May 2012

HoTXSinC Celebrates Texas Mystery Month!

May 20 Meeting

The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation


Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter


The Eighth Annual Barbara Burnett Smith

Aspiring Writers Event

   May 20, 2012
2:00-5:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble – Westlake

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter is pleased to announce the selection of the 2012 Esteemed Mentor Authors and  Valued Aspiring Writers, as part of the Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Project. This project is the  Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter’s contribution to the Fourteenth Annual 2012 Texas Mystery Month in May.   The purpose of  Texas Mystery Month is to spotlight Texas mystery authors.

 Esteemed Mentor Authors and Valued Aspiring Writers are:

    • Jan Grape mentoring Laura Ole
    •  Joan Upton Hall mentoring Maya Pruett
    •  Russ Hall mentoring Grace Garne
    •  Julie Wray Herman mentoring Elizabeth Buhmann

Mentors and Writers will be honored, along with Sage Award winner Joan Upton Hall, on May 20, 2012, 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the Eighth Annual 2012 Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event at Barnes & Noble – Westlake,  701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy. #P860, Austin, Texas 78746; phone 512-328-3155.

The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the support and encouragement of Mentor Authors, and the growth and development of  Valued Aspiring Writers in the mystery community.  The purpose of  Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter is to promote women mystery authors, and to combat discrimination against them.

For more information please contact The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation, W.D. Smith wsmith (at), or Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter,  hotxsinc (at)




Joan Upton Hall to Receive 2012 Sage Award

The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation is pleased to announce Joan Upton Hall as the recipient of the 2012 Sage Award.  The Sage Award is given to the Mentor Author who demonstrates an outstanding spirit of service in mentoring, sharing, and leading others in the mystery writing community. Ms. Hall will be honored at the  Eighth Annual 2012 Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event on Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble -Westlake, Austin. Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter will co-sponsor the event.

Joan Upton Hall is author of the futuristic fantasy mystery trilogy Excalibur Regained.  A new futuristic mystery series will launch soon with Dream Shifters. She has also authored Texas history books: Just Visitin’ Old Texas Jails and Grand Old Texas Theaters That Won’t Quit.  Other books have explored the paranormal:  Ghostly Tales from America’s Jails” and Haunted Encounters:  Personal Stories of Departed Pets.  She has written numerous articles and short stories published in magazines in Texas and throughout America as well. She has written columns about travel, humor and writing for newspapers, magazines and newsletters.  As editor and cartoonist for a teacher newsletter she won state and national awards.

Ms. Hall taught junior high and high school English for twenty-eight years.  Now a full-time freelance writer and editor, she instructs writing classes and speaks to civic organizations, book clubs, and writers’ groups; she also speaks at libraries. Her manual, Rx for Your Writing Ills, has helped hundreds of writers.

Ms. Hall received her bachelor of arts degree in English and secondary education from  Texas State University in 1963. In 1984, as editor and cartoonist for “The RRAFT Report,” newsletter of the Round Rock Chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, she received first place statewide from the Texas Federation of Teachers and, later, the first place national award from the  American Federation of Teachers. She has received first chapter contest awards for both of her series’ opening books:  Excalibur Regained received first place from Writers League of Texas in 2001, and Dream Shifters received first place from the Houston Writers Guild in 2008.  Ms. Hall has served as an  Esteemed Mentor Author for the Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Project in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2012.  On June 26, 2012, she will present the Seventh Annual 2012 “How to Write a Mystery” workshop at BookPeople in Austin.



Texas Mystery Month 

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter is pleased to announce the Fourteenth Annual 2012 Texas Mystery Month. The purpose of  Texas Mystery Month is to spotlight Texas Mystery Authors.

Texas Mystery Month events include panel discussions, book signings, author presentations, and more. Austin, Bryan, Burnet, Fort Worth, Georgetown, Round Rock, and San Antonio are sponsoring activities to Texas Mystery Authors.

2012 Texas Mystery Month events currently scheduled include the following:

2/15 – 5/15 – Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Project, Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter and the Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation. Contact: Sarah Ann Robertson at hotxsinc (at)

5/2 @ 6:30 p.m. – “Les Coalson, Local Mystery Author, discusses the changing relationship of authors and publishers.” Igo Mystery Book Club, Glenda Shipley, Moderator, ssgship (at) John Igo Public Library Branch, San Antonio Public Library System, 13330 Kyle Seale Parkway, San Antonio, Texas 78249. Phone  1-210-561-6113. Contact: Kathy Claspill, Manager, kathy.claspill (at)

5/3 @ 7:00 p.m. – Lee Thomas signs The German. Denver mystery author Robert Greer also will be there signing Astride a Pink Horse. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, Texas 78703. Phone 1-512-472-5050. Contact: Scott Montgomery, wildremuda (at)

5/5 @ 1:00-4:00 p.m. – Texas Mystery Author Ben Rehder signs The Chicken Hanger. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 5801 La Crosse Avenue, Austin, Texas. Phone 512-232-0100.

5/9 @ 7:30 p.m. – The Mystery Book Discussion Group will discuss Crush by Alan Jacobson. Barnes & Noble – Arboretum, 10000 Research Blvd., Austin, Texas 78759. Phone 512-418-1013 or e-mail Charley Carroll, Community Relations Manager, crm2536 (at)

5/10 @ 1:30 p.m. – Texas Mystery Author Ben Rehder: coffee, talk, and signing of The Chicken Hanger. Book sales and autographs after the program.  Herman Brown Free Library, 100 East Washington Street, Burnet, Texas 78611.  Contact:  Library – 512-715-5228 or .

5/12 @ 8:30 a.m. – “Law and Disorder” workshop for writers and readers. Fee.
See  Brazos Writers. Ann Kellett, kellett (at); Mark Troy 1-979-696-2614.  Brazos Center, 3232 Briarcrest Drive, Bryan, Texas 77802. Contact:  Kevin Hurst, KHurst (at); phone (979) 776-8338.

5/12 @ 11:00 a.m. – Paranormal and Young Adult Mystery Panel:  Texas Mystery Authors Victoria Laurie, Julie Kenner, Rosemary Clement-Moore, and Moderator Kari Holt. Discussion and book signing to follow.  Books from each author will be available for purchase at the event. The Book Spot, 1205 Round Rock Ave. #119, Round Rock, Texas 78681. Contact:  Danny Woodfill, Co-Owner,; phone 1-512-351-3284.

5/12 @ 2:00p.m. – Texas Mystery Author Robert Norris signs The Barrett Solution. Barnes & Noble – Round Rock, #2009 2701 Parker Road Bldg. A., Ste. 700, Round Rock, Texas 78681. Contact: Frank Campbell, Community Relations Manager, o (512) 600-0114;  f (512) 600-0095; e-mail:

5/14 @ 6:30 p.m. “Doyle: The Consistency of Mystery: What Sherlock Taught Us About Mystery Characters,”  George Arnold and Ken Squier. The Sherlock Holmes Society of Austin aka Waterloo Station.  Contact:  Sarah Ann Robertson, sherlockholmessocietyaustin (at) La Madeleine – Arboretum, 9828 Great Hills Trail Austin, Texas 78759. Phone  1-512-502-2474. Neil Coleman, Manager.

5/18 – 7:30 p.m. Texas Mystery Authors Panel:  Judy Alter, Melissa Bourbon, Carol Nelson Douglas, Rhonda Hopkins, Paula Laroque, Laura Moore, Wendy Lynn Walston. Contact:  Judy Alter, j.alter (at) Barnes & Noble – University Village, 1612 South University Drive, Suite 401, Fort Worth, Texas 76107. Phone 1-817-335-2796  Contact:  Mark Brown, Community Relations Manager, crm2687 (at)

5/19 @ 2:00 p.m. – Texas Mystery Authors panel & Texas Mystery Artist Trish Prehn. Georgetown Mystery Readers. Contact: Kathalee R. Holmans, maryfkrh (at) Hill Country Bookstore, 719 S. Main St., Georgetown, Texas 78626-5700. Phone (512) 869-4959 ; info (at)

5/20 @ 2:00 p.m. – Eighth Annual 2012 Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event. Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter and Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation. Contact: Sarah Ann Robertson, hotxsinc Barnes & Noble -Westlake,  701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy. #P860, Austin, Texas 78746. Phone  512-328-3155. Bob Kissinger, Manager.

5/26 @ 2:00 p.m. – Denninger Bolton and other Texas Mystery Authors, reading from their work. Contact: Denninger Bolton, denny (at) Barnes & Noble-Arboretum 10,000 Research Boulevard Austin, Texas 78759. Phone 418-8985. Contact: Charley Carroll, Community Relations Manager, crm2536 (at)

5/26 @ 2:00 p.m. – Snappy Patter and Dangerous Ladies Panel: Susan Rogers Cooper, Jan Grape, Joan Hess, Karen MacInerney and Moderator Jeanette Larson. Discussion and book signing to follow. Books from each author will be available for purchase at the event. The Book Spot, 1205 Round Rock Ave., #119 Round Rock, Texas 78681. Contact: Danny Woodfill,; phone  1-512-351-3284

6/16 @ 9:30 a.m. – Sage Award winner Joan Upton Hall presents the Seventh Annual 2012 “How to Write a Mystery” workshop, co-sponsored by Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter,, and BookPeople. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78703. Phone:  1-512-472-5050. Contact: Scott Montgomery, wildremuda (at)

For more information please go to, or e-mail hotxsinc (at)



More Mystery Matters

5/12 @ 7:00 p.m. – MysteryPeople presents Charlaine Harris speaking & signing Deadlocked. The speaking portion of this event is free and open to the public. Wristbands are required for the signing portion of this event and are available only with the purchase of a copy of Deadlocked from BookPeople.” MysteryPeople @ BookPeople.

5/16 @ 7:00 p.m. – MysteryPeople presents New York Times Bestselling Author CRAIG JOHNSON speaking & signing As the Crow Flies. “A&E is set to launch a new series based on Craig Johnson’s books. Already well-known, Johnson’s popularity is about to skyrocket.” MysteryPeople @ BookPeople.

5/30 @ 7:00 p.m. – Hard Word Book Club discusses Ace Atkins’ White Shadow. MysteryPeople @ BookPeople.

5/31 @ 7:30 p.m. – MysteryPeople presents GREG RUCKA speaking & signing Alpha. MysteryPeople @ BookPeople.



Professional Writers of Austin & Write by Night

Professional Writers of Austin is a “free, members-only networking group for professional and aspiring writers” whose mission is to “develop a supportive and informative community for Austin’s writers, editors, and interactive content creators.” See

Write by Night offers Write Here, a writing center free and open to the public. More information, including schedule, appears at Write by Night also offers coaching, manuscript consultation, and other services. For benefits of membership, follow this link:



Book Reviews

The Hope Vendetta

By Scott Mariani

Review by Gale Albright

The Hope Vendetta is more somber and reflective than the fast-paced, multiple-mayhem Mozart Conspiracy, the first novel starring soldier of fortune Benedict Hope. But there is lots of action in this sequel and the reader is in for a roller coaster ride down to the last bomb and bullet.

Benedict Hope, tall, blonde, handsome former SAS (United Kingdom Special Forces) officer, has sunk into a deep depression since the death of his beloved wife. The reader finds him drinking whisky, reading the Bible, and holding a loaded Browning Hi Power 9mm pistol to his head. He feels guilt for his wife’s death and dreads the future without her. Eschewing suicide, he returns to his religious studies at Oxford. Once a top-flight commando and international specialist in kidnap/ransom situations, Hope puts down his guns and pursues a degree in theology.

But things have a way of happening when men of action take vows of peace, as Western movies Shane and High Noon attest. An Oxford professor enlists Hope’s help in finding his wild young daughter, Zoe Bradbury, a famous Biblical archeologist who has mysteriously disappeared in Greece. Despite Professor Bradbury’s pleas, Hope refuses, saying he is through with the violent life. But he sends the just-married Charlie, a former SAS buddy, on the mission instead, figuring Charlie can make some quick, easy money.

Unfortunately, everything goes wrong. Hope flies to Greece when Charlie asks for help. It looks like there’s foul play involved with Zoe’s disappearance, including murder, a strange prophecy, and a mysterious stash of money. Then Charlie gets blown up in a terrorist attack right in front of Hope, leaving behind a pregnant wife who blames him for her husband’s death.

Feeling angry and guilty, Hope picks up his guns again, literally and psychologically, to get justice for Charlie and find Zoe, especially after two people try to kill him.

From Greece to the United States to Jerusalem, Hope relentlessly hunts for Zoe. Why do the kidnappers want her and what dangerous secret does she know? The more he hunts, the more he unravels a horrendous, unthinkable plot that may result in the end of the world. The clock literally ticks toward the showdown (referencing High Noon again), as Hope rushes to stop the evil machinations of power-mad psychopaths who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.

Even though there’s a bit more reflection and religious and political depth to The Hope Vendetta than we saw in The Mozart Conspiracy, there is still action galore. Hope knows his Bible as well as he knows his guns, which is good, because he needs all the help he can get. I have the feeling we’ll be seeing more of Ben Hope in future novels.

The Hope Vendetta
Touchstone, March 2012
Simon & Schuster
Hardcover, 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-4391-9347-1


FTC Disclaimer: HoTXSinC received a free review copy of this book from the publisher. Receiving the book did not influence the review.


Gale Albright is a member of HoTXSinC, a former Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writer, and a 2008 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest Winner, YA Division. She is working on a historical novel for middle grade readers and a mystery novel.



By Kaye George

Review by Kathy Waller

Question: If you combined Lucille Ball with Inspector Clouseau, what would you get?

Answer: Imogene Duckworthy, amateur PI and main character of Kaye George’s Agatha-nominated mystery, Choke.

Immy is a delight–the 22-year-old unwed mother of 3-year-old Nancy Drew Duckworthy (Drew), she lives with her retired-librarian mother, Hortense, in Saltlick, Texas; slings hash at her Uncle Huey’s cafe; and wants with all her heart to be a detective like her “dead sainted father.”

When Immy up and quits her job (Huey wants her to work double shifts again), and then explains her sudden unemployment by telling Hortense that Huey pinched her bottom (well, he DID pinch the other waitress’s bottom), Hortense heads to the cafe to give Huey what-for. Then Huey is murdered, the police take Hortense to the station, and Immy has her very first case. Guided by the Moron’s Compleat PI Guidebook, she sets out to find the perp.

The Moron’s Compleat PI Guidebook says nothing about staging a jailbreak, holing up in a Cowtail motel, or color-coding her list of suspects. But it does mention disguises, just what Immy needs to investigate on her home turf. An outfit that combines “Buns of Foam” with “Boobs and Belly,” however, leaves the amateur PI in need of the Jaws of Life, and the reader in stitches.

Kaye George’s CHOKE is a different kind of mystery. In most detective novels, the reader watches the sleuth-protagonist work his way through chapter after chapter, picking up clues and discarding red herrings, until he finally comes up with the answer. In CHOKE, however, the reader picks up clues while watching the gullible, ultra-literal, but enthusiastic Immy charge through to the solution while remaining blissfully clueless.

With CHOKE, first-timer Kaye George has accomplished something special: an original mystery, an original Immy, and a novel that leaves readers laughing and wanting more.

Mainly Murder Press, 2011
Paperback, 220 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0982795279

FTC Disclaimer: No one gave me this book. I bought it with my own money. Kaye George is one of my critique partners, but our relationship did not influence my review. I did not tell her how to write CHOKE, and she did not tell me what to write in my review. In fact, I never even critiqued the manuscript, and my introduction to the novel came when my copy arrived in the mail. I wish I had critiqued it, because I would like to take credit for “Boobs and Belly,” and the part about the letter opener, and the chicken. But the whole thing was Kaye’s idea. Even the orange pickup on the cover.

This review first appeared on the blog To write is to write is to write.


Kathy Waller is a member of HoTXSinC and a former Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writer. She is working on a mystery novel.




Pen 2 Paper: Texas’ Biggest Disability-focused Creative Writing Contest

In March, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) announced the third year of Pen 2 Paper, an annual disability-focused creative writing contest. Pen 2 Paper calls on Texan writers of all ages and abilities to submit their works on the topic of disability, including personal experience, social commentary, and works of fiction.

As an organization, CTD works on multiple levels to change the cultural attitudes and public policies that foster injustice and discrimination against people with disabilities. This contest aims to give Texans an opportunity to consider or re-consider how they think about disability and to encourage individual expression about it. “… this is a topic that few companies, even non-profits, like to publicly discuss and yet, it’s a topic I feel should be discussed,” said Jill Eisnaugle, a past Pen 2 Paper entrant.

Pen 2 Paper includes divisions for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and graphic narrative. $500 will be awarded to one Grand Prize winner, and additional winners in each division will receive gift cards and prizes, donated by local and state bookstores, magazines, and local writers.  There is no charge to enter.  The deadline for submissions is August 20, 2012, and the contest will conclude with a series of public readings this fall, including a special presentation at the 9th annual Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival. Full details can be found at

CTD is an Austin-based, cross-disability advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure that Texans with disabilities may live, work, learn, play, vote, and participate fully in the community of their choice. While CTD focuses on legislative advocacy to address its mission, it is also heavily involved in public education, community events, and voter outreach initiatives.

Laura Perna
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
Ph: 512-478-3366
Fax: 512-478-3370


Literary Austin reports the San Antonio Current is seeking submissions for its flash fiction feature.


Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library (Lockhart, Texas) are seeking entries for its Scare the Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest. Submissions will be accepted from July 1 through October 1, 2012 (postmarked). See


See Conferences, below, for links to information about Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award.




The 4th International Mystery Writers’ Festival will be held in Owensboro, Kentucky, June 14 – 17, 2012. Subscribe to its e-mail newsletter at

LexiCon Writers Conference takes place June 21-22, 2012, in Denton, Texas. Special events are planned for June 19 and 20 as well. See and

Killer Nashville: A Conference for Thriller, Suspense, Mystery Writers & Literature Lovers takes place August 23-26, 2012, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Information about submission to Killer Nashville’s Claymore Award (for unpublished manuscripts not under contract) appears at


More Links

Writer and independent editor Ramona DeFelice Long posts a How To piece every day this month: “How to Write a Log Line,” “How to Write a Thematic Statement,” “How to Write a Story Question”…

Leslie Budewitz blogs about Getting Your Officers Inside on her blog Law and Fiction.

Rasana Atreya offers authors the opportunity to “List YOUR Book Here” on her blog On Getting Published, Good Books, and Living Goddesses.

Helen Ginger explains Pinterest in Marketing Via Pinterest,” on Straight from Hel.


HotTXSinC  2012 Program Schedule

  • January 8 – Detective Ruben Vasquez: “Murder Investigation Step by Step”
  • February 12 – Gordon A. Bowers: “Property and Evidence Management”
  • March 11 – Durriyah Chinwalla: “Banking as You Don’t Know It, or Laughter Is the Best Medicine
  • April 8 – Easter: No Meeting
  • April – No Meeting
  • May 20 – Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event
  • June 16 – Joan Upton Hall: How to Write a Mystery


Nolo Contendere

Please e-mail material for June’s Hotshots! to katherine.waller68 (at) by May 27.



One thought on “May 2012

  1. Monica

    Thanks for the pingback to my Nancy Drew post. Much appreciated and looking forward to learning more about the Texas Chapter of Sisters in Crime!!


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