Showing posts from July, 2012

Heat Does Not Make a Cool Mystery

A month of on and off temperatures in the nineties and my writing feels like meatloaf reheated for the third time.It was good the first time, was leftovers the second, and is just garbage on the third go around.Can I make heat work to my advantage as a writer?
I believe strong settings make the best in murder mysteries.Like Agatha Christie I like the small country village where a body or two rattles the peace of the place and shakes some long-held secrets out of family trees.Even when I travel to my Florida residence for the winter, I go to a rural setting.I journey south for the reasons most do—to get away from the frigid weather here in upstate New York.I’ve spent enough winters in this place to know I could write about them without experiencing them again. It’s not as if I need a more recent reminder of how one’s nose hairs freeze together or the difficulty of getting out of the drive when the snowplow shoves all that frozen muck in front of a newly shoveled driveway.
It gets hot …

Lottie's Legacy by Gloria Getman

As Marilyn knows, the seeds of Lottie’s Legacy sprouted when I was attending her class/critique sessions at her home in Springville some years back. If it hadn’t been for Marilyn’s encouragement the idea might have dried on the vine. I stumbled around in the weeds for a long time. 
The book would have progressed faster if I hadn’t been distracted by life. During a gap of close to seven years, I worked on the manuscript by fits and starts. Yes, that’s a cliché, but it’s true. I put my house and orange orchard up for sale, sold it, moved twice in one year and built a new house. At times, I gave up on  Lottie's Legacy altogether.
It wasn’t until July 7, 2007 that Lottie got a new lease on life. Pat Smiley was the speaker at Sisters in Crime in Fresno. She told of her trail to the publication of her first book. It took eight years. She was in Elizabeth George's critique group in Southern California. She said that of the five people in that group, she was the only one to finish a …

Two Free Writing Workshops in Clovis, CA

TWO FREE WORKSHOPS with Christopher Allan Poe, Bonnie Hearn Hill and Hazel Dixon Cooper JOIN THE PUBLICATION CONNECTION Saturday, August 4th, 10a.m.; 2p.m.
Book Barn, 650 Clovis Ave., Clovis CA Call 449.297.9052 to register Seating is limited.

PSWA Other Panels and More Photos

Crooks are Stupid was another really fun panel with Michael Angley as the moderator. Bob Haig, Pete Klismet, Mark Bouton, Jack Miller and Mike Black has us all in stitches. I laughed too hard to take notes.

I was on Cozying Up to Your Favorite Cop, so didn't take notes. Mysti Berry moderated and the other panelists were Honora Finkelstein, Susan Smily, Madeline Gornell and Morgan St. James. We shared how we write about the law enforcement characters in our books.

Putting Science in Fiction was fascinating with Susan Smily moderating. Janet Gregor, Bob Doerr, Sue Vondrak and Steve Scarborough shared their expertise and how they put what they knew into their fiction.

Honora moderated the panel on Self-Editing as Mike Black, Barbara Hodges, Madeline Gornell and I told about all the things we look for when self-editing.

The last panel was on Writing Short Stories. Mysti Berry moderated, and the panelists were Kathy Cottrell, John Wills, Barbara Hodges, Mike Black, Joe Haggerty and Morg…

PSWA/The History of Money Laundering

John Madinger did a great job telling us about money laundering which is recorded in the Bible. Pirates laundered money. Money can be laundered for anything that has value.

Money is part of a transaction system.

Bartering used to be the way of obtaining what you needed. Cash has replaced bartering.

When money is stolen it's difficult to transport.

Laundered money never gets clean, it only appears that way.

Crooks try to move their money into legal businesses--often recording studios.

He shared some stores of money launderers.

John is also an author and his unpublished fiction manuscript won first prize at the PSWA conference. I'll tell you more when it does get published..


Criminal Profiling

Pete Klismet, former FBI, was our keynote speaker for the PSWA Conference.

His first statement, "We live in a violent country."

Offender profiling is considered the "Third Wave' of investigative science.

Criminal Profiling is:

Applying Research
Years of Experience
Specific Training
Common Sense
Identifying Behavioral Clues
The Reason Why a Person Committed a Particular Crime

Criminal Profiling is not:

Psychic Insight
Mystic Knowledge
Crystal Ball Thinking

Steps in a Typical Homicide Investigation:

Who, What, When, Where, How, Why = Who

Some Behavioral Clues:

Overkill (Personal or Anger Issues, Specific to person or general anger.)
Covering up body (Guilt)
Leaving body to be found (wants body to be found and have a good Christian burial)
Covering person's face before killing them
 Postmortem Mutilation
Messy Crime Scene (Out of Control, Not Planned, Younger person)

He offered many steps the profiler takes as he figures out who the person might be, i…

PSWA One Author's Story to Self Publication

Kathy Bennett, retired from LAPD, told her story about self-publishing. She's the author of two books, A Dozen Deadly Roses and A Deadly Blessing.

She credits the time she belonged to RWA as her real training ground for learning how to write.

The golden rules for self-publishing are:

1. A good story
2. Professional Editor, which can cost from $5000 to $1000 dollars
3. Professional Book Cover, she paid $450
4. Electronic Formatter

She said, "You have one chance to make a good impression."

PSWA/FBI/Fact and Fiction

John Wills and Herm Groman, both retired FBI, sometimes partners and good friends.

Much of this talk was explaining the multitude of acronyms used by the FBI and believe it or not, it was funny..

There are many different parts of the FBI, with Section Chiefs, and Unit Chiefs. There's a Directorate of Intelligence and a National Security ?Board.

The DEA is more para-military.

The FBI has no jurisdiction in foreign countries.

They do have hostage rescue teams and body guard at times.

There are FLT Teams who do quick response to foreign incidents.

If you ever get the opportunity to hear these two, you won't be sorry.

More shots of the audience.

This was a great conference and we learned lots.


PSWA/Fight Scenes in Writing

We had a terrific panel on writing fight scenes. John Schembra moderated and the panelists were Michael Black, Bob Doer and Mark Bouton.

One big things they all agreed on was when shooting even when 5 to 7 yards apart, they don't always hit each other.

In physical altercations, the places to hit are the eyes, nose, trachea, groin, side of knee, top of foot.

When writing about weapons, you need to know the correct phrases in martial arts, different handguns and know what they do, how many bullets the gun holds. Remember, there is no safety catch on a revolver.

They all agreed that when someone is shot they don't fly backwards like you see on TV and movies--they drop to ghe ground.

Adrenalin can give you incredible strength.

Taser doesn't make you unconscious.

Don't use too much force for the situation.

No particular round can do a certain things.

Handguns can't stop a care or blow out a tire. The tire will leak air but still be driveable.

One shot of the fascinated …

Tales from the Darkside and Getting the Most out of Word

Next up was John Bray and Tales from the Darkside.

This topic was all about the police departments' disciplinary system. He told many interesting tales about bad things the police did and how they were caught.

Tim Dees had a terrific power point presentation about using Word.

He explained how to make a table of contents.

He introduced us to Scrivener for long form works and much, much more.

You really needed to be there for this.

And this is a photo of my hubby, Hap, with Nancy Farrar. They took care of book sales all through the conference--and believe me, they were super busy.


They Ain't All Named Bundy, Dahmer or Gacey

No, this wasn't about serial killer, but about another most horrible kind of serial criminals, molesters.

Kathy Cotrell, a forensic nurse and now the publisher at Wild Rose Press gave this quite unsettling but timely presentation given what just unfolded about Jerry Sandusky and Penn State.

Her first statement was how she tried to incorporate what's going on in the world today without grossing us out.

She mentioned a gynecologist that was also a sexual predator.

She talked about Frank Shorter who ran to school to avoid his father's beatings. He couldn't tell anyone because his father was an important man in the town and no one would believe Frank.

Another big thing she pointed out is that a sexual offender grooms his victims. When some try to tell no one believes them. Or they don't report because they feel they will be blamed.

In one Jewish community, when a victim did tell what a rabbi had done to him, the whole family was banished.

In western New York, two twent…


I couldn't find a photo of the panel on Cop Talk so I thought I'd show you what many of us  were busy doing during the conference. But here are my notes:
Tim Dees headed up this panel and the main point was that authors should get the jargon and  slang that law enforcement use--with the warning that these words are not the same across the  country.
Mike Black, who worked in Chicago as a police officer, said never call an offender a perp.  He would be a suspect or perhaps "a-- h---."
John Bray (retired cop) used these phrases: "being in the coop" meant sleeping on the job,  "shoefly" being someone from Internal Affairs..
Pete Klismet (FBI)  said that FBI has more than their share of acronyms and gave a long list.
Kathy Bennett (20 years with LAPD)  said in L.A. the black and white was called a shop car. FFBI, eyeballing someone, RMP, Radio Motor Parol; SIV Special Investigation Unit, Puzzle  Palace,  FBI Headquarters, SAC Special Agent in Charge and she had man…

PSWA's Crime Scene


PSWA Conference in Retrospect

Over the next few days I'll be giving a few tidbits about what we all heard at the Public Safety Writers Association's conference.

Our first presentation was by Editor (and president of PSWA), Marilyn Olsen and Billie Johnson of Oak Tree Press about publishing and your options.

Both agreed that you should provide as many details as possible about what you'll do to sell your book.

You should match your goals to your expectations.

With the big publishing houses, there is top down distribution that won't happen with a small press.

Big presses will submit books for review in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal--and the review will happen. Small presses must work to get reviews.

The author must be tremendously involed in the marketing.

If you're self-pubbed, you do all the work. Those who do it successfully must be admired  Self-published books must look like they were done by a publishing company.

Billie Johnson told about all the the things that must be on the back …

PSWA Over for this Year

The day ended with a spectacular thunderstorm complete with lightning and hail. by this time we were at my sister's in the northern part of Vegas.

PSWA conference was spectacular! All the speakers did a great job and imparted knowledge and entertained.

Of course there were a few glitches, but I doubt if anyone noticed.

Yesterday, we had two more panels and the crime scene was explained.

After a spectacular lunch (they all were) the writing contest awards were given.

When everyone left, the board read the evaluations--and suggestions will be taken in to consideration.

I have a to-do list a mile long.


More when I'm back home.

Absolutely Amazing 2nd Day of PSWA Con.

Such a great day!

We learned about money laundering, science in fiction, how cozy writers and other genre fiction authors use public safety officers in their fiction.

We learned about crime scenes and also misconceptions about profiling. We heard all about self-publishing on Kindle and Nook.

There was more and when I ge home I'll post in far more detail. Right now my notes are still in ths conference room.

Tomorrow we'll be finding out about the crime scene.

Have loved visiting with everyone.

I can't believe it's nearly over.


Yesterday at PSWA

What an excitig day!

My first job was getting everything ready for the book sales. Books had to be unpacked and set up. Fortunately, people arrived to help.

The day was filled with fascinating presentations: serial rapists and not just those who have been in the news; how to write a fight scene with a panel of those who have done it; what you didn't know about the FBI; when cops go bad; and much,much more.


Yep, and he's surrounded by clues and crime scene tape. We'll learn more about him today.

PSWA is a neat conference. If you want to meet some terrific people in all sorts of public safety fields who are also writers or interested in writing, you should consider joining and coming to the conference next year.

More tomorrow.


First Report from PSWA

Registration for the conference went well. People began arriving right away, Mike Black, Shauna Washington, Nancy Farrar, and hubby worked hard as did Keith Bettinger who hauled all needed supplies and books to the conference center;

First blip. congerence programs didn"t get inyo thr packets. Made copies right away.

So many good friends are here as well as new folks.

Had a chance to talk to everyone.

It all begins at 9 a.m today.

And I forgot yo take pictures. Others did though.


Registration Day for PSWA

If all goes as planned, we'll head over to the Orleans Hotel after lunch today. We'll register, head for our room and get settled.

A few minutes before 3 we'll head up to the conference room lobby with the registration list and hopefully find a table set up with several chairs behind it. Those I know will be there right away are Keith Bettinger, the site coordinator, Marilyn Olsen, PSWA's president, and probably Mike Black who has been my back-up in case of an emergency.

This part is one of the most fun. Those who are there helping with registration get to see everyone first. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people. We have a great and interesting bunch coming this year.

Along about 6 p.m., the evening get-together will begin. More people will trickle in and there'll be lots of chit chatting. I'll report more after it is over--and hopefully I'll remember to take some photos.

Taking Off for Las Vegas

It is no easy task to head off for a trip as far as Las Vegas. Because we want to spend as much time as possible with my sis and her hubby, who now live in Vegas, we want to leave early. You have no idea how hard that is--not for me, but for my husband. He takes far longer to get dressed than I ever have in my whole life.

Then there are the cats and the dog to feed. We always have someone come in to do this while we're gone and though hubby has elaborate instructions on how this should be done, I doubt anyone does more than feed and water them twice a day.

We have two inside cats--but many more outside feral cats. Where they all come from, I'm not sure. We've attempted catching and getting some neutered, but as soon as this is accomplished, they disappear.

But, as they say, I digress. We leave muscular son and his many dogs home to hold down the fort. He and they do a fine job.

Our pattern is to drive as far as Bakersfield for our first stop and to pick up two…
Getting ready for the Public Safety Writers Association's conference. This one takes a bit more planning than other conferences mainly because I'm the program chairperson. As such the biggest part of my work is done though.

What I'm taking with me:

Clothes for the two days at my sister's house and the four days at the conference. (For me that always includes what jewelry I'm going to wear as well as the shoes.)

The prizes I'm contributing to the raffle table.

My copy of the program and the list of registered attendees.

Some "Ask Me About my Book" pins leftover from another conference for anyone who wants one.

A notebook to take notes during the conference.

Copies of my latest books and stands to set them on.

Business cards to hand out.

My little computer which I will use when I'm not at the conference.

My Kindle if I have any time to read.

My cell phone.

All the cords to the above so I can keep them charged.

The notebook where I am keeping track…

My Two Encounters With Perry Mason

Most of you probably remember Perry Mason the TV Show, but I remember Perry Mason, the radio program. Once when I was a teen, my mom and I went to see the live broadcast of the Perry Mason show. I don't remember too much about it, not even Raymond Burr. I do remember getting autographs from other stars when they went to their cars in the parking lot behind the studio.
As a married woman, we lived in Oxnard. When I learned Earl Stanley Gardner, the author of all those Perry Mason books, not only lived in and practiced law in Ventura, but some of his books were set in Oxnard, I started reading as many of the books as I cold find in the library.
Perry Mason, the TV show came on, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you I was hooked. I watched every episode faithfully.  The evening I went into labor with our third child was also the night for the latest Perry Mason episode. It was a particularly exciting episode with an intriguing puzzle--and my labor pains were coming about 3 m…

Review of Blind Goddess