Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Writer's Police Academy

I attended the writer's police academy sponsored by Sister's in Crime in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  You wouldn't think it would be so much fun spending a few days exploring murder and mayhem. But it was.

I came a day early to rest up. Delta Air Lines is still in the throes of their power outage. My first flight left late. It was scheduled for 8 PM. The flight had been delayed until 10 PM. However, I am glad I got to the airport early. We left around 9:30. The best part was I got to go through the TSA prechek. I got to wear my shoes, they scanned my bags, I walked through a metal detector.

Long story short, I was exhausted when I got to Green Bay. The next day, I rested up and blew about $160 in the slot machines of the Casino. I have a fascination with folks who deliberately go to a casino and blow money. Then I go and blow money with the Chinese Zodiac slot machine. I also played the 1950's movie "The Blob" machine.

Tami Hoag and Les Goldberg
Special guests at the conference was Les Goldberg and Tami Hoag. Les Goldberg was a scream. He was so funny. He wrote his first book at 19. He was hilarious describing his experience writing sex scenes and he had never had sex. Actually, his jokes could be bland but it was his delivery that cracked you up. He introduced himself as a free lance sexual surrogate, screenwriter. What impressed me the most is his sincerity with putting you at ease and talking to you as a person. He was very positive and supporting.

Tami Hoag's presentation spiel was not rib cracking funny and not exactly serious. It was just an honest talk about her writing life. What I liked most was her response to a question in the follow-up panel on the last day. She described her response to a reporter who asked her opinion about a criminal case. She told them she was a writer, not law enforcement or a lawyer. She was not in the category of an expert. I liked that response. I've seen celebrities answer questions or offer opinions in areas outside their area of expertise. A few have done so out politeness to the questioner in the audience.

Once again, the street cops were the most informative. Their presentations are more grounded, less guarded. You get specifics not generalities. I was surprised and had my mind changed about concealed carry. I am not too fond of people carrying guns. I would not go anywhere I thought I needed one. However, the law enforcement officer said that most LEO have no problem with licensed, trained concealed carry.

I also learned that open carry is not a good idea from another participant. It makes them a target when there is an open shooter. Law enforcement does not know if they are the good guy or the bad guy.

This is my third time going. I felt somewhat foolish in that I don't write mysteries or crime dramas nor have I finished a novel. The ones I am working on can be best described as literary fiction, science fiction and children's stories. I've come close to quitting this year.

But I enjoyed the event. I liked so many people I met there. The information is incredible in comparison to just reading about the topic. I noticed many of the big name writers went to classes like the rest of us. Les Goldberg shared how a little reality and authenticity makes the less believable part of your story believable. He wrote the television series Monk. He described how in real life, no detective wore shirts to show their cleavage, chased down bad guys in high heels and traveled back to the station in their silver plated Escalades. These are not his exact words but close to it.

What I liked about the Oneida casino and Radisson next to the airport were these topiaries. The sleep number beds were like sleeping on a semi-inflated inner tube. How firm the mattress was depended on how full the mattress was filled with air. I don't recommend them.





23 comments:

  1. Love the topiary.Wondered how you heard of this presentation.

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    1. I came across the conference in a blog. It originally was in North Carolina and was a reasonable driving distance. The first time you go, if you join sisters in crime, you get a great price. I went with no expectations and was hooked. There is another one in October by a different vendor but it looks like it may be good. I've listened to Scott Silverii and he is interesting. http://www.silverhartwriters.com/

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  2. Sounds like an interesting event. I admire you going on your own, I don't think I could do that.

    Betty

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    1. Being single forces you to do things you would not normally do. I remember eating alone in a restaurant the first time. You get used to it. I am a little more cautious in traveling being alone.

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  3. Regardless of the genre, I'm sure you picked up some good stuff. Who knows - you might write a mystery in space.

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    1. Human nature crosses genres for sure. Thanks for the encouragement Alex.

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  4. Sounds like a great event, as long as it was enjoyed, that is all that matters. Love Monk. The casino didn't let you win? Shocking lol

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    1. I never expect to walk out with my money. But I do wish it lasted longer. I had a lecture from one woman about how it was a waste to do the slots. She was right. But, I still had fun.

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  5. I bet you learned a lot from the cops. Best source of info.

    Going to events like that is great for networking.

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    1. I did meet a lot of great people in addition to learning a lot. I have to admit, I had some naive viewpoints when I first attended. It has been worth the visits.

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  6. I dearly love events like this! We have a Sisters in Crime organization here too, and one called Arizona Mystery Writers. I attend whenever possible and always enjoy the speakers. We once had the son of Arizona's very first highway patrolman on a remote and treacherous stretch called Diablo Pass. To this day, folks never want to have car trouble in that area because it's so spooky!
    I didn't think I'd fit in either, Ann, since I write primarily for children and young adults, but it turns out I've met tons of like-minded people and find I enjoy this immensely as well. Who says we have to stick to the same thing (young vs. adult) to be inspired? Write on, dear Ann :-)

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment. I met so many people from Arizona. If you live in Atlanta and Columbus, there are writer groups. In central Georgia, it is a desert. So something like WPA compensates for what I don't get to hear locally.

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  7. I think any event that's geared to writer's is worthwhile. Even if it's not your genre, just being around so many creative people can't help but give your own creativity a boost. :-)

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    1. That creative burst cannot be underestimated. I had been dawdling with my writing. But I've become a bit more serious.

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  8. That sounds so fascinating. I'm glad you had a good time. I would probably have pages of notes.

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    1. I was interesting. Even the people watching was great.

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  9. This is good, Ann! The further one casts the net the more the possibilities. The info gathered is immense and ideas will be floating within your creative self. You may just be a great crime writer one day. Pray that you will!

    Hank

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    1. Thanks Hank. I'm a ways from being that serious with my writing. But I can see myself writing a cozy mystery series. Now getting it done is another thing. lol

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  10. This sounds like quite the fun educational experience. Nothing like learning from the "experts". And don't get me started on the slot machines. I have to watch how much money I blow these days, but I could easily get caught up in those machines. Since my wife is the one bringing home the paycheck these days she has money to feed the machines, but we tend to avoid casinos for the most part. We did hit a couple during our vacation though.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I think I was the only writer who worked the machines. The rest were diligently writing in their spare time. Maybe that is why they have 42 or so books and I am still getting it together. lol

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  11. What an epic experience! I'm always wanting to get out to conferences, but just can't pony up the $$ to do it. Or the time. *sigh* One day.

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    1. I hope you get to go to one. They are a lot of fun. I looked up your google plus profile and saw you were from Florida. You might want to consider the Southeastern Writer's Conference. They offer two scholarships each summer. However, you still have to pay for your hotel and transportation. Your meals come with the conference which makes it a bit less expensive.

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  12. This sounds like a great conference. I'm in awe of people who can turn normal events into humor, as it sounds like Les did. Fun.

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