June 2012

June 10 Meeting


Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter


Scott Montgomery

Crime Fiction Coordinator

MysteryPeople @ BookPeople Independent Bookstore 

   June 10, 2012
2:00-5:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble – Westlake


Joan Upton Hall Receives Sage Award

Author and HoTXSinC member Joan Upton Hall received the Sage Award at the Barbara Burnett Smith Aspiring Writers Event on May 20. W. D. Smith, of the Barbara Burnett Smith Foundation, presented the 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.

Following the presentation, Joan accepted copies of books from former Sage Award recipients.

A copy of Joan’s speech follows.

So You Want to Write a Novel

by Joan Upton Hall

Have you ever noticed, when you say you’re writing a book, how often the person you’re talking to says he intends to do that too? Well, we all know what road is paved with good intentions.

Stephen King once wrote about a plane trip in which the person next to him had mentioned being a brain surgeon. Then after commenting on King’s books, the doctor remarked, “I plan to write a book myself some day.”

“And I plan to do a brain operation someday,” Stephen King answered.

When you think about it, doesn’t one vocation deserve as much credibility as the other? Yet, most people don’t credit a writing career as taking much of a learning curve—and that much of it comes through the act of practice.

Yet, if you’ve ever mentioned that you’re writing a book (or short writings), I’ll bet someone has responded to you the way that surgeon did to King. The statement seems to follow as surely as “TICK” triggers “TOCK. Perhaps telling our stories or ideas is part of being human—except that only a few people “get around to it.” As if everything else is important, and recording our thoughts isn’t.

If every cave man or woman had taken time to depict their experiences, cave paintings might not be such a find as it is today.

Of course bringing home the bacon (or wooly mammoth) does take time—and, no, I don’t speak from experience about prehistoric times. Besides bringing up children, my vocation was teaching English, so novel writing was pretty much out of the question—until I got the hang of it. I did, however, make time to write short articles and stories, which is an excellent way to learn on the job. In fact, some of those stories grew into full-length books later after I retired. Also you learn writing skills facts about the trade along the way. You also learn to have fun with it.

Contrary to general impression, writing isn’t simply dashing off a book after you finish the REALLY IMPORTANT stuff. Skilled writing comes with practice—as well as reading, reading, reading. Don’t wait too long to give writing time its fair share.

Being around other writers helps immensely, especially if you watch for classes and other opportunities such as the mentoring opportunity you are now attending—and the selfless generosity of families like that of Barbara Burnett Smith who honor her memory in a concrete way.

So don’t put off your yearning to write. Make time for it. Watch for opportunities to learn from the pros. And above all—have fun with it, even if you have to bite your tongue at flippant remarks from others say, “I’m going to write a book too someday.”



Texas Mystery Month 

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, hotxsinc@yahoo.com, and BookPeople. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78703. Phone:  1-512-472-5050. Contact: Scott Montgomery, wildremuda (at) yahoo.com

For more information please go to www.hotxsinc.org, or e-mail hotxsinc (at) yahoo.com.



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 http://professionalwritersofaustin.com/.

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



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 www.cotwd.org/pen2paper.html.

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 http://clarklibraryfriends.com


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 http://www.newmysteries.org/.

LexiCon Writers Conference takes place June 21-22, 2012, in Denton, Texas. Special events are planned for June 19 and 20 as well. See http://lexi-conwritersconference.com/index.html and http://lexi-conwritersconference.com/About_Us.html.

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 http://www.claymoreaward.com/


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 10 – Scott Montgomery


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