Writers’ Police Academy News and Updates

WPA: News and Updates

There are only 8 days left until the Writers’ Police Academy and the final touches are in place. The weapons are loaded, the SWAT team is on standby, the instructors are ready, special guests are preparing for their flights to North Carolina, and the poor volunteers for the pepperspray workshop are stocking up on cold water and eye wash.

There are a few important announcements regarding the academy, so please make note. Some of these items are for your safety:

1. FATS has been extended to include a second set of scenarios. Instructor Jerry Cooper worked his magic and secured a VirTra training system for the event. This was no easy task since the mega-expensive system is coming to us from Phoenix. We applaud Jerry for going the extra mile. Thanks to him you’ll be receiving twice the training time (the second set is optional) for the same low fee.

2. Although there is no rain in the forecast we suggest you come prepared (umbrella, etc.) since many of the Friday events will take place outdoors (demos, etc.)

3. Keeping in line with an actual police academy, our scheduling is very tight. Be prepared for nonstop action and training.

4. Prepare yourself mentally. Don’t be shocked if someone carrying a machine gun passes you in the hallway. There will be shouting, sounds of gunfire, and bursts of adrenaline!

5. If you have not received your FATS assignments please contact me NOW! lofland32@msn.com

6. If you did not register in time to participate in FATS training and would like to, please contact me NOW! I may be able to work you in.

7. If you registered but did not sign up for the banquet and have now changed your mind and would like to attend…contact me today!

8. When are in the process of securing a vendor for lunch on Friday. You may want to bring something with you just in case. The break is only 30 minutes (remember, this is a police academy experience, not a writer’s conference!). Lunch on Saturday is provided.

9. Our instructors are professionals and know what they’re doing, but you don’t! This isn’t TV. So please follow their instructions. Every single rule is in place to provide an authentic and safe experience.

10. DO NOT touch any weapon, real or not, unless an instructor gives you permission to do so.

11. DO NOT bring weapons of any type to the academy. This includes pepperspray, knives, and ammunition. No exceptions. None. Any infraction of this rule and you will asked to leave (no refunds).

12. During the handcuffing and arrest workshops instructors will be demonstrating various techniques. You may be called upon to participate. This is not the time to show off your black belt or ground-fighting skills. Do not, do not, do not do anything other than what you’re told to do by the instructors. The life you save may be your own…

13. Don’t be intimidated. This event is designed to be realistic, but it’s also designed to be extremely fun. And we want you to do just that, have fun. We think we’ve assembled some of the best instructors in the business and they know you’re writers, not police recruits. So please dive right in and keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times. This is a ride you won’t easily forget!

*   *   *

– The names of the eight finalists for the Don Knotts Silver Bullet Novel Contest are in! Good luck to each of you!

Marshall Armstrong

Melanie Atkins

Karen Cantwell

Lara Louise Crawford

Donna Glaser

Jodi S. Kilpack

H.B. Moore

Bonnie K. Stevens


Due to an administrative error (I failed to see the second page of finalists) we’ve added three names to the list of finalists. There should have been eight, not five, just like the novel contest. My apologies to the three people I so rudely, but accidentally, omitted.

– The deadline to enter the 200 word short story contest was September 10 and we received a mound of entries. Thanks to everyone for entering. All the stories were fantastic and I’m thankful I didn’t have to choose a winner. But our panel of screeners have released the names of the eight finalists. They are:

Diane McAndrew

Elizabeth Bryant

Richard McMahan

Travis Richardson

Molly Swoboda

Jonathan Quist

Vanda Valasky

Ken Vanderpool

Congratulations to each of you. The mystery judge will be making a decision soon and the winning entry will be announced at the Saturday night banquet.

Now, to unveil the mystery judge for the short story contest.

Hallie Ephron is a writer, book reviewer, and writing teacher.

Her newest novel is gripping psychological suspense, Never Tell a Lie (William Morrow). Publishers Weekly gives it a starred reviewed and calls it “stunning” and a “deliciously creepy tale of obsession.” The novel has been optioned for film and translated into 7 languages. It was nominated for multiple awards, including the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the David Award for Best Mystery Novel of 2010.

Hallie is an award-winning book reviewer for the Boston Globe where her On Crime column of crime fiction book reviews appears the last Sunday of each month in the Ideas section.

She grew up in Los Angeles, the third of four writing Ephron sisters (Nora, Delia, and Amy) and her parents were screenwriters Henry and Phoebe Ephron who wrote classic movies like The Desk Set and Carousel. She credits genes with giving her the courage to finally get started writing fiction.

* Good luck to all the finalists!

7 replies
  1. Molly Swoboda
    Molly Swoboda says:

    The enthusiasm for Writers’ Police Academy, and the efforts by Lee and his great team, will create loud demands for a reprise, no doubt. Congratulations to all finalists in the novel and short story contests. My adrenaline is already in overdrive! ~m

  2. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Cameras will be allowed, but you absolutely must ask permission before taking photos and videos during any of the workshops. Some of the officers work undercover assignments and a photograph could jeopardize their safety. Yours too of you snap a photo without permission… 🙂

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