Lots of things have been happening!

1. I now have a complete draft of my novel, Gilt Ridden. No, it’s not ready to send to an agent or publisher. It’s a draft. It’s now a complete story with a beginning, a middle, and an end.

A few years ago I promised myself that I could buy some crazy boots when I had a complete draft. If I’m a Texas author, I’ve got to look the part. Right? So the day after I typed “The End” I headed into town and found the perfect pair that had my favorite color of blue. (I tell you, that color is hard to find on boots) And I got a cowboy hat too. I’ve been looking everywhere for a hat I liked. I went to all the high-end, expensive places and couldn’t find one that didn’t look ridiculous. But I finally found one. Where? At the feed store, of course!


I’ve got crazy boots!


Howdy! Selfie at feed store.


2. A couple of other things have happened too. I participated at a book reading for our local chapter of Sisters in Crime. We read excerpts of our stories from Murder on Wheels.


Apparently I like my story.


Scott Montgomery, Kathy Waller, Gale Albright, and moi.







3. Then things began to ramp up for our big book launch at Book People. And let me tell you, just being a part of a book event at Book People was a dream come true. It’s the biggest independent book store in Texas and very prestigious. It’s also become my literary home away from home. I go there to write, meet with my critique group, and to meet authors. It’s become somewhat of a “holy” place since I saw Stephen King there. I even made him laugh. *Score!*


That’s King, I promise!

And I think the book launch was a success. I didn’t throw up from nervousness so that’s a bonus. We each discussed our stories and the process of putting together an anthology. Thank you, Book People and Mystery People! And I have to say thanks to Reavis Wortham, Scott Montgomery, Gale Albright, Kathy Waller, Earl Staggs, Laura Oles, and to all the people who showed up to listen. Thank you for making it a great night!

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Book Review: Burrows by Reavis Z. Wortham

I wrote a book review for Burrows by Reavis Z. Wortham. The review is over on the Austin Mystery Writers website. Go check it out and see what I thought of it!          Austin Mystery Writers 



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Successful Workshop at Book People!

This will be a short article, but I wanted to say a little something about our first writers’ workshop for Austin Mystery Writers.

First of all, I’d like to thank Book People and Mystery People for allowing us to use their space. And  huge thanks to the writers Reavis Z. Wortham, Karen MacInerney, and Janice Hamrick for giving of their time to share their knowledge with us.

Lessons I learned:

1. Mysteries come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, but good writing is good writing.

2. Take out as many of the dialogue tags as you can. (he said, she said, he yelled, etc.) Try to change your description and action so you don’t have to use them. Reavis called it “trimming the fat”. Actually, I think he said, “It’s trimming the fat, y’all. You don’t need it.”

Words of wisdom

Words of wisdom from Reavis

3. Your story will drive the pace of your writing. Slower action will probably have longer chapters, faster action will have shorter chapters. The shorter chapters will make it move quickly.

4. It’s good to have a little humor to break up the heaviness of the drama. But don’t force the humor, some people just aren’t funny. (Surely I don’t have that problem. Right?)

5. Most writers probably write to work out something from their past. (I can see that.)

6. Karen said, “Read, read, read your genre!” You should know what is expected of your writing. A cozy mystery will have a different form and elements from a hard boiled mystery.


Karen MacInerney

Karen MacInerney

7. Your MC (Main Character) has to have a reason for solving the mystery. They can’t just “be there”. They have to have a stake in the outcome. (I knew this, but for some reason I’ve had trouble applying this to my current WIP, until Saturday. I had an “aha!” moment and fixed the problem.)

8. Janice talked about creating great characters. She had the audience do a simple, yet effective, writing exercise. She asked us to write down a description of a dotty old woman. The descriptions varied widely. She gave a scenario and told us to write the woman’s reaction. Boy! Even more variety than the first descriptions! She said that it goes to show that no two people write exactly the same way.

Jancie Hamrick teaching about how to make great characters.

Jancie Hamrick teaching about how to make great characters.

9. The one thing Janice said that really stuck with me was about adding depth to a character. You can start with a stereotype, but add an unexpected twist to the character. For some reason that really stuck with me. So many of my favorite characters are flawed heroes. It works.

10. Janice also recommended you Google a character’s name before using it.  Make sure you don’t accidentally give your hero the name of a famous killer.

There was so much more to the lectures, but these were the things that struck a chord with me. We had such a good time laughing and learning and giving away prizes! We are already talking of doing another on in the Spring.

P.S. I think my cookies helped make it fun too. 😉



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