Monday, October 31, 2011


I thought this would be a perfect Halloween post.

Yes, I'm still blogging about the Writers Police academy -  it was such a fantastic weekend!

Above my daughter and I volunteered to dig a grave.  Let me tell you - it's a heckuva lot harder than it looks.  The first clank of my shovel hit rock.  And it didn't get too much better after that.  This was a very difficult task.  I, for one, ran out of steam pretty quickly.

Our instructor informed us that this is the reason it is called a "shallow grave".  Killers manage to dig about 18 inches and then just dump the body and cover it up with dirt.  It is extremely difficult to dig a real grave and they figure it's good enough. 

This is also why so many gravesites are discovered.  If killers really dug down a good 5 to 6 feet, their victims would probably never be discovered!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Graveyard Shift - Lee Lofland

Lee Lofland is a retired police officer.  Now an author himself - he writes mysteries and investigation how-to books. 

His Graveyard Shift blog is one of my favorites.  He always posts interesting and useful information that I, as a mystery writer, find extremely valuable.

My daughter (and fellow author), Jennifer, and I had a lot of fun writing a guest post on Lee Lofland's blog "The Graveyard Shift"

Be sure to check it out!!

Monday, October 24, 2011


As you probably know by now, I live, breathe & devour mysteries.

However, for something completely different, I checked out Maria Zannini's books.

They are paranormal romances.

Her 2nd book is for sale today.

If paranormal romances are your cup of tea - check it out!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I was a Top Ten Finalist in the Golden Donut Contest (Writers Police Academy contest).  We had to compose a mystery based on the picture below in exactly 200 words (title included).  Here is my entry:


I blame Grandpa for my current predicament.
He filled my head with bedtime stories after my parents died. Made up stories, he said. But I saw the looks Grandma gave him.

Grandpa tucked me into bed, covers pulled up to my chin. I listened to tales of trickery and thievery. The hero was a clever fellow, pulling off daring heists. For years the stories thrilled me.

I grew up and moved out of the old two story, isolated family home. Grandpa died. I pieced together the clues scattered throughout his tales. I checked out newspaper archives over donuts and coffee. The stories were true. I set out to find his stash of stolen goods hidden somewhere under that neglected house of my childhood.

The overgrown grounds almost engulfed the abandoned building. I sweated and dug in that dank basement. All I uncovered for my trouble was bones.

So many bones.

Suddenly, in between the decrepit house's creaks and groans, I heard the sounds of stomping down those rickety steps, dragging something heavy and cumbersome.
I stood paralyzed. Nowhere to hide and no way out but up those very stairs.

I wondered - who will dig up my bones?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Alternate Light Source.


My first class - Alternate Light Source.  Think CSI, blacklight & goggles.  The speaker was Professor David Pauly.  The first thing they did was to turn out the lights.  Then a strong flashlight was laid on the floor.  It was amazing to see all the footprints that showed up (it was raining hard outside and our shoes were wet as we walked into the classroom.).

After a discussion on various techniques, we got to don amber colored goggles and use a blacklight.  Our target was four towels.  Bright spots of blue and/or green specks were highly visible.  You didn’t know what they were, but you knew they were possible “evidence”.

It was suggested that we might try this in our hotel room. 

I don’t think so!

Sometimes knowledge is highly overrated!

Monday, October 10, 2011

We're here!

September 22, 2011.  Road trip to North Carolina for the Writers’ Police Academy.  After a car malfunction in West Virginia, my daughter and I barely made it to our destination in time for our first activity.  We were two of the lucky winners for a tour of the jail to kick start the conference.  And by the way – many thanks to Lee Lofland and the wonderful volunteers who ran the event.  (Check out Lee Lofland’s blog – The Graveyard Shift for an overview of the Academy and other cool stuff!).

The jail tour was awesome.  The administrator took us all around the jail while explaining the entire process to us.  There’s a lot to be said for first hand experience.  As a mystery writer, you want to grasp the real feel of things. 

We were physically standing in the “rec” area where the inmates spend their time when not confined in their cells.  An octagon of cells along the far walls surrounded us.  As we stood listening to the guide, you could see the male prisoners standing in their cell windows (think rooms with doors with a long, narrow window pane – not bars).  Many of them stood there the entire time watching us.  Major creep factor!

All in all it was an informative start to the conference. 

Check back for more highlights next week!