Austin Mystery Writers is dedicated to creating, promoting and exploring the craft of crime fiction.
Who are the Austin Mystery Writers?
We are Laura Oles, Valerie Chandler, Kathy Waller, Patric Sanders, Francine Paino, Kathy Gresham, and Helen Currie Foster. AMW members are dedicated to improving and developing their own and other writers’ manuscripts and skills.
M. K. Waller
M. K. (Kathy) is a former teacher, former librarian, former paralegal, and former pianist at various small churches desperate for someone who could find middle C.
She grew up in a small town (population ~ 125 in 1960) on the San Marcos River in Central Texas, where pickups were for hauling hay and kids and horses, guns were for killing the occasional rattlesnake, Miss Pedula the milk cow grazed by the roadside, and a dear old gentleman sold double-dip ice cream cones for a nickel. Old ladies played dominoes on front porches in the afternoons, and old men gossiped on benches outside the post office. There were still horned toads and lightning bugs, mosquitoes were about one-tenth the size they are now, and no one locked their doors. Life there is different today, but if she can’t have the old town back, she’ll rebuilt it in fiction.
Kathy likes to read, write, see as much Gilbert and Sullivan as possible, and listen to ragtime piano. She lives in Austin with two cats and one husband.
Visit her blog at Telling the Truth–Mainly (http://kathywaller1.com).
Laura Oles is a photo industry journalist who spent twenty years covering tech and trends before turning to crime fiction. She has published over 200 articles in retail and consumer magazines and has served as a columnist for Digital Camera Magazine, Memory Makers Magazine, Picture Business, PhotoInduced, ClubMom (now Cafe Mom) and others.
Laura’s short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including MURDER ON WHEELS, which won the Silver Falchion Award in 2016. Her short story, “Island Time,” is included in Malice Domestic’s MYSTERY MOST GEOGRAPHICAL anthology.
Her debut mystery, DAUGHTERS OF BAD MEN, was an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel and a Claymore Award finalist. It was also chosen as a Killer Nashville Readers Choice nominee. Laura is also a Writers League of Texas Award Finalist. She is a member of Austin Mystery Writers, Sisters in Crime and Writers League of Texas.
She lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband, daughter and twin sons. Visit her at https://lauraoles.com
Valerie Chandler received her B.A. in Literature from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. She has been a paralegal, a teacher, and a rancher. As a seventh generation Texan, she loves Texas history and incorporates it into many of her stories. Valerie grew up in a family involved with the criminal justice system, (parole officer, criminal justice professor, pathologist, photographer, etc.), so thinking about crime is in her blood.
She is involved in church, her community band, writes music, and is trying to learn every instrument she can lay her hands on. A member of Sisters in Crime and Writer Unboxed, she is currently working on her first novel, Gilt Ridden, which is set in West Texas.
Her has short stories in Murder On Wheels and in Lone Star Lawless. She’s also collaborated on the Writer Unboxed book, Author in Progress: A No-Holds-Barred Guide To What It Really Takes To Get Published (Writer’s Digest 2016). You can learn more about her and her writing at www.vpchandler.com .
Patric Sanders was born in Berlin and grew up in East Germany. After an adventurous escape to the West, he sailed as electronics officer on a cable ship to the US, Vietnam and the Philippines. He taught radar and navigation systems in London. While studying English literature he met his future wife. They immigrated to the US. During his international marketing career reaching from marine radars and electronic charts to studio mixers, he took notes on locations on all continents and interesting people he observed. After a trip through Australia, from Cairns to Darwin to Tasmania, he published his first book in German ‘DER SCHOTZ VOM BARRIER REEF. Inspired by events during the Cold War era, he wrote the Chasing The Sun series. Patric Sanders lives with his wife and his dog in the Texas Hill country, close to Austin.
You can find more information and him and his books at patricsanders.weebly.com
A native New Yorker and a Texas transplant, Ms. Paino loves learning about her new State and enjoys melding the cultures and characteristics of two cities: New York and Austin.
Appropriately, the Live Music Capitol of the World is where she and her husband now live, under the watchful and loving direction of their cat, Miss Millie.
Ms. Paino has had a varied career in the business end of dance. She has worked for several dance notables, including Ali Pourfarrokh, and the late Kaleria Fedicheva. Her passion for ballet, opera, and history fuel much of her writing.
Her first book, a Young Adult, Paranormal murder mystery, TO LIVE AND DIE FOR DANCE, received recognition from Purple Dragonfly and The Hollywood Book Festival, and her children’s book, MAMA’S LITTLE LADY: A SPECIAL PONY, also won an award from the Purple Dragonfly Book Contest.
Her short stories, “An Unwelcome Image,” a psychological thriller was published in Over My Dead Body, an online mystery magazine, and one of her humorous tales, “A Supermarket Nightmare,” was carried in Funny Times Magazine.
In 2018, writing as F. Della Notte, she created the Housekeeper Mystery Series in the tradition of the clergy amateur sleuths, with a 21st-century twist. The housekeeper isn’t a sidekick; she is the sleuthing equal of the priest. The second book in the Housekeeper Mystery Series, CATWALK DEAD, will be released in 2019.
K.P. Gresham, author of the Pastor Matt Hayden Mystery series and Three Days at Wrigley Field, moved to Texas as quick as she could. Born a Chicagoan, K.P. and her husband moved to Texas, fell in love with not shoveling snow and are 30+ year Lone Star State residents. She finds that her dual country citizenship, the Midwest and Texas, provide deep fodder for her award-winning novels. Her varied careers as a media librarian and technical director, middle school literature teacher and theatre playwright and director add humor and truth to her stories. A graduate of Houston’s Rice University Novels Writing Colloquium, K.P. now resides in Austin, Texas, where life with her tolerant but supportive husband and narcissistic Chihuahua is acceptably weird.
Helen Currie Foster
Helen Currie Foster is the author of the Alice MacDonald Greer Mystery series. She earned a BA from Wellesley College, an MA from the University of Texas, and a JD from the University of Michigan.
Having grown up in Texas surrounded by books and storytelling, she taught high school English and later became a prize-winning feature writer for a small Michigan weekly. Following a career of more than thirty years as an environmental lawyer, the character Alice and her stories suddenly appeared in Foster’s life. In her writing, Foster explores the interaction between history and the present and the reasons we tell the stories we do.
Married with two children, she lives north of Dripping Springs, Texas, supervised by three burros. She works in Austin, and she’s active with the Hays County Master Naturalists and the board of Austin Shakespeare.
You can find more information at helencurriefoster.com
Gale Albright (in memoriam)
After Gale Albright retired from the University of Texas, she launched a second career as a fiction writer. Her short story “Brane Creem” was published in Blackacre, the first issue of the University of Texas School of Law literary journal.
She received a B.A. from St. Edward’s University in English Writing and Rhetoric. Several of her short stories were published in St. Edward’s literary journals Sorin Oak Review and New Literati,
Before turning her hand to fiction, Ms. Albright did technical writing at the Petroleum Extension Service of the University of Texas and published several non-fiction articles in local Austin magazines (Third Coast and Tech-Connect).
In 2008, her novel Eve won first place in the Young Adult category in the Writers League of Texas manuscript contest. Her short story “Taffy and Lomita” won first place in the Brazos Writers contest.
Ms. Albright was active in several writing groups—Austin Mystery Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Sisters in Crime, and Writers League of Texas. She has completed NaNoWriMo three times. Some of her short stories appear in Murder on Wheels and Lone Star Lawless.
She was a wonderful and lively addition to AMW. She suddenly passed away in 2016 and is greatly missed.