Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crime Scene Investigation: Unraveling the Story Stitch by Stitch

 by Guest Author Katy Lee.

Hello, Seekerville. I am so excited to return to your home today and to spend some time with you during this holiday season. I hope you don’t mind, but I brought my knitting with me, and I’ll respond to you in between rows.

This season I am working on a new shawl, but with this one there won’t be any big surprises of its outcome. (Been there, done that.) You see, I have a pattern. But still, things can happen along the way that bogle my mind sometimes. Holes appear out of nowhere that I have to fix before I can move forward. But this usually transpires when I have been rushing through the stitches or not following the pattern correctly. Both of these can leave you with an unwanted garment in the end.

I’ve learned this past year that the same goes for investigating a crime scene.

I recently completed a crime scene investigation course, and we spent months going over old cold cases, many famous, like the Jonbenet Ramsey case, and an old favorite, Lizzy Borden with her Ma and Pa murders. As students it was difficult to accept we would never know what really happened, but still, that didn’t stop us from digging into the evidence to be the one to find that missing clue that has escaped too-numerous-to-count amateur sleuths, and even the many professional ones who have tried their hand at it over the years.

In addition to investigating cold cases, we learned about the methodical processes CSI’s take from the moment they get the call to come out to a scene to appearing in a court of law to explain their findings, or lack thereof. Something that struck me interesting is that a crime scene investigator’s job isn’t to determine what happened. Sure, they wonder, and even speculate, but when they close their cases up for the day (or night) all they have is an exorbitant collection of swab samples and even more pictures that will need to be shipped off to various labs to be processed and studied. They have to walk away without any finite answers to what happened and hope they did their job clean enough, and careful enough, for the detectives to piece the evidence together for a good picture of the scene.

And speaking of pictures…there are a lot of them.

Pictures will go to court so the jury can get an accurate feel for the crime scene. They will see the scene over and over again as each and every piece of evidence is tagged and photographed before it is removed. The detective giving the class said whenever a piece is removed, another photo is taken of the scene without the item. It’s similar to peeling back the layers of an onion until nothing remains. There could be a clue that is invisible to the bigger picture, and when the camera snaps a shot of the last item in the room, such as a mattress on the floor, it’s still not done, because there could be something beneath the item that could be the crucial piece of evidence needed to solve the case. No stone can be left unturned, and one can’t rush in and start overturning things without going through the step by step processes. To do so, could, and would, contaminate the scene and limit the chances of ever finding the answers, thus creating botched cases that grow cold and old like the famous ones I mentioned.

It’s sad to see how cases do get botched because of a careless move, either done by someone who doesn’t understand contamination, or someone rushing through. But it happens, and oh, so easily. In fact, during my final exam, we had a mock crime scene set up, where we had to come in and perform a full investigation, from taking measurements and photographs to cataloging swab samples and fingerprints. I made the mistake of taking fingerprints before DNA swabs. My oops got me a tsk from the detective and the remark, “You just contaminated my crime scene.”

The key to solving a crime is not rushing, but it also entails following a method that will limit error from entering the scene.

I think this can also be said for writing—and also for knitting.

Knowing the processes of both will garner you something you are pleased with, or at least something that’s workable. You don’t want to end up with a mess to unravel. This is something I learned from Debbie Macomber, who is actually the person I credit to teaching me how to knit. Long story short, I met Debbie on a reader cruise in 2004 and spent each morning with her and other novices and experts learning the stitches to create a blanket by the end of the voyage. Here’s a picture of us catching up at the Barbara Vey Reader Luncheon in 2014. I was excited to show her how far I had come with my skills.
But something I learned was that patterns were the key. Learn the pattern. Understand it to the point you can see your mistakes, but also to the point that you can fix them. When you can fix something, then you know you’ve grasped it. But, also learn the pattern, the routine, the structure, to avoid the mistakes as much as possible. Nobody likes a botched crime scene, or shawl…or story.

There are many story structure patterns out there. Find the one that works for you. I particularly like Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery, but this is not an ad, so please check around for a routine that will give you a beautiful finished piece you will be happy with.

And remember, this is not a race.

Happy holidays to all, and one commenter will receive a copy of my June book, Permanent Vacancy.

RITA® nominated author, Katy Lee, has published six novels. She writes suspenseful romances that thrill and inspire. She believes all of her stories should stir and satisfy readers—from the edge of their seats. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways.  A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on.  Her 2014 book, Grave Danger, received the highest honor in romance: a RITA® nomination in the Romantic Suspense category, as well as a nod for the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense.
Visit Katy at:  www.KatyLeeBooks.com

Katy’s December release:
Silent Night Pursuit

Lacey Phillips believes Captain Wade Spencer knows something about her brother's mysterious death. So she throws caution to the wind and tracks him down on Christmas Eve looking for answers. Wade tries to turn her away—until bullets start to fly. He doesn't want to take the stubborn beauty on his life-or-death mission to find out the truth about how Wade's past may have cost her brother his life. But with killers lurking everywhere, he has to protect her—especially when she breaches the walls around his heart. Can Wade and his faithful service dog keep Lacey alive long enough to figure out who's targeting them?


  1. I just finished reading Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouses BEYOND THE SILENCE. Very obvious what can be missed when people know who done it without looking further. Love you knitting analogy, but I have to wonder, does Debbie make her own patterns? Mom does, because too often written patterns have mistakes in them, and I guess there's nothing worse than following a pattern and not having it come out. So, Voila, make your own!
    Thanks, Katy for coming!

  2. Here's fresh coffee!

    I love "who-dun-its" and have written a series of them that I plan to publish someday.

    Thanks for the insights.

  3. I love your knitting analogy. I'm not a knitter or crocheter or stitcher or whatever-er....lol!! But I can relate to having holes in my pattern or making a mistake and having to start a row over. God is the ultimate knitter and mistake-eraser who can fix those things in my life. Or when it becomes unraveled, He can piece it together again anew! What a different angle to think about, thanks for that! :-)

    I think being a Crime Scene Investigator would be a fascinating job! I'd have the eye for details & going over something carefully down pat, the only thing stopping me? Is seeing an actual crime scene....I wouldn't stomach the amount of blood or seeing an actual dead body or imagining just HOW that person died! *Shudders* It would give me nightmares for the rest of my life....lol! I do look upon CSI type people with respect though, they are one part of an integral team to help bring a criminal to trial & off the streets! And to give the families of the victim closure.

    Please add my name for a chance at your book "Permanent Vacancy". Thank you! Happy (almost) New Year :-)

  4. The crime scene investigation course would be fascinating. A great post thank you.

    Count me in for a copy of 'Permanent Vacancy' thank you.

  5. Great post Katy! I loved your analogy between writing, crime scenes and knitting. It makes sense to have a pattern (or rules, or outline) to follow in order to achieve the results you would be working towards. Thank you for sharing!

    I would love a copy of your June release. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

    Have a blessed and Happy New Year!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  6. Happy New Year Katy. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and I'm itching to use the "you just contaminated my crime scene" line in a book. The class sounds fascinating.

    Unfortunately I can't knit. I have a yarn giveaway from Debbie Macomber that I received at RWA one year. I use it as a decoration by her books. Still I loved the analogy. Please enter me in the drawing.

    Good luck with your shawl!

  7. Katy, this analogy holds true for so many things. Congrats on your RITA nomination, how fun is that?????

    I have so much fun with this business, it should probably be illegal, but I love the comparison of building with and without a plan. I go into most stories with a mental plan, but every now and again, I simply write a first line and see where it leads.


    Because it sends my brain into a new direction. When you're writing category it's kind of clutch to recharge the batteries now and again because while nailing that formula rocks... it's good for us to free-fall once in a while, too!

    I love that shawl. I just love it!!!!!!!!

    Smiling, I love it that much!

    Thanks for being here today!

  8. What a cool class! I hear you on story structure...I'm trying to fix my botched WIP right now. lol Thanks for the great post!

  9. Welcome, Katy! The CSI class you took sounds fantastic. Was it in your local area?

  10. Marianne, do you knit like your mother? She must be talented to make her own patterns. My mil was a fantastic knitter. I was always in awe. My projects are usually missized. No doubt, I have a guage problem with my stitches.

  11. Thanks for the coffee, Helen. I'm pouring my second cup.

  12. Trixi, doubt I could take all the tragic scenes either.

  13. Terri, a lot of us will be using that line! :)

  14. Ruthy, I'm tuning in on your comment about free writing at times to refresh your creativity. Great idea. Plan to try it today. Sometimes needing to see the whole picture slows me down when I start a book.


  15. Hi Katy!

    It was so lovely to meet you in NYC last year. It was a very exciting time, right?

    Great information in your blog today.

  16. Welcome, KATY! Fascinating information (And what a beautiful shawl!) So much detail to get right in a crime investigation not only in real life, but in your stories as well!

    RUTHY / DEBBY - I'm doing some "free writing" this week as I try to nail down for my next proposal who my hero and heroine are (personalities, how they interact, GMC, etc.). I love writing those first lines and seeing where they take me before I have to corral myself into a firmed-up synopsis and 3 chapters for the proposal submission.

  17. I have a friend who is a crime scene investigator. She's married to an undercover copy who is the FBI liaison for anti-terrorist activities.... And honestly, to hear them talk, you can see that they take the attitude that their jobs are vital and instrumental to getting it done right and putting bad guys away.

    They're so delightfully normal, but dedicated to cleaning up danger and evil. I think that's how you have to go into a job like this.

    And my CSI buddy laughs at how they do things on TV....

    Katy here is more accurate than anything we see on television! Of course, trying to get it all wrapped up in a 45 minute show cuts corners, so I really appreciated the accuracy of Katy's overview here!

  18. Deb, that's a huge help for me.... It reminds me to stretch and sometimes just break and have fun!

    I'm sending eggnog and hot chocolate!!!!

  19. Glynna, good for you!

    I love stepping into a new proposal and I'm working on a new book that I love... little immigrant children, tiny illegals, an overwrought great aunt, a severed relationship... I love jumping in!!!!

  20. Jessica, hats off to your botched book!!!!!

  21. hi Katy
    First off, I LOVE your books! so, of course, please put my name in the draw. Second, I like to crochet more than knit, but I love the analogy you've presented (and that shawl looks uber cool!).

    I have a problem with following directions, which probably explains all my miscues. I tend to want to be creative with sample directions or tutorials because I don't want to make what the teacher is teaching. Hoo boy... I should be a better "student" since I've taught animation classes in the past and tutorials serve a purpose. One would think I know better, right?

    That CSI class sounds fascinating. I'm not very good at detail stuff, so I would probably contaminate many a crime scene. My little guy though? He is such a stickler for details and having things "just so". Perhaps I can learn something from him.

    I'm glad you follow the patterns, because your books are awesome. Thanks again for sharing!!

  22. Hi Katy:

    It's always fun to have a Love Inspired Suspense author on Seekerville. I was very interested in this comment:

    "I recently completed a crime scene investigation course, and we spent months going over old cold cases..."

    Wow! What kind of course goes on for months? Was this for college credit? We've had several Seekers take the Police Academy for Writers course and then report back with posts. Tina just went to a local police academy for civilians. Fascinating. Please tell us more about the course.

    Have you thought about doing a CSI type investigation about the "falling in love" process between your hero and heroine?

    That is asking yourself these questions: What were the clues, when did it happen, was there a 'falling in love' scene, what counts as the DNA of being in love?

    I can just imagine a CSI hero, in a 'friends to lovers' theme romance, looking for evidence that the heroine might just be secretly falling in love with him. Of course, as usual, the hero or heroine is afraid to make any overeat romantic moves because to do so might destroy their long term friendship. If both the hero and heroine were in CSI, and both were looking for clues of the other falling in love, well that might lead to some funny scenes. In fact, I think that might make a fun Christmas Novella for a serious suspense writer to 'clear the buffer' with a comedic Indie publication.

    Please enter me in your book drawing.


  23. Hi Ruth:

    You wrote the below which really caught my attention:

    "...it's good for us to free-fall once in a while, too!"

    Well, yes, unless the parachute does not open and like Tony Hillerman you wind up with a chest full of half finished manuscripts that hit the ground too soon.

    It might be better to 'clear the buffer' than to try 'free falling'. : )

    BTW: Like a vapor trail I can often see evidence of "free falling" when reading some Indie books. Plotting saves manuscripts.


  24. Katy, I enjoy learning different story structure ideas. Even if they don't work for me, I find them interesting.

    I just taught myself to knit! I needed a creative outlet to help me relax that wouldn't take up much time. I'm about three inches into my first scarf! I love your lobster! I hope to learn to read patterns one day, lol.

    Silent Night Pursuit sounds exciting. I love stories with service dogs. And the cover is great!

  25. Welcome, Katy! Your shawl is beautiful. I admire people who knit and sew...I struggle sewing buttons.
    As for crime scenes, the sight of blood makes me queasy, and I work for the police department. I even fainted when I got my ears pierced. :)
    Happy New Year!

  26. Hahahahaha!

    Vince, I disagree, oh wise one....

    I've read so many editor-approved books that weren't my cup of tea, but the editor liked them and approved the manuscript, so then I have to figure I wasn't the target audience.

    And free-falling doesn't mean something to necessarily publish, but it lets the creative mind flow in directions we can't always allow, and that helps broaden perspective.

    If we have a broad-based perspective, it's so much more fun to deepen the story per the character arcs.

    And ya' gotta love a little bit of fancy!!!

  27. Katy Lee books are an autobuy for me!!Welcome back to Seekerville.

    Okay, tell me more about this class you took. Where did you take it???

    Congrats on your new release, which I already have. lolol

  28. Very interesting post, Katy. Crime scene investigation always sounds so fascinating. Please enter me for your book.

    Happy New Year.

  29. I'm reading Deb's comment and nodding, because I understand completely... but then I had to come to terms with once someone buys my book, it's only my creation and not my property. My super-inflated-Ruthy-ego had to take a back seat to gainful employment as an author, and it was a good learning experience.

    And working with Melissa and Shannon and Ericka and other editors has taught me hot to see my regular goof-ups sometimes before I make them. Their advice has been huge in teaching me to stay focused on the story...

    And of course, I should have known that all along!!!

  30. Unable to knit or crochet. Zero talent. But I can sew. Without a pattern. Unable to follow patterns.

    Hmm and I like to pantser. What does that say about me? Do not answer.

  31. Interesting how each step in a crime scene must be followed. For instance, I didn't know about the DNA and fingerprints, but I guess it makes sense. I'd probably be the one to contaminate the scene by picking stuff up and straightening the room!

  32. Debby, no I don't knit. I can, but why should I as long as Mom will knit it?

  33. Marianne Barkman-- Not sure about Debbie M., but I wouldn't doubt it. She's an amazing knitter.

    Helen Gray -- Keep writing!

    Trixi -- "He makes all things beautiful.." Love that we don't have to be the expert there. :)

  34. Mary Preston -- you got it!

    Cindy W. -- Happy New Year to you too!

    Terri -- "You just contaminated my crime scene." If you use it in a book, make sure there are plenty of witnesses to hear it, so you get the full weight of the embarrassment that goes along with it. :)

    And jealous about the yarn!

  35. Ruth -- I also write my first chapter before plotting, so I meet my characters. Of course, the scene/chapter will change by the end. It never stays how I started, but it gets me moving along.

    Jessica Nelson -- You can do it! Sometimes filling out a quick character interview with 5-7 deep questions for your hero/heroine helps you to see the holes.

    Debby -- The CSI classes were about an hour and a half from me, but so worth the ride each week. It was a continuing ED course, but the detective also teaches it at the college for credit.

    And I get you on the missized gauge. UGH.

  36. Rose -- HI ROSE!!!!!! Lovely meeting you too, and lovely seeing you here.

    Glynna Kaye -- So much information to keep straight for sure.

    Ruth -- My detective teacher said the same thing about the TV shows. He even showed clips from episodes that passed techniques off as real.

    For example, there was a CSI scene in an ATM vestibule, and the surveillance camera caught a grainy image of a witness's eye reflecting a basketball off the retina, and the investigators were able to get an ID of a suspect based on the reflection....REALLY? :)

  37. Deb H. -- Always love meeting a fan! Welcome. So glad you enjoy my stories. That motivates me to get book 2's edits done and out the door this week. So thank you! Nothing wrong with breaking a few rules if it garners you something unique and successful. Find your way. It sets you apart.

    Vince -- Yes to your question about it being a college level course, but I took it for no credit. LOVE your novella story idea. So cute and intriguing...hmmm.....

    Donna -- A lot don't work for me. I find they can complicate matters further. I searched through many before I found what makes sense to my style. Also, don't be afraid to take a little from each and make your own. (That's what they did.)

  38. Hi Katy, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you for taking time to share your experiences with that class and I love the shawl! Being able to take a CSI class would be a dream come true for me. If I was younger, I would go back to school for that, but there isn't anything near me that even offers that type of training. How lucky and great for your writing that you are able to do that!!

    My husband's 101 year old grandma taught me how to knit slippers, which I can do but take me forever. I can't imagine being at a point to be able to knit something like that shawl. Great talent!

    Can you please enter me in your drawing too?

    Thank you!


  39. Jill Weatherholt -- The blood wasn't as bad as some of the other images. TRUST ME. There were nights I left quite shaken.

    Tina R. -- Enjoy Silent Night Pursuit. :)
    The class was in Bristol, CT at a continuing ed. The detective was amazing and thorough. He should have his own show. Some of us writers are looking to have him do some classes at our local RWA group this year. Tough job, and I'm grateful he's on it. He's said to be the best in our state, and I don't doubt it.

    Sandy Smith -- Happy New Year to you too! :)

  40. Ruth -- I agree. Once I publish a book, it's no longer mine.

    Tina -- It says you take things as they come your way. :) A skill in itself.

    Pam -- HA! No straightening!

    There was a backpack during the final exam that I wanted to open so bad to see what was inside. But again, it's not about figuring out what happened. It's about processing a scene for facts only.

    Lauren -- As far as I know there has never been a class like this around here unless you are majoring in it in college...even many officers in the academy don't get this thorough of a course. I am truly blessed to have gained this knowledge. Love knitting slippers! I made my kids pairs one year for Christmas...hard to do without them noticing me measuring their feet every couple days. :)

  41. Thanks for all this fascinating info, Katy! I'm sure what they portray on TV shows like CSI and NCIS is a far cry from real-life crime scene investigation. It always drove me crazy when that gal on CSI: Miami would go to a crime scene in white slacks, high heels, and long hair hanging loose over her shoulder. Really?????? At least on Bones they wear coveralls and pin their hair back.

  42. Yes, Myra, that would be a big No-No, unless you want to be tagged a suspect. :)

  43. Katy Lee, welcome back to Seekerville! I'm very impressed with the class you took. Wow, this was hands on and intense.

    I loved the knitting analogy to writing books and solving crimes. :-) I need the sense of the pattern of the story to write it. Not stitch by stitch but certainly the trouble, the goal and motivations of the hero and heroine and the turning points. Maybe even SOTP's writers know these, too. I have a sketchy outline that firms up then sort of gets outdated as I approach the finish since things change a bit as I write. Key for me is knowing the characters. I really get to know them when I write the first three chapters.

    Debbie Macomber is a delight! Tell us more about the cruise. Did you talk writing craft?


  44. Katy, sounds as if your instructor was fantastic. What a great opportunity for you.

    I've never thought of checking the local college catalogs for CSI classes or any investigative courses. Must do that. I have thought about taking a PI class. Stephanie Bond did and found it very beneficial. I took our local Police Academy and learned so much. Wish I could repeat the class as a refresher. And I've attended the Writers' Police Academy for two years, which I loved. Just hearing police-speak is great for a writer. Every profession has it's own lingo, and cop-talk can make or break a story.

    BTW, I love the gray shawl you created. Gorgeous!

  45. Tina, I don't sew. Buttons, maybe. But nothing more complicated. And you don't use a pattern? Amazing.

  46. Hi Ruth:

    Of course you're right. Whatever you do works best for you. I wasn't talking about you or me. I was talking about that author behind the tree. : )

    BTW: Knitting as a metaphor for writing reminded me of the 'knitting pantser' who knitted a sweater with three arms. When asked why she did this, she answered: "The arms just insisted on it."

  47. Vince, spoken like a true plotter! I like to know where I'm going, although I can see how Ruthy's free-fall could occasionally prime the well, so to speak.

    Is anyone tired of Christmas cookies? I've put a plate of goodies on the breakfast bar, along with coffee cake and fresh fruit.

  48. Smiling at Marianne's comment! I knitted a Christmas stocking for the third child that ended up twice as large as the older children's stockings my mil had created. Again, a gauge problem. I do better with crocheting. Invariably when cold weather hits, I get out the yarn to crochet...although I hardly have time to finish a project these days. :)

  49. I enjoyed your post today.. reminded me of some things my Sheriff father could share when he was investigating :) I can crochet but Knitting is tooo slow for me!
    May you have a very Happy New Year!

  50. HI Katy Lee,
    Your post is very interesting and I think you and others who've attended these CSI sort of classes are very brave.

    I can NEVER - and this might be the only time in my life I can say never - write a suspense or murder mystery. It's the blood.

    I was one of those Mom's who could go on automatic pilot to clean and bandage my kid's boo-boos, but afterward I'd go lay down! Blood is very traumatic for me. I didn't even look at my incisions after surgery. I think it stems from living with my mother - the neighborhood RN. It seemed like everyone with an injury ended up on top of our kitchen table for her to clean wounds, etc. Our kitchen was a triage nightmare. Not a happy childhood image!

    VINCE, as a knitter who balks at patterns and confirmed pantser, your comment made me laugh.

  51. Katy, I love a good crime scene. CSI was my favorite show forever. I can appreciate the correlation between knitting and plotting a book. I'm a crocheter but they're close enough :) And unfortunately, I can only crochet things that don't have to have matching sides...ie) a granny square patterned blanket. No can do...I get things in all different sizes, big squares, little squares, it's not pretty. giggle. but give me an afghan that's just rows and rows and I'm all over it.

    I'm learning the danger of plot holes and falling into them. Gads, I may have to become a plotter and give up pantsing...

  52. True Author Knitting Story

    I'm a big fan of Lyn Cote who loves to knit as well as write. So when she offered a shawl she knitted herself at the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, I kept bidding until I won it.

    When it arrived from overseas I showed it to my wife and she was amazed. "This is not a shawl -- it's more like a blanket. There must be $200 of Irish wool in this thing? What was that author thinking?"

    I think a lot of authors like to knit.

  53. Vince, glad you won Lyn's shawl. It sounds beautiful!

  54. Katy, thanks for the wonderful post! I would love to take a CSI class. Wonder if I can find one locally? Hmmm....something else to add to my "must do" list.

    I also enjoy knitting, but I usually stick to crocheting because I'm much faster at it.

  55. A CSI class would be fascinating but I couldn't do it! I faint when I see blood, even walk INTO a hospital OR take a CPR class! SO, I don't think I will be going to a CSI class anytime soon! But, I love suspense books so I'm glad that there are authors like you that take those classes so I can enjoy reading them! I would love to win your book!

  56. Fascinating post, Katy! I love problem solving and brainstorming but would love to learn actual methods of deciphering evidence! Thanks for sharing and I'd love to be entered in the drawing for your book.

    Wishing you...and everyone...a fantastic New Year!!

    P.S. I tried knitting and crocheting...a failure at both! But I LOVE spinning and felting!!

  57. Rhonda, Tina and I attended a great CSI lecture at the Writers' Police Academy. The instructor was the head of the Police CSI team and an instructor at the Police Academy. She was a cute blond, so feminine, but she had amazing stories to tell...and she LOVED her work.

  58. Janet,
    Debbie is super sweet and was especially on the cruise. Since it was a reader cruise, we talked books a lot. But writing came up as well. I enjoyed our early mornings before breakfast just sitting in knitting circles with so many ladies. The first day the room was packed, but by the end it was a small intimate group. There were many wonderful authors on board and things to do with them all week long. I am happy I went on that cruise. It was life changing for me. It was the first time I actually met authors face to face. They are real people. Imagine that!

  59. Debby, I hate I missed that class. WPA was a wonderful experience, and I can't wait to go back. There were too many classes and too little time.

  60. Deanna-- I'm sure your dad has a wealth of information. Neat to have him in the family, I'm sure.

    Lyndee-- I know I could never be a CSI investigator. I'll stick to writing. :) And I have children too, so I understand the mode we have to go through when accidents happen.

    Sharee-- You made me laugh about your symmetrical problems. I have a few things I stick to because the outcome will be tough. :)

  61. Vince, so jealous ABOUT lyn's shawl. Great win! And I understand your wife's remark. The supplies that go into a project exceed the value of the garment tenfold. It's all about the love. :)

  62. Hi Katy! Loved your knitting analogy. So true!

    I so want to attend some kind of CSI course. Hope to attend WPA someday, too. Until then, I cling to my copy of Forensic Speak by Jennifer Dornbush.

    Happy New Year! Maybe we'll run into each other at a conference in 2016. Blessings!

  63. Rhonda, Sorry to add more to your list of things to do. :) But if you ever have the chance to take such a class, I highly recommend it.

    Valri -- I understand. And it is fine to trust us writers to bring you all the details in a book without all the gory details of the crime scenes.

    Kathyrn -- I love spinning. I went and bought myself a little Hitchhiker spinning wheel a few years back. Love it, but I will say spinning by hand on a drop spindle is still my favorite. I like tings I can take with me wherever I go. I think that's why I like to write. I can do it anywhere.

  64. Dana,
    Someday I hope to attend WPA too. I'm not sure I'll get to any conferences this year. This year might be a stay home and write year for me. :) Do you have any writing goals yourself?

  65. Dana, I've been thinking of getting Jennifer Dornbush's book. I attended her workshop and she was wonderful. Forget if it was at ACFW or RWA. Do you recommend her forensic book?

  66. Not going to RWA this year, Katy? I'm trying to decide since it's in San Diego. Still not sure.

  67. Hi Katy:

    About Love Inspired Authors

    I took my wife, Linda, to a book signing (because there was a Dollar Store next to the bookstore. My wife only reads mystery/suspense novels. I can't get her to read a romance!).

    There were two Love Inspired authors signing books: Kathleen Y'Barbo and Margaret Daley. When we got home my wife seemed very surprised. "Those women were really nice. They're just like the ladies in my church." (She must have been expecting Jackie Collins.)

    I said, "They should! They are the ladies in someone's church."

    Then I told her that Harlequin called the line "Love Inspired" not because the stories were love inspired but rather because the authors were love inspired.

    So now whenever I mention a romance author she wants to know if they are Love Inspired too. (I'm not sure she gets it yet.)

    Well the other day I told her that Myra Johnson was now Love Inspired. Without missing a beat Linda said, "Oh, she's the one with the nice tall husband who helps her do her book signings." (That's how she remembers romance authors. Who knew?)

    Life is funny sometimes when the husband is the romance fan and the wife is all into true crime.


  68. Debby...it was at ACFW. I remember because I was tickled pink to meet you. Had a real fan-girl moment there:) Yes, I would recommend her book. I have found it helpful.

    Katy... I do have writing goals for 2016. First to sell and write the next three books in my LIS series. First book is about 1/3 done.

    Then to polish and sell the two books I have written, hopefully LI, but if not, there are options.

    And I have 2 novella projects in the works.

  69. I doubt if I will be at RWA this year. Last year was fun, but I think I would prefer to stay home and write. When I am more established maybe I will attend more.

  70. Dana, you are my hero! That's a productive year ahead for you. I will look into the forensic book too.

    I'm not going to RWA this year, but I am attending the New England Christian Writers Retreat in Boston. That's close to home, so doable.

    Vince, I think romances can be read by anyone, female or male. It's a great way to see how each of us thinks and relates to different circumstances. But I also am a suspense reader/writer. In fact, this part of my stories can take over from the romantic thread of my books if I'm not careful.

  71. KATY ... WELCOME BACK TO SEEKERVILLE, and what a great comparison between knitting, investigating a crime scene, and writing! Reallllly makes it come alive and oh, sooo very clear, so thank you!!

    Although mystery/suspense is not my key genre, I must admit to being utterly fascinated with crime scene investigation, which I totally credit to NCIS, one of my hubby's faves. And then more recently, tuning into Hallmark's mystery movie channel as well, so I'm coming along, which is good since mystery and suspense are so very popular right now.

    You said: "It’s sad to see how cases do get botched because of a careless move, either done by someone who doesn’t understand contamination, or someone rushing through."

    I have to admit that your blog today really makes me think more clearly about the writing process as far as timing, sowing clues, gradual reveal in a plot, etc. I tend to go back and layer those things in after the book is written, which works, but I can see I need to focus more clearly upfront on some of these things.

    VERY interesting post, Katy! LOVE the pix -- especially the little red crab (that IS what it is, right?). Where is that little guy now? On your shelf or in your kiddos' play room?


  72. Hi Julie,

    All great points about layering carefully in our stories, whether you write mystery or not.

    It's a lobster and I gave them away as table favors at the luncheon, so they are all gone to new homes. I should make myself one someday.

  73. Oh dear, Katy. I'm a complete failure at knitting. Hope that doesn't hold ominous implications for my writing career!
    I'm so intrigued by this class. I followed along as you posted pictures on FB. Very cool.

  74. i love mystery and suspense stories and i really appreciate all the research and clever plotting that go into them.

    i'm like cate -- i failed at knitting.

  75. Vince, Margaret Daley was a mentor to me. She was and is always eager to help. Love that woman, and I love her writing. She was a special ed teacher in her prior life. Can you tell my her writing? She clearly explains every detail so the reader doesn't have to question what she means. Reading Margaret's books helps me be more explicit in my own writing. Sometimes I'm too terse, which isn't good.

  76. Dana, I remember when we met. But you've made my day with your mention of being a fan-girl. :) Didn't know I had fans! :) Sending hugs and love!

  77. A Christian Writers Retreat in Boston sounds delightful, Katy!

  78. Debby, you made me smile so big with your comment "Didn't know I had fans!" I was shaking in my boots when I messaged you about meeting at the airport in Atlanta when we were going to WPA. I was so afraid of looking like a country bumpkin. Tina, insisted it would be okay. (I've learned to never question Tina.) That whole weekend was a total fan-girl moment for me, and it didn't have anything to do with Karin Slaughter (though I thought she was wonderful). Here I was at a writer's conference (my first by the way) meeting some of my favorite authors (you, Tina, Terri Reed, and Margaret Daley). It was a tad bit overwhelming. I will forever be grateful that you all took me in and let me be part of the group. I love you, sweet lady!

  79. Hi Katy What an interesting post. I like the analogy to knitting and especially the warning not to rush things. I'm famous for that in all areas of my life, sigh. Hubby gets frustrated but I'm learning. Actually not really, just getting older so can't move so fast. LOL. But whatever it takes. chuckle

    Glad you joined us today.

  80. Vince Your story is too funny. I can just picture it. You will have to get your wife a copy of Katy's book. smile

  81. Valri I'm with you on CSI or any medical shows. It isn't the blood but needles that get to me. LOL

    I guess that's why I stick to sweet romance.

  82. Knitting is great for keeping your fingers busy and letting your mind go. I used to make baby hats for the hospital nursery. So sweet to think of those hats going home with a newborn baby.

  83. Hi Sandra:

    You wrote:

    "Vince, Your story is too funny. I can just picture it. You will have to get your wife a copy of Katy's book. smile."

    You're right on the scent. The only romances I've been able to get my wife to read have been Debby's military romances. It really helps that LI Suspense usually does not have a picture of the hero or heroine on the cover. These covers can pass for straight suspense/mystery adventures. I told Linda that Debby's books are just like her favorites, John Puller (CID), David Baldacci, and Jack Reacher also military police, Lee Child. She is reading the latest Debby book right now.

    I think there is a good chance that LI Suspense stories are attracting non-romance readers into the romance fold. We need to give these LI suspense authors our support.


  84. Hi Debby:

    My wife was surprised to discover that both her and Margaret Daley taught special ed in Oklahoma at the same time. Also both had worked on the Special Olympics. They had even met at conferences. They were in difference school systems. Of course, this may have been one of the reasons Linda found the Love Inspired ladies to be so nice. (They are like her and her church friends.)


  85. It's neat to hear that Margaret was a Special Ed teacher. I was also before I had my children. I'm not too surprised since it takes the same kind of person to write an inspirational book, one who understands all kinds of people. ;)

    I love that LIS attracts non-romance readers. So many men read my stories and don't feel silly being seen, even on planes, reading them thanks to those covers.

  86. "I think there is a good chance that LI Suspense stories are attracting non-romance readers into the romance fold. We need to give these LI suspense authors our support."

    As a relatively new LIS author, I can only say THANK YOU, Vince!

  87. Rhonda, I love you back!!!

    You made the WPA more fun and more special!


  88. Vince, my daughter is the head of the special ed department in her school. We breathe special ed in our family. God bless your wife. Only very dedicated teachers go into special ed.

  89. Vince, you're lumping me in much too elite of a group of authors!

    Hope Linda likes the story.

  90. Vince, I know lots of authors knit but didn't know Lyn did. The shawl sounds wonderful! Even I can manage basic stitches, enough to make scarves. Oh, and there was a too small baby blanket for our firstborn with a matching sweater with sleeves that were not human length. :-(


  91. Vince, surely over time you'll wear your wife down and she'll read a romance. :-)


  92. Katy, thanks for being with us today. We loved learning about your CSI course as well as your knitting.

    Congrats on your writing success! So well deserved! Hope you'll come back to visit us again.


  93. Katy, thanks for sharing about your CSI course. What an awesome opportunity you had!!!

    Please put me in for the drawing.

  94. Katy, what a fascinating CSI course you took and I loved the pics too. My son is studying criminology in college and will be a police officer when he is done. I know he would have been fascinated with it. I would love to read Permanent Vacancy . Please put me in the drawing. Happy New Year.

    Deanne P.

  95. So nice to meet you Katy!

    Follow the pattern. I'll keep that in mind as I finish my rough draft and begin figuring out what I have. Thanks for sharing your experiences and happy new year!

  96. So interesting, Katy! I'm sorry I never got by the blog yesterday. Thanks for sharing!

  97. Oh, how sweet, VINCE! Give your wife a big (but gentle) hug from me! Tell her my hubby says hi!

  98. Caryl -- Glad you enjoyed the post.

    Deanne -- Be proud of your boy. So brave!

    Jackie -- Go through your draft and map out all the points you have. You'll know if you need to add a step or take one out.

    Missy -- HI, my friend! :)

  99. Lovely shawl! Thank you for the tips and chance to win. I believe I have ordered your December book (it's in the mail) and am looking forward to reading it. Peace be with you!

  100. Peace to you, too, Ben and Phyllis. Enjoy Wade and Lacey, and Promise too. Wait until you meet Promise!