Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Debby Giusti here!

Today, I’m giving a shout out to Lee Lofland, a former police detective turned writer, who started the Writers’ Police Academy. In 2007, Lee spoke at a Sisters in Crime forensics conference, and after seeing the enthusiasm and interest of those who attended, he started working on a way to bring writers and law enforcement personnel together. Lee said his goal was to provide “lectures on law enforcement and forensic topics with hands-on training to give writers a chance to try on gear, train with firearms, and perhaps take part in simulated emergency response exercises.”

For the last six years, Lee has done exactly that. His Writers' Police Academy, or WPA, is currently held on the campus of the Guilford Technical Community College, in Jamestown, North Carolina. The school has its own Police Academy as well as programs in Basic Law Enforcement Training, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Science and Fire Protection Technology. Experts in all branches of criminal justice from around the country travel to North Carolina each September to offer their expertise, along with local law enforcement agencies that provide additional personnel and equipment.

Lee welcomes us Thursday night.

This year’s event ran from Thursday evening, September 4, to Sunday, September 7. Registration opened at noon, on January 26, and the course filled up within 12 hours. Talk about in demand! Lee said he hopes to take the WPA on the road in the future. To learn more about the academy, visit the WPA web site:
Check out Lee's blog, The Graveyard Shift, and his Writer's Digest "Howdunit," Book of Police Procedure & Investigation.

Eli Jackson (L) demonstrates disarming techniques
with her sister (R).

Thankful to be part of this year’s class, I left my house at 9 AM on September 4 and picked up a friend and fellow Georgia Romance Writer Connie Gillam en route. We arrived at the Marriott Hotel in Greenboro at 5:30 that evening, in time to take our bags to our room, grab some food and then find a seat for the orientation and welcome by Lee and the faculty.

Debby (R) and Lisa Carter (L) pose for a picture
in front of the crime scene quilt!

Following the opening program, Eli Jackson, a Third Degree Mixed Martial Arts expert, demonstrated various ways to disarm an assailant. We broke into small groups to practice her techniques and laughed at our clumsy attempts to mimic the takedowns that had looked so simple and effortless. When asked about personal safety, Eli said surprise is the best defense and always fight back when attacked. In an effort to help writers get it right when doing fight scenes, Eli is hosting the first annual Authors Combat Academy, April 17-19, 2015, in Nashville, TN. Information is available at
Firemen working at the mock crash site.

Friday morning, we boarded buses at 7:30 AM that took us to the Police Academy. A mock accident demonstration had been set up in the parking lot, and we gathered around as the first patrol car arrived on the scene. The police officer assessed the injuries, applied tourniquets to stop bleeding and escorted those less severely injured away from the crash site. Firemen were the next to arrive. They used air bags and Jaws of Life to lift a car and extract a victim. Two ambulances brought EMTs who quickly treated those with life-threatening injuries. Following a SMART Triage technique, color-coded tags were attached to each victim’s arm. Red tags indicated immediate need for medical care. Yellow tags meant less severe injuries, such as fractures. Green tags were for the least injured, and gray was for anyone who had perished from their injuries.  Instructors were on hand to answer questions as the emergency response teams carried out their jobs. Once the accident scene was cleared, we headed inside.

Bill Queen, undercover ATF agent

With so many workshops, it was hard to choose which ones to attend, and many writers return each year, knowing there’s always something new and interesting to learn. I attended “Deep Undercover,” presented by Bill Queen, a retired special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. He talked about the two-plus years he spent infiltrating the Mongols, a violent motorcycle gang in California. Their motto was “Respect few. Fear none,” which included law enforcement. “Billy St. John,” as he was known to the gang, had to walk a fine line between fitting in with the gang and ensuring he didn’t step over his own personal line in the sand as a sworn officer of the law. His story was at times heart wrenching, and he was extremely frank about the sacrifices he made going undercover, to include having little contact with his wife and children. After he left the gang, his story was told on “20-20 Downtown,” and he’s written two books that detail his life with the Mongols: Under and Alone, and Armed & Dangerous.

The jacket Bill wore when he was undercover with the Mongols.

My roommate and I are both medical technologists so we wanted to hear Dr. Denene Lofland, Lee’s wife, discuss “Microbial Forensics: Using Microorganisms as Weapons.” Denene has a PhD in Pathology and presented case studies of rare diseases seen in the US, including Lassa Fever and the Marburg virus. She discussed bioterrorism, the anthrax scare after 9/11 and the current Ebola outbreak. In her opinion, the initial spread of the Ebola virus was due, in part, to the African custom of washing, dressing, caressing and kissing the bodies of the dead. In some regions, drinking the blood of the deceased is still a part of their death ritual.

Lisa Gardner provides tips for writing thrillers.

Greensboro Police officer Emily Mitchum explained prostitution stings. Unlike Julia Roberts in the movie “Pretty Woman,” most hookers aren’t flashy dressers or attractive women. They’re druggies or down-in-their-luck women who need cash. The Internet has cut down on the street prostitution with many hook-ups made over the Net, but the problem still exists, especially in certain neighborhoods. According to Emily, a female officer doing a sting needs to act out a part, be adaptable and prepare mentally. She also has to use the street language. Once an agreement is reached—money does not have to change hands--between the undercover cop and the john, an arrest can be made. 

He's not real!
We had to find evidence located near the dummy's body.

“Researching Exotic Crimes” was presented by Dr. Katherine Ramsland, director of the Master’s program in Criminal Justice at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, where she also teaches forensic psychology.  Dr. Ramsland is an intriguing women who loves her work and boasts of having a personal collection of chain saw suicide cases—36 to date--that includes photographs. She is an expert on serial killers and psychopaths and has appeared on 20/20, 48 Hours, and Nancy Grace. Dr. Ramsland discussed bizarre crimes, such as necrophilia, cannibalism and dismemberment, with detailed information about the crimes and photos of the killers and their victims. Needless to say her class was not for the faint of heart. Information about her books, including The Forensic Psychology of Criminal Minds, that I bought, and a discussion of unusual crimes can be found on her Psychology Today blog, "Shadow Boxing," which she notes is “A blog that probes the mind's dark secrets.” 

Connie Gillam (R) and Debby during the ambulance ride-along.

Friday concluded with a talk by Lisa Gardner, who was attending the class for the second year in a row. In her presentation, “From Fact to Fiction: How to Turn Chilling Research into a Thrilling Novel,” Lisa discussed using secondary sources (textbooks, true crime novels), primary sources (interviews with cops, docs and lawyers) and hands-on exposure (firearms training, self-defense classes, the WPA) to write authentic stories. She suggested scheduling interviews for an hour and asking for follow up contact information. Always send a thank-you note, and include higher-ups if appropriate. Offer to acknowledge those who helped, but ask before including their names in your book. When doing an interview, inquire about the funniest case or the scariest or their favorite to get that nugget of information that can make your story even more special.

The Driving Simulator

Saturday was filled with more great workshops. The day started with a breaching demonstration. I took an ambulance ride-along and “drove” my own ambulance in a Driving Simulator, complete with lights and sirens. Crime scene investigator, Alison Hutchens explained “Crime Scene Processing and Evidence Packaging,” and former Secret Service agent Mike Roche showed us the man behind the badge in his talk on “Real Cops for Real People.” I also attended “Underwater Evidence Recovery,” given by the local sheriff’s department Dive Team at a nearby pool. The divers do not use lights and feel their way along the bottom of ponds and quarries to recover anything from a gun to a body. Former DA, Alafair Burke, daughter of author James Lee Burke, discussed criminal law before we headed back to the hotel. That evening we enjoyed a lovely banquet with guest speaker, Michael Connelly, who always gets it right when talking about law enforcement. His book, Crime Beat, A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers, is a must read for suspense writers.

Diver demonstrates underwater evidence collection.

This year’s WPA ended with a Q&A Sunday morning that provided even more insight into the brave men and women in blue. Their sense of humor and love for the job were evident, and I’m sure those who attended the academy came away with a new appreciation for law enforcement.

Two writers. Which one is Michael Connelly?

Knowledgeable writers pen stories that accurately portray those in uniform. Lee Lofland’s goal was to help writers understand not only law enforcement, but also the men and women behind the badge. In my opinion, he succeeded.

Will I go back next year? You bet. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Love my WPA Writer T-shirt and tote bag.

Share your own favorite true crime stories or intriguing law enforcement cases or just leave a comment about the guys and gals in blue to be entered in today’s drawing. I’m giving away a copy of HOLIDAY DEFENDERS, that features my story, “Mission: Christmas Rescue,” along with military suspense novellas by Susan Sleeman and Jodie Bailey.

The breakfast buffet is open. Scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage and ham, biscuits, assorted muffins, fresh fruit and grits. The coffee’s hot. Tea and colas are also available.

Happy writing! Happy reading!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti


Mission: Christmas Rescue by Debby Giusti 
On the run from a killer, Elizabeth Tate must accept U.S. Army Captain Nick Fontaine’s protection for the sake of her young niece and nephew. Now her life is in the hands of the very man who broke her heart years ago.

Special Ops Christmas by Susan Sleeman 
Researcher Claire Reed’s top secret project is stolen, putting her at risk of being kidnapped to unlock it. Her undercover bodyguard—her former love, Green Beret Travis Chapman—is on his most dangerous mission yet.

Homefront Holiday Hero by Jodie Bailey 
When someone tries to kill the daughter of a military official, U.S. Army major Tyler Rainey must keep Kelly Walters from harm…while guarding his own heart against very unexpected feelings.


  1. Debby,

    I would love to attend this some day. I rely on my police officer son for law enforcement information and my science instructor daughter for the forensics type stuff. But I don't get any hands-on procedural stuff.

  2. How amazing! I LOVE reading about heroes, and yours are always so real. Thanks, Debby for a chance to win. And for the coffee, Helen!

  3. Awesome, Debby! I'm hoping to attend in the next couple of years. I'm so glad you got to go!

  4. It sounds like you had an exciting time while learning Debby! I would love to attend WPA someday.

    Love your books Debby! Would love to be entered to win.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  5. Helen,
    You're lucky to have two experts in your immediate family! I know they always give you the right info!

  6. Hi Marianne,
    Thanks for your kind words about my heroes! The WPA gave me a wonderful glimpse into the guys and gals behind the badge. I came home with a character whirling around in my mind who wants his own story! LOL!

  7. Suzie, I'd love to see your there. The fall is full of conferences, but the WPA is one I hope to continue attending. There's so much to learn, and the instructors are so willing to share what they know.

  8. HI Cindy!
    You're in the drawing. Thanks for your shout out about my books! Lee hopes to take the WPA "on the road" so more folks have the opportunity to attend. Hope to see you there!

  9. Oh Debby,

    That looks so fun. A friend and I discussed attending one year, but I'm still not published and can only justify spending so much money on conferences. (ACFW is the only conference I've attended so far.)

    Maybe once my youngest graduates from college, I can splurge.

    Thank you so much for sharing about your experience.

    Your Christmas book looks amazing. I always enjoy reading your stories.

  10. Debby, the academy is such a great opportunity for writers of suspense. I'm impressed! Love that you came back with a character demanding his story!

    Eager to read Mission: Christmas Rescue. Love the premise!


  11. This is an education in a box, gift-wrapped, Deb! I'm so delighted with all these tidbits!

    Oh my stars, I love the real-life forensics behind the Hollywood crazy and this is a real good glimpse at the difference.

    I've been blessed to work with some great policemen in the past ten years. A Southwest detective from the Philadelphia Police Department helped me with a serial killer book... yes, Ruthy wrote a serial killer book (and got his seal of approval!) but it was rejected several times because of the inter-racial couple.... So it's probably going to be an indie book sometime next year.

    The hero? Love him! The situation. Downright scary!!!!! And I have a local NY trooper and a county sheriff and a Rochester Police Department officer who advise me on projects in NYS. Huge help! And they were gracious enough to offer help long before I was published. How awesome is that?

    Deb, thank you for this!

  12. Helen, wouldn't this be so much fun to go to?????

  13. Jackie,
    Glad you could attend ACFW! The WPA is less expensive than most writer events, especially for members of Sisters in Crime who pay a reduced rate.

    This year SINC donated $5,000, which paid for the four buses that transported us back and forth to the Police Academy each day. They also have an agreement with Lee for their members to receive the good rate.

    FYI, my local police department hosts a Citizen Police Academy that I took some years ago. It was free of charge and excellent!

  14. HI Janet!

    Hope we can talk about our next stories at ACFW! Can't wait to see everyone! Won't be long.

  15. It looks as if you and Connie had a great time! I'm looking forward to your talk at M&M!

  16. Hi Ruthy!

    Most folks in law enforcement are eager to share their expertise, and they like writers who portray them accurately. Love all the connections you've made over the years.

    My roomie at WPA--Connie Gillem--writes inter-racial romantic suspense, and her stories are fantastic. A harder sell, for sure, but so true to today's world.

  17. Waving to Piper!

    Connie and I had too much fun. Driving there and back, we talked books and writing non-stop! Such a fun trip.

    Plus we chatted late into the night. No wonder I came home happy but tired!

  18. WOW, Debby! What a fabulous experience! I bet you staggered out of there absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of information you received!

  19. Oh, I've heard of this WPA -- sounds awesome and scary all rolled into one!!!! And what a brilliant idea!

    I have my own personal real crime story! Seriously happened to me. I was living in a duplex in the downstairs apartment. Unbeknownst to me, my lovely upstairs neighbour was the sister of a gang member out west. The guy was in prison for murder among many other things. He escaped when he was being transported to another prison. A nation-wide manhunt ensued that led police to my little corner of Ontario.

    I'll set the stage: It's close to supper time. I'm a caregiver at home working in the kitchen. My daughter is doing her homework at the kitchen table, I have two babies clinging to my pantlegs and a couple of toddlers playing on the floor. Domestic bliss...

    Until I heard pounding on my neighbour's door. "Police. Open up." (yep they really do say that.) Then I heard a loud thump that shcok the whole house...they broke down her door! Poor girl was screaming and crying and the police were shouting "Where is he?" They dragged her outside, and I heard "Clear. Clear." (yep they really do that too) as they checked the apartment upstairs.

    In a daze I looked out the window and watched an officer, gun drawn, walk around the back of the house. I had just enough time to gather the kids around me, when bam -- my backdoor was busted uopen (which just happened to open right into the kitchen) and the officer entered, gun pointed directly at me and the kids. I can honestly say that I don't have fast reflexes when faced with danger. I just gaped at him, he gaped back at me before leaving. It was surreal.

    Apparently the police were acting on a solid lead that the escaped convict was in the building at the time. He wasn't. My poor neighbour had been hiding from her whole family for ten years and took off again because she figured if the police could find her then so could her brother.

    So that's my real life brush with the law in action -- may it be the last!!!! Oh -- and don't enter me in the draw, Debby. I have Holiday Defenders teetering on the top of my TBR pile. Can't wait to delve in. :-)

  20. Oh my goodness, that is just too cool! I didn't know anything like this was available. What a valuable resource for a writer. :)

  21. YOU GOT TO MEET MICHAEL CONNELLY????? WOW. This is sooo awesome!!!

    Sounds like an awesome conference.

  22. wow. now I want to go to a WPA. Most of the information I've gotten in the past has been from my husband's diving buddies. It's amazing how many divers are in law enforcement, military, and firefighters (basically all first responders). I try to pick their brains during travel out to dive sites when I can. Needless to say, I've a soft spot in my heart for the people in these professions - they have such a servant's heart.
    No scary or unusual stories to share. Love this post, Debby. And would love to be in the draw for Holiday Defenders. I love reading your stories.

    (someday, when i grow up, i want to write suspense as good as you...*heh*)

  23. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Hi Glynna,
    I left knowing I wanted to come back again. It provides such great info for writers, especially those working in the suspense or mystery genres.

  25. Oh, Kav, what a story...and what terror for you. Especially with little ones to protect.

    I got chills just reading your comment. You need to put that in a book. Add a hunky hero and you've got a story that will sell.

  26. Hi Jennifer...some would say those of us who like this type of thing are a little strange. Maybe a lot strange! LOL!

  27. Tina,
    Mike's a low key type of guy. Very unassuming. Seemed like he would have preferred being at his computer instead of in the limelight!

    All the cops applauded his "getting it right." I need to re-read his book, CRIME BEAT. Maybe two or three more times.

  28. DebH...

    Thanks for the sweet words about my suspense. The conference made me realize the things I get wrong! LOL!

    Your hubby dives? Oh my gosh, the guys and gal who talked to us from the sheriff's office were amazing! I can't imagine going into murky retainer ponds and feeling my way along the bottom silt in hopes of finding a body.


    Without light!


    Interesting fact you probably know...they bring up everything around the found object in a container, including water. The mud, the silt, the vegetation, in hopes of finding even more evidence.

  29. Waving to jacqui19.

    Did you grab some breakfast?


  30. WOW, WOW, WOW, DEB, what an INCREDIBLE conference, my friend, and I'm not even a suspense writer, but I sure wanna be after reading this today!!

    LOVE hearing about Billy St. John and all the other incredible facets of this conference. I honestly don't remember seeing or hearing about a more complex and informative conference than this.

    Your books have always been exciting and wonderful, so I can't imagine how much more potent they will be NOW!!


  31. This is fascinating, Debby! Makes me almost want to write crime fiction so I'd have an excuse to attend next year!!! I can just imagine how every workshop would start your brain percolating with story ideas--fun!!!

  32. KAV!!! What a scary experience! Hope your neighbor found a safe place to move to!

  33. Wow, Debby, what a learning opportunity! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

  34. Debby, this was fascinating. It sure sounds like a fun conference. My scariest experience isn't too dramatic, but it was scary at the time. I was single then and my maiden name is Johnson. I had gone with the advice that a full name should not be put on the mailbox in my apartment, so I went with S. Johnson. However, that only made it worse when some guy came looking for Stacy Johnson, and assumed that was me. I wasn't home at the time and he left a threatening sounding letter under my door which indicated he was already wanted by the police and had nothing to lose. I immediately called my boyfriend (now my husband) who came to get me and took me to his cousin who was a police officer (he's now a police chief.) He took the note and handed it over to a very nice policewoman who knew the woman in question and was able to piece together who the note was from. I can't remember what happened exactly other than determining he wasn't a threat. Still it was scary at the time. And I couldn't help wondering what he might have been like if I had been home and answered the door!

    Please enter me in your drawing. I love Christmas books and suspense!

  35. Hi Julie,

    The WPA is power packed with info! The days run from 7:30 AM until about 10 PM each evening.

    I loved every minute! LOL!

  36. Myra,
    I was waving as I drove through your town. You're close to Greensboro and Jamestown.

    Join me there next year?

  37. Hi Sherida,

    It was a fantastic opportunity, and I'm so glad I got to attend.

  38. Sandy! What a story!!!

    Weren't you lucky that hubby's cousin was a police officer! Oh my goodness. Mistaken identity can bring trouble too close to home!

    More fodder for a book!

    You're in the drawing.


  39. Debby, Debby, this is great.
    I would never attempt a suspense or police procedural without taking a class, or several, like this. It's so easy to get something wrong, especially if one has no law enforcement background. Your suggestion of Citizens Police Academy is a good substitute, I think I'll look for one even though my current WIPS are historicals. But who knows?
    Oh, this is too funny, I just finished rereading TWO Lisa Gardner books. I love her work.
    I love yours too, please enter me in drawing.
    Kathy Bailey

  40. Thank you, Kathy!

    Lisa is so good. Brenda Novak was in the class. Terri Blackstock was scheduled to attend, but she had a conflict and had to back out. C.J. Lyons was with us--evidently she's there every year. I don't know her work, but folks said she writes great suspense. Vannetta Chapman, Sandra Orchard and Lisa Carter were there as well. Quite a few Christian authors, which was nice.

  41. I saw on Angela Hunt's Facebook page that she was also going. Sounds like a lot of great Christian authors were there.

  42. Hi Debby
    yep. Husband is a diver (so am I). The murky water diving without light is bascially "diving by Braille". Not exactly fun, especially when you know you're searching for a body. I'm not so sure I'd want to be a search and rescue diver for that reason. Looking for evidence? I could do that. Bodies? Um, count me out. That takes a special gift.

  43. Deb,
    I couldn't go down into black water so my hat's off to you and hubby!

    The divers are tethered to a rope and have a person on shore keeping it taut. The diver "explores" in an arc, then the rope is pulled in (the shore person actually ties a knot in the rope to hold his/her place) and the diver sweeps again either closer to shore or farther out, depending. Very interesting.

    To recover bodies, they use special insulated body bags. As I mentioned early, everything in the area is included in the bag, along with the body or body parts. Then it's zipped shut and raised to the surface. The entire bag with its contents goes to the morgue.

  44. YOU MET MICHAEL CONNELLY AND DIDN'T TELL ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    FRIENDSHIP OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Debby this is so cool.
    So so so so cool.

    Love it all, finding evidence, crash sites, driving simulators, on and on! Michael Connelly teaching or ??? just hanging with you?

    Tell me every detail.

  46. Okay Connelly gave a speech.
    Was he good?

    Is he a gifted speaker as well as an author?

    Did he at any time say the words Harry Bosch?

  47. So interesting, Debby....glad you had fun.
    I was mugged at work (a church based office)(everyone else was at lunch) when Olympics were in Atlanta. The Horsepark was close to us, and two guys came in asking directions. I was caught totally off guard and being nice and telling him directions when he jumped me, knocking me down, and sat on me. I prayed as loud as I could, and he let me loose saying "I can't do this"....I know GOD was onto him!
    He ran out, but was later caught and apologized. The second guy left, too, after taking my money! Could have been so much worse.
    I would love to win your book, Debby!

  48. I don't know Angela. Wish I could have met her. Oh and DiAnn Mills was there. So was Lynette Eason, Christy Barritt and Patricia Trainum.

    As I mentioned, Christian suspense was well represented! :)

  49. Wow, Debby! Such an amazing opportunity! Thanks for sharing. I don't know how you sort through all that information to narrow it into a story. Glad it's you and not me on that! ;) Of the classes you mentioned, I'd have probably gravitated to the forensic psychology. The motivations and thought processes of criminals fascinates me, as does psychology in general.

    My real life story involves an ambulance. During summer vacation when my kids were 8 and 10, I hired an 18 year old, highly recommended mother's helper to watch the kids for four hours a day while I made my sales calls. One day, on my way home, I got stuck in traffic. It was an accident and official vehicles were all over the place. I called the house to tell her I'd be late, but there was no answer. As I slowly snaked past the scene I had the shock of my life. My two kids stood at the corner, unattended (by the helper) and bleeding! I'd never given permission for her to drive anywhere, yet she took my kids to the candy store and hit a van along the way - no car seats, no seat belts. When I looked at her car I was sick. The spidery circle of glass where my son's head slammed the windshield said everything. The EMTs wanted to transport him to the hospital but my son completely melted down. I told him I'd follow the ambulance, but he refused, terrified. What little boy doesn't want to ride in an ambulance with siren and lights?

    So I took him to the hospital and after six hours he was cleared. On the way home, he confessed that he thought if he got into the ambulance that he would die because he saw a dead person in the back of an ambulance on TV. Wow! The 8 year old mind. Thank the Lord my kids survived!

  50. Mary C...sorry I didn't tell you.

    Mike and I had dinner together...along with all the other writers and WPA staff and faculty! LOL!

    He's a quiet man. They had a stage set with two Queen Anne chairs. Mike Roach, former Secret Service, posed questions that folks had emailed to him prior to the conference. I liked the format. Very warm and comfortable. Yes, MC mentioned Harry. I wanted the "chat" to go on and on. IMHO, it ended much too soon.

    Of course, I hurried to his table after dinner and asked for a photo. He was very gracious.

    Forgot to mention that he inquired about my friend and one of his favorite authors, Mary Connealy. He said your last names were so similar that you must be kin.

  51. Jackie, how terrible...and how fortunate you were. Thanks be to God! Your prayers reminded the assailant of his upbringing and probably everything his sweet Mama had taught him about the Lord.

    You must have been terrified.

    Conyers, right? Wasn't that the site of the Horsepark?

    I heard one woman talk about counting the collection at her church. She kept a Wasp Spray Can on the table nearby. It doesn't look threatening, yet it carries a long and powerful spray that can stop wasps and criminals!

  52. BTW, there was a class on self-defense taught by a female police officer. I wanted to take it, but ran out of time. With so many classes, it was hard to decide which to attend!

  53. Lyndee,
    Every mother's nightmare, right? So glad your children weren't seriously hurt.

    I often think how life can change in the blink of an eye. That's why we pray God's protection over those we love, friends, travelers...

    I'm also glad your son expressed his fear about dying in an ambulance. I know that must have tugged at your heart, especially after everything that had happened. Those misconceptions can carry into adulthood. Talking it over with his sweet Mama must have helped.

    I'm rejoicing that all turned out well, but I can imagine your fear coming upon the accident scene and seeing your injured children. A memory you try to erase but can never forget!

  54. Lyndee,
    Check out Dr. Ramsland's website. She's an expert in forensic psychology and provided amazing info at the WPA. I know her book will as well.

  55. Debby, I've been waiting all week to get to Wed. so I could hear about your experience! I would have loved to have gone with you to this! I'm not a writer but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this kind of thing! That's why I read so many suspense books and watch that kind of show on TV! It fascinates me! Thanks for the post today! I wish I could go with you next time!

    I really hope I get to win your book! I love all the writers and read every one of the authors' books! You are all fantastic writers!

  56. Hi Valri!

    See if your local police offer a Citizen's Police Academy. I attended a 12-week class in my area, and it was fantastic...and free! I even got to go on a ride-along with one of the officers. We also did simulated firing and learned some inside information about local crime. The class cements bonds between law enforcement and the citizens and is a win-win for both.

  57. Not really on topic, although it does involve recovering a missing item. But I was so excited to find the rest of the notes I had made long ago on the idea for the novel I'm working on. I knew I had fleshed out a lot more details than were in the notebook I did have. I decided to look one more time through all my writing notebooks and found it! Not sure why they weren't together but at least now maybe I can really get going on my novel.

  58. Lots of cities have Citizen's Police Academies, even my little town- Mineola, TX population 4515! Bigger cities also have Citizen's Fire Academies and even Citizen's FBI Academies. My parents attended them when they lived in Arlington & had a Blast! My mom rappelled out of a 5 story building! I would highly recommend them.

  59. Sandy, isn't it nice to find something lost!

    Get going on that story! We're cheering you on!


  60. Jana, your Mama is a very brave woman!!!

    I've heard about the FBI Academies and would love, love, love to attend one. Must find out if they're held in Atlanta. Wouldn't that be fun!!!

    Yes, I loved my local Citizen's Police Academy. The guys and gals were so willing to answer questions and share information.

  61. Thanks for the encouragement, Debby! It will be much easier to get going now. I just knew those notes had to be somewhere. I'm having fun reading through them and remembering what I was doing to my characters. I actually think it's a good story. Now if I can just write it! (I even had external and internal conflict written in for my characters.)

  62. I'm sure it's a good story, Sandy! And one you need to write.

    Keep me posted on your progress!


  63. Sounds like the perfect event for my favorite suspense author. smile

    Thanks for sharing with us.

  64. It was, Sandra Leesmith, for sure!

    Loved your pictures taken after the Pickle Ball Competition! Yay, you!


  65. Great wrap up, Debby! And yes, I'd love to go again. The instructors were great, the topics were spot on and the guest lectures, Michael Connelly, Alairfair Burke and Lisa Gardner were very accessible and gave great information about writing crime and suspense.

  66. Debby,
    Wow! How fun and interesting.
    There's nothing like a puzzle and it's great fun to solve the mystery prior to the end of the book or movie.


  67. Connie, my sweet roomie! Thanks for stopping by Seekerville. We learned a lot and had fun, for sure!

  68. Hi Becke!
    Ah, yes, a puzzle. Love that concept for mystery and suspense novels.

    Will you be at M&M? Hope so! See you there!

  69. Debby, yes, it was Conyers. And you are exactly right about my prayers reminding him of his Mom, etc. In fact, his Mom later wrote me a letter of how she had raised him in a Christian home and prayed so hard for him.

  70. Wow, Debby! I thought this sounded great before reading your post. Now it sounds awesome. Maybe someday I can attend.

  71. Jackie,
    Isn't God wonderful. He prompted you to pray...loudly...and that caused the man to realize his wrong doing and flee. You had to have a close relationship with the Lord or you wouldn't have been in prayer. God made everything work for good. I'm so glad. Thanks for sharing your amazing story.

  72. Terri,
    I hope you can some day. If Lee takes the WPA on the road, many more people will be able to attend, which will be wonderful.

    Hope to see you at ACFW, Terri!

  73. Im late commenting this must be an authors dream to be able to go and learn so much that can go into books. And to know its what really happens. The workshops sound so much fun.
    It would be great to learn more about what really happens to a crime scene and in the background etc.

  74. I had never heard of this until I saw that people were going. I would love to go next year.

    Some of my most interesting stories come from a guy I grew up with. He is now a Federal Air Marshall. One of the side tidbits of his job is that he flies so often that he meets many famous people. He says the best way to approach a famous person is to wait until the end of the flight and just tell them that "you enjoy his/her work."

  75. Thanks for sharing about this Debby. I've been wanting to go, but I can't exactly take off the first week of school. I sure wish he'd do it in the summer.

  76. This conference sounds awesome! What a great way to increase your knowledge of law enforcement and their jobs. I appreciate the job that our law enforcement personnel do every day. They put their life on the line every time they get into their patrol car, fire truck or EMT van.

  77. Thanks Debby, for providing such a thorough review of the WPA. I loved every minute - and catching up with you. This is the one conference that gives the writer credibility with hands-on experience.

  78. My most important take away from the weekend was that I live such a sheltered life. There is an ugly, wicked underbelly of society, and these men and women in uniform work hard to keep me safe. I enjoyed meeting you, Debby!

  79. SO late for breakfast (no doubt it was yummy!) but wanted to stop in.

    Where've I been?
    This sounds like a wonderful resource, Debby. Thank you for sharing it. Maybe I'll see you there next year too. What a terrific service to our readers these folks are offering.

    Thank you SO much for bringing it to our attention!

    Through a veterinary resource, I've recently been informed of a major reason war dogs from Afghanistan are not readily returned... Various highly infectious diseases, diseases not currently in the USA and if imported, would/could decimate food supply as well as cause much sickness and death.

    Don't know the answers to all this but it was an aspect that I'd never thought of before.

    Much like what you discussed here.

    Thanks again!!!

  80. Debby! Thanks for the summary. I LOVED seeing that picture of you and Lisa together. You're both fantastic suspense authors.

  81. So great to see you, Debby, at WPA. I love this informal, hands-on learning conference. It was fun hanging out with the CBA gals. :)
    My favorite class was in the fire academy this year. I got to use the water hose which is extremely heavy. LOL—without the trust firefighter behind me, I couldn't have managed it. Also always love the firearms simulation each year.