• Mysteries,  Research,  Writing Ideas

    The Art of Interrogation

    How do you get your villain to confess? How do you know if a witness is telling the truth? Paul Bishop, who is a nationally recognized behaviorist interrogation expert and veteran LAPD detective, conducted this session at the Writers’ Police Academy. (He’s also a writer. Check out his books.) Paul Bishop’s Books While Bishop was a detective with the LAPD they had a 95% successful record in solving crimes. He said the reason he and his team had so much success is they prepared for an interrogation. They gathered information and planned a strategy. He began our session by explaining the difference between interview and interrogation. When he interviewed a suspect,…

  • Conferences,  Research

    Cowboy Hero Syndrome

    Back in the 1940s and 50s the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others were the cowboy heroes. If a good guy was about to be hanged, the Lone Ranger would ride in and shoot the rope and the good guy was saved. Or Roy Rogers would shoot the gun out of the hand of a bad guy and the gun fight would end. So, why doesn’t law enforcement do that today? Why not shoot the gun out of the hand of a bad guy? Or shoot her in the arm? Or in the legs? That would stop him, wouldn’t it? The answer to those questions was clearly shown…

  • Conferences,  Research

    Writers’ Police Academy Overview

    Michigan author, Elizabeth (Betty) Meyette, and I decided to travel and room together at this year’s Writers’ Police Academy. We took the 10:15 a.m. Lake Express Ferry from Muskegon to Milwaukee and arrived at the Hyatt Regency in Green Bay, Wisconsin around 2:30 p.m. (CDT). Our room wasn’t ready, but the WPA planning committee had a room in the hotel’s conference center set up for the “Kooky Cop Carnival,” which consisted of several “stations” around the room. At one, we had our pictures taken in prison garb with our number. At another, the challenge was to get dressed in uniform—pants, a fully loaded duty belt, etc—and then see how fast…

  • Conferences,  Craft,  Events

    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…

  • Writing Ideas

    WPA–Dispelling Myths

    Saturday afternoon, Alafair Burke, (http://alafairburke.com) a former deputy district attorney, bestselling author, and law professor, talked about the myths many have regarding prosecutors, judges and investigators. She presented 5 myths. Myth #1: Criminal cases involve trials. She said 90% of all criminal cases are resolved before the criminal goes to trial. This is usually through plea bargaining where the criminal pleads guilty or guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor agrees to a lighter sentence. Myth #2: Police and prosecutors work together. Here is where a writer can create conflict because the two aren’t buddies and don’t always work together. The prosecutor wants to be sure the evidence will…

  • Conferences,  Events

    WPA – How reliable is your witness?

    One of the sessions I attended at the Writers Police Academy was Robin Burcell’s (www.robinburcell.com) “Forensic Art and Witness Recall.” She started the session by telling us a little about herself. Her career began before she even officially became a police officer. While still a student at the police academy she was used undercover in a high school. That career path, however, ended when the teachers and administration started asking too many questions about her”made-up”  family. As a police officer, her artistic talents led her to be trained by the FBI to become a Forensic Artist. Once she had the training, she was often loaned out to other police departments…

  • Conferences,  Writing Ideas

    WPA-“From Fact to Fiction”

    Our Friday afternoon speaker was Lisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times bestselling suspense novelist. Lisa spoke on: “From Fact to Fiction: How to Turn Chilling Research into a Thrilling Novel.” I’ve read some of Lisa’s novels and she truly does write a chilling story. Much of what she said wasn’t new, but it’s always good to hear this information again. She started by telling us the information we need in order to write a mystery/suspense/thriller can be found in (1) secondary sources such as text books, articles (especially about true crime), and the Internet; from (2) interviewing experts such as lawyers, police, FBI, doctors, etc.; and (3) hands-on research…

  • Conferences,  Events

    WPA Wow!!

    What a fantastic four days. This was my second Writers’ Police Academy and I still wasn’t able to work in all of the interesting and informative sessions. Thursday night we watched Eli Jackson and her sister demonstrate how to disarm someone if they have a gun pointed at you. After demonstrating the technique, we were encouraged to give it a try. Of course it wasn’t as easy as they made it look, and I have a feeling if that had been a real gun with real bullets in it, I would have been too scared to do anything. Nevertheless, I did disarm the “terrible person” holding the gun on me…

  • Promotion,  Writing Ideas

    Can an Introvert be a Successful Writer?

    Can an introvert be a successful writer? And no, I’m not implying I’m an introvert, but this week I’ve been busy doing marketing, so the question came to mind. I used to believe a good book would succeed no matter what, but I’ve discovered that isn’t always true. Over the last couple of years I’ve read some great books that have only enjoyed moderate success and a couple books that have been big money makers that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time or money on. I know word of mouth is important, but with so many books being published nowadays (over 292,000 new titles and editions published in 2011) how…

  • Goals

    How Are You Doing?

    Did you set goals for 2014? We’re fast approaching the middle of the year. How are you doing? Soon, at least for those of us living in the northern hemisphere, it will be summer. School will be out. When my children were young, I always found my writing time decreased dramatically in the summer. I wanted to spend more time with my children, and now that they’re grown and living their own lives, I’m so glad I did. Also, simply having nicer weather in the summer temps me, and I’m sure others, to participate in outdoor activities. That swimming pool just yards away from where I’m sitting right now can…

  • Events,  Musings,  Writing Ideas

    What I Learned at the NRA Convention

    The main thing I learned is I’m not ready to own a gun. Through the Writers’ Police Academy, an MWA conference that included a special session at a shooting range, and a conceal carry class I took several years ago, I’ve been taught how to handle a gun. So there I am last Saturday, at the exhibition hall in the Indiana Convention Center Indianapolis, and the first exhibit I stop at is demonstrating what’s called a Double Tap (a nice, small handgun that I figured my 74-year-old protagonist might want to carry). After asking a few questions of the man in the booth, I’m handed a demonstration model to look…

  • Conferences

    Writers’ Police Academy 2013

    A year ago in September I attended the Writers’ Police Academy in Greensboro, NC and had a fantastic time. This year I’ve been reading the postings and blogs by those writers who attended the 2013 WPA. Although I knew I couldn’t go this year (my son’s wedding was last Saturday and there were too many things to do before that event) I am envious of those who did attend. From what I’ve been reading, it’s obvious that once again Lee Lofland put on a fantastic conference for mystery/suspense/thriller writers. Every day, law enforcement personnel and members of other safety or emergency departments willingly answer writers’ questions, but having the opportunity to watch how…

  • Conferences

    Writers’ Police Academy – Days 1 & 2

    What a fantastic four days. The Writers’ Police Academy started Thursday afternoon with registration. At that time I picked up my official T-shirt. We looked like Castle with WRITER on our backs. At 5:30 p.m. those who were lucky enough to have had their names drawn from the lottery met for the orientation for the jail tours and ride-a-longs. I, alas, did not have my name drawn. On Friday and Saturday I talked with several people who did get to go on the tour and the ride-a-long and they all had fantastic times.                 The rest of us met with Lee Lofland at…

  • Conferences,  Musings,  Uncategorized

    Unmet Goals

    I believe in setting goals, and I believe in meeting those goals, if at all possible. I try to set goals that I’m sure I can achieve. Oh, there’s always that “dream” goal of making the New York Times list, but I really have my doubts that will ever occur. No, my “real” goals aren’t that lofty, but over the years I’ve discovered if I don’t set a goal I can really waste time. Anyway, the above is my way of saying the goal I set to blog every Wednesday seemed like a reasonable goal when I made it, but this summer I’ve failed to meet that goal more times…