Saturday, May 23, 2009

Drug Bust

Yesterday, I was handcuffed and frisked during a drug bust. It happened while I participated as a volunteer role-player during a police training exercise. Three of us were talking by the side of a building. As two police officers approached, one of my compatriots dropped a bag of “drugs” and all three of us took off in opposite directions. The exercise was to train the police officers on how to handle a situation when there are more potential bad guys than officers. The “dealer” who dropped the bag then pulled a knife and the officers had to neutralize that threat. We repeated this exercise nine times for the total group of eighteen officers being trained. Several times I was allowed to wander off. Some times the officers halted me through voice commands. One officer grabbed my arm and one handcuffed me. When I was allowed to wander off, I circled back, and they had to deal with me again. Then we participated in a Rapid Entry Deployment (RED) where an active shooter was in a building. I was hiding in one of the rooms and the RED team had to find and search me as they swept the building. This all served a useful purpose in police training and helped me as a mystery writer understand more about police procedures.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Teaching a Class

I taught a class for the OLLI West program in Golden, Colorado, earlier this week. It was an energetic group of people 50 and over who were interested in hearing about mystery writing. I spoke on “Aging and Other Minor Inconveniences,” and they had a good chuckle during the talk. One of the people in the group shared a great insight. There are three things you need when you get older: 1. Something to do, 2. Something to look forward to, and 3. Someone to love. Great advice for all of us.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


This week I launched my second geezer-lit mystery, Living With Your Kids Is Murder, with a number of events. I gave a talk titled, Aging and Other Minor Inconveniences, to a senior center and an Optimist Club. Then on Thursday night I had my bookstore launch at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver. We had a good group with lots of laughs and dark chocolate. Tonight I’ll be at a mystery dinner theater and will be following up with three more events next week. In addition, Living With Your Kids Is Murder will be up on Kindle next week.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Malice Domestic Conference

I just returned from the Malice Domestic mystery conference in Arlington, Virginia. It was a smaller conference this year compared to the last two years but with excellent panels and many chances to speak with readers and other authors. Agatha award winners included Louise Penny for best novel (The Cruelest Month), G.M. Malliet for best first novel (Death of a Cozy Writer), Kathy Lynn Emerson for best non-fiction (How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries), Dana Cameron for best short story (The Night Things Changed) and Chris Grabenstein for best children’s/young adult (The Crossroads). Lifetime Achievement Award winner Anne Perry gave a wonderful interview. She described how when she was a little girl, a bully said he would take her money. She told him how poor she was, and the bully ended up giving her money instead. Anne stated that was the first time she was paid for telling a story. Guest of Honor Nancy Pickard shared an experience from her early journalism career. After reporting on a city council meeting, one of the council members sent a note to the editor saying that Nancy had done a fine job of writing about the topic of discussion but that they actually voted “no” and not “yes” as reported. I had a chance to participate in the Malice-go-round which is like speed dating where I had ninety seconds to pitch to a table of readers before moving on to the next table. After twenty tables some of my voice remained. I also was a member of a senior sleuth panel with Donald Bain, Renee Paley-Bain, Deb Baker and Mary Saums. On the way there I read in the airline magazine a statistic reported by Nielsen Bookscan that 93% of traditionally published books (not electronic published) sold 1000 or fewer copies. A great weekend and the flights both directions were actually on time.