Starting on 11/28 WWK presents original short stories by some of our authors. Here's our lineup:

11/28 Debra H. Goldstein, "Thanksgiving in Moderation"

12/5 Annette Dashofy, "Las Posadas--A New Mexico Christmas"

12/12 Warren Bull, "The Thanksgiving War"

12/19 KM Rockwood, "The Gift of Peace"

12/26 Paula Gail Benson, "The Lost Week of the Year"

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

November Interviews
11/6 Barbara Ross, Nogged Off
11/13 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
11/20 Lois Winston, Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
11/27 V. M Burns, Bookmarked For Murder

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
11/2 V. M. Burns
11/9 Heather Redmond
11/16 Arlene Kay

WWK Bloggers: 11/23 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: or at Amazon:

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.


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.


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...


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. :)

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!