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Dear Jerome

January 8, 2020

January 2020

INTERVIEW OF JACK MULLEN, AUTHOR OF DEAR JEROME…Letters From a Cop BY COP WORLD PRESS PUBLICIST. 

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A WRITER?

JM:  AFTER I RETIRED. AS A COP. I WAS INVOLVED IN INTERESTING CASES…RUNNING INTO SO MANY COLORFUL PEOPLE—COPS INCLUDED. I DECIDED TO TAKE A FEW NOTES  SO THAT  WHEN I  RETIRED AND SWAYED BACK AND FORTH IN MY ROCKING CHAIR I COULD PLAY WITH THOSE MEMORIES. I ENDED UP WITH THREE SHOEBOXES FULL OF SCRAPS OF PAPERS.

CWP: DID THESE NOTES FORM THE BASIS FOR YOUR BOOKS?

JM: SOME OF THEM. AS I DEVELOPED AS A WRITER, I LEARNED TO MAKE FACT OUT OF FICTION AND FICTION OUT OF FACT.

CWP: HOW DID YOU HAPPEN TO BECOME A SAN DIEGO COP?

JM: I’D BEEN HONORABLY DISCHARGED FROM THE MARINES AND ENDED UP WORKING IN SALES FOR EASTMAN KODAK. I WASN’T SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT WAS IN MY BLOOD. MY GRANDFATHER HAD BEEN A NEW YORK CITY COP AND MY DAD A U.S. CUSTOMS AGENT FOR FORTY-THREE YEARS. I KNEW A LOT OF THE AGENTS DAD HAD WORKED AROUND. NICE GUYS. INTERESTING.  FULL OF LIFE AND LOVE. SO, I MADE THE SWITCH.

CWP: YOUR FIRST TWO NOVELS WERE PUBLISHED BY AVON BOOKS. HOW DID THEY DIFFER FROM DEAR JEROME?

JM: THEY WERE BOTH POLICE FICTION GENRE. JIMMY BRESLIN SAID MURDER IS STILL THE MAIN EVENT, SO WRITING THEM, I PUT MY HOMICIDE DETECTIVE EXPERIENCE TO GOOD USE. BUT JEROME IS A LITERARY NOVEL. MY COP BUDDIES WOULD LAUGH ABOUT ME AND LITERARY BEING USED IN THE SAME SENTENCE.

CWP:  SO, JEROME IS A NOVEL OF LETTERS, WRITTEN BY YOUR PROTAGONIST, BILLY CONSIDE, TO HIS OLDER BROTHER JEROME IN THEIR HOMETOWN OF YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO?

JM: CORRECT. JEROME GETS OUT OF BED EVERY MORNING AND SWEATS IN THE STEEL MILLS, SUPPORTING THEIR WIDOWED MOTHER AND YOUNGER SISTER. ALL OF THE CONSIDINES WERE EXPECTED TO PUNCH A TIME CLOCK IN THE MILLS.

CWP: BUT BILLY FOUND A WAY OUT OF TOWN. ESCAPED THE DIRTY JOB THAT HAD KILLED THEIR FATHER IN ONE OF THE FREQUENT STEEL MILL ACCIDENTS…

JM: YES.  BY PLAYING PROFESSIONAL  BASEBALL, BUT WHEN EVERYBODY AGREED HE COULDN’T HIT HIS WAY OUT OF THE PIEDMONT LEAGUE, THAT WAS THAT. FEELING A FAILURE, AND FULL OF GUILT ABOUT JEROME AND YOUNGSTOWN, HE APPLIED FOR THE SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT. HIS LETTERS TO JEROME COVER THREE DECADES.

CWP: THE NOVEL POINTS OUT HOW OUTSIDE INFLUENCES AFFECT THE LIVES OF COPS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

JM: YES. BILLY’S LETTERS EXPLAIN HOW THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT; THE VIETNAM WAR, THE COUNTERCULTURE OF THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES TOOK THEIR TOLL. I LIKE TO THINK THAT BILLY CONSIDINE MATURED AS AMERICA MATURED.

CWP: YOU TOLD ME THAT AT FIRST YOU WERE AFRAID JEROME WOULD HAVE A NARROW AUDIENCE.  A READERSHIP OF COPS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

JM: YES, AT FIRST. BUT AS I WROTE, THOSE FEARS VANISHED. I WOULDN’T HAVE  FINISHED THE MANUSCIPT IF I DIDN’T THINK IT HAD UNIVERSAL APPEAL.  I BELIEVE BILLY CONSIDINE IS FLAWED BUT APPEALING. HE HAS BLIND SPOTS, BUT HIS DRIVE, HIS HUMOR, HIS COMPASSION AND FOOLISH MISTAKES MAKE HIM A COMPLEX BUT LOVABLE HUMAN BEING.

CWP: A REVIEWER SAID, “YOU CAN’T HELP ROOTING FOR THE GUY. LAMENTING HIS FOLLIES, PRAYING HE’LL SEE WHAT WE SEE. THAT HE’LL WAKE UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING.” DOES HE WAKE UP?

JM: I HOPE SO. LET ME KNOW HOW IT TURNS OUT.

CopWorld Press Seeks Writers for San Diego Police Department Anthology

November 20, 2018

CopWorld Press is seeking submissions from current and former SDPD employees for a book in anthology form.

We ‘d also like input about a potential theme. Themes might include short memoirs, character studies of real officers, stories about when an officer saved the day, when an officer did something extraordinary, weird calls or…(fill in the blank here)– or a hodgepodge of whatever you want to write about.

Please send along your thoughts on this topic. Your work will be edited and brought to professional standards before the book is published. There will be a fee for participation, but a generous royalty schedule and royalties will be dispersed on a semi-annual basis. To indicate your potential interests, please send an email to 20smithtb@gmail.com.

Ex-San Diego Officer Helps Fellow Cops Get Published

November 11, 2018

Beth Wood of the “San Diego Union-Tribune” wrote a fine article about CopWorld Press that’s printed in today’s paper. She describes the mission of CopWorld Press as providing a platform for law enforcement authors to get their stories published. I’ve added a link to her story below.

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/books/sd-et-books-smith-20180926-story.html#share=email~story

Bestselling Cop Author Dallas Barnes is Back with “A Man in Heat”

May 7, 2018

Available for Immediate Pre-order

Book Release Date: May 15, 2018

Buy at a discount – go to: http://www.copworldpress.com

Read the newest police thriller from the bestselling author of “City of Passion” and “Deadly Justice”…

Jake Prescott is a respected LA cop, until the day he empties his Glock into his wife’s killer in a detective squad room. A trial board quickly turns him into an ex-cop. An ex-cop with nowhere to hide.

Las Vegas-the City of Chance, Babylon in the desert, a place with no clocks, first names only, glimmering day and night-offers him refuge. That is until fate curses him a second time as the shadow of another murder hangs over him.

April Winters, a hauntingly attractive Las Vegas homicide detective, draws a thin line between fact and fantasy, as she pieces together a bloody multi-murder with Jake as a prime suspect. Hidden behind the glitter of Las Vegas, Jake Prescott struggles not only for innocence, but identity, fighting an unforgiving Blue Fraternity haunting him with a past he wants to forget…and a future filled with a deadly mix of both passion and fear.

What others are saying about A Man in Heat:

“Reminiscent of the golden age of crime writing, Dallas Barnes hits the mark … ratcheting up the heat in an already sweltering city, This book is not one to miss, and I’ll be looking forward to the next Jake Prescott story.” -David Putnam, best-selling author of The Innocents

“A Man In Heat heralds the triumphant return of the King of Cop-Writers. Dallas Barnes rips away the badge to expose the violent emotional cost of being a cop.”-Paul Bishop, 35 year L.A.P.D. veteran and author of Lie Catchers.

Available for Immediate Pre-order

Book Release Date: May 15, 2018

Buy at a discount – go to: http://www.copworldpress.com

 

Shakespeare for Cops

March 3, 2018

Harvard Professor Jeffrey R. Wilson and I recently conducted a series of Q&A via email regarding an educational program he’s developing called, “Shakespeare for Cops.” The first question and answer comprise the bulk of this post.

Professor Wilson has also posted a video on YouTube depicting his presentation on the topic at the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at the University of Alabama. Links to his video and website can be found at the bottom.

Police and the Humanities

  1. In general, how would you describe the relationship between the police and the arts and humanities?

I’m not aware of any formalized relationships. I’m trying to partially address that through CopWorld Press. There are, however, several successful police writers. Chief among them over the decades has been Joe Wambaugh who’s in his 80s now and not writing a lot but was one of the most powerful figures in the publishing industry for several decades. There’s also Dallas Barnes who has published six novels and sold more than a million copies in numerous languages and written for television and the movies. I’m happy to say that CopWorld Press will be publishing his seventh novel, “A Man in Heat” in April of this year. Paul Bishop is also successful in much the same way as Dallas Barnes. What they all have in common in addition to their literary chops is having worked for the LAPD.

I’ve attended an event in Newport Beach, Ca several times called “Men of Mystery” and met a Chicago police officer there who has also done well but I don’t remember his name. Ed Conlon, a Harvard grad had a big success with “Blue Blood,” a memoir of his first couple years as a patrol officer with the NYPD. In my opinion, much of his success stemmed from his college bio. It’s probably not a coincidence that the TV series, “Blue Bloods” features Jamie Reagan who graduated from Harvard Law School before joining the “family business” on the NYPD. While the series has little similarity to Conlon’s book, he was probably remunerated in some way for the title and for Jamie’s character.

Over the years, I’ve had numerous current and retired police officers ask me to help them write their stories, which is one of the reasons I’ve formed CopWorld Press. It provides a venue for police officers who might not otherwise break into the marketplace. In addition to the traditional model, we’re striving to create a social network of people who will participate in creating and disseminating the work of police writers.  I’ve recently  begun a correspondence with an author who’s asked for help in developing a nascent project into a book about a legendary San Diego police officer who died a few years ago.

As a publisher, I’m striving to strengthen the relationship between police authors and arts and humanities by providing an outlet for their creativity. Cops have great stories and they’re great story tellers. Joe Wambaugh is famous for taking groups of cops out for dinner and plying them with booze to loosen their tongues. Many stories told on those occasions have worked their way into his books.

Shakespeare for Cop

https://wilson.fas.harvard.edu/

Wes Albers “Black and White”

February 2, 2018

CopWorld Press has acquired the rights to “Black and White,” a police procedural by Sgt. Wes Albers of the San Diego Police Department.

In addition to his work with the SDPD, Wes teaches at Alliant International University and his book has been taught at Cal State San Marcos for it’s accurate depiction of police work. It’s also been discussed in Law Enforcement publications like “Force Science News” and “Police One” as detailed by Chuck Remsburg, the author of “Street Survival and The Tactical Edge.”

“Black and White” has been reviewed for the International Law Enforcement Educators and Teachers Association and has spent thirty months among the Top Paid Police Procedurals list on iTunes.

Wes Albers’ work completely represents the values of CopWorld Press as it strives to give voice to important law enforcement authors .

 

Dallas Barnes Collaborates with CopWorld Press

December 22, 2017

Why do cops write? Because everything a cop does requires writing. Daily Logs, arrests reports, crime reports, incident reports and on and on. As part of their duties cops write about a myriad of things most of the world never sees. Murder, rape, assault, child abuse, accidents, drugs, bloody bodies, alive and dead, emotional victims, combative arrestee’s, altercations, pursuits and more. Cops see it and cops write about it, again and again. It is not unusual for a cop’s report to be read by thousands, and many become records that last decades.

Some cops, and I’m one of them, are compelled to write. I’ve been fortunate to have seven novels published. All based on my police experiences. I’ve sold over a million copies in seven different countries. My novels became a bridge to primetime where I wrote for twenty-three different series and several motion pictures for television. Why tell you this? Because on a regular basis I see cops writing about their experiences on line. Many of these stories are compelling reads, and many could be novels that have never found print.

My point is, if you’re a cop, and like me, you write because you have, and you’ve written a novel and don’t know what to do next, join the club, I’ve been there. My first trek to becoming a novelist was all up hill. That was then. Fortunately, with the dawn of the internet, it has all changed.

Forget about just dreaming about your book. Forget about sending it to someone you don’t know. Forget about worrying about scams and rip offs. Now there is a Cop who has created a publishing company dedicated to Law Enforcement. The company is CopWorld Press. The cop who created it is TB Smith. TB is a kindred spirit, a retired San Diego Cop who knows what its like to carry a badge and gun. More importantly he knows how to turn dreams into a book.

Not only did I congratulate TB on the opportunity he has created for cops who write I signed with him to publish my seventh novel. I’m not exactly new to writing and publishing, but after learning of TB’s vision I signed with CopWorld for my seventh novel. The title is A Man in Heat and it’s scheduled for release in April 2018. So, if you’re a cop, a former cop or a retired cop and you’re determined to get published find CopWorld on the internet or TB Smith on face book. No, I haven’t been paid or solicited to do this. I’m like Smith. I just like cop stories.

The Tales Cops Could Tell

April 12, 2017

My new publishing company, CopWorld Press, just got a great article in the Medford Mail Tribune in Oregon. Here is the link. http://www.mailtribune.com/ news/20170410/tales-cops- could-tell.

More Police Procedural Writer’s Questions Answered

August 13, 2016

Here’s a second round of questions from a writer seeking advice about police policies and procedures for a book she’s writing. I’m including the Q&A in a blog so that other writers tackling police issues can benefit from the information. My answers are in bold.

Q.  I have a couple more questions. Can my rookie cop have the same partner after she completes her probation period?

A.  Here’s where things get a little complicated. This may depend upon the size, and or, policies of the department. First, it’s important to point out that there’s a difference between a rookie and a trainee. If she’s a trainee, it’s likely the department would like her to work alone or with a different partner than her training officer upon graduating from the training program. However, that’s not set in stone. If she’s a rookie who’s on probation, then it’s probable there wouldn’t be any problem with her continuing to work with the same partner when her probationary period ends.

Q.  And what is the chain of command? I have her having a Sergeant as well as the Captain. But I watched Southland and they referred to the Watch Commander as the boss, and the rookie had to be assigned a different partner after graduation.

A. This situation is also more complicated than it appears at first glance. The chain of command is likely to differ depending upon the size of the department. If it’s a large department, then the rank structure is likely to be officer, sergeant, lieutenant, then captain. Ranks above captain are likely to vary depending upon the individual policies of the department.

The watch commander position is actually outside of the normal chain of command. He or she is likely to be the ranking officer in charge of the patrol functions of a specific shift. They may also be responsible for approving bookings to verify that the arresting officer has met all of the standards of probable cause, department policy etc.

If you’re a writer with questions regarding police issues, feel free to send them along. I’ll respond and turn the exchange into a blog for the benefit of others.                                                     ~T.B.  Smith 

 

Answers to Reader’s Questions: Getting it “right” when writing police procedural crime fiction

August 7, 2016

Not long ago, I spoke to a group in San Diego and made an ongoing offer to field email questions from participants regarding police issues as they relate to their writing. I recently received my first question. What follows is a slightly edited version of our email exchange.

 

Q-Thank you for speaking at the Partners in Crime meeting a couple of months ago. I enjoyed your presentation, and so appreciate your willingness to help us writers get it right when writing about police.

I’m hoping you can answer a question for me. I have a character who has been on the job less than a year, is (with her cop partner) first on the scene of a murder, and it turns out she was best friends with the granddaughter of the woman who lives in the house. The victim was her best friend’s uncle.

She doesn’t realize at first that she knows the family. Then when she does, she keeps thinking she’ll tell her partner, but doesn’t want to until she talks to her old (estranged) friend. Then after she sees the friend, she realizes she doesn’t know as much as she thought she did, or the friend is lying to her, and she makes up her mind to tell her partner.

 

As she’s about to do so, he goes off on how he hates people who can’t keep secrets.

Finally she makes a list of pros and cons to help her decide what to do.

Here’s the question: What kind of trouble could she potentially be in for not saying she knew a member of the victim’s family? (the murder investigation is ongoing)

 

A-As stated, your character’s situation doesn’t sound too tenuous. But I need to know the role she and her partner play in the investigation. If they’re patrol officers who are dispatched to the murder scene, their main and perhaps sole functions are to secure the scene for homicide investigators and perhaps do some witness canvassing. If they’re investigators, then there needs to be a clear explanation of why an officer with so little experience would be placed in that position. If your character obtains some information through her previous friendships then fails to disclose to her superiors, that could be cause for serious discipline up to and including termination. That may be more trouble than you want to deal with, but it could also be the source of a lot of conflict that could propel the plot in interesting ways. I guess what I’m saying is, I need to know more to fully answer the question but I’m happy to engage in ongoing discussion if you’d find that helpful.

 

Q-My character and her partner were first on the scene at the murder. They secured the scene, and she was allowed to do a first interview of the mother of the victim, as well as one of the sisters of the victim. My character (Regan) was friends with a granddaughter/niece when they were both in 8th grade. They’ve been estranged since junior year of high school. Regan doesn’t tell her partner (or anyone) that she realizes she knows the family, was friends with Beth. Regan contacts Beth, talks to her about why they’re not still close, then tries to question her re the murder victim.

 

A-That all sounds reasonable. I’d add some little explanation about why she did the initial interview. Something like her partner wanted to give her the experience. If that’s the case, he could monitor the interview which would ratchet up the conflict a bit when she tells him of the deception by omission 

 

Q=As I’ve written it, Nick dresses her down, tells her she could lose her job, etc., but in the end, he says she just needs to let the detectives on the case know what she knows, and not to withhold information in the future.

The thing they don’t know yet is Beth is the killer.
While I didn’t include this in the email exchange. There wouldn’t be much point in including this episode unless her friend did turn out to be the killer. The sole exception that I can think of is if it were necessary for some deep character development for the young officer.