I live and write in a mountain village in Central California about seventy miles from the edge of the Los Angeles sprawl. Today I’m excited about heading into the city for the Sisters-in-Crime meeting of the Los Angeles Chapter.
I used to be sophisticated, spending the twenty years in Santa Monica before moving to the village. Things happen in Santa Monica. Like many other coastal cities, big ideas bubble up and take shape, things like food, fashion, lifestyle, new ways of being and self-expression.
That’s why I set my police procedural series in the Santa Monica Police Department. The cops there are no stranger to high-tech crime, celebrity, and the crimes that involve runaways and homelessness. Everybody likes the sunshine and seashore.
Now I live in a village of less than a thousand, a lot of them retirees like myself. Seeing the small-scale scandals that take place here prompted my second series, featuring a homicide detective from the Kern County Sheriff’s department in Bakersfield.
I’ve gotten pretty pokey myself since I moved to the village. My big excitement yesterday was seeing a bear shamble right past my office window.
But today I’ll search around in the back of the closet for something made of silk and head out to the Sisters-in-Crime meeting in Pasadena. I hope that all of you reading this are aware of the many resources you have available as a member of Sisters-in-Crime http://www.sistersincrime.org/. Started by Sara Paretsky in the 80’s, the organization offers networking, advice and support to mystery authors and was founded to “promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry.” Guppies offers an online critique group for new writers within Sisters-in-Crime. And there are a significant number of Misters within Sisters-in-Crime.
The Los Angeles Chapter puts on an excellent conference every two years and has monthly meetings bringing in speakers from every niche within the crime-fighting spectrum.
Today Sally Carpenter is speaking on “An Actor/Writer Creates a Character.” I had lunch with her at a writing seminar and look forward to seeing her again. These monthly meetings draw together the known and unknown authors in a casual networking scene where you have fun and learn something new.
I won’t forget my astonishment at trying to put coins in a parking meter and realizing they now take credit cards. As I say, I used to be sophisticated.
Payback is my novel set in the village, currently priced at .99 cents.