Our Sizzling Summer Series is a collaboration between the Sisters in Crime Chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Northern California. During the months of June through September, each chapter takes a turn hosting a zoom meeting for the four chapters, bringing you great programming, including speakers who aren’t necessarily local.

On Saturday, September 9th the NorCal chapter hosted the Sizzling Summer Series meeting, featuring editor Lourdes Venard.

What To Do Until the Editor Arrives: A Primer on Self-Editing

Lourdes Venard is an editor with more than 35 years of writing and editing experience. As a journalist, she worked at The Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Newsday in New York. After her career in journalism, she turned to editing manuscripts, specifically crime fiction. She has worked with authors who went on to win or place as finalists in the Edgar awards, Killer Nashville Silver Falchion awards, IPPY (Independent Publisher Book awards), CWA Dagger award, RWA Daphne Du Maurier award, and several other writing competitions. She is also an educator, teaching copy editing through the University of California, San Diego, and through the Editorial Freelancers Association.

As part of our Sizzling Summer Series, the August meeting was held August 6th, hosted by us, the Sisters in Crime Los Angeles chapter, and featured Sara Paretsky as the speaker and Anne Louise Bannon as the reader.

The topic was “Readers and writers, are we an endangered species” and featured a conversation with Sara Paretsky.

This conversation, moderated by Los Angeles Chapter President Paula Bernstein, focused on four points:
– Efforts to ban books
– How the industry is fighting back
– The threat to writers from AI
– What we can do as individuals and as members of writers organizations like SinC.

Sara Paretsky revolutionized the mystery world in 1982 when she introduced V.I. Warshawski in Indemnity Only. By creating a detective with the grit and smarts to take on the mean streets, Paretsky challenged a genre in which women historically were vamps or victims. V.I. struck a chord with readers and critics; Indemnity Only was followed by twenty more V.I. novels. Her voice and her world remain vital to readers; the New York Times calls V.I., “a proper hero for these times,” adding, “to us, V.I. is perfect.”

While Paretsky’s fiction changed the narrative about women, her work also opened doors for other writers. In 1986 she created Sisters in Crime, a worldwide organization to advocate for women crime writers, which earned her Ms. Magazine’s 1987 Woman of the Year award. More accolades followed: the British Crime Writers awarded her the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement; Blacklist won the Gold Dagger from the British Crime Writers for best novel of 2004, and she has received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from a number of universities.

Paretsky’s work is celebrated in Pamela Beere Briggs’s documentary, Women of Mystery. Today Sara Paretsky’s books are published in 30 countries.

Anne Louise Bannon read from her book, Running Away to Boston.

Author Anne Louise Bannon’s husband says that his wife kills people for a living. Bannon does mostly write mysteries, including the Old Los Angeles Series, the Freddie and Kathy series, and the Operation Quickline series. She has worked as a freelance journalist for magazines and newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She and her husband, Michael Holland, created the OddBallGrape.com wine education blog, and she co-wrote a book on poisons. Her latest novel is book four in the Old Los Angeles series, Death of an Heiress. She and her husband live in Southern California with an assortment of critters. Visit her website at AnneLouiseBannon.com or follow her on Facebook, (https://www.facebook.com/RobinGoodfellowEnt/).

About Running Away to Boston:
There’s always a way in…

Jannie Miller finds people. The only person she can’t find is her mother, who supposedly perished in a tornado, but is deep in hiding from Jannie’s abusive father. When Jannie’s ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Brent Mikkelson, hires Jannie to find Tanya Coleman, a young witness to a vicious murder, he unwittingly drags Jannie into the violence.

Set in Los Angeles, Jannie soon suspects that Tanya might have more to her than anyone would guess. She’s been working for Wheeling Corp., a think tank that only pretends to be benevolent. When Jannie gets too close, her mother comes out of hiding to warn Jannie off, but then accepts her daughter into the ragtag group of ethical computer hackers intent on bringing Wheeling down. It’s not just Wheeling’s unethical behavior. The group has discovered that the think tank is writing a virus that could bring the American economy to its knees.

It’s a race against time and a hired assassin, as Jannie comes to know a mother who never really abandoned her and faces a boyfriend who couldn’t be there for her.


As part of our Sizzling Summer Series, the  July meeting, held July 22nd, was hosted by the Orange County chapter and featured Matthew Quirk.

Matthew discussed the making of the Netflix number one show THE NIGHT AGENT based on his novel of the same name and his latest thriller INSIDE THREAT.


Our Sizzling Summer Series is a collaboration between the Sisters in Crime Chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Northern California.

The June meeting, held June 17, was hosted by SinC San Diego and featured Matt Coyle. Matt Coyle is the author of the best-selling Rick Cahill PI crime novels. His books have won the Anthony Award, the San Diego Book Award, the Ben Franklin Award, the Shamus and the Lefty Award.

On Sunday, May 7, 2023, Jennifer Chow talked about the ins and outs of writing a cozy series, “Are you Series-ous.”

Jennifer J. Chow writes cozies filled with hope and heritage. She is an Agatha and Lefty Award-nominated author; her most recent series are the Sassy Cat Mysteries and the L.A. Night Market Mysteries. Her latest book, Death by Bubble Tea, was reviewed by the New York Times, featured in Woman’s World, and hit the SoCal Indie Bestseller List. Kirkus Reviews described her upcoming novel, Hot Pot Murder, this way: “Great characters and a delightful mystery filled with luscious descriptions of food.” Jennifer currently serves as President on the board of Sisters in Crime and blogs at chicksonthecase.com. She is an active member of Crime Writers of Color and Mystery Writers of America. Find her online at JenniferJChow.com.

Before reading from her book, Wined and Dined in New Orleans, Ellen Byron talked a bit about the WGA strike.

Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won multiple Agatha and Lefty awards. Bayou Book Thief, her first Vintage Cookbook Mystery, won the Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery. She also writes the Catering Hall Mystery series under the name Maria DiRico.

Ellen is an award-winning playwright and non-award-winning writer of TV hits like Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly OddParents, plus many shows that quickly disappeared. Ellen was the 2023 Left Coast Crime Toastmaster but considers her most impressive achievement working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. Sign up for her
newsletter at http://www.ellenbyron.com/.

On April 2, 2023, five contributors to the 2023 anthology, ENTERTAINMENT TO DIE FOR, talked about their work: Nancy Cole Silverman, Kim Keeline, Avril Adams, Laurie Fagan and Lisa Morton, with Nancy moderating.

After twenty-five years in NewsTalk radio, Nancy Cole Silverman retired to write fiction. Her Carol Childs Mysteries features a single mom whose day job as a reporter at an LA radio station often leads to long nights solving crimes. Her Misty Dawn series is centered on an aging Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who supplements her day-to-day activities as a consultant to LAPD. Silverman’s newest work, The Navigator’s Daughter, was inspired by her father’s experiences as a WW2 navigator/bombardier.

Kim Keeline, when not running a 1907 Steam Locomotive or lecturing on Shakespeare, is active in the mystery community, including organizing Bouchercon 2023: San Diego (and before that, co-chairing the committee for Left Coast Crime 2020). Her first published story was a 2021 Derringer finalist. She’s just had her sixth story accepted for publication. She is revising a cozy book about a volunteer at a train museum and another about two women who inherit a bookstore from their mutual ex-husband. Check www.kimkeeline.com for her short stories, novels in progress and freelance work for authors in marketing & web designing.

Avril Adams lives in the Inland Empire. She writes crime fiction, often in the Noir genre. Her stories have appeared in several anthologies produced by Sisters in Crime / Los Angeles, including LAst Exit to Murder, LAst Resort, and Avenging Angelenos. She has had several other short stories published elsewhere. In addition to crime fiction Avril writes science fiction with a humanist twist and children’s stories. She is working on a novel starring an African-American female PI. Her animals are an inspiration for her fiction.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as“consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening.” She is a six-time winner of the Bram StokerAward®, the author of four novels and over 150 short stories, and a world-class Halloween and paranormal expert. Her short stories have appeared in Best American Mystery Stories 2020, Odd Partners, Scream and Scream Again, In League with Sherlock Holmes, and many more. Her recent releases include Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances; forthcoming in 2023 from Applause Books is The Art of the Zombie Movie. Lisa lives in Los Angeles and online at www.lisamorton.com .

Laurie Fagen has penned for radio and television news, corporate videos, films. documentaries, magazines, and newspapers. An honorable mention in an Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine contest and love of whodunits led to three published novels in her Behind the Mic mysteries. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles, San Diego and Grand Canyon Writers. www.ReadLaurieFagen.com

Jeri Westerson read from her book, Courting Dragons, the first in her new Tudor series, The King’s Fool Mysteries.

Los Angeles native JERI WESTERSON is the author of fifteen Crispin Guest Medieval Noir Mysteries, a series nominated for thirteen awards from the Agatha to the Shamus. Jeri currently writes a Tudor series called the King’s Fool Mysteries, and a Sherlockian series called An Irregular Detective Mystery. She also authored several paranormal series, standalone historical novels, and numerous short stories in various mystery anthologies, including the recently released Akashic Noir Series SOUTH CENTRAL NOIR. She has served as president of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, president and vice president, respectively, for two local chapters of Sisters in Crime (Orange County and Los Angeles), and is also a founding member of the Southern California chapter of the Historical Novel Society. See more at JeriWesterson.com


On Sunday, March 5, Matt Witten spoke about Writing For Multiple Genres: Novels, TV, Movies, and Stage Plays. Matt is a TV writer and novelist who has written for House, Pretty Little Liars, Law & Order, CSI: Miami, and several other shows. His six novels include The Necklace, which came out from Oceanview Publishing last year and has been optioned for film by Leonardo DiCaprio. Matt has won the Malice Domestic Award and been nominated for two Edgars and an Emmy. His latest novel is Killer Story, set in the world of true-crime podcasting. He is currently writing a pilot for NBC and Hallmark Mystery Movie based on A Dark and Stormy Night, by Julia Buckley.


The reader was Matt Coyle, author of the bestselling Rick Cahill crime series. He knew
he wanted to be a mystery writer at the age of thirteen when his father gave
him Raymond Chandler’s THE SIMPLE ART OF MURDER. Matt’s books have
won the Anthony, Shamus, Lefty, Authors on the Air Book of the Year, Ben
Franklin Silver, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Silver, and San Diego
Book Awards. He was named the Mystery Writer of the Year for 2021 by the
San Diego Writers Festival. DOOMED LEGACY is the ninth book in the Rick
Cahill series.


On Sunday, February 5, Naomi Hirahara was the speaker, talking about “Strategies to Make Your Historical Mystery Stand Out” and Linda O. Johnston was the reader.

Naomi Hirahara is an Edgar Award-winning author of multiple traditional mystery series and noir short stories. Her Mas Arai mysteries, which have been published in Japanese, Korean and French, feature a Los Angeles gardener and Hiroshima survivor who solves crimes. The seventh and final Mas Arai mystery is Hiroshima Boy, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for best paperback original. Her first historical mystery is Clark and Division, which follows a Japanese American family’s move to Chicago in 1944 after being released from a California wartime detention center. Her second Leilani Santiago Hawai‘i mystery, An Eternal Lei, is scheduled to be released in 2022. A former journalist with The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, Naomi has also written numerous non-fiction history books and curated exhibitions. She has also written a middle-grade novel, 1001 Cranes.

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published 57 books so far, including mysteries and romantic suspense. More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest release is Shielding Colton’s Witness for Harlequin Romantic Suspense. She has also written several mystery series including the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, and her current mystery series is the Alaska Untamed Mysteries for Crooked Lane under the pseudonym Lark O. Jensen. Nearly all Linda’s current stories involve dogs!

Meeting dates for the first half of 2023 are: Jan 8, Feb 5, March 5, April 2, May 7.

On Sunday, January 8, Sheila Lowe read from her book, The Last Door, and Denise M. Colby did a presentation on 10 Tips for SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, a digital marketing strategy that concentrates on your website’s presence in search outcomes on search engines like Google. When you know how SEO works, you can use different tactics to improve your visibility (or how high you rank) in search results.

Denise M. Colby began her marketing career when she landed a PR internship with a Fortune 500 company right out of college. She liked it so much that she went on to earn her MBA while working through the ranks. Over the past 30 years, she has held positions in Marketing Services, Product Marketing, and Trade Marketing, and has also been a freelance Marketing Professional for several small and medium-sized companies. Taking the lessons learned from creating her own author brand, Denise M. Colby, Denise enjoys sharing her combined knowledge with other authors. She lives in Southern California with her husband and three sons and by day is an E-Commerce Content Marketing Manager for a drainage company. You can find out more about Denise and sign up for her Marketing for Authors Newsletter at Marketing for Authors Newsletter – Denise M. Colby, Writer

Award-winning author Sheila Lowe writes stories of psychological suspense that put ordinary people into extraordinary circumstances. Like her fictional character Claudia Rose in the award-winning Forensic Handwriting series, Sheila is a real-life forensic handwriting examiner who is recognized as an expert in the court system. She also writes the Beyond the Veil paranormal suspense series and nonfiction books about handwriting and personality.