July 2011

July 10 Meeting

Jennifer Aguierre

speaks on

Real-life Crime Scene Investigations:
Just as Interesting as TV Shows, But Not as Glamorous

Our Sisters in Crime speaker for July 10 is Jennifer Aguirre, Senior Crime Scene Specialist with the Austin Police Department.

Jennifer’s job is to search, document, collect, and preserve physical evidence at crime scenes.  She also attends autopsies and collects evidence from the bodies.  She will show a short power point presentation and will answer questions about crime scenes and physical evidence.

Jennifer has been a Crime Scene Specialist with the Austin Police Department for more than fourteen years and has completed  over 800 hours of formal forensic classroom training in photography, death and homicide investigation, DNA evidence collection, bloodstain pattern and analysis, latent print processing, and crime scene investigation.  She is an active instructor and field training officer for APD in areas of crime scene investigation and photography.  Jennifer is an Adjunct Professor at St. Edward’s University, where she teaches Crime Scene Photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology
from the University of Texas at Austin.

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter, meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. at the Westlake Barnes & Noble bookstore, located at the southeast corner of Loop 360 and Bee Cave Road, in The Village at Westlake shopping center. Meetings are free and open to the public. For information contact Joyce Arquette, Publicity, at (512) 266-6543.

For more information about Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter, see the website at www.hotxsinc.org.

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The Word on Last Month’s Meeting

BestSeller: Must-Read Author’s Guide to Successfully Selling Your Book

 Presented by George Arnold and Ken Squiers

Objective: To convince you—

  • You can become your own best seller
    • You have to be your own best seller

 Why are you writing?

  • What is this workshop supposed to do?
  • Sales v. income: Is there a difference?
  • What are sales, and how do I get them?
  • Are your needs/wants/goals different from others?
  • Writers v. authors
  • Mindset: What is yours? What do you want?
  • Avenues of selling: What’s best for you?
  • Individual sales: The art of listening
  • Closing: The art of acting on what you’ve heard
  • Your goal: To make the world beat a path to your door? Or to live in luxury for a lifetime?
  • Patience is a virtue—for a time, at least.
  • Find out how your works fulfill a unique need—one that’s really needed.
  • You have to gamble the “No” to get the “Yes.”

Selling Your Book

Seven Abbreviated Steps to Success

1.  Understand your product.

Form a reader panel across the country: diverse in gender, age, and geography.
You need people to read a manuscript and offer feedback, two chapters at a time. Get factual corrections.
Then send questionnaires: semantic differential scale with a couple of open-ended questions; 7-point scale, hot to cold.
What is the book for?
What demographic is it aimed at?
Develop a plan to success.

2.  Build a positive reputation with your  publisher.

Common sense and good manners
Publishers don’t like it when you argue with them.
Send flowers, pizza, etc. as thank-yous.

Publishers want to know
Are you cooperative?
Will you participate in marketing the book?
What is your subject matter?
Can you write?

3.  Prepare your sales materials.

Keep accurate records.
Set up your signing events. Follow up, follow up, follow up.Use the principles of personal selling.

Your Own Marketing Plan

Introduction and purpose
Background and executive summary
The product today
Competitive products
The market
Current research
Annual plan

Objectives

  • Sell 900 books in 18 months
  • Establish reputation as an excellent marketer

Strategies

  • How to accomplish each objective
  • Create a press kit

Set up workshops

Tactics*

What am I going to do by what time?

Timetable*

Budget*

*Spreadsheets

What Your Publisher Expects

  • Cooperation (They don’t like it when you argue with them.)
  • Good communication
  • Flexibility—ability to be receptive to realities of the world
  • Open-mindedness
  • Humility
  • Aggressive promotion

Editors Make You or Break You

  • Understand your editor’s role
  • Appreciate and respect those talents
  • Keep an open mind
  • Willingness to listen…and change… and be grateful
  • Good grace, and good sense, to work the way your editor likes to work

Your Sales Materials

Press kit

  • Fact sheet with brief synopsis (1 page)
  • Your research report
  • News story announcing release
  • Jpg or pdf—Books cover and author’s photo
  • Author bio

Other must-haves

  • Pre-production announcement mailer
  • Promotional poster(s)
  • Database for invitations and e-mails
  • Schedules and checklists
  • Computerized records

Personal Selling

  • Position yourself to “intercept”
  • Be conspicuous in an interesting, tasteful way
  • Learn to “read” prospects
  • Make contacts
  • Engage the prospect
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Until you hear “No,” the answer is “Yes”

Extremely Important

When you’re on a bookseller’s premises, you are a guest.

The customers of that store are always to be treated with respect. Your job, besides selling books, is to build goodwill and friendship for that store.

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Book Review

by Tracy Haben

Mercy Kill is the second in writer Lori Armstrong’s series focusing on Mercy Gunderson, a former military sniper trying to adjust to life back in her South Dakota hometown.

When one of Mercy’s fellow service members is found murdered and it looks like the sheriff is shuffling his feet, she sets out to find the killer.

Mercy is a sassy, no-nonsense woman who makes for a compelling protagonist. The book’s unique setting gives readers a glimpse of life on a Native American reservation, and the subplots involving Mercy’s family and love life provide added depth and suspense.

Curiously the author gives away the murderer from the first book in the series. So if you don’t want to read a spoiler, check out that first book, No Mercy, before reading Mercy Kill. The other complaint I had is that an oddity found on the body of Mercy’s murdered friend is never explained.

Overall, though, Mercy Kill is an enjoyable read, and Mercy Gunderson is a character that readers will want to follow.

Mercy Kill
Touchstone, 2011
Simon & Schuster
Paperback, 293 pages
ISBN 978-1-4165-9097-2
ISBN 978-1-4165-9707-0 (ebook)

FTC Disclaimer: A copy of Mercy Kill was provided by the publisher. This did not influence the review.

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The Writers’ Corner

Use the following prompt to write the first sentence of a mystery novel or story. Then submit your sentence for publication in next month’s HOTSHOTS!

The silver spoon…

And if you want to go on and write the rest of the story or novel, we’d like to see that too.

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The Word on Our Members

A WAR OF HER OWN, historical novel by our own Sylvia Dickey Smith, was named 1st Place in Texas, and 2nd Place in the nationwide contest of National Federation of Press Women, Inc., 2011. She will receive her award at the national conference in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on September 10, 2011.

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Kaye George and Patricia Winn both have books mentioned in “The Docket” in InSinC, June 2011 edition. It is available to download or view through the Members Only section of the SinC website.

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Robin Allen

Robin Allen‘s first poem, “A Friday Afternoon,” about writing a poem in the style of former poet laureate Billy Collins has been published in the 2012 Texas Poetry Calendar. Robin is the author of the clean, humorous Poppy Markham: Culinary Cop mystery series.

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Dave Ciambrone

Dave Ciambrone was featured in a four-page article in the June Focus in Georgetown magazine. The article is titled, “Dangerously Dave.”


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Kaye George

Kaye George, author of CHOKE, will sign copies of her book at Barnes & Noble Round Rock on Saturday, August 6th at 2:00 p.m. The store is located in the La Frontera Village at the intersection of IH-35 and SH-45.

Twenty-two-year old Imogene Duckworthy is waiting tables at Huey’s Hash to support her toddler daughter in tiny Saltlick, Texas, and just itching to become a private eye like the ones she admires on TV. When Huey is found murdered, she gets her chance to solve a real case…but when Immy’s mother is hauled in for the crime, the spunky waitress finds herself on the lam from the law.

Kaye George is a novelist and short story writer whose Agatha nominated tale, Handbaskets, Drawers, and a Killer Cold, can be found in her collection, A Patchwork of Stories. She reviews for Suspense Magazine and writes articles for newsletters and booklets. She, her husband, and a cat named Agamemnon live together near Austin.

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An interview with Kaye George appears in the Taylor Daily Press. Kaye has also been elected president of the SinC Guppies chapter.

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Literary Austin congratulates Janice Hamrick on the publication of her first mystery, DEATH ON TOUR.

Read reviews of DEATH ON TOUR in Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.

A link to Hopeton Hay’s interview with Janice Hamrick appears at KAZI Book Review.

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The Internet Chapter of Sisters in Crime is back with a new webpage at http://www.sinc-ic.org/sinc/. If you’re interested in joining, dues are $15.00. Links are on the webpage.

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HOTSHOTS! and Networked Blogs–and a Plea for Help

We’ve been working to make it possible for Facebook members to follow HOTSHOTS! on Networked Blogs–and we might have been successful.

If you belong to FB, please go to http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/hotshots/ and click Follow. Then e-mail katherine.waller68 (at) gmail.com if it doesn’t work.

(Another request from the editor: I need two more confirmations to convince Networked Blogs that I am the “author” of HOTSHOTS! If you belong to Facebook, please go to http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/hotshots/ and confirm my identity. The link should be in the column under the picture of the newsletter’s header. It should read, “Help confirm.”

(I sent out eight requests for confirmation last month but didn’t get enough back, and now I can’t send any more. One friend told me she thought the request was a joke. That’s because the message read, “Kathy Waller wants you to confirm that they is [sic] the author of HOTSHOTS!”

(The mere thought sets my teeth on edge. If that sounds a bit snarky, it’s meant to.

(At any rate, the “follow” might not work until the needed confirmations arrive. So please help if you can. And thanks.)

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SinC and Taxes

Sisters in Crime national is now recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) organization.

According to the I.R.S., “Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption of business leagues, chambers of commerce, real estate boards, boards of trade and professional football leagues, which are not organized for profit and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.”

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The Word from Outside

“Where Agatha Christie Dreamed Up Murder,” in Smithsonian.com, focuses on the recently renovated Greenway, which Christie purchased in 1938, and where she wrote many of her novels. Renovated following its donation to Britain’s National Trust, Greenway was opened to the public in 2009. “Today, Greenway offers an opportunity to view the intimate world of a reclusive literary master, who rarely gave interviews and shunned public appearances.”

For links to more Smithsonian.com articles related to Agatha Christie, click here.

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This summer, PBS’s Mystery presents Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, Inspector Lewis, and a new detective, Aurelio Zen.

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Social Media Coach, speaker, and strategist Andrea Vahl offers free tutorials for Facebook and Twitter. Also offered is a downloadable Free Report: Getting Started With Social Media for Your Business.

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Opportunities

From Rasana Atreya’s blog, On Getting Published, Good Books, and Living Goddesses

  • Narrative Magazine’s Contest for Fiction and Nonfiction: “short stories, short shorts, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, one-act plays, all forms of literary nonfiction.” Deadline: July 31.

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Writers’ Police Academy’s Don Knotts Golden Donut Short Story Contest: “short stories of exactly 200 words (including the title)” about the photograph published on the SINC and WPA sites. For submission guidelines, see the WPA site. Deadline: midnight August 19.

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2011 Barthelme Prize for Short Fiction: “pieces of prose poetry, flash fiction and/or micro-essays of 500 words or fewer.” Deadline: August 31.

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Aesthetica Creative Works Competition: “The Aesthetica Creative Works Competition is internationally recognised for identifying new artists and writers and bringing them to international attention…There are three categories: Artwork & Photography, Fiction and Poetry.” Deadline: August 31.

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Events

Check out upcoming events at BookPeople’s MysteryPeople.

Julie Wernersbach at BookPeople supplied the following information about mystery-related programs.

Sunday 10 – 1:00 p.m. – Required Reading Revisited discussing In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. “Required Reading Revisited is a chance to take a second (or first) look at some of the books you were made to read in school.  Meeting the second Sunday of every month at 1:00 p.m.”

Monday 11 – 7:00 p.m. – PAUL HARPER – Pacific Heights. “(Paul Harper is a pseudonym for bestselling NYT Austin thriller writer David Lindsey. This is his first book in six or seven years.) MysteryPeople presents Local Austin writer PAUL HARPER, who will speak about and sign his new thriller, Pacific Heights.”

Wednesday 13 – 7:00 p.m. – MysteryPeople presents REAVIS WORTHAM – The Rock Hole and ALLEN DARK – The Pinedale Incident. “MysteryPeople presents two great independent Texas mystery authors together for one night only…We’ll have award-winning writer REAVIS Z. WORTHAM speaking and signing his new novel The Rock Hole: A Red River Mystery, which teams a part-time constable and African American deputy sheriff against a disturbed killer in 1964 Texas.  W. ALLEN DARK will speak and sign his debut novel, The Pinedale Incident, which features Cody Williams, a black ops assassin turned Central Texas ranch foreman, going up against some shady characters involved in real estate.”

Monday 18 – 7:00 p.m. –DAVID STOKES– The Shooting Salvationist. “(Fascinating Texas history – the first mega-church, murder and the electric chair.) Author David Stokes is here with his fascinating new book about the Reverend Frank J. Norris. In the 1920’s, the Reverend J. Frank Norris railed against vice and conspiracies he saw everywhere to a congregation of more than 10,000 at First Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, the largest congregation in America, the first “megachurch.” He held unprecedented power, which changed in a moment of violence one sweltering Saturday in July when he shot and killed an unarmed man in his church office. Norris was indicted for murder and, if convicted, would be executed in the state of Texas’ electric chair.”

Friday 22 – 7:00 p.m. – MysteryPeople Presents MEG GARDINER – Nightmare’s Thief. “(Meg Gardiner is a huge, bestselling mystery writer in the UK. Her popularity here in the states is growing, due in part to the support of Stephen King, who loves her work. She’s an Edgar Award-winning author visiting Austin for the first time.) In THE NIGHTMARE THIEF, Jo and her partner Gabe Quintana are investigating the mysterious death of a local lawyer when they come across a group of college kids on a wilderness adventure. But something doesn’t add up. For one thing, their mode of transportation is a stretch Hummer full of weapons. Alert and alarmed, Jo takes a closer look and winds up with a golden ticket to an ‘ultime realité’ –like party – a party both she and Gabe might never escape.”

Friday 29 – 7:00 p.m. – Release Party for AMANDA EYRE WARD – Close Your Eyes. “We’re thrilled to be hosting the release party for Austin’s own AMANDA EYRE WARD and her new novel based on a true story, Close Your Eyes. Amanda Eyre Ward’s latest novel is a dark mystery partially inspired by real events. For most of her life, Lauren Mahdian has been certain of two things: that her mother is dead, and that her father is a murderer. But when she begins to question that reality, her whole world shifts focus.”

Mystery Book Discussion Group meets at Barnes & Noble Arboretum, July 17 at  7:30 p.m.

The Writers’ League of Texas has its Third Thursday Book Bonanza on July 21 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the League office, 611 S. Congress, Suite 130. According to the WLT Scribe, “Simply buy a WLT tote bag for $1 and fill it with as many books as you like. Summer reads are $1 each, and craft books are $5. Go wild!”

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HoTXSinC 2011 Program Schedule

  • January 9 – Jerry Carruth, Retired Federal Prosecutor, and George Sanchez, Retired Federal Investigator: Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling
  • February 13 – Claudia Grisales:  Crime Reporting in Austin, Texas
  • March 13 – Texas Ranger Sergeant Cody Mitchell: The Texas Rangers
  • April 10 – Satish Chundru, Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
  • May – Texas Mystery Month
  • May 15 – Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event
  • June 12 – George Arnold & Ken Squier present:  An Author’s Guide to Successfully Selling Your Book
  • July 10 – Jennifer Aguirre: Crime Scene Analysis
  • August 14  Shelia Hargis: Making Sense of Crime in Austin–Crime Analysts in Action
  • September 11 – Detective Ruben Vasquez: Murder Investigation Step by Step
  • October 9 – Marian K. Williams: The United States Postal Inspection Service
  • November 13 – Ron Franscell, Author of Delivered From Evil: My Life of Crime: A Crime Writer’s Journey
  • December 11 – Karen and Mike Cross: Christmas Mysteries

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Veterans Day Parade 2009, Austin, Texas

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