Writing Is Murder MRW Article

Writing Is Murder


By: Diane Kratz


PSWA Member graphic


I’ve just returned from attending the Public Safety Writers Convention at The Orleans Hotel in Sin City (Las Vegas where the heat index was 114 degrees in the shade).


Sound boring? Let’s look at this through the writer’s eyes:


Sin City + New Orleans atmosphere+ dripping sweat = sounds like a great setting for a book, huh?


Throw in the FBI, Homeland Security, police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel, security persons, two psychologists, a journalist, two social workers and their take on how to catch a bad guy (or, in my book, bad girl), and OMG you have a thriller!

Seriously, that’s what this experience was like for me. I came back eager to write.


Why did I go there instead of RWA? RWA is great but expensive! I joined this group because it has a lot to offer.


First it was cheap. Yea, that’s me you hear squeaking when I walk, cheap, cheap, cheap. The cost is $55.00 year (they also offer 2 and 3 year memberships at a discounted rate).

A day-old chick

A day-old chick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)









Membership benefits include:

Manuscript Review—All new and renewing members may take advantage of a one-time manuscript review by one of the association’s published authors. Cost? FREE!


Writing Competition—Competition Categories include published and unpublished works:

Fiction—Books, Short Stories, Flash

Non Fiction—Books, Creative-Non-Technical, Creative-Technical, Technical Manual, Poetry, and Screenplay.

Cost? Just $10.00 per entry!!!! CHEAP!

Networking—All members of PSWA are welcome to participate in our website’s e-mail listserv which is intended to provide networking opportunities for members. It’s an e-mail list with all the expert members available for the rest of us to ask questions on crime or certain law enforcement agencies or any type of questions dealing with public safety. They will tell you REAL TRUTH, not what you see on TV. And let me tell you, cops LOVE to talk! You can also send them e-mail on new releases, blogs, yada, yada, yada.  Cost? FREE!

Annual Conference—PSWA’s (Public Safety Writers Association) annual conference was held in Las Vegas on July 11-14, 2013, at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. It’s at the same place every year. The conference is open to anyone writing crime and mystery fiction or non-fiction, technical writing for public safety magazines in print or online, or anyone interested in writing. Cost: $200.00 before January 31 for members and $250.00 for non-members.

Yup, I said NON-MEMBERS!  You can still go even if you don’t join.

It was 3 days of learning, networking, finding new authors to read and make new friends with. What did I learn?  Here are a couple of hooks I’ll toss in the air for you…

Prostitutes usually don’t have drug problems and the average age for a prostitute is 14 to 18 years old.

The best promotion times to post on Facebook, to blog, or to tweet is 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. (Yes, Virginia, there is someone out there named Chris Sweeny analyzing this.)

Blog Talk Radio is in and boosting sales.

Image representing Blog Talk Radio as depicted...




DNA techs writing professional articles conducted an experiment and actually put grasshoppersants and cockroaches into volunteer family homes, retrieved them after a week and found 100% of that family’s DNA all over them. Why?  Because the DNA technology has gotten so precise they can now find DNA in skin scales. Yuck, but cool!

DNA is also being used by the rich and not so rich in a program named SNIPS.  Any guesses?  It’s a Genome DNA analysis that can trace your dog’s ancestry. It’s mostly used for show dogs.  It can also be used for humans to determine hair color, eye color, and skin color of your unborn child.  WOW!


Animation of the structure of a section of DNA...


All this IS included in the price of the conference plus they provided yummy lunches for the three days we were there! YES, the price includes LUNCHES!

You get a lot of Bang for your Buck! I’m thrilled with this group of talented writers. I’d love to share my GREAT find with you!   You can find the group at http://policewriter.com/wordpress/ .

Until next time, happy writing,

Diane Kratz

Edited by: Sally Berneathy

Related articles

2013 Public Safety Writers Association Conference

2013-07-12 15.16.28
The 2013  Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA) was held at The Orléans hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 11-14th.  It was my first time attending the conference, and I have to tell you it was a wonderful experience.

Members included- police officers, civilian police personnel, firefighters, fire support people, emergency personnel, security personnel, FBI, homeland security, psychologists, social workers, and others in the public safety field.  They accept writer’s who write about public safety including mystery writers, magazine writers, journalists, and crime fiction or those who are simply interested in the genre.

Not only did I gain knowledge from this talented group of writers, but also I was surprised they had a pretty even mix on the writing craft itself.

Panels were as follows:

  • Adding Realism to Your Novels/Stories
  • The Prostitution Culture, Different Types of Prostitution, How Pimps Work, the Pimp Law and How Best to Investigate Them
                           Presenter: Joseph B. Haggarty, Sr.   Police officer working as a vice detective from 1973 until 1996 in Washington DC.

Presenter: Joseph B. Haggarty, Sr.
Police officer working as a vice detective from 1973 until 1996 in Washington DC.

  •  The Mystery of DNA
The Mystery of DNA  Presenter: Susan Connell Vondrak  A 27 year forensic veteran of the Illinois State Police.

The Mystery of DNA Presenter: Susan Connell Vondrak.
A 27 year forensic veteran of the Illinois State Police.

  • The Non Professional Sleuth
Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 10.18.27 PM

The Non-Professional Sleuth
Panelists: Ilene Scheider, Lorna Collins, Madeline Gornell, Mata Chausee, Marja McGraw and moderator Susan Smily.

  • Real vs. Reel Crime Scene and Evidence Collection
  • Going from Book to Blog
  • Writing Believable Dialogue

I joined this group because the first book in my Victims of Love series is NOT a romance.  It is crime fiction and I wanted to get the details right.  Luckily for me I learned after  joining this group, I had to re-write my ending because DNA was not around in 1986 where Genesis (my prequel ) takes place.

And I found out siting in Denver International Airport (DIA) smoke lounge that in 1986 there was no Denver International Airport it was called Stapleton International Airport (SIA). My hero Johnny Gaston, catches a plane to Denver, I had him going to DIA now he is going SIA.  Also, Denver International Airport is massive in size compared to old Stapleton International Airport.  Two very BIG boo-boo’s! Two major re-writes!

So-it pays to research your book, it adds realism to your story, and readers will call you on any mistakes. Research is very IMPORTANT!
PSWA also had publishers to pitch to. Kathy Contrell from Wild Rose Press, Billie Johnson from Oak Tree Press and for those of you who want to self publish, Geno Munari from Houdini Press.

He showed us an interested concept on how books will be distributed in the very near future.

Vending machines!

The hotel was also wonderful. Staff was friendly and the lunches provided for the conference were out of this world!

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 9.58.03 PM

The Orléans Hotel-Las Vegas, Nevada

It had been at least twenty years since I last went to Las Vegas and, boy, has it changed! The strip almost looks like New York’s Times Square . My husband Tom and I visited with family while we were there. Four days was not enough time. I not only acquired a great deal of knowledge but I also made a few friends. I would encourage any of you who write books about murder, mystery and have any type of law enforcement or public safety characters,  to think about joining this group of experts and writers.

Here’s where you can find PSWA at:

Until next time, happy writing!

Diane Kratz

Blog edited by: Sally Berneathy

Screen Shot 2013-07-19 at 10.26.29 PM

My husband Tom and I, standing in front of a waterfall at the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino.

When Children Kill By: Diane Kratz

There have been far too many headlines in the news lately on teen murderers and school shootings.

We are shocked when we hear a child has committed the abominable act of murder. It defies our minds when we learn sweet little Janie down the street whacked her parents to death as they slept.

We grieve for families who have lost a parent, child, friend, spouse, sibling, or neighbor.

And in the middle of the shocking awfulness of these seemingly senseless tragedies we ask, “How can this happen?” “What went wrong?” and “What in the world is the matter with a child or teenager who would ruthlessly murder?”

From all the research I’ve done on the subject of why kids kill, their motives are not that much different from those of adult killers.

They carry out murder for money, love, revenge, and for the thrill of committing it.

There is no profile for teen murderers. One of the things we do know about teen murders is that most are NOT well planned. Some have been caught because they left evidence like a driver’s license or prescription with their name on it.

They are divided into six types:

Jasmine Richardson

1. The Family Killer—A juvenile who kills a family member. These types usually kill for money or revenge. They feel pressured by demands, abuse, and hatred.

Jasmine Richardson was twelve when she brutally murdered her parents and younger brother in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Motive, to be with her boyfriend whom her parents didn’t approve of.

2. The School Killer—A juvenile who kills a student, teacher or administrator at school. I’ll write more on this type later because there is more information coming out from different studies. The motives of these killers differ from the usual.

School shooters are mostly male. They have typically planned the shootings for months and usually told someone else of their plans. According to the FBI publication on school shooters this is called “leakage.”

Leakage occurs when a student intentionally or unintentionally reveals clues to feelings, thoughts, fantasies, attitudes, or intentions that may signal an impending violent act. These clues can take the form of subtle threats, boasts, innuendos, predictions, or ultimatums. They may be spoken or conveyed in stories, diary entries, essays, poems, letters, songs, drawings, doodles, tattoos, or videos.

Another form of leakage involves efforts to get unwitting friends or classmates to help with preparations for a violent act. Sometimes this is accomplished through deception. For example, the student asks a friend to get ammunition for him because he is going hunting.

Leakage can be a cry for help, a sign of inner conflict, or it can be boasts that may look empty but actually express a serious threat. Leakage is considered one of the most important clues that may precede an adolescent’s violent act.

Enoch Brown Monument - East Side Inscription
Ken Shockey, Antrim-Allison Museum

Though school shootings have been highly publicized in recent years, they are not new. They have been around since 1764. The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764. Four Lenape American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only three children survived.

3. The Gang/Cult Killer—A juvenile killer motived by a street gang, hate group or cult. These crimes often begin with Satanists because it gives them the feeling of power over others.

Ricky Kasso

At age 17, while wearing an AC/DC T-shirt, he murdered fellow teen Gary Lauwers in the Aztakea Woods of Northport, Long Island. Along with two other friends—who, like Kasso and Lauwers, were high on mescaline—Kasso was in the woods to dabble in occult practices, as part of their self-dubbed “Knights of the Black Circle” cult.

Tensions had long before mounted between Kasso and Lauwers, after the latter allegedly stole 10 bags of PCP from Kasso. On June 16, 1984, in the Aztakea Woods, unsuccessful attempts to build a fire prompted Lauwers to make up for the damp driftwood by using his socks and denim jacket’s sleeves. Kasso said that they should use Lauwers’ hair instead, which led to Kasso biting him on the neck. Then, over a reported three-to-four-hour period, Kasso and his two other friends stabbed Lauwers upwards of 36 times, burned his body, gouged his eyeballs out, and stuffed rocks down his throat.

As he was killing Lauwers, Kasso ordered him to “say you love Satan,” but Lauwers said, “I love my mother.” Kasso covered the thought-to-be-dead body with branches and leaves, but, as reports tell, Lauwers rose back up, said “I love my mother” again, and prompted the assailants to continue their assault until he was confirmed dead.

On July 5, Kasso was arrested. Two days later, he hung himself in his jail cell.

Source: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/11/25-craziest-real-life-american-horror-stories/ricky-kasso

Update: I originally had “The West Memphis Three” as my feature here, but I was told by a reader they were exonerated and released from prison in August 2011. After spending almost 20 years in prison, they gave a Alford plea and were released. My apologizes to Damien, Jason, Jesse and my readers for not following up on this case before posting it. Thank you Nico for bringing this to my attention!

4. The Crime Killer—A juvenile who kills while committing another crime, like burglary.

Bryton Gibbs

Bryton Gibbs was 16 when he stabbed Christopher Taylor to death with an 8-inch kitchen knife.  Gibbs called Pizza Hut and placed an order to be delivered to a vacant apartment. When Taylor, 33, arrived, Gibbs and three other male teens robbed him of $50 and killed him.

5. The Baby Killer—A juvenile who kills his or her infant or young child.

Cassidy Goodson, a teen who admitted killing her newborn baby and hiding him in a shoebox this past fall, used a Santa Claus doll to show investigators exactly how she strangled him in her bathroom shortly after giving birth.

6. The Thrill Killer—A juvenile who kills to feel what it feels like. These types are usually psychopathic. They have no empathy for their victims. The only time you will see them cry is when they are caught, and the tears are for themselves.

Child Killer Speaks Out

Eric Smith at age 13

Eric Smith murdered a four-year-old boy named Derrick Robie in 1980. He dropped large rocks on the boy’s head, strangled him, and then sodomized him with a small stick. Smith has never explained why he murdered the four-year-old. He has been denied parole five times. “I don’t doubt for a second, never have doubted, that had he not been caught, Eric Smith would have killed again,” the prosecutor in the case has said.

Eric Smith denied parole

Eric Smith at age 29

According to Phil Chalmers, who has interviewed 200 adolescent killers and is a teen violence and youth culture expert, there are 10 reasons why teens kill. They are listed from most likely to least.

1. Unstable Home and Bullying at School

2. Obsession with Violent Entertainment and Porn

3. Suicidal Ideation and Depression

4. Alcohol and Drug Use

5. Cults, Gangs, and Hate Groups

6. Obsession with Guns, Bombs, and Knives

7. Peer Pressure

8. Fascination with the Criminal Lifestyle, and Poverty

9. Lack of Spiritual Guidance and Proper Discipline

10. Mental Illness

He also suggests most teen killers have at least 3 of the list of causes, and many have 6 to 8 of the 10 causes.

In conclusion, children can be capable of committing hideous acts on their fellow human beings. There have been many books and movies about bad kids. The one that comes to mind is the 1956 movie, The Bad Seed, which depicts a housewife who suspects that her seemingly perfect 8-year-old daughter is a heartless killer. It was actually a book first written by William March in 1954 and was awarded The National Book Award for Fiction in 1955.

The Bad Seed

Sound familiar?

The child, Rhoda, is portrayed as a sociopath although the term was not widely used at the time. She has no conscience and will kill if necessary to get whatever she wants. By the time Christine, her mother, puts the truth together, Rhoda has already killed two people (a neighbor in Baltimore and her classmate Claude Daigle). In time, she also kills Leroy, the apartment building’s gardener and the only adult who sees through her. An adept manipulator, she can easily charm adults while eliciting fear and revulsion from other children who can sense something wrong with her.

Happy Writing,

Diane Kratz

Edit by Sally Berneathy

Web Resources

International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.com/alyssa-bustamante-gets-life-prison-8-more-teen-thrill-killers-photos-554064

ABC NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/11/new-evidence-against-fl-teen-who-admitted-killing-baby-hiding-him-in-shoebox/

Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG)
National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) FBI Academy
Quantico, Virginia 22135 http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/school-shooter

When Children Kill

Profiles of Murder receives the Peer Blogger Award from Chick Swagger

Thank you to Misty and Josie from Chick Swagger for nominating my site for the Sunshine Award! I am truly humbled to be picked for this award. Surprised me, too, considering my topics are kind of dark. But after reading why I was picked, it made this award even more special to me because it’s exactly what I wanted to achieve when I created this site.

Here is what they wrote:

Profiles of Murder –by romantic suspense writer Diane Kratz. Profiles of Murder is a tremendously educational site about criminal profiling, serial killers, FBI terminology, and crime fiction writing. Even though there’s often scary stuff on this site, it’s deserving of the sunshine award because it often makes crime writers’ research easier. And it’s interesting even if you’re not a crime writer!”

Isn’t that sweet? Totally made my week!

Here’s what I’m supposed to do now:

*Include the award’s logo in a post on your blog.


* Answer 10 questions about yourself.

* Nominate other bloggers (we were supposed to do 10, but the Chicks didn’t so neither did I.)

* Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.

* Share the love and link the person who nominated you.

Misty and Josie: https://chickswagger.com go for a visit. Their site holds nothing back on sexuality and what it means to be a woman. No holds bar there!

Here are my 10 questions Q&A:

  • My favorite color: Royal blue
  • My favorite animal: Cats, I have two–Figaro and Patches
  • My favorite number: 13 (It has shown up everywhere I go since 1996)
  • My favorite drink: Coffee
  • Facebook or Twitter:
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeKratz1 
  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorDianeKratz
  • My passion: Family, writing and gardening.
  • Prefer giving or getting presents: Giving is so much better.
  • My favorite pattern: Greek Motifs
  • My favorite day of the week: Monday (I know I’m weird)
  • My favorite flower: Calla Lilies

And the other bloggers who deserve this award are:

forensics4fiction blog: Forensics Demystified for the Fiction Writer  by crime fiction writer Tom Adair.  What can I say about this blog other than it gave me my inspiration on what I wanted to do with my own blog. Tom is an expert in forensics and my go-to place when I can’t figure things out. He brings sunshine and ignites the imagination for any writer who needs to know if the forensics in their story is plausible. Tom had to be my number one choice. His site is well put together, and a goldmine of knowledge can be found there.

Jo-Ann Carson blog: Writing Dangerous Love Stories Filled with Mystery and Suspense. Jo-Ann’s home is in Canada. I love going to her blog and reading Jo-Ann’s posts. Her words take me away to a dreamland. She is an excellent writer whose descriptions are so vivid they pull you right in. I venture into her world and escape from my dark one.

SHERRY ISAAC blog: Psychological Sizzle -What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Writers. Sherry writes about the unknown from ghosts to biblical wonders. Her blog posts always leave me thinking about other possibilities out there. It can be scary as hell if you think about some of these things!

Arlee Bird blog: Tossing It Out (http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/) is another great blog I’d recommend. He calls himself “juggler of words and phrases.” This blog give authors, both published and unpublished, a chance to hijack his blog! Isn’t that awesome? This isn’t the only blog Arlee has. Nope, he has five blogs in total- Blogging from A to Z, April ChallengeWrote By Rote, A Few Words, and finally A Faraway View about dreams. Arlee loves blogging! And for this he deserves the sunshine award for all his blogging efforts.

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all my followers out there for their comments on my blog and for making my first blogging experience phenomenal! You ROCK!

Also big (((hugs))) for Misty and Josie at Chick Swagger for giving my site the Sunshine Award!