by Paula Gail Benson
During 2020, the year of the pandemic, when so many meetings went from being in-person to virtual, I had the good fortune to meet Sonja Hazzard-Webster online. Sonja was the President of the Capitol Crimes Chapter of Sisters in Crime (based in Sacramento, California) and I was the President of the Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime (based in Columbia, South Carolina). When Palmetto Chapter had to convert its annual Mystery in the Midlands program to an online format, we sent the information out on the Sisters in Crime Presidents’ List Serv. We were lucky. With Charlaine Harris as our keynote and people anxious to attend writing conferences, we had over 900 people to register.
What meant a great deal to me in 2020 was that Sonja reached out to me with encouragement. She had links to South Carolina and registered to support us. Our friendship was online only, but very genuine. I remember “meeting” her in person at a virtual cocktail hour hosted by then SinC President Lori Rader-Day. I witnessed Sonja’s vivacious charm, which captured everyone’s heart.
Sonja passed away suddenly on June 15, 2020, but her happy spirit continues to guide the Capitol Crimes Chapter. Because Sonja’s kindness meant so much to me, I decided to join the Capitol Crimes Chapter. Penny Manson, who succeeded Sonja as President, became another friend. As Presidents of two chapters, Penny and I began talking about a joint program, sponsored by both Capitol Crimes and Palmetto, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Sisters in Crime.
This year, with Sarah Bresniker as President of the Capitol Crimes Chapter and Carla Damron as President of the Palmetto Chapter, the two chapters are working together on a Killer Workshop to be presented on Saturday, May 14, 2022. This unique program combines two events in one: (1) if you are in or near Sacramento, you can attend a day-long in-person workshop featuring authors, forensic and publishing professionals, and an exciting keynote, and (2) if you can’t get to Sacramento, you can join us virtually for three panels of authors and an exciting keynote.
Both the in-person and virtual events will share the exciting keynote, who is Gregg Hurwitz, the New York Times #1 internationally bestselling author of 23 thrillers, including the ORPHAN X series. His novels have won numerous awards and been published in 33 languages.
The ORPHAN X novels are part of what got me through the pandemic. Hurwitz’ protagonist, Evan Smoak, is the rumored “Nowhere Man,” a person who can rescue anyone from the most dire of circumstances. Evan was trained as a government assassin, but left the program to use his skills for individuals whose troubles seem unresolvable. DARK HORSE, the seventh novel in the series, has just been released. In addition to the ORPHAN X novels, Hurwitz has written screenplays, comics, poetry, and articles.
Early bird registration rates are available for the Killer Workshop through March 31, 2022. For the in-person event, members pay $65 and nonmembers $80. After March 31, members pay $75 and nonmembers $90.
For the virtual event, the early bird rate is $25. After March 31, the virtual event rate is $35.
Here’s a link to register for the Killer Workshop (in-person or virtual): https://capitolcrimes.wildapricot.org/Workshop
By checking out the information about the Killer Workshop, you can sign up for a dream editing giveaway at: https://capitolcrimes.wildapricot.org/Dream-Editing-Giveaway (Those who register for the Killer Workshop are automatically eligible for the giveaway!)
During our planning for this in-person/virtual joint chapter event, I’ve felt Sonja Hazzard-Webster’s continuing enthusiastic influence. She would have loved the opportunity to bring writers together.
Please consider joining us. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 14, 2022. If you can’t attend during the event, the virtual program will remain available to registrants until July 31, 2022.
And, please check out tomorrow’s post on Writers Who Kill for more information about how our two chapters planned the Killer Workshop and selected its participants!
Paula, I am so sorry to learn of Sonja Hazzard-Webster's passing. As you may Stiletto Gang lost our dear friend Cathy Perkins during this time. I also think the collaboration of Sisters in Crime chapters is terrific and the price is reasonable. There are so many excellent books out. I admit to never reading Gregg Hurwitz. Marking my calendar. Thank you, and my condolences on the loss of a colleague and friend.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Donnell. I am grateful to have known both Sonja and Cathy. Two great writers and friends who we have lost too soon. I hope you'll enjoy Gregg Hurwitz' novels. I could not put them down!Delete
Absolutely, and I plant to attend virtual this fantastic workshop.Delete
What a wonderful article, Paula. Thank you for sharing how you met Sonja and how she touched your heart. It's so nice Palmetto and Capitol Crimes are working together to make this workshop happen. It's a beautiful thing! :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Karen! I appreciate all you do for the Capitol Crimes Chapter and am glad to be working with you on this project.Delete
I was one of the over 900 participants in that virtual conference during early Covid. Totally impressed with SinC. Thanks for the post.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Saralyn. I hope you might join us again this year, for both the Killer Workshop (May 14) and Mystery in the Midlands (scheduled for July 16).Delete
I am so sorry to hear about Sonja Hazzard-Webster's passing. It sounds like a wonderful collaboration.ReplyDelete
It has been a great opportunity. Thanks, Lynn.Delete
Paula, thank you so much for sharing your story of getting to know Sonja. Her passion for the Sisters in Crime community is held in the hearts of many, and I know that she would be thrilled with how Capitol Crimes and Palmetto are coming together for this workshop. I can't wait for it, both the in person and virtual portions are going to be amazing, thanks to the hard work of so many and Sonja's inspiration.ReplyDelete
Me, too, Sarah! Many thanks to many folks!Delete
Glad Sonja and you connected because of your friendship that grew from that connection as well as the programming for authors throughout the country. Looking forward to being part of the conference.ReplyDelete
Debra, I'm looking forward to your panel and the others for our virtual component. Thanks for participating!Delete
Thank you, Dru Ann!Delete
A lovely tribute to Sonja, Paula. Kudos to you for keeping the connection going. The Killer Workshop looks inviting. It's on my calendar. Best of luck with it.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Gay! We look forward to having you with us.Delete
Paula, I was so moved to hear about your connection with Sonja. What a lovely tribute and how wonderful that this conference was born of your friendship.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Shari. It's wonderful that Sonja continues to be such an inspiration.Delete
What a lovely post, Paula. it never ceases to amaze me how truly giving most authors are.ReplyDelete
Lynn, I absolutely agree!Delete