News From Sisters in Crime New England
PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE
Hello, and welcome to Canada, our closest ally and northern neighbor. I can almost hear the comments. Since when is Pumpkin Spice Latte a Canadian drink? Well, it’s not something that’s exclusive to the U.S. Variations of this popular Fall drink are made throughout the western world. However, this particular recipe comes from the Dairy Farmers of Canada and is pretty timely, considering it’s pumpkin season.
I hold Canada close to my heart, as I received my Bachelor’s degree there, before coming down to the States for graduate school. The people are warm and friendly, the cities have a lot to offer, and if you’re lucky enough to venture to any of the national parks, like Banff and Jasper, the scenery will take your breath away. And - bonus - if you love maple syrup like I do, you can find it, fresh and flowing, in any restaurant that serves breakfast.
This is a quick recipe, and a cheaper alternative than the ones at the famous coffee chains, so, drink up, siblings. It’ll add some (pumpkin) spice to your works-in-progress.
One more thing. In the spirit of Halloween, creep it real, folks, and remember, life is gourd.
2 cups dairy or plant-based milk
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (I use 4)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup hot coffee
Whisk together the milk, sugar, and pumpkin puree. In a saucepan, simmer and stir frequently, until steamy, over low to medium heat. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
Remove from heat. Add the pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract, and whisk all the ingredients together. Add in the coffee and continue to whisk until frothy.
As a finishing touch, add whipped cream, or frothed milk, and dust with nutmeg. Yields 2 servings.
Sit back and enjoy, while visions of pumpkins dance in your head.
Message from Vice President Kate Flora:
Recently we sent out a message to our membership seeking volunteers to run for our empty board positions for 2023. The response? Crickets. Despite being one of the largest and most vibrant chapters among the 50+ national chapters, and despite having had five of our members serve as national president, not one among our 232 members stepped up to take a leadership position. This suggests to me that this is a good time to talk about the value of Sisters in Crime to working writers.
In 1993, the year before my first book came out, I went at the behest of my publisher to my first national conference, a Bouchercon in Omaha, Nebraska. The publisher suggested my mission was to meet other writers who might agree to blurb my book. At that conference, I met a woman who told me that if I planned to be a woman writing in the mystery field, I should join Sisters in Crime. Sisters in Crime was about five years old then and beginning to see the effectiveness of the monitoring project, which promoted awareness of women’s work in the mystery field. It also produced publications of value to the membership such as books in print and the wonderful “Shameless Promotion for Brazen Hussies.” (A brief history of SinC can be found HERE.)
I came home from the conference and joined the local chapter. At that time, we had perhaps twenty members and were growing. Unlike Mystery Writers of America (MWA), Sisters strove to be inclusive, and from the beginning, welcomed writers both published and unpublished, as well as booksellers, librarians, and readers—anyone, in short, interested in mysteries and the success of the women who wrote them. As our Speakers Bureau grew, it was successful, both in raising awareness of women writers and their books, and in attracting more writers who wanted the benefits of an organization that organized and promoted speaking events.
The Speakers Bureau had another huge benefit as well: by pairing experienced writers with newcomers, authors who had never done events before could learn how it was done. I’ve always thought of it as the writer just a bit ahead of me on the curve, reaching out a hand and bringing me along. I was lucky enough to do early events with Barbara Shapiro, now B.A. Shapiro, a fabulous speaker and generous colleague.
It might be said that “colleague,” and “generous,” are two essential words that describe Sisters in Crime. At a conference in Chicago about a decade ago, as we met to refine our mission, SinC adopted a motto: You Write Alone, But You’re Not Alone. The organization strives to be inclusive, rather than hierarchical. It is the place where a writer can get advice about many aspects of the writing career. Find an expert to answer questions. Get feedback. Find a critique group, or beta readers. Get comfort in discouragement from writers who’ve been there before.
None of the work we do, though, can be done without members willing to step up to do the essential leadership work of the chapter. We know that the job descriptions can be daunting. But there will always be the prior holder of that job, as well as the entire Sisters in Crime board, available to help out. You may write alone, but you won’t serve alone.
Here’s what some of our current board members have to say about the value of Sisters in Crime:
Carol Goodman Kaufman, Member at Large: Why I love Sisters in Crime:
Never having had a biological sister, I was thrilled to find Sisters in Crime and, through the organization, a critique group. To work alongside Sisters (and Misters) who both understand what the writing life is like, and are supportive of my efforts, is a gift.
Lorraine Sharma Nelson, President, SincNE:
Volunteering with Sisters in Crime New England has enabled me to meet an amazing group of women, specifically the Board members. Without these wonderful women donating their time, energy, and talents to our chapter, there would be no workshops, no programs, no events, and no networking. In effect, no local chapter. I urge our members to step forward. Like me, I believe they’ll find that being surrounded by other mystery-loving writers is rewarding in and of itself. No one understands a writer better than another writer.
Mary Small, Newsletter Editor:
I began attending SinCNE virtual activities during the pandemic just for human interaction. What I found was support, advice—and friends. When one of those friends asked, I agreed to join the Board, but I admit I was reluctant. That description of my duties was daunting! The promised training and everyone’s willingness to answer my questions and to let me experiment turned it into a fun, creative outlet that opened a new window into the writing world for me. The downside? It takes time. But doesn’t everything worth doing?
Eugenia Parrish, MAL: Why Sisters in Crime?
I joined because I was drawn to women helping women (okay, so we let the men help, too) to gain and maintain the respect due to hardworking writers. I try to volunteer whenever I can for the same reason. Nobody’s gonna do it if we don’t.
Leslie Wheeler, Speakers Bureau coordinator:
When I was asked to fill the volunteer position of Speakers Bureau Coordinator for SinCNE in 2005, I didn’t hesitate to say “yes.” Why? Because as a new mystery author, SinCNE did a lot for me to advance my career: putting me on speaking events, offering helpful workshops, and giving me the benefit of excellent advice from veteran authors. So I considered it payback for all that. Why am I still doing it 17 years later? Because I love the job, and also because I still owe SinCNE a great deal.
We have many positions still available for members willing to get involved. See the section below or contact any Executive Committee member to find out how to nominate yourself or someone else.
We have many positions still available for members willing to get involved: These include the positions of Secretary, which can be split into two - one to manage general secretarial duties like minutes for Board and Executive Committee meetings, plus light secretarial work, and one to manage the tech-related duties, which will include using our chapter’s programming platform; Vice President, which involves shadowing the President and being available to help out in any way during the year, when necessary; and, finally, Membership Director, which involves being directly responsible for keeping track of both new and exiting members.
There are also other appointed positions available. The Newsletter Editor requests information from the members, edits it, and assembles it into a newsletter. Members at Large (MAL) are responsible for interacting with their regions, in so far as they coordinate and hold Member Reads for their members, which involve members reading from their works-in-progress, and keeping members updated on any chapter events, or writing-related programs in their regions. For the 2023 Board, we have two MAL positions open, one for Eastern Massachusetts, and one for Central Massachusetts.
For more information, or to sign up, please feel free to contact any Executive Committee member by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the Annual General Meeting on October 25 from 7:30 to 8:00 PM. For more details about the Annual General Meeting, see the Chapter News section.
SincNE Annual General Meeting
Our annual general meeting will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, October 25 from 7:30 to 8 PM Eastern time. To view the event and obtain the link to join the meeting, you must be logged in to the website. Click HERE to view the meeting details and to obtain the Zoom link to attend. Please join us as we will be discussing the upcoming election of the Executive Committee and accepting nominations for appointed positions.
Executive Committee Elections
Voting will take place electronically from October 26 to November 2, and an emailed ballot will be sent to all active members on October 26.
The Boston Book Festival
The Boston Book Festival (BBF), a day-long annual event, will take place in Boston on October 29. As a service to our members, Sisters in Crime New England (SinCNE) is sponsoring a booth for this year’s festival. The booth will display the SinC banner along with posters and fliers that tell the Boston writing community about Sisters in Crime. The booth will be located in Copley Square, nestled among booksellers, vendors, and other literary-connected organizations. SinCNE members are invited to staff the booth for 1 one-hour slot during the festival. Setup will start at 9:30 AM, and breakdown will be at 5 PM. By signing up for a slot, you’ll receive the following benefits:
• Advertise, sell, or give away your books.
• Meet other writers.
• Relax among friends.
The sign-up sheet to volunteer is HERE.
New England Library Association (NELA) Conference
In case you haven't heard, the New England Library Association (NELA) conference is being held on October 23-25 in Manchester, New Hampshire, at the Doubletree Hotel. The SinCNE Board is looking for volunteers to assist at our table for two days (Monday and Tuesday, October 24 and 25). All we need is for you to hand out brochures/programs/flyers to library personnel, while being your usual charming selves.
Feel free to bring your books to display during your time slot, for a little extra publicity. You may also bring along your swag to hand out, as librarians love receiving book-related goodies. In addition, please consider bringing along some of your books, plus any bookmarks or other swag, to donate to our raffle baskets. Kate Flora will be accepting those donations.
Your presence would be greatly appreciated. To sign up, please click here: SIGN-UP SHEET TO VOLUNTEER AT NELA 2022.
Just when I thought it wouldn't happen, it did! "It" being another library event in time to get in the October newsletter, by the skin of my teeth, mind you. You'll find it below. In the meantime, Speakers Bureau authors, I hope you'll take advantage of the opportunities to promote SinCNE and your books by staffing our table at NELA, the New England Library Association's annual conference, that's being held on Monday and Tuesday, October 24 and 25, and/or staffing our booth at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 29. Now for the list:
What: "We're Not Making This Up"
When: Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 6:30 PM
Where: Zoom Platform of the Hall Memorial Library (link to come)
15 Park Street
Northfield, New Hampshire
Who: Panelists on this virtual event, Maureen Boyle, Sue Coletta, and Sharon Healy-Yang, will discuss how they write true crime non-fiction books and/or use real life crimes as a springboard to fiction.
That's all for now. Happy Fall, everyone!
Leslie Wheeler, Speakers Bureau Coordinator
During each month's CRAFT CHAT, writers unpublished in mystery fiction have the opportunity to talk about the craft of writing and pose questions to host Linda McHenry and another chapter member published in mystery fiction. Craft Chat dates for the remainder of the year begin at 6:30 PM Eastern:
- Tuesday, October 18 with Roberta Isleib/Lucy Burdette
- Thursday, November 10 with Charles Fergus
If you are UNpublished in mystery fiction and have suggestions for topics of discussion that interest you, feel free to email Linda with that information, as well. Her email address is email@example.com.
To register, visit the Events section of the website and click on Workshops. IMPORTANT: You must be logged into the website to register.
Join fellow SinCNE short story writers at the SHORT STORY GROUP, an online meeting to discuss the craft and business of short story writing, open to both new short story writers and published writers. Host Tonya Price welcomes you to bring your questions and news, and to pass along suggestions to other writers. This month, the group will meet at 7 PM EDT on October 4 (Tuesday) and October 17 (Monday).
Announcements of meetings appear on the home page of the SinCNE website and include a registration link. Click HERE to reach the home page. You must register for the meeting to receive the Zoom invitation even if you registered before. Recordings of the meetings are at the Members Only -> Members Only Video tab of the website.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with Tonya HERE.
Just in time for Hallowe'en, tune into the Poison Lady’s webinar on PLANT POISONS on Saturday, October 15, at 1 PM EDT. Luci Zahray, your host, earned a master’s degree in toxicology from Texas A&M University and is willing to share her expertise to help your villain kill off the doomed characters in your next mystery. Click HERE for more information or to register.
Interested in free Zoom events about writing? Our sibling SinC chapters are hosting the following.
On Saturday, October 8, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM EDT, Derby Rotten Scoundrels will host a hybrid event by Susan Spaulding, Private Investigator. Susan is the owner of Confidential Investigations & Surveillance Inc., experienced Kentucky Private Investigators dedicated to serving their clients with professionalism and integrity. This meeting will be in-person and via Zoom. If you wish to attend by Zoom, please register in advance HERE.
On Saturday, October 22, at 11:30 AM EDT (9:30 AM PDT), Sisters in Crime - Canada West invites you to "Digging Caves: Creating Characters with Backstories and Beating Hearts," a webinar by Gail Bowen, a Crime Writers of Canada Grand Master. Find out more about it or register HERE.
Some events are not listed until after we go to press. Check out these resources later in the month to find them:
- Sisters in Crime National's Listserv's "Chapter Events" group. To join this group, start at the Sisters in Crime National homepage HERE. Click "Connect" in the menu, then "SinC Online Community," and then follow the instructions.
- SinC National website page of chapter events HERE.
Please note that all of the times listed below are in Eastern Daylight Time unless otherwise mentioned.
Clea Simon is thrilled to share that her 2021 psychological suspense novel, HOLD ME DOWN (Polis) has been long-listed for the Massachusetts Center for the Book's fiction AWARD. The long list is called the award’s “Must Reads” list, and the winner will be announced in October.
Beth Kanell's story "What Was Cut" is in the anthology, Frankly Feminist: Short Stories by Jewish Women from Lilith Magazine, published October 6; the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, Vermont, presents the book on Tuesday, October 25, at 7 PM with an author discussion. Click HERE to learn more about the book.
Kathryn Lasky’s brand-new book LIGHT ON BONE with Georgia O’Keeffe as an amateur sleuth just came out last week. Click HERE to learn more about it.
On October 8, Gerald Elias will discuss his Western mystery, ROUNDTREE DAYS, at The King's English BOOKSHOP in Salt Lake City, Utah. On October 23, he will merge his two hats as a violinist and author for a unique concert EXPERIENCE in Seattle, Washington. Presented by Early Music Seattle, he’s performing Baroque sonatas by Pietro Castrucci and Antonio Vivaldi and discussing his Daniel Jacobus mystery series, which was inspired by Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Finally, Gerald is one of 13 authors selected for the Coolest American Stories 2023 ANTHOLOGY. Releasing on January 10, it includes his quirky tale, "A Scarab for Normandy.”
Debra H. Goldstein’s short story, “The Girls in Cabin Three,” is featured HERE in Black Cat Mystery Magazine #12. Her story, “Death in the Hand of the Tongue,” is included in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable anthology, An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny and Strange Tales of Intrigue. Find it HERE.
Frances McNamara's ninth book in the Emily Cabot Mysteries, DEATH IN A TIME OF SPANISH FLU, will be published October 20, 2022. Set in Chicago in 1918, during the flu epidemic, the book received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly. Find it HERE.
Judith Copek’s new novel, SUCH STUFF AS DREAMS, is coming out in October. Visit her website HERE.
Janet Raye Stevens released IT'S BEEN A LONG, LONG TIME, the second book in the award-winning Beryl Blue, Time Cop time travel series, on September 27. This adventure finds Beryl in the summer of 1946, tangling with jewel thieves, a time-traveling assassin, and her own messy love life. Find out more at her WEBSITE.
Sharon Healy Yang, author of the Jessica Minton Series, will be one of the vendors, along with fellow sister Janet Raye Stevens, at the Holden October Craft Fair on October 8. She will also be doing an author EVENT at the Lee Public Library in Lee, Massachusetts, on Friday, October 14, from 4 to 5 PM.
On Saturday, October 15 from 9 AM to 3 PM, Leslie Wheeler with be selling copies of her books at an event at the Claire Teague Senior Center, 915 S. Main Street, Great Barrington, Massachusetts. On Sunday, October 23, at 3:15 PM she will take part in a presentation highlighting SinCNE programs available to librarians, together with Kate Flora, Lorraine Sharma Nelson, and Sharon Healy-Yang at the New England Library Association’s annual conference at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 700 Elm Street Manchester, New Hampshire.
Dale T. Phillips will be signing books at Valley Wild Books in Littleton, Massachusetts, on Sunday, October 16, from 1 to 4 PM. He will also be giving a Zoom presentation about Stephen King and writing horror for the Orono, Maine, library. Date and time are to be determined - check the library events CALENDAR to find out when. And on Monday, October 17, at 7 PM, Dale is moderating a ZOOM TALK with author Chris Philbrook for the Tewksbury Writer's Night Out program.
Know someone who would be interested in joining SinC New England?
Maybe that's you?
If you or your friends join after October 1, your membership runs through 2023.
Also, chapter members have access to recordings of our terrific programs.
Hope to see you as a member soon!
Are you looking for other writers to form a writing group, chat one-on-one, brainstorm, give or ask for expert advice, or exchange manuscripts for critiques? Start a conversation at our website’s interactive “Writers Seeking Writers Forum.” To find it, log into our website's home page HERE, then click on "Forums" in the menu.
Sisters in Crime New England
President: Lorraine Sharma Nelson
Vice President: Kate Flora
Membership Director: Cheryl Marceau
Treasurer: Kit Irwin
Speakers Bureau Coordinator: Leslie Wheeler
Library Liaison: Judith McIntosh
Director of Public Relations: Kim Herdman Shapiro
Newsletter Editor: Mary Small
Immediate Past President: Lisa Lieberman
Connecticut: Jane Haertel
Eastern Massachusetts: Coralie Hughes Jensen
Central Massachusetts: Sharon Healy-Yang
Western Massachusetts: Carol Goodman Kaufman
New Hampshire: Kim Herdman Shapiro
Vermont: Eugenia Parrish
Maine: Kate Flora
Snail Mail: c/o Sisters in Crime New England
PO Box #104, Mashpee, MA 02649-0104
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