Friday, September 12, 2014

Post-mortem on The Writers' Police Academy #WPA2014

When I last left off....

I left after lunch on Wednesday, headed to Greensboro, NC for the WPA (Writers' Police Academy) conference. I stopped in Newport, TN at the Best Western for a good night's sleep. I had another four or so hours to drive, the weather was good and I got to the Greensboro Airport Marriott around 1PM.

Registration was at 3PM and I started to meet other writers, some there for their first time like me. The rest of the day went quickly after our orientation and I tried to get to be early due to getting up at 6AM for the bus at 7:30 to Guilford Community College in Jamestown, NC.

The next 2 1/2 days FLEW by....

First morning reenactment: Drunk driver slams into yard sale

We learned "exotic" meant "BIZARRE" as we heard about serial killers, vampires, werewolves and strange suicides.

So much for us writers to get wrong...

Author John Gilstrap wants us to write it right...or else!

Lisa Gardner gave a great presentation on writing thrillers but none of the photos I took were any good, but she did sit on the ground beside me at the Saturday morning demo - breaching buildings with explosives.

You can see some of the force of the explosion in this photo from writing friend, Brenda Novak. My photo is a blurry shot of the top of the door.

Chief Scott Silverii introduced us to Special Ops like SWAT, K9, Dive Rescue, Mounted Police, etc.

We also learned about the mannerisms of cops or Coptics, as the Chief labeled them.

Then we learned about evidence collection, processing and preservation.

And then we moved into the more gory details.

Robin Burcell showed us how accurate witness drawings could be and we learned the drawings are used for suspect elimination in witness drawings and victim identification in forensic drawings.

My last session was with a Nurse Medical Examiner - WOW!

But it wasn't all work, there was plenty of play. We bought tickets to try to win drawings of baskets full of books and other donations. We bid in the silent auctions, we chatted with other authors, we ate, we listened to presentations by Alafair Burke and Michael Connelly. We learned and laughed and learned some more!

Lee was everywhere - especially when there was an opportunity to get some good video (something we weren't allowed to do...LOL!)

All too soon it was time to go home - new friends hugs, cards exchanged, mind whirling with ideas for stories. It's now a week later and I'm ready to go again!! So many sessions that I didn't get to attend...have to get them next year. ;)

PS. Want to see more photos? Check out my SmugMug album.


  1. Fascinating! Regardless of the topics, I love conferences, seminars, rallies, symposiums, etc. where I am sharing my sometimes unique love of a topic with others having similar interests. I love being a life-long learner and I am sure when I read your next books I know they will be technically accurate on the law enforcement procedures. Thanks for sharing your fascinating conference.

    1. Thanks, Judy. I really enjoyed it...and there was so much more than what I shared. I really look forward to the next one!

  2. Excellent recap, Donna, and I'm so glad you enjoyed the event. It was a bit on the magical side, wasn't it?

    1. There was so much more than I shared, it was the best conference I've ever attended. What a way to kick off attending writer conferences! I will do everything I can to attend next year and maybe even Killer Nashville (which I was told is in October in 2015). Keep up the good work, Lee!

    2. I love your procedural books, Lee, and I want to go to this next year. Great pics and writeup, Donna!
      Toby Neal

    3. I hope we can both make it, Toby. It would be amazing to finally meet!

  3. This is so cool! What an in-depth experience! Thanks for sharing.


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