Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Chapter Meeting May 4, 2017

Hello Sisters and Brothers in Crime!
We’re in for a special treat at our monthly meeting on May 4th.  Dr. Warren Moore, mystery writer and Professor of English at Newberry College in Newberry, SC will be our speaker.  Professor Moore is also Editor of Newberry College’s scholarly journal, Studies in Crime Writing. This on-line publication is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal focusing on the literary study of crime writing, including noir, thrillers, and true crime, as well as classical and hard-boiled detective fiction. 
Born in Nashville and raised in the burbs of Nashville and Cincinnati, Moore has been a journalist, tire salesman, stand-up comic, advertising copywriter, magazine editor, and drummer in a variety of unsuccessful bands. He finished tied for 105th in the 1979 National Spelling Bee.

Moore holds a Ph.D. in English from Ball State University, with a specialty in medieval literature, and has taught courses covering topics from the Seven Deadly Sins to film noir. BROKEN GLASS WALTZES, his first novel, was published in 2013, and will be reissued this fall by Down and Out Books. He has published short stories in a variety of print and online venues since then. His short story “Bowery Station, 3:15 A.M.” was named an Honorable Mention in Otto Penzler’s Best American Mystery Stories 2016. His story “Office at Night” recently appeared in In Sunlight or In Shadow, an anthology edited by Lawrence Block. Moore has a story appearing in another Block anthology late this year, and a collection of his short fiction is scheduled to appear in 2018.
Professor Moore can be found on Facebook, as well as at his blog, “Professor Mondo” (http://profmondo.blogspot.com), and he tweets as @profmondo. Moore also plays drums in a 60s-style garage band that plays in the Upstate and Midlands, and lives in Newberry with his wife and daughter.
Our monthly Sisters in Crime meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 4th, at The Runway Café, 21 Airport Rd, Greenville, S.C.  Be there at 6:15 p.m. to meet Warren Moore and enjoy chapter fellowship. Supper should be served at 6:30. Our speaker will begin right after new and old business at 7 p.m. Both dinner and the meeting are open to the public. 
In order for the Runway Café to speed service, dinner orders must be emailed by noon the day of the meeting. If you can't dine with us, we would still like to know you plan to attend so we can be sure you have a seat. If possible, please join us for dinner as our dinner orders help to ensure we can book our meeting room for free. To see the special menu for our group, please visit our website — www.sincupstatesc.blogspot.com  — and click on the Advance Order Menu tab at right.  Please e-mail your order to Ellis Vidler at ellisvidler1@gmail.com.
 If you place an order and do not attend or fail to cancel by noon, you will be charged for the meal. And like always, we'll enjoy it.
 Look forward to seeing you on May4th.
 Sally Handley

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Minutes from the April 4, 2017 chapter meeting


You’ve heard of dinner and a movie? Well, here at the Upstate Sisters in Crime, we do dinner and a guest speaker. This month 19 members and guests met at the Runway Café in Greenville for an evening of fantastic food, writer talk, and information.



Our president Sally Handley started the meeting as is our custom, with a quick go-around the room of introductions. It’s always nice to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of our writing journeys—especially the good! Sally reminded us of our upcoming 30th anniversary celebration on June 10th, and also invited any member with news to share—such as contests, conferences, etc, to e-mail her, and she’ll be sure to spread the word to the rest of us.



And then, drum roll, please, our guest speaker took over. Jamie Mason was a hoot! And SO informative and helpful! Jamie described her books, Three Graves Full and Monday Lies, as “why-dun-its” as opposed to “who-dun-its,” and labeled them literary suspense. She explained that a new trend in publishing is this “blending of genres.” She also shared quite a few amusing anecdotes that inspired her stories, or at least got her imagination in gear. One idea: when she is brainstorming for a new story, Jamie scours newspaper headlines. She DOES NOT read the article, just the headlines, and asks herself if she can see a plot developing…



Soon Jamie was fielding questions, and as a traditionally-published author, she answered a lot of questions about the publishing business. She chose the traditional route because she wanted to see her books in bookstores and indie authors are less likely to have that opportunity. Jamie recommended a few websites such as AbsoluteWrite.com and AgentQuery.com, gave us tips about finding and working with an agent, and some more amusing and informative quips about the trials and tribulations of both good and bad reviews and working with a screenwriter. As far as the writing process, Jamie uses the “8-sequence screeenwriting” approach. She used to be a pantser, but now is a plotter. Jamie believes it saves a lot of time and effort and heartache to know where you’re going.



After thanking Jamie for her wisdom, insight, and humor, the meeting was adjourned until next time. We meet the first Thursday evening of every month. Come on down!



Respectfully Submitted,



Cindy Blackburn

Chapter Secretary

Friday, March 31, 2017

Chapter Meeting - April 6, Author Jamie Mason

Our guest speaker this month (Thursday, April 6th) is Jamie Mason, author of the “ripping good” (The New York Times) debut novel Three Graves Full.  Jamie’s second book, Monday’s Lies, was called “an elegant and compact literary thriller” by The Knoxville News Sentinel.

Jamie was born in Oklahoma City, but has always named Alexandria, Virginia and the greater DC metropolitan area as her hometown. She grew up in the shadow of the Pentagon (a shadow that is somehow darker and longer than the shade given off by lesser five-story buildings.) This might explain a few things about her suspicious nature.
A veteran nomad, Jamie has never grown attached to any particular piece of real estate. As such, her heart is home in several places scattered around DC, but also in Richmond, Virginia; San Diego, California; Asheville, North Carolina; and a whole list of places she's only visited. And a few of those, only in her mind.

She enjoys writing, reading, films, Formula 1 racing, NFL football, drinking whiskey, talking about things, and driving. She is addicted to coffee, and although her habit demands only two to three cups per day, let's just say you wouldn't want to be left standing between her and the carafe first thing in the morning. She is conflicted about time spent sleeping and resents speed bumps. Ticking clocks make her very irritable. Currently, Jamie lives with her husband and two daughters in the mountains of western North Carolina where she writes in a little room full of lovely things. And hopes.

The monthly Sisters in Crime meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 6th, at The Runway Café, 21 Airport Rd, Greenville, S.C.  Be there at 6:15 p.m. to meet Jamie Mason and enjoy chapter fellowship. Supper should be served at 6:30. Our speaker will begin right after new and old business at 7 p.m. Both dinner and the meeting are open to the public. 
In order for the Runway Café to speed service, dinner orders must be emailed by noon the day of the meeting. If you can't dine with us, we would still like to know you plan to attend so we can be sure you have a seat. If possible, please join us for dinner as our dinner orders help to ensure we can book our meeting room for free. To see the special menu for our group, please visit our website — www.sincupstatesc.blogspot.com  — and click on the Advance Order Menu tab at right.  Please e-mail your order to Ellis Vidler at  ellisvidler1@gmail.com.

If you place an order and do not attend or fail to cancel by noon, you will be charged for the meal. And like always, we'll enjoy it.
 Look forward to seeing you on April 6th.
 Sally Handley


Virus-free. www.avg.com

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Minutes for Chapter Meeting, March 2, 2017


March 7, 2017


Creatures of habit, we met at our usual time and place—the first Thursday evening of the month, at the Runway Café in Greenville. And hungry creatures of habit, we enjoyed burgers, fries, sandwiches, and yes, some of us do salads, to fortify ourselves for the evening’s program. Twenty four people attended this month’s meeting, and we are all glad we did! 

As predicted, Sally Handley has settled comfortably and efficiently into her role as our new chapter president, and Sally started our meeting with the exceedingly good news that the grant she wrote was approved!! Yes, you read that right! Our Upstate SinC chapter has qualified for a $250 grant from SinC National to host our 30th birthday party and workshop celebration. Great job, Sally! Be sure to save the date, June 10th, to participate fully in what promises to be a superb day for our chapter at the Easley Public Library. Sally and the board will be seeking help as we finalize the plans, so please let us know what YOU can do to make the day festive, informative , and memorable. Marcia Talley is our guest speaker, and there will be cake! Like I said—save the date! 

Before introductions were made, member Steve Brown noted that it was new and different to have Sally at the helm, and led us in a well-deserved round of applause for our former chapter president, Howard Lewis, and his FIVE YEARS of service. Yay, Howard! 

After the casual (and always fun) round of introductions wherein each member says just a tiny bit about who they are and why they have so wisely chosen to attend our meeting that month, Sally wasted no time in introducing our guests, Steve MacLeod, an EMS paramedic with the Keowee Fire District, and Brandon Shirley, Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshall of the Keowee Fire District.  

What a team! Steve and Brandon enlightened us on a variety of topics relating to first responders—what kinds of problems, emergencies, and people they encounter, what a typical shift might entail, what challenges they face, and how first responders coordinate their work with fire, medical, and law enforcement personnel. They covered so much info, it is hard for this feeble secretary to summarize, but a few tidbits I myself found the most interesting:

 EMS personnel assess the SCENE they encounter, as well as the persons in need of medical help. The scene reveals a lot about what exactly the medical emergency might be. 

EMS’s goal is to get the sick person stabilized, in the ambulance, and moving toward the hospital in 10 minutes. 

Opiate overdoses are a huge problem in our communities. 

At a scene where a crime might have been committed, EMS personnel must be careful with crime evidence, in addition to dealing with the medical emergency. 

And, in case it’s not already obvious, EMS personnel are not paid enough! 

We had lots of questions for Steve and Brandon, and the meeting came to an end only when the staff of the Runway Café had to close up the restaurant.  

Respectfully Submitted,

Cindy Blackburn

Chapter Secretary

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

March 2 Meeting Features EMS/Fire Responders

Who are the first people at the scene of a tragedy—be it a fire, an auto accident, a heart attack, an attempted suicide, or a capsized sailboat? The answer is often Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers. On March 2, the Upstate SC Chapter of Sisters in Crime has the privilege of welcoming two of these hometown heroes: Steve MacLeod and M. Brandon Shirley.

MacLeod, a former Army medic, was looking for a worthwhile activity to keep him busy after retiring from Fluor, a Greenville-based international engineering/construction company. Recognizing that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) could use help, he became EMS certified and joined the Keowee Fire District. After serving with the Keowee Key Fire Department for a while, MacLeod found he really enjoyed the interaction with people and the chance to help individuals that medical services offered. He says “ego” took him from responder up the ranks to his current status as a paramedic.

Brandon Shirley is Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal of the Keowee Fire District  and has more than 20 years of experience in Fire/EMS services. As such, he’s responded to almost every type of emergency. Like MacLeod, Shirley has had a successful career outside his First Responder duties. A native of South Carolina, he’s a licensed Real Estate Broker, and the sole equity partner in MBS Development, LLC, which manages community developments.

MacLeod and Shirley will discuss how they’ve been trained to respond to various emergencies…how they interact with law enforcement when criminal activity is suspected… what actions they take to ensure their own safety… the emotional toll when responders arrive at a scene and find they know the injured party. And, of course, much more.

The monthly Sisters in Crime meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 2, at The Runway Café, 21 Airport Rd, Greenville, S.C.  Be there at 6:15 p.m. to meet MacLeod and Shirley and enjoy chapter fellowship. Supper should be served at 6:30. The speakers will begin right after new and old business at 7 p.m. Both dinner and the meeting are open to the public. 

In order for the Runway Café to speed service, dinner orders must be emailed by noon the day of the meeting. If you can't dine with us, we would still like to know you plan to attend so we can be sure you have a seat. If possible, please join us for dinner as our dinner orders help to ensure we can book our meeting room for free. To see the special menu for our group, please visit our website —  www.sincupstatesc.blogspot.com  — and click on the Advance Order Menu tab at right.  Please e-mail your order to Ellis Vidler at ellisvidler1@gmail.com.

If you place an order and do not attend or fail to cancel by noon, you will be charged for the meal. And like always, we'll enjoy it.

Looking forward to seeing you on March 2nd.

Sally Handley

Monday, February 6, 2017

Chapter Meeting Minutes for February 3, 2017 & SinC National Letter to the New York Times



CHAPTER MINUTES:
As is our custom, chapter members and guests met at the Runway Café in Greenville on the first Thursday evening of the month. As is also customary, we enjoyed the splendid dinners prepared by the restaurant staff and coordinated by the one and only Ellis Vidler. Ellis had her work cut out for her this month—we had 31 people in attendance! Yes, you read that right—31, which may well be a record for us. Good job Ellis!

Also doing a superb job was our new president, Sally Handley. No pun intended, but the superbly talented and exceedingly lovely Ms. Handley handled her debut meeting like a pro. No “old business” needed mention, but a few pieces of “new business” were discussed:

Sally mentioned the upcoming workshop on Saturday June 10, with our special guest speaker Marcia Talley. In addition to what promises to be a fascinating and informative workshop, we will also share a birthday cake in celebration of 30 years of Sisters in Crime. Cake!! Mark your calendars!

Other new business—Linda Lovely mentioned the upcoming Writers Police Academy and suggested we register soon, if interested. Members of the national SinC organization get a major discount to this fantastic conference! Also, a new benefit for our local members—Sally invited those of us who belong to both national SinC and our local chapter to submit (to Linda Lovely our membership chair) a short bio (50 words or less) and 2 links of your choice to be included in the “members” page of our local website. Way cool! And one other piece of business—I was honored to sit next to our chapter treasurer, Helen Turnage, who did a booming business all evening collecting membership dues for 2017 and handing out receipts. The annual fee is $15.00, and you may pay Helen in cash or write your check to Howard Lewis (our vice-president) and he will get the cashola to Helen. So if you haven’t paid for 2017, we encourage you to do so at our March meeting.

Onto our speaker for the evening—Brian Emerson, Discovery Services and Reference Librarian for the Greenville County Library System. Brian, with the occasional help of two of his associates, gave us a valuable lesson on all the ways the library is a reader’s and WRITER’S best friend. He mentioned the 88 databases that the library offers, but my personal favorite was “Mango” where one can go to learn any of 72 languages. I’ve put learning “pirate” at the top of my to-do list.

Brian also mentioned the various programs the library offers, including the “Scribblers” meetings, where writers share their works in progress with other writers to get feedback. All writers are welcome! Check the Greenville County Library website or newsletter for the place and time of these meetings, which take place at several branches. And for readers, the Greenville libraries have several book clubs, and the Novelist database, to help us find our next great read.

Brian also explained the library’s book-selection process, including how we can get our own books onto the “local authors” shelf. In a nutshell, donate your masterpiece, and minus a few caveats, you can have your book on the shelves! And last but not least, Brian announced a “Self Publishing Fair” the library is sponsoring on March 28. Again, check their website or newsletter for further details.

That’s it folks. Until March, happy reading and happy writing.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cindy Blackburn
Chapter secretary

SinC Letter to New York Times

Our Sisters in Crime organization has written the New York Times to request it to reconsider its decision to eliminate the "best-seller" lists that have often served as a guide for fans of popular genre fiction, including the crime fiction that are members pen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Greenville Librarian Headlines Feb. 2 Meeting

Our speaker this month is Brian Emerson, a librarian at the Greenville County Library System. Brian attended Furman University, where he received his BA in Philosophy in 2009.  While working for GCLS, he received his Master’s in Library and Information Science from USC in 2014.

Brian currently works in Discovery Services, where he works in Reference, Interlibrary Loan, and the Internet Area.  Whenever he is asked about good mysteries to read, his go-tos are Peril at End House, by Agatha Christie and The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith.

Brian will talk to us about the resources available to writers through GCLS and discuss how writers and librarians can work together. Topics include how to use the library to research potential book topics and how to get published works submitted into the GCLS library system.

The monthly Sisters in Crime meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 2nd, at The Runway Café, 21 Airport Rd, Greenville, S.C.  Be there at 6:15 p.m. to enjoy chapter fellowship

If possible, please join us for dinner as our dinner orders help to ensure we can book our meeting room for free. Supper will be served at 6:25 and we will begin the business portion of our meeting promptly at 6:45 so we can be out by 8:30.


Please e-mail your dinner order to Ellis Vidler at ellisvidler1@gmail.com as soon as possible and no later than noon the day of the meeting. Advance orders are necessary in order for the Runway Café to speed service. To see the special menu for our group click on the Advance Order Menu tab at right.

If you can't dine with us, we would still like to know you plan to attend so we can be sure you have a seat. If you place an order and do not attend or fail to cancel by noon, you will be charged for the meal. And like always, we'll enjoy it.

Look forward to seeing you,


Sally

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Minutes January 5, 2017 Meeting-Runway Cafe

Attendance 14; 13 members and 1 guest/potential new member (Good job, Linda!)
After our usual social time and the lovely repast provided by the Runway Café, our lame duck president, Howard Lewis, called our meeting to order with his final, “How we doin’?” FYI, Howard, you are anything but lame!
We got down to immediate busines, and before any of us could think fast enough to change our minds, the entire slate of officers for the coming year was submitted, approved, and voted on, with 100% “Yays” and zero % “Nays.”
Therefore, your officers for the year 2017 are:

  • Sally Handley—President
  • Howard Lewis—Vice President
  • Helen Turnage—Treasurer
  • Cindy Blackburn—Secretary
  • Ellis Vidler—Community Liason
  • Linda Lovely—Membership Chair
After the election, Howard also mentioned another piece of business, the upcoming workshop in June featuring Marcia Talley. Topics and details have yet to be ironed out, or even put on the ironing board. But we’ll keep ya’ posted. Ideas, suggestions, and volunteers to help organize and plan would be greatly appreciated. Hint, hint.
Then we got the program underway—a guided discussion/informational session amongst ourselves, discussing a variety of topics that we had proposed at the holiday party, and then Howard took votes via e-mail, and we discussed in order of preference. Howard gave us his swan song performance as our president by emceeing this discussion with his usual flair and humor.
Topics discussed:
1. Building relationships and readerships. How we find books to read, and how we find readers to read our own books.
Some possibilities mentioned were bookclubs, Book Reporter (Our new treasurer Helen mentioned this interesting thing I’d never heard of), FaceBook (FaceBookGroups and FaceBook Author Pages), e-mail lists and newletters, Amazon Singles, and getting a piece of our writing such as short stories into boxed sets and anthologies.
 2. Good Reads-the good, the bad, and the ugly.
No consensus here. Either you love Good Reads, or you hate it. But Sally, our illustrious new president, loves it and gave us tips on how to use Good Reads to keep a record of what you want to read, and what you have already read. Here we also discussed book reviews, and the ins and outs and costs of getting reviews on Net Gallery and Kirkus.
3. What readers love.
Variety, imagination, humor, surprise endings, happy or at least satisfying endings (Some of us even re-write endings to books we think end on too unhappy a note!), complicated characters who are not “too stupid to live,” life-affirming stories, stories that teach us something.
4. What readers hate.
Boring stories, unnecessary violence or torture, boring characters, when animals get killed.
5. Finding critique groups.
Okay, so I’m new at this secretary thing, and missed the answers on this one. But I did catch that the SinC website has a place to find a critique group. We also discussed the difference between critique partners, groups, and beta readers. I think everyone agreed that getting feedback, however you go about it, is a valuable tool for writers.
6. Rough draft rules.
Some tricks people in the group use are leaving a scene half-done so you know where to pick up the next day, setting or not setting goals, (You may want to be sitting down before reading Howard’s suggestion-twice!-that we write 10,000 words per day. No, that isn’t a typo). Linda is a “binge” writer—all at once, and some of us write every day for at least a few minutes. Sally, our president-elect, has made a solemn vow to do so in 2017!
That’s it folks!
Respectfully Submitted,
Cindy Blackburn, Secretary








Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Members Tackle Timely Topics at 2017 Kickoff

For our January 5 meeting we’re going to have a guided discussion of topics selected and prioritized by our members. 

This meeting will be framed as an information session not a class. As an example, a course on Building Relationships could last weeks, and truthfully, a lot of our writers and readers aren’t interested. This particular topic is important to writers because we are basically responsible for our own marketing, and I’m hoping readers want to know. Of course we’ll have to mention social media, but only what's possible, not how to do it. I’ll ask our readers how they select their books? Where do they get the ideas? Are they on any writers' mailing lists? I’ll ask our writers how they build readership with readers and what’s working for them? There are hundreds of book clubs within driving distance. How does an author find these book clubs? How do they get invited? What do they do when they get there? Why do our readers join book clubs? What do they expect from a writer who attends? Again, not a class, just information. Later in this note, I’ll list our prioritized topics. 

Before any of this, we need to select officers. Our present executive committee has assembled a proposed slate in an attempt to give us a blend of new blood for new ideas and established officers for continuity. Here is our proposal. Please consider these before the meeting.

Sally - President
Howard - Vice President
Linda - Membership Chair
Helen - Treasurer
Cindy - Secretary
Ellis - Community Liaison

Here’s the prioritized list of topics.

1) Building relationships/readership
2) What readers love
3) What readers hate
4) Critique groups
5) To outline or not
6) Rough draft rules
7) Lack of motivation, inspitration, time
8) Revision process
9) How to know which ideas to write
10) What can non-writer mate do to help

The monthly Sisters in Crime meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 5, at The Runway Café, 21 Airport Rd, Greenville, S.C.  Be there at 6:15 p.m. to enjoy chapter fellowship. Supper should be served at 6:30. Our meeting will start with officer elections at 7 p.m. Both dinner and the meeting are open to the public. 

In order for the Runway Café to speed service, dinner orders must be emailed by noon the day of the meeting. If possible, join us for dinner as our dinner orders help to ensure we can book our meeting room for free. However, if you can't dine with us, we would still like to know you plan to attend so we can be sure you have a seat.  To see the special menu for our group, click on the Advance Order Menu tab at right.  Please e-mail your order to Ellis Vidler at ellisvidler1@gmail.com the earlier the better. If Ellis doesn’t get your order by noon on the day of the meeting, you will need to contact the restaurant yourself and place your order. 

If you place an order and do not attend or fail to cancel by noon, you will be charged for the meal. And like always, we'll enjoy it.