Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

A blog for PIs and writers/readers of the PI genre

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    A Guide for Writing Fictional Sleuths from a Couple of Real-Life Sleuths

    "How to Write a Dick is the best work of its kind I’ve ever come across because it covers the whole spectrum in an entertaining style that will appeal to layman and lawmen alike."

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Posts Tagged ‘The Zen Man by Colleen Collins’

THE ZEN MAN, BookRooster Reviewers’ Pick, is Free March 17-19

Posted by Writing PIs on March 17, 2014

Click on cover to go to book's Amazon page

Click on cover to go to book’s Amazon page

Semifinalist Best Indie Books of 2012, The Kindle Book Reviews

BookRooster.com Reviewers’ Picks 2013
March 17: #1 Kindle Store-Mystery-Private Investigators!

#1 Kindle Store-Mystery-Private Investigators

“I loved every single word of The Zen Man!”~Delores Fossen, USA Today best-selling author

Posted in The Ungrateful Dead, The Zen Man by Colleen Collins | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on THE ZEN MAN, BookRooster Reviewers’ Pick, is Free March 17-19

PIs as Criminals: Great in Fiction, Bad in Real Life

Posted by Writing PIs on November 18, 2012


“I Want You to Put Some Muscle on This Guy”

Sounds like a line out of a bad noir movie, but we’ve actually had someone request that. In this case, the man wanted us to put some muscle on a guy who’d stolen his Ferrari.  Yes, Ferrari. We explained that unlike Tony Soprano, we don’t do muscle.  The guy then asked if we could locate the stolen Ferrari.  That we can do, and did

We’ve also been asked multiple times to attach GPS devices on vehicles the requestor doesn’t own to downloading listening software on people’s cell phones. After explaining that we do not conduct such illegal activities, we explain to callers that if they decide to do such criminal acts on their own, they’ll be facing felony charges if caught.

Ads to Help People Wiretap

It’s interesting how many ads are out there (magazines, Internet) for cellphone software that a buyer can then download on someone’s cell phone and listen to (and track) all their conversations.  We’ve had callers say, “But they claim their product is legal in the ads!”  No, they don’t claim their product is legal, but they sure make it sound that way.

Real-Life PIs Who Go Bad

Although all the private investigators we know play by the legal rules, there are the few who drift over to the dark side.  Some drift in a big, bad way like Anthony Pellicano, the former high-profile Los Angeles PI who’s now serving time in a federal prison for illegal possession of explosives, firearms and homemade grenades, unlawful wiretapping and racketeering.

Then there’s former Concord, California, private investigator Christopher Butler who’s spending 8 years in a federal prison for committing a string of felonies that included the theft and sale of drugs from the Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team and setting up “dirty DUI” schemes where men going through contentious divorces were set up for drunk driving arrests.

Bad PIs Are Good in Fiction

When it comes to fiction, however, bad is good.  It bumps up the stakes and tension if a fictional sleuth, knowing he/she is committing a felony, does it anyway.  They illegally track with a GPS, knowing the consequences if they get caught, but they’re doing it for a compelling reason (to save a child, for example).  Adds complexity and tension to the story, doesn’t it?  Or they go into the gray zone and purchase that illegal cell phone software as a last means to track a killer.  As a writer, knowing what’s legal or not for your protagonist sleuth helps you crank up the stakes.  Plus it adds plausibility.

Mark Your Calendars: The Zen Man will be free November 25-27!

Speaking of fictional PIs, one of the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’ novel, The Zen Man, which features a man-and-woman PI team, will be free November 25 – 27, 2012.  Yeah, one of them’s a good PI who does some bad things.

Semifinalist Best Indie Books of 2012, The Kindle Book Reviews

“A brilliant mystery novel…I eagerly await the return of the Zen Man.”
~Becky Sherriff, The Kindle Book Review

“What I didn’t expect were the touches of romantic language, as delicate and erotic as a glance by Humphrey Bogart from under his hat. I also didn’t expect the humorous touches in what is essentially one man’s life-or-death fight to save his soul, his business and the love of his life.”
~Bonnie Ramthun, multi-published mystery and YA author

“Move over Sam Spade, Nick and Nora; make room for a Denver who-dun-it, Colleen Collins’s The Zen Man. Brilliant and fast-paced writing. I couldn’t put it down.”
~ Donnell Ann Bell,
 Award-Winning Author of The Past Came Hunting

Posted in PI Topics, PIs and Listening Devices, Private Eyes in the News, Writing About PIs | Tagged: , , , , , | Comments Off on PIs as Criminals: Great in Fiction, Bad in Real Life

Using Google to Find People

Posted by Writing PIs on July 7, 2012

When we’re trying to find someone, typically our first step is to run that person’s name in the mother of all search engines: Google. It indexes the content of a big chunk of the Web, which is helpful when you’re looking for any and all kinds of information that might point to a person’s whereabouts.

Google People Search Tips

Here’s a few people search tips when using Google:

  • Put the person’s name, especially if it is a more common name, in quotation marks.  This tells Google you want it to search for that exact phrase (“Sally Smith”).
  • Add other identifiers to the name search. Maybe you have some additional information about the person, such as a city where the person once lived, that person’s hobby, an organization the person belongs to, even a relative’s name — any extra information can help pinpoint the search. As with the first tip, above, if you want the search to be for an exact phrase, put it in quotation marks. For example:

“Sally Smith” “baton twirler” Nevada

  • Set up a Google News Alert on the person.  Google will then automatically alert you with any current, relevant information on the Internet pertaining to this person.  To set up a news alert, go to the Google news alert page and follow the instructions.
  • Search for images.  You can search images on the Internet by text or by image.  Our other favorite reverse image search is tineye.com, but we’ve found we get more results through Google image searches.  To learn more about Google image searches, click here.

Handy Cheat Sheet for Google Searches

Here’s a one-page reference manual with handy Google search tips.  To access, click here.

The Zen Man: Semifinalist, Best Indie Books of 2012

Shout-out to The Zen Man!

One of the Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s authors, Colleen Collins, got word this week that her novel The Zen Man placed in the semifinals for The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012. Congrats, Colleen!

To read a blurb from The Zen Man, click here.

Have a great weekend, Writing PIs

Posted in Google people search tips | Tagged: , , , , | Comments Off on Using Google to Find People

Military Justice, Historical Research and Contest to Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate

Posted by Writing PIs on May 28, 2012

Shaun Kaufman and Colleen Collins, the Writing PIs

Today at Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes we have a smattering of links to share, from Shaun Kaufman‘s educational article on military justice to tips for historical research.  Last, there’s a fun contest running through June 4, 2012 where the lucky winner gets a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

“Remembering Military Justice” by Shaun Kaufman

This article outlines key differences between civilian and military criminal defense. To read, click here.

Historical Research Tips

Below are some articles on researching history — handy info for writers, researchers and those interested in investigating people and events in the past. To read an article, click on the link.

Tips from a PI: Historical Research Sites for Your Stories by Colleen Collins

State Historical Society of North Dakota: Research Tips for Beginners

History Detectives: Historical Research Checklist

From Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes: Historical Research Links

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate!

Today through June 4, 2012, Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews is running a contest for The Zen Man by author-private investigator (and Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s co-author) Colleen Collins.  For more information on how to enter the contest, click link below (hint: if you post a comment to this Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes’s blog, you get bonus points!):

Contest: Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate

Have a great week, Writing PIs

Posted in Historical Research, Historical Research Links, The Zen Man by Colleen Collins | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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