A couple of Saturday's ago I was the speaker for the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime. I am one of the founding members of this chapter. I remember going to a meeting in a restaurant where everyone who was interested in forming a chapter gathered--probably about 20 or so women.
Over the years the chapter has met regularly on the first Saturday of the month. We started in a fabulous restaurant in the Tower District of Fresno. Now we meet in another restaurant that is famous for it's food right off the 99 freeway.
Last month our speaker were Henry Hill, the gangster (now retired) of GoodFella fame and a retired cop and author, Denny Griffin, who writes about gangsters and crime in Las Vegas. These two drew a huge crowd.
About half that number came to see me. Of course I've spoken to this group nearly every year. Some of the people could tell my stories. I do have fans and most of them showed up, eager to buy my latest two books, No Sanctuary and Kindred Spirits.
They had requested ahead of time that I answer their questions.
Here are two of them along with the answers.
1. How do I handle writers' block? My answer is I never have writer's block. I learned early on when it's time for me to quit writing for the day to stop in the middle of a scene, that way I don't have any trouble beginning the next time I sit down to write.
2. How do I schedule my time including speaking engagements? I try to write every single day until I run out of steam. I also have blogs that I have to write, like this one. Often I write them ahead of time when I have a few extra minutes. I try to do some social networking every day through Facebook, Twitter, etc. As for my physical engagements, I keep a calendar by my computer and when some calls or emails asking me to speak, I can immediately check to make sure I'm not double-booking. I also have a calendar I carry around with me. I try to go to a few writing or mystery cons every year. For this year it's been Epicon, then Mayhem in the Midlands where I'm on two panels and moderating another, the Sisters in Crime/Mystery Writers of America California Crime Writers Conference where I'll be on a panel about e-publishing, then Public Safety Writers Association's conference (I'm in charge of the program there) and that's it for this year though I have other speaking engagements.
Despite the small number of sisters there, I sold 18 books. I was thrilled. Plus hubby and I had a great time. One of the sisters said she's starting a fan club on Facebook for hubby. He has a following wherever he goes.
I'm so glad I joined Sisters in Crime.
Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith