Bad Men, Lawless, and BSP

 Posted by M. K. Waller

I turned on my Kindle today to find Laura Oles’ Daughters of Bad Men, had appeared in its library, overnight, as if by magic. That’s a perk of pre-ordering. Laura is one of my critique partners in Austin Mystery Writers, and Daughters of Bad Men is her first novel.

I’ve been in AMW for six or seven years–can’t remember exactly–but membership is one of the best things that’s happened since I began writing for publication.  Examining others’ work and hearing their comments on mine has made me a better writer. Members have become my friends. Together we’ve enjoyed workshops and lunches and weekend retreats.

And I’ve acquired a new virtue: I’m genuinely happy when other members get their work published.

My skin turns Shrek green, but I’m happy.

Offsetting today’s greenish tinge over Laura’s debut, I’m also happy to announce that AMW’s second crime fiction anthology, Lone Star Lawless, was released last week by Wildside Press. 

Twelve years after Karen MacInerney founded the critique group, AMW published its first anthology, Murder on Wheels. The idea, like the anthology, grew out of collaboration. Kaye George, facilitator of the group after Karen left, describes it in the Introduction:

The genesis was a ride my husband and I took a couple of years ago on the Megabus (a double-decker bus that makes express runs between major cities with very limited stops). I started thinking that the bus would make a good setting for a murder: isolated setting, finite number of suspects, possible amateur sleuth. There was one problem–where to hide the body. So I asked the group, Austin Mystery Writers, for suggestions…. Once we got started, the Austin Mystery Writers came up with murder scenarios on vehicles, then expended that to included all sorts of wheels…

Somewhere in the brainstorm of titles–Assaulted in an Automobile, Batted on a Bicycle, Conked in a Cart–Kaye said, “We should do an anthology.”

So, after inviting two accomplished writers, Reavis Wortham and Earl Staggs, to contribute, we wrote, critiqued, revised, re-critiqued, submitted to an independent editor, queried, and signed with Wildside, and Murder on Wheels: 11 Tales of Crime on the Move came out in 2015.

Kaye was an established writer with several novels and a zillion short stories to her credit, but the rest of us–Gale Albright, V. P. Chandler, Laura Oles, Scott Montgomery, and I–had never published any fiction. We were officially Pleased With Ourselves. When Wheels received the Silver Falchion Award at the 2016 Killer Nashville International Writers Conference, we tried to remain humble but couldn’t.

One anthology led to another. This time, AMW are joined by eight friends–Alexandra Burt, Mark Pryor, Larry Sweazey, Janice Hamrick, Terry Shames, George Wier, and Manning Wolfe–for Lone Star Lawless: 14 Texas Tales of Crime.

I would like to say, in a tone dripping with sophistication, “Been there, done that.” But I can’t. As with Wheels, I want to put Lawless in a baby carriage and, in a flagrant fling of Blatant Self Promotion, roll it up and down Congress Avenue and so everyone can see my magnificent creation.

Wouldn’t be prudent, though.

But if Laura wants to borrow my baby carriage to roll Daughters of Bad Men up and down Congress Avenue, I’ll be more than happy to chaperone.


Note: Kaye George’s first book, Choke, is the funniest mystery novel I’ve ever read. My review on Telling the Truth, Mainly begins,

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

Answer: Imogene Duckworthy, amateur P.I. and main character of Kaye George’s new mystery, CHOKE.

Here’s the entire review. Everything I say in it is the truth.


M. K. Waller, aka Kathy, 
has published stories 
in Austin Mystery Writers’
crime fiction anthologies

and in Mysterical-E.


17 thoughts on “Bad Men, Lawless, and BSP

  1. Enjoyed and so happy for all of you! I wrote a short story murder mystery for a college class and it got published in the college publication, but haven’t known where to send it since then. My friends were a little speechless as they expect inspirational romances from me, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, drawing on my knowledge of human minds in my psych nursing experience. Your books sound intriguing. Too bad I sold my baby carriage at estate auction this year! I’d loan it to you!


    1. If you’d like a tip (from my vast experience), I sent the first story I submitted to Mysterical-E (online) and they published it. No money, but it’s a good publication, recognized by Malice Domestic. I sent a recent story to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Not likely, I think, but a friend who writes a lot of short stories advised starting at the top and going down rather than the other way around, so I did. I appreciate your kind sentiment about your baby carriage. When I cleared out my house so I could rent it, I found my baby carriage in the garage rafters: enormous, black leather, ugly; nothing like the ones they have today. A real pram, I guess.


  2. Reblogged this on M. K. Waller and commented:

    Laura Oles celebrates doubly this month–today her debut novel, DAUGHTERS OF BAD MEN, was released by Red Adept Publishing, just a week after Austin Mystery Writers’ LONE STAR LAWLESS, in which Laura’s story “Carry On Only” appears, was released by Wildside Press. Here’s what I posted about these publications at Writing Wranglers and Warriors. Laura will be along presently to tell you more.


  3. Hey, Kathy, I belong to an online writers workshop and depend on a handful of members I’ve known over the years for my critiques of novels. When I first moved to Henderson/Vegas, I joined the Henderson Writers Group, but didn’t renew after the first year. I probably should renew… the group does critiques and story prompts. It’s good to have face to face friendships, not just online ones. Congratulations to your friend Laura for her debut novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It helps when you know the members well, doesn’t it? Easier to be candid for both parties. Once, when I’d ignored the same comment from one of the members three or four times, she said, “That’s just driving me crazy!” We both laughed. And I changed it.


  4. I was one of Kaye’s critique partners when she wrote Choke. I was so proud when she got it published, and I also was her critique partner for the next one. We had a great little group. I miss the online group Spoiled Ink, later it was called Edit Red. It was such a fun group. We’d write little short stories for each other while we worked on our bigger ones. Sometimes we even posted our entire books and someone would step up to help. It worked well for me and kept me motivated. Cher’ley

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a good group, Cherley. I love the name Spoiled Ink. I write more when I have the support of a group. Kaye was working on Smoke when I joined the group and not long after, Choke was published. It’s the first book to make me laugh out loud since forever. (I think I scared my husband.) It’s the book I wanted to write, but nobody told me.


  5. I have met so many great writers online and the one thing I have found is that most of them are happy for each other’s progress. I miss my group in Mexico because we did exactly the type of thing your group does and it makes one a more rounded writer. So glad for your friend’s work being published. Thank you for the tips – I’ve saved them for later – who knows, I just might need them!


  6. Writing groups are a great asset to everyone involved. I miss being part of a group, maybe one day I will have the chance to get back to them.


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