Tuesday, November 30, 2010

L.I. Sisters in Crime Welcomes Hank Phillippi Ryan

A new chapter of Sisters in Crime recently formed on Long Island, and I immediately joined (although I happily remain a member of the New York/TriState chapter).

We are very excited to have Emmy award-winning reporter and award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan as our guest speaker this Saturday, December 4, 2010 at 2 p.m.

Our meeting, which begins at 1 p.m., is open to the public ~ so if you live in driving distance to Holbrook, Long Island, stop by the Sachem Public Library, 150 Holbrook Road. Hank will join us at 2 p.m. ~ and here's what's in store:

"Using TV Technique to Write a Killer Novel"


Here's what you need to do to produce a successful television news story:
Develop memorable characters. Build suspense. Show conflict. Tell a compelling
story. Create a satisfying ending. Find justice. Change lives. That's exactly
what Boston's premier investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan's been doing
for her entire career.

But here's the scoop. Writing a successful mystery, thriller or romantic
suspense novel-or short story!--requires exactly the same things. And Hank's
years of experience with journalism can now give your book or short story a

With her top-ten list of questions, journalism techniques and solid practical
applications, this Emmy- (and double Agatha, Anthony and Macavity-) winning
reporter will teach you the secrets of television news. And then: she'll show
you exactly how those skills can work for you to develop the novel or short
story you always wanted to write. Or to make your next work of fiction better.

It's your chance to learn the inside scoop.


Hope to see you this Saturday ~ and spread the word!

Also -- a reminder -- this Saturday is the first "Take Your Child to a Bookstore" day. Read more about it on my post on Women of Mystery.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

DNA Spritz for Robbers

After reading this nugget in the New York Times ("A Spray of DNA to Keep the Robbers Away"), I knew I had to share this story. This synthetic DNA spray was developed in Britain by two brothers: a police officer and a chemist. The posted signs alone are helping reduce the crime rate. The tasteless and odorless spray sticks like glue to the criminal for weeks, and causes a bluish glow under UV light; it inextricably links the bad guy (or girl) to the scene where it was sprayed.

For more information about this technology to prevent crime and catch criminals, check out SelectaDNA and their product brochure. This article in the Toronto Star further explains how the spray works. This deterrent is currently being used in the Netherlands, the U.K., New Zealand, and Germany. The Bank of New Zealand has installed the security device at all of its branches.

According to AOL News, the security group of the British company Selectamark is in talks with U.S. companies.
I wouldn't be surprised if the sale of portable black light UV flashlights will increase, so that criminals can check themselves. Although the spray can be detected for up to two weeks, it may be possible for the criminal to wash it off; however, removing it from inside the nostrils, ears, and under fingernails would be a challenge. Also, robbers will probably wear protective gear and then ditch it. They always find ways to get around crime detection, or at least make attempts to avoid detection.

I'm sure this new technology will fascinate mystery and crime fiction writers and their stories will include the use of these devices real soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank-a-Cop-Thursday: Fire Rescue

Two Suffolk County Police Officers rescued a 53-year-old woman and a 67-year-old disabled man from a burning house in East Islip on November 21, 2010. Both victims were transported to Southside Hospital.

According to Newsday, four fire departments responded to handle the fire. The Suffolk County Arson Squad is investigating the cause of the fire.

On this special "Thank-a-Cop-Thursday" (known as #tacop on Twitter), a huge Thanksgiving thanks goes out to Officers Jonathan Allen and Kelly Hendrickson of the Third Precinct for the awesome job they do everyday, and for saving the lives of two Long Island residents.
A special thanks to Mike Ellis (@EmergCommNetwrk) and Lauri Stevens (@lawscomm) for their efforts in the creation of Thank-a-Cop-Thurdsay.

(image source for Thanksgiving clip art: www.theholidayspot.com and for flame photo here.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

War Story Wednesday - An Overheard Conversation

An actual exchange I heard in the precinct, between a fairly new police officer and a seasoned, salty desk sergeant, who often butted heads:

The Rookie: "You don't like me because I'm Jewish."

The Sergeant: "I don't like you because you're a f***ing a**hole."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Top Police Blogs

The online Criminal Justice Degree web site has posted its list of Top Police Blogs, and I'm proud to say that From Cop to Mom and the Words in Between has received a 2010 Top Police Blog Award.

Thanks to Criminal Justice Degree for the honor and recognition. Congratulations to my fellow bloggers ~ I look forward to visiting your blogs!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Courage to Serve" Exhibit

An exhibit honoring police officers killed or injured in the line of duty by drunk drivers is on display at the Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, Long Island, until November 21, 2010 (*update: See the video below of the news conference and display).

According to Newsday, the relatives and supporters of Nassau police officer Kenneth Baribault and Suffolk police officer Glen Ciano gathered at the mall in Nassau County this past Monday to unveil the memorial, which is intended to remind drivers during the holiday season that driving under the influence can ruin many lives -- including those of police officers, such as Baribault and Ciano, whose patrol cars were struck while on duty. The photos below depict the mangled patrol vehicles of Officers Baribault and Ciano (photos via NY Daily News).

The memorial was unveiled less than 12 hours after a DWI arrest of a Brooklyn man who struck and killed an off-duty NYPD officer on the Northern State Parkway.

Suffolk Police Officer Glen Ciano, a 22-year veteran, was struck by a suspected drunk driver and killed on February 22, 2009. Nassau County officer Ken Baribault was severely injured on May 18, 2008, after his patrol unit was struck by an accused drunk driver on the Long Island Expressway during a traffic stop of a suspected drunk driver.

The exhibit was made possible through the efforts of Baribault's sister, Danielle Rella; Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

On Twitter, today is "Thank-a-Cop Thursday." I thank Officers Ciano, Baribault, and all law enforcement officers in New York for their devoted service and sacrifices to make Long Island a safer place to live. As a Suffolk County Police Officer for 21 years, I had the privilege of working with Glen Ciano in the Second Precinct; he is sorely missed by his friends, family, and colleagues.

If you are an active user of Twitter, you can participate in "Thank-a-Cop Thursday" by using the hashtag #tacop. Follow Mike Ellis of Emergency Communications Network, the man behind #tacop, at @EmergCommNetwrk. You can also follow Mothers Against Drunk Driving @MADDOnline.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

War Story Wednesday - The Foreign Object

In the early 1990s, while working the Second Precinct desk in Huntington, an agitated gentleman walked into the precinct demanding to know what this foreign object was that someone threw into his swimming pool. It was made of glass and filled with a liquid substance. The desk sergeant, one of the funniest men I've ever met, heard the conversation and came to the desk to take control of the situation before we even had a chance to respond. He took the object and before he could even get a good look at it, dropped it. It broke, and we instantly knew what it was ~ a stink bomb. We left the poor sergeant alone and disappeared to laugh our butts off. He was very embarrassed about the incident and we of course never let him forget it.

If you have a War Story to share, feel free to enter it in the comments below or provide a link to your blog post should you decide to write one.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Facebook Renews Interest in Missing Person Case

The past few days in Newsday, Long Island's daily newspaper, and the New York Daily News, articles have appeared about a 1984 missing person's case, that of Kelly Morrissey -- who was 15 years old when she disappeared. Her story has re-surfaced because of chatter on Facebook; people were reminiscing about their roller skating days at Hot Skates Rink in Lynbrook. In doing so, the topic of the disappearance of Kelly surfaced, since it was from that vicinity of Nassau County she was last seen. In addition, however, people were discussing the case of two women who went missing within months of Kelly's disappearance -- but their bodies were found, raped and strangled. One of the victims was a friend of Kelly's. Those murders have gone unsolved, and police have not made a connection between the three cases.

Kelly's parents, Iris and Paul Olmstead, are thankful for the new interest and would of course appreciate any information about Kelly's whereabouts.

As a former police officer who worked for many years in Crime Stoppers, I know that the police and the missing person's family would be extremely grateful to receive information about the mystery surrounding Kelly Morrissey. If you or someone you know has information about Kelly, please contact the Nassau County Police Crime Stoppers tips line at 1-800-244-TIPS.

For a photo of Kelly (above) and this age-progressed photo, visit Help Find the Missing.


The Criminal Justice Degrees Guide has prepared a list of the Top Ten Unsolved Missing Person Cases.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children maintains an extensive web site with information concerning missing children.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NYT to Rank Best Seller eBooks

It's official -- early next year, the New York Times will begin publishing a new list of best-selling eBooks, fiction and non-fiction. They will also redesign the section of its Sunday Book Review that features the best-seller lists.

The Los Angeles Times reports that E-book sales are headed to $1 billion.

The International Digital Publishing Forum collects quarterly US trade retail eBook sales in conjunction with the Association of American Publishers.

If you haven't read it yet, click on over to J.A. Konrath's awesome blog where he announced his eBook sales topped $100K -- and offers advice on e-publishing and makes predictions on the future of eBooks.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hint Fiction News

I was fortunate to participate in a reading and book signing for Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at McNally Jackson, 52 Prince Street, New York City. The recently released anthology, published by W.W. Norton, contains my story, "Playing with Matches."

The editor, Robert Swartwood, introduced the contributors who were able to attend the event, which included: Randall Brown, Frank Byrns, Tara Deal, Bruce Harris, Donora Hillard, Jason Rice, Samuel Rippey, Jess Row, and me (the photo below, from left to right: Randall, Robert, Jason, Frank, Donora, Samuel, Bruce, and Amy Cherry from W.W. Norton. Somehow, Tara, Jess, and I missed out on this group shot).

The room was filled to capacity, and the folks at the bookstore added more folding chairs to accommodate the crowd. Each author read his or her story and shared what inspired it.

Robert and the contributors signed extra copies for bookstore customers who were unable to attend the event. If you're in the vicinity of McNally Jackson and are interested in obtaining a copy, ask if they have any more signed copies.

In other Hint Fiction news, Robert conducted an interview with NPR.

This Friday night, November 19, 2010, another reading and signing will take place at The Big Blue Marble Bookstore in Philadelphia, PA., at 7 p.m.

If you'd like to order it online, the Hint Fiction anthology is available on Amazon (where it currently ranks as #1 in sales of anthologies, and #104 in book sales), and Barnes and Noble.

The Chronicles of Higher Education recently wrote about Hint Fiction. Thanks to Robert Swartwood for the photos above; you see more from the signing at the Hint Fiction page on Facebook. You can follow @Hint_Fiction on Twitter.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

Today is Veterans Day, the day we honor the men and women who have served and currently serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. I am grateful to each and every veteran for the freedom we enjoy because of the sacrifices they have made.

I am proud to know several authors (fellow members of Sisters in Crime and the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and my blog-mate at Women of Mystery, Terrie Farley Moran) who have donated their stories in the recently released crime fiction anthology, "Murder to Mil-Spec." The publisher of this fine collection of stories that involve veterans or current soldiers, Tony Wolfmont, is donating all its profits to Homes for Our Troops, a charity that assists severely disabled veterans by either retrofitting their homes so the vet can use them (elevators, wider doors, etc). or building them a new home.
Why not purchase several copies to give as gifts this holiday season?

Considering today is Veterans Day, and there's no time like the present, I know of one more incentive for you to make your purchase now. Blogger and author Karen Cantwell of "Fiction for Dessert" has offered to personally donate an additional $5 to Homes for Our Troops for each copy purchased through her site this week. In this post, she interviews one of the contributors of Murder to Mil Spec, the two-time Agatha award-nominated mystery short story writer, Barb Goffman.

Karen is also giving away a copy of Murder to Mil Spec this week; just leave a comment on this blog post and either a link or email address for her to reach you in case you win.

If you've arrived at this site well past the date of this blog post, you can also order Murder to Mil-Spec via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and The Digital Bookshop.

The Homes for Our Troops site contains several inspirational stories, videos, and articles about the fine work this organization does. You can follow @HomesForOurTrps on Twitter and Facebook. Remember to thank a veteran ~ each and every day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

War Story Wednesday -The Vietnam Vet

Welcome to another edition of War Story Wednesday, where I share a "war story" about the job. I served with the Suffolk County Police Department from 1986 - 2007. If you have a war story to share, I'd love to hear it; either write it in the comments below, or provide a link so that we can read about it on your blog should you write your own post.

Considering tomorrow is Veteran's Day, I'd like to share a story I heard from a retired Suffolk County Police Officer about one of our co-workers, a Vietnam vet, who has since passed away (I'll name him Jim Johnson for this story).

Jim was a colorful character who occasionally had his gun taken away for psych reasons, or for arguing with his ex-wife, and got placed on the desk in the precinct.

When he was out on the road, however, he issued a summons to a driver who had presented a paper license, as drivers did in the 1970s -- no photo licenses in NY at the time. Several weeks later, Officer Johnson responded to TVB (Traffic Violations Bureau) because the "driver" was fighting the ticket. Turns out, the "driver" explained, he didn't receive the summons, his brother did -- because the brother used his license when the cop wrote the summons.

The hearing officer asked Officer Johnson, "Do you think you might have written a summons to the wrong person?"

Officer Johnson responded, "Your honor, I fought in the wrong war, I married the wrong woman....Could I have written the wrong person? Hell, yes!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe

For busy parents, writers who are attempting NaNoWriMo, hungry people in general: I'd like to share this delicious Crock-Pot recipe. Years ago, I found the "Awesome Slow Cooker Pot Roast" recipe by Brenda Arnold on Allrecipes.com, which now has over 5,000 reviews. I cut the recipe in half (you can instantly adjust serving size on the site) and I add potatoes and carrots. It makes an awesome gravy. Toss the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning, and put it on low all day ~ the house will smell delicious.

Let me know if you give it a try in the future.

How about you? Do you have a favorite recipe site online? Or have an easy "never-fail" dinner recipe to share? I'd love to hear all about it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thank-a-Cop-Thursday: US Marshals Locate Sex Offender

Today is "Thank-a-Cop-Thursday" on Twitter. The hashtag is #tacop. For the origin of #tacop, read here.

I'd like to thank the U.S. Marshals for locating a sex offender wanted by the Southampton Town Police, who was living in a storage facility in Islandia, New York. He had failed to register a new address since May. Read the Newsday coverage here. The sex offender had a bed, space heater, DVD player and television, and was drawing electricity from the storage facility.

If you're active on Twitter, don't forget to thank your favorite cops!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

War Story Wednesday -The Stolen Bike

I've been remiss in the War Story department, so I apologize ~ and without further ado, this week's installment:

During my early years on patrol, I responded to a call of a stolen bike. When I rang the doorbell, a gentleman answered the door. He took one look at me and walked away. His wife came running. "You'll have to excuse my husband. He always wanted to be a cop, but he has a bad back. He feels that a disabled man would still make a better cop than an able-bodied female."

I still took the report.

If you have a police-related "war story" you'd like to share, feel free to enter in the comments below, or write a blog post and let me know so I can link to your post.