Killer Nashville Trip

I flew down to Nashville, TN with OL on Thursday morning. We flew on American Eagle. Won’t make that mistake again. We had an overweight situation where 8 people were required to relinquish their seats and take a later flight. Then we finally board and two more people are required to get off the plane due to the overweight situation. It was ridiculous. Luckily, we were allowed to remain on the flight. Unlike Continental, no food was served on the flight. These tickets cost $300 each and my one checked bag cost another 25$. Highway robbery in my opinion. The one bright spot was the Nashville airport–so clean and calm, especially after LGA in New York.

We did a little sightseeing in the afternoon hitting the Cocoa Tree for truffles (which we snacked on everyday as a treat) and driving by the Opry on the highway since it was closed for restoration. We headed out to Franklin, TN to check in to the hotel where the Killer Nashville Conference was being held. A lovely Marriott with super friendly staff. We hung out at the hotel, enjoying the saline pool and spa. Gearing up for the first day of the conference.

On day one, I got a query critique with Cari Foulk who was super helpful and a great person to talk to. She liked my story and my writing–which was awesome to hear.  She even requested the full manuscript. I’m still giddy over that. She explained what wasn’t working in my query letter and provided insight into what was missing and how it needed to be articulated. I highly recommend paying for extras at conferences like the query critique. It’s a great opportunity to get one-on-one feedback.

While I spoke to Cari, OL attended the Lee Lofland panel on how CSI gets it wrong. Some highlights included:

  • Don’t use TV shows for research. TV shows are created to entertain, not to mirror reality because what cops really do every minute of the day is not not exciting enough.
  • Don’t use another writer’s book as research, he may have gotten his info from TV.
  • Research things because every governmental and law enforcement agency does things differently and laws vary across city, county, state and federal levels.
  • A chief of police is not the same thing a sheriff.
  • He mentioned that Jeffrey Deaver is an example of an author who gets it right–he spends months researching his books. However, he does not give the reader information overload.
  • As an example, he mentioned that cops always tell suspects not to leave town, but they have no legal authority to say that. A judge must sign a court order for it to have any weight.
  • Also, when a medical examiner says, “From the size of the wound, I’d say…”–It’s not true. They cannot tell the caliber from the gun hole.
  • In a drowning, the body floats after 3 days dead
  • No family member is allowed in autopsy room alone and usually ID dead from photograph
  • crime scene detectives cannot track footprints in asphalt in a big city
  • Pulling weapons in public is too dangerous to bystanders
  • FBI and local police usually don’t work same cases
  • Crime scene investigators are not police, even though act like it on TV
  • Civilians do not have weapons, don’t attend autopsies, do process crime scene, do investigate evidence, and do testify in court
  • Southland is an example of a show with good details such as cop having junk in pockets or raising gun up to shoot.

For more information on police procedures, check out Lee’s amazing blog at

If you want to hear more of  highlights from the Killer Nashville conference, I’ll be posting about it all week.

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4 Responses to Killer Nashville Trip

  1. berry says:

    Sounds promising. Would love to read your book. Conferences can be very trying and stressful. Take some time to relax. Life is too short.

  2. Emma says:

    I can’t belive how TV makes us believe everything they show it’s true. I have to say that before reading your post I didn’t really question what I saw on those criminal investigation shows. However, next time I watch them, I’ll pay more attention and look out for the things you mentioned. I’m pretty sure they’ll show some of the things you mentioned and that’s when I’ll be like “Wait a second…” and educate my husband who tends to be some kind of know-it-all sometimges…we’ll see how much he actually knows 🙂

    • Emma, I used to think the same thing about these shows being accurate. But I guess accuracy isn’t entertaining. 🙂 One of the many cool things about this conference is that it had 4 tracks–one for forensics, one for writing, one for fans, and one for marketing your book. And you could jump tracks and attend any panel you wanted. This allowed me to learn more about the forensic side. Brilliantly run conference.

Any thoughts or reactions or favorite foods you want to share?