Monthly Archives: October 2015

The cover for Played to Death!

Here it is! Still don’t have an exact date for the book yet, but should be early December.Played cover 1

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Citizens Police Academy: The Firing Range

"Glock22inOliveDrab". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg#/media/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg

“Glock22inOliveDrab”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg#/media/File:Glock22inOliveDrab.jpg

This week’s academy consisted of a longish bus ride and a lot of standing around to accomplish one thing – to fire a typical police officer’s service weapon. My city police department uses the Glock 22, which fires .40 caliber rounds.

We went in pairs (there are 48 people in the class, so it took a while) to the target area, where the training officers showed us how to hold the gun, made sure we were in the correct position, then allowed us to fire five shots into the target. The gun itself was light but I was surprised how much kick it had.

And that was it. A couple of the criminal justice college students in the class got to fire semiautomatics (M-16) but I didn’t need to do that.

Next week is our last meeting – we get a certificate, have our group picture taken, and eat pizza. There will also be an active shooter simulation, which I’ve taken part in before.

This has been a fascinating experience. I’m so glad I did it. If you have a similar opportunity in your city or county, I’d definitely recommend taking it.

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Citizens Police Academy, Week 7

By 293.xx.xxx.xx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By 293.xx.xxx.xx (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s presentation was from our county medical examiner. Our ME began his career in Miami-Dade County. You can imagine what kinds of things he saw there. He had a slide show of several of his cases, and walked us through his process for figuring out what happened to the person. Some random things I learned (warning: gross stuff ahead):

  • Women tend to commit suicide by shooting or stabbing themselves in the chest – the heart. It’s an emotional decision.
  • People who hear voices tend to commit suicide by shooting themselves in the head, to silence the voices.
  • Always pull back the shower curtain. (More than once he was surprised to find either another body, or the culprit in hiding.)
  • A medical examiner is always an M.D. Coroners are usually elected officials and are not necessarily M.D.s.
  • A body buried in a shallow grave, in a dry climate, would take at least two months to decompose to the point where it was unrecognizable. After one week the person would still look like himself or herself, just be slightly dried out. (I asked this because I needed to know the answer for Landscaped to Death.)
  • Forensic photography is a career in itself.
  • Anyone who wants to be buried at sea has to have an autopsy. He said this was in case the body washes up, the authorities won’t think it’s a crime victim.
  • If a victim has gunpowder stippling around a wound, it means they were shot from within 3 1/2 feet. The burning powder doesn’t travel any farther than that. There will also not be any stippling if the victim was shot through clothing.

Next week, we go to the firing range.

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Once more unto the breach…

And awaaaaay we go!

And awaaaaay we go!

Yes, it’s that time of year: NaNo time! I officially signed up yesterday. I’m going to use November to write the first draft of Landscaped to Death, which will be JBM #14. You won’t see it for a while – for one thing, it takes place a year from now! For another, there are three more to come before it. So it’ll be closer to two years before publication.

I’ll write the first draft in a month, then put it away and not look at it for several months. It’s always interesting to see how much I end up keeping and how much I end up trashing.

This is my fourth Nano. Researched to Death, JBM #4; Psyched to Death, JBM #6; and Talked to Death, JBM #9, all began life as NaNo books.

I’m itching to get started. 😀

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Citizens Police Academy Weeks 5 and 6

"German Shepherd Dogs portrait" by Flickr user jn2race - Flickr here. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:German_Shepherd_Dogs_portrait.jpg#/media/File:German_Shepherd_Dogs_portrait.jpg

“German Shepherd Dogs portrait” by Flickr user jn2race – Flickr here. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:German_Shepherd_Dogs_portrait.jpg#/media/File:German_Shepherd_Dogs_portrait.jpg

Last week, we learned about the K-9 dogs and SWAT. The dogs were beautiful. Our police department only uses German shepherds. Four are patrol dogs and two are bomb detection dogs only. The most interesting thing was that the dogs all come from Germany or Holland. The officer said that there are no breeding lines in the US that are suitable for work as police dogs.

The SWAT guys were very impressive. The most interesting thing was that their supplemental pay is $12.75 per week. Not much! They all do other things in the PD full time – some are on patrol, some are in the training division, etc. One person asked what they wear when they go on a call, and the guy said, “Whatever we’re wearing when we get the call.” He said he’s gone out in jeans, workout clothes, dressier pants – whatever. They are on call ALL the time. Any time they go anywhere, they have to take all their equipment with them (all of which they wear, and which weighs about 60 pounds).

This week was the communications center. In our county the communications center is new, enormous, and state of the art. One side is dedicated to public safety – hurricanes, plane crashes, toxic spills, etc. The other is 911, police/fire/ambulance dispatch, and non-emergency calls. It was fascinating.

Next week, the medical examiner!

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Updating the plan for Jamie Brodie-land

It’s been a while since I updated my writing and publication schedule for y’all, so let me take care of that right now.

Played to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #11, is on track for release in December.

After that comes a Valentines Day short story, which I’ll publish here on the blog – it doesn’t take place on 2/14, but it’s romantic, so that’s when it’s being published.

After that, in the spring, will come another short story, again published here. Last year we had Christmas 2014 in July 2015, this year we’ll have Christmas 2015 in April 2016.

Filmed to Death, JBM #12, takes place in April 2016 and will be published in May or June 2016. (Can’t publish a book before the date it “happens.” This isn’t sci-fi!) The second draft of it is done.

Pictured to Death, JBM #13, takes place in June 2016 and will be published in autumn 2016. The first draft of this is done, and I think it’s the worst first draft I’ve ever written! I promise it will be far better when you see it.

There will be a Thanksgiving 2016 short story, which may actually appear on Thanksgiving.

Landscaped to Death, JBM #14, takes place autumn 2016 and will be published early 2017. This is the one I’m writing for NaNoWriMo this year.

Promoted to Death, JBM #15, takes place March 2017 and will be published autumn 2017. I’m beginning the first draft of it now, since I can’t start Landscaped until 11/1, and I have to write something.

Toured to Death, JBM #16, takes place summer 2017 and will be published early 2018.

Published to Death (ha!), JBM #17, takes place spring 2018 and will be published fall 2018.

Defined to Death, JBM #18, takes place fall 2018 and will be published spring 2019.

As yet untitled book, JBM #19, takes place sometime in the first half of 2019 and will be published in the second half of 2019.

And the final book, Resigned to Death, JBM #20 (I do like round numbers), takes place January – May 2020 and will be published later that summer or fall.

All of this – especially the middle part – is subject to change! “Good Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise,” as they say in my hometown. There will likely be other short stories scattered throughout.

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