Friday, January 20, 2017

Bursting with Info Friday on the Alley with guest Tina Radcliffe and GIVEAWAY

Today is Inauguration Day in the United States.

In other news, the Alley Cats have a lot to share, so much so we are bursting with info here on the alley. We'd like you to join us in sharing your news, too. Two commenters will win a prize!

And here we are--all different places in the writing process. A total spectrum.

So, you see, we understand and feel wherever you are in the writing process, because we are there, too. Ready to walk alongside with you. Teach. Listen. Be an example. Cheer every single step.

This week, Amy wrote a piece on Writers Boot Camp-Lip Service. In it she talks about missed opportunities in our stories. Also, Ashley wrote a piece on The Story Within Your Story, which talks about morals. Scroll down to read these exciting posts.

Speaking of being an example, have I a treat for you. I've notice Tina Radcliffe's FB posts and had no idea that a regular Jane, like us could do what she's done. And for free. What she is about to share with you is well worth a cup of coffee and chance to sit. After reading her words, I was ready to seek out my local place and go where I had never gone before.  

Here is Tina:

One of the Best Writing Resources is Right in Your Backyard. 
Your local citizens police academy. 
And it’s free!

Five-sensing refers to digging deep into the five traditionally recognized methods of perception: taste, sight, touch, smell, and hearing. How can you walk a mile in your character’s shoes if you don’t even have a clue what shoes he or she is wearing?

My medical background is of no help when I am trying to write a romantic suspense or even a sweet or inspirational romance with fire and/or law enforcement characters. I’m not a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer). My understanding of how cops, FBI agents, firefighters or members of an elite secret intelligence organization functions, is limited by my perception and experience.

Fortunately, there is an amazing amount of resources out there to enhance your perception. These resources allow you to step into the world you have created and steep in the taste, sight, touch, smell and sounds of the LEO’s world.

One of the best resources is right in your backyard. Your local citizens police academy. And it’s free!

At the Phoenix Police Department Citizens Police Academy, I observed a Taser demonstration, toured the crime lab, fired a Glock 49 (standard issue) at night, got up close and personal with the K-9 dogs, and participated in a use of force training- live video scenario-where I had to make split-second decisions on whether to draw my weapon. The most memorable part of this six-week course from a writer and citizen standpoint was a dialog with the victim of an officer-involved shooting, and the opportunity to hear and see photos of that officer’s incident.

Currently, I’m taking a 12-week course with Glendale, Arizona Police Department where I will get hands-on experience with the tools and equipment they use. This will include firearms training, a ride-along, and an inside look at SWAT, K-9 and crime scene investigations. This course will also delve into gangs and the role of the police chaplains.

These classes are part lecture, and part hands-on, and not only provide the sensory details for our stories, but trust me, ideas for GMC start hitting at a fast and furious rate. Have a notebook ready!

The ultimate sensory experience, however, is obtained with Writers Police Academy, where you live fire and police scenarios for hours on end at an action-packed conference. The conference sites have changed, and I need to remind anyone interested to keep your eye on the web page as it fills up fast as does the lottery opportunities for special classes.

From the WPA website: “The Writers’ Police Academy offers an exciting and heart-pounding interactive and educational hands-on experience for writers to enhance their understanding of all aspects of law enforcement, firefighting, EMS, and forensics.”

Here’s a taste of what I experienced at the WPA I attended in 2015. My first day, I arrived at 5 pm and did a ride-along with a female officer from seven p.m. until midnight. It included a mental health stop, that included transport to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, a one-on-one opportunity to learn more about the officer-worn camera and weapons, meeting the K-9 officer and his dog (this was not a class scenario, it was two officers, myself and another student), which included a live demonstration of the canine at work.  I also observed a full DUI stop.

My next days at WPA were just as action packed and included classes with the medical examiner, FBI agents, the local SWAT team, and Firefighting 101. How valuable are these classes? Valuable enough that even the special guest speakers, and New York Times best-sellers, Allison Brennan and Karin Slaughter participated. Students Margaret Daley, Terri Blackstock, Debby Giusti and Terri Reed, who have written dozens of best-sellers, were also my fellow classmates.

If citizen’s police academy or a conference is not in your schedule right now, don’t forget the many online opportunities with the RWA Kiss of Death-Mystery and Suspense Chapter. They provide online Coffin classes held via a Yahoo Group online.

Currently, I’m taking Police Procedure and Investigation: A Guide for Writers with Instructor: Lee Lofland. Lee is the mastermind behind WPA and blogs at The Graveyard Shift.
Here are some upcoming classes that I’ve earmarked:

April: Going Undercover With Police Special Operations Instructor: Scott Silveri
August: Elements of the Cozy Mystery Instructor: Lisa Rameriz
September: Plot Layering for Romantic Suspense Novels Instructor: Terri Reed

Have I missed any resources you’d like to share? Have you participated in any local citizen’s academy classes? Have I made you think about signing up for this opportunity?

Tina has a two-pack giveaway to share with one commenter. 
A copy of her latest release, Rocky Mountain Cowboy
and Lynette Eason’s Classified Christmas Mission.  

Love Inspired author Tina Radcliffe is a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 ACFW Carol Award finalist, a 2014 ACFW Mentor of the Year finalist, and a 2014 ACFW Carol Award winner. She has won first place in over twenty RWA chapter affiliated contests in her career. Tina is also a short story writer and has sold over twenty short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. She currently resides in Arizona where she is working on her first romantic suspense. Find her at 



Anonymous said...

Good morning, Writer's Alley! Delighted to be here with my post, "Five-Sensing When Your Character is in Law Enforcement." Do any of the Alley Cats write Romantic Suspense? Considered giving it a shot?

Exciting Citizen Police Academy News ride-along will be TEN HOURS!!! Whoa. That's at least a chapter of a book, right???

Mary Vee Writer said...

At least! And think about the story you could build around that, Tina! Your post is so exciting and the possibilities it opens for authors are amazing. Thanks!!!

Angie Dicken said...

Wow, what an amazing experience, Tina! So glad to see you at the Alley today! I've never attempted to write Romantic Suspense. I wonder if there are writing academies for British Historical authors set in the heart of London? Hmmmm... they used a whole different law enforcement system back then! YIKES!

Thanks, Mare for inviting Tina! What a great Fun Friday!

Anonymous said...

Where do you live, Mary? Check out one in your area!

Anonymous said...

ha! A Bobby Academy!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Think about it, Ang, if you have police in any way engaged in the story, this idea of Tina's could had such depth. The story doesn't have to be any one genre, IMO, just having police involved would make this a fabulous idea. And who knows where an author's ideas could spring to next. WOWSERS!!

Anonymous said...

Even a sweet contempt has cops and firemen!

Angie Dicken said...

Haha!!! Or an executioner one! Off with the head!!

Angie Dicken said...

Very true!!! Amazing resource!

Mary Vee Writer said...

You are hilarious, Ang. I hadn't considered that the same amazing of idea of Tina's could also work for our beloved bad guys. Great idea!!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Such an interesting post, Tina! That WPA sounds absolutely fascinating, as does the ride-along. I've not done this sort of in-depth research, but as a community journalist I've done a few things so that I could write about them for newspaper columns, including riding (on the back of) a Harley, flying in a puddle-jumper type plane, and milking a cow (one of those things was so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn't sleep the night before, lol). Small-town newspaper reporting has also allowed me to see, up-close, law enforcement/fire fighters as they work. Learned a lot that way. Thank you for sharing these ideas - can't wait to read the books that result from your research!

kaybee said...

Good morning TINA,
SO nice to hear from you in another venue, especially since Seekerville isn't open for comment on Fridays. This is such a good idea, and something I want to do when I move into mysteries and/or suspense. You take your research seriously and it shows.
Don't put me in the giveaway, I bought "Rocky Mountain Cowboy" last weekend and am about halfway through.
Tina is right, we need to do all the research we can and vet things through as much experience as possible.
Kathy Bailey

Jackie Layton said...

Good morning Tina and Writer's Alley!

What an impressive list of learning opportunities. No wonder your stories are so realistic.

I've read both books you're giving away and loved both of them. So, don't add my name to the drawing so somebody else can enjoy them. I just wanted to take a moment to say hi. Have a great weekend!

Myra Johnson said...

Fascinating, Tina! Your police academy experiences sound not only educational but fun! I've always wanted to try something like that, but the time and opportunity hasn't worked out yet.

No need to include me for Tina's book. My copy is front and center on my TBR stack!

Mary Vee Writer said...

You've had a lot of experiences yourself! I haven't milked a cow...not sure I want to do that one. I have flown in a puddle-jumper type plane and ridden on the back of a BMW and a Harley. Too awesome, right? Talk about thrills and adrenalin rushes.
Thanks so much for chatting with us. Look forward to seeing you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hey Kathy,
Yeee haw we got you over here to visit us. You do know we are the daughter blog to Seekerville, right?
Tina is the champion of serious research. There is no mistake in her stories and books when it comes to 3-D writing. And how cool is it that you just bought her book? What a great read, eh?

Looking forward to seeing you again, Kathy!

Mary Vee Writer said...

You took time out to stop by, how awesome. You recently moved, right? That is a lot of work, but is a project that brings lots of new opportunities. Imagine if you could engage in your community the way Tina did. Now that would be amazing.

Have a great weekend back at yah! :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hey Myra!
Sister Seekerville friend. I would imagine that some of the research for your historical would involve hands on time with the old time street walking cops. Not many of them around.
But if you ever get a chance to do first person research, let me know!!

BTW readers, Myra also has incredible historical books published, well worth reading.

Anonymous said...

It is fun, Laura. It would be cool if all my peeps went together and we could cause a rukus!!!

Anonymous said...

Kathy Bailey! You've love it as well. Hands-on is the BEST!!!

And the Milo! The video scenario of when to use your gun. Way cool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jackie.

I vote for a field trip. We all go to WPA! Wouldn't that be FUN!!!

Anonymous said...

You'd love it, Myra!!! Absolutely! You and Jack can sign up together. Great way to get to know your community.

Anonymous said...

Dude Ranch is also on my bucket list, Mary Vee.

Motorcycles, not so much. LOL. CHICKEN!

Jackie Layton said...

Mary, I haven't sold my house yet, but my hubby is already in SC and working.

Tina, I'd love to got to WPA with you! That would be a blast!

Anonymous said...

Think of all the trouble we could get into, Jackie!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Tina, you are so cool. And so busy! How you do all that you do is beyond me! I have never heard of those kinds of classes but it sure sounds like fun. I will have to check it out!

And all the Alley Cats sound incredibly busy! Way to go on all your successes!

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when the nest empties. Mom Writers Go Crazy! Woo hoo!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Tina, I'm not sure a group trip to WPA is the best idea - we might end up IN a book, LOL.

Mary, the cow scared me way more than the Harley!

Winnie said...

Those classes sound very interesting, Tina. I love to learn about new things, and what a fun way to do research! :-D I've heard wonderful things about your books. I need to check them out.

Anonymous said...

But think of the stories we could tell, Laura! hahahahaha

Anonymous said...

Winnie! Thanks for stopping by! You are entered. Thank you for the kind words!

Mary Vee Writer said...

No motorcycles, Tina. Girl if you can do all those other things, you can ride..feel the wind in your face, bend with the curves of the road...that's the way to experience a trip. Some day you're going to say, hey, Mary Vee, I did it. I rode a motorcycle and loved it.
Dude ranch, that is okay. I mean the smell, that's what gets to me. LOL

Mary Vee Writer said...

I'm sorry Jackie.
My hubby worked away for a time too. Came home every weekend or so until the house sold. The one benefit are those romantic interludes when they walk in the door :)
Hopefully you'll be able to join him soon.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Sherrinda, how I miss you. You're uber busy, too!
Who would have known that there were classes like these available? Good thing Tina spilled the beans!!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Seriously, the cow!! I can totally see...but was afraid to say it. Those animals are big...and you have your face up by them...and they can kick...and...yeah. glad to know I'm not alone.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I can't wait until you get a chance to read one of Tina's awesome books, you're going to love them.
Maybe you'll be one of the winners!! Here's hoping!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the giveaway.

Jeanne Takenaka said...

I wanted to get over here all day to visit with Tina and you wonderful Writer's Alley ladies. I finally made it. :) Better late than never, I guess.

Tina, I loved reading about all your experiences and opportunities in learning more about the LEO field I had no idea there were so many ways to get practical, hands-on experience! Thank you for sharing online ways to learn too. I don't know if I'll ever need this kind of information, but you never know.... ;) I might find a need for one of my books. :)

And, if you ever get to a dude ranch in Colorado, let me know. :) I haven't been to one since I was a girl!

Mary Vee Writer said...

What a treat to have you here today! Thanks for joining us. We hope to see you here again on the Alley.

Mary Vee Writer said...

There you are! I'm so glad you found time to pop in.

Who knows, maybe just maybe the most amazing story will pop in your head once you start on elf these classes! Your MC sent me a text saying she had a few ideas. ;)

Casey said...

Hi Tina!!!! It's so good to have you here! *waving furiously*

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Hi Tina! Thanks for being our guest! I have so wanted to try the citizens police academy! Most of my research comes from the web or interviews. At some point I'm gonna have to do an actual ride along! How exciting!

Mary Vee Writer said...

So, you've heard about it before, Amy?

Anonymous said...

Jeanne, the goal here is to be back in Colorado soon so may be trying out that dude ranch sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Casey. Waving back from Arizona where it is raining.

Anonymous said...

Amy, sometime you should enroll in Writers Police Academy as well. Great conference. Non-stop bang for your buck.

Kelly Blackwell said...

Tina, I love your idea about the Citizen's Police Academy. I remember our local news (okay for Prescott, AZ local is Phoenix) and they did a story on the police academy. I thought it sounded amazing, but I had no idea that it was free. I also figured that you had to be part of some neighborhood watch group to get involved. Either way it looked awesome. I can't do it soon, but I may have to see if there is something similar for our town. I know they offer a media day for the Fire Training Academy. Maybe I can try to dive into that.

No need to enter me into the giveaway. I already own Rocky Mountain Cowboy.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I am so with you...I am primed to investigate this option, too. There are a bunch of puddle towns around me who probably don't offer the class. I'm thinking only big towns? The nearest bigger town for me is 1 hour away but it would be worth the trip.

I'm so glad you stopped by, Kelly! And thanks for picking up a one of Tina's books.

Tina, who do we contact to check into this?

Anonymous said...

Kelly, the Phoenix one was awesome.

Just Google your city and citizens police academy.

The Prescott Police Department Volunteers are people helping people. To learn more about this program call the Volunteer Coordinator at 928 777-1988, or see our information regarding the Citizen’s Academy.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I didn't know you were in Montana. Or forgot. I have been to Billings and Flat Head Lake quite a few times. Set a few stories in Poulson.

I googled Montana. Citizen's Police Academy and they have them in a lot of places including Great Falls, Bozeman and Billings.