Wicked Wednesday: Marching in SinC

Edith here, on March Wednesday number four. All the Wickeds are members of Sisters in Crime, and among us we have three past presidents of the New England chapter (Sheila, Barb,and Julie) and a current president (Edith).  In addition, Sherry is President of the Chesapeake chapter where Kim is also a member, Julie serves on the National board, Jane and Jessie are current board members of the New England chapter, and Liz is a former board member.

National is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and the New England chapter is hosting a gala luncheon this Saturday, with many of our chapter luminaries attending. We are so fortunate to have an active, thriving advocacy organization supporting us, pushing for a more equitable distribution of reviews, award nominations and publishing contracts, and spreading information on all aspects of writing and making it as an author.

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So let’s talk about what Sisters in Crime has meant to you over the years, both when you were getting started and now.

Liz: Sisters in Crime is the reason I’m published, plain and simple. If I hadn’t had that network and made those connections, I wouldn’t have been part of the group who received the opportunity to write a proposal for our now-agent, John Talbot – the proposal that became the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries. And that’s just one part of it. The members of Sisters in Crime are truly my tribe, and I’m grateful to know them all.

The Wickeds all met through Sisters in Crime!

Edith: Same here, Liz. Not only from the connections I’ve made and lessons I’ve learned through our fabulous New England chapter, but I also wouldn’t be published if not for National. I’m a long-time member of the Guppies (Great Unpublished) online chapter. I learned so much about the publishing field, about writing a query letter, about finding a small press, and about supporting each other. I stayed on even after I was published because it’s still a source of much shared knowledge. National also puts out an invaluable monthly compilation of links to articles about the field and of contract announcements from members, and does yearly initiatives to further our mission.

Sherry: The night I met Julie at the Malice banquet in 2005 she told me “you have to join Sisters in Crime and the New England chapter when you move to Massachusetts.” A couple of months later we moved and I joined both. Those two actions have been like the stone dropped in the middle of the lake that keeps rippling out in widening circles of friends and opportunities. By joining I found my tribe — people who understand the weird stories swirling in my head. I  wholeheartedly believe that it’s the only reason I’m published. When we moved back to Virginia I joined the Chesapeake Chapter and I’m honored to now serve as their president. Who knew that chance meeting would be so life changing? Thank you to those who started SinC and those who keep it going. I’m forever indebted.

Nancy Parra, Leslie Budewitz, Jessie Crockett, Sheila Connolly, and Julie Hennrikus at the fabulous SinC Hollywood conference last April.

Barb: I first joined the New England chapter back in the 90s, when I was the newsletter editor. (Back when the newsletter had to be laid out in Quark, printed, folded, put in an envelope, and stamped.) I took a long hiatus when I wasn’t writing, then finally produced a short story that got an honorable mention that was presented at Crime Bake, where I sat at a table across from Julie, and…the rest is history. Novel writing is a difficult skill to master, and the publishing business is inscrutable, so between the two, becoming a published mystery author is a difficult hill to climb. I couldn’t have done it without the classes and support I found at SinCNE.

Jessie: I agree with everyone else about how much SinC has helped to make a writing career possible. If it weren’t for the Guppies I would not have heard about the publisher who published my first mystery, Live Free or Die. If it weren’t for SinCNE I would not have had the opportunity to work with my agent. If it weren’t for the mentorship and education provided by SinC I would not have had the skills or the savvy to take advantage of either opportunity. I am deeply indebted to this organization and cannot recommend it enough to other writers.

Julie: I echo my friends raves about Sisters in Crime, especially the New England chapter. I went to my first Malice in 2001 or 2002, and my friend stood in line to send her books back. She started chatting up Dana Cameron, who was then the Vice President of SinCNE. Dana said “you must join”, so Regina came back and informed me that we had to join. So we did. My first meeting was at Hallie Ephron’s house. I was a wreck, but she was very nice, as was everyone else. We grew out of house meetings a few years later. Not only would I not be published, I would not have my wonderful community if I had not joined this organization. I was pleased to serve on the board of SinCNE for a number of years, and to be serving on the national board. It is an amazing group, and highly recommended for folks at any stage of their crime writing life.

Friends, are you a member of Sisters in Crime? What does the organization mean to you?

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21 thoughts on “Wicked Wednesday: Marching in SinC

  1. I’m a member of both the National and NE branch of Sisters in Crime. It has been invaluable in my journey to hopefully becoming a published author in the near future. The Guppies provide such great insight and meeting fellow authors who have gone through the same journey is awesome. Plus, everyone is so nice and supportive! It’s nice to have a group like that.

    Unfortunately I won’t be at the luncheon this weekend (I’ll be cheering on the Red Sox at Spring Training in FL), but I hope to see everyone again at upcoming conferences! (Bouchercon and Crime Bake especially).

  2. I think I grew up with the misguided notion that writers were solitary creatures, scribbling (now keyboarding) away in a small dark room. It was a pleasant shock to find that organizations like Sisters in Crime existed, and were generous in sharing practical information, guidance, and (no less important) emotional support following repeated rejections. None of us started out knowing how to write, even if we had plenty of raw talent, and certainly none of us knew anything about finding an agent, working with an editor, and promoting ourselves and our books. Sisters in Crime membership can be a real life-saver, and it’s been an honor to give back through SinCNE.

  3. I’m a member of National and the Pittsburgh chapter. If it weren’t for the Mary Roberts Rinehart gang, I wouldn’t have those three short story credits. I wouldn’t have met my critique group. ‘Nuff said.

  4. I’m a member of the National SinC but because I met people through Malice long before joining (and I’m pretty introverted) I haven’t really developed relationships with people via SinC. I know I haven’t utilized all the resources available to me. I guess I’m just solitary.

    Sheila’s idea of the lone writer up in an unheated attic garret with a sputtering candle and finger-less gloves scratching out tortured words on parchment is pretty much my life. Except the unheated attic – my office is nice and toasty except when I got to the library to write but that’s also pretty comfortable temperature-wise (although you ever notice it’s never sweltering summer in that attic?); and the sputtering candle – I have a lovely desk lamp and a northern exposure window; or the finger-less gloves – okay, sometimes I wear them when my arthritis is acting up; tortured words – very much a yes on that; parchment – nah, I have a laptop and a tablet I can write on. But solitary. Mostly.

    If you don’t count the dogs. 🙂

  5. I am not a member, although I have attended a few meetings of the Los Angeles chapter over the years. I might be tempted to go more often if they didn’t meet during my weekly ultimate Frisbee pick up game. (Really, they should coordinate their schedule with me.)

    However, I fully support SinC and their goals. And if I were to ever decide to start writing books instead of only reading them, I’d join up and start attending meetings.

  6. I learned about Sisters in Crime at a Malice Domestic conference years ago. Joining SINC and later the Guppies chapter and the Chesapeake chapter were some of the wisest things I’ve ever done. It helped connect me to people who generously shared their knowledge and urged me along to complete my first manuscript. Members reviewed my drafts and made helpful suggestions for changes. I don’t think I would have reached the point where I am today–with a manuscript being submitted to publishers by my agent. Thank you, Sisters in Crime.

  7. Love this post and love SinC–joined National and Guppies six years ago, and it has been the best experience. Believe in the mission, have met wonderful people, and have learned so much through the listserv, online classes, SinC publications, and conference activities. The sisters and misters truly add up to one amazing, welcoming, and supportive community. Love SinC so much that I even rounded up some other writers, and we started a local chapter two years ago! 🙂

  8. Like many of you, I would not be published — would probably not still be writing — if I hadn’t found SinC and the Guppies years ago. And I wouldn’t know most of you. Happy Anniversary to the best writers (and readers!) group on the planet!

    • Much of that inspiration came from you, Roberta, and Hank! You all were running the show when I showed up and couldn’t have been more generous with your time and advice. And you all continue that today!

  9. Love this post! What’s to add that hasn’t already been said? Because of SinC, I met people who helped me along the way. I’ve made lifelong friends. Like Aimee, I’m introverted, and SinC gives me a reason to talk to people. Joining Guppies and finding other people who were trying to do what I was trying to do validated me in a way I never expected. My first publication credit came in a SinC chapter anthology that I might never have submitted to if not for the encouragement of a Guppy board member who liked my voice. I could go on and on and on!

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