Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Archive for the ‘PI Topics’ Category

PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA SHAMUS AWARD NOMINEES 2021

Posted by Writing PIs on June 1, 2021

For works published in 2020. (The lists below are in alphabetical order by author.)

Best Original Private Eye Paperback

Farewell Las Vegas by Grant Bywaters / Wild Rose Press

All Kinds of Ugly by Ralph Dennis / Brash Books

Brittle Karma by Richard Helms / Black Arch Books

Remember My Face by John Lantigua / Arte Publico

Damaged Goods by Debbi Mack / Renegade Press

Best Private Eye Short Story 

“A Dreamboat Gambol” by O’Neil De Noux in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

“Mustang Sally” by John M. Floyd in Black Cat Mystery Magazine

“Setting the Pick” by April Kelly in Mystery Weekly Magazine

“Show and Zeller” by Gordon Linnzer in Black Cat Mystery Magazine

“Nashua River Floater” by Tom MacDonald in Coast to Coast Noir

 Best Private Eye Novel

What You Don’t See by Tracy Clark / Kensington

Do No Harm by Max Allan Collins / Tor Forge

Blind Vigil by Matt Coyle / Oceanview

House on Fire by Joseph Finder / Dutton

And Now She’s Gone by Rachel Howzell Hall / Tor Forge

Best First Private Eye Novel

Squatter’s Rights by Kevin R. Doyle / Camel Press

Derailed by Mary Keliikoa / Epicenter Press

I Know Where You Sleep by Alan Orloff / Down & Out Books

The Missing American by Kwei Quartey / Soho

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden / Ecco

With many thanks to the judges:  Colleen Collins, O’Neil DeNoux, Dennis Palumbo, April Kelly, Chad Williams, Clive E. Rosengren, Mary Keliikoa, David Thompson, Matt Coyle, Andrew McAleer, Ron Katz, Kevin Burton Smith

Gay Toltl Kinman, Chair, Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Awards

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When Writing a Whodunit, Think of Dear Old MOM (Motive, Opportunity and Means)

Posted by Writing PIs on March 19, 2021


A writer friend of mine once landed a book contract where the publisher asked for a “complex crime” at the core of the story. My friend contacted me, worried. “I’ve never written a crime! Can you give me any advice?” “Sure,” I said. “Think MOM. Motive, Opportunity and Means.”

In US criminal law, MOM encapsulates three sides of a crime necessary to convince a jury of guilt in a criminal proceeding. Did the defendant have a motive to commit the crime? Did the defendant have an opportunity, or chance, to accomplish the deed? Did the defendant also have the ability (means)?

Let’s look at some ways a fictional sleuth might use MOM in a story:

Conduct witness interviews. There’s the direct questions a sleuth might ask, and which we often hear in movies, such as “Where were you at nine o’clock on the night of April 12, Miss Smith?” (opportunity). But also think about your sleuth asking questions that delve into a suspect’s character (motive), history of violence or peacefulness (means/motive or lack of means/motive), or knowledge about using a certain type of weapon (means). A sleuth might also interview other people who’ve seen that suspect use the same type of weapon or conduct certain violent acts.

Examine the murder weapon. Let’s say your sleuth wants to prove the killer was someone other than the person charged with the crime. Your sleuth might looks for clues that show lack of means on the murder weapon (such as bloody hand imprints that are larger than the defendant’s or a strand of hair stuck in blood that’s a different color than the defendant’s).

Recreate the homicide event. Your sleuth might reconstruct the event at the scene of the crime to prove a person had access to a weapon (means) as well as opportunity. For example, the reconstruction might show how easily a suspect could have reached for the murder weapon. Or, conversely, that the suspect wasn’t tall enough to reach the weapon, strong enough to lift it, or maybe even literate enough to have read the instructions on how to use the weapon. As a lawyer, Abraham Lincoln once reconstructed a crime scene to prove that a witness couldn’t possibly have seen what she claimed to have seen because there wasn’t ample lighting to clearly see at the time the incident occurred.

Find an alternate suspect. Your sleuth might research other people who had motive, opportunity, and means to commit a crime. For example, the sleuth might analyze someone’s character for motive (such as his/her history of outbursts toward the victim), look for clues tying another person to the murder weapon (for example, his/her knowledge of how to use that weapon), or establish someone had opportunity (by analyzing a person’s timeline).

A last point to keep in mind: a court cannot convict based solely on motive, opportunity and means. A lawyer must provide convincing proof of all three. Obtaining this proof is, of course, what your sleuth (a detective, private investigator, amateur sleuth) has been doggedly investigating, with the help of MOM, throughout the course of your story.

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Any use of the written content requires specific, written authority by the author.

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PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

Posted by Writing PIs on December 29, 2020

2021 SHAMUS AWARDS

For Works First Published in the U.S. in 2020

Following are the categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2021 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2020. 

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2021. No extensions can be given.

Shamus Committees will forward their final lists to the Shamus Awards Chair by May 31, 2021.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible works must feature as a main character a person paid for investigative work but not employed for that work by a unit of government. These include traditionally licensed private investigators, lawyers and reporters who conduct their own investigations, and others who function as hired private agents. These do not include law enforcement officers, other government employees, or amateur, uncompensated sleuths.

Independently published books (Indies) may be submitted to the Best Original Paperback P.I. Novel category.

SUBMISSIONS; Please send one copy of each eligible work to ALL members of the appropriate committee. Do not submit a book to more than one committee.

There is no application fee and no submission form, as a simple cover letter will suffice. If you have any questions, please e-mail Gay Toltl Kinman at gaykinman@gaykinman.com before submitting.

BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction published in hardcover in 2020 that is not the author’s first published P.I. novel.

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover or paperback, first published in 2020 and that is the author’s first published novel featuring a private investigator as a main character. 

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction first published as a paperback original in 2020 that is not the author’s first P.I. novel. Paperback reprints of previously published novels are not eligible

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY: A work of fiction of 20,000 words or fewer.  Stories first published in an earlier year and reprinted in a magazine, anthology or collection in 2020 are not eligible.

2021 SHAMUS Awards Committees

BEST HARDCOVER P.I. NOVEL COMMITTEE

Chair: Colleen Collins, 2255 Sheridan Blvd., Unit C #293, Edgewater  CO  80214

2          O’Neil DeNoux, 428 West 25th Avenue, Covington   LA 70433

3          Dennis Palumbo, 15300 Ventura Blvd., Ste. 402, Sherman Oaks  CA 91403

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL COMMITTEE

Chair: April Kelly, POB 5, Ooltewah  TN 37363

2          James D. F. Hannah, 3821 Nanz Avenue, apt. 4, Louisville  KY 40207

3          Clive E. Rosengren, 2030 Brookhurst St., apt. 3, Medford   OR 97504

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK P.I. NOVEL

Chair: Mary Keliikoa, 759 South 74th Place, Ridgefield  WA 98642

2          David Thompson, 17402 Wild Rose Lane, Huntington Beach  CA 92649

3          Matt Coyle, 3939 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego  CA 92117

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY COMMITTEE

Chair:  Andrew S. McAleer, 121 Follen Road, Lexington  MA 02421

2          Ron Katz, 2085 Cowper St., Palo Alto  CA 94301

3          Kevin Burton Smith, 3053 Rancho Vista #116, Palmdale  CA 93551

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Looking Under the Alibi: The Work of a Legal Investigator

Posted by Writing PIs on October 6, 2020

Investigations are about gathering facts to form a cohesive and well-reasoned picture of a given situation. Legal investigations are also about gathering facts for a given situation with the addition that these facts will be presented in a court of law.

The legal investigator applies evidence/fact gathering through exacting requirements, called rules of evidence, which must be met for their admissibility for the judge and jury to see and hear.

V.I. Warshawski: A Fictional Legal Investigator

I view V. I. Warshawski, a private investigator character created by writer Sara Paretsky, to be a legal investigator. V.I. attended law school and worked for several years as a public defender, which attests to her understanding and passion for the law. She became a licensed PI in 1982. For fans of the V.I. Warshawski books, you know she works independently as well as on retainer for some attorneys (not uncommon for real-life legal investigators, too).

A Legal Investigator’s Job

Some legal investigators work in-house at a law firm. Others might work in a public defender or district attorney’s office.  And some work as independent contractors, under the umbrella of their own investigations agency.

A legal investigator’s tasks might include:

  • Locating and interviewing witnesses
  • Drafting witness interview reports for attorneys
  • Reconstructing scenes of crimes
  • Helping prepare civil and criminal arguments and defenses
  • Serving legal documents
  • Testifying in court
  • Conducting legal research (for example, drafting pleadings incorporating investigative data, devising defense strategies and supporting subsequent legal proceedings)
  • Preparing legal documents that provide factual support for pleadings, briefs, and appeals
  • Preparing affidavits
  • Electronically filing pleadings.

A legal investigator’s training and skills often include:

  • Good people skills, sincere interest in people
  • Understanding people’s rights to privacy, city ordinances, statutory laws
  • A passion for righting wrongs.

Lawyers as Legal Investigators

Sometimes lawyers choose to be legal investigator rather than practice law. That’s certainly true for the PI-character V.I. Warshawski. In real life, I know several former lawyers who now prefer to work as legal investigators, one being my PI partner. Their knowledge of the law is a boon to an investigations business and critical to a legal case; after all, not-guilty verdicts and huge jury awards are won on the street as much as they are won in the courtroom.

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Please do not copy or otherwise use any of the content as it is protected by copyright law.

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Guns Gams and Gumshoes: Top 10 Investigative Posts 2009 – 2019

Posted by Writing PIs on December 31, 2019

Looking Back on a Decade

We thought we’d do a spin on our annual Top 10 posts and select the top 10 posts from the last ten years. Which is fitting as we kicked off the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes blog in June 2009, making it a decade old in 2019.

So how are those ten years reflected in our readers’ favorite posts? Interestingly enough, the #1 most popular post in 2009 is still the most popular post in 2019.

Let’s start at number 10 and work our way up…

Top 10 Posts of the Last 10 Years

#10: Female Private Eyes Walked Those Mean Streets, Too

From Colleen: I was surprised to read a 2014 article “The Death of the Private Eye,” by John Semley in the New York Times and see references to only men being shamuses in hardboiled fiction. Hey, there were lady dicks, too.

#9 Employment Background Checks: Know What’s on Yours BEFORE the Interview

One of several employment background articles Colleen wrote in 2011 about employment background checks for a media company.

#8 Private Investigators and Murder Cases

Written in 2012 for Elizabeth A. White’s blog “Editing by Elizabeth.” White is a former lawyer and current book reviewer/freelance editor specializing in crime fiction.

#7 Marketing the Private Investigations Business

This article is a blast from the past, one of the first we wrote after kicking off this blog in 2009. Much of it still rings true, while significant marketing venues, such as social media, are missing (was “social media” even a term in 2009?).

#6 Investigating Crime Scenes: Police vs. Private Investigators

Because one of the Writing PIs, Shaun, had been a criminal lawyer for nearly two decades with experience litigating many felony cases, including several high-profile homicides, our early clients were seasoned criminal lawyers who respected his knowledge and insights into criminal law and investigations. One gave us our very first case: investigating a crime scene (a bar) where a homicide had occurred. This was the first of numerous cold crime scenes we investigated over the years.

#5 A Tribute to James Garner’s Iconic Private Eye Jim Rockford

This one pops up as a readers’ favorite year after year. Who didn’t love “The Rockford Files”?

#4 National and International Private Investigator Day: History of the Private Eye

From Eugene Francois Vidocq to Allan Pinkerton to Kate Warne, credited with being the first female PI in the U.S.

#3 The Witness Who Came in From the Cold

A case we worked the old-fashioned way, on foot, as the key witness was terrified for her identity to be traced digitally.

#2 How to Conduct a Trash Hit: A Private Investigator’s Dumpster Secrets

The down-and-dirty world of trash hits. This post is continually in the top two or three of readers’ favorite articles every year.

#1 Private vs. Public Investigators: What’s the Difference?

This post has been number 1 every single year! It’s a question we address at the beginning of our workshops, too, as it can be confusing what constitutes a detective being “private” vs. “public.” 

 

That wraps up the top 10 posts of the decade! Thank you, readers, for dropping by Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes over the years. We wish all of you a prosperous, happy 2020!

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Summer Surveillances: Avoiding Heat Exhaustion

Posted by Writing PIs on July 13, 2019

Scientists think summers could be hotter than in the previous 50 years (image in public domain)

Updated July 13, 2019: This article was originally written eight years ago after I experienced heat exhaustion while conducting a series of daytime surveillances. At that time, both my PI partner and myself had conducted dozens of surveillances, many during the summer months. Both of us knew what safeguards to take, but nevertheless the heat took its toll.

As summers across the globe could be increasingly hotter than any we’ve experienced within the last 50 years (based on a recent study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research), it’s imperative to take adequate precautions when working outdoors.

What Is Heat Exhaustion?

From Mayo Clinic: Heat exhaustion is a condition whose symptoms may include heavy sweating and a rapid pulse, a result of your body overheating. It’s one of three heat-related syndromes, with heat cramps being the mildest and heatstroke being the most severe.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or gradually over time (mine was the latter). Possible signs and symptoms:

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Goose bumps, despite the heat
  • Profuse sweating
  • Lightheaded or dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure upon standing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

That summer, I re-learned some powerful lessons about conducting summertime surveillances, starting with the most important one:

Lesson #1: Respect the heat! I thought I’d taken adequate precautions (parking in shady spots; taking breaks in an air-conditioned building; staying hydrated, etc.), yet I still succumbed to heat exhaustion, likely due to the repeated days of high temperatures.

A few ideas for staying cool:

  • Bring ice packs along on the surveillance

    When possible, select cool, shady areas for surveillances

  • Pick shady spots to park in
  • Ensure there’s adequate ventilation in the vehicle. If appropriate, run air conditioning (there’s also portable units investigators can purchase that help keep the inside of a vehicle cool)
  • When feasible, take breaks in air-conditioned buildings
  • Wear a rimmed hat and sunglasses
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water, Gatorade or fruit juices (not sodas or coffee!)
  • Wear loose-fitting and cool clothes.

Lesson #2: Mine your client for details. It’s funny how many people have called and asked us to follow someone without any suggestions or knowledge about the subject’s schedule or habits. Maybe in the movies a PI can jump into a car and follow someone for hours with zero idea where that person typically goes that time of day, or is scheduled to go on a particular day, but that’s a road to failure in real-life surveillances.

It aids the surveillance significantly to have an idea where the person might be traveling, or if they have a scheduled appointment (hair dresser, exercise club, therapist) for a certain day and time. How does a PI find this information? Interview the client, ask about the subject’s habits, schedules, work routines, and so forth. Sometimes we’ve worked on an “on-call” basis with a client (he/she calls us when they have information where a subject will be that day—of course, this doesn’t mean we’re always available at that particular time, which is an agreed-upon understanding of the “on-call” approach).

Lesson #3: Stay in close touch with your PI partner. We’ve conducted multiple two-car mobile surveillances during summer, and understand the value of staying in constant touch. For example, before we drive through traffic to follow a vehicle, we’ll call each other on our cells, then leave that line of communication open as we drive (we put our phones on speaker, set them on the console, and talk to each other as we drive). This way, we can immediately inform each other if the car is turning, if we’re playing “leap frog” with the vehicle, and so forth.

Note: In our state, any driver under 18 years of age is prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. The prohibition includes phone calls, text messaging, or similar forms of manual data entry and transmission. Adult drivers are prohibited from using a cell phone to text message, or send similar forms of transmission, while behind the wheel. Regular cell phone use for voice calls is permitted. Drivers of any age may use a wireless device in the case of an emergency.

Tips From Other Investigators

We’ve heard other investigators talk about their vehicle having tinted windows, installing a roof vent in the vehicle, wearing canvas shoes, if possible working at night vs. the day, one said her best way to stay cool was wrapping a bandana filled with ice wrapped around her neck.

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Do not copy, distribute, or otherwise use any of this material without written permission from the author. Unless an image is noted as being in the public domain, do not copy or use any graphics/photos.

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Private Eye Writers of America Announces 2019 Shamus Award Nominees

Posted by Writing PIs on June 6, 2019

Below are the nominees for works published in 2018 featuring a private eye protagonist. Listing is in alphabetical order by author with publisher’s name in parentheses. Winners will be announced at the PWA Banquet at Bouchercon, October 2019. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Original Private Eye Paperback

She Talks to Angels by James D. F. Hannah (Hannah)

No Quarter by John Jantunen (ECW Press)

Shark Bait by Paul Kemprecos (Suspense Publishing)     

Second Story Man by Charles Salzberg (Down & Out Books)

The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone (Redhook Books)

 

Best First Private Eye Novel

The Best Bad Things by Katrina Carrasco (MCD Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

Broken Places by Tracy Clark (Kensington)

Last Looks by Howard Michael Gould (Dutton)

What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)

Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (Hogarth)

 

Best Private Eye Short Story

“Fear of the Secular,” by Mitch Alderman (AHMM)

“Three-Star Sushi,” by Barry Lancet (Down & Out)

“The Big Creep,” by Elizabeth McKenzie (Santa Cruz Noir)

“Game,” by Twist Phelan (EQMM)

“Chin Yong-Yun Helps a Fool,” by S.J. Rozan (EQMM)

 

 Best Private Eye Novel

Wrong Light by Matt Coyle (Oceanview Publishing)

What You Want to See by Kristen Lepionka (Minotaur Books)

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (Soho Crime)

Baby’s First Felony by John Straley (Soho Crime)

Cut You Down by Sam Wiebe (Quercus)

 

2019 Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Awards Committees

Gay Toltl Kinman, Chair, Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Awards

BEST ORIGINAL PRIVATE EYE PAPERBACK COMMITTEE

Brad Parks, Chair, Michael Wiley, Beth Terrell

BEST FIRST PRIVATE EYE NOVEL COMMITTEE

Colleen Collins, Chair, Dennis Palumbo, Cheryl Head

BEST PRIVATE EYE SHORT STORY COMMITTEE

Terence P. Faherty, Chair, John Hoda, Ken Wishnia

BEST PRIVATE EYE NOVEL COMMITTEE

Thomas Donahue, Chair, Tracy Clark, John Shepphird

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Courtroom Couture: The Not Guilty Look

Posted by Writing PIs on April 27, 2019

I Look So Pure, I Couldn’t Possibly Have Done Those Bad Things

An article in today’s New York Times (Does This Dress Make Me Look Guilty?) reads like a courtroom catwalk, complete with pictures of famous people dressed to kill, so to speak, their alleged bad deeds in the minds of jurors and judges. Such as Anna Sorokin, the fake heiress, who bilked people, even a bank!, out of thousands of dollars. According to the article, a secret benefactor hired a professional stylist to dress Ms. Sorokin in clothes such as white, frothy baby doll dresses to give her the aura of purity and innocence. Add simple hairstyles, large “who me?” eyeglasses, and a knock-kneed stance for a touch of vulnerability, surely the jurors would be blinded by her innocence.

Didn’t work. The jury found her guilty of second-degree grand larceny, theft of services, and one count of attempted grand larceny. Perhaps she knew what was coming because she wore black on the last day of court.

Dress Codes Apply to Witnesses and Parties, Too

Famous defense lawyer Gerry Spence once represented a Wyoming beauty queen who was suing the publisher of Penthouse magazine, Bob Guccione, for defamation. Spence said he knew he had the upper hand when Guccione showed up to court in a flashy velour suit with his shirt unbuttoned to display heavy gold chains.

Court is not the place to flash jewelry and designer outfits — it’s a forum of respect and seriousness where persons appointed as magistrates or judges officiate in the administration of justice.

Bottom Line: Keep It Simple

Before we go to court, we advise clients on how to dress to impress, the low-key way. Keep it simple, conservative. Think “business casual.” More tips:

  • Dress as you would for church/place of worship.
  • Dress to cover tattoos and too much skin (women, keep skirts and dress lengths to just above the knee or longer, and no low-cut tops).
  • Keep nails short and polished in light color or clear.

Avoid the color red and don’t wear sunglasses (looks as if you’re hiding something)

  • Take out any piercings (earrings are fine, again keep it simple).
  • Plain colors or light patterns on clothes: no logos, brands, flashy statements.
  • Women: simple hairstyles, if hair is longer, pull it back with a clip or in a simple bun. Men: neatly cut, short hair.
  • Sensible shoes. No open toes.
  • Women: Keep make-up to a minimum.

Choose Suitable Colors

Wearing the right colors helps a person look healthier, younger, and refreshed. Here’s a few color suggestions:

Charcoal, Navy and Blue

In general, these are the best colors to wear to court. They’re not as severe as black, and for men, they complement many colors of shirts and ties. The other half of Writing PIs once attended a trial college where an instructor claimed that blue was the best color to wear to court because blue connoted “the truth.”

Never Wear Brown

That same trial college instructor lectured that one should never wear brown to court because used-car salesman wear brown suits, so wearing a brown connotes the image of a tire-kicking shyster. Lighter shades of brown, however, such as beige, work well, as do lighter shades of pastels.

Avoid Bright Colors

Bright colored clothes can be a distraction, or worse, a joke. We once observed a witness take the stand in a crayon-orange muscle shirt that displayed his bulging biceps and tattoos. You could see the looks of “What the?” on some of the jurors’ faces.

Links of Interest

Cardi B’s Courtroom Catwalk Continues (The Cut)

Dressing your client for success at deposition and trial (Plaintiff)

No defense for some courtroom attire (Chicago Tribune)

All Rights Reserved, Colleen Collins. Do not copy or distribute any content without written approval of the author. Images in this article are licensed by the author, who does not have the legal authority to share with others.

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Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes: Top 10 Posts in 2018

Posted by Writing PIs on December 28, 2018

As we wrap up 2018, below are our readers’ 10 favorite posts this year. Thank you to everyone who’s dropped by this year as well as preceding years—next year will mark Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’ ten-year anniversary!

Ranking is #1 through #10, with #1 having the most reader views in 2018:

#10 Private Investigators and Murder Cases This was a 2012 guest post by Colleen Collins at crime fiction book reviewer Elizabeth A. White’s blog (renamed Editing by Elizabeth as she now specializes as a story editor).

#9 Investigating Crime Scenes: Police vs. Private Investigators This 2015 post discusses different facets of crime scene investigations, from deception to subjects to cold vs. live crime scenes.

Copyright Lisa Cejka 2018

#8 Female Private Eyes Walked These Mean Streets, Too Some people, including John Semley, who wrote the article “The Death of the Private Eye for the New York Times, seem to think only men have been shamuses in fiction. No, women were dicks, too, going back to 1864 with Mrs. Paschal, commonly viewed as the first female private detective in literature.

#7 National and International Private Investigator Day: History of the Private Eye History of the PI, from Eugene Francois Vidocq, recognized as the first private eye in 1833, to current-day private detectives.

#6 National Cyber Security Awareness Month: A Ransomware True Story and Security Tips A true story about cyber-criminals who hacked into, and took over, a writer’s computer, as well as tips and related articles on cyber security.

#5 Answering a Writer’s Question: Can a Private Investigator Get Romantically Involved with a Client? Seems Sam Spade got amorous with most of the femme fatales who crossed his path. Although there aren’t always legal restrictions, there are often ethical ones to consider in the real world of PIs.

#4: A Tribute to James Garner’s Iconic Private Eye Jim Rockford I originally wrote this post in 2014 after hearing of James Garner’s passing, then updated it the following year. Who didn’t love the cool, droll, anti-hero Jim Rockford, a PI who’d rather go fishing then be sleuthing cases.

James Garner as PI Rockford (R) in photo still from THE ROCKFORD FILES (image is in public domain)

#3: How to Conduct a Trash Hit: A Private Investigator’s Dumpster Secrets: This has been one of our readers’ favorite posts over the years. At our PI agency, we’ve conducted dozens of trash hits. Foraging through trash is like an archeological dig—ya get down and dirty, but what’s uncovered can break a case clean open.

#2 Private vs. Public Investigators: What’s the Difference? Ever since we kicked off Guns, Gams,and Gumshoes in 2009, this post has been readers’ #1, most-read post, every single year…until this year when it got bumped to #2 for…

#1: From Pup to Courthouse Therapy Dog, Part 1 Readers’ favorite post this year was based on our Rottweiler pup, Traveller, who’s on a journey (along with her owners) to one day being a courtroom therapy dog. Article discusses differences between service dogs and therapy dogs; the training and work of a courtroom therapy dog; the story of Rosie, the first courthouse therapy dog in New York; and related links to therapy dog training and certification.

Thank you, readers, for being part of Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2019 for all of us!

All rights reserved by Colleen Collins. Do not copy or distribute any content without written permission of the author. Images in the public domain are captioned as such; all other images are either copyrighted or licensed by the author, who does not have the legal authority to share with others.

 

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Shamus Awards 2019: Private Eye Writers of America Accepting Submissions

Posted by Writing PIs on December 12, 2018

PRIVATE EYE WRITERS OF AMERICA ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS

FOR 2019 SHAMUS AWARDS

For Works First Published in the U.S. in 2018

Following are the categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2019 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2018. The awards will be presented in the fall of 2019.

DEADLINE: Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2019. No extensions can be given.

Shamus Committees will forward their final lists to the Shamus Awards Chair by May 31, 2019.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible works must feature as a main character a person paid for investigative work but not employed for that work by a unit of government. These include traditionally licensed private investigators; lawyers and reporters who do their own investigations; and others who function as hired private agents. These do not include law enforcement officers; other government employees; or amateur, uncompensated sleuths (for example, protagonists in cozy mysteries).

Independently published books (Indies) may be submitted to the Best Original Paperback PI Novel category.

SUBMISSIONS: Please send one copy of each eligible work to all members of the appropriate committee. Do not submit a book to more than one committee.

There is no application fee and no submission form, as a simple cover letter will suffice.

For judging committee addresses and questions, please e-mail PWA judging chair Gay Toltl Kinman at gaykinman@gaykinman.com. If you’re unsure which category to submit your work, email Gay Tolti Kinman before submitting.

BEST HARDCOVER PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction published in hardcover in 2018 that is not the author’s first published P.I. novel.

BEST FIRST PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover or paperback, first published in 2018 that is the author’s first published novel featuring a private investigator as a main character.

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction first published as a paperback original in 2018 that is not the author’s first P.I. novel. Paperback reprints of previously published novels are NOT eligible.

BEST PI SHORT STORY: A work of fiction of 20,000 words or fewer.  Stories first published in an earlier year and reprinted in a magazine, anthology or collection in 2018, are not eligible.

2019 SHAMUS Awards Committees

BEST P.I. SHORT STORY COMMITTEE

Terence Faherty, Chair

BEST FIRST P.I. NOVEL COMMITTEE

Colleen Collins, Chair

BEST P.I. NOVEL COMMITTEE

Thomas Donahue, Chair

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL P.I. NOVEL

Brad Parks, Chair

Please do not copy or otherwise distribute any images in this posting as the author does not have legal authority to share these images with others.

Posted in PI Topics | Comments Off on Shamus Awards 2019: Private Eye Writers of America Accepting Submissions

 
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