View from the Tower

View from the Tower: Adventure at the Range

prison guard towerBy John Schick, Retired California Corrections Department

Officer Frank C. was a character by anyone’s standards. He was the original “Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill” kinda guy. This caught up with him one day at our outdoor range. It was a blazing hot summer day (of course), and a group of new cadets were getting acquainted with the various weapons we use at work. When it came time to demonstrate the proper use of the federal gas gun, Frank began his Barney Fife impression. He was supposed to load a “Knee Knocker” baton round into the gun. Not our boy Frank! Instead he loads a flare round in and fires it into the dry grass on the berm.

Needless to say, it immediately caught fire!

Everyone retreated and the institution fire department arrived to attend to the growing grass fire. After putting it out, the truck got stuck in the mud created by the hose leaks. The farm supervisor sent a huge rubber-tire John Deere tractor out to pull the fire truck out of the mud. What a scene.John_Deere_9530_b

Kinda reminded me of a silent comedy.





With Malice Aforethought is now available on in eBook format; print copy available in pre-order status.Malice cover



Writer's Notes

What’s Going On?

By Thonie Hevron

PSWA Award singleI’ve just returned from the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) Conference in Las Vegas. It’s a member-driven conference focused on those who write in the field of public safety. Active and retired personnel from police, fire, EMS, and dispatch make up the bulk of the population. Civilians who write crime fiction and technical public safety articles/books are also a large component of this diverse group. City cops—from Chicago PD to rural sheriff’s departments, FBI, military enforcement from all branches, probation and parole, fire officers—paid and volunteer as well as emergency medical personnel are active members. The breadth of experience is remarkable.

We gather annually to share our information. This year’s event spanned four full days for those who wished to attend Thursday morning’s optional “improve your writing skills” workshop taught by three published authors. This included a critique of previously submitted manuscripts. During the conference, attendees participated in numerous panels and attended presentations on topics such as “Anatomy of a Murder,” “Investigating the 2001 Anthrax Attacks,” “Writing True Crime,” “How to Write for the Web” and craft topics like “Editing Your Work” and “An Examination of Point of View”. Several time slots were set aside for meet and greets with editors, other authors and three publishers.

Aside from the plane trip from hell (check out my Facebook page), arriving a day and half late—and missing my own panel on “Promotion,” I still had Saturday. The cut-rate airline new to our regional airport has a very limited schedule which necessitated leaving the conference early. Hence, I only had one day in Las Vegas. Sigh. Still, it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I pitched my fourth novel to a publisher I’d never heard of before but was interested in my story. The networking alone is fabulous. Because of PSWA, I’ve had facetime with an FBI profiler, SWAT masters (both in city and FBI), homicide and vice detectives, several of whom had been undercover. I can’t pass up tapping these guys on the shoulder, asking them to read my work for authenticity—in exchange for Beta reading, critiques and blurbs (who’d a thunk anyone would want my name on their book?).

So when I got word that I placed second in the annual PSWA Writing Contest for unpublished novel, I was bowled over. Imagine these esteemed members choosing my book, With Malice Aforethought. Second! Whew!


News about With Malice Aforethought

My publisher, Billie Johnson of Oak Tree Press, is recovering from a serious health issue. She and another staffer are working on the back log of projects already in progress. Oak Tree isn’t accepting any new submissions until January. At this time, I have a signed contract but haven’t sent my manuscript in. I’ve decided to use the next month or two to polish some of the uneven parts of the story. My time frame to get it to Oak Tree is September 1. From there, I’ll keep you posted as I find out more.


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