Monthly Archives: November 2015

FBI Coming to ThrillerFest



Are you going to ThrillerFest next July? If so, join us for a Pre-Conference Workshop. Space is very limited so sign up now.

Today’s FBI: Crime Essentials For Writers

WHEN: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 (Full-day workshop, exact time to be determined soon)

WHERE: FBI Headquarters, 290 Broadway, New York, New York

WHAT: Hear from FBI experts in Cybercrime, International Terrorism, Criminal Investigations, and More

COST: $100/per person, which includes lunch, drinks, and snacks

Last year’s event was a huge success, so we are offering the workshop again this year. Space is limited.

If you have already registered for ThrillerFest, please email Registrar Dennis Kennett at so that he can add the workshop to your registration. The credit card you used for registration will be used for payment.

In your email, if you are a U.S. citizen, you will need to provide the first, middle, and last name shown on your birth certificate; birth city, birth state, and birth country; birth date; and Social Security number.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, the information needed is the first, middle, and last name shown on your birth certificate; country of citizenship; birth date; and your passport number.

Please, no middle initials – full middle names only. This information is used by the FBI to vet your entrance into the building to attend the workshop. If you prefer to provide this information via telephone, you can call Dennis at 636-938-7163.

John Jack Doe
Anytown, TX USA

If you are not registered, please go to You will find the workshop as one of the choices available on the Agenda page.You will need to provide the same information as above. You can register for this pre-conference workshop as a standalone event without registering for the rest of the ThrillerFest conference. But Master CraftFest, CraftFest, PitchFest, ThrillerFest and the Awards Banquet are right there at your fingertips – why miss out on the year’s premiere events in the thriller genre?

Whether you are checking facts, or writing and researching your next novel, if you need a better understanding of the FBI, this seminar is for you!

Warmest regards,

Kimberley Howe, Executive Director, ThrillerFest

DP Lyle, ITW VP for Education; CraftFest/Master CraftFest Director

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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


Crime and Science Radio: Identifying The Dead, Finding The Missing: An Interview With Todd Matthews of NamUs

BIO: Todd Matthews is the Director of Case Management and Communications for NamUs. He  joined the NamUs management team in 2011 as the program transitioned to the UNT Health Science Center. In his current role, he manages the NamUs Regional System Administrator staff, oversees quality assurance and quality control of NamUs data, performs outreach and training, coordinates all NamUs print and broadcast media, and serves as the media spokesperson for NamUs.

Todd Matthews previously served as a NamUs Regional System Administrator and was a member of the NamUs Advisory Board for the development of the NamUs database and program. In those roles, he piloted efforts to coordinate data exchanges between NamUs and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

He has also served as the Media Director for two important volunteer programs related to missing and unidentified persons: The Doe Network and Project EDAN. He has worked as a blogger for Discovery ID and served as a consultant for Jerry Brukheimer on “The Forgotten” and Dick Wolf on “Lost & Found”, two scripted series related to missing and unidentified persons.



NamUs: National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Center for Human Identification/Forensic Science Unit

Todd Matthews on UNT site:

Project EDAN

“Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains: The Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster,” NIJ report by Nancy Ritter.

“Identifying Missing Persons and Unidentified Decedents” NIJ Website Law Enforcement topics

The Doe Network:

Black and Missing Foundatation

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

PBS Frontline‘s “Post Mortem” series map of death investigation in the U.S.

“Uniform Protocol to Address Unidentified Human Remains and Missing Persons,” Marzena H. Mulawka, Ismail M. Sebetan, and Paul C. Stein, in The Journal of Forensic Identification, available through NCJRS

“Resolving Missing and Unidentified Person Cases Using Today’s Technologies,” Dustin Driscoll, National Missing and Unidentified Persons (NamUs) Analyst, in The Police Chief Magazine, May 2013


Interview with Laurent Guillaume, French Police Officer and Author of White Leopard




Cops and Writers

Laurent Guillaume is a multiple-award-winning French writer and former police officer. In law enforcement, he worked anti-gang, narcotics, financial crimes, and served in Mali as advisor to the local police. His first novel to be translated into English is a hard-boiled PI story set in West Africa: White Leopard, published by Le French Book.

Does being a cop help to write a mystery novel?

It is both an asset and toxic. My novels necessarily borrow from reality, so being a cop is an advantage. But I also think it is a trap. In a mystery, the writer’s main preoccupation has to be the plot.

In your novels, politicians are never very clean.

I think the quest for power has a negative impact on everyone who goes after it. Politics has the power to corrupt on many levels because it lives off of everything that is toxic in our society: money, dissimulation and lies. One has to overcome so many obstacles to attain power that it becomes a kind of Grail, and overcomes its original raison d’être: public good. But there are politicians who are driven by a real sense of democracy, by honest political conviction and humanism. I like to believe that even the worst people can at certain times and under certain circumstances prove to have some purity. The opposite is true as well. It is just a matter of proportion.

You seem to leave the reader to judge. Is this done on purpose?

I don’t like the idea of telling a reader how to think or what to like or not like about my novels. I don’t judge, I tell a story. Moral judgments are for philosophers. All of my characters are made of shadow and light, like in life. You are free to love them or hate them for what they are. But I don’t want them to leave you indifferent. Indifference is the harshest criticism.

Tell us a little something about the genre you chose for this book.

White Leopard is what I would call a “hard-boiled African” thriller. I went back to the codes of the 1930s-1940s hard-boiled detective novel (tough, alcoholic PI; the femme fatale who brings him a complicated, perilous case; etc.) and then I transposed them to contemporary Africa. And it worked.

What inspired you to write this book? Is it based on real events or your own experience?

When I worked at the French Embassy in Mali, I was in charge of police cooperation, particularly with regards to drug trafficking and organized crime. At the time, I worked on a case called “Air Cocaine” as a consultant for the Malian authorities. It didn’t take long to find some material for a good mystery in there. For that matter, a better part of the novel is based on real events.


Here’s some info about the book:


By Laurent Guillaume

Hard-boiled African Noir. Everything is possible and nothing is certain. A man torn between two continents finds himself in a dangerous confrontation between tradition and corruption. Solo is a former cop who ran away from a dark past in France to start his life over again in Bamako, Mali, as a PI. An ordinary case turns out to be not so ordinary. The drug mule gets her throat slit. The French lawyer is too beautiful and too well-informed. The cocaine is too plentiful.

WHITE LEOPARD (Le French Book, November 2015; $16.95) was first published in French. The story was inspired by a real case that occurred while the author was stationed in Mali as advisor to the local police.


For more information about White Leopard visit:

Release date: November 19, 2015

Trade paperback $16.95; 240 pages ISBN: 978-1-9394-7450-6 e-book: 978-1-9394-7451-3 – hardback (library edition): 978-1-9394-7452-0

Click to access cover art:

Click to access author portrait:

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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Don’t You Hate It When Someone Tosses A Monkey Wrench Into Your Affair?

OK, let me see if I have this straight. In a love triangle gone bad, the Meerkat expert attacked the llama wrangler’s ex-girlfriend, the monkey keeper in this little domestic episode, with a wine glass at the zoo’s annual Christmas party. Don’t you just love the holiday season?

Wait a minute–wasn’t this one of Aesop’s Fables? Maybe not.

Try as you may, you just can’t make this stuff up.

Caroline Westlake--the meerkat-keeper

Caroline Westlake–the meerkat-keeper

Kate Sanders--the monkey-handler

Kate Sanders–the monkey-handler

Adam Davies--the llama-wrangler

Adam Davies–the llama-wrangler

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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


ITW’s Online Thriller School Is Returning Soon

ITW’s Third Annual Online Thriller School is back March 14th through April 29th, 2016.

Seven Weeks! Seven Bestselling Authors!

Join Lee Child, Peter James, F. Paul Wilson, Hank Phillippi Ryan, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, and James Scott Bell for 7 weeks of intensive instruction.


TS Faculty


Last year’s Thriller School was a great success and students came away with many new skills for their writing tool box. And this year will be just as useful to writers of all skill levels.

This year’s seven-week program begins March 14th, 2016, and as before the craft of thriller writing will be front and center. Each instructor will teach an aspect of craft though a podcast, written materials that include further reading and study suggestions, and an entire week of on-line Q&A with the registered students. The goal is simple: To make each student a better writer.

Every writer knows that learning to write well is a life-long pursuit and writers must never cease improving their craft. There are many wonderful books, classes, and online sources that will help you improve your storytelling craft, but where can you learn directly from the best? From New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors?

Right here. At ITW’s next Online Thriller School.

We have assembled a cadre of excellent teachers and topics so please join us and let us help you take your writing and storytelling to the next level.

Attendance is limited, so register today. Visit ITW’s Online Thriller School for more information.

Here is the 2016 Schedule:

3/14: Storytelling: The Art and Craft Of Story—David Corbett

3/21: Plot: What’s Happening Here?—Meg Gardiner

3/28: Character: The People Who Drive The Story—F. Paul Wilson

4/4: Point Of View: Who’s Eyes Are You Looking Through?—Hank P. Ryan

4/11: Dialog: It’s Not Like Real Conversation—James Scott Bell

4/18: Setting, Mood, Atmosphere: Bringing the Right “Feel” to Your Story?—-Peter James

4/25: Voice: What Does A Good Story “Sound” Like?—-Lee Child

Join us. It’ll be fun and rewarding.

DP Lyle
ITW VP for Education
CraftFest, Master CraftFest, and Thriller School Director


Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Writing


Crime and Science Radio: Lie Catchers: Paul Bishop Returns

Join Jan Burke and me on Saturday 11-7-15 at 10 a.m. as we welcome back Paul Bishop for a discussion of police procedures and interrogations. It’ll be a fun hour.

B copy

BIO: A thirty-five year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, Paul Bishop’s career has included a three year tour with his department’s Anti-Terrorist Division and over twenty-five years’ experience in the investigation of sex crimes. His Special Assaults Units regularly produced the highest number of detective initiated arrests and highest crime clearance rates in the city. Twice honored as Detective of the Year, Paul also received the Quality and Productivity Commission Award from the City of Los Angeles.

As a nationally recognized interrogator, Paul starred as the lead interrogator and driving force behind the ABC TV reality show Take The Money And Run from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.  Based on his expertise in deception detection, he currently conducts interrogation seminars for law enforcement, military, and human resource organizations.

Paul has published twelve novels, including five in his L.A.P.D. Detective Fey Croaker series.  He has also written numerous scripts for episodic television and feature films. He currently writes and edits the Fight Card series of hardboiled boxing novels under the pseudonym Jack Tunney. His newest book, written as Paul Bishop, is Lie Catchers — the first in a new series about LAPD interrogators Ray Pagan and “Calamity” Jane Randall.



Paul Bishop’s Website:

The Fight Card Books Website:

Paul’s books on Amazon:

Paul Bishop on Twitter: Twitter @bishsbeat

Paul Bishop on Facebook :

Paul Bishop’s Blog on The Huffington Post

Paul Bishop’s article, “The Crisis in Law Enforcement, Part I,” on The Huffington Post


Guest Blogger: Leonardo Wild: The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers

The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers
By Leonardo Wild


Ten years of writing commercially went by and one day I felt that I needed to make a shift in my career. It took me another ten years to figure out how to do it, and then five more before the result—THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA—saw the light of publication.

The details of how and why I felt the need to change are not part of this story.

Maybe another time.

This is the story of what I decided to do when I decided to shift. In short, I decided to create a new sub-genre within the thriller genre. Or rather, I discovered that, what I had to do, was find a vehicle for the topics that I wanted to write about—to share my discoveries—a format that would allow me to follow the rules of publication without, well, actually being stuck in a jail of my own making!

One of the first rules is that if you wish to be successful in a writing career—besides writing well and telling a damn good story—you must choose a genre to write in.

A genre that your name will be attached to.

“Oh yes, he writes ‘medical thrillers’” or “She writes ‘vampire stories’.”

As a quick side note, the “jail of my own making” thing was something I’d seen happen to others over the years: they became successful in a given genre, but because of the genre’s canons, they were more or less forced to write a similar book every time, and that led to something they probably hadn’t bargained for.

Many of them I admired, but stopped reading them. And many of them even stopped writing their books themselves.

What did I come up with to avoid this pitfall?

In short: Paradigm Shift Thrillers.

Stories where not only the protagonist goes through a character arc, but readers as well. Stories where readers will (I hope) experience a shift in their understanding of something—of an aspect of our world—which they most likely didn’t know or weren’t aware of. Something potentially monumental. Something to make them “shift” their paradigm about an aspect of society and the world we live in.

In The Galapagos Agenda—the first book in the series—the topic is politics. Or rather, the profile of people in positions of power—political or otherwise … though they have always been very closely linked (behind the scenes).

The science is called “Political Ponerology,” as coined by Andrew Lobaczewski, a Polish psychologist who wrote a book with that name. Basically, Lobaczewski recognized that the percentage of people in positions of power that are psychopaths is larger than we might think.

First of all, about one percent of the population are “true” psychopaths—clinical psychopaths and criminal psychopaths.

Another three percent—mostly known as sociopaths—are also psychopaths, yet social and personal experiences have been the reason why their ability to feel empathy and have a conscience has been destroyed, why they are compulsive liars and disregard laws, social mores, the rights of others and fail to feel guilt or remorse.

In other words, four percent for the world’s population are psychopaths, yet they seem to be called to positions of power like moths to light.

For example, about ten percent of employees working in Wall Street are considered to have psychopathic traits, and about twenty percent of top CEOs, according to Robert Hare (Without Conscience), are clinical psychopaths.

Basically, the people who have found their way to top tiers of management and basically call the shots in the world—in one way or another—are not necessarily criminal, but there is definitely something wrong with them.

Because they can do anything at all. Stuff, we normal mortals, couldn’t. Or will not unless utterly forced to. Maybe not even then. But four percent of humanity … no problem at all! In fact, they are the main single cause for deliberate mass human extermination, paling the social effects provoked by serial killers.

My question was, though, How can they not only survive but thrive in our society, throughout millennia, to the point where they are the ones basically calling the shots in our society?

You see, if something isn’t right in Nature, it doesn’t last. If certain limits are surpassed, destructive behavior as well as self-destructive behavior will turn itself against the species that is causing the harm. Yet these folks have somehow managed to appear again and again in our history, and we don’t seem to learn the lesson. We actually vote for the Hitlers of the world to rule over us. We actually admire those who have made their millions—if not billions—by sheer ruthless behavior. They are with us all the time, but just haven’t realized it.

How can that be?

The answer to my question came from biology, from something called “stigmergy,” where an action leaves a trail or mark in the environment—such as the chemical trails left by insects—giving rise to apparently intelligent, coordinated and complex behavior.

These agents—psychopaths—have been leaving a trail in an environment—bureaucracy—and now we are stuck with a system that not only supports their kind, but nurtures them.

This, I thought, would be a great subject to kick off my new sub-genre.

In The Galapagos Agenda, the son of a clinical psychopath—a corporate tycoon—ends up having to face not only the truth about what his father is, but how such people have managed to rise to top positions throughout history being the main cause for the recurrent man-made sufferings of humanity.

Because they can remain invisible … until it’s too late.

The Galapagos Agenda’s launch date is November 17, 2015 ( and it is the first book in a series of Paradigm Shift Thrillers that will touch upon subjects of similar social impact. The victims, in all of them, can be many.

And you probably didn’t even know it. Hell, you might even be one of them!



Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Writing

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