Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cucumber Salad Recipe

Memorial Day is a day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. For some interesting history on Memorial Day, read here. Some ideas on how to commemorate Memorial Day can be found here. The Memorial Day Foundation increases awareness and respect for Memorial Day.

In addition to parades, cemetery visits, Religious Services, Memorial Day weekend usually includes a barbecue or picnic. What to serve or bring? I can assist with a recipe for a summertime favorite: Cucumber Salad.

In 1989, when I knew that my mother and sister were organizing my bridal shower (although the date and location remained a surprise), I had one request: to ask each guest to bring a copy of her favorite recipe.

The one I'm posting came from Yvonne Ford, a long-time family friend. I of course shared the recipe with my mother, and we've both been making it ever since. The photo of the salad I made today is double the recipe below. I tend to use less red onion, too.

Two things: it's probably best to use a food processor if you have one, and refrigerate the salad overnight.

Yvonne Ford's Cucumber Salad
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1 red onion
  • chives
Heat the first four ingredients until dissolved. Cool.

Thinly slice cucumbers and onion (a food processor is great for this) and alternate slices in a bowl or dish that can be covered.

Pour mixture over cukes and onion. Sprinkle with chives. Refrigerate overnight. Serves six.

Do you have a favorite summertime recipe? Feel free to share if you like! Let me know if you try this out, I'd love to hear your opinion.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Click It or Ticket

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, which means many motorists and passengers will be on our roadways.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates 45 million people are still not wearing their seatbelts when riding in motor vehicles. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) statistics, "on any given day about 38 people who are not buckled-up are killed in motor vehicle crashes."

According to the NHTSA, those least likely to buckle up are:
  • teens
  • young adults
  • males
  • nighttime riders
  • motorists traveling on rural roads
  • individuals traveling in pick-up trucks
The "Click It or Ticket" campaign is set to run nationally through June 6, 2010. The mobilization involves more than 10,000 police agencies. Congress funded $8 million for national advertising and the program is being coordinated by the NHTSA.

Do the right thing, folks, and click it ~ avoid the ticket, and save your own life or the lives of your loved ones riding in your vehicles. May all your journeys be safe ones.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Fine Line Between Truth and Fiction

I am thrilled to welcome mystery novelist and professor Margot Kinberg as my guest today on her blog tour.

Be sure to visit Margot's amazing blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. Be prepared to receive quite an education! For more information on how to obtain a copy of her novel, B-Very Flat, click here.

You can follow Margot on Twitter and Facebook. I do!

Without further ado, I'm honored to introduce Margot Kinberg, as she writes about "The Fine Line Between Truth and Fiction."

Thanks so much, Kathleen, for hosting me today. I truly appreciate it. The old saying is that truth is stranger than fiction. When it comes to crime, there’s certainly an argument for that. True crime captures the headlines, and some true crimes have become so famous that they’ve become part of the culture. Even true crime that isn’t quite that famous has a lot of effect on the way we think about crime and punishment, so it’s not surprising that it also has an effect on crime fiction. That’s been the case for a very long time, too.

One of the best-known true crime cases has been the 1888 Whitechapel murders. Those eleven killings took place in the Whitechapel section of London’s East End, and most of the victims were (or had been) prostitutes. The murderer was never caught, although there’ve been several allegations that the killer, dubbed “Jack the Ripper,” had been identified. Some of the murders were particularly brutal and suggested that the killer had surgical or some specialized anatomical knowledge. There’ve been several crime novels through the years that have been inspired or at least affected by those murders. One of them is Jane R. Goodall’s The Walker, which takes place at the end of the 1960’s. This novel tells the story of two women – Detective Briony Williams and Nell Adams. Four years earlier, Nell had been on a train in Plymouth when she witnessed a murder. As horrifying as that was, Nell did her best to move on with her life. Now, she’s a college student in London. Meanwhile, Briony Williams is trying to make her mark as a detective, and right now, she and the team she works with are trying to track down a killer known as The Walker. The Walker kills his victims with surgical skill, reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, and arranges them in theatrical poses. Then, Nell’s and Briony’s paths cross when Nell’s picture is printed in a newspaper. It turns out that the murder she witnessed was The Walker’s first murder, and now the killer is on Nell’s trail, unless Briony and the team can stop him.

Another very famous true-crime murder story that’s influenced crime fiction is the famous Crippen murder. Hawley Harvey Crippen was an American homeopathic doctor who was hanged for the murder of his wife, Cora Henrietta Crippen. Crippen and his wife, a music hall entertainer, had moved to England, where their fortunes took a downturn, as Cora’s career in music never really took hold, and when her husband lost his job and had to settle for whatever he could find. Soon, Crippen was having an affair with his secretary, Ethel Le Neve, Then, Cora disappeared. Crippen said that she’d left him and gone to California. But the ladies of her Music Hall Ladies’ Guild didn’t believe him and gossip soon spread that Crippen had killed his wife. Rumors grew even more when Crippen said that his wife had died overseas. Chief Inspector Walter Drew of Scotland Yard investigated the case and at first, he was satisfied that Crippen was innocent. Then, Crippen and Le Neve left the country. This called renewed attention to them, and Drew and his team inspected the house again, and found a body in the basement. The body was said to be that of Cora Crippen. Crippen and his lover were captured and returned to England, and Crippen was put on trial for his life. After only twenty-seven minutes of deliberation, Crippen was found guilty and hanged. Although there’ve been doubts raised about his guilt, the story itself still captures the imagination.

The Crippen story is the basis for Martin Edwards’ Dancing for the Hangman, which is a fictionalized account of the murder and subsequent trial, told from Crippen’s point of view. The book takes place as Crippen is in jail, awaiting his execution, and goes back over the events that led to his conviction. Edwards’ book, though, isn’t the only crime fiction where the Crippen story plays a role. For instance, in Agatha Christie’s Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of a charwoman whom everyone thinks was killed by her lodger. When the investigating police officer begins to have doubts about the lodger’s guilt, he asks Poirot to look into the case. It turns out that Mrs. McGinty had found out that one of the other characters was connected to a long-ago murder. What’s interesting is that one of the past murders that Poirot finds out about as a part of this case is the murder of a Town Clerk’s wife that’s very reminiscent of the Crippen case. In the fictional case, too, the wife disappears, her widower takes up with someone else, and then the wife’s body is found in the basement of the home.

Even the name “Crippen” is mentioned more than once in crime fiction. For instance, in Elizabeth George’s Missing Joseph, Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers investigate the poisoning murder of Robin Sage, Vicar of Wimslough. He died after having dinner with a parishioner and local herbalist, Juliet Spence, and her daughter. When Sage dies of water hemlock poisoning, some of the villagers think that Juliet Spence poisoned Sage deliberately. This leads to unpleasant gossip and Juliet’s daughter, Maggie, becomes a target of her schoolmates, who call her mother “Crippen.”

Another famous set of true-life murders, the Manson murders, has also inspired crime fiction. Charles Manson, a career criminal with an uncanny ability to sway others, had acquired almost a cult following – a group of mostly female devotees called The Family. In early August, 1969, Manson directed Charles “Tex” Watson to take three other Family members, Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel, to a home owned by director Roman Polanski and his wife, actress Sharon Tate. The four were told to kill everyone there, as gruesomely as possible. Then, the next night, Manson joined the group as they went to the home of grocery-chain owner Leno LaBianca. There, they brutally murdered LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, The killings made international headlines, and Charles Manson’s name has become synonymous with a certain kind of ruthless, psychotic killer.

One novel that’s based on the Manson crimes is Jeffrey Deaver’s The Sleeping Doll. In that novel, Kathryn Dance, an expert interrogator with the California Bureau of Investigations, is assigned to interview Daniel Pell, a Manson-like killer with his own “cult following.” Pell’s in jail for murdering the Croyten family eight years earlier. The only member of the family who escaped was Theresa Croyten, the youngest member of the family. The police have uncovered another murder, and believe that Pell and his “family” may have been responsible. Dance plans to use her expertise at kinesthetics and other aspects of interrogation to find out if Pell knows anything about the killing, but he escapes. Then, more murders occur, and soon, it’s clear that Pell and his group are bent on killing everyone who’s ever crossed him – including Dance and her family.

In 1931, Winnie Ruth Judd, a medical secretary living in Phoenix, was convicted of murdering her room-mate Agnes LeRoi and was believed to have murdered her other room-mate Hedvig Samulson. Allegedly, the three were rivals for Phoenix businessman Jack Halloran. That case, which came to be known as “The Trunk Murders,” was the inspiration for Megan Abbott’s Bury Me Deep. In that novel, Marion Seeley is left behind in Phoenix when her husband, Dr. Everett Seeley, goes to Mexico because of his arrest on drugs charges. Seeley has set his wife up in an apartment and arranged for her to get a job as a typist and file clerk at the exclusive Weldon clinic, so at first, all goes well. Then, Marion takes up with nurses Louise Mercer and Ginny Hoyt, who share an apartment and a wild lifestyle. Marion gets drawn into their lives, and into a relationship with one of their “friends,” Joe Lanigan. In the end that friendship ends in tragedy for all concerned.

One of the most famous true crime novels is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which is an account of the November, 1959 murders of Herbert and Bonnie Clutter and two of their children, Kenyon and Nancy in Holcomb, Kansas. At first, the police believed that someone close to the Clutter family must have committed the murders, but they had no real leads. They got a major break when Kansas State prisoner Floyd Wells said that he thought a former cell-mate, Richard “Dick” Hickock and his friend and fellow ex-convict, Perry Smith, might be responsible. They believed that that Clutters had a safe containing US$10,000, and wanted to steal the money. The Clutters had no such safe, but Hickock and Smith murdered the family members and fled to Las Vegas, where they were arrested. They were later tried and executed.

There are several other cases of true crime that’s influenced and inspired crime fiction through the years. Do you enjoy those novels? Which are your favorites?

Thanks again, Kathleen, for hosting me today!

(My pleasure, Margot ~ and thank you, for such an informative and intriguing post!)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Exciting News!

What a thrill it was to read an update on the Hint Fiction Facebook page, that New York Times Best-selling author Jodi Picoult has offered the first blurb for W.W. Norton's forthcoming Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer.

My story, "Playing With Matches" is included in that anthology. It's a dream come true to be in the same book as Joyce Carol Oates, Ha Jin, Stephen Dunn, Peter Straub, James Frey, J.A. Konrath, Marcus Sakey, Tess Gerritsen, Douglas Clegg, Ken Bruen, and so many others (see the amazing list here). This is icing on the cake!

The editor, Robert Swartwood, has also announced it on his web site.

Here's Jodi's wonderful blurb:

“The perfect story collection for all of us with too little time on our hands is a brilliant reminder of the magic that happens when you string the right words together. A must-read for anyone who is or wants to be a writer.”

* * *
More exciting news: I'm heading into NYC for a NY/Tri-State Sisters in Crime meeting, but this one's a special event: a writers workshop with Chris Roerden, the Agatha-award winning author of Don't Murder Your Mystery and the expanded version, Don't Sabotage Your Submission. Chris will be presenting a two-hour interactive seminar on The Writer's Voice.

* * *

Even more exciting news: Stop back here tomorrow when mystery novelist and professor, Margot Kinberg, will be my guest blogger. Her topic will be "The Fine Line Between Truth and Fiction," and she'll discuss some intriguing examples of True Crime and how it has influenced crime fiction. You don't want to miss it! Be sure to visit Margot's informative blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. I am honored to be hosting Margot, the author of B-Very Flat, on her blog tour. You can follow Margot on Twitter @mkinberg.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

GraphJams - What fun!

funny graphs and charts
see more Funny Graphs

(Sorry for the cutoff; I'm not sure how to widen the blog page; click on the above graph to view the entire graph).

I recently discovered the existence of GraphJams after my blogmate, Clare, at Women of Mystery posted a very funny graph about typos, that was submitted by Maggie's Farm.

GraphJams comes from the folks at All of the graphs are user-submitted. They even provide a chart builder for your convenience.

I've got a lot of ideas swirling around, but I've got an important deadline; I have a coveted spot over at the Watery Grave Invitational at The Drowning Machine. Twelve writers will be competing; the challenge issued was a crime story (3500 words or less) based on a theme of baseball. Wish me luck ~ I'm up against some heavy hitters in the crime fiction world!

Maybe after I've submitted my story, I'll dream up a graph and submit it to GraphJams. How about you? I bet you could come up with a great graph...why not give it a shot?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Camera Critters: Harley the Min-Pin

Meet Harley, my sister's Min-Pin, the undergarment thief. She likes to steal my sister's underwear when she's folding laundry. She runs under the dining room table, and knows that she'll get a treat if she gives up the underwear. She's no dummy. Harley likes to sleep under the covers. She's quite a barker, though.

Join the fun. Post a Camera Critter & link to Camera Critters!

Friday, May 21, 2010

SkyWatch Friday

I grabbed my camera while driving to snap a photo of this intense sky.

Check out more SkyWatch Friday.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Needle FFC Entry: The Bond

Needle, a magazine of noir, is holding its first Flash Fiction Contest. The rules: 1000 words or less and must include a needle of some sort. Here's my entry:

The Bond

“Is it true — a ghost lives here?” the attractive twenty-something patron asked the waitress of the village bar and restaurant on the north shore of Long Island.

Bridget heard this question at least once a week. She hesitated briefly, glancing at the couple to evaluate their sincerity; believers and nonbelievers frequent this rustic location that was built in the 1800s. One time a patron even suggested burning pine needles to drive out her spirit; that pine needles are considered a spiritual cleanser, and it removes negative mental energy, to boot.

“I do believe a ghost lives here. Sometimes the volume on the TV in the bar jumps up real loud — while the remote sits on a shelf. Light bulbs and fuses blow quite often, but then again, this is an old place — it might be coincidental.”

“Does her presence frighten you?” the brunette with the heart-shaped birthmark on her right cheek asked, clutching her menu, more interested on what wasn’t on it.

“I sit on the edge of my seat — on pins and needles — when I watch horror movies, so I’m surprised that I am comforted by her presence,” Bridget said. “I’m not threatened by her; she belongs here, and we’ve become protective of her.”

The sound of crashing glass pierced the bustling atmosphere of the Saturday night crowd, although it didn’t interrupt the piano player’s rendition of “Look What You’ve Done to Me” by Boz Scaggs.

Take me up your stairs and through the door...Take me where we don’t care anymore.

“That’s probably her right now,” Bridget said. “Sometimes glasses fall from the shelves, cutlery ends up on the floor, doors slam, and the piano sounds like a kitten is running across the keys when no one is near the bench. I’ve even detected a scent of lavender when she’s around. It’s very soothing, actually.”

Bridget took their drink order. The floorboards of the historic tavern creaked under the carpet as she walked toward the bar.

“Hey, Frank, did you just break another glass?”

“It flew off the shelf. I didn’t see it, just heard it. I think it’s our friendly neighborhood ghost. She’s vying for attention, as usual,” Frank said, drying his hands with a bar towel. What can I get ‘ya?”

“A Long Island Iced Tea and a Bud draft, please. Frank, I think she’s finally here.”

Elizabeth Rose? How do you know?”

“She has the birthmark, and she looks just like your sister. Let’s act cool for now.”

“I have to see her for myself. I’ll deliver the drinks. Tommy’s got the bar.”

Frank delivered the drinks and almost dropped them when he saw the young woman who could pass as his sister’s twin at her age.

Bridget took their order for a Caesar salad, Chicken Francaise and New York Strip Steak, medium well. After dropping the order, she delivered warm bread and butter to the couple.

“Do you know anything about this ghost, I mean, who she was?” her doubting Thomas male companion asked. He sipped his ice-cold Bud.

“Her name was Mary, a regular. She was drinking at the bar and had a few too many. She left with a man who lived in the rooming house upstairs. We only have the killer’s word for it, but she supposedly needled him about his manhood, or lack thereof. He stabbed her repeatedly and stuffed her body into a utility closet in the hallway.”

“They arrested a postal worker, right?” the man asked, buttering his bread.

“Yes, the first question the Postal Service asked was if he was on the clock — but he wasn’t. Finding the killer wasn’t a needle-in-the-haystack search. The bartender saw her leave with him. The police found her body in the closet and her purse in his room under an embroidered quilt.”

“Thanks for sharing this information,” the young woman said, her eyes watering. “I recently learned she was my birth mother.”

“I’m sorry her life ended so tragically,” Bridget said.

“Thank you. I never knew her. She was a heroin addict who ended up pregnant and in jail. After she gave birth, I was put up for adoption."

“How did you hear about her ghost?”

“During the trial, Newsday ran a photo of my mother; it looked like a cropped mug shot. An old friend who knew I was adopted had mailed it to me; she noticed the strong resemblance. I confronted my parents and they admitted she was my biological mother. When I spoke with people about the murder, the legend of her ghost came up. I had to visit myself — be where my mother was — or is."

The hostess whispered to Bridget, “I’ve just seated a four-top in the corner for you.” Bridget excused herself.


After the couple ate, sipped coffee and split a slice of New York Cheesecake, Frank approached the table and introduced himself. “I was wondering if I could speak with you privately for a moment? Do you mind, Sir?” The woman glanced at her companion for approval.

“I’m enjoying the piano music,” he said, as the piano man effortlessly played Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”

...In the arms of an angel

Fly away from here

From this dark cold hotel room…

Frank escorted the brunette to the back office. “May I ask your name?”


They shook hands. “Liz, have a seat. Bridget told me your story, and even if she hadn’t, there’s no doubt in my mind. Look at this photograph.”

“That’s my birth mother!” Liz cried. "She looks so beautiful."

Frank handed her a tissue.

“Mary was my sister; this was taken during happier times. After she got out of jail, she straightened her act out. She never forgot you. She knew one day she’d find you, in this life or another.”

You’re my uncle,” Liz said. As they embraced, the door slammed shut, and the smell of lavender filled the office.

“She’s at peace, now.” Frank whispered.


I took the above photo of the restaurant that was once called "23 Wall Street" - which is the address of the location in Huntington Village -- when I worked there in the 1980s while waiting to join the police academy. Although "The Bond" is a fictionalized version, a woman was murdered by a postal worker who lived in a room above the bar restaurant when it was known as "Snyder's Hotel." I certainly did hear crashing glasses and the volume jumping on the TV and was often asked questions by the patrons. I was comforted by her presence. May she rest in peace.

My husband, who once volunteered with the Huntington Fire Department, recalls a legend about a little girl who died in a fire at that location; witnesses claimed to see her at the top of the steps of the hotel above the bar.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Favorite Movie Dance Scenes

Molly and Andy over at the Bumbles Blog have a Monday Movie Meme, and today's theme is favorite dance scenes.

Play along -- either in your own blog, or leave a comment. Link back to the Bumbles Blog. What's your favorite dance scene?

I love the dance scenes in Saturday Night Fever, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing, but I'm going to list some of my faves that are a little off-beat, but oh-so-fun:

During a talent show at my kids junior high school a couple of years ago, a student recreated this dance from Napoleon Dynamite, and the crowd went wild. People still talk about it. Here's the original:

Pee Wee Herman being threatened in a biker bar, and his last request is a dance:

In order to fully appreciate this scene from 500 Days of Summer, you really should know that he just slept with his girlfriend the night before:

This is probably a popular favorite, but I can't omit it! John Travolta doing what he does best, in Pulp Fiction:

When considering dance scenes, I must slip in this television dance scene, one of my all-time favorites, when Ricky finds out he's going to become a father, in I Love Lucy:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

I took this in St. Thomas/U.S. Virgin Islands in August 2008.

For more Straight Out of the Camera (SOOC), visit Murrieta 365.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday, SCPD

I attended the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Suffolk County Police Department, held Friday, May 14, 2010, at John L. Barry Police Headquarters in Yaphank. Retirees and current members were invited to attend the festivities. A special group of retirees assembled on this day: those who became members of the brand new Suffolk County Police Department on January 1, 1960. Each of those members received a certificate and had a photo taken with the current Police Commissioner, Richard Dormer.

All retirees received a name tag, a journal, a program, a commemorative coin, a DVD, and a Certificate of Appreciation.

The day also included a memorial service, led by Rev. Canon Edward Wisbauer, Chief of Chaplains, and Rabbi Dr. Steven Moss, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, to honor those fallen in the line of duty. Glen Ciano, an officer I worked with in the Second Precinct, was among those honored. Glen was struck by an alleged drunk driver on February 22, 2009. Glen was the 22nd officer to die in the line of duty in Suffolk County. He is deeply missed by his loving family, friends, and colleagues.

Glen's name was added to the monument in Washington D.C. during Police Memorial services this week, which I wrote about in an earlier post.

Rev. Canon Edward Wisbauer told gripping, emotional tales of heroism by Suffolk County officers, during extreme rescues; how some were severely injured; and some who made the ultimate sacrifice. Many families members of fallen officers attended the ceremony to represent their loved ones.

The events also included live demonstrations by Canine, Emergency Services, Aviation, the Motorcycle unit, and EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operations). They even used the old Brookhaven Town Police Vehicle in a mock bank robbery chase of a 1930's vehicle.

Lunch and dessert was served to a crowd that I would estimate reached over 1,000.

Onlookers gathered to listen to P.O. Ed Johntry, retired Chief of Department Joseph Monteith (photo, below), and the Reverend Canon Edward Wisbauer as they dedicated the time capsule that was buried for the 75th anniversary.

Radio broadcasts from January 1, 1960, by Police Commissioner Charles Thom, and a 25th anniversary message on January 1, 1985, by Police Commissioner Dewitt C. Treder were played for the audience. It was chilling to hear Commissioner Treder mention those listening to his message during the celebration of the 50th anniversary.

There are two "original" members of the department whom I have interviewed in the past for my true crime memoir. One is Dave McKell(photo, right, with Commissioner Dormer) a former New York State Trooper, Investigator with the District Attorney's Office, and he retired in 1972 as a Detective Lieutenant in Homicide. Dave and I have become good friends, and we meet every month in a writing group.

Another officer I interviewed for my book was Sam Macedonio (photo, left). He was a Huntington Town Patrolman before joining the SCPD.

The birth of the SCPD plays a role in my book, which centers around an unsolved taxi driver murder in 1955. Another unrelated unsolved murder in 1954, which I also write about, set the ball in motion to combine several town and village police departments to eventually form the SCPD.

I proudly served as a police officer in the Suffolk County Police Department from 1986-2007 and hold many precious memories.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stress on Families Living with Autism

According to Autism Speaks, Autism affects 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys.

My son has Asperger's Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum. Living with an autistic child is the most difficult thing I have ever encountered. The stress is unbelievable. I've been searching for answers on how families deal with this. I have found a few articles online that I thought I should share with other families who are living with autism.

Adrianne Horowitz, C.S.W., contributed an article to The Autism Society of America site regarding "Stress on Families." She suggests prayer, exercise, yoga, deep breathing, writing in a journal, keeping a daily schedule of things to accomplish, and individual, marital or family counseling, among other ideas.

Walks to raise funds and promote awareness for Autism Speaks are being held throughout the U.S. and Canada. To see if a walk is scheduled for your area, check here. Check out their social networking sites, too.

I'm curious to learn how other families are dealing with stress. It seems to get worse near the end of the school year, when the pressure begins to mount, even for families of typically-developing kids.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two Sentence Tuesday

I also blog at Women of Mystery, where every Tuesday is "Two Sentence Tuesday." We invite you to participate by posting two sentences you read, along with two you wrote, by either including them in the comments section or providing a link where they can be found.

Here are two that I read, in The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer by Sandra Scofield:

Sometimes writing is exploring in the dark, the gathering of evidence of a story yet unseen, the story that is in you where you can't yet touch it. There are instances when you fly blind and trust your characters to tell you what they want to do.

Here are two I've written during revisions of my true-crime memoir:

The police rounded up several "characters" and questioned them at the Commack barracks.

A clammer, "Rheingold" Jarvis (so named for buying a six-pack of Rheingold the minute he earned enough to buy one), was asked, "Where were you on Saturday night?" to which Rheingold replied with a puzzled look on his face, "What day is it today?"

For more "Two Sentence Tuesday," visit Women of Mystery.

Monday, May 10, 2010

National Police Week 2010

This week (May 9-15, 2010) is "National Police Week," the annual tribute to law enforcement service and sacrifice that is held each year in May in Washington, D.C. Memorials are also held locally, regionally, and statewide; some sponsor "Open House" week, SWAT demonstrations, etc. The schedule of events are listed here. New names of those who died in the line of duty are added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial monument each spring. You can follow the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) on Twitter: @NLEOMF, or join them on Facebook.

The NLEOMF website features Glen Ciano, a Suffolk County Police Officer, who was killed February 22, 2009. I had the honor of working with Glen in the Second Precinct in Huntington. Glen was a respected officer who is deeply missed by his loving family, friends, and colleagues. Officer Ciano's name will be added to the memorial this week. An emotional video of Glen's funeral is on YouTube. I stood among thousands of fellow officers in a long blue line, gathered to pay final respects to a fine officer. You can join the Suffolk County Police Officers Memorial page on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @scpdmemorial.

C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors), a non-profit organization that helps the surviving members of fallen police officers, encourages the display of blue ribbons on car antennas. They distribute over one million blue ribbons prior to National Police Week to law enforcement agencies to display on cruiser antennas. Citizens are also encouraged to tie royal blue ribbons on their car antennas. The ribbons are a reminder of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and in honor of men and women who serve their community 24/7. You can follow C.O.P.S. on Twitter: @nationalcops or visit their Facebook page.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

I took this in West Melbourne, Florida, in February 2010.

For more Straight Out of The Camera (SOOC) Sunday, visit Murrieta 365.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Resources for Crime Writers

As a writer or a civilian, you may wonder where to find basic investigative research information. This list of "Investigative Resources" on the "Questions for Cops" site is a comprehensive collection. It includes links to free and pay sites.

The site also contains "Frequently Asked Questions" which is a list of subjects writers might want to know more about, from "Probable Cause" to "DUI Checkpoints" and "Entrapment."

The FBI has a page on their web site called, "Be Crime Smart," with info on fraud, terrorists, spies, children's safety, e-scams, and much more. For information on researching FBI records and information, click here.

Last month, Patricia Stoltey (@PStoltey on Twitter) of The Blood-Red Pencil blog wrote an excellent post about web resources for crime writers.

As a police officer in the Public Information office, one of the most frequent reporter inquiries was the length of a prison sentence a criminal might face. Depending on the charge and the class of felony or misdemeanor, I'd check the New York State Penal Law "Sentences of Imprisonment," to find the answer.

Do you have a favorite research site, one you rely on for information?

**Update: Alexander Burns (@afburns on Twitter) has advised me of The Homicide Report, an interactive map and database provided by the L.A. Times to track homicides in L.A. County. Thanks, Alexander ~ it's an informative resource.

Prison clip art from

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jumping into the Blog Pool

I entered the blogosphere in March 2009, when several of my fellow Sisters in Crime from the New York/Tristate chapter invited me to join their blog, Women of Mystery. I am honored to be a part of this talented group of writers and so grateful they gave me the opportunity to join them.

I've been developing a web site with the help of Meghan at the Apple store in the Smith Haven Mall, and it was launched last week; the domain name is Meghan has helped me tremendously and I appreciate all of her efforts. I realized I should start my own blog and have a link on the web site to the new blog. I will certainly continue blogging with Women of Mystery.

Claire E. White wrote a comprehensive post on The Internet Writing Journal about authors who blog: The Author's Dilemma: To Blog or Not to Blog. An internet presence, whether it's blogging, social networking, or a web site, is something every author has to evaluate and decide upon.

As I get my feet wet in the blogging pool as a solo, it will be a work-in-progress until I start jumping off the diving board. But it's nice to be in the water!

Blog image source here.