writing research

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

My guest blog, “A Day in the Life of My Character,” will appear Sept. 20 at

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”


The Devil is in the Details

My fourth novel is a sequel to Shadow of the Rock, an historical adventure, and like Shadow, it involves two parallel stories. In the sequel, one story begins in the Spanish Netherlands in 1616; the other in Gibraltar in 1999.

With Shadow of the Rock, one story took place in 1780s Morocco; the other began in 1998 West Virginia. Researching 1780s Morocco was difficult, but I found two eyewitness accounts, both published around 1792, that provided a wealth of detail about life then. I also toured Morocco for a sense of the tastes, colors, and scenes.

Now I’m wallowing in a deep and messy quagmire researching the sequel. What would my characters wear in 1616? What would they eat? What were their homes like? Their furniture? Their daily lives? Continue reading “The Devil is in the Details”

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