Monday, March 30, 2015

Things I learned for Book Three #cozymystery

While writing book three of the Shandra Higheagle Mystery series, Deadly Aim, I needed a little bit of help with cop stuff, bullets, and even some medical things. It's nice to have a law enforcement member in the family, a family member who trained to be an EMT, and writerly connections. 

I asked about a county detective using flashing lights on his car.
AnswerThey are only supposed to be used for emergencies, however, if it was a sensitive case and evidence could possibly be destroyed I could see them being used in that case to get people out of their way and make better time to preserve evidence.

My question: If a shot gun with buckshot is shot into the air would it come raining back down and how long before the shot would come back down?
AnswerYes and it would probably be within 20 to 30 seconds max. 

QuestionWhat is the procedure for a county detective to get a warrant?  How long does it take? 
Answer:For a residence we have to have probable cause which is facts or circumstances that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe that a crime has been or is being committed. Basically it's 51% chance that a person more like you're not did something wrong. To get a warrant, the law-enforcement officer would have to write an affidavit to the court detailing the circumstances of his case and why he believes he has probable cause to search a specific person place or thing. The affidavit would go in front of the District Attorney's Office for review commonly, and then be looked at by a judge who would either sign it or not.

Regards to previous question:  What's the average length of time does it take from the time you write up the affidavit until the warrant is given? 
Answer:As soon as it's written you can get it signed then have up to fives days to execute it. Most warrants take a couple hours to write and get signed. Some longer than others depending on case

Medical question was about using the defibrillator. I had the doctor say stand back. I was informed they are trained to say, "All Clear." I also asked a fellow author who is a doctor is the body really does jerk when the defibrillator is used. Her answer: "Yes." 

I also had a question about a .30-06 hunting rifle. 
QuestionMy murder victim was shot in the heart with a hunting rifle(shooting elk). What would be the caliber? Or what would the forensic call the size etc.  of the bullet. And would it be discernible after animals had eaten on the body?
Answer:A 30-06 is common. Its a 30 caliber diameter hole. Bullets would stay in tact for the most part and could remain in carcasses. They would be identifiable. 

And I asked thisIs there a difference between wildlife cameras and surveillance cameras?
Specifically in how you view the footage.
Answer:If your talking of surveillance cameras for wildlife offenses then yes usually.  Sometimes law enforcement uses fame cameras which anyone can view by looking at the sd card. We also have similar game cameras which also take an sd card but have password protection on the device. These two are the most common.  We also have cameras which are set off by motion sensors, seismic sensors or infrared sensors which are commonly buried or camouflaged as well as the recorder. These cameras save to sd cards as well which can also be viewed in a computer. 

Those questions and answers helped me write Deadly Aim which is now available in ebook. 


Passion… Secrets… Murder...
The dead body of an illicit neighbor and an old necklace send potter Shandra Higheagle on a chase to find a murderer. Visions from her dead grandmother reveals Shandra is on the right path, but the woods are full of obstacles—deadly ones.

Detective Ryan Greer believes Shandra’s dreams will help solve the mystery, but he also knows the curious potter could get herself killed. He’s determined that won’t happen.

Until he’s blind-sided. Are Shandra’s powers strong enough to save them both, or will the murderer strike again?

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Hat Etiquette


Did you know hat etiquette was practiced mostly by cowboys? The practice dates back to the days of chivalry when knights would raise their helmet shields as a sign of respect. But it was the American cowboy who popularized the custom. According to the John B. Stetson Hat Company (founded in 1868) there are very specific rules to dictate when a man should tip his hat and when to remove it.

Tip your hat…
*If a lady thanks you
*After receiving directions from a stranger
*If you excuse yourself to a lady
*When walking with another man and he greets a woman you don’t know

Remove your hat…
*During the playing of the national anthem
*Upon entering a building
*During an introduction
*When attending a funeral

*When initiating a conversation.

This is a nice example of the manners in the Old West. 

As I embark in writing the last book of the Halsey Homecoming Trilogy, I've been brushing up on my western manners and etiquette as well as researching information I'll need for the new book. Here's what I need to research:
Chinese names and how they acted and were treated in 1900 in Oregon. 
The underground life of the Chinese in Pendleton, Oregon.
How the Chinese would doctor a man who has been beat up and can't remember who he is. 

Lots to research so I can get busy and write. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Left Coast Crime Thoughts

I arrived at Left Coast Crime Conference in Portland, Oregon Thursday before noon. I deposited books with the book seller at the conference and dropped off my gift basket for the silent auction. Proceeds from the silent auction went to S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making A Reader Today).

I had lunch with fellow Windtree Press author Pamela Cowan and Debbie Burke from Jan’s Paperback Books.

I visited with people I knew and attended the last workshop for the day, “Gotta Stay Fresh: How to keep a series from getting stale.”  The authors on the panel were: Vicki Delany, D.V. Berkom, Becky Clark, Philip Donlay and Mike Lawson. It was a good blend of seasoned authors with long series and authors who only had a few books in a series. My take-a-way from this session was to age your characters- don’t keep them at 29 or whatever age they are. Don’t have the Jessica Fletcher syndrome where the main character finds a body every  time they step outside their house. Make sure there is some time between discoveries. (This can go with the aging thing) And write a main character who shows growth and that you want to hang out with for 6 or 100 books.

The guest speaker that afternoon was Phillip Margolin.  He was funny, witty, and not what you would expect from a person who defended criminals for a living before he became a full-time author.
That evening I retired early. ;)

Friday morning there was a New Author breakfast. Those of us who had published our first mystery or thriller were asked to give a one minute spiel about our books. There were 35 new authors.

The first session I attended was “Death in a Small Town- Rural and suburban crime fiction.” The authors were Terry Shames, LeslieBudewitz, M.P. Cooley, G.M. Malliet, and Cindy Sample. The take-a-way on this one to me dealt with how the setting comes in to play with the collecting of clues. In small/rural areas there is gossip and more chance of someone seeing something where in a large city people tend to have blinders on.

Next was my panel. “How did that body get there? The amateur sleuth.” I had a good time answering questions and getting to know my panel group: Lori Rader-Day, Allen Eskens, Barbara Petty, and Ilene Schneider. Every one had a different type of amateur sleuth and it gave the audience a well-rounded vision of how you can use an amateur sleuth.

After the panel we were hustled to an area where they had book signing tables set up. I continued conversations with my other panelists and autographed a couple of books.

 After lunch with Vella Munn and her friend,Jennifer Greer, who has a book coming out in June.  I attended “She Said, She said; Writing the female protagonist.”  The panelists were MegGardiner, Lisa Farrow, Darrell James, Frances McNamara, and Carole Sojka.  This one had little take-a-way for me. They mainly discussed their characters and Darrell told us the reasons he felt he could write from a female perspective.  To be honest, I didn’t see that it’s such a stretch. Women authors write from a male perspective all the time and no one seems to make a fuss over that. Anyway, the questions from the audience were interesting
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Then I attended a workshop with 5 FBI agents. This one was interesting! They were from the Portland Bureau. All good looking, well educated, and funny. They represented: Child Exploitation Task Force, Cyber Task Force, Local Terrorism, International Terrorism and the Swat Team. The terrorism task force heads scanned the room continually and their faces were blank and stern. The Child Exploitation agent was very reserved, the computer task force guy was introspective, and the Swat guy acted like a normal guy. He wasn’t in a suit and told more jokes.  We learned what each task force did and how they work with other agencies.

The guest speaker in the afternoon was Timothy Halliman. He’s a world traveler and his books sound more character based with a small amount of mystery in them.

Having been invited to the Chanticleer  Dessert later that night I stayed at the conference hotel.  I sat in the bar with Pamela Cowan, Debbie Burke, Cory Lynn Fayman, his wife, and Nancy G. West.  

I attended the Left Coast Crime 25th Anniversary Celebration where they had door prizes, hors d’oeurves, a magician, and a song led by L.J. Sellers. After that I wandered to the second floor and the dessert party. I visited with some readers there then hoofed it back to my hotel, three blocks away.

Saturday morning started with a breakfast hosted by Sistersin Crime. We had a nice continental breakfast then they had a panel of Representative Nancy Pelosi, Chief of Portland Police, and a detective. They told us about their careers, their firsts on the job as police officers, what it felt like to be pulled in front of the IA, how things have changed
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The rest of the day for me was getting ready and attending my own booksigning at Jan’s Paperback Books.  I had a good turnout at the book store and enjoyed visiting with Tracy Weber who was also signing. The trip to and from the book store to the hotel was an adventure for me since I’m not used to driving in that much traffic. Thanks to the lady in my phone navigation system I made found my locations effortlessly.


That night was the awards banquet. One of the panelists on my amateur sleuth panel was up for best first mystery. Allen Eskens won! I was sitting at his table for the dinner. He was truly humbled and in awe that he won. I was excited because of the books I read by my fellow panelists his was my favorite
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Sunday I headed home. I enjoyed the conference. I don’t know if I’ll make the conference next year in Arizona, but I think I will try to get to the one in Hawaii in 2017. It may be the only way I get there since hubby doesn’t want to go to the island.


Monday, March 09, 2015

Crimelandia Here I Come!

This Thursday I am wading into waters that are unknown. This Thursday through Sunday is the Left Coast Crime conference in Portland, Oregon. Since I've decided to write in the genre that started me writing novels, I'm attending. I've been to romance Writers of American conferences and have enjoyed the camaraderie and good will at those. I'm hoping to feel the same at the mystery writer conference and come away learning things that will make my mystery books even better and perhaps have garnered a few more readers.

I'm on a panel  on Friday. After perusing the other authors books, I think it will be an interesting and entertaining panel. The moderator is Lori Rader-Day, with panelists: Allen Eskens, Barbara Petty, and  Ilene Schneider.  We'll be discussing amateur sleuths and cozy mysteries.

On Saturday, March 14th, I'll be at Jan's Paperback Books,18095 Sw Tualatin Valley Hwy, Beaverton, OR from 1-4pm. I'll be signing books with another mystery writer, Tracy Weber.

I've spent a couple mornings putting together outfits for the conference. I have the mystery books ready, I'll pick up mini booklets of the first chapters of the mystery books up at Staples in Bend on my way through there, and I have a gift basket for the raffle just about ready. It still needs some coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to go in it.

I don't know what to expect with a different group of people than romance writers, but I'll push my introvert self to mingle and glean as much info as I can.

If you're in the area I'd love to see you at my book signing at Jan's.

Do you like to attend conferences? Why or why not?