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
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
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
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.
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!