Please join us at the Rocky Mountain MWA monthly meeting, which will be held via Zoom on November 12, starting at 6:30 p.m.
Forensic Documentation Examination and Case Study
Mark Songer will present on the various techniques forensic examiners use to authenticate or debunk signatures and documents in civil and criminal matters, and lead us through a fascinating case study based on a now notorious case you won’t want to miss!
Mark Songer is a court qualified expert in Forensic Document Examinations. He provides investigations, reports, and testimony towards the resolution of matters involving disputed documents or signatures, including: wills, checks, contracts, deeds, account ledgers, medical records, and autograph authentication. His other areas of expertise include employment background screening, casino and hotel surveillance systems and operation, proper procedure and protocol in the handling and destruction of classified materials, and the collection, storage and retention of biometric information.
Mark is a former FBI Special Agent and FBI Document Analyst, and was the designated handwriting expert for the Evidence Response Team-Los Angeles. During his tenure in the FBI, Mr. Songer instructed numerous law enforcement officers and examiners in handwriting identification, crime scene investigations and the proper collection of writing samples. He has also developed and implemented Criminal Justice and Forensic Science programs at several institutions of higher learning, including the University of California and La Sierra University. In addition, Mark is a former Adjunct Professor of Forensic Science at National University, San Diego, California and is currently an Adjunct Professor with Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida. Mark is also a life-time member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
6:30-7:00 Announcements, Introductions, and News
7:00-7:15 Mystery Minute by ZJ Czupor
7:15-8:15 or so: Program featuring our guest speaker
After Party: Stay after the program to mingle and visit.
The 2020 RMMWA 6-Word Mystery Contest is now closed to entries. Sincere thanks to everyone who participated with carefully crafted micro-stories in six different categories.
Finalists will be invited to the chapter’s annual Mystery & Mistletoe Holiday Party in December, to be held on Zoom this year. Winning and finalist entries will be featured here on the RMMWA website, in the chapter newsletter Deadlines, and in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
“Mystery Writers of America does not support or tolerate discrimination of any kind. We stand proudly with our Black members, and implore our entire membership to start listening, speaking out, and amplifying the voices that have been silenced for far too long. Listening leads to understanding, and action leads to change. We cannot move forward as a society or culture without recognizing the disparities that permeate both.”
The complete text of this statement, and suggestions on how to get involved, can be found on the MWA national site.
News and Notes
by Christine Carbo
Living in a rural state like Montana, it’s difficult to feel connected to the book business, let alone other writers of crime fiction. When I joined RMMWA, I was dubious at first. I assumed most of the good networking and action took place in Denver, where the vast majority of RMMWA events seemed to be held. However, after six years of membership, RMMWA proved me wrong. I have found the organization to be extremely supportive across the region. read more…
by ZJ Czupor
The Tumultuous Life of an American Literary Icon: Shirley Jackson
With the approach of Halloween, I thought we should explore the tumultuous life of mystery and horror author Shirley Jackson and two of her most notable and terrifying works—”The Lottery” and The Haunting of Hill House (Viking, 1959).
The Haunting of Hill House is about four adults who investigate a reportedly haunted mansion. The protagonist, Eleanor Vance, a lonely, imaginative young woman, believes spirits have targeted her in the big isolated house she co-owns with her sister.
This chilling novel was Jackson’s fifth in which she uses terror to grab the reader. While the house doesn’t overtly have a ghost, Jackson said, “The house is the haunting…the house brings out the disturbance in Eleanor.”
The novel was a finalist for the National Book Award and is considered not only one of the best ghost stories of all time but the Number One book that revolutionized the modern ghost story. (50 Best Horror Books of All Time, Paste Magazine, Aug. 30, 2018).
Stephen King listed it as one of the most important horror novels of the 20th century. The New York Times called it “caviar for connoisseurs of the cryptic.” read more…