August 2010

Sunday, August 8

2:00 p.m.

Ed Martin


An Update on the Case of Madalyn Murray O’Hair

Madalyn Murray O’Hair (April 13, 1919 – September 29, 1995) was an American atheist activist, and founder of the organization American Atheists and its president from 1963 to 1986. Her son, Jon Garth Murray, was the president of the organization from 1986 to 1995, while she remained de facto president during these nine years.

She is best known for the Murray v. Curlett lawsuit, which led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling ending government sponsored prayer in American public schools. O’Hair later founded American Atheists and became so controversial that in 1964 Life magazine referred to her as “the most hated woman in America.”

In 1995 she was murdered, along with her son and granddaughter (whom she had adopted), by David Roland Waters. The bodies were found buried in barrels on a ranch in Real County.

Ed Martin, employed by IRS, was active in the investigation of O’Hair’s activities and the murders.  He will give us updates on the sensational case.

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


In Memoriam

Author Micqui Miller, our chapter’s newsletter editor, and our friend, passed away May 18 in Waco, Texas.

Micqui loved to write, and she began her career early. She wrote her first novel when she was 12. At 15, she had a byline as a sportswriter for a local Detroit newspaper, Teen Life. Over the years, she published over 100 articles and stories.

Micqui’s first book, The Killing Hour, won the prestigious Golden Heart from the Romance Writers of America. In 2003, she won “the silver” as Best New Author for her novel Morning Star, which she called the “book of my heart.” Morning Star was re-released in 2008.

In 2004, her novel Holly in the Morning was named an EPPIE finalist. The EPPIE is  known as the “Oscar” of small press and electronic publishers.

Sweet Caroline, a romantic suspense novel set in Sebastopol, California, was published in 2005. Micqui said, “I had such fun” writing about Mick and Caroline, the novel’s protagonists.

In 2009, Micqui received the Third Annual Sage Award from the Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation in recognition of her outstanding spirit of service in mentoring, sharing, and leading others in the mystery writing community.

Micqui was born and reared in Detroit, Michigan, and lived many years in Sacramento, California before moving to Waco. She was a member of St. Louis Catholic Church and retired from Reicher Catholic School as a development director in 2006. She continued to write grants for the school and the church after her retirement. She also did closed-captioning for services at the church.

Micqui is survived by her husband of 40 years, Bill Miller; by her sister, Delores Sullivan, also a member of the Heart of Texas Chapter; and by many other family members and friends. She also leaves behind her two cats, Peja and Vlade.

On a more personal note: When I was an Aspiring Writer in the 2008 Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event, Micqui was my mentor.  She welcomed me, advised me, shared her knowledge with me, and laughed with me. She was interested in my work. She presented me with signed copies of Sweet Caroline and Morning Star and told me about her experiences writing them. I regret I was not able to return her kindness with a copy of my own work. When the time comes that I am published, Micqui will have played a significant role in that accomplishment. ~ Kathy Waller


Sylvia Dickey Smith Receives Sage Award

A Sage Award is presented to an individual who exemplifies the qualities of wisdom, inspiration and mentoring in a particular field. In May, the 2010 Barbara Burnett  Smith Sage Award was presented to Sylvia Dickey Smith, who demonstrates these ideals in her life.

Sylvia is actively engaged in writing mystery novels and historical fiction, yet she takes the time to mentor new authors through personal interaction and through her blog and website, where inspiration abounds.  She teaches the value of research, accuracy, and honesty in writing. Sylvia also encourages us to listen within…to sing the song of “The Singing Bonecollector,” which is the title of her keynote speech presented at the award ceremony.

Sylvia encourages us to sift through our lives, experiences, and histories to find the bones of stories and to assemble them into the skeleton of the message we wish to share. Then, we are to “sing them to being,”  fleshing out the message in our own way. Sylvia has done this and now she supports us as we  learn to sing.

Congratulations, Sylvia and we thank you as we learn to sing!

To read the full text of Sylvia’s keynote address, visit her blog.


Sisters in Crime

and the

Georgetown Police Department

Crime Scene / Murder Workshop

September 12, 2010

2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The Heart of Texas chapter of Sisters in Crime, in cooperation with the Georgetown, Texas Police Department, is hosting a crime scene /murder workshop for writers and interested readers on Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. at the Georgetown old library at 808 Martin Luther King Jr. Street in Georgetown, Texas.

The Police will present a short tutorial on crime scene investigation, interview of witnesses and suspects, and crime solving. The participants will then be divided into groups (SICPolice) who will assume various jobs as detectives, CSI, etc., and each group will independently look at the crime scene, the murder victim, and thenevidence and will then interview witnesses and suspects to figure out “Who did it” and make the “arrest.” After all groups have had a chance to figure out who did it, the Georgetown Police will announce who “really” did it and wrap up and critique the SICPolice and offer anything they would like for our writers of mystery and answer questions by members and participants.

The event is open to all Sisters in Crime members and anyone else interested in mysteries.

Admission is free to Sisters in Crime members and $10 for non-members.

Sister in Crime will provide refreshments

The SINC Contact is: Dr. David Ciambrone  (512) 864-9379


Book Sales

2008 Aspiring Mystery Writer Robin Allen (Mentor Author Karen Swartz MacInerney) has sold her first mystery to Midnight Ink in a three-book deal. If You Can’t Stand the Heat, the first in the Poppy Markham Mystery series, features a chef turned by-the-book public health inspector who reluctantly becomes involved in a murder investigation when her territorial stepsister’s knife is found in the heart of an egotistical French chef during a party to celebrate the grand re-opening of the family restaurant.

Publication is set for May 2011.

Robin has also started a blog: http://www.robinallentx.blogspot



A War of Her Own

by Sylvia Dickey Smith

Crickhollow Books (September 2, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-1-933987-11-8
$16.95, Trade Softcover, 276 pages, 5.5” x 8.5”
Fiction / Historical

Milwaukee, Wis. (June 1, 2010) — In A War of Her Own, a forthcoming novel from a Midwestern indie press, Austin–area author Sylvia Dickey Smith spins a captivating tale of Bea Meade, lady riveter, and the challenges she faces on the homefront working
on the Texas/Louisiana border in a booming shipyard.

The historical novel is set in the summer of 1943 in Orange, Texas, a
sleepy little town overrun with tens of thousands of new workers. With jobs galore at the wartime shipyards, the workers are rich with cash, eager for excitement, and looking for a good time.

In the midst of this, Bea Meade, mother of an infant son, finds her life
shattered when her philandering  husband announces he is leaving her for another woman. To make ends meet,  Bea takes a job at one of the shipyards as a riveter.

Life is good for ’most everyone in Orange—except Bea, who has to fight her  battles against a no-good husband, the prejudice facing women in the workplace, and the mysteries of
her past that keep her awake at night.


Due out in September

Quest for the Crystal Skull

by Dave Ciambrone, Sc.D., FIOF


San Gabriel’s Secret : an Adam Thomas mystery
Author of the Virginia Davies Mysteries
Quest for the Crystal Skull : Due out September of 2010
Left at Georgetown
Castle Finlaystoke
Pelican Cove
Napa Nights
Laguna Treasure
Poisons Handbook for Writers
Waste Minimization as a Strategic Weapon
Environmental Life Cycle Analysis
Effective Design to Production Transition
Contributing columnist of: PageTurners newsletter
2008 Barbara Burnett Smith  Authors Foundation   SAGE award winner
TEXAS Mystery Book of the Summer award 2009–San Gabriel’s Secret–Dallas Book Guild
Member of the Library Advisory Board, Georgetown Public Library
Board member of the Georgetown Library Foundation
Member of the Board of Directors, Writer’s League of Texas
Past President of the San Gabriel Writer’s league
President of Sisters in Crime, Austin, TX
Member of Mystery Writer’s of America
Retired Professor of Engineering
Member of The Order of Merlin -Shield–International Brotherhood of Magicians
Fellow- International Oceanographic Foundation
Management Consultant

Bronze Trowel Award-Archaeological Institute of America.

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Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter meets the 2nd Sunday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the Yarborough branch of the Austin Public Library, 2200 Hancock Drive. All meetings are free and open to the public.