Using what you know to write

I have to say that I am quite thrilled to be a new author to Authors’ Billboard and posting a regular blog on the 27th of each month. For those who don’t know me, I’m a retired police officer/detective, a mother of two, grandmother to one, happily married to an incredible man, a total Disney Freak, and so much more!

I’m also a firm believer in writing what I know, and as I’m nearing the age of fifty I realize that I know quite a lot. Which is quite funny because I don’t think of myself as a very intelligent person. However, I do know there is a difference between being book smart and street-smart, and I can honestly say that I am 100% street-smart.

Because I spent sixteen years as a police officer, I tend to set a lot of my books into the law enforcement world (See-writing what I know!). Some of my books are romantic suspense, some contemporary romance, I even have a few paranormal romance books in the cop world, too. I am sure you can imagine the kinds of things I witnessed in my career. I have stories that would make you laugh till you cried, and stories that would make you sob for hours with emotional pain. I spent thirteen years working primarily patrol, and small investigations. Around my fourteenth year, I started getting involved in more in-depth investigations and moved on to be promoted to detective. I became a certified Crime Scene Investigator and thrived on those kinds of investigation.

The only reason I retired was that I sustained a second major concussion in ten years and had a lot of issues afterward with headaches and memory. I tried to go back, but it just didn’t work and I realized it was safer for all involved if I hung up my handcuffs.

One of the major cases that I worked on was a domestic violence homicide. I will never forget the day I stood over her body and my own past flashed in front of me. Words spoken to me so many years ago about how if I didn’t do something, I’d be killed. My entire life shifted that day-like it was a major adjustment to the way I saw life and I decided that I couldn’t stay quiet anymore.

And that’s why I write about domestic violence. I know it. I have felt it. I lived with the hand of control holding my throat, and cutting off the oxygen from my lungs. It’s why my books on the subject are so real, they come from experience, and sadly, from what I know.

But my books are not all doom and gloom. Most of my books are romance and I write that because people want to feel alive-feel loved. After being a victim of domestic violence, I know what it is to want to feel loved, in a healthy way. I’m so lucky that I am now married to a man who loves me for me, and has never tried to change me, threaten me, or hurt me with his words. Its possible for everyone to find that, they just have to believe.

I look foward to sharing with you more about books, life, kids, Disney, everything! Thanks for stopping by to say hello!

Second Shield II: The Return

Second Shield II: The Return

is NOW AVAILABLE for Pre-Order!


Mack and Drew are back, but will it be happily ever after?

Find out in Second Shield II: The Return

Six weeks after the biggest case of her life, Sgt. MacKenzie ?Mack? McCallister receives information that changes her future. With the man she loves on the opposite side of the country, Mack isn?t sure she can do it on her own.

Special Agent Andrew Cooper is dealing with the hardest thing he has ever had to face, and in order to do it, he must shelve his feelings for Mack and pray that she will be there when he returns.

As time passes, Mack focuses her attention on the serial killer investigation and forces thoughts of Drew out of her mind. When emotions are running high, Drew returns, and everything in Mack?s world is turned upside down.

It will fall to Drew to figure out the missing pieces of the serial murder investigation, but will he be able to do it before he loses Mack forever?

Want a sneak peek?? Check out Chapter 1: Here!


Second Shield II is specially priced while on Pre-Order for only $0.99.

Once released, it will go up to $3.99, so reserve your copy today at this low price!


Mack's Back!

After the Arrest – Behind the Scenes

On the Beat ? Experience from the Street

The question today is: We know they have to arrest people, but what then happens behind the scenes?

Now that?s a loaded question!

Sometimes calls require very little paperwork. Maybe a line or two about the situation describing why you were dispatched there and what the end result is. A residential alarm is a good example. If I went to an alarm call, I?d write it like this:

dreamstime_s_11120195Responding officer was dispatched to 123 Main Street for a report of a residential alarm with front door activation. Upon arrival the residence was found to be secure with no visible signs of entry. Alarm card was left. Clear.

But for calls where officers have to do more, the reports get much more in-depth. I believe my longest report was 78 pages. That wasn?t just one report, but a series of them as I followed through on a homicide investigation.

Reports generally start off with the where and why of the dispatch and then transition into the visual of the scene upon arrival. It moves into the details of what transpired during the incident. Supplemental reports will contain interviews, lab reports, evidence reports and further information that is discovered during the course of the investigation.shutterstock_49448179

Let?s use the case of a DUI crash ? the officers report will start with why he was dispatched and the information that was passed along to him by the dispatcher, such as the location and number of vehicles. The officer arrives on scene and his report will reflect what he sees; the position of the car(s), the actions of the driver(s) and any passengers. The officer will also comment in his report anything spoken by the subjects during his initial investigation that could be important for prosecution.

He will also add where the vehicles were towed, if that is the case, and if the suspected DUI driver submitted to field testing and blood draws or refused. There are several forms that are filled out for these two things, along with Miranda forms. If the incident was an accident, there is a crash report to complete that becomes part of the file.

After the initial arrest, the subject is either held in lock-up or released to a family member or friend. These are case by case and per department guidelines. The officer will then complete the reports and if blood was drawn, they will package the evidence. Evidence forms are completed and that information is turned over to the evidence custodian. The evidence custodian is responsible for making sure the blood is transferred to the lab for a blood alcohol level (BAC).

dreamstime_s_5638902In some departments, charges are filed immediately on the subject with the blood alcohol level listed as pending. In other departments, the charges are held until the reports are returned from the lab and they will include the level. The higher the level, the higher the criminal charge in most states.

When charges are filed, the officer will then be subpoena to court to testify. In Pennsylvania, we hold preliminary hearings for criminal charges in District Courts. During these prelims, the judge decides if the Commonwealth (the police officer) has enough evidence of a crime and if the defendant (the person being charged) could have committed that crime. ?No guilty or not-guilty plea is done at this time. It is only to decide if the case should progress further.

Sometimes at the Prelim level, an agreement is made. For a DUI ? it could be an accelerated rehabilitation that includes drug and alcohol counseling, a probation period, fines and community service. These are decided amongst the attorneys, but generally officers are asked if they have any issue with an agreement.

If no agreement is done at this level, it moves up to the Court of Common Pleas (again this is in PA), and the officer will communicate with the assistant district attorney assigned to the case to further prosecute.

That?s a long answer for a short question!

On the Beat – Experience from the Street is based on my own personal experience from my fifteen plus years of law enforcement. If you have a question you’d like to ask, send me an email and I’ll add it to my list to answer! (

Please note that I will not discuss political issues, or respond to questions about what other officers do that is questionable. This is a positive place to help people understand what officers deal with while working the streets.