Posts

Patrick Swayze

I was thumbing through a stack of offense reports, the crimes that had occurred during the previous overnight hours, when the owner of a nightclub showed up at my office door. His business had a widely-known reputation for rowdy bar fights, stabbings, drug dealings, and shootings. He was a loud-talking man with a coarse voice that sounded as if he’d swallowed a couple of sheets of 80 grit sandpaper. He was rude, crude, and irritatingly boisterous. However, the day he sat in the chair next to my desk with his hat in hand, however, he was as meek and mild as a newborn kitten. He had troubles and he wore them on his sleeve for the world to see.

He explained to me that the local police (his club was located in a nearby city outside of my jurisdiction) had threatened to begin proceedings to classify his business as a public nuisance. Their goal, they’d told him, was to then shut down the bar and padlock the doors for good. He went on to tell me that he’d invested his entire life savings into the nightclub as well as the cash he’d set aside for his daughters’ college years, days that were rapidly approaching. Things had simply gotten out of hand and he didn’t know how to turn them around.

I asked Mr. Jones (not his real name) why he’d come to see me and not an officer in the city where his business was located. After all, I told him, I didn’t have arrest powers in the city where his club was located. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “I understand you know how to clean up problems like mine. You can, right?”

At the time, I must admit, I had a bit of a reputation for taking on some of the biggest and baddest thugs on the street, and winning. Of course, I didn’t do it alone. I had the backing of a group of officers I’d assembled specifically to tackle gangs and street violence. The collection of officers was appropriately named “Street Crimes Unit (SCU).”

The word on the street was that when I was recruited by a certain (unnamed) city police department, part of the reason was to clean up an area called “The Bottom” (not the real name) where honest, law-abiding folks absolutely did not dare venture outside at night. Instead, each evening, when the sun dipped below the horizon, residents double-locked their doors and windows and then hunkered down to wait for gunfire, home invasions, and drug dealers and prostitutes who shamelessly operated their businesses from the locals’ front yards and porches.

Dialing 911 was basically a hobby for the residents of The Bottom, and, when patrol officers responded they were often on the receiving end of anonymous gunfire, rocks, bricks, and more. They were outnumbered—15 or 20 to 1.

So, in order to accomplish the task I was hired to do, I assembled the SCU, a highly skilled and fearless team of officers, sheriff’s deputies, corrections officers, federal agents, friends of mine from the state police and other state agencies, reserve officers, and a herd of canines and their handlers—both narcotics dogs and those who love to bite. We dressed in black BDUs for uniformity and for a bit of intimidation factor, and we were heavily armed.

Each night I called a briefing where I instructed everyone to be safe but to arrest as many law breakers as they could possibly nab—I wanted the bad guys to know we meant business—we headed out on a mission we hoped would produce positive results, without violating anyone’s rights. Everything had to be by the book, no exceptions. But the goal was clear. Clean up the streets. Rid the neighborhoods of violent criminals.

After the briefing regarding the operation in The Bottom, I led the long parade of police vehicles to the edge of neighborhood, an area comprised of several square blocks. We parked out of sight and earshot where the K-9 handlers gave their dogs a quick potty break. When the dogs were properly relieved we “moved in” on foot, walking as a large unit down the middle of the main street where activity was most prevalent. I’d also assigned two officers to stay behind, standing guard over our vehicles.

We were about 30 deep and 2 wide, and I guarantee you that 60 officers suited in all black with some carrying rifles and shotguns, while a pack of barking and snarling Rottweilers and German Shepherds, well, I’ll put it this way … the streets were fairly clear within a matter of minutes. We took a few prisoners—those who thought they could take on the police by firing a couple of Saturday night specials into the air, hoping to scare us away. And there were those who enjoyed a good fist fight no matter the odds.

 

Sure, I got my clothes dirty, and I came away with a few bruises and scrapes, but we won the battle. And we did it again and again until the elderly residents were once again able to enjoy their front porch swings while drinking glasses of iced tea and chatting with their neighbors.

Anyway, back to Mr. Jones. Those “street sweeps” earned me a reputation of taking on the biggest of the biggest and the baddest of the baddest. It wasn’t a totally earned reputation since it was an effort by an entire team, but I led the way so it was my face that was associated with kicking butt and taking names.

Mr. Jones asked me to come to work for him as the head of his team of security officers. He wanted me to be a bouncer. A cooler. And in the worst joint within five counties. I immediately said thanks but no thanks. Then, and it was odd to hear from this guy, he said, “Please.” And there were tears in his eyes.

Well, Friday night rolled around—yes, I’m a sucker for tears—and I stood just inside the front door of the nightclub, wearing a black t-shirt with SECURITY stamped in bold white letters across the back.

I was Patrick Swayze from the film Roadhouse. Well, sort of …

I also wore BDU’s with the pockets packed with pepperspray, a kubaton, an ASP, and handcuffs.

I showed the other bouncers how to operate a hand-held metal detector—everyone was to be scanned…no exceptions, I told them. No purses, pocketbooks, or bags of any kind. No pepperspray and no knives … of any kind. If the detector sounded off, a security team member patted them down. If they refused the pat-down, they didn’t come inside. Simple as that. I did not want to go home that night with any extra perforations in my body.

Ten minutes into this dumb move (accepting the job), I was already wondering just how dumb I was for considering this dumb assignment.

Finally, at 10:00 p.m. (my usual bedtime), it was time to open the doors. The DJ was pumping out Hip-Hop and rap tunes that pounded inside my skull and rattled my bones until I thought my skeleton might make a break for it and dash for the exit. I’m a Led Zepplin/Pink Floyd kind of guy, so the music spewing from the club’s Volkswagen-size speakers definitely wasn’t doing anything to make me feel welcome.

I peeked outside and saw a line of people snaking down the front steps, out into the gravel parking lot (I’d already made a mental note to avoid any scuffles out there, because rolling around on jagged stones can be painful), and down the sidewalk at the street. Building capacity was 800 and there were at least 1,000 people waiting to get inside to hear “DJ Jamba-Juice” or whatever the hell his stage name was. I think his real name was Terrence Smith, though.

The crowd poured through the double front doors like water going down a drain. At twenty bucks each, Mr. Jones was making a killing, and that wasn’t counting the watered down scotch and bourbons the patrons would soon be gulping, at 10- to 12-bucks a pop.

The guys at the doors used those counter-clicker-things, trying to keep track of how many people had packed inside. But doing that, scanning for metal objects, searching pockets, arguing about the pocketbook rule, and dealing with those who were already intoxicated when they arrived, well, let’s just say they lost count and the building was bursting at the seams. I swear, each time the crowd exhaled I thought I could see moonlight coming in through the spaces where the rafters “used to” meet the walls.

And, lo and behold, it happened. Somebody looked at somebody’s girlfriend and the donkey dung hit the fan. It was on and out came the knives and broken beer bottles.

I waded through the crowd of looky-loos, pushing and pulling people out of my way until I found the fight. Four men going at each other like a pack of hyenas going after a zebra carcass. Two women were scratching and clawing and hair-pulling, and this was the snatching of real hair. Their wigs were on the floor, looking like two squashed and very dead muskrats.

I started worming my way into the fight, stopping the slugging, stabbing, and cutting. Then a shot rang out. And then another, and another.

People scrambled toward the exits, knocking down the weak and the meek. The fight, though, continued with more men joining in to take cheap shots at me. So I decided to even the odds and pulled out my pepper spray and began squirting the attackers like I was spraying a bad roach infestation. I held the ASP in my other hand, ready to take out the kneecaps, elbows, and collarbones of anyone not affected by the spray. Luckily, they abandoned their intentions and headed for the door, rubbing their burning eyes and skin.

My brand new SECURITY shirt was torn at the collar and my freshly laundered pants were filthy, with several drops and smears of blood on the legs and near the waistband. I looked around to see why the other bouncers hadn’t come to my aid and saw that they, too, had been involved in battles of their own. We looked a mess, like warriors who’d been away battling dragons and trolls and other evil creatures.

A few minutes later the local police arrived and they came inside ten deep, ready to clear the joint. The sergeant recognized me and immediately asked, “What the hell are you doing here?” But his question came a bit too late … I’d already asked myself that very question at least a dozen times. And to this day I still don’t know why I agreed to serve as a real-life Patrick Swayze for a night.

I did learn a valuable lesson, though, that it’s a lot safer to approach a situation such as the one at Mr. Jones’ bar, if you go in carrying machine guns while following a handful of well-trained dogs. A stick and a can of pepper juice just doesn’t cut it when the odds are a thousand to six, in the favor of the other team.

 

By the way, that was the last night Mr. Jones’ bar was open for business. Someone eventually bought it and turned the place into a family restaurant, specializing in Mexican food … where hot peppers are used as they should be … as part of the cuisine.

Law enforcement agencies have long used tattoos as a means to identify victims of crimes and accidents.

They’re also an effective tool for identifying members of various gangs who use body art as symbols of their membership to those groups. For example, the number 88 is a numeric symbol for “Heil Hitler” used by white supremacists.

Or, MS 13, also sometimes tattooed simply as MS or 13, are the symbols of the Mara Salvatrucha gang that got its start in Los Angeles by immigrants from El Salvador. This violent unorganized gang, well-known for dealing drugs, child prostitution, and brutal murders, now has MS-13 chapters all over the U.S. and Canada.

But, the FBI has taken tattoo identification, a program called TAG IMAGE, a bit further by attempting to use tattoos as a means to map out people’s relationships and even identifying their religious beliefs. The musical or artistic interests and/or hobbies are also targets to record. Favorite food, drink, actors, loved ones, and so on. The list is practically endless.

The Intoxicated Waskly Wabbit

This collection of information could be a bit concerning depending upon your point of view, and all based upon the tattoo of, during a night of heavy drinking, you had the image of a Waskly Wabbitt inked on the part of your body that somehow draws the attention of authorities.

Using a particular marking on the skin as a means of identifying human remains, or as a way to establish a prisoner’s gang affiliation is one thing. But to the use those identifiers on living people to establish  their religious or political leanings, for example, and then to  lump them into those categories for future reference, perhaps rises to a level of government overreach—an invasion of privacy. A violation of civil liberties.

In addition, the opportunities to misinterpret a person’s body ink is great, furthering the chances of violating the rights of individuals. For example, we’re all familiar with the swasitka, which, prior to adoption by the Nazis who forever tainted it, was symbol of prosperity, goodness, and hope.

Swirling Logs

Many Native Americans used the “swastika” symbol (swirling logs, or four directions cross)  as a means to depict peace and harmony, the polar opposite of how many view it in today’s society.

Suppose a police officer arrested a Native American basketball player who, at the time of the apprehension for a minor assault, wore his team jersey. Well, based upon the FBI’s controversial and perhaps civil rights-violating new practice, the ball-playing nose-puncher could be lumped into a known violent group which could add the additional charge of a federal hate crime.

Chilocco (Oklahoma) basketball team. The swastika was once a common symbol used by Native Americans. It had absolutely nothing to do with the Nazi party.

Furthermore, merely having a gang-related tattoo inked onto a person’s body doesn’t always indicate that the individual is a member of the gang associated with the marking. Kids today sometimes think such images are “cool” and head off to the nearest tattoo shop to permanently stencil the shape or lettering onto their skin. In fact, anyone with basic tattooing knowledge could do it for them.

The DIY Approach

Some use the DIY approach using the old “stick and poke” method. To do so, all that’s needed to accomplish the task are either sewing needles, straight pins, or safety pins, India ink, a marker to draw the outline of the tattoo, and a lot of nerve.

The tactic is easy. Dip the sharp object into the ink and then stick the pin into the skin until you feel a “pop” when it breaks through the skin. Repeat the process over and over again until you’ve successfully inked the object outlined on your body part.

Misidentification

Another way cops could misidentify someone as a gang member is forced tattooing, such as tattooing women against their will as a means of marking them after abducting and brutally raping them.

TAG IMAGE

TAG IMAGE  is a wonderful tool for identification of various tattoos; however, attempting to lump individuals into a particular criminal organization based on any image found tattooed on a person body could be a dangerous path to follow.

After all, having a tattoo of a famous Mouse on your upper arm doesn’t mean you’re a member of the notorious rat’s Club.

Well, maybe …

“M.I.C. … K.E.Y.

M.O.U.S.E.”

Two gang members, Pooky and Slasher, decided to seek a bit of revenge against a rival gang member named Ragu, a behemoth creature who they swore was Bigfoot disguised as a human. The root of the plot kicked off when the man disrespected the pair of tough guys at the town’s 4th of July picnic. It seems that Ragu’s melting ice cream cone dropped a clump of chocolate ripple smack dab on Slasher’s brand new firehouse red Chuck Taylors, staining the uppers a color that strangely reminded Pooky of pistachio, his favorite flavor.

Since Ragu weighed just north of 265 with none of those pounds being of the porker variety. Nope. All muscle. So they came up with an end-around. They’d kill Ragu’s father, the thin and wiry, hatchet-faced accountant who worked at Petey Perkins’ Hardware store next to the Piggly Wiggly out on Rte. 1.

After a couple of days of planning and surveillance, the wannabe murderers decided to smother the Ichabod Crane lookalike while he slept. And they’d use his own pillow as the murder weapon. Everyone knew the old beanpole suffered from a serious hacking and wheezing case of emphysema, the direct result of puffing away at cigarettes, one behind the other, for the past forty years or so. No one, especially that goofball police chief, Pooky’d said, would ever connect them to the killing.

Exactly three days later, at precisely 2:12 a.m., Slasher and Pooky slipped through a window and into the home of Ragu and his father. It was dark, warm, and humid. Slasher’s Hannah Montana t-shirt was wet with sweat and clung to his flesh like a surfer’s wetsuit. Pooky on the other hand, was the cool one. But only so because he was too stupid to know that murder was, at the very least, a heart-pounder of epic proportion. So basically dumb, not cool. However, in spite of not perspiring, when happy, Pooky’s feet took on the combined stench of sour milk and burnt asparagus. This was one of those nights.

The two tiptoed through the dining room and then a hallway that led to the stairs. Up they went. They’d watched the place at night and had learned the location of the old man’s bedroom and that’s where they were headed, down the upstairs hall and to the right.

Two minutes later they were standing in the dark beside the accountant’s bed. Thirty seconds after that, with Pooky on one end and Slasher on the other, they shoved the spare pillow over the face of Ragu, Sr. Two minutes passed without so much as a peep or a wiggle from their victim. Slasher eased up his end of the pillow. In the nearly dark room, with only a sliver of creamy moonlight smeared across his forehead, the guy looked absolutely dead, so Slasher released his grip on his end of the pillow and Pooky tossed it on the floor.

The dead was done. Revenge was sweet.

Four hours later, the rail-thin accountant awakened from his sleep and slipped the nasal mask from his nose. The other end of its flexible plastic hose was attached to the CPAP machine sitting on the nightstand beside his bed. He reached to switch of the machine that pumps forced air from the room into his nose, sort of like a scuba diving apparatus for people who snore horribly and often stop breathing in short bursts while sleeping.

While reaching for the switch he saw an overturned bottle of Trazadone, the powerful sleeping medication prescribed his doctor. He’d had insomnia since he was a kid. Nowadays he wins that battle by having two shots of orange-flavored vodka and a sleeping pill one hour before hitting the sack. At the end of that hour he’d best be in the bed because for the next several hours he’d be almost comatose. Lights out. An earthquake wouldn’t wake him.

So each night, there he lay, on his back with a constant supply of fresh air zooming into his lungs. Therefore, the actions of Slasher and Pooky were entirely in vain, and they were wholeheartedly surprised to see their “murder” victim greeting them with a cheery “Good morning!” when they entered the hardware store to purchase more ammunition for their Daisy BB guns. That’d planned to go shoot a few cans down by the creek after school. But, after seeing a very healthy and living and breathing dad of Ragu, they decided to come up with a plan B. So off they went, riding their bikes toward a setting sun.

So, I suppose the moral to this super-silly tale is to always be certain the victim in your tales is not wearing a CPAP mask, drunk, and on powerful sedatives when the villain strikes.

Hmmm … mask, drunk, and on powerful sedatives. And I promised to never mention politics and politicians on this site.

Oh well.

There are street gangs and there are street gangs, but the violent, international MS13 gang takes a backseat to no other when it comes to cruelty to other humans. In fact, to join MS13, prospective gang members must endure a brutal 13-second beating (a “beat-in”) by other gang members. Females are fortunate. They have the option of being beaten or gang-raped. Another step in the initiation is to kill a rival gang member or someone randomly selected by the gang.

Mara Salvatrucha (MS13)

The gang name is derived from La Mara, a street gang in San Salvador.  The word “Mara” translates as “gang” in English. Salvatrucha comes from the Salvatrucha guerrillas who fought in the Salvadoran Civil War.

To become full-fledged members and to earn the title of “homeboys” (after a “probationary period of sorts), “chequos,” or mid-level MS13 members are “jumped in.”

Jumping in is a two-step process—chequos must commit at least one murder of a rival gang member. Afterward, they’re voted in, if approved, and this is when gang leaders would very slowly count to thirteen while other gang members beat the chequos. This, the beat-in, is not a fraternity hazing. Instead, the beatings are often extremely severe.

When the beat-in is complete, members often display the familiar devil horn hand sign, a gesture they borrowed from fans of heavy metal music.

MS13 clique leaders are known as “palabreros.” Loosely translated, the word means “those who have the word.”

As a full-fledged member, the new homeboys join the other gang members during their everyday routines of selling drugs, smuggling weapons and people, prostitution, car theft, extortion, armed robbery, and murder. Lots of murder.

MS13 has attempted to get a foot in the drug-dealing business but they’ve faile to do so on a large scale. The gang has no formal leader and operates in pockets within Mexico, the U.S., Canada, and Central America.

Members of those pockets (cliques, or “clicas” in Spanish) tend to show their loyalty to those smaller groups rather than the overall “organization,” which translates into enough disorganization to make organized drug-dealing nearly impossible. Therefore, they stick to more localized crime. However, the gang is very large and extremely deadly. Murder is a priority.

There is an attempt at organization, though, between the leaders who’re currently incarcerated and those on the street. Together, they try to control the major “hits,” such as the orders to kill police officers and other officials. Still, they are not formally organized, with most activity occurring within the smaller clicas.


“Of the 506 gang members arrested or charged in connection with crimes, 207 were charged with murder and 100 others were accused of conspiracy or racketeering, and “dozens of others” were accused of sex trafficking, attempted murder, sexual assault, extortion, and drug trafficking.” ~ from a report by Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. (February 28, 2018). The report was based on a study of just over 500 MS13 gang members arrested since 2012.


The extreme activities of MS13 have helped make what some call the Northern Triangle—Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras—the most violent place in the world that’s not currently at war.

Leaving the gang, for whatever reason, proves to be impossible in some cliques because the penalty for desertions is immediate death.

MS13 has between 50,000 and 70,000 members

 

To name only a scant few of the MS13 horrors, in 2017, MS13 gang members were responsible for:

  • Venus Romero Iraheta, 17, tortured and killed a 15-year-old girl because he didn’t approve of her boyfriend, also an MS-13 gang member. Gang members filmed the torture and stabbing death.
  • Two MS-13 gang members (Miguel Alvarez-Flores and Diego Hernandez-Rivera) who, by the way, were illegally staying in the U.S., were charged with kidnapping, torturing and shooting a teenage girl. According to court records, the gang members killed the girl because she insulted their satanic rituals and a shrine.
  • Three MS-13 gang members were charged with the murder of 17-year-old Raymond Wood, who’s body was been mutilated by the gang members. They stabbed Wood sixteen times, ran over his body, and then removed his hands.

*Please don’t be alarmed. The following image is not of a real hand. It’s a staged photo. But please do imagine the very real fear experienced by those who’ve faced death, torture, and dismemberment at the hands of MS13 gang members.

  • Hector Lazo, 18, and Pedro Rivera, 23 were arrested for the murder of 37-year-old Nelson Rodriguez. Officers said Rivera shot Rodriguez in the back of the head while simply walking in the street.
  • Two teenage boys and an 11-year-old girl were shot at an apartment complex by two MS13 gang members. The shooting of the two boys was gang-related. The shooting of the girl was accidental.
  • MS13 gang members are responsible for the deaths of eleven people on Long Island. The victims were hacked to death with machetes. Their bodies were then horribly mutilated by gang members using those same edged weapons.
  • Best friends Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas were brutally murdered by MS13 gang members. It was the day before her 16th birthday when Nisa Mickens’ brutally beaten body was found in Brentwood, N.Y. The badly beaten body of 16-year-old Kayla Cuevas was discovered in a nearby wooded backyard.

To kill the two girls, MS-13 gang members used bats and machetes. Cuevas was the target of the hit because she had apparently feuded with some gang members on social media. Mickens, who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, was so badly beaten around her head and face that she was barely recognizable.

Machetes are often used to kill because laws aren’t as strict as those governing firearms. And, because of the massive damage they’re able to inflict when used against a human body.

  • Three Long Island MS-13 gang members were arrested for the attempted murder of a 19-year man. During the attack, the gang members used a machete to slash the victim’s stomach. Then they shot him.
  • New York Police charged three MS-13 gang members with the assault and attempted murder of a rival gang member. The victim was brutally beaten and shot in the head. The victim is now a paraplegic as a result of the attack.
  • MS13 gang member Carlos Gonzalez is wanted in connection to the death of his 25-year-old girlfriend Maritza Lopez. Police found Lopez dead in her bedroom closet with gunshot wounds to the chest and head.
  • MS-13 has directed its members to “take out a cop.” The gang member suspected of putting out the hit order is a tall, light-skinned Hispanic man with a thin build and a tattoo of three dots next to one of his eyes. The order is the assignment of any and all members. They simply want a cop, any cop, to die. The purpose of murdering a law enforcement officer is to send a signal to police, telling them to back away from arresting gang members. Killing cops is what they do in other countries when they feel police are closing in.

*Top photo – FBI

Each year as a means to help support the mega-beast known as the Writers’ Police Academy, the event features a raffle and silent auction. It’s fun. Really fun.

Well, since we tend to offer some unusual items not typically available anywhere else, and after receiving so many requests to allow non-attendees to participate in the auction, we pondered the idea and, in 2016, decided to offer a few items for sealed bids. The move was a huge success, thanks to each of you!

Sealed Bid Auction – Open to Everyone!

This year we’re offering five exciting items for sealed bids. These are available to the public, therefore anyone and everyone is welcome to participate.

How Do I …

  • To win the prize/item you so badly desire, simply send your bids to 2017WPAuction@gmail.com.

  • Type BID in the subject line along with with the name of the item, e.g. BID Guitar or BID Script or  BID Critique, etc.

  • In the body of the message please state the dollar amount of your bid (e.g. – “My bid for the signed guitar is $1 Zillion Dollars.”).

Also, please include your full contact information.


Bids will remain a secret until bidding closes at midnight PST, Saturday August 12, 2017. You need not be present at the WPA to win. Attendees of the 2017 may submit sealed auction bids as well, and the same rules apply.


Sealed bids are in addition to the raffle and silent auction items available at the event. You must be present to participate in the raffle and silent auction.


And now … The Items …

 

Oak Ridge Boys – Signed Guitar and CD

A guitar and CD signed by the legendary Grammy-winning Oak Ridge Boys. This unique item is a wonderful addition to any room in the house. I have one in our den, a gift from my wife who, by the way, spent big bucks for it at the auction. Superstar author Lee Child placed the winning bid a few years ago and he, too, has one of these signed beauties in his Manhattan office. WPA instructor/Detective Marco Conelli is another owner of one of these prized guitars. (In case you didn’t know, Marco is also a singer-songwriter/frontman for his own band in NYC).


Murder, She Wrote – Signed Script

Murder, She Wrote script signed by head writer/showrunner Thomas B. Sawyer. Tom also served as Head Writer/Showrunner or Producer on 15 network TV series. He has sold and written TV movies, 9 series pilots, 100 episodes, both comedy and drama. This script is a must-have prize of epic proportion, especially so for Murder, She Wrote fans, and writers of all genres.


Seat at a “For Law Enforcement ONLY” Gang Conference

This is HUGE! We have two seats available to a “law enforcement only” gang conference.
Police K-9That’s right, for the first time EVER, two lucky writers will have the opportunity learn and train side-by-side with top police investigators, all at a conference where outsiders are not permitted. That’s right, you’d be the ONLY writer privy to insider information about developing and maintaining confidential informants—gang-related, so this is especially tough for cops—human trafficking, how gangs infiltrate communities, Asian gangs, gangs and social media, and much, much more. This is a rare and EXCITING OPPORTUNITY that’s not available to the public.


A Complete Pond for Your Home

Cool indoor/outdoor pond.

A pond! No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. We have available for you a wonderful indoor/outdoor pond. It stands appr. 2-feet tall and appr. 4-feet across (appr. 40-50 gallons). The pond comes with everything you need. Well, you’ll have to supply water, plants, and fish, of course, but the rest—pump, liner, filters, plant baskets, light kits, etc.—are included in this package. Denene and I have one and we love everything about it, from the soothing sounds of the fountain to watching and feeding the goldfish to watching hummingbirds bathe beneath the fountain spray. This pond (retail value over $500) is absolutely COOL! Ours has provided countless hours of joy for us, especially seeing hummingbirds zip in to drink from the fountain spray and to bathes beneath the shower. It’s perfect for indoors as well. We’ve arranged to have the pond shipped directly to you from the warehouse (Assembly is required – takes approximately one hour and is remarkably simple. Hey, I did it).


Manuscript Critique by Top Harlequin Editor!

Ann Leslie Tuttle, Senior Editor at Harlequin Books is offering a critique of a synopsis and first chapter (up to 25 pages). How exciting, and what a wonderful means to place your work on the desk of a top editor!

ABOUT ANN LESLIE TUTTLE

Ann Leslie is actively acquires for HQN Books, MIRA and Harlequin/Silhouette Books, she is especially interested in finding paranormal romance and commercial literary fiction. Ann Leslie has acquired trade, hardcover and mass market titles with critical and bestselling potential. Edits an diverse author base, including NYT, USA Today and international bestselling authors Sylvia Day, Julia London, Megan Hart, Vanessa Fewings, Lisa Renee Jones and Rachael Johns. She manages lines of contemporary romance and special projects, including e-books. She is a popular speaker at writer conferences, including the Australia and New Zealand conferences in 2015.

**FINE PRINT**

The manuscript will be of standard manuscript formatting.  The names of the winners will be provided by the WPA to Jenna Kernan who will let Ann Leslie Tuttle know to expect your material for critique

*This prize was acquired by author Jenna Kernan for WPA.


When does this cool opportunity begin?

Right NOW! Yes, you are free to begin submitting bids this very moment. So … GOOD LUCK!! And, yes, we still have a few available spots at the Writers’ Police Academy. See you soon.


Special Notice!

To add to the fun, we will also be hosting a live auction of a few special items. Tami Hoag (that’s right, THE Tami Hoag) is the 2017 auctioneer. She is joined by author JD Allen. This is going to be a real hoot! Details coming soon.


Proceeds are combined with overall WPA funds and go toward overall event expenses, the opening ceremonies (featuring the blessing of the WPA by the Oneida Nation dancers, Miss Oneida, tribal elders), and a student scholarship funded by the WPA. Remember, the WPA takes place on the Oneida Indian Reservation (hotel, academy, and college).

*Winners will be notified by email. We will attempt to contact winners three times (one every other day, starting on August15, 2017), so please check your spam folders. If we do not receive a reply with five day after the third message is sent we will move on to the next highest bidder, and so on until the prize is claimed. Funds to secure bids must be made via WPA PayPal. Once we’ve established contact with the winners we will provide payment details. Items will ship/can be claimed once payment is received.