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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Researching Cops:What To Do When A Murderer Comes Calling

Writers are a curious bunch of folks who should never let walls, doors, locks, or the word NO stop them from producing high quality books. The tellers of both tall and short tales, in fact, go to great lengths to find detail---the perfect…
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Holiday Gifts: Crime Writer Research Books, and More

Many of you attended virtual MurderCon last summer and/or Writers' Police Academy Online's recent seminar  "Mystery and Murder: Transforming Reality into Fantastic Fiction."  Those of you who couldn't make it missed not only a couple of fantastic…
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Terror in Richmond: I Survived An Encounter With The Briley Brothers

The late 1970's brought fear into the city of Richmond, Virginia. Not knowing who would be the next victim in the Briley brothers' killing spree caused many to stay inside their homes, hiding from a pair of murderers who randomly assassinated…

Take Two Bodies and Call Me in the Morning: No, Medical Examiners Don’t Always Show Up at Murder Scenes

Writers need to know that procedures vary across the country. California, for example, is practically a world of its own and definitely beats a different drum than the rest of the country. I know because we lived there for well over a decade.…

If My Handcuffs Could Talk: Marvin The Martian Loses Control and Elvis Returns … Sort of

As police officers, we're often presented with the opportunity to meet various celebrities and other important people. Sometimes, we're even placed in the unfortunate position of having to arrest a few of those VIP's. For example, I once…
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Sleuthing the Clues in Staged Homicides: Top Tips From Dr. Katherine Ramsland

Below are excerpts From Katherine Ramsland’s Writers' Police Academy Online presentation - "Sleuthing the Clues in Staged Homicides." Pettler’s Staging Typology The Cleaner: This is more alteration than staging, because this person cleans…

Officer Rudy Kramer and the Hackberry Tree

Officer Rudy Kramer drew his pistol, a nine-millimeter that, as always, was set to fire---a round in the chamber, fifteen in the magazine, and the safety off. Then he took a deep breath and a long hard swallow that sent his prominent Adam’s…

Cop Details That’ll Help Your Stories Zing with Realism: What’s in Your Underwear?

It's often the tiniest of details that'll pique a reader's interest in your work. Those elements, by design, just might make a lasting fan out of someone who recognizes that you've done your homework, and that you know how to subtly weave fact…

Writers’ Police Academy Online’s December 2020 Schedule

The December 2020 class lineup is amazing and the instructors are stellar. The combination is a live and interactive seminar designed for writers by writers. To sweeten the pot, international bestselling author Tami Hoag wraps up the daylong…

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 home.   Family. Traveling. Traffic. Bumper-to-bumper. Smiling…
Don't call a plumber

Don’t Call A Plumber If You Don’t Want Your Leak Fixed

Have you ever called a plumber to fix a leaky water pipe in your kitchen, and when he arrived you told him not to use his tools and training to repair the problem? Well, consider the person who did just that, telling the plumber who responded…

It’s Almost Time for the Writers’ Police Academy’s Online Seminar Featuring Tami Hoag!

Within the next couple of days Writers' Police Academy Online will officially open registration for the daylong seminar called "Mystery and Murder: Transforming Reality into Fantastic Fiction." This incredible, one-of-a-kind event is scheduled…
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Dream On: When Punctuation Visits Your Nightmares

Dreams and even nightmares are often great fodder for a story or scene. Sometimes, though, those nocturnal fantasies are absolutely bizarre and offer no help whatsoever. Not even a tiny twist for an ending. A questionable murder (above image),…
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Don’t Fear the Reacher: Are You Writing Your Hero Into the Dreaded Cliche’ Corner?

Good action scenes---car chases, gunfights, and exploding cars and buildings---are great at keeping readers busy turning pages. But, how does your hero survive the barrage of bullets, flames, and KABOOMS? Are you giving the star of your book…
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Boogaloo Boys: Anti-authoritarian, Anti-state, and Anti-police

Boogaloo: a slang phrase used as a shorthand reference for a future civil war. (Also known as "Boog.") Boogaloo Boys (aka Boogaloo Bois): A leaderless group whose "members" seem to have extreme libertarian politics, with a strong emphasis…
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Details: The Heartbeat of a Good Book

I have many fond memories of my days as in law enforcement. Sure, there were bad times and I still bear those scars, both physical and mental, but all things considered I value and cherish the experience. After all, I have a built-in resource…

A Polka Dot Mini Skirt and Hot Sauce: 10 Unofficial Guidelines for Police Officers

Police officers are expected to follow and enforce many rules, laws, and ordinances. The penalties and punishments for straying from those regulations can be quite severe. In addition to the written requirements are numerous "unwritten guidelines"…

Welcome to the Scent Cone: Detection Dogs

A dog's nose is its superpower. In fact, it's so powerful that a dog could, if it desired to do so, detect a single spoonful of sugar in a million gallons of water (two Olympic-size pools). As a former K-9 handler, tales (pun intended) of…