Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Public Safety Writers Association's Annual Conference

This is a repeat from my own blog. This is my favorite conference--where mystery writers can learn more about law enforcement.

Sign up now for the early bird fee and more information: https://policewriter.com/conference/ 

These are the four main speakers for next year's conferende:

The Seven Touchstones for Writing a Crime Thriller by Nick Chiarkas

Nick Chiarkas grew up in a housing project on New York City’s lower east side. Called “hopeless” by some uncaring teachers, he went on to become a celebrated author as well as a U.S. Army Paratrooper; a New York City Police Officer; the Deputy Chief Counsel for the President's Commission on Organized Crime; and the Director of the Wisconsin State Public Defender Agency. On the way, he picked up a Doctorate from Columbia University; a Law Degree from Temple University; and was a Pickett Fellow at Harvard. He shares with us his writing process called The Seven Touchstones for Writing a Crime Thriller.

Criminal Profiling for Mystery/True Crime Writers, by Pete Klismet

While many people, and certainly police officers, profess knowledge about "Criminal Profiling," very few understand what the concept is about, or how determinations are made. Former police officer, retired FBI agent, and college professor Pete Klismet practically wrote the book on criminal profiling and has put together a shortened presentation of the course he once taught at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Pete designed this presentation specifically for those writers working on mysteries and true crime projects. A distinguished author himself, Pete has been published both foreign and domestically and this presentation is guaranteed to knock your socks off as well as giving you a factual baseline to add credibility and realism to your writing.
Join us as he presents the 'nuts and bolts' of how trained profilers look at circumstances involving a crime, or evidence from a crime scene in a completely different manner and use these observations, behavioral clues to provide insight into the personality of the offender.

Modern CSI Skills and Technology by R.J.Beam

Crime Scene Investigation has come a long way from messy fingerprint powders and feather brushes. Modern TV and movies show cops using magical gadgets to find evidence and solve cases in an hour. Real life police officer and police academy instructor, RJ Beam knows how to separate fiction from fact. A published author and expert police detail editor for a publisher, RJ is ready, willing, and able to break down some of the latest technology in use today at real crime scenes. During this presentation, he will also explain how some of what you see on TV while real is not in use at the average department just yet. With luck, RJ's boss will be cool (and the TSA won't pester him) so he can bring a few "toys" to Vegas for demonstrations

Your Book From Inception to Marketing By Jo Wilkins and Jenni Curtis

The tag-team presentation by these two industry professionals from Mystic Publishing starts with the introduction of how your book idea can be spread across a marketing platform and progresses into a full-scale explanation of how such a platform might intertwine with the publishing process from beginning to end. Well established author, editor, and publisher, Jo Wilkins is the Chief Executive Officer and Acquisitions Editor for Mystic Publishing. She, along with published author and marketing expert Jenni Curtis will demonstrate how these principles apply whether you are going to use the traditional publishing route or are contemplating taking the plunge into self-publishing. Jo and Jenni will review the necessities that every author should and must consider and how to apply them to your marketing plan up to and beyond the release of your novel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

A Post About Censorship

by Janis Patterson

I know this is not a political forum, so I’m not going to be political... just bear with me.

I’m not much on social media - in truth, I hate it. It’s a timesink and sometimes it’s frightening to see what’s going on out there. I use it for two primary purposes - family/friends contact and publicity on my books. More, if I am to be honest, of the former than the latter. 

However, I am human, and when I see an egregious lie posted as fact I have to respond. (And it has to be a really BIG lie to make me comment.) This time I simply stated an irrefutable, provable scientific truth. So guess what? The platform froze my account, then sent me a cloyingly polite little note saying my post had been flagged as being hurtful of some people’s feelings.

What? An account is frozen because a factual statement of truth is ‘hurtful to some people’s feelings”??? It is indeed the truth...

They then said I could be completely reinstated by deleting the ‘offensive’ post. 

Hmmm - so if I want to be allowed back in the ‘tribe’ all I have to do is deny an irrefutable scientific fact - and agree to a deliberate untruth. Bad bargain. I protested, telling them I was not going to defame my honor by underwriting a lie, and since my account was locked I had no way of closing/deleting the whole account - and believe me, I tried. So I asked them to close and delete the account for me and we could call it quits.

Not surprisingly they refused. Apparently I not only have to sacrifice my honor and honesty, but I have to kowtow to their rules and delete the truth before I can sever our relationship. That’s scary. Needless to say, we are at a stalemate - I will not sacrifice the truth to have a platform on which I can sell my books. Period.

So what is the purpose of this little screed besides some personal venting? Well, this attitude affects every writer out there. Why should we be expected to allow someone - censor, Mrs. Grundy, monolithic corporation, government, anyone - to dictate unilaterally to us what we can and cannot write - especially when it is the truth? And before you say ‘truth is relative’ sometimes it isn’t. An irrefutable fact is an irrefutable fact - if you turn loose of a rock, it will fall down, not up. If you cut a piece of meat in half, you cannot make it truly whole again. You cannot cut off a person’s head then stick it back on and expect him to be the same. More frivolously, you cannot eat your cake and have it too. Some things just are, and cannot be changed simply because we want them to be - or because they “might hurt someone’s feelings.”

Now there are those who will say social media is a contract between individuals and media, meaning the individual corporations which have the freedom to say what will and will not be said upon their platforms, and in a way that is true - I am a great believer in corporate freedom. If this or any social media platform chooses to play that way, I can choose not to play with them. However distasteful I might find their actions, they are certainly within their rights to be as dictatorial as they choose. If someone doesn’t like what they are doing, they can leave and go to another platform they find more to their liking. What I object to is that this repugnant practice is it is becoming so prevalent over every branch of communication - including magazines, movies, television and books.

What if someone decrees you cannot write a mystery with a ____ (insert classification of choice here, such as man, woman, child, straight, homosexual, black, white, Asian... whatever) as the villain? Or that you cannot ever have more than two dead bodies in a single book? What if we are ordered that no one in a story can come from a such-and-such background, or be of (or not be of) a such-and-such socio-economic/racial/sexual group? That’s censorship, plain and simple.

Nor is the problem confined to social media. Not long ago a scandal erupted in Romance Writers of America about their yearly award. It used to be called the Rita, but I believe now the name has been changed to the Vivian, but egregious as the change was, that’s not the problem. The book which won was about the romance of a man who had years before as a soldier had taken part in a military action against some Indian tribe. In the intervening years between then and the beginning of the book he had reformed and found the love of his life, which was the main thrust of the story. 

The fact that this book won enraged the PC agitators in the crowd, who claimed that since he had once been involved in a massacre of Indians he should never be a romantic hero, whether he had reformed or not. He didn’t, according to some of the more vocal critics, deserve a happy ending and could never even receive redemption or God’s forgiveness. 

In a free and sane society such hysterical blatherings would have been ignored as the self-aggrandizing lunacy they were, but sadly and disturbingly RWA chose the ‘woke’ side and rescinded the award. They couldn’t ban the book altogether, though I believe they would have if they could, but it was stripped of the award in spite of the fact it was well-written enough to have won in the first place, it adhered to every rule of the contest and was by a well-known and well-respected writer. But it displeased a minority of the membership, so it had to go. Now one cannot help but wonder how many writers are hesitant to submit their books to the - or any - award for fear it won’t pass the muster of the PC hysterics even if it does follow every rule of the contest.

So far as I know the mystery community has not succumbed to such lunacy, but one never knows. We can only hope it stays sane and free of such irrational control.

I believe such blatant censorship is something against which all writers should fight, whatever they write. BUT in spite of that statement I will say there are some things which definitely be kept out of some hands, such as pornography and children, for example - after all there are the structures and decencies of civilization to consider - but as writers we exist to communicate. If that communication is stifled, distorted, controlled, or negated, the world is doomed.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

When Life Gets Bumpy

 Though I’ve hoped to be nearly finished with what I’m planning to be the latest and last of my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, life has gotten in the way.

Hubby when I first met him on a blind date.

October 24th was our 71st wedding anniversary, and we didn’t do anything special to celebrate. We’d had a huge family celebration for our 70th, but the bumpy part to life interfered with any desire to celebrate other than to congratulate each other for lasting as long as we have.

Now the big bump—our second oldest daughter, Lisa, was having trouble breathing, she went to a local clinic and was sent immediately to a bigger hospital than the one nearby. She was admitted with having heart problems. They kept her a few days, sent her home, and two nights in a row she couldn’t breathe. She sat up all night. Went back to the same hospital where she had open heart surgery and it was discovered she had scar tissue on her heart which meant she’d had heart attacks in the past. She was in the hospital for many days—had fluid on her heart and in her lungs. Believe me when I say it was a very scary time; I prayed and prayed.

She finally got to come home but has many restrictions as to what she can and can’t do including what she eats, home health nurse and physical therapist visits, lots of medication, and doctor appointments. But she looks and sounds so much better.

Lisa drove me to all my book events and conferences. We always had so much fun together. Now I’m thrilled to be able to go to her house and have a long visit.

Life has changed in so many ways.

Since Lisa is getting better each and every day, I will get back to my writing now.

And since since Veteran's Day is coming up, I'm reminded my hubby is a 20 year veteran having served in the Seabees all over the world, including three tours in Vietnam. I'm blessed to still have him with me.