Welcome Melanie Atkins – and her new release!

Hi everyone, I’m delighted to welcome Melanie Atkins back to Magical Musings!

Melanie Atkins a multi-published author of romantic suspense, an editor for an online publishing company, and an avid reader. Writing is more than an escape for her—it’s a way of life. She grew up in the Deep South listening to tall tales and penning stories about her cats. Now she writes gripping stories of love, suspense, and mystery with the help of her furry little feline muses.

The Writers’ Police Academy: Yes, there is such a thing!

Really? Yes! The last weekend in September, I attended Lee Lofland’s Writers’ Police Academy near Greensboro, NC. I went the past two years as well — but this year’s conference was the best ever! I had such a good time, met some big name people, and learned so much. I was even able to interview a SWAT Team sniper in a search for info about my current WIP. Awesome!

The Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) was a literal blast, as usual. I didn’t do so great when I faced the first scenario; guess it took me a minute to get back in the groove. In the second one, however, I didn’t shoot the hostage I thought I’d brought down. Turns out the hostage taker knifed the guy after I nailed the bad guy in the crotch. Then once the hostage hit the floor, I shot the hostage taker in the chest and that was that. Two direct hits. Woot! So. Much. Fun!

Some of my favorite classes were Underwater Evidence Recovery, courtesy of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office dive team; Suicides, Hangings, and Autoerotic Deaths, with one of my favorite instructors, Bill Lanning; Personal Protection for Women, taught by the unshakable Dee Jackson; Drug Interdiction; How a Case Works, by Marcia Clark, the woman who prosecuted OJ many moons ago; and Forensic Identification, taught by the estimable Dr. Elizabeth Murray. To top it off, Lee Child of Jack Reacher fame was the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s banquet. Wow. I could go on and on… because really, I had the time of my life.

In addition to the classes and the firearms simulator, this year I was also able to  ride along with a member of the Greensboro Police Department. I rode with Officer Ashley Hawkins and got to see a good sized section of the city. She and some of the other officers I met during the evening were all so young, I felt as if I’d been dropped into an episode of Rookie Blue. Too funny. And unfortunately for me, the few hours I tagged along with her proved to be relatively uneventful. Officer Hawkins couldn’t even find anyone with an out of date car tag. We did investigate a supposed gunshot, however, and near the end of my ride, she got a call to check out a burglar alarm at a really creepy empty warehouse. When cops get an alarm call like that, they have to search the entire building, just in case; the place was huge, so she asked another officer for help, and he showed up with a trained K-9 — a beautiful German Shepherd used to doing building searches. The alarm kept shrieking, though, and they couldn’t hear the dog bark, so they still had to go through the entire place. That took a while. Another cop drove around to the back of the building and checked the ancient loading dock. They didn’t find anyone inside, and I guess that was good… although I would have loved a little more excitement. As it was, I was late getting back to the pickup point. Oops.

I tip my hat to Lee Lofland, the extremely competent staff of the Highpoint Public Library, Sisters in Crime (a wonderful organization that subsidized the conference fee for their members), the folks at Guilford Technical Community College, the men and women of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office and the Greensboro Police Department, and the staff at the Embassy Suites Hotel. What a fabulous few days it was for all of us! I know I’ve missed a lot of people, so please forgive me.

I recommend this conference to anyone writing crime fiction. Can’t wait for next year if Lee, SinC, and the library folks decided to tackle this again.

Meanwhile, I have a new book out this month… and more coming soon. So much to do, so little time.

HAUNTED MEMORIES, my October book from Desert Breeze Publishing, is a re-release, and I’m so happy to have it back out there. When it was out before, it got excellent reviews. In this story, Olivia Bartlett is stunned to find her old friend, Deputy Tucker Hawkins, living in the house she has inherited, but she’s even more shocked to glimpse her cruel stepfather lurking in the shadows. Has Walter come back to haunt her, or is he really alive–and trying to kill her? To survive, she must turn to Tucker, who not only stakes his claim to the old house, but also to her heart.

The book is available at Desert Breeze http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-349/Haunted-Memories-Melanie-Atkins/Detail.bok , Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and many other online outlets.

Also, my book SKELETON BAYOU is at Amazon http://amzn.to/SkfPKE and

Barnes & Nobles http://bit.ly/PIg3hW for only .99.

Hope you’ll check it out!

Thanks so much for hosting me!

About Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer writes romantic suspense, with or without paranormal elements like TUESDAY'S CHILD (2011) and now young adult books in various genres like DANGEROUS DESIGNS (2011). Writing stabilizes her in a life gone wild! The other stabilizers? Cheesecake and her four cats! Of course, she's dreaming to think she'll get a piece cheesecake once her four kids find out she's been baking!
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10 Responses to Welcome Melanie Atkins – and her new release!

  1. Misty Evans says:

    What fun, Melanie! I’d love to take police academy training for authors. Have a friend who did and I even have a picture of her driving a squad car and firing a gun. Too cool. I can only imagine all the juicy tidbits you picked up from your training.

    Best wishes for your continued success and thanks for dropping by to tell us about your experience!

  2. Amy Atwell says:

    Melanie, sounds like you had a blast! I’m curious–how many people attend this academy? I did a local Civilian Law Enforcement Academy (CLEA) a couple years ago with the St Johns Sheriff’s Office. It was amazing, and I developed such incredible respect for these men and women who risk their lives every day for our safety. (Plus I got to drive a squad car on a rain-covered test track at high speeds. Wheeeee!)

    Congrats on the new release!
    Amy Atwell`s last blog was …Story Icons: The Protector

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Melanie,

    Welcome to M&M again. I sooo want to go to The Writer’s Police Academy. What fun! And such a great education for writers. I get shivers just reader the titles of the classes you were lucky enough to take. Underwater Evidence Recovery sounds perfect for one of my new books!

    Major congrats on the new release!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Blog Tour for Family Blood Ties series – Vampire in Denial and Vampire in Distress!

  4. Edie Ramer says:

    Melanie, I don’t write police books, but that police academy sounds like a blast. I’d love to do something like that. Thanks for telling us about it.

    This is a great time for your two spooky books. I predict they’ll be a big hit!

  5. Thanks, y’all. The conference truly was a blast. We had about 200 people in attendance this year — this was the biggest one yet! I got some great info to use in my current WIP and later, too. Such a great resource for people who write about crime. Others come just because they’re CSI junkies. I’m hoping they’ll do another one in 2013. If so, I plan to go back. It’s even more fun now since I know many of the instructors.

  6. Ohhhh! Your book sounds great! Very spooky fun!
    Never heard of that conference, but it sounds amazingly fun and interesting. Glad you had a good time!

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Wow. All I can say is Wow. That is quite the experience. Priceless experience, at that. The closest I came to gun training was a friend of mine who has several guns (trained with them, of course) and he showed me the different makes, how to load, a whole bunch of stuff. I don’t write crime books, but my UF required a bit of knowledge about firearms.

    Still, a conference like that had to have been fascinating, to say the least.

  8. Thanks, Lori and Liz. It was a fabulous experience.

  9. Melanie, you are my role model! Well, I’ll skip the academy, but I’d like to write like you do when I grow up.

  10. Melanie, what a great experience, and how lucky you are to have gone three times. You obviously get a lot out of it. Congrats on your latest release!

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