I've been a member of Sisters in Crime for many years--how long I don't remember.
When I learned that a new chapter was going to be formed in Fresno, I went to the planning meeting and became one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter and have belonged to that chapter ever since.
I've made lots of friends in that chapter, sadly a few have passed on, some have disappeared or just don't come to meetings anymore, and of course many more members have joined.
Besides friendships I've had a great time, heard many authors speak, been asked to speak myself, learned from many specialists in the field of law enforcement, detection, the coroner, etc. and seen photos of murder victims and read police reports about famous cases. I've always taken notes and some things I've learned have wiggled their way into my own books.
I've also joined other chapters of Sisters in Crime. I first joined the L.A. chapter so I could be a part of their booth at the L.A. Times Book Festival. I gave a talk there once about e-books which years later resulted in me being on a panel about e-books at their joint conference with the MWA chapter. I've also been on a panel at a library organized by this chapter.
Because I had so many good friends on the Central Coast chapter and loved to visit the area, I joined that group. I've done many things with them, booksignings, presentations, etc. From appearing at a library with a group of other authors, I was asked to be an instructor at the Central Coast Writers Conference this coming September.
I also belong to the Internet chapter. I even served as president once, though I have to confess I really didn't know what I was supposed to do.
Men can join Sisters in Crime too, though the purpose of the organization is to support women mystery writers. In the San Joaquin chapter, the men are called Mister Sisters, in other chapters they are brothers.
I'm headed to a chapter meeting today and though there will be a speaker (I'm taking my notebook) during the time for the business meeting, authors can give a short talk about their books and of course I'm going to take advantage of the opportunity.