The Graveyard Shift Blog

Since 2008, Lee Lofland has written over 2000 articles on his blog, The Graveyard Shift. Topics such as police procedure, forensics, criminal behavior, and what it’s like to be a cop has helped countless numbers of popular and aspiring writers.

His life’s mission – to remind writers that cordite is dead and gone. Just say no to cordite in your books!

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FREE CLASS! – An Agent’s Point of View: Developmental Editing, Query Letters and Agent Submission Tips

Developmental Editing from an Agent’s Point of View, & Query Letters, and Agent Submission Tips Instructor: Andrea Hurst, literary agent and editor Registration – FREE When: May 18, 2024 at 1 P.M. EST Where: Writers' Police Academy…
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Dead Women Sometimes Cry in the Rain, And Baby Socks

Never start a story with the weather. I've heard this many times over the years. Even Elmore Leonard kicked off his "Don't-do-it" list with a rule about the weather. Never open a book with the weather. Avoid prologues. Never…
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2024 Killer Con Classes and Instructors – Part Two

For the past 15 years, Writers' Police Academy has offered a plethora of specialized classes designed to help writers evoke a sense of hyperrealism in their stories. The event's unique hands-on training sessions stimulate the senses of participants,…
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2024 Killer Con Classes and Instructors – Part One

For the past 15 years, Writers' Police Academy has offered a plethora of specialized classes designed to help writers evoke a sense of hyperrealism in their stories. The event's unique hands-on training sessions stimulate the senses of participants,…

Killer Con Registration and Exciting Event Details

Does your book feature a crime, crime scene, coroner, crime scene investigator, or homicide detectives? Is it possible that you've never, not once in your entire lifetime, ventured into a murder scene or walked in the shoes of a homicide…

Writers’ Police Academy Golden Donut Short Story Winners and Runners-Up

Each year the Writers’ Police Academy hosts the Golden Donut Short Story Contest. It’s a fun contest with two major but simple rules—the focus of the story must be based on the photo we provide, and the story must contain EXACTLY 200 words.…
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Here’s How YOU Can Identify the Bones Found in Your Backyard

When the topic of identifying skeletal remains arises, two world-renowned renowned forensic anthropologists immediately come to mind—Dr. Elizabeth A. Murray and Dr. Kathy Reichs. Both experts are at the top of their profession and are two…
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Cops to Receive X-Ray Vision: Amaze Their Friends and Suspected Criminals

For years, comic book fans scanned the back pages to view ads telling them how they could, for a single dollar, receive a 7-foot-tall Frakenstein's Monster with glowing eyes, or a genuine invisible space helmet for the low, low cost of $2.98.…

Christmas For Jimmy Lee Bailey: A Child in Need of Love

The call---a child in need of services. What I found was a child in need of love. His house sat at the end of a hard-packed red clay path. It was a shabby structure---a notch below "shack" status--- that was clad in random lengths of mismatched…

The Twelve Nights Of Christmas Graveyard Shift

The Twelve Nights Of Graveyard Shift On the first night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On the second night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, two prostitutes, and a car-tri-idge and a cuff key. On…

Tina Mott’s Killer Released from Prison, Without Supervision

After serving 25 years in prison (a plea deal) for brutally murdering Tina Mott and mutilating and dismembering her body, Timothy Bradford was released this week into the public. Since he served his full sentence, he is free and without supervision…

A Cop’s Thanksgiving: Save a Drumstick for Me

Morning parade. Smiling faces. Squealing children. Marching bands.   Turkey. Pumpkin pie. Eggnog. Football.   Pistol. Badge. Vest. Kiss the kids, please. And save a drumstick for me. I'm almost…

Thanksgiving Eve: Lights in the Abandoned Textile Mill

Graveyard Shift ... 0246 hours Thanksgiving Eve. Weather ... Clear Location ... Abandoned textile mill Victim ... Unknown/TBD Suspect ... Unknown/TBD Dispatch. "Caller reports seeing light, possibly flashlights, inside…
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Miranda: I KNOW MY RIGHTS!

"I. Know. My. Rights!" Officers hear those four familiar words many, many times each and every day all across this great land of ours. It's a phrase often spoken by the wisest of the wise--the top legal minds of street corners, sour mash-guzzling…
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Sheriffs: Who Are They and What Are Their Duties?

Many of us had our first real look at a sheriff's office back in 1960 when Andy Taylor and his fearless deputy, Barney Fife, patrolled the roads in and around Mayberry, N.C. Television took us inside the Mayberry jail, the courthouse, and it…

A Top 14 List of Odd But True Things That Happened at the Writers’ Police Academy

Here are just a few of the odd things that occurred during the past 15 years of the WPA. 14. Semi-Nude Presenter - Sometimes, we have someone famous announce the winner of the annual Golden Donut Short Story Contest, and they typically do…
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Revolver v. Pistol: Do Your Characters Know the Difference?

Fictional characters aren't always as savvy as they'd like us to believe. They're not human. They make mistakes. And some of those errors, especially those made by characters in crime fiction, involve guns. For example, I've known a handful…
So you want to be a detective?
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6 Reasons Why a Detective’s Job Isn’t As Glamorous as You Might Believe

Many people secretly long to clip a badge to their belts and then set out on the never-ending quest to save, well, everyone. But, there are a few things you should think about before giving up your day job to begin the hunt for your first serial…