9-12: The Day The Hope Began To Fade

I purposely didn’t post a 9-11 tribute yesterday. Instead, I waited until today, because the “day after” was a time when many people first began to grieve. You see, 9-12 was the day when families realized that their wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, siblings, grandparents, and friends would never return to them. For many, the hope that their loved ones had somehow survived, carried on throughout the day and into the night on 9-11. Waiting for a phone call that never came. Perhaps a glimpse of their beloved on a TV newscast. But deep inside, everyone knew it wasn’t going to happen. Still, the hope was there. Yes, it was possible that somehow, someone escaped the disaster.

But it wasn’t to be.

Then, on 9-12, reality began to set in. Their worlds, and ours, had changed forever.

On 9-11, I was inside a federal building just outside Washington D.C. I saw the billowing black smoke rising from the direction of the Pentagon. I heard the sirens. I saw the panic. I saw the horror unfold on a portable television sitting on a security officer’s small metal desk. And I also heard the sickening cheers and laughter coming from many federal prisoners who were from countries other than ours. They were ecstatic that the U.S. was under attack. In fact, a handful of those people who were celebrating the attacks were citizens of the U.S. I’ve never forgotten those sounds of elation and the expressions of pure joy on their faces, and I probably never will. And I’ll never understand how people can be joyful when innocent people are murdered.

Terrorism is absolutely one of the ugliest words in the dictionary. And terrorists who kill innocent people, well, I sincerely hope this is the next to the last thing they see on this earth.

But the last thing I hope they see is this, with U.S.A. stamped all over it, in large, bold letters.

 

Ten Excuses That Make Cops Say, Hmm

Any cop will tell you that just when they think they’ve heard it all, well, along comes another excuse that tops all the rest. Here are ten reasons why people say they did what they did. All I can say is, “Hmm…

1.”Why am I driving naked, Officer? Well…all my clothes are dirty so I was going to my friend’s house to borrow something to wear to work. And I was speeding because it’s cold and the heat’s not working. Oh, yeah, no seat belt? You noticed that, huh? You see, the material causes my skin to break out… Why do I have a gun on the seat? Isn’t that obvious, sir? I don’t have any pockets available at the moment. Duh…I thought you guys were supposed to be trained observers.”

2. Please don’t give me a ticket. I didn’t slow down for the red light because I just got new brakes on my car—they were expensive, too—and I didn’t want to wear them out already. Geez, you being a cop and all, I thought you’d understand that sort of thing. Don’t they teach you about this stuff in the police academy? Common sense. That’s all I’m asking for here.”

3. “I had to steal that stuff, Officer. How else was I going to get enough money to pay my court fees and child support? I certainly didn’t want to go to jail.”

4. “Because I had to go to the bathroom. That’s why I was driving 95 in a 55. You don’t believe me, then look.” The wet spot on her jeans didn’t stop her from getting a ticket, but it did prevent the officer from asking her to have a seat in his car while he wrote it.

5. “I threw a football and it landed on the roof of that store, Officer. Honest. And when I climbed up there to get it I fell through that hole you see. The bag of burglary tools and that saw? I guess they were already up there. Must’ve fallen through when I did.”

6. “It’s not my car. That’s why I was driving so fast. The pedals are different, or something.”

7. “What? No way! I didn’t think you could give me a speeding ticket because I don’t have a driver’s license.”

8. “I must’ve fallen asleep inside the store just before they closed. The safe? No, I wasn’t trying to steal it. The door was locked and I couldn’t leave, so I used it to break out. See, I’m claustrophobic. No way I could stay in that place all night. The money. That’s mine. I had it when I went in the store. Yep, all $2,000. Every penny of it. No, I’m between jobs right now.  No, I don’t have an address. Well, not exactly. Yeah, the Union Mission over on 123rd. But only until I get a place of my own.”

9. “Yes, I have a doctor’s note, just not with me. Right, it authorizes me to NOT wear a seat belt because it pinches the skin around my nipple rings.” No, he didn’t have the doctor’s note and yes, he got the ticket.

10. “I was driving that fast, Officer, because I’d had WAY too much to drink and I wanted to get home before I got sick. You wouldn’t want to puke in your car, right?”

And that’s only ten…

Cops: Did that just happen

Every police officer has that special funny story they like to tell—arresting the guy in the clown suit, pepperspraying the toilet seat before their partner “has a seat,” stopping a car and discovering a naked passenger handcuffed to the door (this is one of my real-life stories)…well, you get the idea. There are thousands of tales to tell because the public never lets you down. Here are a few I’ve run across. Anyone else have one to share?

1. Police in Kansas engaged in pursuit of a woman driving pickup truck. When the driver finally stopped, she was driving on three rims and one good tire. The distraught woman told the officers she “ran” because she was simply too embarrassed to stop for their blue lights. Why?  Because she’d had a fight with her boyfriend and ran out of the house wearing only a shirt—no pants. Sure enough, the woman truly was em-bare-assed.

2. A Boston woman was arrested for mailing explosive-filled condoms to various places because she’d grown tired of being mistreated by men. Understandable, because the suspect worked as a waitress in a strip club…you know, one of those places where women are highly respected. I’m not saying she deserved the poor treatment. No one does. But exploding condoms???

3. A woman in Ohio was arrested for driving with a suspended license. As a result, she was brought to the police department and placed in a holding cell where she promptly had a seat on the bench. Well, when she sat down her fellow cellmates heard a loud BOOM. Upon investigation, jail officers learned that the woman had hidden a .25 caliber pistol in a very “private area” and sitting on the bench had apparently caused the weapon to fire. I wonder if jails employ on-call gynecologists?

4. A Phoenix SWAT officer’s police vehicle was stolen. Certainly it’s bad enough to have your police car stolen, but this one was packed full of weapons and other tactical gear. By the way, it’s not unusual for thieves to take marked police vehicles. And it’s sometimes difficult to catch the crooks when they do, because they, unlike their counterparts, have the luxury of listening to a police radio while making their escape.

5. A city councilman suspected a police officer of having an affair with his girlfriend so he retaliated in the best way he knew how, by egging the cop’s patrol car. The councilman was charged with 2nd degree criminal tampering. Personally, I think he should be glad they caught him before he became a “hard-boiled” criminal.

6. Two patrol officers saw a small container of baby powder sitting on a young detective’s desk. Since the detective and his wife were the new parents of a baby boy, the cops thought it would be a great joke to fill the vents in the detective’s car with the powder. You know, so that when the car was switched on the white powder would fly all over the interior of the car and on the detective. Well, it seems the detective had just busted a guy for possession of a large amount of cocaine, cocaine that he’d hidden in a small baby powder container. I guess that’s why they call it “blow.” Oops…

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Want real-life stories of your own? Want to drive a patrol car or an ambulance? Ever wanted to pepper spray someone? Are you curious about cyber crimes? Bio-terrorism? Serial killers? Want to see and use real-life CSI tools and equipment? Have you wondered what it’s like to be in a gun battle? Then you’ll certainly want to attend the 2011 Writers’ Police Academy.

Have you reserved your spot for the 2011 Writers’ Police Academy?

Ride-a-longs with sheriff’s deputies, jail tours, firearms and driver training are only a part of the fun!

Train with the pros.

Sign up now at:

http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/

Space is limited!

 

No Key? No Problem

 

Set of picks, tension wrenches, and a broken key remover.

Padlock shims. Used to open spring-operated padlocks.

PRO-LOK7 is designed to open any standard ACE 7-pin lock.

62-piece lock pick set

Manual pick gun. Insert pick. Squeeze trigger. You’re in!

Slim Jims and wire tools for vehicle entry

 

Window punch

 

Breaking car window glass is easy enough using a punch, but not everyone has access to the tool. But…everyone can certainly get their hands on a common, everyday spark plug, right? Well, here’s what a tiny piece of porcelain from the tip of a spark plug can do.

 

Death Penalty of Jared Loughner

Twenty-two-year-old Jared Loughner is certainly one of the most hated humans to have ever taken a breath of American air. And a wager that he’ll be found guilty of his heinous crimes would probably be a safe bet. If fact, he’ll probably be sentenced to death…if he’s not found to have a mental impairment that will prevent him from standing trial. But this story is a long way from over.

First things first. Enter the attorney who’s job will be to defend a man who killed six people, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, and wounded fourteen others (among the wounded was Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords).

Criminal defense attorney Judy Clarke

The attorney dubbed “The One Woman Dream Team,” Judy Clarke, has been named to represent Loughner in federal court, and she’s no stranger to tough death penalty cases. Some of her more well-known cases include, Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Eric Rudolph (the Olympics bomber), and  Zacarias Moussaoui (9/11 conspirator). Clarke also represented Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who drowned her two young boys.

Judy Clarke is the perfect attorney for cases such as the aforementioned, since she is a fierce opponent of the death penalty. Her passions surely drive her will to triumph, and triumph she has. Rudolph, Smith, and Kaczynski all dodged death row.

Clarke’s latest client, loughner, has been charged with two counts of murder (Judge Roll and Gabriel Zimmerman, a staff member of congresswoman Giffords). He has also been charged with two counts of attempted murder and a single charge of attempting to assassinate a member of congress. Since these crimes were committed against federal employees, Loughner will answer to the charges in a federal court somewhere within the United States, in Arizona if at all possible, but not likely in any courtroom near the shooting scene, or near Judge Roll’s court (the entire federal bench in Arizona has recused itself due to close ties to Judge Roll.

Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall

The state of Arizona has yet to issue warrants, but officials, including Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall, have both stated that numerous state charges will be filed. LaWall says it’s important that justice be served for all of the victims, not just federal employees. The state charges could include one for each and every person (approximately 150 people were in attendance of the meeting) who were placed in the line of fire.

It’s important to note that not all attorneys are permitted to appear and plead cases before all courts. In fact, many attorneys who’ve been admitted to the state bar never appear in federal court. To do so, special requirements  must be met.

Also, federal rules often differ from state rules of law. Will those different rules of law cause complications for Loughner’s defense?

Maybe so.

Loughner crime scene

Sure, this one’s an open and shut case since Loughner pulled the trigger, many times, in front of many witnesses. And without a doubt Loughner’s sanity, state of mind, etc. is going to be the root of his defense, and his sanity may very well be the single factor that spares his life. But it may not keep him from going to prison. And this is where the differences in state and federal rules muddy the waters.

The state of Arizona does NOT allow a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity. Federal law does. Instead, Arizona’s options are Guilty, Not Guilty, or Guilty But Insane, and a Guilty But Insane verdict means a convicted person may be held at a state mental institution, BUT, if doctors determine their sanity has been restored at some point, they will then be transferred to prison to serve the sentence for their crime.

This time, no matter the direction this case takes, Defense Attorney Judy Clarke has her hands full. I think her record of winning death penalty cases is about to take a hit because prosecutors and law enforcement officials are coming after this guy, hard.

Pima County Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik

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Registration for the 2011 Writers’ Police Academy is set to open in a few days!

Reserve your spot early. Space will be limited this year!

New workshops!

New hotel!

Renowned experts in computer crimes, forensic psychology, criminal law, and bioterrorism!

Driving simulator!

Action, action, action!

Firefighers!

EMS workers!

Cops, Cops, and more Cops!

And, yes, FATS training will be back!

Details coming soon on our all new website.

See you there!

Officer Jillian Smith

I remember the feeling of answering your first calls with your field training officer stuck to you like glue, making sure you didn’t do or say anything dumb. It was also the FTO’s responsibility to keep you safe. Sure, you’d been through months of training at the academy, but nothing could prepare you for the real street action.

Years later, I, too, became a field training officer, watching over the rookies as they learned the ropes and tricks of the trade. It’s a period in an officer’s career that’s not unlike a baby taking her first steps. They stumble around and mom or dad is always there to catch them when they fall. But there are some in this world who never trip. They never stumble. Those are the ones who hit the carpet running. And that’s the story of Arlington Texas Police Officer Jillian Smith.

Jillian was a typical girl in high school. A good student and a cheerleader. But there was one thing that set her apart from the other giggling  sixth-graders. She wanted to be a police officer, an interest sparked by the local D.A.R.E. program.

Smith, with her goals in mind, received a bachelors degree in criminology from the University of Texas where she graduated with honors in August of 2009. Six months later she was hired by the Arlington Police Department. She checked the first goal off her list and entered the police academy—Class 41. Again, her drive was evident. She earned top grades in many of the classes and she graduated on August 20, 2010.

With her academy training behind her, Smith breezed through the field training program, completing it on December 13, 2010. She now had another goal in mind. She wanted to get some street experience behind her and then, hopefully, sign on with the FBI. That was two weeks ago.

Tuesday night, fifteen short days after completing all her training, Jillian Michelle Smith was shot to death while protecting an 11-year-old child during a domestic dispute. Officer Smith had responded to a low-priority call where a woman wanted to file a report of abuse by her husband who had already left the residence.

Officer Smith was in the process of recording the necessary information when the husband returned and began firing a weapon. Smith placed herself between the gunfire and the child and was killed. The suspect also shot and killed his wife, but the child Officer Smith had protected was able to escape without harm. The suspect then shot and killed himself.

Officer Jillian Smith was a true hero, and if she were able to do so she could check one more item off her list. You see, Officer Smith firmly believed she was on this earth to protect and serve the community where she lived. And she was right. Because of her bravery a child lived to see another day.

Who says Cops can't write fiction

I saw a few comments floating around the internet yesterday about the writing skills of police officers. Those words prompted today’s blog post. Without going into detail I’ll simply provide the following.

There are hundreds of published books, both fiction and nonfiction, written by hundreds of police officers. So, contrary to to what you may have read yesterday, cops are not big dummies who can barely read and write. In fact, here are a few authors you may have heard of, and most of them are still working the streets as police officers.

Robin Burcell

Burcell is an award winning mystery author who spent over two decades working as a police officer. She served as a hostage negotiator, a detective, and as an FBI-trained forensic artist.

Jim Born

James O. Born has been a deputy U.S. Marshall, an agent with the DEA, and currently serves as a Special Agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). He’s also a very successful author who shares an editor with W.E.B. Griffith and Tom Clancy.

Mike Black

As an active-duty sergeant, Michael Black has seen some real action. He’s been a SWAT commander, a patrol supervisor, and a member of a raid team. He’s into weightlifting and the martial arts. He’s the classic tough-guy cop. And, he graduated from Columbia College, Chicago in 2000 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction Writing. He previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northern Illinois University.

Joseph Waumbaugh

Cops can’t write fiction? Yeah, right. Joseph Wambaugh is a former MWA Grandmaster!

Will Beall

Still serving the LAPD, Beall finds time between arrests to pen books. He’s also written a few episodes of a mildly popular TV show called Castle…

Rick McMahan

ATF Special Agent Rick McMahan is an award winning author whose work has been featured in books such as Death Do Us Part, edited by Harlan Coben.

John J. Lamb

A former homicide investigator and hostage negotiator, John J. Lamb is a successful mystery writer who just happens to be married to a fingerprint expert.

It would take days to list all the cop-authors and I just don’t have that kind of time. But please feel free to peruse the Police Writers website to have a look at a rather long list of authors who’d probably disagree with the statement that cops can’t write fiction.

http://www.police-writers.com/fiction.html

South Fulton Firefighters: A Disgrace To The Uniform?

When I raised my right hand and pledged to protect and serve citizens and their property I took that oath seriously. Every officer does. And so does every single firefighter I know. I’ve never met a police officer or firefighter who’s in the business for the money. Not one. They took the job because they want to help people.

I’ve been called to the scene of scores of fires where I’ve seen brave firefighters wade into a wall of flames just to bring out a family heirloom, or a beloved pet. They’ve risked their own lives to save the lives of others. It’s what they do and what they do is dangerous. Very.

Firefighters, like police officers, raise their right hands and promise to help others when in need. In fact, here’s a copy of the firefighter’s pledge.

A Firefighter’s Pledge

I promise concern for others.
A willingness to help all those in need.

I promise courage – courage to face and conquer my fears.
Courage to share and endure the ordeal of those who need me.

I promise strength – strength of heart to bear whatever
burdens might be placed upon me.
Strength of body to deliver to safety all those placed within my care.

I promise the wisdom to lead, the compassion to comfort,
and the love to serve unselfishly whenever I am called.

-Author Unknown

I’ve said all this as a lead-in of sorts to a story that really rattles me to the core. And it bothers me to speak badly about public servants but, in my opinion, firefighters of South Fulton, Tennessee didn’t serve the public. In fact, they stood by and watched a couple’s home burn to the ground and didn’t lift a finger to stop it. Inside that home were a lifetime of memories along with the family pets. They all perished.

Obion County, Tennessee – Gene Cranick was burning trash in two metal drums, a common practice in rural areas of the country. The containers were quite some distance from his mobile home, yet the fire ignited nearby grass and quickly spread toward Cranick’s home. He called 911 seeking the fire department’s help.

The 911 dispatcher advised Cranick that firefighters would not be responding because he’d failed to pay a $75 “fire service fee.” The distraught homeowner told the dispatcher he’d pay whatever it took to get the firefighters to respond because his house was now on fire. The response he received was an unbelievable, “It’s too late to pay and they will NOT be responding.”

Cranick, along with friends, attempted to extinguish the blaze with garden hoses, but the fire was too much for the small amount of water. Meanwhile, the fire had spread to a neighbor’s field and fence, so they called the fire department. However, their response was quite different and in a matter of minutes a fire crew was on the scene spraying gallons of water using high-pressure hoses attached to publicly-funded fire trucks.

Why did the fire department respond to the grass fire? Because the owner of the dry weeds had paid the $75 fee in advance. So, after the Fulton FD extinguished the brush fire they stood leaning against their trucks and against the property fence and watched the Cranick home burn until it was reduced to a pile of cinders. A pile of cinders that also contained the remains of the Cranick’s beloved pets.

You know, this story disgusts me. It makes me ill…sick to my stomach. Sure, taxes and fees must be paid. It’s the law. But there are remedies available to collect those fees, even after the fact. For goodness sake, put out the fire and then sue. Get a $75 lien against the property.  Bill the homeowner for time and material plus interest. Take Visa or MasterCard. Install one of those credit card swipers directly in the body of a fire truck. Something. Anything! But don’t stand by and let a lifetime go up in flames over a few measly dollars.

Thankfully, this is an isolated incident. Firefighters everywhere are true heroes.

As for the firefighters of South Fulton who stood by and watched this family home burn…shame on you. Sure, you’ve probably saved lots of property in your day, maybe even a few lives, and you deserve thanks for those acts, but this is a dark cloud that’ll hang over your heads for a while. Policies or no policies. You were there, on the scene, and did nothing to help your fellow man. Perhaps you need to read this…again.


Fire Fighter’s Prayer

When I am called to duty, God wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age.

Help me to embrace a little child before it’s too late,
or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert to hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,
to guard my neighbor and protect his property.

And if according to your will I have to lose my life,
bless with your protecting hand my loving family from strife.

So what’s next, a fee for police service? “Sorry, ma’am, but you didn’t pay your $75 rape insurance…”

I’m just saying…

*This article is strictly my opinion and parts of it were paraphrased from comments found in news stories…lots of news stories).

*     *     *

Writers’ Police Academy Photo of the Day

Grandson's take on cops and robbers

I was arrested at least sixty times last week. I got the works—Tasered, struck with a PR-24, peppersprayed, cuffed, stuffed, and booked. And I loved every minute of it. You see, our eight-year-old grandson came to stay with us for a week during his summer vacation and he had a million questions about my former career in law enforcement. Then came the role playing…lots of role playing. Day after day of it.

The questions started when he came into my office and saw several commendations, awards, photos, and certificates hanging on the walls around my desk. He wanted to know what a medal of valor was and what I’d done to earn awards for lifesaving. He seemed genuinely impressed that his grandfather was once an expert marksman and had even taught firearms training at the police academy.

His little fingers traced the edges of an old desk plate bearing my name, the rank of investigator, and the seal of the DEA. His big brown eyes lit up when he saw my defensive tactics master instructor certificate (he wanted to know if I had ever been a real-life Ninja). And he giggled when he saw a few old photos of me in uniform, with a full head of hair, and without the doughnut-around-the-waist syndrome. His attention lingered on the martial arts aspect of police training. He was fascinated with the fact that most police defensive tactics techniques are based on the martial arts.

We pulled out boxes of old police stuff that I’d forgotten I had. Things like old police hats and jackets, newspaper articles, and pictures. After an hour or so of digging through tons of memorabilia and listening to the accompanying stories, my grandson was ready to play cops and robbers. But he wanted to do it police academy style. He wanted to experience the real thing, from the radio call to handcuffing the crook.

What he said next was a real eye-opener for me. He said he wanted to learn how to hit people on the head with a baton (he called it a bat), beat them up, and then shoot and kill bad guys. Like real cops do in the real world.

I promptly told him that police officers don’t do things like that, but his expression quickly let me know that he doubted what I was telling him. Our conversation then went something like this:

Me: “Why do you think police officers do things like that?”

Grandson: “Because that’s what they do on TV and on video games, and it’s way cool!”

Me: “It’s not way cool to hurt people.”

Grandson: “Uh huh! It’s cool when they bash their brains out and blood goes everywhere. And they kill the bad guys with machine guns and bombs and sticks and shotguns.”

Me: “I think we need to have a long talk. Have a seat.”

And that’s exactly what we did. We had a long talk and I explained that a police officer’s job is to help people, not hurt them. But I also explained why it’s necessary to sometimes use force when bad guys are trying to hurt other people.

My grandson then wanted to know about police weapons and how they’re used to help people. Well, I don’t have an arsenal lying around the house so I did the next best thing, killing two birds with one stone. His second favorite thing (next to playing police) is to make things, preferably out of wood. So I took him out to the garage where we pulled out a few tools—saws, hammers, sandpaper, glue, and paint, and we went to work making some basic police equipment. I figured that by fashioning the items from scratch he’d have a better understanding of the finished products. We made a few crude items—a pistol, a can of pepperspray, a PR-24 (side-handle baton), and a Taser.

With those freshly-made tools in hand, along with a pair of real handcuffs, two radios, and my old Maglite, I went to work showing my grandson how and when each of the tools are safely used by police officers.

I explained Use of Force and each of the levels. He learned gun safety. We role played. We talked on walkie-talkies. He arrested me or let me go depending upon the situation.

He conducted traffic stops. He raided my office countless times. He saved innocent victims, and he hauled the bad guy (me) to jail.

In short, my grandson went through a mini police academy, and graduated with flying colors. He also expressed an understanding of just how wrong TV can portray police officers.

Me, I had a wonderful time playing cops and robbers. Better yet, my grandson and I became closer than we’d ever been. I’m already counting the days until next summer. I wonder how long it would take me to build a police car out of wood?

Shoot low boys, they might be riding Shetland ponies.”

– Lewis Grizzard

I started The Graveyard Shift a few years ago in response to requests from numerous authors, most of whom are mystery and crime writers. Actually, many of those requests came from members of MWA and SinC. The first day I posted an article the site received a whopping 68 visits. I won’t say how many hits and emails we receive today, but it’s in the thousands, from all over the world. The blog is translated into several languages, and it’s used as a research tool for numerous school projects. The latter is why I do not allow bad language or other material that’s not suitable for children. And, believe me, it’s tough to maintain that standard when you’re writing about cops and criminals. But we try.

The Graveyard Shift has come a long way since our first day online. We’ve undergone major changes in the appearance, and we’ve had to increase the bandwidth a few times to keep up with the amount of traffic received. On Christmas Day, a couple of years ago, the site shut down because it couldn’t keep up with the incoming hits. Thankfully, our web host was able to take care of the problem even though it was a major holiday.

We’ve been both proud and fortunate to have featured many top-of-the-line guests on the site, including bestselling authors, TV and film writers, actors, law enforcement and forensic experts, literary agents, publishers, and professionals from other fields of interest to writers, readers, and TV viewers. We’ve advertised books and other products for our guests, and even a few connections between authors, agents, and publishers have been made as result of The Graveyard Shift. The idea for the Writers’ Police Academy (something else we do for the benefit of writers) was conceived as a result of The Graveyard Shift and reader response. Proceeds from that event are for the benefit of the criminal justice foundation at the police academy where the event is held.

This site is basically a free service for writers and anyone else who happens to drop by. We don’t make a dime from it. Never have. In fact, it costs us quite a bit of money to produce, and that’s not to mention the huge amount of time that’s put into bringing current information and material to our readers.

Somebody out there must like The Graveyard Shift because the amount of traffic we receive is astounding. Knowing that we’ve been able to help, in some small way, has been wonderful. But…and there’s always a but, huh? So here goes:

Normally, when a topic that I believe would be of benefit to the writing community (I base this on the questions I receive, chatter I hear from writers, and things I’ve read in books), I’ll post a quick mention of that topic and a link to the site on a few writer group loops. Apparently that practice, and this blog, have offended a handful of people on a couple of the loops. Those folks have expressed concern that my brief ads regarding the topic of the day are a form of self-promotion and that I should not be allowed to continue posting those short messages. Honestly, self-promotion was never my intention. Since the first post of this blog my intention has merely been to help writers with their work. I do not post the link to this site as a method of BSP. Besides, I have nothing of my own to promote. No new books.  Nothing. And, the site is free to anyone who wants to take advantage of it.

So, I’m torn between trying to help and continuing with business as usual, or changing our entire game plan.  We certainly don’t want to offend any more people than we already have. I’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas, since you’re the reason we do this. Do you want to know when we’ve posted a particularly important topic?

You know,

when I post those one-line ads it’s normally because I’ve read something wrong about police procedure or forensics in somebody’s book. Was it yours?