There aren’t many chances in life to make a big impact on a large group of people. I was lucky enough to be president of Sisters in Crime (SinC) an organization that all of the Wickeds have been active in – Barb, Julie, and Edith as presidents of the New England chapter. Barb and Julie both have served on the national board and/or are serving on the board. And Julie is now the acting executive director. Liz and Jessie have been active in the New England chapter.
Part of the responsibility of being president of is coming up with a legacy project the year you are the immediate past president. Legacy is a big word and to be honest when I first joined the board knowing that was in my future I was a bit terrified. What could I do that would be worthy of such a project?
An idea begin to form as I navigated being vice president and president. I wanted to do something that would honor the organization’s roots as an advocacy group for women writers. Two things really impacted me along the way. The first was attending SinC into Great Writing at Bouchercon in New Orleans — this was before I had any idea I’d become national president. The topic was diversity and it was followed up with The Report for Change. Both efforts were led by then past president Catriona McPherson. Greg Herren spoke about the difficulties he’d faced as an LGBTQIA+ author.
The second thing was SinC’s Eleanor Taylor Bland Award for an Emerging Crime Writer of Color. I saw the impact that it had on the authors who won the award. By combining the two things I came up with the idea for a similar award for the LGBTQIA+ community. I wrote a proposal and submitted it to the board. It was thrilling that they enthusiastically embraced the idea and have worked hard to make it happen.
The team I’m working with to run the program: Valerie Burns, Marla Bradeen, and Mia Manansala are fabulous. Julie has worked hard on this along with Vanessa Lillie who is heading up the publicity for the award along with Kaye Publicity.
John Copenhaver, Cheryl Head, and Kristen Lepionka didn’t hesitate to say yes when asked to be judges. They are all busy people who are willing to give up their time to read through all the submissions and pick the winner and five runners up.
Along with the $2000 monetary award, the winner and five runners up will also be assigned a critique partner. I’m thrilled to announce them today. Terri Bischoff, Senior Acquiring Editor at Crooked Lane Books will work with the winner. The other critique partners are authors Brenda Buchanan, Leslie Karst, Anne Laughlin, Catherine Maiorisi, and Jeffrey Marks. What an amazing group of talented authors — again willing to take time from their busy lives to help newer authors.
The award is open to all members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are new to the crime fiction community. You don’t have to be a member of SinC or live in the U.S. to enter. And you don’t have to have a completed manuscript. Click here for rules and submission forms.
While the idea for the Pride Award might have been mine, it quickly grew to a huge group effort and I’m blessed to have so many wonderful people working on this project. Thanks to all of you for the love and time you’ve poured into the Pride Award.
Readers: Have you worked on a project that became a group effort?