I’m excited to present three sessions at this year’s UW-Madison Writers’ Institute March 26-29.
Without a doubt, I would not have two award-winning books (and a third book on the way) had it not been for this writing conference. It gave me—and continues to provide—the tools, confidence, and support necessary for publication.
While there, I will be available for thirty-minute WRITE HERE, WRITE NOW sessions where I’ll meet one-on-one with individuals to discuss all things writing.
Last week I, along with several other writers, took a tour of the Idaho State Police Crime Lab. Our tour guide, Rylene Nowlin, is a DNA specialist.
During the tour, I saw and learned so many interesting things. From the processing of rape kits to cyanoacrylate (super glue) fuming to develop latent fingerprints, and everything in-between.
For obvious reasons, we weren’t allowed to take photographs inside the crime lab. Here’s a shot of the outside of the building.
Rylene shared stories that made us laugh (some people are clearly out to eliminate themselves from the gene pool), and stories that curled our hair (how can people be so cruel?).
Did you know that a coroner is an elected official who doesn’t have to have a medical degree? In fact, they don’t have to have any type of degree. None whatsoever. They just have to be able to get elected. There are places where the local feed store operator is a coroner.
On the other hand, a medical examiner by definition is a licensed physician, and in most cases, they’re trained to be forensic pathologists. They’re appointed to the position.
Some states have both coroners (usually in the rural areas) and medical examiners (usually in the non-rural areas).
On January 24th, I attended the Mystery Writers Academy hosted by the Idaho Writers Guild and presented by Vickie Gooch, a detective in the Major Crimes Unit of the Idaho State Police.
I now know more about sex crimes, the production and sale of drugs, violent offenders, “suicide by cop,” probable cause affidavits, ViCAP (the FBI’s violent offender program), human trafficking, Touch DNA, cold case homicides, and serial killers than I ever dreamed of. All of it is necessary knowledge when you’re writing a suspense/thriller novel and you want the details to be accurate.
Vicki Gooch’s presentation and examples were outstanding. She’s knowledgeable, humorous, approachable, and a high-energy presenter who kept her writing audience right where she wanted us—dangling at the end of her sharp hook! She’s a great teacher who looks sweet, loving, kind, and thoughtful. But as we all know, appearances can be deceptive. This woman can kick butt and take names!
On February 28th I’m taking a tour of the Idaho State Police Crime Lab. Just imagine what I’ll learn there!
I’m excited to share that I’ve signed my third publishing contract. In the photo below I’m mailing it back to the publisher. This book is slated to hit the shelves in August 2020. I’m over the moon with excitement—Woohoo!
My first two books are nonfiction.
For my third book, I’m taking a walk on the wild side and writing a suspense novel that takes place in the Pacific Northwest. No spoilers here, that’s all I’m sharing right now. Stay tuned for carrot-dangling details.
This book wouldn’t be possible without the Pathway to Publication program at the Writers’ Institute and my writing mentor, Christine DeSmet. We’ve worked together before, and it’s a privilege to work with her again.
The next Writers’ Institute is April 4-7. I’ve attended as a student and as a teacher—both. I can tell you experientially that it’s one of the best writing conferences in the country!
A few months before publication, I’ll be looking for mystery-suspense-thriller authors to read my third book for potential author endorsement blurbs. If you fall into that category and are interested, please let me know via email by using the contact page.
Have you ever written or considered writing a book?
I adore my writing studio at home. It’s bright, sunny, and there are lots of beautiful trees, flowers, and shrubs to look at through the five large windows that comprise two of the walls.
But on those occasions when you need to get away, you don’t want to be found, sidled up to, interrupted, or chatted with…
I’ve found a spot that’s even better than the public library (you might be recognized there). Go to the law library at your local college or university. In Boise, we have the College of Law—University of Idaho.
Everyone in the study area of a law library is working against deadlines. They’re much too busy even to look up. You can hear a pin drop. It’s a writer’s paradise!
If you enjoy a bit of background noise, merely pop your earbuds in and listen to your favorite writing music. Several years ago I posted a playlist for writers. It’s called The Key of Sea and can be found by following this link: https://tinyurl.com/y6w7kenr.
“A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.” —Andrew Carnegie