Success Story Saturday: Laura Hernandez

Welcome back to Success Story Saturday.  As often as possible, we’re featuring Writers Forum members who have been published, won writing contests, or have otherwise found recent success as writers.  Writers Forum members, we want to celebrate with you so please send your success stories to writersforumwebmaster@gmail.com.  

Today we’re celebrating with Writers Forum board member Laura Hernandez.  Congratulations, Laura!

New Mystery Writer Wins the 2013 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship

New York, NY – May 9, 2013 – Mystery Writers of America announces the recipients of the 2013 Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing: Laura Hernandez of Redding, CA, and Lee Summerall of St. Petersburg, FL. Each will use her $500 scholarship award to offset tuition for advanced classes to further develop her writing skills.

The talent demonstrated by Ms. Hernandez received one of the highest scores from this year’s panel of judges.  Laura Hernandez worked on a team to defend accused murderers during law school and has written several stories based on her experiences. In her stories, the people in jail accused of murder are not always who you would expect them to be. She found the key to their defense, and the real mystery of each murder trial, was not about who had committed the crime, but why it had been done at all.

The purpose of this annual scholarship competition is to nurture talent in mystery writing. Each candidate qualifies by submitting a mystery-writing sample in the form of the first three chapters of a novel or nonfiction, or three short stories or a script. Candidates also provide details about the educational programs they will attend, 2 letters of recommendation, and an essay explaining their interest in mystery writing. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. No fee is required; neither is membership in Mystery Writers of America.

Applicants are judged by a committee of MWA members, each a published author in the field of crime. This year’s judges are: Julie Hyzy, New York Times bestselling author of 6 White House Chef Mysteries and 3 Manor House Mysteries, most recently Fonduing Fathers and Grace Among Thieves; Randy Rawls, author of 8 mysteries in 3 series, with Hot Rocks as his latest from Midnight Ink featuring South Florida P.I. Beth Bowman; Aileen G. Baron, archaeologist and author of The Gold of Thrace, an international hunt for antiquities thieves, and The Scorpion’s Bite, 3rd in the Lily Sampson archaeological mystery series; and editor Chris Roerden, author of the Agatha Award-winning Don’t Murder Your Mystery and its all-genre edition, Don’t Sabotage Your Submission. The scholarship program chair is Meredith Cole, award-winning author of Posed for Murder and Dead in the Water, and writing instructor at the University of Virginia.

Details and official application form for the 2014 scholarships are posted by July 4, 2013, on the website of Mystery Writers of America, http://mysterywriters.org. For frequently asked questions and tips for applying, email McCloy.MWA@gmail.com. Entries must be postmarked by February 28, 2014.

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Bouchercon 2014

Today Writers Forum board member Laura Hernandez is bringing us information about Bouchercon 2014.

What the Heck is Bouchercon 2014?

by Laura Hernandez

 

What the heck is Bouchercon 2014?  It’s a fabulous convention for Mystery writers and readers!  It’s also the only time for the next few years it’s held in California, or the west at all!
You can attend panels for short instruction and tips on your writing given by professional (PUBLISHED) authors, there are tables for fans to get autographs from author/presenters, a room of nuthin’ but books to buy, a banquet (optional) to get dressed up for, and this year’s Master of Ceremonies is Simon Wood (so you know how excited I am!!)
This year’s recipient of the Bouchercon Lifetime Achievement Award is Jeffery Deaver.

Jeffery Deaver

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jeffery Deaver is the international bestselling author of 29 novels, two collections of short stories, and a non-fiction law book. His books are sold in 150 countries and translated into 25 languages. He has written a number of series and standalone novels throughout his career, and is currently alternating between books featuring special agent Kathryn Dance and quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhymes. In addition, he was selected by Ian Fleming Publications to write the James Bond novel Carte Blanche.
Deaver has received awards for Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association as well as Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger awards and the Nero Wolfe Award. Among other honors, he has been nominated for an Anthony Award, a Gumshoe Award, and six Edgar Awards. He was born in Chicago and holds degrees from University of Missouri and Fordham University. Before embarking on his successful career in fiction, he worked as a journalist, folksinger and attorney.
The website begins like this, so click on the link http://bouchercon2014.com/ and think seriously about coming to this!  Give your writing a kick in the pants!

Welcome!

We’re looking forward to hosting you in beautiful downtown Long Beach, California, for Bouchercon 2014, Murder at the Beach!
Hurry and register now, because the bargain price of $150 only lasts until October 31. Starting November 1, you’ll pay $175 for the privilege of adding your name to the list of confirmed attendees.
Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on all the fun we’re planning—from ghostly tours of the Queen Mary, to an awards extravaganza worthy of Hollywood, to the chance to rub shoulders with our fascinating, varied, and talented of guests of honor. Keep your eye on our Bouchercon 2014 blog and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates….
We want to make this the best Bouchercon you’ve ever been to—or your first one! We welcome suggestions and volunteers who will help us show Bouchercon that Long Beach knows how to throw a party.
For more information on Bouchercon 2014, go to their website or contact our very own Laura Hernandez at writersforumdal1@gmail.com.

Best of Member Monday from 2012 #1

The Webmaster is off to Uganda; great time to re-run past Member Mondays based on fan comments.

Blind Billy Bongos, Sleepy Jimmy, and Larry Two Shoes
By Laura Hernandez

Walking past the Courthouse, on my way back to the Public Defenders’ Office, whipping my yo-yo up and down real fast ‘cause I was pissed that the preliminary hearing transcript that I ordered from the court clerk still wasn’t ready for me to take, I passed Blind Billy Bongos. He wasn’t really blind. The cops call him that because he talks to himself and plays invisible bongos in the air, “blind” to what it looks like, hands floating side to side, slapping one lid then another, back and forth; while he stands, struts or walks around town. I know it doesn’t make sense, but the name has a ring to it, Billy seems to like it, and it fits. Blind Billy would say “hi” to you, if you said “hi” to him, but it wouldn’t necessarily stop him from talking to himself, nor would it stop his bongo playing. I said, “Hi, Blind Billy!” and he said, “Hi Miss Laura!” and slapped the air about four feet from the ground on the left, then the right, before I got all the way past him. “Nice day for yo-yo-ing! Have you learned to ‘walk the dog’ yet?”

“No, Blind Billy, not yet!” It wasn’t quite true. I could do the yo-yo trick a little bit, but I was inconsistent, so the trick wasn’t ready “for the street” just yet. It involves throwing the yo straight out, low to the ground, letting it zing for a second, and snapping it back with an under and back snap to the wrist at the same time you pull you whole arm back to your side. You also need to bend at the waist to do this, and usually I had a sheaf of papers in one arm, so this trick wasn’t always graceful for me. I can’t juggle yet, either, but I’m trying.

Sleepy Jimmy was crossing the street in front of me, and called me over to show me something. I try real hard to be nice to the Guys in the Street because you never know when they might have some information about missing witnesses or something you might need. It’s not that I would send them on some “intelligence mission,” but My Boss might be real interested in the information and could send a real investigator to do the info gathering. Sleepy Jimmy always had his eyes at half-mast, kinda like he was about to go to sleep at any minute.He talked slow enough to make you think he was about to drop off any second, too. Today he showed me he had found a baby bird that had fallen from someplace, but seemed to be alright. I looked into Jimmy’s cupped hands and smiled at the tiny, brown, feathered, fluff ball that wasn’t even struggling to get away. The little thing just looked snuggled into a new kind of nest. It seemed happy to be there, and Jimmy was happy to have it. “That’s real nice, Jimmy! What you gonna feed it?”

“I dunno. I was thinking of some hamburger but I don’t got some.”

“Why don’t you go to the Law Dogs hot dog stand and see if they’ve got somethin’ to give ya?”

“Thas’ a good idea, Miss Laura! I gotta get over there, then! See ya!”

I think it’s funny that all the Street Guys seemed to call me “Miss Laura” just cause they heard one of my bosses, a southern guy, call me that once on the street in front of a couple of cops we were chatting with one day. They passed the name on, I guess. Most of the lawyers I worked with weren’t southern. In fact, that guy was the only one. I guess the Street Guys wanted to call me something “respectful” but not stuffy, so I got the “Miss” with the First-Name-Casual. Considering the names I coulda been called, this is not bad at all.

As I crossed Main Street onto Market, I waved to Larry Two Shoes who was on the next block. I always liked Larry Two Shoes, ever since he picked me up from an almost fall on the sidewalk one cold day. I was running in my high heels over another cobblestoned street downtown when I hit a broken, sticking-up stone and started to go down. Larry Two Shoes had just turned the corner behind me with his cart and ran to scoop me up just before I could hit the hard street. He was surprisingly strong for a Street Guy who didn’t eat often. He had one arm around me and the other outstretched to balance us both, like a teetering dancer. He straightened us in one swoop and settled me on the ground upright, smiling like he had just shagged an easy fly ball. “God, thanks, man!”

“No problem, Miss Laura! Glad I was here!” I clutched my papers tighter with one hand while sticking out my right to shake. He pulled back his own hand, “Oh, no, Miss Laura, I’m too dirty for you!”

“Well, we’ve never been introduced, but you know my name, so it’s only fair you tell me yours!” I said.

“It’s Larry Two Shoes, Miss Laura!”

“Why Two Shoes?” I asked.

“Well look,” he said reaching back to grab his shopping cart full of his household things. Tied by their grimy laces to the handle bars like Footlocker’s fuzzy dice were two old, cruddy tennis shoes, his “spares.”

“Oh, well that’s handy!” What else? “It was nice to meet you, and thank you for catching me, Larry Two Shoes!” I called over my shoulder as I heel-click hurried back to the office.

“My pleasure, Miss Laura!” he called back, bowing slightly. I didn’t know it yet, but one day Larry Two Shoes would show up on the street outta nowhere to save my bacon again.

Member Monday: Blind Billy Bongos, Sleepy Jim and Larry Two Shoes by Laura Hernandez

Welcome  back to Member Monday.  Today it’s my pleasure to share a piece by my friend and fellow Director at Large, Laura Hernandez.

Blind Billy Bongos, Sleepy Jimmy, and Larry Two Shoes
By Laura Hernandez

Walking past the Courthouse, on my way back to the Public Defenders’ Office, whipping my yo-yo up and down real fast ‘cause I was pissed that the preliminary hearing transcript that I ordered from the court clerk still wasn’t ready for me to take, I passed Blind Billy Bongos. He wasn’t really blind. The cops call him that because he talks to himself and plays invisible bongos in the air, “blind” to what it looks like, hands floating side to side, slapping one lid then another, back and forth; while he stands, struts or walks around town. I know it doesn’t make sense, but the name has a ring to it, Billy seems to like it, and it fits. Blind Billy would say “hi” to you, if you said “hi” to him, but it wouldn’t necessarily stop him from talking to himself, nor would it stop his bongo playing. I said, “Hi, Blind Billy!” and he said, “Hi Miss Laura!” and slapped the air about four feet from the ground on the left, then the right, before I got all the way past him. “Nice day for yo-yo-ing! Have you learned to ‘walk the dog’ yet?”

“No, Blind Billy, not yet!” It wasn’t quite true. I could do the yo-yo trick a little bit, but I was inconsistent, so the trick wasn’t ready “for the street” just yet. It involves throwing the yo straight out, low to the ground, letting it zing for a second, and snapping it back with an under and back snap to the wrist at the same time you pull you whole arm back to your side. You also need to bend at the waist to do this, and usually I had a sheaf of papers in one arm, so this trick wasn’t always graceful for me. I can’t juggle yet, either, but I’m trying.

Sleepy Jimmy was crossing the street in front of me, and called me over to show me something. I try real hard to be nice to the Guys in the Street because you never know when they might have some information about missing witnesses or something you might need. It’s not that I would send them on some “intelligence mission,” but My Boss might be real interested in the information and could send a real investigator to do the info gathering. Sleepy Jimmy always had his eyes at half-mast, kinda like he was about to go to sleep at any minute.He talked slow enough to make you think he was about to drop off any second, too. Today he showed me he had found a baby bird that had fallen from someplace, but seemed to be alright. I looked into Jimmy’s cupped hands and smiled at the tiny, brown, feathered, fluff ball that wasn’t even struggling to get away. The little thing just looked snuggled into a new kind of nest. It seemed happy to be there, and Jimmy was happy to have it. “That’s real nice, Jimmy! What you gonna feed it?”

“I dunno. I was thinking of some hamburger but I don’t got some.”

“Why don’t you go to the Law Dogs hot dog stand and see if they’ve got somethin’ to give ya?”

“Thas’ a good idea, Miss Laura! I gotta get over there, then! See ya!”

I think it’s funny that all the Street Guys seemed to call me “Miss Laura” just cause they heard one of my bosses, a southern guy, call me that once on the street in front of a couple of cops we were chatting with one day. They passed the name on, I guess. Most of the lawyers I worked with weren’t southern. In fact, that guy was the only one. I guess the Street Guys wanted to call me something “respectful” but not stuffy, so I got the “Miss” with the First-Name-Casual. Considering the names I coulda been called, this is not bad at all.

As I crossed Main Street onto Market, I waved to Larry Two Shoes who was on the next block. I always liked Larry Two Shoes, ever since he picked me up from an almost fall on the sidewalk one cold day. I was running in my high heels over another cobblestoned street downtown when I hit a broken, sticking-up stone and started to go down. Larry Two Shoes had just turned the corner behind me with his cart and ran to scoop me up just before I could hit the hard street. He was surprisingly strong for a Street Guy who didn’t eat often. He had one arm around me and the other outstretched to balance us both, like a teetering dancer. He straightened us in one swoop and settled me on the ground upright, smiling like he had just shagged an easy fly ball. “God, thanks, man!”

“No problem, Miss Laura! Glad I was here!” I clutched my papers tighter with one hand while sticking out my right to shake. He pulled back his own hand, “Oh, no, Miss Laura, I’m too dirty for you!”

“Well, we’ve never been introduced, but you know my name, so it’s only fair you tell me yours!” I said.

“It’s Larry Two Shoes, Miss Laura!”

“Why Two Shoes?” I asked.

“Well look,” he said reaching back to grab his shopping cart full of his household things. Tied by their grimy laces to the handle bars like Footlocker’s fuzzy dice were two old, cruddy tennis shoes, his “spares.”

“Oh, well that’s handy!” What else? “It was nice to meet you, and thank you for catching me, Larry Two Shoes!” I called over my shoulder as I heel-click hurried back to the office.

“My pleasure, Miss Laura!” he called back, bowing slightly. I didn’t know it yet, but one day Larry Two Shoes would show up on the street outta nowhere to save my bacon again.

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