Northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime is more than just a writing group — it's a community of writers and readers who share a love for mystery and crime genres. Founded in either 2008 or 2010, depending on who you ask, with members like Vivien Chen, Casey Daniels and Amanda Flower, who has been nominated for an Agatha Award, NEOSinC boasts some of the brightest stars in the genre — all of whom are based in Northeast Ohio.
The organization has a rich history in The Land, with its origins tracing back to a small group of writers who first met at Corky and Lenny's. The original team included Casey Daniels, Shelley Costa, Katherine Clark, Kim Hammond, Trina Devaney, Beth Cagan, Margaret Hnat, Amanda Flower and Irma Baker.
"We started as just a group of us, and things evolved from there. Many of the early members are still here, though they may not be as active as they once were," says Kim Wuescher, the organization's president.
NEOSinC has come a long way, growing into a tight-knit family that provides opportunities for its members to connect, learn and grow. They have hosted various events and programs, ranging from writing workshops and book signings to presentations on forensic science and police procedures. The national Sisters in Crime organization has also offered self-defense sessions because many of their stories' characters are detectives who sometimes have to defend themselves, Wuescher claims. "We recently had a program about cops and firefighters with PTSD and its effects, which was so interesting that the speaker went on for an hour and 45 minutes instead of the planned hour," says Wuescher.
Carolyn Dubiel, a crime writer and member of NEOSinC, is grateful for the support and networking opportunities the group provides, even though she has no published work. She is currently seeking a publisher for her novel. "I got my agent because of an author I met in Sisters in Crime, kind of getting that extra leverage with the broader writing community," she says.
NEOSinC's relationships with verified speakers and ongoing partnerships with the national Sisters in Crime organization have also made it easier for librarians to find resources. Doris Ann Norris, a former librarian and Sisters in Crime member who passed away in 2018, was instrumental in bringing attention to the mystery genre and supporting local authors. "Doris Ann used to go to all those [mystery conventions], so she knew a lot of people. She kind of used that as leverage to start talking about libraries to them," Dubiel says.
Along with author outings and dinners, NEOSinC is planning a writers' conference on Oct. 21 at the Medina County District Library. It's a chance for local writers to jump-start creativity and connect with a vibrant community of like-minded individuals passionate about the craft of mystery and crime writing.
To join the Northeast Ohio Chapter, a prospective member would have to first become a national Sisters in Crime member through their website, sistersincrime.org. Once a member, they can contact the Northeast Ohio chapter website, neosinc.org.