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Each year, the Writers’ Police Academy hosts a wildly popular hands-on law enforcement training event for writers, readers, fans, and anyone else with an interest in police procedure and the forensics used to solve crimes. MurderCon 2020 is a special event hosted by the Writers’ Police Academy, and Sirchie, the global leader in crime scene technology and products. If you’ve attended in the past you already know the event is like no other. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend then you should sign up TODAY while there’s still time. It is truly an event of a lifetime.

The WPA is a massive production, one that requires multiple venues, busing, facility rentals, speaker and instructor expenses, training materials, equipment, supplies, caterers, etc. It’s expensive to say the least. Far more costly than, for example, a typical conference where the main expenses are hotel meeting rooms and A/V equipment. And we have those as well.

To help keep registration costs at a bare minimum, the WPA, in addition to an exciting auction (hint … REACHER!!!!) and raffle, we host two writing contests as fundraisers—the annual “Tales From the Graveyard Shift” anthology, and the Golden Donut 200-Word Short Story Contest.

The contests are fun and are beneficial to those who enter, the WPA, and the attendees of the Writers’ Police Academy events.

The WPA Anthology Series

Book Two …

People Are Strange: Tales From the Graveyard Shift (August 2020)

The winners of three available spots in the Writers’ Police Academy’s annual anthology contest will have their stories published in a traditionally published book, along with tales written by several top bestselling authors, such as Heather Graham, Phoef Sutton, Reed Farrel Coleman, Lisa Regan, Denise Grover Swank, and more.

Lisa Gardner is writing the foreword for PEOPLE ARE STRANGE, the 2020 WPA anthology.

Book Description

In the eerie glow of storefront neon lights and winking, blinking traffic signals, top bestselling thriller author Lisa Gardner emerges from the shadows onto a desolate, rain-soaked and uneven cobblestone street. It is from there, between the hours of midnight and dawn—the graveyard shift, that she introduces this collection of gripping tales of thrills, chills, and mystery.

*Lisa Gardner’s internationally acclaimed novels, published across 30 countries, have won awards from across the globe. She’s also had four books become TV movies and has made personal appearances on TruTV and CNN.

*Level Best Books publishes the “Tales From the Graveyard Shift” anthology series.


After Midnight: Tales From the Graveyard Shift (2019)

Book One …

Book Description (foreword by Lee Child ):

The curtain rises on this collection of twisted tales, revealing the words of bestselling thriller author Lee Child. Child sets the stage for a series of mysterious and strange goings-on that occur between the hours of midnight and dawn … the graveyard shift.

Contributing authors in this first anthology produced by the Writers’ Police Academy include bestselling mystery and crime authors, top television writers, true crime experts, and more.

Heather Graham
Phoef Sutton
Robin Burcell
Allison Brennan

Ry Brooks *contest winner
Carrie Stuart Parks
Lisa Klink
RJ Beam

Joe Bonsall
Katherine Ramsland
Denene Lofland
Michael A. Black

Emilya Naymark *contest winner
Mike Roche
Les Edgerton
Shawn Reilly Simmons

Rick McMahan
Marco Conelli
Cheryl Yeko
Howard Lewis
Linda Lovely
Lee Lofland

Copies of “After Midnight” are available here.


Golden Donut Short Story Contest

Winners of this challenging and fun contest receive the coveted Golden Donut Award along with a free registration to a Writers’ Police Academy event (the 2020 contest winner receives free registration to the 2021 WPA).

Golden Donut Short Story Contest Rules

The rules are simple. Write a story about the photograph using exactly 200 words — including the title. Each story needs an original title, and the image must be the main subject of the story. No clues as to the subject matter of the image or where it was taken. You decide. Let your imagination run wild. Remember though, what you see in the image above absolutely must be the main subject of your tale.


3 submissions allowed per person.

Submission deadline: Midnight (EST) July 1, 2020

Enter HERE


200 Words

No more. No less. Including the title, the story must be 200 words. “Don’t” is two words. “OMG” is three words. “Smith-Jones” is two words. Count them.

Finished Product

All stories are to be polished and complete. They must have a beginning, middle and a twisted, surprise ending.

Fairly Judged

The Golden Donut contest is judged blindly. Each entry is assigned a number so the judges do not see the writers’ names.

Reader Panel

A panel of readers will select their 12 favorite stories and then forward them to the final judge. All decisions are final. The judge will review and send the winning entry to the WPA.

About the 2020 Golden Donut Judge, Linda Landrigan

Linda Landrigan, editor-in-chief of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Assuming the mantle of editor-in-chief in 2002, Linda Landrigan has also edited the commemorative anthology Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Presents Fifty Years of Crime and Suspense (2006) and the digital anthology Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Presents Thirteen Tales of New American Gothic (2012), and has found time to be active on the board of the New York City Chapter of the Women’s National Book Association. In 2008, Linda and her “partner in crime,” Janet Hutchings – editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine – were presented with the Poirot Award from Malice Domestic for their contributions to the mystery genre.

She will read the top twelve entries and then pick the winning story.

Announced at the Banquet

While the winner will be announced at the 2020 WPA banquet. The winner does not need to be present to win.

Open to All

Contest is open to everyone. You don’t have to attend the conference to win. You don’t even have to be a writer.

Let the games begin!


New Arc Books, an imprint of Level Best Books will soon be publishing a collection of Golden Donut short stories.