Friday, June 14, 2024

Trip Notes

 I had a choice at Writers Police Academy/Killercon--it was either take a lot of pictures and careful notes or watch and listen.  I chose watch and listen.  The chance for photos was gone, but I could write up notes from what  I remembered, later.

Once again it was a fascinating weekend with some differences than previous ones.  This year there were several scenarios.  The first showed who came when once a dead body had been found.  While it was interesting, it was also a slow and tedious process that would put you to sleep if it was in a book.  

Actually, Bruce Coffin, a writer and former detective covered that in his workshop.  He said that unless you were writing a police procedural, all the nit picky details weren't necessary, but the information he was giving was more to flavor our books with bits of authenticity.  

The second scenario was set up for us to walk through and work as a team.  The program was held at a technical college and they have stuff to set up a crime scene with.  I saw a room set up like a convenience store. Our set up was supposed to be an apartment.  There dummies as the victims and a living room, bedroom, kitchen and closet set up with props.  We were given the story the police had been told.  The dummies were supposed to be an intruder and the woman who let him in.  The narrative was from the woman's husband who claimed the intruder had killed his wife and he had killed the intruder trying to protect her.  There was also a car outside for us to look at that was supposed to belong to the intruder.

Our top was to see if what we saw matched up with the husband's story and what didn't.  Later we found out that it was based on a real crime with one thing left out.  The husband had a girlfriend.  Even without that, everyone had agreed that his story didn't hold up and that he had killed his wife.  It turned out that he had set up the intruder who was someone his wife worked with.

Another highlight was the workshop put on by someone who sketched suspects from witnesses description.  What I had never understood was that the artist wasn't really starting from scratch, but used  the normal  proportions of a face, correct position of eyes, etc.

But always the real interest for me was to see the personalty's of the presenters.  I always wonder how police officers deal with their jobs.  The most poignant was a detective who started his presentation by talking about his teenage daughter who had been killed by a drunk driver.  He had been on duty that night, but thankfully wasn't on the scene, but he was devastated by it.  I could only imagine how someone whose job was to protect people would feel when he couldn't protect his own daughter from harm.  He made it clear that he had gone through a lot of dark times, but had found a way out of it.  He had written a book about his daughter and all the profits were used for scholarships at the technical college.

The detective who investigated drug deaths was very different.  It was clear that he kept a distance and felt a coldness toward the victims.  But it was also fascinating how he was able to use texts and cellphone locations to zero in on who had provided the drugs and could be charged in the  death.

I met a lot of nice people and even got some insight on what's going on with Romance Writers of America since I'd heard they were declaring bankruptcy.  Apparently, it had to do with a contract with a hotel which it seems has been worked out.

I'm glad I went as it seems like this might have been the last one.   And now to use what I learned in the next Molly book.


Patty Jenkins said...

Good morning -- Sounds like you had a very interesting week. One of my nephews was a policeman in Texas -- he looked much younger than his age and did a lot of undercover drug work at schools -- he could pass as a student. His grandmother was so worried about him being in drug busts but he said he was prepared for violence there -- domestic cases were the worst because they were totally unpredictable.

I've put my flags out for Flag Day -- it is also my daughter-in-law's 50th birthday. She has requested a cherry/pineapple dump cake so I'll be making that shortly.

I'm working on a crocheted blanket using Herrschner's "Stripes" yarn -- just rows of double crochet but the changes of color make it so pretty. And not a lot of ends to weave in!!

I saw that Disneyland is going to be expanding -- I wish I could go again but that's probably not going to happen. It was so much fun when my kids were little.

Enjoy your day, and plotting and planning Molly's next adventure!! I miss her.

Linda D Osborn said...

Wow, I would Love a class like that. THe sketching sounds fascinating. I do remember my daughter as an art student always lightly sketched out the position for eyes, and other facial features. Never thought about a police artist doing it that way. I have read so many cozy mysteries, I would probably have caught the guilty husband too.

Too late now, but being a detective would have been my second choice of careers. I really did enjoy working with kids of alll ages too.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds fascinating and intriguing, educational and inspirational, Betty! Thanks for writing about it.

Betty Hechtman said...

Patty, I have heard the same thing that domestic violence calls are the most difficult because they are so unpredictable.

I hope your daughter enjoys her birthday. I'm sure she will love the cake.

I am awed by how much you crochet.

The expansion to Disneyland is going to take a while.

I am turning in the edits for the first book in the new series. It's now called DEATH AMONG THE STITCHES. Then it back to Molly full speed ahead.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda Osborn. wow, so you would have liked to have been a detective. I'm sure you would have figured out that the husbands story didn't jibe with the way the bodies were and a lot of what he said didn't make sense.

About the art class. The instructor had us all draw faces. It was just supposed to be an exercise. I happened to be sitting in the front and when she happened to see my drawing, she said it was really good and asked if I was an artist. I was really stunned as have zero confidence in my drawing ability. It was a real highlight of the weekend.

It has inspired me to spend some time drawing every day, even if it's just my mug of coffee.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda O. Johnston, I meet Danica Winters who writes romantic suspense for Harlequin. I mentioned you and she recognized your name. She's the one who told me what's going on with RWA as she has a position connected with PAN.

Patty Jenkins said...

Yes, I do crochet a lot but I consider it my job now that I am long retired -- 25 years!! And I crochet fairly fast -- my husband used to say "She gets that look in her eye, the hook in her hand and zing, away she goes." I have a small condo to keep neat and tidy, potted plants on my patio to care for and I've always been a homebody so crocheting keeps me busy.

My daughter-in-law's birthday celebration was fun -- my grandson ate most of the 9x13 pan of cherry/pineapple dump cake after the other four of us had a serving. He does have an appetite.

Enjoy your weekend and your drawing -- I can't draw a stick figure that looks decent!!

Betty Hechtman said...

Patty, it's a win-win with your crocheting. It gives you joy and people all over get wonderful blankets.

Boys do eat. I can only imagine what it's going to be like when Jakey is a teenager.

chkntza said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your weekend. It sound fascinating and you can use what you learn in your books. I'm with Patty. I can't draw a thing.