Heading for WPA


Tomorrow I leave for Green Bay, Wisconsin to attend this year’s Writers’ Police Academy. This is my third WPA, but my first in Wisconsin. (It used to be held in North Carolina.)  writerspoliceacademy

My experiences in the past have been fantastic, and, looking at this year’s schedule, I’m sure I’ll once again come home with loads of new information.

The originator of WPA, Lee Lofland, as usual, has brought together well-known, accomplished writers (Jeffery Deaver is the guest of honor) as well as men and women in a variety of law enforcement positions (police, sheriff, FBI, ATF) and related jobs (martial arts, forensic psychology, forensic art).

The Sisters’ in Crime organization helps support WPA and there will be an auction of donated items (baskets of books and goodies; having your name in Craig Johnson’s next book; or lunch with Lee Child) and services (such as ms critiques) held on Saturday to help finance WPA.

The purpose of WPA is to help writers get what we write about law enforcement correct (as opposed to what’s often shown on TV or in the movies)  That means there are sessions on ballistics –even actual shooting of a hand gun or rifle—lectures on drugs—what drugs are common for overdoses and which ones the police can bring victims back from the dead—crime scenes and evidence collection, and lots more.

My problems, in the past, is deciding what sessions to attend and remembering everything I learn.

Once I’m back in Michigan, over the next few weeks I’ll blog about some of these sessions and what I learn. There won’t be a lot of pictures since we are asked not to take pictures of the presenters. (Some are still or may be in the future undercover.) I hope some of what I learn will be helpful to others.


And, finally, on another subject, a few weeks ago I mentioned in a blog that when I looked at the listing of my books on Amazon, there were other books slipped into the list, each with the indication that it was sponsored. Someone, in a comment, asked what that meant, so I finally took time to find out.

Sponsored books are one of Amazon’s ad methods. The writer only pays when someone clicks on the sponsored book and goes to that book’s site. The books are placed near other books of a similar nature; i.e., cozy books would be slipped in amid other cozy books, historical mysteries would appear on the same page as other historical mysteries.

No clicks, you pay nothing. A hundred clicks, and you have a sizable bill. A lot of clicks also tells you that the book is interesting potential buyers. At least, that’s what the author hopes.

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12 Responses to Heading for WPA

  1. you are a fantastic resource for all of us.

  2. Greta says:

    So much good information I hope you have safe travels and bring back loads of interesting facts to share

    • Maris Soule says:

      I, too, Greta, am hoping for safe travels, and if this WPA is like the last two I’ve attended, I’ll have a lot of interesting information to share.

  3. Melissa Keir says:

    Have a safe trip and I can’t wait to read what you find out!

  4. Very interesting, Maris. Sounds like a great resource for mystery and crime writers.

  5. James Hunniford says:

    Astute readers expect fact based writing. Good to know there is a reliable source for authors.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Lee Lofland has been wonderful, James. He has a regular blog that gives writers loads of information about what it’s like to be in law enforcement. (He’s a former police officer and has guests on his blog who share information.) And the WPA is an overload of information.

  6. I can’t wait, Maris! This will be my first ever WPA!