If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

January Interviews
1/1 Sherry Harris, Sell Low, Sweet Harriet
1/8 Barbara Ross, Sealed Off
1/15 Libby Klein, Theater Nights Are Murder
1/22 Carol Pouliot, Doorway To Murder
1/29 Julia Buckley, Death with A Dark Red Rose

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
1/4 Lisa Lieberman
1/11 Karen McCarthy
1/18 Trey Baker

WWK Bloggers: 1/25 Kait Carson, 1/30 E. B. Davis


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

FBI Citizens Academy: Week 7

While much of the FBICA consisted of lectures, the seventh class, like the field trip, was largely hands-on…and a ton of fun. The presentation on the Evidence Response Team (ERT) began with a talk. Here are a few of the highlights that interested me, as a mystery writer and fan:

·         We hear the term “latent print” but may not know what it means. A latent print is a print left behind on a surface, as opposed to an “inked print.”
·         The FBI doesn’t have a K9 unit but works with local partners who do.
·         The FBI lab is located in Quantico, Virginia.
·         All FBI divisions have at least one ERT, and all ERTs have the same skill sets so they can work together. The process used is the same across the board.
·         An ERT consists of 8 members. All 56 field offices have one to five teams.
·         The ERTs respond to over 1,000 callouts each year, both domestic and international.
·         The FBI ERT members all wear navy shirts and khaki pants to make identifying each other easier.

After the lecture, we broke into groups to rotate through four stations where we could get our hands dirty. In some cases, literally.

My first station demonstrated how blood evidence is located and collected.
I’ve watched the crime shows on TV and seen them swab a surface and apply a few drops of liquid to turn the swab pink if blood was present. The reality isn’t far off. Some notes: the swabs are kept sterile prior to use. After swabbing a questionable surface, two different types of drops are applied to the cotton tip. If blood is present, the two different chemicals react and turn the swab pink, but a paler shade than the hot pink used on TV.

If blood is detected, they will then collect the item. If the blood is on a wall, they’ll cut out a chunk of that wall. If it’s on a marble floor or counter, they’ll cut out the piece they need. (Keep that in mind the next time you cut your finger and bleed on your expensive kitchen counter!)

My second station involved ALS or Alternate Light Sources. We were shown a number of items with no real discernable staining. After we put on special goggles, the agents turned off the room lights and shined the ALS on the same items. As on TV, all sorts of stains (you don’t want to know what kind) became evident.

In the same station, we had the opportunity to play CSI and collect fiber evidence from each other.
Yes, that's me in the purple gloves.
I got to dress up like a real CSI (not quite as glamorous as on TV) and try to find dog hairs on a fellow student. (Either he used a really good sticky roller before coming to class, or I need new glasses because it wasn’t as easy as I’d expected.)

Next came fingerprint collection. While I’d watched it done before at Writers Police Academy and at other citizens academies, this time I was able to use the powder and brushes and try to lift my own prints from various surfaces.
FYI, those cards with clear tape used on TV shows are called “hinged lifters.”

The final station demonstrated making molds of tire tracks or shoe prints, which is one thing I’d not seen done in any of my previous research. As with much of the crime scene investigation, it wasn’t as easy as it looks on TV or in the movies. (I failed miserably!) Fun fact: they use plain old hair spray to stabilize tire or footprints in dirt.
Preserving tracks in snow is tricky because the material used to make the cast creates heat. The tracks must first be treated with a special spray (like the hair spray trick) to keep the snow from melting.

(Photos courtesy of the FBI)

Next time: Graduation


KM Rockwood said...

This sounds like such a great experience.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Fascinating. I've enjoyed every blog about your time with the FBI.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Thank you for these blogs. I've learned so much from them. They also have given me the desire to see if there is anything similar in my town.

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Annette, for sharing what you learned in your sessions. It was interesting stuff.

Kait said...

Wow, what a great experience. I love that you were able to have photos, too. Thank you for sharing.

Annette said...

You're all very welcome.

Debra, every FBI Headquarters office offers a citizens academy. Definitely look into it!

Kait, we weren't allowed to take photos (security reasons) but the FBI had a photographer present and at the end of the academy, we all received copies of the photos.