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12-19-2016: The Power of the Pen

wreathe-copyHappy Holidays!

The Washington Post on Dec. 16 printed an essay by climate researcher Michael E. Mann, who has received countless threats since the 1990s when he started talking about climate change. With the rise of bigotry and ignorance that appears to characterize the upcoming Trump administration, he is expecting a surge in the threats he receives.

So as we enter a new year, we as writers might consider how Continue reading “12-19-2016: The Power of the Pen”

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9-19-2016 – Citizens Police Academy / Book Launching

My guest blog, “A Day in the Life of My Character,” will appear Sept. 20 at http://www.drusbookmusings.com.

CITIZENS POLICE ACADEMY:
Since I write mysteries, I want to learn the details of police work so when I’m describing an investigation, my mysteries will have the texture policeand flavor of the real thing. Toward this end, I have begun the 12-week free course held by the Police Department to familiarize local citizens with police procedures and activities. Many police departments around the country hold similar academies.

I’m not shy about asking for the correct details. In my 90s Club mysteries about 90-year-olds at Whisperwood Retirement Village, I contacted the West Virginia Sheriff’s Department to find out what exactly a sheriff’s uniform in West Virginia looked like. I also asked a firefighter friend exactly what the protocol was when paramedics were called to the scene of a beating victim. He gave me excellent detail which made the scene live.

The Police Academy is another resource. It will include a ride-along with a police officer Continue reading “9-19-2016 – Citizens Police Academy / Book Launching”

NEWS NOTES: Aug. 22, 2016

We spent Saturday clearing our brains by canoeing on the beautiful Pokemoke River on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. We’ve done the trip before, always using the Pokemoke River Outfitters in Snow Hill, MD because they are organized, reliable and pleasant. The place even has an inside rest room instead of a Jiffy John, so you can properly prepare forCanoeing the Pokomoke-1 the journey. The stretch of the Pokemoke we canoed is narrow, winding and wooded on both sides. Only towards the end of the trip did we encounter the wider river subject to breezes and a little harder paddling. This is the kind of thing that rates as four star with me.

Our paddle-mates brought along a woman from Ethiopia who had never been in a canoe before and was terrified. But she seemed to enjoy it. No crocodiles on the Pokemoke.

So back to the real world. As president of the Maryland Writers’ Association, I’ve been looking at the list of writers’ conferences in the Maryland-Washington-Pennsylvania areas. Continue reading “NEWS NOTES: Aug. 22, 2016”

NEWS NOTES: Aug. 15, 2016

I belong to two critique groups, which I find extremely useful in pointing out plot and character discrepancies as well as problems in descriptions and in the writing overall. Recently, one of the group members asked other members to respond to the questions below. How would you respond?

1. Question: At what point is too late to introduce a new character? The editor who looked at my book before said everyone needed to be introduced somehow before the sixth or seventh chapter. But when I try to do that, it seems cluttered and disorganized. I have many books, great books, I had read over the years where characters come in much later. What does everyone think about this? I have never heard of any rules and am lost on what to do.

Eileen’s response: If you were writing a travel adventure, some of your characters would have to be introduced as you traveled, I would think, even as late as several chapters before the end. If you were writing a mystery, Continue reading “NEWS NOTES: Aug. 15, 2016”

NEWS NOTES: Aug. 8, 2016

Citizens’ Police Academy

I’m getting ready to sign up for the Citizens Police Academy in my county. If you write mysteries, this is a great way to learn the gritty details about how the police operate and the experiences shared by our law enforcement officers. Many areas offer this kind of program, so if you’re interested, check with your own police department. And it is free.

I heard about this opportunity from other members in Sisters in Crime. There’s also a week-long police academy for writers held once a year in North Carolina, I believe, but that is pricey.

In my area, the academy runs a class once or twice a year, depending on budget availability. The 12-week program is conducted one evening a week from 7 to 9:30 p.m. It’s held at a number of locations that provide the best environment for this diverse learning opportunity.

The academy is an informational program only. Even we graduates will have no police powers or authority. Oh well. Maybe we’ll get a certificate.

The announcement says that participants in the program will learn about the organizational structure of the police department, the mission, role and values of the agency, community policing concepts, criminal procedural law, criminal investigation techniques, evidence collection procedures, traffic law enforcement, drug enforcement, community relations/crime prevention programs, youth programs, and use of force issues. We’ll also engage in practical exercises including driver training, firing range activities and a patrol ride-along opportunity.

The minimum requirements to participate are to be 18 years of age or older, a resident of our county, and have no criminal record.

Of course, all this relates to the citizens police academy offered in my area, Howard County, Maryland. Some things may be different in your own area, but participating in this kind of program will help you provide accurate detail in the crime scenes you write.

NEWS NOTES: Aug. 1, 2016

Bouchercon!

Bouchercon is coming up! This year it will be held in New Orleans from Sept. 15-18. Bouchercon is held annually in honor of Anthony Boucher, mystery fiction critic, editor, and author. This “World Mystery Convention” is produced by a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization and calls itself “the world’s premier event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community. It is commonly referred to as Bouchercon [bough’·chur·con].

I attended when it was held in Baltimore some years back and found it an exciting place to meet other mystery authors and fans. It is well worth the Continue reading “NEWS NOTES: Aug. 1, 2016”

Happy Holidays – Story Lines

In the spirit of giving this season, I thought I would help writers with a block on what to write, a few ideas.

What if? My husband and I watched a NOVA show last night called, “Decoding Neanderthals.” I was interested because I’ve often wondered if Neanderthals could have survived to live among us humans, even perhaps intermarrying with humans. Maybe someone I meet on the street is actually a Neanderthal who is able to “pass.” Maybe that’s what Continue reading “Happy Holidays – Story Lines”

New! The Secret’s Out!

NEW AND AVAILABLE NOW!  
The 90s Club & the Secret of the Old Clock

Nancy Dickenson and the 90s Club launch a campaign to outwit scammers targeting the residents of Whisperwood Retirement Village in the latest 90s Club mystery, The 90s Club & the Secret of the Old Clock. Third book in the series, it is now available as a print or e-book on Amazon.com and as an e-book at Smashwords.com.

Like the other 90s Club books, the title is taken from the Nancy Drew series and sly references to the Nancy Drew books are buried in the story. I challenge readers to find them.

In the latest mystery, 90s Club leader Nancy Dickenson is asked to ferret out the secret in an antique clock, but as she seeks its secret she and the 90s Club discover swindlers are targeting and defrauding the residents of Whisperwood Retirement Village. Continue reading “New! The Secret’s Out!”

Books by Eileen Haavik McIntire

Shadow of the Rock – “A bold adventure,” (Foreword Reviews). “Highly recommended.” (Midwest Book Review)
The 90s Club & the Hidden Staircase – “A must” for readers of cozy mysteries. (Midwest Book Review)
The 90s Club & the Whispering Statue – “…a fun read…nostalgia and…social commentary, wrapped up in an engaging mystery novel.” (Foreword Reviews)

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