their stories brings the visuals I need to present them back in print,” she says, “and that is how a book cover is born.”

The April program will be on the third Sunday, rather than the usual second because of a scheduling conflict.

 Jan Grape Sage Award

Jan Grape

The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation is pleased to announce Jan Grape as the recipient of the 2015 Sage Award.  The Sage Award is given to a mentor-author who demonstrates an outstanding spirit of service in mentoring, sharing and leading others in the mystery writing community.  Jan Grape will be honored by the Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter at the May 17 Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers event at 2:15 p.m. at the Yarborough branch of the Austin Public Library.


 May Mystery Month Workshop co-sponsored by BookPeople and Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter on Saturday, May 23.

As part of May Mystery Month, Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter will co-sponsor an all-day free mystery workshop with BookPeople on Saturday, May 23. Stay tuned for more details in next month’s HOTSHOTS!


Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas member Helen Currie Foster’s mysteries Ghost Cave and Ghost Dog, both set in the Texas hill country, are out on Amazon (paperback and Kindle) and at BookPeople.

Fire and Ice: Beyond Alchemy by George Arnold, from Eakin Press, a division of Wild Horse Media Group is now available.

George Arnold and Ken Squire were Sisters in Crime presenters on June 12, 2011, with “An Author’s Guide to Successfully Selling Your Book.”





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February 2015

George WierGeorge Wier: Writing in Multiple Genres

George Wier will be the guest speaker on Sunday, Feb 8, at 2:15 p.m. at the Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas meeting.  George is the prolific author of the Bill Travis mystery series. He will speak about writing in multiple genres, among other literary topics.

George Wier writes books that serve as throwbacks to early action novels for today’s audience. His Bill Travis series (now in print versions, available at MysteryPeople) earned a large online following. Even when he’s writing with another author, Wier’s voice still carries through striving to entertain the reader as much as he can.

He is “comfortable fielding any question under the sun” and especially interested in answering questions about “collaborating, schedule, focus, dealing with life, spouses, traditional vs. Indie, writing on other genres, etc. Ask, ask, ask.”long fall from heaven

According to Wier’s FB page, “Long Fall from Heaven was published in May 2013, and has made its way into bookstores and libraries around the country. I found out today, that it is now in libraries around the world. For instance, Auckland, New Zealand now has the book in two of its libraries. Way to go, Cinco Puntos Press!

“Madeleine Smither, from The Monitor, describes the book as: ‘…a dark, seedy murder mystery dotted with Wier’s sense of humor.’”

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter, meets on the second Sunday of the month at 2:15 p.m. at Yarborough Branch Public Library, 2200 Hancock Drive, Austin, Texas 78756, 512-974-8820.

Meetings are free and open to all. For more information, check out the Sisters in Crime website at

 Speaker for March: Anna Castle

Learning to Plot from the Queen of Crime

castle_72dpiAnna Castle, author of historical mysteries Murder by Misrule and Death by Disputation, will talk about Agatha Christie’s “sneaky plot tricks” at Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter’s March 8 meeting. Ms. Castle is the chapter’s secretary/historian.

Call for SubmissionsIMG_1111.1

Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter calls on all aspiring writers of cozies, thrillers, true crime, noir, young adult, middle grade, and other mystery genres to submit the first 500 words and a 100-word synopsis of their unpublished manuscript to the Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Project (BBSAWE). The submission deadline is March 31, 2015.

This is not a contest – there is no judging and no fee. It is a wonderful opportunity for writers unpublished in the mystery field to be mentored by published authors and recognized by the Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter. Please e-mail entries to Gale Albright at

If you have questions about submission guidelines or other concerns, please contact Gale Albright at the above e-mail address.


  1. Aspiring Writers (those unpublished in the mystery field) submit a 100-word synopsis and the first 500 words of a mystery short story or novel.
  2. Entries should be in standard submission format: 12 point Times New Roman or Courier New font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins.
  3. One submission per person
  4. Aspiring Writers will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis depending on the number of mentors available, so submit early.
  5. Deadline to submit: March 31, 2015.
  6. Entry Fee: None
  7. Aspiring Writers and mentors MUST attend the Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event to be held Sunday, May 17, 2015, at the Yarborough library in Austin, Texas.

E-mail subject line: BBS ENTRY

Include name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number. Attach: One document with the synopsis (100 word max) on the first page and the first 500 words of the manuscript on the following pages. At the top of each page, note the year, the name of the aspiring writer and the name of the story.


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January 2015

Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter will meet at the Yarborough branch of the Austin Public Library on Sunday, January 11, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. For more information, contact Joyce Arquette, Publicity, at 512-266-6543.

All meetings are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Mark Pryor in  January

3476-19 (cropped)Mark Pryor will be our first speaker of the new year.

Mark is a former newspaper reporter from England, and now a prosecutor with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, in Austin, Texas.

He is the author of five novels in the Hugo Marston series, which are set in Paris, London, and Barcelona. The first, called The Bookseller, was a Library Journal Debut of the Month, and called “unputdownable” by The sixth will be published in June of 2015, and his stand-alone psychological thriller, Hollow Man, will be released soon after, in September.

In addition to speaking about his background and his books, Mark will show some photos and video clips. He will also talk about the trials and tribulations of being an author–or, rather, about how lucky he is and how much he loves being an author.Final Books Image

Mark says he encourages questions and interruptions–“much more fun that way.”


George Wier in February

George WierGeorge Wier will be our guest speaker on Sunday, 2 p.m., Feb 8, at the Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas meeting at the Yarborough library in Austin. George is the prolific author of the Bill Travis mystery series at

George Wier is “comfortable fielding any question under the sun” and especially interested in answering questions about “collaborating, schedule, focus, dealing with life, spouses, traditional vs. Indie, writing on other genres, etc. Ask, ask, ask.”


Book News from Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas members

We have a bevy of new books on offer from our members. Take a look and read the book!

Dorothy Hyde Martin published her first novel, The Old Blue Hen’s Chickens. It is available on Amazon at

Patricia Wynn, formerly president of Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter, has a new Blue Satan mystery available, the 5th in the series, Acts of Faith, which was released on November 1.

If anyone would like try out her series, set in early Georgian England, the links are:

Kathy and Bob Wernly just signed a six-book book contract with Random House for their Loveswept line. The first book comes out in June, 2015.bob-kathy-wernley-bobkat

They have a new website at and people can sign up to get their newsletter. The newsletter has monthly giveaways and bonus chapters of their books.


Murder-by-Misrule-eBook-Cover-120x177Anna Castle’s debut historical mystery novel, Murder by Misrule, was selected as one of Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2014, Indie category. Order it at

castle_72dpiShe also has a brand new novel in her Francis Bacon series available, Death by Disputation


Martha Carr’s thrillers, first and second in the Wallis Jones series, The List and The Keeper, are available at Amazon




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December 2014

Urgent message to Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas members:

 Due to totally unexpected circumstances, Recycled Reads cannot accommodate us for our Dec. 14 program/Christmas party.

But, luckily, The Book Spot in Round Rock, right near the intersection of 620 and IH 35, will host us free of charge instead.

We can bring refreshments and have our meeting.

We need to get the word out.

 1205 Round Rock Avenue#119 (it’s in a strip mall)

Round Rock, TX 78681

Here’s a link to their FB page which has a map, directions, etc.

Link to map. You can click on the box that says “Directions.”

Holly Through the Heart for December 14

It is a dark and stormy night in Victorian London.

Legendary detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are summoned to the home of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve to investigate murder most foul. Alex Ferraro David Ciambrone

Did the Ghost of Jacob Marley do it?

Stay tuned—or rather, show up for the December 14 program of Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter, which will showcase an old-time radio mystery play—performed live before the audience.

Kathy Waller President ElectValerie at AMWGale Albright“Holly Through the Heart” is a who-done-it featuring Sisters in Crime members David Ciambrone, Alex Ferraro, Valerie Chandler, Kathy Waller, and Gale Albright.

Party refreshments will be served. We are asking members to bring something to share, preferably something sweet, or perhaps snacks like pretzels, cheese, crackers, etc.

Sisters in Crime members will also vote on the new slate of officers for 2015.

The event will be held at The Book Spot in Round Rock at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 14.

January 2015 Speaker Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor, author of The Bookseller, The Crypt Thief, The Blood Promise, and The Button Man, will speak on January 11 at Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter.

Sylvia Dickey Smith’s new novel

A year and half ago, one of our very own SAGE Award winners, Sylvia Dickey Smith, left Austin and moved to Hot Springs, however, she maintains her membership with Sisters in Crime/Heart of Texas Chapter and stays in touch with several of our members.??????????

Many of you have read Sylvia’s mystery/fiction books: Dance On His Grave, Deadly Sins Deadly Secrets, Dead Wreckoning, The Swamp Whisperer and A War Of Her Own, or cooked a recipe out of Sassy Southern Classy Cajun: A Good Times Cookbook. However, Sylvia’s writing has taken a different turn. She has just published her latest, a contemporary novel called Original Cyn.

Original Cyn is available on either as hardcopy or Ebook. Cyn Front Cover

You can reach her at or through her website contact form at






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November 2014

Terry Shames talks about professionalism

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 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


 Austin Jewish Book Fair Hosts the Kellermansjohn and jess kellerman

Bestselling authors Jonathan, Jesse and Faye Kellerman come to Austin for a thrilling evening, Thursday, November 6, at 7 PM, as part of the Austin Jewish Book Fair.faye kellerman

Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter is helping to sponsor a reception in the Kellermans’ honor. SINC members MUST PRE-REGISTER for the November 6 Kellerman Event at the Jewish Community Center.

Here’s the link: –

Scroll down to the Kellerman section.  REGISTER as a MEMBER at the $5.00 ticket price.

Jonathan and Jesse Kellerman’s book, THE GOLEM OF HOLLYWOOD, follows an L.A. detective on an important investigation that leads him to Prague, where he runs headlong into the legend of the Golem, a mud-creature supposedly conjured up by a sixteenth-century rabbi to protect the Jews said to be asleep. The legend has endured through the ages, but the Golem is dormant no longer.

Faye Kellerman’s MURDER 101 pokes into the hallowed halls of academia to find a killer. Decker and his newest partner, a young Harvard educated buck named Tyler McAdams are suddenly drawn deep into a web of dark secrets, cold case crimes, international intrigue, and ruthless people who kill for sport.

The talk will be at the Jewish Community Center (JCC), located on the Dell Jewish Community Campus in Northwest Austin at 7300 Hart Lane.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

If you have questions for Jonathan, Faye, or Jesse Kellerman, particularly related to their latest books, send them as soon as possible to Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas Vice President Kathy Waller at

She will send them to Linda Cox at the Jewish Community Center/Jewish Book Fair before the event so the moderator can prepare.

There will also be a question-and-answer session during the talk.

Jan Grape

Jan Grape

Our own Sister in Crime Jan Grape will moderate the event.what doesnt kill you

Anthony and Macavity Award-winner Jan Grape’s first mystery novel Austin City Blue was nominated for best first novel Bouchercon 2002. Dark Blue Death is the second in her Zoe Barrow mystery series set in Austin about a female police officer. Found Dead in Texas is Jan’s first short story collection.  She wrote a stand-alone called What Doesn’t Kill You.

It’s That Time Again

The 2015 $20.00 HoTxSinC dues need to be renewed January 1, 2015.  You may
send them to:

Sarah Ann Robertson, Membership/Treasurer
Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter
13000 Hymeadow Drive #210
Austin, Texas 78729


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October 5

Deadly or Darling?


dianne odegard linked in photoDianne Odegard, public information coordinator for Austin-based Bat Conservation International, will present the October 12 Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas program. She will debunk the myths about this “much-maligned” creature of folklore and mystery and present the truth about bats.

Bram Stoker’s fictional character Count Dracula gave bats a very “bat” name in literature. Horror films have made lots of money using bats to scare the popcorn out of moviegoers.

Feeling a little batty? Join us and discover the truth about bats at 2 p.m. on October 12 at Recycled Reads, 5335 Burnet Rd. Just in time for  Halloween! Refreshments will be served.

Link to ten great bat films.

Mission and Vision of BCI

“The mission of Bat Conservation International is to conserve the world’s bats and their ecosystems to ensure a healthy planet.”

BCI is dedicated to the enduring protection of the world’s 1300+ species of bats and their habitats and creating a world in which bats and humans successfully coexist. In pursuit of this vision, during the next five years BCI will work worldwide at scale with local, regional, national and multinational public and private partners to respond rapidly and effectively to bat conservation crises, preventing the extinction of threatened bats and the extirpation of globally significant populations of bats.Z & Z (2)



Tuesday, October 21 at 2 pm


Sometimes you can’t wait until the evening to talk about murder. With that in mind, we invite you to join us for this afternoon book club, meeting on third Tuesday each month at 2PM on BookPeople’s third floor. Join us for coffee, tea, and discussions of some of some of our favorite books in the mystery genre. All meetings are free and open to the public!

This month, we’re discussing The Carter of ‘La Providence by George Simenon.





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September 2014

Hutto Sept 6 016A Celebration of P. D. James

Our September 14, 2014, program for Sisters in Crime is “A Celebration of P. D. James.” This British author of classic mysteries celebrates her 94th birthday this year, and so are we. Members will present biographical information, an interview, a book review and a comparison of Pride and Prejudice and Death Comes to Pemberley, James’ latest.

Maria Rodriguez, KLRU Director of Programming, and Linda Lehmusvirta, KLRU Senior Producer of ‘Central Texas Gardener’ and James’ enthusiast, will discuss KLRU’s history of Masterpiece Mystery! versions of James’ work, as well as the upcoming presentation of Death Comes to Pemberley.

An English tea party will follow the presentations.  Tea party hats–and spats–welcome.

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter, meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. at Recycled Reads (part of the Austin Library system).  The address is 5335 Burnet Road, Austin.

Links to reviews of P.D. James’ novels:

An Unsuitable Job for a Woman

The Skull Beneath the Skin

Cover Her Face

 P.D. James article by Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter vice-president Kathy Waller

to hell and gone


Russ Hall’s new book To Hell and Gone in Texas

Al and his brother Maury haven’t spoken to each other in twenty years, but they’re going to have to soon when they are swept into the vortex of the Texas drug scene and come up against one of the fiercest cells of the Mexican mafia. Maury’s life as a lady’s man is in stark contrast to Al’s woodsy life as a retired detective. Yet they’re brothers, and blood will have its way, especially when others seek to spill it in the brutal style that is becoming their trademark.


FAT CAT AT LARGE coverKaye George’s new mystery novel

Kaye George, writing as Janet Cantrell, had a new release September 2nd, Fat Cat at Large, by Berkley Prime Crime.

Charity (Chase) Oliver is thrilled to be opening Bar None, a dessert and dream bar shop in the Dinkeytown neighborhood of Minneapolis, with her long-time friend and mentor, Anna. Her adorable, but pudgy, butterscotch cat, Quincy, has been put on a diet by handsome Dr. Michael Ramos and now Quincy is always hungry. Since he’s a clever escape artist, he finds his way to food: a still-warm meatloaf on a kitchen counter where the door was left ajar. When Chase tracks him down, she also finds the dead body of Gabe, the donut shop owner who’s been trying to close her shop. The cops aren’t buying Chase’s reason for being there and she must whip her friends and co-workers into action to clear her of the charges.



Mystery History of Bats

Dianne Odegard, public information coordinator for Austin-based Bat Conservation International, will present the October 12 Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas program. She will debunk the myths about this “much-maligned” creature of folklore and mystery and present the truth about bats—just in time for Halloween!

cartoon bat picture

Link to Sisters in Crime: Heart of Texas chapter website


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