WPA: Day One


The first day of the Writers’ Police Academy opened with one-on-one visits with police officers, firefighters. and EMS personnel. Various agencies set up equipment on the driving track and answered questions and demonstrated equipment.

Hazardous Devices Team members offered information about explosives and how they’re handled. They also brought along some pretty massive disposal equipment and vehicles.

Recruits made their way from one station to another, reluctant to leave any of them. The information was fascinating.

Dive team members explained their role in criminal investigations and search and rescue operations.

Recruits made themselves at home behind the wheel of various patrol vehicles. Yes, they played with the lights and siren.

The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (S.E.R.T.) showed off some of their firepower.

Crime lab officers explained their duties.

Police motorcycles from several departments were on display.

Attendees toured the local sheriff’s office mobile command center.

N.C. Highway Patrol officers explained their role in law enforcement.

Bomb squad officers introduced their mechanical team member.

A fire sprinkler lab demonstration left recruits with a better appreciation of a firefighters job.

Crime scene investigators were often overheard saying, “It’s not like you see on CSI.”

FATS and VirTra training was a huge hit. Many writers said they now had a new-found respect for what police officers are faced with on a daily basis. I was extremely pleased to see everyone do so well under such stressful conditions.

Dr. Jonathan Hayes, NYC medical examiner, delivered a fascinating presentation on autopsy to a packed auditorium.

The event has already been described as Disneyland for writers.

More on Monday.

Chasing a Dragonfly


Darting between moss-draped limbs, twisted, gnarled, and snarled.

Whizzing past a red-topped stalk, a lonely tease of color living alone in a world of green.

A stop on some bark and a rest on a post.

Flittering about, through roots and leaves and muck.

Dashing willy-nilly around the wilting Lilly.

A mirror? A piece of glass? Not too close or a meal for a bass.

A visit with a spider. A water-walker, light as a feather.

It was here and then it was gone.

A bolt of lightening.

A fly-by.

A buzzing.

A tease.

A no show.

And then…there it was was.

As still as stick. A lump. A knot.


A click, a whir, and a flash.

And it was gone.

*     *     *

200 Word Short Story Contest Now Open!

The Writers’ Police Academy is pleased to announce the opening of the Golden Donut short story contest. The rules are simple. Write a story about the photograph above using exactly 200 words, including the title (each story must include an original title). All stories must be polished and complete, meaning they must have a beginning, middle, and a twisted ending that would make our keynote speaker proud. Again, all stories must be exactly 200 words. Not 201 or 199!

The contest winner will receive the prestigious Golden Donut Award (sponsored by the High Point North Carolina Public Library). All entries will be screened by a panel of authors who will select their ten favorite stories and then forward their picks to our mystery judge (identity will be revealed at the academy banquet). The masked decider will present the winning story title to the appropriate Writers’ Police Academy staff member. The winner’s name will be announced at the WPA banquet. The contest is open to everyone, not just attendees of the academy, and the winner need not be present to win.

Submission Guidelines:

Submission Deadline: September 10, 2010

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified.

– Hyphenated words, for the purpose of this contest, will be counted as two words.

– Be sure to include your name, address, email address, telephone number(s), and title of your story on a cover letter that’s separate from your story page. DO NOT include your name anywhere on the story page or it will not be read by the judges.

There is a $10 entry fee. Checks or money orders MUST BE made payable to “Writers’ Police Academy” and must accompany the submission in order for your submission to be considered.

– Send all entries to:

Writers’ Police Academy

P.O. Box 60091

Savannah, Ga. 31420

att. Short Story

– There is no limit on the number of entries by any author. But each individual entry must be accompanied by its own $10 entry fee. ( One entry = $10. Four entries = $40, etc.)

– Any entry not meeting the exact 200 word requirement will be disqualified.

– By submitting an entry to this contest authors agree to allow The Graveyard Shift/Lee Lofland/the Writers’ Police Academy, and affiliates to publish the story as a part of The Graveyard Shift blog and/or as advertisement for the Writers’ Police Academy.

*All rights to all work/short story shall remain the property of the author. The Writers’ Police Academy reserves the right to exclude or delete any entry without cause, reason, or explanation.

-No refunds. Proceeds go to the Writers’ Police Academy fund to benefit the GTCC criminal justice foundation.

Photo by Sunday Kaminski

Sunday Kaminski’s mysterious work has been featured in publications such as the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

So there you have it. Now get busy and take us on a journey down that winding road in the photo. Will anyone make it back? Who knows. That’s up to you.

Good luck!