If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our July author interviews: Ellen Byerrum (7/5), Day of the Dark anthology authors (7/12 and 7/19), and Nancy Cole Silverman (7/26).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in July: 7/1--Fran Stewart, and 7/8--Nancy Cole Silverman. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 7/15--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/22--Kait Carson, and 7/29--E. B. Davis.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Sisters in Crime

Guppy Steering Committee at Malice 2014
This month is September Sisters in Crime SinC-Up for bloggers. The National Sisters in Crime (SinC) suggested a number of topics and that each blog link to another SinC member’s blog. My greatest writing challenge has been about making connections; I am not a natural networker in a time and age where networking is crucial.

The blog title, My Sisters in Crime, relates to SinC chapters to which I belong and to their members, my sisters in crime. (Feminine includes the masculine, plural the singular.)

I split my time between our home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and southern location (first Cincinnati area, now the Savannah area). There are no local writers’ groups in the U.P., and I wanted a support community during the time I spent there.

In 2007 a friend of a friend suggested the National Sisters in Crime and I soon discovered an online chapter, the Guppies.

The Guppies

The strongest links I have forged in the mystery writing community are because of the Guppies, an online chapter of SinC. Guppies stands for “The Great Unpublished,” which described the group in its early days. We have many published authors now, but the name sticks. When I joined, the chapter had around 300 members. Sometime this month we will surpass the 600-member threshold.

For a short while after joining, I lurked and read. It is my tendency to observe and learn. But I know that the more effort you put into an organization, the more you get out. I dipped my toe into the Guppy pond of opportunities and joined a critique group that happened to contain the then President (Michelle Martin) and the then Treasurer and future President, Kaye George. And since I was interested in getting a literary agent, I joined my first subgroup, AgentQuest. (I now belong to several subgroups.)

In 2009, The Guppy Steering Committee decided to assemble an anthology to give our members an opportunity to experience in a friendly environment the professional side of writing: meeting deadlines, judging stories, having a professional editor, getting a publisher, developing publicity. Partway into the process the creative types decided they needed someone to manage the moving pieces, and I volunteered for the role. (I seem to recall I thought my management experiences would help. It turned out that herding family cats was a more useful skill, but I digress.)

That, in turn, led to Kaye George asking me to join the steering committee as the WebGuppy, responsible for managing the website. I served in that capacity for more than three years before recently handing over the reins.

Through those volunteer positions I met and got to know more and more Guppies. At first, everything was online, but as I attended writers’ conferences, I started to put names to faces and the best part of the conventions became the continued conversations.

Fellow Guppies have provided me other opportunities. This Writers Who Kill Blog was the inspiration of E. B. Davis (who currently serves the Guppies by setting up the wonderful online classes we sponsor). Most of the current members of Writers Who Kill are Guppies (and Paula Gail Benson is also a steering committee member).

Speaking of Paula, she was responsible for getting me invited to the South Carolina Book Festival last year and Murder in the Magic City (and Murder on the Menu) earlier this year.

Over the years I have taken excellent Guppy courses on a variety of topics, including character arcs, publicity, writing a synopsis, characterization, plot structure, incorporating senses into scenes and many more. The semi-monthly newsletter, First Draft, alone is worth the $12 annual dues for the Guppies.


And Guppies have stretched me in other positive ways. At this year’s Malice Domestic Conference I joined with my sister Guppies and wore my pink boa to the Sisters in Crime breakfast. And because of a fellow Guppy’s suggestion (thank you Hank Phillippi Ryan) I wore a wonderful wolf’s hat to an “Extreme Weather Mysteries” panel (KM Rockwood was on that panel as well as another fellow Guppy, Annette Dashofy.) In January 2015 I’ll be teaching a course on Self-Editing/Revision for the Kiss of Death Chapter of the Romance Writers of America—because a fellow Guppy, Donnell Bell, thought of me.

Low Country Sisters in Crime

Late last year, another Guppy, Maggie Toussaint, notified me that she was joining with some other SinC members to form a Lowcountry chapter. Would I be interested? I missed the face-to-face get-togethers I had enjoyed with the Cincinnati Writers Project and jumped on the opportunity. Tina Whittle was the driving force for the group. I am now one of the founding members of our nascent chapter – and Membership Vice President. (Give a little, receive a lot).

I’ll end this love letter to my writing sisters, by saying thank you to those I have named and to the hundreds of others not named but who have helped me personally and professionally. It wouldn’t have happened without the Sisters in Crime and it wouldn’t have happened without My Sisters in Crime.

~ Jim

Links to other blogs.


I am sharing three, all of which are joint efforts and include Guppies and other SinC members.
Mysteristas: http://mysteristas.wordpress.com/

17 comments:

Claire said...

What a nice tribute to Sisters in Crime and the Guppies, Jim. As someone who joined both just under two years ago, I am so grateful the time and effort I've seen you put into the group and its warm welcome to new members.

Jim, you are a wonderful Mister is Crime. My hat is off to you today.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Claire,

Thank you for your kind comments. I know most people refer to male members of SinC as "Misters" -- and I do not have any confusion about my sexual identity -- but I consider think of myself a sister in that I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my sisters in crime for equality in treatment.

~ Jim

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Awww...xoxo Love you back! Thank you for all you do, Jim! xoo

Anonymous said...

Jim, one of the best things I ever did to further my writing career was to join Sisters in Crime at my first Malice in 2007. But even more important was joining the Guppies at the same time. They have been an extremely supportive and helpful group in so many ways. - Gloria Alden (not on her own computer)

Warren Bull said...

Sisters and Guppies are great organizations.

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Jim, it has been my absolute pleasure to make your acquaintance and read your fabulous work. Guppies and Sisters in Crime are lucky to have you! Sincerely, a fan!

E. B. Davis said...

I know blogging is a mixed blessing, Jim. I feel that too. But it also gives us an opportunity to give back to our mystery community and to promote our own work. I've enjoyed working with you here and on the Guppy Steering Committee. Your editing has helped my work greatly. Thanks for all you've done.

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for the great tribute to both SinC and Guppies. I am now a member of both (thank you, Gloria Alden, for convincing me I should try it again after I'd decided not to join after one meeting)

I'm now trying to be an active member of the Chessie chapter, and have enjoyed the meeting that I've been able to get to. And learned a lot. I'm looking forward to broadening my horizons.

And I love the picture of us in our hats at Malice! I was just at a small local conference (can you believe it only cost $10 and included lunch?) and saw Jenny Milchman again.

KM Rockwood

Paula Gail Benson said...

Joining SinC and the Guppies have helped me become a published author. And, they brought me in contact with some fabulous folks, including James Montgomery Jackson!

Shari Randall said...

Jim, what a wonderful post. SINC and Guppies and WWK are lucky to have you!

Kaye George said...

I, too, owe SO much to Sisters in Crime and the Guppies. What a lovely tribute! You've given back more than enough and deserve to step back and concentrate on your own writing. Sending some love back to you for all you've done.

Christine Finlayson said...

What a great post, Jim, and a well-deserved tribute to Sisters in Crime and the Guppies. Thank you for everything you've done for both groups -- many, many authors have benefitted from your labors! It was great meeting you via the Guppies at Left Coast Crime. (And, hey, nice photo with the pink boa!)

Leslie Budewitz said...

It takes a real Sister to share a picture of himself in pink feathers on line.

Thanks for the love letter to SinC and the Guppies, and for all you do. You know we all love you right back!

Polly Iyer said...

Great tribute to SinC and Guppies, Jim. I think every member shares your view. I feel fortunate to have met you the two times I have and look forward to connecting again when I can get to the Savannah chapter.

Krista said...

We're so proud to have you as a sister, Jim! Love those pictures!!!

Patg said...

Finally worked, Jim. Very nice tribute to two organizations I very thankful to have in my writing life. I joined Sisters before anything was on line. Imagine Round Robins through the mail with four writers. :)
Patg

Cynthia @ Mysteristas said...

Thanks so much, Jim, for this lovely post and for all of your work.

And thanks for linking to Mysteristas! We will get to it!