First, I have to say it was a fabulous experience, and I'm so happy I had the opportunity to attend this year. I owe a huge thank you to Sisters In Crime since they defrayed a large portion of our registration fee.
Our first experience was a wet visit to the academy's body farm. I have never been so wet in my life - and I had an umbrella. I swear it was hurricane type rains. But everyone was good sports and trekked through the woods to the location.
Fortunately, the "body" turned out to be a mannequin. A lot of the dead body smells were washed away by the downpour. But it was quite realistic to be out in the woods at the site of a crime scene and to be aware of what the real life investigators go through to get clues and solve murders under all kinds of circumstances.
After the body farm, I had a fascinating session with Deneen Lofland who talked to us about Bio terrorism. We learned about the various types of labs used in our country and around the world and how bio terrorism works. I have to say I'm very happy Deneen is on our side.
Deneen showed all kinds of slides and I left with a wealth of information. I have a very healthy respect now for the kind of work she does and a much better understanding of how things can go terribly wrong either by accident or on purpose.
But he refused. A shot rang out.
This is from the sniper class and shows one of the protective head coverings that are used to blend into the surroundings.
I also got to hear Katherine Ramsland, a forensic psychologist, present several cases that she worked and they were mind-blowing. In some cases - literally. We were not allowed to take pictures, but let me tell you, the crime scene information was just as the authorities would have seen. She even presented a case that remains unsolved - but we all have our theories on that one.
All too soon the two days of classes were over. My head was overflowing with details and information. My mind was bursting with ideas for future plots. Even though I write funny mysteries, I have law enforcement and ex-law enforcement characters in my books. It's important for me to get the details right and to understand these men and women of law enforcement so I can write realistic characters.
This whole WPA was an amazing experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in writing with realism.