Thegreatwhiteseal_2My trip to Anchorage, Alaska for the Bouchercon mystery convention was memorable for many reasons, but the biggest was receiving the Sisters in Crime "seal" of office after I was elected president. Margaret Maron started this tradition in 1990 when she passed the stuffed animal to incoming president, Sue Dunlap. The actual metal seal of office has somehow disappeared, but the stuffed seal has spent a year with each SinC president since then. A note dangles from the seal's neck reading: "I am the official Sisters in Crime great seal of office. Accept no substitutes." Each outgoing president attaches a charm representing her home town. (Above photo: Roberta Isleib receiving the SinC "seal" of office from outgoing board member SJ Rozan. (Photo credit to Bonnie Cardone.))

I love having this animal in my possession. It reminds me of the smart, strong, determined women who walked ahead of me. I think about how Sara Paretsky and Nancy Pickard took on a publishing world hostile to women writers, how Margaret Maron and Carolyn Hart built the organization and a mailing list with their own funds, how Annette Meyers got SinC on track to receive Authors Coalition funds, how Libby Hellmann and Rochelle Krich made a huge splash for our 20th anniversary--the list goes on. You can read the whole wonderful history of Sisters in Crime here: http://www.sistersincrime.org/history.html.

Greatseal_2 With excitement and gratitude, I fall in behind the dedicated, visionary, energetic women who preceded me. The seal perched on my desk will remind me to do our organization proud.

Roberta Isleib is the president of Sisters in Crime and the author of DEADLY ADVICE.

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