February President’s Letter by Barbara Ross

Dear Fellow Members of Sisters in Crime New England

I’m honored and excited to be the 2012 President of the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and the co-Chair of the New England Crime Bake.

I’m especially glad to be in a position to contribute to the organization because it has meant so much in my development as a writer. It was through SinCNE that I met Kate Flora, Ruth McCarty and Susan Oleksiw of Level Best Books who were my first publishers and who eventually handed the franchise over to me and my co-editors, all also SinCNE members—Mark Ammons, Kat Fast and Leslie Wheeler. The original Level Best editors’ belief in me, along with two honorable mentions for the Al Blanchard Award sustained me as a writer for a long time. Now as a co-publisher of Level Best, I’m learning something new everyday about writing, editing and publishing and I’m enjoying every minute of it. Sisters and Brothers in Crime continue to be one of the largest blocks of submitters to Level Best, ensuring that this award-winning publication will continue to its tenth year and beyond.

It was through Sisters in Crime that I first met Roberta Isleib (Lucy Burdette) who asked me to become the She Dunnit! editor and got me more involved in the organization. Along with Roberta, Kate, and Leslie, Rosemary Harris and Hank Phillippi Ryan generously blurbed my first book The Death of an Ambitious Woman on a tight deadline and have been incredible supporters. It was also through SinCNE that I met many of my blogging partners at Maine Crime Writers, including Kate, Lea Wait, Kathy Lynn Emerson (Kaitlyn Dunnett), Vicki Doudera and Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Through Roberta and Hallie Ephron, I attended Seascape in 2009 and met a wonderful group of writers from as close as New England and as far away as Australia. At Malice Domestic this year, three of them, Sherry Harris, Edith Maxwell and Kim Gray did one of the most supportive and funniest things I’ve ever experienced.  When I was stuck signing next to a writer so popular her line stretched off the platform, down the stairs and into the hotel lobby, Sherry, Edith and Kim all got in my book-signing line, even though they all owned my book, and after I’d “signed” their books and chatted woth each of them, they went to the back of my tiny line and came through again! Thanks so much for sparing this newbie writer from pitying glances from the Famous Writer’s line. I vowed I would do the same thing for each of them in the future, and it looks like I will get the chance soon.

Finally, last fall, agent John Talbot approached 2011 President Sheila Connolly to see if she knew of any members who would like to work with him to develop a spec proposal for a mystery series.  Did she! So far, four members have sold series to traditional publishers as a result of this effort, and today, on the Maine Crime Writers blog, I’m announcing I am one of them. As Sheila has said, “It’s all about networking and support, and here is tangible proof that it works.”

I am tangible proof that it works.

2012 Programming

We have an exciting year of programs lined up. Here are just a few.

On the weekend of March 10-11, Pat Remick along with local organizers Maureen Milliken (Maine), Steve Liskow (Connecticut), Nancy Means Wright and Beth Kanell (Vermont), Louisa Clerici (Massachusetts) and Sylvie Kurtz (New Hampshire) have organized SinCNE “Members Read” Events in five of our New England States. Please attend one of them whether you want to read or just listen and network. For more information, click on your state’s name above or click here.

On April 14, we have the Donald Maass Workshop organized by programming head Michele Dorsey. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do so soon! The workshop is more than half full, and at some point, we may open it up to non-members, at a significantly higher price.  The $35 member price for this workshop represents a tiny percentage the price you would pay walking in off the street. So please sign up here soon, because we want to make sure members get first dibs.

We also have lots of great Speakers Bureau events coming up. Thanks to Leslie Wheeler for her hard work as coordinator.

In addition to events, led by VP Julie Hennrikus we are also concentrating on building out our communications infrastructure, an effort that started with our new website last year. In such a far-flung chapter, we believe this is a very important effort. The revitalized blog you are reading right now, the new monthly newsletter and a “curated” approach to our social media are all a part of that effort.

So, a lot of great stuff going on, and we hope you’ll be a part of it. As always, you can reach us at info@sincne.org with suggestions, questions and issues.

Here’s to a wonderful writing year!


About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at www.maineclambakemysteries.com
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