Speed City Sisters in Crime is the Indiana chapter of Sisters in Crime, a national organization of aspiring mystery writers open to women and men. This blog features excerpts from the short stories and novels of our members, book reviews, announcements and news of interest to aspiring writers of every type.
Years ago, Suzanne M. Harding lived in a log cabin in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains in New Mexico, miles from the nearest library and on the other side of the mountain from a bookstore.
During one particularly blustery winter she found herself trapped at home as snowfall periodically closed local roads. That’s when she took up her pen and, in her own words, “began writing a mystery out of a sheer need to read a new story.”
With that, the former teacher, cab driver, secretary, art director and chef launched herself into a new career—mystery writer.
Suzanne, a mentor and friend to many writers in Indiana and elsewhere, died Tuesday, March 27, 2018 in her northside Indianapolis home of natural causes. She was 72. She was a long-time member of the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime.
To the end she was doing what she loved—writing.
“Suzanne was driven to write with a purpose and with skill. She understood the craft of writing and wanted to pass that talent along to anyone who was interested,” said Diana Catt, one of the original members of In Mysterious Company, a writing critique group founded by Suzanne. “She wanted to mold fledging writers into successful, fulfilled authors. I will miss her wisdom and friendship.”
Suzanne had more than thirty short stories published in various online magazines and in print magazines and anthologies, including those produced by the Speed City Sisters in Crime chapter. Under her byline, S. M. Harding, her most recent short story, “You Belong with Me,” appears in the Bella Books anthology, Happily Ever After.
Her novel, I Will Meet You There, the first in a mystery series set in southern Indiana, was published in 2015 by Bella Book. The second, A Woman of Strong Purpose, appeared in 2016 and the third, Speak in Winter Code, in 2017. Suzanne was working on other books in the series.
She taught classes at the Writers’ Center of Indiana and participated in panels for its annual Gathering of Writers, as well as at Indy Author’s Fair and Magna Cum Murder, a mystery writer’s event held annually in Indianapolis. She gave the “First Book” talk at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. She edited and contributed an essay to Writing Murder, a collection of essays by Midwestern authors about writing crime fiction.
“What I loved most about Suzanne was that she had a voice and she wasn’t afraid to use it,” said Brigitte Kephart, an Indianapolis writer who was a member of In Mysterious Company. “So much wisdom spilling from her mouth like a fountain and I, will be ever, a creek run dry from her passing.”
Suzanne had a deep influence on the Indianapolis writing community as a teacher, mentor, friend and inspiration.
“Suzanne taught me the importance of discipline, of sitting myself down and doing the hard work of writing,” said Janet Williams, a journalist and writer who met Suzanne at a class at The Writer’s Center.
"Suzanne was a tremendous mentor and leader of our critique group," said D.B. Reddick, also a member of In Mysterious Company. "All of us would agree that she helped to make us better writers."
Suzanne will live on in her words, “Writing is like following the strands of a spider web. Each filament—setting, character, POV, tension, dialogue, plot, voice—is separate, yet they crisscross and it takes every one to make the whole story strong.”
The following is a call for submissions by women authors for a new short story anthology, ME TOO: Crimes Against Women, Retribution, and Healing. It is not a Sisters in Crime anthology, but many SinC members may be interested in submitting stories. Unfortunately, submissions by male authors will not be accepted.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Project: ME TOO: Crimes Against Women, Retribution, and Healing, An Anthology of Short Stories Maybe there's a story that has haunted you—yours or someone else's—and you've wished that everyone could hear it. Maybe you've always wished that you could change the ending. Women across the world are breaking silence in unprecedented numbers in an outcry against sexual violence and misconduct. In fiction, however, women's perspectives on these experiences are too often disregarded. These short stories are the authors' efforts to help us hear them more clearly. Editor: Elizabeth Zelvin, author of the Bruce Kohler Mysteries and the Mendoza Family Saga and editor of Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4. Liz's stories have been nominated three times each for the Derringer and Agatha Awards and published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Guidelines: A 3,000 to 5,000 word short story (fiction, not memoir or creative nonfiction) on the theme of crimes against women, retribution, and healing...or alternatively, justice. Only stories by women authors will be considered. Stories must be original, ie never before published in print or online. Deadline: July 1, 2018. See the full guidelines at http://www.metooanthology.net Editor Elizabeth Zelvin is a three-time Derringer & three-time Agatha nominee. She is the author of The Bruce Kohler Mysteries and The Mendoza Family Saga. She also served as Editor of the short story collection, Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4
Looking for something to do this weekend? Check out OPERATION FARLEY, a comedy play by Speed City Sisters in Crime member Ramona Henderson. The play puts a different twist on recent news stories about removal of Civil War related monuments. Retired Jack discovers his great, great grandfather's Civil War memorial is going to be destroyed. He enlists his best friend Dale to help him save it. Their adventure leads to excitement, trouble, and making a new friend. The play will run for two performances this weekend at the Basile Theater, 719 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN 46202. Performances are Friday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. Performances: Saturday, April 14, 4:30 p.m.; Friday, April 20, 8:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 22, 3:30 p.m. at the IndyFringe Basile Theatre. Playwright Ramona G. Henderson was born and raised in southwestern Indiana. She holds a Master of Science in Nursing from Indiana University. She retired from her teaching position at the Marian University School of Nursing in 2017 to pursue her passion for writing. Ramona is an unpublished mystery writer and playwright, and a member of the Speed City Chapter of Sisters in Crime. “Operation Farley” is her first play to be presented on stage. She currently resides in Noblesville, Ind.
Indianapolis author Larry D. Sweazy will kickoff publication of his 14th novel with two book signings in the Indianapolis area. See Also Proof, will be released on May 1. The novel is the third in the critically acclaimed "See Also" mystery series that features Marjorie Trumaine, a freelance book indexer and North Dakota farm wife. The Marjorie Trumaine character first appeared in the critically acclaimed See Also Murder (2015) and See Also Deception (2016).
Book signings are scheduled for May 1 (release day) from 6 p.m. -- 8 p.m at Barnes and Noble, 17090 Mercantile Boulevard, Stony Creek Marketplace in Noblesville. The second signing is May 4 from noon until 4 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble, 8675 River Crossing Boulevard in Indianapolis, next to Keystone at the Crossing Fashion Mall.
In See Also Proof, Marjorie Trumaine, a freelance indexer from rural North Dakota in the 1960s, risks her life to help local law enforcement track down a missing, disabled girl.
Dickinson, North Dakota, 1965. It's a harsh winter, and freelance indexer Marjorie Trumaine struggles to complete a lengthy index while mourning the recent loss of her husband, Hank. The bleakness of the weather seems to compound her grief, and then she gets more bad news: a neighbor's fourteen-year-old disabled daughter, Tina Rinkerman, has disappeared. Marjorie joins Sheriff Guy Reinhardt in the search for the missing girl, and their investigation quickly leads to the shocking discovery of a murdered man near the Rinkermans' house. What had he been doing there? Who would have wanted him dead? And, above all, is his murder connected to Tina's disappearance? Their pursuit of answers will take Marjorie all the way to the Grafton State School, some six hours away, where Tina lived until recently. And the information she uncovers there raises still more questions. Will the murderer come after Marjorie now that she knows a long-hidden secret?
The book is currently available for pre-order online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Walmart, among others
“Marjorie [Trumaine] is a wonderful character.” — Publishers Weekly
“[Sweazy’s] best-plotted yet. A sensitive dramatization of both the value and the sometimes-high cost of being a good neighbor.”-Kirkus
Praise for the previous Marjorie Trumaine novels:
“Brimming with atmosphere and filled with well-drawn characters, See Also Deception is bound to delight mystery readers everywhere. Marjorie Trumaine rings as solid and true as any heroine ever created.” —SUSAN CRANDALL, bestselling author of f Whistling Past the Graveyard
“[A] terrific first in a projected series... The characters are superbly drawn, and the prairie—its flatness, winds, and critters—is an evocative character in its own right.” -- Publishers Weekly-- STARRED REVIEW
Larry is the author of 14 novels and numerous short stories in such publications as Ellery Queen, Amazon Shorts, and Indiana Crime. His is a long-time book indexer. For more information on Larry, you can check out his website: http://larrydsweazy.com/index.html
Dianne Drake, author of 50 medical romances -- and counting -- will be the featured speaker at the March 24 monthly meeting of the Speed City Sisters in Crime. She will talk on "Writing Medical Scenes and Keeping it Real." Visitors are always welcome at the monthly Speed City meeting. Dianne Drake, a former critical care nurse and anesthetist, has been a writer almost her entire life. Starting off as a child — as many of writers do — she penned her first piece of creative writing when she was six years old. It was a poem titled If I Had a Pony. Although that particular piece of writing never made it out of the barn, it was the vehicle that caused her to realize how much she loved setting pen to paper to create stories, which then carried her onward to where she’s at today.
Dianne is the author of 50 novels (mostly medical romances) … so far … published by Harlequin and Mills & Boon. In addition, she has written nine nonfiction books and countless articles for magazines such as Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Garden and Seventeen.
Dianne also is a generous teacher and coach. In her "spare" time, she makes fascinating road trips with her husband of 34 years, Joel Despain, and takes us along by sharing her adventures on her blog and Facebook. For her presentation for the Speed City chapter of Sisters in Crime on March 24, she will delve into her medical background and talk about writing medical scenes and keeping it real.
Saturday, March 24, 2018 12:30p.m.-1:30p.m. Barnes & Noble 8675 River Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46240
Sprintered Silence by Susan Furlong Reviewed by Stephen Terrell Susan Furlong has expertly crafted a wonderful mystery that propels the reader into an entirely new part of Americana that few know exists -- The Irish Travelers who live an isolated existence in the mountains of Appalachian Tennessee and other parts of the South. The Travelers really exist. They do, as their name implies, travel, following the seasons doing handiwork throughout the United States. They are a closed society, untrusting of the "settled" outside world. In their world, Susan Furlong finds a textured canvass against which to place her richly woven characters. Brynn Callahan is caught between the world of the Travelers and the settled world. She has returned scarred both inside and out from her experience in retrieving bodies in Iraq. Her only true companion is Wilco, her search dog who was left deaf and crippled from the same explosion that severely injured Brynn. When the body of a Traveler woman is found by Brynn and Wilco in the woods near the Traveler settlement of Bone Gap, it sets in motion a series of events that will tear at Brynn, her family and the entire Traveler community. This is a marvelous first book in what hopefully will be a long and successful series. MUST READ for any mystery fan. * Susan Furlong is a member of Speed City Sisters in Crime and the author of 12 mysteries.