Edith Maxwell here. I joined Sisters in Crime and the New England chapter in 2006, right after I attended my first Crime Bake conference. Everyone was so friendly at Crime Bake, I was astonished that I hadn’t joined before. I had had a story published in Riptide by Level Best Books in 2004, but for some reason Sisters in Crime wasn’t on my radar yet. The first New England chapter meeting I attended was held in Kate Flora‘s home. Sheila Connolly had just landed her first two work-for-hire contracts with Berkley for the Orchard Mystery series and the Glassblowing series, and now she also writes two other series.
I have learned a huge amount about writing, publishing, and marketing from the workshops sponsored by SINC-NE, and from the generous members who don’t hesitate to reach out to newer authors. Lee Lofland spoke on police procedure to a big crowd in Hank Phillippi Ryan‘s attic. Hallie Ephron gave a great workshop on how to write. Elizabeth Lyon spoke for a day on writing and revision.
Crime Bake is also a big learning opportunity, both in the sessions and in the bar. Most of all I have learned from my fellow sisters (and brothers). I’ve learned about perseverance, honing the craft, generosity, and marketing through social networking (thanks, Julie Hennrikus!).
As for perseverance, I’ve submitted every year to Level Best Books and got another story in the Thin Ice edition. I completed the first in my Quaker Linguist series, Speaking of Murder, which is still looking for a publisher, and the second in that series is nearly complete. I joined the Board a couple of years ago so I could give back to this great all-volunteer organization.
And now, along with members Liz Mugavero, Jessie Crockett, and (current chapter president) Barb Ross, I have a three-book contract for a cozy Local Foods Mysteries series with Kensington Publishing, thanks to Sheila Connolly’s outreach to the membership with a message from agent John Talbot. I can hardly believe my good luck, and find writing to a deadline somewhat terrifying at the same time. A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die should be out in the spring of 2013 if all goes well.
I’ve also learned a great deal from the online Sisters in Crime and Guppies groups, but that’s another post.
I know I still have a LOT to learn, and I’m sticking close by my SIsters and Brothers so I don’t miss anything! How about you? What have you learned from the chapter, or from other chapters? What would you like us to offer you to expand your horizons? Will we see you at Crime Bake?