Friday, March 25, 2011

Sisters in Crime and Me

By Molly Weston

I've been a member of Sisters in Crime (as a reader, reviewer and general groupie) for somewhere around 20 years. At the time I joined, there was no internet, very little email — and we relied on print versions of the Sisters in Crime newsletter.

Sometime in Annette Meyers' presidency (1996–97), there was a contest to name the newsletter (which I won) and it became known as inSinC. I always read everything in inSinC because that was the only way I could find out about things that were happening in the mystery world. Since we had no dedicated mystery bookstore in my area, "The Docket" was very important to me because I could learn about new publications by my favorite authors.

During an early perusal of the newsletter, I was surprised to find that there were conferences devoted to the mystery genre. For my birthday, I asked my mother to give me the registration to something called "Malice Domestic" in Bethesda, Maryland. The first year I tried to register, it was already filled, but I persevered.

I entered the ballroom on Friday evening to find it filled with friends — instant friends. Everyone there was as avid a mystery reader as I was — and many of them were writers of my favorite books.

I attended everything, meeting more and more writers and readers everywhere. I was delighted to see pictures of the writers in the program booklets, so I could pick out my favorites in the crowd.

During one event, a tall lady stood in the crowd, and said, "I'm Ruth Cavin with St. Martin's Press." She then explained about the Malice Domestic Best First Novel award sponsored by St. Martin's and asked for volunteer judges. Was I happy to step up! I continued as a judge for several years.

Soon I was inviting authors to visit me in North Carolina. I scheduled venues at bookstores for them and they stayed at our home. It wasn't long before I had authors visiting nearly year-round.

My mailbox overflowed with postcards of book covers, often inscribed with "Hi, Molly" on the backs. Did that ever make me feel important! My phone began ringing with requests to visit. The Sisterhood was busy.

One day I played a message, "I'm Patti Sprinkle. I writer murder mysteries…" I was always glad to hear, "Molly. This is Liz Squire." I knew an exciting visit would soon come my way.

Now, every time I attend a mystery conference anywhere, I find myself surrounded by Sisters. What a group!

How has SinC expanded your world?

Photo 1: Molly (at right) with children's author/illustrator Judy Schachner.

Photo 2: Visiting Sisters — (from left) Rosemary Harris, Donna Andrews, Karen Kiley of the Cary Library (a new Sister), Elaine Viets and Meredith Cole.

Molly Weston is the editor of inSinC, the Sisters in Crime quarterly news bulletin. She is a book reviewer, media escort, blogger and book club maven — when not pondering the intricacies of running a thriving day lily farm.


Vicki Lane said...

Molly is the greatest! I've enjoyed her hospitality and her friendship -- she is a wonderful example of the sisterhood of SinC. Not to mention a very fun person to hang out with. (With whom out to hang? Drat those dangling prepositions!)

Molly Swoboda said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Molly at the February 2011 Cape Fear Crime Festival in Wilmington, NC. It's no idle rumor that this lovely woman can knit anywhere, anytime, any place -- not to mention how she lights up the room. Yeah, go hang out with her ;)

Gina_Harrison said...

OK, Molly, the editor always get the inside scoop. What are some of the upcoming titles I need to put on my wish list?

Msmstry said...

Thanks, folks, for your kind comments. I'll probably have to print them so my family will believe!

SinC is a great place for an only child to extend her family.

Meredith Cole said...

Hi Molly! (waving) Can't wait to see you at Malice! So fun to see all of us together when we came down to see you. (BTW--I had no idea that you named the newsletter, but I'm not at all surprised...)

NancM said...

Molly, you're one of the really special people to know in Sisters in Crime.

Msmstry said...

Meredith, hi to you. We're having some of your weather today—it's coat weather again.

I'm really looking forward to Malice. Have a great panel "Tea, Scones, and Death: Murder in the English Countryside" at 10:15 (my kind of time!) on Sunday morning with Dorothy Cannell, Jeanne M. Dams, Hannah Dennison, and Elizabeth J. Duncan.

Camille Kimball said...

Fun story! Helping book authors is a great service. SinC is lucky to have you. I certainly enjoyed your post!

Helen J said...

Moly is the best- I really enjoy her monthly talks at the Cary Library- it encourages me to read new authors and rediscover old ones!

Katherine Hall Page said...

A lovely piece, Molly, and wonderful to see the photo of Karen Kiley, who represents the way librarians have supported Sisters all these years!