SWAT Academy

Welcome back to the blog! I have Livia Quinn talking about SWAT Academy. Love the idea and I would love to attend one of these years.

Here’s Livia.

Lira Messina copyright Olivia Rigal

Lira Messina copyright Olivia Rigal

On a foggy Louisiana morning near Baton Rouge law enforcement professionals and writers gathered at the Joint Emergency Services Taskforce Center for SWAT academy. NYT best-selling author Liliana Hart and her husband, former SWAT, former chief of police, and PhD., Scott Silverii, created this all inclusive 4 day event with top professionals in various law enforcement fields – police, bomb and explosive, K-9, firefighting, arson, crime scene investigation, Louisiana State police, drug enforcement, SWAT, martial arts, LA search and rescue – instructing in shooting, SWAT techniques, self-defense, crime scenes, bomb and explosive detection, homicide and fire investigations, and pursuit driving.

It bears mentioning that this facility is one of three in the world and never had they allowed civilians on the premises before for a purpose such as this so we were honored to get this opportunity.

swat2016Writers and some spouses were divided into three teams, Alpha, Bravo and Charlie for a series of hour and twenty minute rotations. Each day consisted of rising in time to have homemade brekkie with the group in the cafeteria followed by a bus trip to an outdoor venue in one of the activities above. Then the bus picked us up and carted us back to HQ to attend one of our chosen classes.

Classes included CSI, science of forensics, fast paced suspense, serial killers, thriller writing by the author who now writes Tom Clancy novels, social media, marketing, branding, self-publishing, small town cops, firefighting, homicide, cop culture and more. Instructors also included writers, Liliana Hart, Susie Ivy, Grant Blackwood, AJ Scudiere, and Rachel Melancon. Then it was back to the field (and rinse and repeat) with lunch and dinner in between and a nightly presentation. A super packed weekend of activity, networking and on hands education in the subjects we write about.

img_1572Spouses were invited to not only come along but participate and that added a special element to the activities, as you can imagine. One of the spouses getting his diploma from Scott and Liliana.

All in all it was an exhilarating, action charged time in great company, unbelievably engaging instructors, well worth the fee for all inclusive activities, meals and boarding. There were writers and spouses from Paris, Spain, Canada, the UK and I’m probably missing somewhere else besides the US.

I only wish it had been longer so I could have gotten to know some of these fabulous writers and instructors from the different genres and walks of life. I didn’t spend a dime except for my gas to and from… it was more than worth the cost of registration. I’m already planning my return October 19th, 2017.

Registration will be opening before long so clear your calendar. It’s a one of a kind experience. And if you’ve never been to Louisiana, come on down…


Livia Quinn is a DC native living on the bayou in Louisiana. Both her Southern paranormal cozy series and her contemporary romance books are centered around heroes in law enforcement and separated military. Livia’s hero in her new release, Take These Broken Wings, is a former Navy pilot turned sheriff turned…dragon… yeah, the weather isn’t the only wild element in Louisiana. Her books are available on bookstore sites everywhere.


Strap in, ‘cause it’s a wild ride through Destiny, or should I say Middle Earth…

Five months ago, Sheriff Jack Lang would have sworn there were no such things as vampires, tempestaeries, djinn or dragons. That was before he met Tempest Pomeroy, trouble magnet and sexy redheaded mail lady. He’d fallen for her before he found out about her “special abilities”. But that wasn’t what turned his life upside down. No, to say Jack’s world had gone FUBAR was like saying Wolverine’s fingernails were long enough for a manicure.

Tempe had been afraid her supernatural nature would be a problem for Jack, who’d mistaken Destiny for a “Mayberry-like” small town, but that didn’t explain why he’d left her in favor of haunting the highest levees in the parish. She knew he’d received a shock, but what was it going to take to get him to return to his life and to her? A stubborn man is one thing; a grumpy, depressed twenty-ton dragon is a bit more of a challenge.

Take These Broken Wings is Book 5 in the Destiny Paramortals, a southern urban fantasy paranormal cozy and the completion of Jack and Tempe’s coming of age arc, with an epiphany of sorts, but the story continues…

Visit her website at http://liviaquinn.com
Signup for her newsletter http://eepurl.com/W94bb (and get a free book)
Facebook http://facebook.com/liviaquinnauthor
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Cindy here again.

I took Citizens Police Academy and that was amazing. I would love to do this SWAT Academy. Think how great the research in my books could be if I did that.

Happy writing!

Resources to Help You Tap That Emotion

Welcome back to the GWN blog! Today’s post is from C. Hope Clark about one of the most important aspects of writing. Emotion.

Here’s Hope!

Your character is hiding, and the antagonist knows she’s hiding. He’s speaking to her, taunting her, trying to make her commit to revealing where she is. He’s standing here. She’s standing there. Now . . . how do you show the fear without her saying, “I am so afraid!”

Writers fight hard to demonstrate sincere, realistic, credible emotion in their writing. The type of emotion that makes one cry, scream, or cringe at the words on the page is not lightly written. Many writers miss the mark by not rewriting enough times, or miss the opportunity to really milk a scene by hurrying to reach their word count when slowing down, breathing deep and reaching way down inside themselves can make a good moment turn great in a story.

How do master writers master their displays of emotion into stories? Are they that in tune with their feelings? Are they that sensitive? Emotions initially emanate from an author’s heart, but the interpretation of that feeling into the best words isn’t as easy as it looks.  That’s why writers today often fall back onto resource guides for hints on how to write emotion more keenly, precisely, or memorably.

As an author and a freelance writer, I’ve learned to use several emotional guidebooks to generate better beats, thoughts, or behaviors for my characters, stories, and features. Yes, my regular thesaurus could fill the bill, but the following guides make the job a bit easier, especially when you aren’t sure which word to look up.

The Emotional Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression – by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Written by two authors of mainly the young adult genre, The Emotional Thesaurus jumpstarts your efforts to nail the right emotion. Take the example above. The emotion is Fear. Flip to the page for Fear and you’ll find its definition, physical signals of fear, internal sensations of fear, mental reactions, cues of acute or long-term fear, and cues of suppressed fear. Using examples from The Emotional Thesaurus, under Fear, our protagonist can: have her hands turn clammy, gasp in pain, flinch at a noise, shake, get dizzy or blind rapidly. She senses things moving too quickly to process or has flawed reasoning. She could fight the fear with a smile, overreact with anger or reply in a joking manner. So many options for such an outstanding key moment!

Building Believable Characters – by Marc McCutcheon

Writer’s Digest Books released this guide over a dozen years ago, but it’s still a grand source of character revelation, used by thousands. It leads you how to develop your characters, to include a thorough questionnaire. However, the bulk of the book consists of a Character Thesaurus, with 35 pages assigned to Facial Expressions, Body and Vocal Language. Learn which words and mannerisms best depict a particular emotion. Let’s use Fear again, relating back to the example. Our protagonist can stare saucer-eyed, stare catatonically, turn ashen, twitch facial muscles, or sense a wave welling up from her belly. The wonderful part about this book is that you not only learn emotional triggers, but you also gain tips on describing dress, personality, face and body, dialect, homes and names to best represent your character.

Writer’s Guide to Character Traits – by Dr. Linda Edelstein

This guide tends to get into character descriptions, but its format lends itself to emotional study as well. Learn how characters can react and display their emotions when it comes to being criminal, being sexual, being an adult, being a child, facing hard decisions, entering love, reacting to sudden change, using verbal vs. nonverbal communication. See how your character would react to varied situations, or what would drive her to abnormal behavior.

Readers read stories for the emotional tug. The best plot and the most complex characters mean nothing without the reader feeling the words. A thesaurus is a must-have, of course, and serves your purpose most of the time, but the time will come when a synonym won’t do. You want phrasing, visuals, and reactions as well. That’s why you need an emotional reference guide at the ready. And, of course, be willing to mark them up and dog-ear the pages. These are guides that remain on your writing resource shelf for as long as you’re in this business to write a solid tale.


C. Hope Clark is author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series (Lowcountry Bribe, 2012; Tidewater Murder, 2013; Palmetto Poison, 2014), published by Bell Bridge Books. She is also founder of FundsforWriters.com, selected by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 13 years. Her newsletters reach 40,000 readers each week. www.fundsforwriters.com / www.chopeclark.com

TWITTER – http://twitter.com/hopeclark
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/chopeclark
GOODREADS – http://www.goodreads.com/hopeclark
PINTEREST – http://www.pinterest.com/chopeclark

Cindy here again!

Great resources! Thanks so much for being here. Checked out your Twitter bio. My fiancé is a MENSA member too.

Happy writing!



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