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Jordan Dane
October 6th, 2010, 06:16 PM
Killer Research



By Jordan Dane

<O:p</O:p
Before I started writing, I never realized how much an author had to research. Even a relatively simple story can involve a diversion into the library, or an internet query, or face time or a phone conversation with an expert. And I often donít take the first answer I get. Many times I want confirmation from several sources before I write about something. But research broadens my own experience and allows me to delve into anything that might interest me.

Research Tips:

∑ If you want to put yourself into the shoes of your characters, try and scare yourself. Seriously! Trek through a cemetery at night by yourself. Okay, so maybe not by yourself, but with your BFF. And pay special attention to how your body reacts to fear. The escalated heart rate, the panting, the sweat, etc. Sometimes we all have to be reminded what itís like to be hunted. Iíve tried scaring myself many times. My mom thinks Iím nuts, but if something bad happened to you, what would you do? Do you know what itís like to be truly afraid?

∑ Okay, back to more normal stuff. When it comes to forensics and police procedure, get it right. Donít fake it.

∑ If you have to fake it because you donít feel comfortable with the details, then stay in the point of view (POV) of a character who is not an expert. Make them a witness or an amateur sleuth outside law enforcement. Getting in over your head will show if you donít do your research. And if you think editors wonít catch procedural errors, think again. Savvy editors have read enough crime fiction to pick up on the details.

∑ Walking the line between real life and CSI TV Ė sometimes for fiction sake you have to ignore reality in favor of a readerís perception. For example, most cops will tell you that it takes weeks (or even months) to get DNA results back from a crime lab, depending on the lab backlog or if itís a state lab located somewhere else. I may not turn it around in minutes (like they do on TV), but I might prolong the test for a week or not use DNA evidence to ID the killer. I might find another way (a different type of clue) that is more plausible, given any tight time constraints.

∑ Most cities have a website link to their police department. The site will be filled with good information, including their ranking system, their station street locations, the hierarchy of their departments, the name of their CSI department (not all go by CSI), the area of coverage for each station, uniform descriptions, and much more. When I have access to this type of information, Iíll either use it or be purposefully vague if I think my readers might perceive the details as too much. But after hearing from some, Iíve apparently got police officers, FBI, and other government types reading my books. I wouldnít want to disappointment them.

∑ I often research futuristic surveillance or weapons technologies, then project forward what I think the weaponís capabilities might be in a new and improved 2.0 version. Iím not Tom Clancy with his insider contacts, so I have to make do with my own resources.

∑ As Iíve stated, I tend to investigate a number of sources and not just rely on one personís opinion or one resource. Below are ways to research crime fiction.

∑ Internet
∑ Books/Resource Library
∑ Experts<O:p</O:p
∑ Hands On Experience - Training<O:p</O:p
∑ Online Classes<O:p</O:p
∑ Field Trips & Tours<O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p
What Iíve done for research:

∑ Do yourself a favor and see if you have a local police academy. I was fortunate enough to have one in my small town. Classes can be up to 11 weeks long, meeting one night per week for a few hours. We toured police facilities, heard presentations from department heads (including homicide & SWAT & the K-9 Unit), and fired weapons and blew up stuff with the bomb squad at the firing range. I also met my first technical advisor there.

∑ Iíve also toured a state of the art crime lab. Do you have any in your area? You should check.

∑ Iíve been to several firing ranges to shoot several types of weapons with my most recent trip to the FBI range at Quantico in Washington, DC.

∑ On my trip to DC, I also visited the CIA at Langley, the State Department, and the U.S. Postal Inspectors. These tours were organized and hosted by the Kiss of Death Online Chapter, an authorís group of the RWA. Each location gave presentations and allowed us to speak to agents and see the facilities. An amazing opportunity.

∑ Google Maps (street view) Ė If you want a 360-degree view of a particular street corner, building, or intersection, Google it and look around. Itís a really cool feature. Look for the little yellow man and try it out by clicking and dragging him to the location you want to see on street level. This can add authenticity to your setting descriptions or give you ideas on where to stage scenes. I used this feature in a book once and found a deserted old warehouse that was perfect for my novel. How cool is that?!!!

∑ Iíve taken online classes in forensics and crime scene investigation. The RWA Kiss of Death online chapter (http://www.rwamysterysuspense.org/index.php) offers workshops on various topics like this. And there is also the Writers Police Academy (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/), hosted by Lee Lofland (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/lee_lofland.html) and conducted in North Carolina.

∑ Over the years Iíve accumulated my own small library of forensics and crime investigation books, usually based on recommendations from professionals. And I add to it all the time. Two I would recommend are: Forensics for Dummies by D. P. Lyle, MD and Crime Science Ė Methods of Forensic Detection by Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer.
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Favorite Research Links & Email Loops:<O:p</O:p

1. Weapons_Info-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (Weapons_Info-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) (Send email here to subscribe)
Ask questions about guns, blades, poisons, etc. in self-defense, military, flying, hunting, law enforcement, competitions, crime, and so on. General survival, firefighter, medical, forensics, law enforcement, hunting, disaster recovery, and MacGyver-esque questions can also be answered. Brief moderators' and consultants' biographies are available. <O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p

2. crimescenewriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (crimescenewriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) (send email here to subscribe)
A forum for asking and answering crime scene investigation, applied forensics, and police procedure questions for fiction or non-fiction writers. Writers post questions and crime scene investigators, forensic scientists, and medical practioners answer them. <O:p></O:p>
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3. https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html) (CIA World Factbook)
This site gives information on other countries that Iíve found helpful too.<O:p</O:p
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4. http://www.crimelibrary.com/index.html (http://www.crimelibrary.com/index.html) Crime Library-Great for Ideas<O:p</O:p
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5. http://www.apsu.edu/oconnort/ (http://www.apsu.edu/oconnort/) (Criminal Justice Class Notes Ė Austin Peav State University at Ft Campbell KY) Good police procedural info here.<O:p</O:p
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6. http://www.fbi.gov/ (http://www.fbi.gov/) (The FBI)<O:p</O:p
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7. http://www.lawandfiction.com/ (http://www.lawandfiction.com/) (Law & Fiction) Good for questions on legal issues<O:p</O:p
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8. http://www.dplylemd.com/ (http://www.dplylemd.com/) (Author Dr D. P. Lyle, MD Ė The Writerís Medical & Forensics Lab) Doug Lyle is very generous with his time. Heíll answer questions and provides wonderful information on his blog. Heís also the author of Forensics for Dummies, among other non-fiction books.<O:p</O:p
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9. YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/) and Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/) can be great places to find expert testimonials. Hereís a recent link I used: http://vimeo.com/11471243 (http://vimeo.com/11471243). This link is a video diary of John Beedeís climb up Mount Denali in Alaska, a great way for me to see his entire expedition as I was writing my current YA project where a teen boy does the same climb. Of course, thereís plenty more details I need to have, such as equipment and training required, but Iíve got friends who have made the trek and other links for that. Getting multiple sources of information wonít be a problem.<O:p</O:p
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10. http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress/ (http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress/) Lee Loflandís Graveyard Shift is a terrific blog for writers that posts insightful information for crime fiction authors. Lee also is involved with the Writerís Police Academy (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/index.html). <O:p</O:p
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11. Also, if youíre already a national member of RWA (http://www.rwanational.org/) ($85 membership fee), you can join the Kiss of Death (KOD) Online chapter (http://www.rwamysterysuspense.org/index.php) for a nominal membership fee of $20. KOD has a great email loop that focuses on research and the industry and supports its members. And they also conduct some pretty amazing online workshops (Killer Instincts & Murder One) and research trips held during the RWA national conference each year. Thatís how I got to see the FBI, CIA, and State Department in Washington, DC in 2009. And KOD also hosts the Daphne du Maurier Contest for published authors as well as unpublished ones, a contest focused on mystery/suspense/thrillers, with both contemporary and historical categories. And because they are an online organization, anyone can join easily if you have access to the internet. They are definitely a professional organization worth checking out.<O:p</O:p
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12. A list of the TOP 50 BLOGS for mystery readers: http://www.bestcollegesonline.net/blog/2010/50-blogs-for-mystery-readers/ (http://www.bestcollegesonline.net/blog/2010/50-blogs-for-mystery-readers/) And Iím proud to say that my group blog, THE KILL ZONE (http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/), was included on this list.<O:p</O:p
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13. http://www.truecrimereport.com/ (http://www.truecrimereport.com/) A true Crime blog that could conjure up a story or two.<O:p</O:p
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14. http://health.discovery.com/search/results.html?focus=video&query=Dr+G (http://health.discovery.com/search/results.html?focus=video&query=Dr+G) The Discovery Channel has episodes of Dr. G Ė Medical Examiner. These can be graphic, but she gives insights into what decomposition looks and smells like, or she talks about tools of her trade, or toxicology. Even the background scenes can give you insight into what a cop would see at an autopsy.<O:p></O:p>
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15. http://www.modelmayhem.com/ (http://www.modelmayhem.com/) This site can help you come up with character images. You input your search criteria for age, hair color, skin color, etc. and model photos will pop up. A fun site to look for inspiration. (Beware. Over the years, Iíve seen these photos turn pretty sexy or explicit, but this is still a good tool to use for character images. I found a photo of my YA teen girl dressed in the exact clothes I had imagined her wearing. That photo completely inspired the book.)<O:p</O:p
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Discussion:<O:p</O:p
Please feel free to post questions on anything youíve read in this session. Iíll respond during the week of Oct 11-17<SUP>th</SUP>. But for those who donít have specific questions, please share your thoughts:<O:p</O:p
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1. What great research links, books or other sources have you found that youíd like to share?
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2. For those of you writing paranormal, are there any sites you find helpful to research demonology or rituals? (Even contemporary detective stories can use good paranormal links from time to time.)<O:p</O:p
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Copyright Material Ė Jordan Dane<O:p</O:p

Jordan Dane
October 6th, 2010, 06:47 PM
I've provided email loop contact info for some great crime fiction experts. The loop experts are folks who have retired or are presently working in various jobs that can give your stories depth and authenticity.

One of the things I like to do is research what I can before I ask an expert any questions. I do this because I want to formulate my own judgment on how this will impact my book and I want to have some exposure so I can ask more questions and not waste the time of the expert who is generous enough to take time from his or her day to help me.

But I've seen people ask blind, off the wall questions that the experts have to peel back layers to get at what the person is really wanting to know. For example, one woman posted a question that went something like this - "I need a disease for my book. Anyone have something that is not life threatening, but is pretty awful?" And then there was the aspiring author who posted a question on the weapons loop, stating she wanted to launch an attack on a country club and how could she write this. It wasn't until several exchanges and discussion that we finally got from her that the country club catered to vampires who are immortal and they were being attacked by aliens. Can you imagine what went through the ex-military & former cops who volunteer their time on this loop? They were all very polite, but the discussion suddenly stopped and the woman had no idea why. I think if she had been more upfront and explained her situation more clearly, the experts might have had fun brainstorming scenarios. She needed to explain more about her world building details, but instead, she kept correcting every responder as if they should have been mind readers and known how her world was supposed to be.

So that's one of the reasons why I like to have some thoughts in my head before I go ask a question. I met my weapons expert on the Weapons Loop :gun_bandana:--a guy I love working with--after I explained my jungle scenario with hostages and told him my basic set up, radio communication methods, weapons carried, and my preliminary tactical team strategy, I then asked how he would enhance it. He came back with some great stuff that tweaked what I had instead of him having to provide everything.

Sometimes experts only give you what you specifically ask for and nothing more--mainly because they have no idea what you're thinking and what will end up in your book. And if you don't actually KNOW more, then you won't realize he's only given you half the info. So it pays to have an inkling before you dive in with a broad question like tactics on a hostage rescue. Even the savviest of techno guys will need to know what you're envisioning for the scene like where the village is located, is it in a valley or mountain, are the hostages being held in huts or in caves, etc. I would encourage you to be clear and lay the scenarios out as best you can, then see who is willing to help and how much.

Put some effort into the research so it doesn't appear as if you're asking someone to write your whole scene. If you don't have a good notion how things will play out in your scene, how will you know if the advice you're getting is good? It's more work, but it's your job to get the details right. Plus, the more you learn, the less you'll need to ask the next time you have a similar scene. smilies/bump.gif

SherryG
October 8th, 2010, 06:51 PM
Thanks for this great post, and yes, please, I have a question.
I have a wip that revolves around bigamy, false claims on a deceased will, and the differences in quickie marraiges in different states and Mexico the Dominican Republic.
Researce is not my strong point and I've had a sigular lack of success in unearthing the infomation I need. So any advice on where to even start looking will be gratefully received.
Thanks.

Jordan Dane
October 8th, 2010, 09:20 PM
Thanks for this great post, and yes, please, I have a question.
I have a wip that revolves around bigamy, false claims on a deceased will, and the differences in quickie marraiges in different states and Mexico the Dominican Republic.
Researce is not my strong point and I've had a sigular lack of success in unearthing the infomation I need. So any advice on where to even start looking will be gratefully received.
Thanks.

Legal questions like this are really tough, especially since you have so many countries involved and your question is very broad. On my resource links, I listed a legal source for writers. This would be a good place to start, but because your question is broad and encompasses several countries, I think you'll need to be more specific when you post your question there. And you'll have to realize that the expert on the other end of the line will only have their area of expertise and they probably won't be knowledgeable in as many countries as you need.

But let's face it, how many of your books will be sold in the Dominican Republic? Sometimes you have to make a decision on how much detail is worth the time it would take to research it.

I would narrow down my research and make a broad generality that if the answer is common in Mexico, it might be the same for the Dominican Republic, unless you can find something to the contrary on the Internet.

That's why they call it fiction. You can stretch the truth for the sake of the story. Blatant abuse of the truth can pull a reader out of the story, like when I read terrible police procedure. Most readers who are into crime fiction will have the same reaction, but in obscure areas of the world, I think you can afford to take liberties because most readers simply won't know. If it sounds reasonable (because it sounds like what most people believe is true), then you can find a way to generalize and make it seem realistic for the purposes of fiction.

Even marriage laws state to state in the U.S. can be different, depending on if the state is common law or not. For anything dealing with wills and marriage laws in the U.S., I would use that link I have listed for fiction writers. And who knows, maybe they will have a good guess at laws in Mexico, but I can't help you on the Dominican Republic.

Legalese is a part of research that I hate. Most of my questions tend to be about arrests, search & seizure laws, and about holding someone for questioning. And I usually go to a cop for that. Wish I could be more help, but I'm hoping the legal link I have listed will do the trick.

Good luck. smilies/beer1.gif

Betty S
October 8th, 2010, 10:15 PM
:smilingsun:Great Links!!!:smilingsun:

SherryG
October 9th, 2010, 10:12 AM
Jordan, Many thanks for your response. I'll take everything on board :-) especially about honing my questions down to the core. As for the links, -- awesome :-) Thanks again.

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 10:15 AM
:smilingsun:Great Links!!!:smilingsun:
I know how you like your links, B. Happy to contribute, oh goddess of research.

:clap:

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 10:19 AM
Jordan, Many thanks for your response. I'll take everything on board :-) especially about honing my questions down to the core. As for the links, -- awesome :-) Thanks again.

I hate legal questions, mostly because there are no easy links to find the kind of answers authors need. The law always needs interpretation and our unique scenarios can't easily be found on a generic Internet query. That's why it helps to do as much as you can, then tighten down your questions so any expert won't feel overwhelmed.

You can do this, Sherry. I have faith in you.

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 10:32 AM
Jordan, Many thanks for your response. I'll take everything on board :-) especially about honing my questions down to the core. As for the links, -- awesome :-) Thanks again.

You got me curious about links and I found two that you might want to explore.

This one looked to be the most legit and might help you, but maybe not in the countries you wanted. This is the US State Dept info. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and it has marriage law in different countries, including divorces. You might see certain similarities in some areas of the globe that you can apply to the Dominican Republic.

http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_775.html

The one below is a summary of links that will lead to marriage licenses in different countries. You'll have to hit each of the links that apply to your story, but this may lead somewhere, I hope.

http://marriage.about.com/cs/marriagelicenses/a/marriagelic.htm

Karen McGrath
October 9th, 2010, 04:20 PM
Thanks so much for these links!

I'm sad to say I have nothing to contribute yet. My novel takes place in Boston and Brazil. Where I was ignorant of procedure, I did as you said, had a non-expert handle things. My protag is a lawyer and I've had some experience in that which was helpful. My novel isn't heavy on the crime details.

The most research I did was in Brazil. I used Google Earth to scout out an area on the Amazon and find a local city with an airport, etc. I also used Google Translate for the language when I needed to.

Karen :)

Jordan Dane
October 9th, 2010, 09:52 PM
Thanks so much for these links!

I'm sad to say I have nothing to contribute yet. My novel takes place in Boston and Brazil. Where I was ignorant of procedure, I did as you said, had a non-expert handle things. My protag is a lawyer and I've had some experience in that which was helpful. My novel isn't heavy on the crime details.

The most research I did was in Brazil. I used Google Earth to scout out an area on the Amazon and find a local city with an airport, etc. I also used Google Translate for the language when I needed to.

Karen :)

Hey Karen--Thanks for the reminder about Google Earth. Great resource.

And thanks for the trip down memory lane. My 3rd book (NO ONE LIVES FOREVER) was set in Brazil. I had a friend (from my work) who used to live there and another author friend who was part of my thriller debut group at ITW. My friend from work originally helped me scout out locations and we poured over library books looking for the right setting. He helped with the Brazilian Portuguese too since he was fluent. Then after he moved out of the state, I had my Brazilian author friend help me with curse words in that language. Our emails were so funny. He's such a nice educated man, but to read our emails, you wouldn't think much of either of us. LOL

I incorporated my travels in Europe and Mexico to give me the feeling of a foreign country in Brazil. Even my Brazilian author friends thought I had really been there. That was a great thing to hear.

SherryG
October 12th, 2010, 08:30 AM
You got me curious about links and I found two that you might want to explore.

This one looked to be the most legit and might help you, but maybe not in the countries you wanted. This is the US State Dept info. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and it has marriage law in different countries, including divorces. You might see certain similarities in some areas of the globe that you can apply to the Dominican Republic.

http://travel.state.gov/law/citizenship/citizenship_775.html

The one below is a summary of links that will lead to marriage licenses in different countries. You'll have to hit each of the links that apply to your story, but this may lead somewhere, I hope.

http://marriage.about.com/cs/marriagelicenses/a/marriagelic.htm

My apologies for taking so long to respond, these are great links, thank you.

Jordan Dane
October 12th, 2010, 09:01 AM
My apologies for taking so long to respond, these are great links, thank you.

I bookmarked them for me too. :parachute:

Autumn Jordon
October 16th, 2010, 10:28 PM
Jordan, I know you probably don't remember me, but we met in DC (sitting in the walkway between towers) and we actually talked about this subject, research. Well, you talked and I took everything in you said. I'm in awe of your research contacts and the time it does shows in your works. Evil Without A Face is on my keeper shelf.

This summer my DH and I went back to DC and the International museum was on the top of my must see list. We spent hours in viewing what was used and speculating what could be. I came away with so much info and what ifs. I'm copying your list to a file. Thank you so much for sharing again. AJ


Killer Research



By Jordan Dane

<O:p</O:p
Before I started writing, I never realized how much an author had to research. Even a relatively simple story can involve a diversion into the library, or an internet query, or face time or a phone conversation with an expert. And I often donít take the first answer I get. Many times I want confirmation from several sources before I write about something. But research broadens my own experience and allows me to delve into anything that might interest me.

Research Tips:

∑ If you want to put yourself into the shoes of your characters, try and scare yourself. Seriously! Trek through a cemetery at night by yourself. Okay, so maybe not by yourself, but with your BFF. And pay special attention to how your body reacts to fear. The escalated heart rate, the panting, the sweat, etc. Sometimes we all have to be reminded what itís like to be hunted. Iíve tried scaring myself many times. My mom thinks Iím nuts, but if something bad happened to you, what would you do? Do you know what itís like to be truly afraid?

∑ Okay, back to more normal stuff. When it comes to forensics and police procedure, get it right. Donít fake it.

∑ If you have to fake it because you donít feel comfortable with the details, then stay in the point of view (POV) of a character who is not an expert. Make them a witness or an amateur sleuth outside law enforcement. Getting in over your head will show if you donít do your research. And if you think editors wonít catch procedural errors, think again. Savvy editors have read enough crime fiction to pick up on the details.

∑ Walking the line between real life and CSI TV Ė sometimes for fiction sake you have to ignore reality in favor of a readerís perception. For example, most cops will tell you that it takes weeks (or even months) to get DNA results back from a crime lab, depending on the lab backlog or if itís a state lab located somewhere else. I may not turn it around in minutes (like they do on TV), but I might prolong the test for a week or not use DNA evidence to ID the killer. I might find another way (a different type of clue) that is more plausible, given any tight time constraints.

∑ Most cities have a website link to their police department. The site will be filled with good information, including their ranking system, their station street locations, the hierarchy of their departments, the name of their CSI department (not all go by CSI), the area of coverage for each station, uniform descriptions, and much more. When I have access to this type of information, Iíll either use it or be purposefully vague if I think my readers might perceive the details as too much. But after hearing from some, Iíve apparently got police officers, FBI, and other government types reading my books. I wouldnít want to disappointment them.

∑ I often research futuristic surveillance or weapons technologies, then project forward what I think the weaponís capabilities might be in a new and improved 2.0 version. Iím not Tom Clancy with his insider contacts, so I have to make do with my own resources.

∑ As Iíve stated, I tend to investigate a number of sources and not just rely on one personís opinion or one resource. Below are ways to research crime fiction.

∑ Internet
∑ Books/Resource Library
∑ Experts<O:p</O:p
∑ Hands On Experience - Training<O:p</O:p
∑ Online Classes<O:p</O:p
∑ Field Trips & Tours<O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p
What Iíve done for research:

∑ Do yourself a favor and see if you have a local police academy. I was fortunate enough to have one in my small town. Classes can be up to 11 weeks long, meeting one night per week for a few hours. We toured police facilities, heard presentations from department heads (including homicide & SWAT & the K-9 Unit), and fired weapons and blew up stuff with the bomb squad at the firing range. I also met my first technical advisor there.

∑ Iíve also toured a state of the art crime lab. Do you have any in your area? You should check.

∑ Iíve been to several firing ranges to shoot several types of weapons with my most recent trip to the FBI range at Quantico in Washington, DC.

∑ On my trip to DC, I also visited the CIA at Langley, the State Department, and the U.S. Postal Inspectors. These tours were organized and hosted by the Kiss of Death Online Chapter, an authorís group of the RWA. Each location gave presentations and allowed us to speak to agents and see the facilities. An amazing opportunity.

∑ Google Maps (street view) Ė If you want a 360-degree view of a particular street corner, building, or intersection, Google it and look around. Itís a really cool feature. Look for the little yellow man and try it out by clicking and dragging him to the location you want to see on street level. This can add authenticity to your setting descriptions or give you ideas on where to stage scenes. I used this feature in a book once and found a deserted old warehouse that was perfect for my novel. How cool is that?!!!

∑ Iíve taken online classes in forensics and crime scene investigation. The RWA Kiss of Death online chapter (http://www.rwamysterysuspense.org/index.php) offers workshops on various topics like this. And there is also the Writers Police Academy (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/), hosted by Lee Lofland (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/lee_lofland.html) and conducted in North Carolina.

∑ Over the years Iíve accumulated my own small library of forensics and crime investigation books, usually based on recommendations from professionals. And I add to it all the time. Two I would recommend are: Forensics for Dummies by D. P. Lyle, MD and Crime Science Ė Methods of Forensic Detection by Joe Nickell and John F. Fischer.
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<O:p</O:p

Favorite Research Links & Email Loops:<O:p</O:p

1. Weapons_Info-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (Weapons_Info-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) (Send email here to subscribe)
Ask questions about guns, blades, poisons, etc. in self-defense, military, flying, hunting, law enforcement, competitions, crime, and so on. General survival, firefighter, medical, forensics, law enforcement, hunting, disaster recovery, and MacGyver-esque questions can also be answered. Brief moderators' and consultants' biographies are available. <O:p</O:p
<O:p</O:p

2. crimescenewriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (crimescenewriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) (send email here to subscribe)
A forum for asking and answering crime scene investigation, applied forensics, and police procedure questions for fiction or non-fiction writers. Writers post questions and crime scene investigators, forensic scientists, and medical practioners answer them. <O:p></O:p>
<O:p</O:p

3. https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html (https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html) (CIA World Factbook)
This site gives information on other countries that Iíve found helpful too.<O:p</O:p
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4. http://www.crimelibrary.com/index.html (http://www.crimelibrary.com/index.html) Crime Library-Great for Ideas<O:p</O:p
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5. http://www.apsu.edu/oconnort/ (http://www.apsu.edu/oconnort/) (Criminal Justice Class Notes Ė Austin Peav State University at Ft Campbell KY) Good police procedural info here.<O:p</O:p
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6. http://www.fbi.gov/ (http://www.fbi.gov/) (The FBI)<O:p</O:p
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7. http://www.lawandfiction.com/ (http://www.lawandfiction.com/) (Law & Fiction) Good for questions on legal issues<O:p</O:p
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8. http://www.dplylemd.com/ (http://www.dplylemd.com/) (Author Dr D. P. Lyle, MD Ė The Writerís Medical & Forensics Lab) Doug Lyle is very generous with his time. Heíll answer questions and provides wonderful information on his blog. Heís also the author of Forensics for Dummies, among other non-fiction books.<O:p</O:p
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9. YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/) and Vimeo (http://vimeo.com/) can be great places to find expert testimonials. Hereís a recent link I used: http://vimeo.com/11471243 (http://vimeo.com/11471243). This link is a video diary of John Beedeís climb up Mount Denali in Alaska, a great way for me to see his entire expedition as I was writing my current YA project where a teen boy does the same climb. Of course, thereís plenty more details I need to have, such as equipment and training required, but Iíve got friends who have made the trek and other links for that. Getting multiple sources of information wonít be a problem.<O:p</O:p
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10. http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress/ (http://www.leelofland.com/wordpress/) Lee Loflandís Graveyard Shift is a terrific blog for writers that posts insightful information for crime fiction authors. Lee also is involved with the Writerís Police Academy (http://www.writerspoliceacademy.com/index.html). <O:p</O:p
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11. Also, if youíre already a national member of RWA (http://www.rwanational.org/) ($85 membership fee), you can join the Kiss of Death (KOD) Online chapter (http://www.rwamysterysuspense.org/index.php) for a nominal membership fee of $20. KOD has a great email loop that focuses on research and the industry and supports its members. And they also conduct some pretty amazing online workshops (Killer Instincts & Murder One) and research trips held during the RWA national conference each year. Thatís how I got to see the FBI, CIA, and State Department in Washington, DC in 2009. And KOD also hosts the Daphne du Maurier Contest for published authors as well as unpublished ones, a contest focused on mystery/suspense/thrillers, with both contemporary and historical categories. And because they are an online organization, anyone can join easily if you have access to the internet. They are definitely a professional organization worth checking out.<O:p</O:p
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12. A list of the TOP 50 BLOGS for mystery readers: http://www.bestcollegesonline.net/blog/2010/50-blogs-for-mystery-readers/ (http://www.bestcollegesonline.net/blog/2010/50-blogs-for-mystery-readers/) And Iím proud to say that my group blog, THE KILL ZONE (http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/), was included on this list.<O:p</O:p
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13. http://www.truecrimereport.com/ (http://www.truecrimereport.com/) A true Crime blog that could conjure up a story or two.<O:p</O:p
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14. http://health.discovery.com/search/results.html?focus=video&query=Dr+G (http://health.discovery.com/search/results.html?focus=video&query=Dr+G) The Discovery Channel has episodes of Dr. G Ė Medical Examiner. These can be graphic, but she gives insights into what decomposition looks and smells like, or she talks about tools of her trade, or toxicology. Even the background scenes can give you insight into what a cop would see at an autopsy.<O:p></O:p>
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15. http://www.modelmayhem.com/ (http://www.modelmayhem.com/) This site can help you come up with character images. You input your search criteria for age, hair color, skin color, etc. and model photos will pop up. A fun site to look for inspiration. (Beware. Over the years, Iíve seen these photos turn pretty sexy or explicit, but this is still a good tool to use for character images. I found a photo of my YA teen girl dressed in the exact clothes I had imagined her wearing. That photo completely inspired the book.)<O:p</O:p
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Discussion:<O:p</O:p
Please feel free to post questions on anything youíve read in this session. Iíll respond during the week of Oct 11-17<SUP>th</SUP>. But for those who donít have specific questions, please share your thoughts:<O:p</O:p
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1. What great research links, books or other sources have you found that youíd like to share?
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2. For those of you writing paranormal, are there any sites you find helpful to research demonology or rituals? (Even contemporary detective stories can use good paranormal links from time to time.)<O:p</O:p
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Copyright Material Ė Jordan Dane<O:p</O:p

Jordan Dane
October 16th, 2010, 10:37 PM
Jordan, I know you probably don't remember me, but we met in DC (sitting in the walkway between towers) and we actually talked about this subject, research. Well, you talked and I took everything in you said. I'm in awe of your research contacts and the time it does shows in your works. Evil Without A Face is on my keeper shelf.

This summer my DH and I went back to DC and the International museum was on the top of my must see list. We spent hours in viewing what was used and speculating what could be. I came away with so much info and what ifs. I'm copying your list to a file. Thank you so much for sharing again. AJ

Oh my gosh. I remember you. And that little spot between the towers was one of my favorite places to hang out with all the sunshine and flowers there. I'm so glad you enjoyed by book and I'm happy to be of help with research. DC was phenomenal, wasnt it? I'll have to take another trip to DC with my DH too.

Take care and hope to see you again.

Autumn Jordon
October 16th, 2010, 11:00 PM
Oh my gosh. I remember you. And that little spot between the towers was one of my favorite places to hang out with all the sunshine and flowers there. I'm so glad you enjoyed by book and I'm happy to be of help with research. DC was phenomenal, wasnt it? I'll have to take another trip to DC with my DH too.

Take care and hope to see you again.

DC was special for me, as a Golden Heart. I hope to make it to Thrillerfest one day. I've heard it is wonderful.

Thanks for the offer. I might take you up on it. I'm working on a story involving the US Marshals. Have you worked with that agency?

Jordan Dane
October 17th, 2010, 10:30 AM
DC was special for me, as a Golden Heart. I hope to make it to Thrillerfest one day. I've heard it is wonderful.

Thanks for the offer. I might take you up on it. I'm working on a story involving the US Marshals. Have you worked with that agency?

Tfest is GREAT as far as seeing many the amazing authors you and I have probably been reading for years. I got to meet my fav author there, Robert Crais. He was so generous with his time with me and when he put his arm around me to congratulate me on my 3-book debut, I melted. And I met my fellow debut thriller authors there, got to meet Carla Neggers & Karen Rose for the first time there, and Allison Brennan, Cj Lyons and I did a special signing in Connecticut that was a blast. Allison rented a car to take us there. She's a class act.

Plus Tfest is in NYC so I could meet with Avon folks and we did a few promo interviews & chats in their HarperStudio. It's magical. That was my first time in NYC and many of my side trips were captured in my Sweet Justice series through the eyes of my bounty hunter Jessie when she moved there. You should seriously go to tfest sometime.

And once you're published, the ITW doesn't charge membership, yet they offer things that other orgs don't. I really love being a member there. You can have your new releases featured on their website, they interview you and post that on their website, as well as feature your book release in their e-newletter that goes out to 12,000+ readers. And debut authors get even MORE focus put on them at the conference and beyond. It's definitely an org I would recommend, especially as a debut author.

I've never researched the US Marshals but have come close. I love the idea of them in a book. And with TV shows like CHASE and IN PLAIN SIGHT featuring US Marshals, it's a great way to expose readers to that branch. Good choice!!!

Autumn Jordon
October 17th, 2010, 05:04 PM
Thanks, Jordan. TFest sounds like an org I need to check out. I'm not at your level yet, but hopefully one day. Thanks so much for your discussion this week. I'll keep in touch via your website, which is awesome BTW. Take care,
Autumn Jordon

[quote=Jordan Dane;
And once you're published, the ITW doesn't charge membership, yet they offer things that other orgs don't. I really love being a member there. You can have your new releases featured on their website, they interview you and post that on their website, as well as feature your book release in their e-newletter that goes out to 12,000+ readers. And debut authors get even MORE focus put on them at the conference and beyond. It's definitely an org I would recommend, especially as a debut author.

I've never researched the US Marshals but have come close. I love the idea of them in a book. And with TV shows like CHASE and IN PLAIN SIGHT featuring US Marshals, it's a great way to expose readers to that branch. Good choice!!![/quote]

Jordan Dane
October 17th, 2010, 05:47 PM
Thanks, Jordan. TFest sounds like an org I need to check out. I'm not at your level yet, but hopefully one day. Thanks so much for your discussion this week. I'll keep in touch via your website, which is awesome BTW. Take care,
Autumn Jordon

Any suspense or crime fiction author would benefit from this organization. You might want to check out their approved publishers list. They have advance workshops prior to the conference beginning and panels--not like RWA--but terrific thriller authors participate. And of course, all the fun stuff happens at the hotel bar after hours.

And www.xuni.com (http://www.xuni.com) is my website designer. She specializes in authors and is an AMAZING designer!! Love her.

Autumn Jordon
October 17th, 2010, 08:36 PM
Wooohooo!!! I just filled out the form and submitted it. I'm looking forward to being part of the group. Thanks so much for mentioning this. I owe you a drink. AJ



Any suspense or crime fiction author would benefit from this organization. You might want to check out their approved publishers list. They have advance workshops prior to the conference beginning and panels--not like RWA--but terrific thriller authors participate. And of course, all the fun stuff happens at the hotel bar after hours.

And www.xuni.com (http://www.xuni.com) is my website designer. She specializes in authors and is an AMAZING designer!! Love her.

Jordan Dane
October 17th, 2010, 10:19 PM
Wooohooo!!! I just filled out the form and submitted it. I'm looking forward to being part of the group. Thanks so much for mentioning this. I owe you a drink. AJ

Oh my gosh...that's great. Visit their website and check out the book releases and interviews they do when the author releases. When you have a new book, make contact with ITW by posting your book online yourself. Someone will contact you for the rest and get your cover. And ITW is free for its author members. Yay!