Recent Updates

Archives, Part Four (August 17, 2008 to September 3, 2008)

Before I post the archives, I'd just like to say: I need a new mouse. The thing keeps skipping and de-selecting for no reason whatsoever. I tried moving the receiver (it's wireless), tried reconnecting every way possible and even replaced the battery.

What do you do when your pen starts running out of ink? Get a new one. Yeah, think I may just have to ditch this set. Bye bye wireless.

A Comprehensive Update (Tor+44, Cemetary+16) (August 17, 2008)

You may recall I mentioned going to New York last weekend for research among other things. We didn't go. So, I can't give you any descriptions in regard to what went on there just yet... although I do still plan on going to the city at some point or another to do what needs to be done. So, when that occurs, I will surely be ready to share whatever new information I come across.

The last post was on an incredibly rough day for me reading wise. As I've continued reading past that point there is nothing quite as bad as what I read on that day... that was just a horrible day, although there are several things from those chapters that I will have to return to at a later date. That shouldn't be terribly soon, although at my current pace the textbook should be completed within the next two weeks. While reading I am placing small Post-Its on pages that I deem important and writing a small note on them so I can remember why they were important later. Though Post-Its may be adequate, I highly recommend leaving a note as such.

Yesterday, after 32 days, I received a letter from Asimov's Science Fiction. Surely, as would be expected, if you receive only a letter and no phone call you can likely expect it to be a rejection. For those of you who have never seen a rejection letter, this is how it read:

[Centered]

Header: Asimov's Science Fiction

Dear Contributor:

Thank you very much for letting us see your submission. We appreciate your taking the time to send it in for our consideration. Although it does not suit the needs of the magazine at this time, we wish you luck with placing it elsewhere.

Please excuse this form letter. The volume of work has unfortunately made it impossible for us to respond to each submission individually, much as we'd like to do so.

Sincerely,

Sheila Williams

Editor

[Centered]

475 Park Avenue South, 11th Floor

New York, NY 10016-6901

E-Mail: asimov's@dellmagazines.com

www.asimovs.com

Well then. My professor has stressed several times to not dwell upon a rejection but to immediately look out and send it elsewhere. So that's what I've done, because to be down on yourself because an editor didn't like your work is simply stupid. There wil likely be many that do not like it.

So, looking "science fiction magazine" up again in Google, I came across Strange Horizons. It's an online "speculative fiction" magazine (According to the site, "The term 'speculative fiction' refers to what is more commonly known as "sci-fi," but which properly embraces science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, slipstream, and a host of sub-genres.") It also only accepts e-mailed submissions, making it much simpler for me. They have a rather long submission guidelines page, including a list of stories they've seen much too often and which they would not like to see again. Luckily, my story is not one included in the list. Here is the important information:

Pay Rates and Lengths

We strongly prefer stories under 5,000 words long. We will consider stories up to 9,000 words, but the longer the story, the less likely we are to be interested. We can't consider stories significantly over our wordcount limit, not even as serials. In particular, we can't consider novels.
We also can't consider partial or incomplete stories. Please don't send us part of a story and ask us to request the rest of it if we're interested.
We have no minimum wordcount requirement; we will consider short-short stories. However, we generally aren't interested in stories with twist endings.
We pay 5 cents/word, with a minimum payment of $50. SFWA officially considers us a professional market.
We buy first-printing world exclusive rights for two months. After that period, you are free to republish the story elsewhere. We hope (but do not require) that you'll allow us to post the story in our archives indefinitely after it's rotated off the main table of contents, but you have the right to remove your story from the archives at any time.

How to Submit

To submit a story to us, upload a file in Rich Text Format using our submission form. To submit a story, you have to follow that link; you can't just email the RTF file to us.
We can't consider submissions sent by papermail or as email attachments.
To keep our response time down, we can't consider more than one story by a given author at a time. Therefore, please wait until we accept or reject each story before sending us another story, even if your stories are very short.
If you're having trouble submitting, drop us a note (with a subject line beginning with "QUERY:") and let us know what the problem is. Please don't assume that you can ignore any guideline that you have trouble following.
If your story conforms to our guidelines, please don't query about whether you can submit it; just submit it. If you're not sure whether it conforms to our guidelines, feel free to query (see How to Contact Us), but please don't provide a plot synopsis in your query.
Don't send us your story until you have thoroughly proofread it. Accepted submissions may be edited for clarity or to correct minor errors, but submissions which do not meet minimum standards for correct spelling and grammar will be rejected, except in cases of obvious artistic license. Spellcheckers can be useful, but in many cases they merely compound spelling errors. If you're uncertain about your spelling or grammar, then ask a human to proofread your story before you submit.

Response Time

Our average response time is a little over a month, but that's an average; sometimes we take longer.
We always respond in less than 70 days; that's the maximum. After you receive an autoresponse, please wait 70 days to query. After 70 days, if you haven't heard from us, please query immediately; please don't wait more than 70 days before querying. (Sometimes email goes astray.)
We send an autoresponder message in response to every submission we receive, to let you know that we received it. If you haven't received an autoresponse within 24 hours after submitting, please query immediately. Please don't wait longer than 24 hours to query about a missing autoresponse.
If you're curious about what happens to your story between the time you send it and the time we respond to it, see our page on the editorial process.
Using the linked submission form above, I filled it out, checked it twice, and sent in my submission. I got the following message after clicking "Submit"

Story "Addiction" in file Addiction.rtf successfully submitted.
You should receive an automatic response via email within 24 hours.
IMPORTANT: If you haven't received the autoresponse by this time tomorrow, please query immediately, as it probably means we didn't receive your story.

So... we'll see how this goes.

Until next time, good luck getting published!

What I got (Tor+46, Cemetary+18, Strange+2) (August 19, 2008)

I received this automatic e-mail yesterday:

Dear Author,

This message is to acknowledge the receipt of your fiction submission.

To help us keep our response times down, please don't submit further stories until we accept or reject this one. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our response time currently averages about one month, but that's only an average.  Please wait 70 days after submitting before querying.  We always respond to submissions within 70 days; if you don't hear back from us within 70 days, please query immediately, as it always means our response has gone astray.  Please don't wait longer than 70 days to query.  We really mean this; 70 days is the maximum upper limit, not an average or an estimate.

If you haven't read our submission guidelines on our site (at the URL given below), please take a few minutes to look them over.  (Last guidelines update: 22 September 2007.)

If you need to contact us, please send email to fiction@strangehorizons.com, which goes to all three fiction editors.  All correspondence about fiction should go to that address.

This is an automated response.

Thank you,

--Karen, Susan, and Jed

Karen Meisner, Susan Marie Groppi, and Jed Hartman

Fiction Editors, Strange Horizons

fiction@strangehorizons.com

Submission guidelines:
http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction.shtml

So at least I know I don't have to query them. Back to reading. Until next time, good luck getting published!

What I've Learned - Part One (Tor+55, Cemetary+27, Strange+11) (August 28, 2008)

Well, I've finished Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques (Fourth Edition). I have to say, other than driving me nuts for a few days, that book was incredibly informative. I highly recommend it to anyone writing a crime/mystery/murder story because it details PRECISELY what needs to be done. There are a few areas where I think the book could be improved in the fifth edition, especially when it comes to details such as the approximate amount of time each item mentioned takes. For instance, how long should an average initial murder investigation take? Should it be a few hours or all day long? How long does it take for DNA to be processed from semen samples, etc.?

Now, here's what I'm going to do. While reading the book, I flagged all the details that I thought proved important to me. I'm going to share them with you. Please remember that these are not to be posted elsewhere or copied but are only for your own research/benefit. All quotes below are taken directly from the fourth edition by Vernon J. Geberth. Again, I highly (HIGHLY) recommend the purchase of this book, especially if you can find it at a discounted price. I also purchased the second edition for reference, but the fourth edition is where it is at. I believe a fifth edition is likely coming soon due to this being published in 2004, so the fourth edition may even begin rather cheap soon (though slightly outdated).

Without further ado, here are some important facts from the book, Practical Homicide Investigation, Fourth edition.

FOR THOSE WHO ARE FAINT OF HEART, YOU MAY WANT TO NOT PROCEED ANY FURTHER.

Victimology (page 21)
Personality, employment, education, friends, habits, hobbies, marital status, relationships, dating history, sexuality, reputation, criminal record, history of alcohol or drugs, physical condition, and neighborhood of residence are all pieces of the mosaic that comprises victimology. The bottom line is “Who was the victim and what was going on in his or her life at the time of the event?” The best sources of information will be friends, family, associates, and neighbors, and that will be the initial focus of the investigation as you attempt to identify these sources of information.
Victimology assessment begins at the crime scene as the detective observes and records information about the victim and the circumstances surrounding the event. Personal records, which include telephone and e-mail address books, telephone answering machines, cell phones, cell phone contact lists, PDAs, diaries, letters, and correspondence, are generally available in the residence or home of the victim. If the victim had a computer, further information from the hard drive will reveal additional files, e-mails, Web site selections, phone records, and calendars.
Neighbors are an excellent source of information about the neighborhood and the habits of the victim. Most people do not realize how much their neighbors know about them and the excellent information they can provide about a victim and neighborhood.
Miranda Rights (page 49)
1.You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions. Do you understand?
2.Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
3.You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking and to have an attorney present during any questioning. Do you understand?
4.If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you without cost. Do you understand?
5.Now that I have advised you of your rights, are you willing to answer questions without an attorney present?
Weather conditions (page 65)
The simplest and best way to obtain certified weather records is from the National Data Center, located in Asheville, North Carolina, 828-271-4800 or www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/ncdc.html.)
The Scene (page 205)
The ideal situation in any crime scene search is to have one officer designated the “searching officer,” whose responsibility is to search and take the evidence into custody. Other homicide detectives can assist by taking notes of locations where objects are found and even participating in follow-up searches. However, these officers assisting the searching officer should not handle any evidence. Instead, they can alert the search officer, who will take significant evidence into custody. This procedure limits the chain of custody and makes the recording of evidence more uniform and professional.
Because items tend to fall to the ground, especially in a violent struggle or confrontation, the floor is the best place to begin the search after examining the body. As the search progresses, the investigators may move from the floor or ground to waist height and from waist height to ceiling. The areas to be searched depend on the type of homicide. If the homicide is the result of a robbery or burglary, you will want to check the entire department or house for locations where the intruder searched for valuables. If the homicide was the result of a shooting, you will want to check the walls and ceiling for any bullet holes or spent rounds’ any carpeting or rugs should also be rolled back or lifted up for examination.
If the murderer cleaned up after the crime, you must examine such additional locations as sinks and sink traps or garbage areas. If narcotics are involved, you might need to locate a “stash” or secret hiding place. The murderer may have fixed something to eat or may have taken something from a refrigerator. Did the killer turn the light off or on? Does the scene give an appearance of being ransacked? Was the door unlocked or locked? Are the windows open or closed? Where is the point of entry? These are all questions you should ask yourself.
Locations where any physical or trace evidence may be found depend on the individual crime and the actions of suspects at the scene and will vary from scene to scene. However, certain areas and objects should always be given attention:
Under rugs or carpets; Elevator shaft; Under chair cushions; Tops of cabinets or furniture; Doorjambs; Chimney; Light fixtures; Refrigerators; Behind drapes or curtains; Statues; Garbage pails or bags; Behind pictures or clocks; Wastebaskets; Sewers; Hampers or soiled clothes; Drainpipes; Ashtrays; Ventilation ducts; Ceilings; Behind desks set against walls; Suspended ceilings; Closets; Walls; Backs and bottoms of drawers; Under chairs; Inside ovens; Behind mirrors; Kitchen or bathroom towels; Telephones; Sinks, Toilets, or tubs; Cell phones, Pagers; Computers; Computer hard drives; PDAs; Computer disks; Signs of a party; Counter tops; Glasses; Windows; Stairs; Any newly damaged area; Passages; Garments; Backyards; Mailboxes; Behind boxes or cartons; and Post office boxes.
Estimating Time of Death (page 231)
Based on an appreciate of a large number of variables, an experienced pathologist can arrive at a reasonable estimation of time of death, usually placing it within a range of hours.
Body Changes after Death (page 235)
Color. Upon death, the heart ceases to function. The lips and nails lose their normal pinkish of lifelike color. The blood, which has ceased to circulate, changes from a bright red to a deep purplish color as it loses oxygen. This is apparent even in persons with darker skin.
Eyes. The eyes, which are the most sensitive area of the human body, do not react to light, touch, or pressure in death. The cornea or clear part of the eye becomes slightly milky or cloudy within a half-hour to several hours after death.
Loss of body heat. After death, the body gives off heat until it becomes the same temperature as the surrounding medium. The rate of cooling can be an important measurement in the estimation of time of death and is dependent upon a number of factors: the temperature at the time of death, the temperature of the environment, body covering and clothing, and the portion of the body in contact with the surface area. Core body temperature is generally considered the most reliable indicator of time of death up to approximately 18 hours. Core body temperature is taken by inserting a thermometer into the liver, which is then compared with the ambient temperature in the crime scene. The environmental temperature should be taken at the same time if the body temperature is to have any meaning. I recommend to investigators who want to get a rough idea of just how long the body has been dead that they place the palm of their hand on a protected surface of the body, such as under the arms. If the body is warm, death occurred a few hours ago; if the body is cold and clammy, death occurred anywhere between 18 and 24 hours ago.
Rigor Mortis. The process of rigor mortis is the result of a stiffening or contraction of the body muscles related to chemical changes occurring within the muscles after death. As a general rule, rigor mortis begins 2 to 4 hours after death. Contract to popular belief, rigor mortis starts at the same time throughout the entire body; however, it is first observed in the jaws and neck. It then seems to progress in a head-to-foot direction and is complete in 8 to 12 hours after death. At this stage, the jaws, neck, torso, and upper and lower extremities are literally “stiff as a board” and, in this marked state of stiffening, resist any change in position. Rigor “fixes” the body in the position assumed at death. The complete rigor begins to disappear about 18 to 36 hours after death and, in the average body, is completely gone within 48 to 60 hours.
Postmortem lividity. Also known as livor mortis, this is caused by the pooling and settling of blood within the blood vessels from the effect of gravity. It appears as a purple discoloration of the skin. The location of the livor mortis is determined by the position of the body after death. If the body is lying face down, livor will develop on the front of the body rather than on the back. The observation of lividity is important for two reasons:
  1. It gives you a general idea how long the body has been dead.
  2. It tells you definitely whether or not the body was moved after death.
For example, if lividity is observed on the back of a body found lying face down, you can be sure that the body had originally been on its back. Lividity begins about 30 minutes after death, with full development after 3 to 4 hours, and becomes “fixed” in 8 to 10 hours. Fixed means that the livor has settled in one position for more than 8 hours and can no longer be significantly shifted by changing the position of the body. When lividity first develops, if the investigator presses his finger firmly against the discolored skin, the pressure will cause “blanching.” When pressure is release, the discoloration returns. After 4 or 5 hours, the discoloration becomes clotted and pressure will not cause blanching.
Recommendations and Guidelines for Proper Death Notifications to Surviving Family Members (page 306)
  • Notification should be made in person by the assigned detective as soon as possible after identity has been established. Under no circumstances should the media be advised of an identification prior to notification of next of kin.
  • Try to assure that the appropriate closest adult relative receives notification first.
  • Get as much information about the person to be notified as possible. Medical information, i.e. heart condition, etc., of the person to be notified is particularly important, if available.
  • Identify yourself as the assigned detective and present your credentials. Request permission to enter the home.
  • Encourage survivors to sit, and sit down with them when you talk to them.
  • Make sure there are no dangerous objects nearby. This includes scissors, knives, heavy objects, etc.
  • The actual notification of death should be made simply and directly, i.e., “I have some bad news for you. Your son is dead.” Tell the surviving family that you are sorry for their loss and express your condolences in a professional and empathic manner.
  • Answer all questions tactfully and honestly without jeopardizing the criminal investigation.
  • Be prepared to explain what happened, when it happened, where it happened, and how it happened. Be prepared to present confirming evidence and the source of positive identification in a clear and convincing fashion in the face of denial.
  • After the survivors have recovered from the initial shock, explain that you need to ask certain informational questions about the deceased in order to initiate the investigation and that you will try to keep these questions as brief as possible.
  • You should then explain that it will be necessary for a family member to identify the deceased. Allow the family to choose who will make the identification.
  • Transport or arrange for his or her transportation to and from the hospital or morgue.
  • Inform the survivors that a medicolegal autopsy is required to establish the exact cause of death.
  • Focus on the immediate needs of the survivors. Offer to assist them in notifying and contacting other, i.e., “Is there someone I can call to see if he or she could come over now?”
  • Make sure that the survivors are not left alone. Have an officer or crisis worker remain until the arrival of some designated friend or relative.
  • Explain that you will be available for any of their questions and provide them with your business card and office telephone number.
  • Offer information on crime victims’ services by providing them with the telephone numbers.
  • If the survivor is at his or her place of employment, you should proceed there, contact the survivor’s supervisor, and request to speak privately with the survivor so that proper notification can be made.
  • In some instances, the surviving relatives of victims of sudden and violent death are not immediately available. In these circumstances, you should make inquiries of neighbors to ascertain when the family is expected home. You should explain that there has been a medical emergency involving the deceased and request the neighbor to contact you if the survivors return home.
  • You should request that the neighbor not provide the next of kin with any information regarding the medical emergency until the family is contacted.
  • If surviving family members do not reside within the jurisdiction responsible for investigating the death or within a reasonable distance of that jurisdiction, you should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency covering the residence of the family. That agency should be requested to make an in-person notification to the surviving family and provide the family with the investigating officer’s name, agency, and telephone number.
Cutting Wounds (page 331)
It is difficult to determine whether cutting wounds are antemortem or postmortem; therefore, only the pathologist should attempt to make this determination.
The Investigation of Sex-Related Homicides (page 439, 455)
A homicide is classified as “sex-related” when evidence of sexual activity is observed in the crime scene or upon the body of the victim. This includes
  1. The type of or lack of attire on the victim
  2. Evidence of seminal fluid on, near, or in the body
  3. Evidence of sexual injury and/or sexual mutilation
  4. Sexualized positioning of body
  5. Evidence of substitute sexual activity, i.e., fantasy, ritualism, symbolism, and/or masturbation
  6. Multiple stabbing or cuttings to the body, including slicing wounds across the abdomen of the victim, throat slashing, and overkill types of injuries, which are considered highly suggestive of a sexual motivation.
An examination of any relationships, acquaintances, and risk factors may provide a clue to the “Who could have don’t it?” scenario. For example, With whom does the victim live? Who was with the victim last? Does it appear that the victim knew her or her assailant? What is the victim’s current social status? Why was this particular victim selected? Does the crime appear to be a “stranger-homicide”? Was the deceased in a high-risk occupation (call girl or prostitute)? Was the victim a runaway or hitchhiker? Was the victim a late-hours worker, e.g., waitress or service worker, who had to travel alone at night? What method of transportation did the victim utilize? What route did the victim travel? Were there any recent sexual incidents in the area, such as voyeurism (Peeping Tom cases) or fetish burglaries? Are there any rape or sexual assault patterns?
The Disorganize Offender (page 457)
The disorganized offender usually depersonalizes his victim by facial destruction or overkill types of wounds. Any sexually sadistic acts are performed post-mortem. Mutilation to the genitalia, rectum, breasts of females, neck, throat, and buttocks is performed because these parts of the body contain a strong sexual significance to him.
Piquerism (page 471)
Piquerism is the sexual inclination to stab, pierce, or cut – obtaining sexual gratification from the shedding of blood, tearing of flesh, and/or observing such pain and suffering of a victim who is subjected to this activity.

Oh... by the way... did I mention that this is Part One of Two? Yeah... I'm not simply going to offer all of this information at once! Round Two is not too shabby either. Stay tuned and good luck getting published!

What I learned - Part Two (Tor+59, Cemetary+31, Strange+15) (September 1, 2008)

Lots of exciting things to talk about in the next several posts, but I'd like to post the second half of what I learned from Vernon J. Geberth's Practical Homicide Investigation: Tactics, Procedures, and Forensic Techniques, Fourth Edition. As I've said before, this book should be standard reading for anyone writing about anything relating to homicide... things aren't always what CSI makes them seem. In fact, the author specifically points out problems with how CSI portrays things throughout the book.

There is so much more information than I am sharing here, and the cover price is well worth the benefit. Of course, older editions are available much cheaper on eBay when you can find them, so if you're tight on cash, I would suggest looking there although the information will not be up to date. I will be posting again soon, but for now, please enjoy this information, courtesy of Geberth, and good luck getting published!

Case History (page 566)
“The initial investigative lead developed from the fingerprint evidence identified a suspect within days of the crime through the state automated fingerprint identification system (SAFIS).”
Collecting Blood (Wet) (page 574)
-Large amount or pools
-Use an eyedropper or hypodermic syringe to collect the fluid and transfer to a sterile container (5 cc is sufficient for testing purposes).
-Transfer immediately to laboratory or refrigerate specimen. However, do not freeze blood.
-In some instances, depending on the jurisdiction regulations, a chemical preservative such as sodium azide or EDTA can be used to prevent blood spoilage.
-Small amounts of wet blood:
-Use a 100% cotton swab, #8 cotton thread, or gauze pad to collect specimen.
-Allow swab or gauze pad to air dry.
-Place in sterile test tube or other clean container.
Determinations from Hair (page 589)
-Species – human or animal
-Race – Caucasoid, Negroid, or Mongoloid (In certain instances the determination of a combination of racial characteristics can be ascertained.)
-Location of growth – body area from which the particular hair originated (heard, thorax, chest, pubis, etc.)
-Treatment – dyed, bleached, straightened, etc.
-How it was removed – pulled, fell out, cut, etc.
-Disease and/or damage
-Genetic information: DNA analysis can link hair to a specific source. STR DNA analysis can be performed on hair, which could provide the authorities with the genetic fingerprint of the subject:
-Blood type, from shaft of hair
-Other genetic markers, from roots of pulled hair
-Sex, from roots of pulled hair
-Traces of drug use:
-Drug molecules circulate in the bloodstream, seep into the hair and stay there. It has been scientifically established that the hair is the body’s garbage can.
-The drug molecules eventually find their way into the strands of hair. Analysis of these hairs using a mass spectrometer can provide authorities with a drug history of the offender.
Cigarette/Cigar Butts (page 600)
Cigarette or cigar butts found at the crime scene, especially those with filter tips, can be examined by serologists for the determination of blood type and sometimes other genetic factors (e.g., sex) of individuals who are secretors.
-Collect with forceps or tweezers and ensure dryness.
-Place into separate containers to prevent contamination.
-Containers should be appropriately marked.
-Forward to serology and/or DNA laboratory.
Autopsy (page 652)
External Examination of the Body
The date, time, and place of autopsy should be recorded, where and by whom it was performed, and the identity of any witnesses and/or participants. This recording can be done by a stenographer or by mechanical recording equipment.
Preliminary Procedure
-The body is examined before the clothing is removed to determine the condition of the clothing and to correlate any tears or other defects with obvious injuries to the body. These observations are then recorded.
-The clothing, body, and hands of the deceased should be protected from possible contamination prior to the examination. (Hands should have been covered with paper bags at the scene before the body was transported.)
-Clothing should then be carefully removed by unbuttoning, unzipping, or unhooking, without tearing or cutting. This should be done systematically, and the condition of the clothing including any torn buttons, unsnapped garments, etc. should be recorded so that any necessary cutting is not confused with any tearing or cutting from the weapon or incident which caused death.
-Clothing should then be laid out on a table so that a relationship can be established between the wounds on the body and the damages to the clothing. This procedure enables the pathologist to determine the position of the body at the time the wounds were inflicted and to know where to look for external and internal damage.
-Each item of clothing should be properly marked for identification. (If clothing is wet or bloody, it should be hung to air dry in order to prevent any putrefaction.)
The External Examination
-The body is identified for the record and a complete physical description is taken as follows:
-Age
-Height
-Weight
-Sex
-Color of hair and eyes
-State of nutrition
-Muscular development
-Scars
-Tattoos
-Detailed description of teeth (number and general condition)
-Any abnormalities or deformities
-Evidence of any fractures
[The autopsy then follows the next general steps after external examination, which the author goes into much deeper detail than I require: photograph the body, perform X-ray examinations, and then begin the internal examination of the body with the head, then the chest, etc.]
The Protocol (page 663)
The protocol is the official report of the autopsy by the medical examiner or coroner. It may be dictated to a stenographer or recorded into a mechanical recorder for later transcription. The preparation of this report is the responsibility of the chief medical examiner or coroner. The protocol or autopsy report reflects the entire examination, negative, and positive and gives the official cause of death expressed in acceptable terminology. [This is detailed much further by the author.]
Establishing a News Media Policy (page 676)
Today, most large police departments and law enforcement agencies maintain a public information office staffed by designated public information officers or news media representatives to handle requests for information. These public information officers act as spokesmen for the department and maintain regular liaison with the media. In addition, most departments have established guidelines for the release of information by the members in the field to representatives of the media.
In homicide investigations, however, there must be a tighter control over the news release, justified by the legal considerations and the strategic aspects of the case. The public information officer should be kept advised of any such incidents and is responsible for notifying the media that police are investigating a homicide. However, all subsequent information and news release from the department during the investigative stage should come from the detective supervisor or his equivalent in other agencies who is in charge of the investigation at the scene.
-- (page 680)
The homicide supervisor at the scene should be aware of the media needs and, without neglecting investigative duties, direct that a notification of the homicide be given to the public information officer along with some basic facts. In the event that there is no public information officer, the homicide supervisor can still encourage cooperation by providing for notifications to local media so that they may cover the story. This notification and subsequent release of information to the media will encourage cooperation and set the tone for future good relations.
-- (page 682)
During the investigative stage, all information from the police department should come from one person only. Generally, this person should be the detective supervisor, the chief investigator, or some other ranking officer, who has been designated in advance. The reason for this restriction should be obvious. The person in charge of the investigation is familiar with all phases and will be aware of which items can or cannot be release because of legal or investigative reasons.
General Considerations (page 705)
Experiments conducted in developing latent prints on human skin indicate that fingerprints on living skin seem to last for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours.
The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program – VICAP (page 760)
The system to identify serial murders was introduced to the FBI by Pierce Brooks, a retired chief of police and former homicide commander of the Los Angeles Police Department.
This VICAP system, an acronym for Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, was designed to collect, collate, and analyze all aspects of an investigation using the latest computer and communications technology. It provides a national clearinghouse for unsolved violent crimes. A staff of VICAP analysts and investigative case specialists review unsolved violent crimes such as homicides, rapes, child molestations, and arsons, which are submitted by law enforcement agencies on a VICAP form. The VICAP goal has been to centralize all active and unsolved homicide investigations in which mutilation, dismemberment, torture, or violent sexual trauma was involved.
Currently, cases which meet the following criteria are accepted by VICAP:
-Solved or unsolved homicides or attempts, especially those that involve an abduction; are apparently random, motiveless, or sexually oriented; or are known or suspect to be part of a series
-Missing persons, where the circumstances indicate a strong possibility of foul play and the victim is still missing
-Unidentified dead bodies where the manner of death is known or suspected to be homicide
Case History (page 779)
[This concerns a case where the victims were sexually mutilated and eviscerated. The ability to profile a suspect so perfectly seemed so interesting. The author goes into much further detail on the subject within the book, which I highly recommend purchasing for further information.]
Sheriff’s detectives “profiled” their suspect to be a white male (the area was primarily white and the canvass had also indicated that a white male stranger had committed the burglary in the area). The suspect would be in his 20s (males of this age commit most of the crimes). The suspect was probably schizophrenic (based upon the cutting, proving of the bodies in what detectives perceived to be curiosity). The suspect might have recently been released from a mental institution. (This was based on the fact that these bizarre crimes had suddenly occurred within a short span of time within one area.) The suspect seemed unconcerned about being apprehended, based upon the daylight attacks as well as the apparent lack of effort to hide the crimes or evidence. He was a loner type of individual and unmarried (based on who could live with a “wacko” like this). If the suspect did work, it would be a menial job at best. The suspect probably lived within the 1-mile circle due to the fact that the crimes were committed within the area as well as the fact that the stolen car was recovered in a parking lot of a building complex within the area.
The Investigative Approach to Profiling (page 781—not posted on blog)
The following items are necessary to create a profile:
-Photographs (the larger the photo is, the better, and the photos should focus on the depth and extent of the wounds)
-Complete photographs of the crime scene
-Color photos of the victim
-Photos of body positioning, different angles
-If residence is involved, photos of other rooms, including a crime scene sketch which depicts the entire scene and floor plan of the residence
-Photo of the area to include aerial shot to show relationship of body placement to the area so that the profiler can get a feel for the area
-Neighborhood and complex
-Racial, ethnic, and social data
-Medical examiner’s report (autopsy protocol)
-Photos to show full extent of damage to body
-Stabs, cuts (number of)
-Gunshots
Etc.
A Mention of Time (page 828)
[A body discovered around June 20th with pubic hair was the first in a series of deaths.] The pubic hair from the first case as well as the present case was not analyzed until September. [That is up to three months to analyze pubes!]
Conducting the Investigative Conference (page 925)
The investigative conference is one of the most important phases of any well-run homicide investigation. The conference need not be a formal gathering back at the station house. In fact, the investigative conference takes place during and after each of the other four phases [mentioned earlier in the text]. The conference is directed by the chief investigator at each critical point of the investigation. The object is to assess the investigation by gaining an overall synopsis. Each member and/or team relates their progress and ideas; everyone is kept abreast of all developments, and there is a general discussion. The daily investigative conference, which is somewhat different and usually takes place at the station house, attempts to assess the entire investigation on a daily basis.
Epilogue (page 944)
As far as homicide detectives are concerned, there are two types of homicide: one in which the suspect is caught quickly and the other the unsolved homicide. In New York City, the former are referred to as “ground balls” and the latter are appropriately called “mysteries.” Mystery or ground ball, the fact remains that you are dealing with the ultimate crime – murder.

Rejection: 2, Acceptance: 0 (Cemetary+33, Strange+17) (September 3, 2008)

Yesterday, after exactly 60 days, I received a letter in the mail in the most noticeable beige envelopes I have been sending. Opening the envelope (which was actually taped shut... I wonder if they've had trouble with poisoned glue before? Have you ever seen that episode of Seinfeld where George's fiance dies because of the cheap envelopes and poisoned glue? Priceless) I pulled out the double folded letter and read:

[Tor symbol] Tom Doherty Associates, LLC [Force symbol]

Dear Author:

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to read your submission. We are sorry to say that it is not right for us at this time.

Due to the volume of material we receive, we are unable to reply individually to each author. However, please be assured your work was given a careful evaluation.

We wish you the best of luck with this work; thank you again for thinking of Tor/Force.

Sincerely,

The Editors

[A handwritten note followed]

Dear Mr. Pawlowski:

We regret not being able to accept "The Nobodies".

175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010 - Tel: 212.388.0100 - Fax: 212.388.0191

Well, at least they were kind enough to write a note. Returning once again to my list of top science fiction imprints, it can be seen that Bantam is next... and of course, Bantam is another Random House division and does not take unsolicited manuscripts. Skipping over Random House makes sense... and Ballantine so happens to again be under the Random House umbrella. Why is it that so many publishers feel the urgent desire to sell out to the highest bidder? I suppose it isn't all that cut and dry, but is it right for Random House to own so many publishing houses and not accept manuscripts at all? It does not seem so to me. HarperCollins' website seems just as promising:

Manuscripts

How do I submit a manuscript? Can you send me a copy of your Writer's Guidelines? Do you accept manuscripts from unagented writers? And other questions along the lines of "where should I send my fabulous manuscript?"

Unfortunately, with the exception of Avon romance, HarperCollins does not accept unsolicited submissions or query letters. Please refer to your local bookstore, the library, or a book entitled LITERARY MARKETPLACE on how to find the appropriate agent for you.

Well, what if I've written a romance novel and want to submit the manuscript?

Please see
AvonRomance Guidelines.

Is there is a web location that I could monitor for updates regarding manuscript submissions?

No, there is not.

Lovely. And... Anchor Books also happens to be owned by Random House. Sensing a pattern here? Little, Brown Book Group accepts unsolicited letters of inquiry, so I will keep them in mind since I have not yet written one of those... although I really should. Here's what they say:

The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook (published by A & C Black) and The Writer's Handbook (published by Macmillan) contain the addresses of all UK literary agents. You can also find UK Agents' contact details on the
Writersservices.comsite, as provided by The Writer's Handbook.

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