Writers Police Academy

Writers Police Academy


I’m back from the completely amazing 2014 edition of the Writers Police Academy, held in Greensboro, North Carolina. It’s a conference started by former cop (and writer) Lee Lofland to put crime writers and law enforcement personnel to discuss real-life policing topics. I first heard about it a year or two ago and checked the page much too late this January to sign up, but then there was an unexpected cancellation three weeks ago and I pounced on it.

The Writers Police Academy three and a half days of non-stop (literally: on the days when we went to the police college for classes, we got on buses at 7:30am and finished for the day at 9, 10, or later). There’s a ton of info and things to do.

The kind of demonstrations they do? Showing us what “blowing open a door using explosives” actually looks (and sounds and smells) like.


Among the workshops that I didn’t get to do were: the Emergency Vehicle ride-along, the building search (complete with Bad Guys ready to shoot you), the shootout simulator (apparently everyone killed the hostage, their partner, or bystanders doing this), and underwater evidence recovery.

We heard from police chiefs (like Scott Silverii, from Thibodaux, Louisiana) and a former Secret Service agent and a former ATF agent from (of all places) Harlan county, Kentucky. Lisa Gardner did a talk, as did Alafair Burke, who gave us a very quick overview of the Fourth Amendment*. Sessions on firearms, why cops go bad, how autopsies are performed. There was a ton of discussion about Ferguson and where policing needs to go in this country. I don’t think any topics were off the table.

The Special Guest was Michael Connelly, which was very cool. When I spoke to him while getting my book autographed, I told him I’d attended the interview series he’d been part of in Los Angeles, where he interviewed David Guterson. He got this blank look on his face (since I was clearly dragging up ancient history) and said, “Wow. The Writers Bloc series? Without a K?”


The absolute best part of the conference was of course meeting other authors, who are at all stages of their careers. Really successful authors, people just starting, people somewhere in between.

The rumor is that WPA is moving to a larger location next year, because it is clearly bursting at the seams. There are several repeat attendees, and every single person I talked to wants to go again.

I am definitely going again. This was one of the best writing-related experiences I’ve ever had.


*I asked Burke a question at the cocktail party later: “If the police get a warrant for my cell phone and I refuse to give them the password, am I covered by my Fifth Amendment rights?” She said, Nope, the suspect can be compelled to give up their cell phone password.

I have really got to find out more about this, because this sounds crazy as hell. Hello, Fifth Amendment. Anybody have any references?

The Sound Of Footsteps

The Sound Of Footsteps

I’ve added a prequel novella to Drusilla’s series — and it’s free, FREE, FREE everywhere e-books are sold (provided those places are Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble).

What were Drusilla and Stevie doing before they ever made it to Las Vegas, let alone Los Angeles? Well, for a while, they were in Texas. Then they got the hell out of Texas. And this book tells why.

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Everybody Takes The Money

Woot, woot! It’s here, my new book: Everybody Takes The Money.

Everybody Takes The Money 300w

Drusilla Thorne and her sister Stevie return, and Drusilla is having just as much difficulty staying out of trouble as she did last time:

When Drusilla Thorne goes along with her friend to an interview of reality TV star Courtney Cleary, she’s expecting an easy afternoon. Instead, Courtney’s shady boyfriend Roger attacks Drusilla, landing her in the hospital. And he claims she assaulted him.

Then Courtney disappears. Since she’s the one person who can corroborate the truth about the assault, Drusilla tracks her down. But as soon as Drusilla finds her, the TV star is murdered right in front of her. And even though she didn’t see the killer, the killer clearly saw her.

Now Drusilla has to track the murderer down, clear her name, and stay alive in the meantime.

She can’t wait to find out the rest of the week has in store for her.

For the first week the e-book has a promo price of 99 cents!

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From today’s writing

Stevie had never been to Anne’s house in the Beachwood Canyon area before. For one thing, we lived near the Pacific Ocean, and Anne lived near 101. In terms of Los Angeles geography, this was not unlike us living in separate states. Also, Stevie had little need to visit Anne. She was my friend, not Stevie’s.

I drove up Beachwood Canyon, as I had many times after getting together with Anne, and autopilot took over, the way it does when you’re doing something for the forty-first hundred time. It took me a while to notice that my sister had launched forward in her seat and was staring rapturously out the windshield.

“What’s wrong?” I said.

She pointed before turning to me, the sweetest smile on her face. “The Hollywood sign,” she said.

I’d already gotten jaded about seeing it. “Yeah, Anne lives right under it.”

She giggled nervously. “There it is.” Her voice was breathy.

At that moment I was slammed with the realization that we’d been living in Los Angeles for two months and I hadn’t yet taken her to see the Hollywood sign. My sister loves television and movies to an unholy degree. Over the past decade watching TV and movies has been her main way of dealing with humanity. And yet here we were, in the center of the galaxy for TV and movies and I’d never taken her to see the archetypal symbol for the entire industry.

I also hadn’t taken her on any studio tours, to any of the theme parks, or to an actual film set.

I had, however, gotten us free room and board with an Oscar-winning film star. That had to score me some points in Stevie’s book.

Well, I could live in hope, I suppose.

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