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Category Archives: Writing

Writers Beware: The Sharks Are Out There

great-white-shark-smile

 

Why is this shark smiling?

Because he’s going to eat your career.

It’s not news to us writers that the world of publishing is undergoing a great upheaval. Some good, some less so. But regardless, it is changing.

And since there is profit in chaos, predators take advantage of this confusion. Maybe it’s an agent that charges reading fees. A publisher who asks writers to pay for book production. A publicist that promises to get you “out there” and then does little. Or perhaps a contract that looks good but in the end gobbles up your hard work like a Great White Shark. And many more scams, often very well disguised.

What’s a writer to do? Like everything else in life, educate yourself so you will know what lies in these treacherous waters. A recent article by Elizabeth S. Craig is a good starting point.

Keep you eyes open and always ask questions. If you don’t like the answers you get, turn the page and walk away. In the long run, you’ll win.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Writing

 

Guest Blogger: Juan Dillon: Sherlock Holmes: Forensic Science Pioneer

Holmes

 

There are very few characters that have managed to assume a personality as pronounced as that of Sherlock Holmes. Even though he was a fictional character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes was and still is often given the same respect that one gives to a real person. Apart from infusing life into his characters, Doyle was a visionary as well. He created this amazing character that solved crimes with panache and used methods that would be adopted in the field of law making only decades later. Forensic science was not even in its infancy when Holmes solved all those mysteries. When Doyle wrote Holmes, the situation was such that it required eyewitness accounts and ‘smoking gun’ evidence to convict a murderer. It was very easy for murderers to roam scot free as there was practically no evidence against them.

Holmes used fingerprints, blood stains and chemistry to zero in on his suspects. It was fascinating because these methods were not in prevalence at that time. In many ways he has contributed to the existence of the modern detective. Holmes used blood splatter patterns and bullet trajectory analysis to solve some of his cases. Every forensic detective today has a lot to learn from Holmes when it comes to toxicology. There were many cases where Holmes used scientific methods that involved chemical analysis and even analysis of handwriting. One of the biggest contributions to the world of forensic medicine by Holmes is the ‘exchange principle’ according to which when two things come into contact with each other, one leaves a trace on the other.

The ramifications of the exchange principle were enormous. This means that cases could be solved years or even decades after they were committed. There are instances of how people were exonerated years after they were erroneously imprisoned. There have also been cases of how cases were solved years later and the culprits brought to book. This was possible only through the methods made famous by Holmes. Poisoning was one of the most popular methods of murder in those times and the reason for that was because it was virtually impossible to detect many kinds of poison with the technology available at that time. Holmes would use scientific methods to check the presence of poison in corpses and detect whether a death was indeed natural or unnatural.

In fact there were a few avid readers of Doyle who became so fascinated with the world of forensics that they even set up laboratories for the purpose of research. A Frenchman named Edmond Locard built a forensics lab 23 years after Doyle envisioned a similar one in one of his books. In his lab he kept samples of soil, hair and mineral fibre. This was perhaps the first ever lab that eventually evolved into the state-of-the-art labs that are used by Scotland Yard or FBI. Holmes was also obsessed with something that has now become a science of sorts. He used to analyse shoe prints to solve many of his cases and now that is called Gait analysis. He was also the person who came up with the idea of using dogs to track criminals. He was aware of the ability of a dog’s keen sense of smell way before his contemporaries.

The use of footprints, fingerprints, handwriting etc were a few innovations that can be attributed to Dolye’s intrepid detective. He even did decryption of ciphers, a science that would not be developed even decades after Doyle’s death. It can be said without doubt that Sherlock Holmes, if he was a real human being would have been the world’s first ever forensic scientist. And the credit to that goes to his creator, the visionary called Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Author Bio: Juan Dillon is a freelance writer and currently working as a review developer at EssaysOrigin.com, and online platform for customers to choose best essay writing services by evaluating the professional reviews on various companies. He loves the profession as it’s also covers some sort of intellectual findings while working on review creation.

 

2014 Thriller Award Winners

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Another wonderful CraftFest/ThrillerFest has ended. A very busy and exhausting week but can’t wait until next year.

I want to congratulate all of this year’s Thriller Award winners as well as our new Grand Master Scott Turow and Silver Bullet Award winner Brenda Novak. All well deserved.

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL

Andrew Pyper – THE DEMONOLOGIST (Simon & Schuster)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Jennifer McMahon – THE ONE I LEFT BEHIND (William Morrow Paperbacks)

BEST FIRST NOVEL

Jason Matthews – RED SPARROW (Scribner)

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Rebecca Cantrell – THE WORLD BENEATH (Rebecca Cantrell)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Cristin Terrill – ALL OUR YESTERDAYS (Disney-Hyperion)

BEST SHORT STORY

Twist Phelan – “Footprints in the Water” (Ellery Queen)

Scott Turow, ThrillerMaster

Brenda Novak, Literary Silver Bullet Award

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Writing

 

Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference Begins July 24th

The 21st Annual Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference will take place from July 24-27 in Corte Madera, CA. This conference has a strong tradition of great authors and teachers. Mystery writers learn all the clues to a successful writing career. Editors, agents, and publishers share with participants what they need to know to get published. Authors offer classes on setting, dialogue, suspense and point of view. Panels of detectives, forensic experts, and other crime-fighting professionals provide invaluable information that allows writers to put realism into their work. Faculty members this year include Valerie Plame, Anne Perry, Tom Rob Smith, Isabel Allende, Cara Black, D.P. Lyle, John Lescroart, David Corbett, George Fong, Laurie King, Otto Penzler, Jacqueline Winspear, and many more!

 

Link to register: http://bookpassage.com/mystery-writers-conference

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2014 in Writing

 

Samantha Cody Trilogy Giveaway Begins Today

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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Writing

 

Book Review: Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Cop Town

 

 

Cop Town by Karin Slaughter

Delacorte Press

June 24, 2014

ISBN-10: 0345547497

ISBN-13: 978-0345547491

416 pages

 

Unblinking and in your face

Karin Slaughter writes tough, gritty crime fiction. Unblinking and in your face. Always filled with tough and committed characters who are deeply flawed. Her villains are always well-drawn, evil, and totally believable, with clear agendas that drive their actions. Cop Town is such a story and just might be her best yet.

Set in 1974 among the mean streets of Atlanta and within the corrupt, racist, sexist Atlanta PD, the story revolves around two female officers, one seasoned, one a rookie, who essentially serve as co-protagonists. Each has easily exploited weaknesses, while possessing skills and a toughness that drives the story.

Maggie Lawson comes from a cop family. A family that is dysfunctional on many levels. Maggie tries to live up to the standards demanded by her hard-nosed uncle and brother while trying to retain her own humanity. She is thrust into the chase of a brutal cop killer, whose motives aren’t readily apparent, the only thing known for sure that he will kill again. The clock is ticking and Maggie feels the pressure at every turn.

Entering this pressure cooker is first-day-rookie Kate Murphy. Jewish, strikingly beautiful, privileged from her tony digs in Buckhead Atlanta, and completely over her head. Yet, when she and Maggie team up, they create a powerful symbiosis that proves to be more than capable in the good-old-boy world of Atlanta cops.

The story is fast-paced, with unexpected twists and turns, and a climax that is shocking yet inevitable. A great read.

 

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Book Review, Writing

 

Crime and Science Radio: You’ll Tell Me No Lies: An Interview Paul Bishop, Interrogation Expert, Author, and Retired LAPD Detective

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Saturday, June 28, 10 a.m. PDT, join DP Lyle and Jan Burke as they learn about the art and science of interrogation from renowned expert Paul Bishop, who will also tell us about his long and successful career as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, where he worked in the Anti-Terrorist Division and in the investigation of sex crimes.

BIO:  A thirty-five year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, Paul Bishop’s career has included a three year tour with his department’s Anti-Terrorist Division and over twenty-five years’ experience in the investigation of sex crimes. His Special Assaults Units regularly produced the highest number of detective initiated arrests and highest crime clearance rates in the city. Twice honored as Detective of the Year, Paul also received the Quality and Productivity Commission Award from the City of Los Angeles.

As a nationally recognized interrogator, Paul starred as the lead interrogator and driving force behind the ABC TV reality show Take The Money And Run from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.  Based on his expertise in deception detection, he currently conducts interrogation seminars for law enforcement, military, and human resource organizations.

Paul has published twelve novels, including five in his L.A.P.D. Detective Fey Croaker series.  He has also written numerous scripts for episodic television and feature films. He currently writes and edits the Fight Card series of hardboiled boxing novels under the pseudonym Jack Tunney.

LISTEN: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/06/19/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-paul-bishop

LINKS:

Paul Bishops’ Blog: www.bishsbeat.blogspot.com

Fight Card Books: www.fightcardbooks.com

Paul Bishop on Twitter: @BishsBeat

The Los Angeles Police Department Website http://www.lapdonline.org

Take the Money and Run  http://www.tv.com/shows/take-the-money-and-run-2011/

How Police Interrogation Works: http://people.howstuffworks.com/police-interrogation.htm

Behind the Scenes of Take the Money and Runhttp://bishsbeat.blogspot.com/2011/08/behind-scenes-take-money-and-run.html

Find Law: FAQs: Police Interrogations: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-rights/faqs-police-interrogations.html

NPR: “Beyond Good Cop/Bad Cop: A Look at Real-Life Interrogations”: http://www.npr.org/2013/12/05/248968150/beyond-good-cop-bad-cop-a-look-at-real-life-interrogations

TED Talks Video: Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are

Nonverbal Communication: Improving Nonverbal Skills & Reading Body Language: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq6_nonverbal_communication.htm

PLOS One: Richard Wiseman, et al: The Eyes Don’t Have It: Lie Detection and Neuro-Linguistic Programming http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0040259

Using Neuro-Linguistic Programming in the Interview Room (From FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 2001) http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/fbi/nlp_interviewing.htm

The Police Chief Magazine: Perspective on Neurolinguistic Programming (December, 2011) http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=2268&issue_id=122010

Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence: Karen Rich and Patrick Seffrin,  “Police Interviews of Sexual Assault Reports: Do Attitudes Matter?” http://www.oaesv.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Police-Interviews-of-Sexual-Assault-Reports-Do-Attitudes-Matter.pdf

 

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Book Review: Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

Terminal City

 

 

Terminal City by Linda Fairstein

Dutton Adult

June 17, 2014

ISBN-10: 0525953884

ISBN-13: 978-0525953883

384 pages

A wickedly intelligent thriller

International bestseller Linda Fairstein’s newest novel, starring Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper, is a winner on every level. A wickedly intelligent thriller that crawls through the underbelly of NYC as well as the courts and law enforcement agencies of the Big Apple. Alexandra is a wonderful series character that reflects Fairstein’s own career as Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit for the Manhattan DA’s Office. She knows of what she writes. This story begins with a carved-up corpse in a high-dollar suite at New York’s posh Waldorff Astoria Hotel. And from there it only gets worse. A thrill ride that is not to be missed.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2014 in Book Review, Writing

 

Book Review: THE FARM by Tom Rob Smith

The Farm

 

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

Grand Central Publishing

June 3, 2014

ISBN-10: 0446550736

ISBN-13: 978-0446550734

368 pages

If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son.

Tom Rob Smith is a great storyteller. Hie first novel, Child 44, was an amazing work of fiction that won much critical acclaim, including the Thriller Award. He completed that trilogy with two other excellent books: The Secret Speech and Agent 6. The Farm is another great story.

From a technical, writerly point of view, this is an interesting work. A small story with big themes, it is essentially told entirely in narrative form—-yet it reads like action, dialog, and all the other elements of storytelling. The first 80% is essentially a mother telling her son a story. Don’t let that fool you. The story races along and once you begin, you can’t put it down. That’s great writing.

Daniel is preping for a trip from London to rural Sweden to visit his parents, Chris and Tilde, on their new farm. He has put off the trip to avoid telling his family of his lover Mark. A relationship he is sure they will not approve of. But when his father calls, saying the his mother is ill, mentally ill, he must now make the trek he has avoided. But before he can climb on his flight, he receives a message from his father that Tilde has left the mental hospital and is headed to London. And indeed she arrives.

Back in his apartment, Daniel does the listening, his “mum” Tilde the telling. And what a tale. A story of child abuse, betrayal, and murder. A conspiracy involving the rich and powerful and even his father. But is it true? Could it all have really happened as Tilde describes? Is his mother insane as so many say, including his father.

As the “telling” unfolds, the reader will be whiplashed back and forth. Is the evidence Tilde posses in her satchel proof of unspeakable crimes or are they meaningless bits that are only evidence in his mother’s mind?

This story will stay with you long after you read the final page.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2014 in Book Review, Writing

 

Book Review: Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Her Last Breath

 

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

Minotaur Books

June 18.2014

ISBN-10: 0312658575

ISBN-13: 978-0312658571

320 pages

. . . murder and mayhem among the peaceful world of the Amish . . .

Painters Mill’s police chief Kate Burkholder is back in this wonderful tale of murder and mayhem among the peaceful world of the Amish. Kate, raised in this world, long ago left for the secular world of law enforcement, and is now confronted with a murder of diabolical proportions. The story opens with a horrible accident. An Amish father and his children, returning home in their horse-drawn buggy, are demolished by a speeding car that flees into the night. A scene that is so harrowingly rendered it’s as if the reader is an eyewitness.

But was it an accident? Or was it a murder of horrific proportions? If so, why? What’s the payoff for annihilating these innocents? Nothing is apparent and as Kate digs deeper into the family and the community, a community that still resents her departure from the fold, she uncovers dark deeds and motives that defy understanding.

Kate’s continuing and growing relationship with FBI agent John Tomasetti only complicates her life and skews her choices. Choices that could end her career. John’s too.

This is an excellent series and Her Last Breath is one of the best.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2014 in Book Review, Writing

 
 
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