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Category Archives: Writing

Forensics For Dummies, 2nd Edition Coming Soon

 

FFD 300X378

 

Just got the new cover for Forensics For Dummies, 2nd Edition.

It will be released from Wiley on 2-29-16

Pre-Order now

 

ITW’s Online Thriller School Is Coming in March

Join us for ITW’s Third Annual Online Thriller School

Seven Weeks! Seven Bestselling Authors!

 

TS Faculty

Join Lee Child, Peter James, F. Paul Wilson, Hank Phillippi Ryan, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, and James Scott Bell for Thriller School.

ITW’s Thriller School is only two months away and the available student slots are nearly filled. Don’t delay. Grab your spot. Sign up now.

Previous Thriller Schools have been a great success and each year students of all levels have come away with many new skills for their writing tool box. This year will be no different.

The 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.

The class schedule and teachers this year are:

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

 

TS Banner

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.

Please join us and let us help you take your writing and storytelling to the next level.

Visit ITW’s Online Thriller School for more information, or click here to register.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Writing

 

Sisters in Crime Forensics Day Coming 1-24-16

Join Dennis Palumbo, David Putnam, and me for the Orange County Chapter of Sisters in Crime’s annual Forensics Day. It’ll be a fun afternoon as we dig into what makes the bad guys (and gals) do what they do.

Details:

Orange County Sisters in Crime Forensics Day
Dennis Palumbo, David Putnam, and DP Lyle
“What Makes Your Bad Guys Tick? Dark Motivations and Heinous Acts
Sunday, January 24th, 2016, 2:00 p.m.
Irvine Ranch Water District Community Room
15500 Sand Canyon Avenue
Irvine, CA 92618

ocsistersincrime.org

 

Forensics Fest 16 flyer

 

Give ITW for Christmas

ITW-blue-white

 

Need a last minute Christmas present? Consider giving that writer in your family a gift that will keep on giving for years—-more tools in their writer’s toolbox.

Maybe a trip to NY for ThrillerFest/CraftFest/Master CraftFest. Or perhaps sign them up for ITW’s Online Thriller School.

ThrillerFest: http://thrillerfest.com/thrillerfest/

CraftFest: http://thrillerfest.com/craftfest/

Master CraftFest: http://thrillerfest.com/master-craftfest/

Thriller School: http://thrillerwriters.org/thrillerschool/

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2015 in Writing

 

A Conversation with Best-selling Author Peter James

James

My friend Peter James is a great writer and anyone who has read his work knows this is true. If you haven’t had the pleasure, do so now. He might not be James Bond but he’s close. As is his wonderful character Roy Grace. His latest, YOU ARE DEAD, is a runaway success and he dropped by to chat about it and other writerly things.

Tell us about YOU ARE DEAD–the eleventh novel in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series. Does it pick up exactly where WANT YOU DEAD left off? 

Sure! You Are Dead is my 11th Roy Grace novel. A young Brighton woman arriving home from work phones her boyfriend, to tell him she has just driven into their underground car park and can see a man acting strangely. Her boyfriend tells her to drive straight back out but before he finishes speaking she screams and the phone goes dead. He calls the police and rushes home himself – and she has vanished.

That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for thirty years. At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing – and yet another body from the past surfaces. Detective Superintendent Roy Grace has the chilling realization that there is a connection between the past and the present. Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years? A monster who has resurfaced after lying low for three decades?

 

You Are Dead cover

 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Aside from my imagination and own experiences, I regularly spend time out with the police and gain a huge amount of inspiration from things I see over and hear over that time.  Today I spend an average one day a week with the Police, either in a patrol car, or an office, or at a crime scene, or on a raid, or with their Intelligence or forensic or search units – there are so many different parts to their work.  I even have my own police car in Brighton!  My publishers donated it to Sussex Police and it drives around with my name all over it. I often get inspiration from things the police tell me, or cases that officers are involved with.  I believe to portray them credibly I need to be to a considerable extent involved in their lives, not just at work but when they are off duty.   Many police officers only socialize with others in the police too – they feel more comfortable that way.  They don’t have to worry about giving away secrets to a prying member of the public, or saying something offensive that might come back to bite them.  But I also think one of the best resources for my inspiration is in shops all over every town and city in the land, and refreshed daily – newspapers!  They contain so much of human life, and so many true crime stories.  In particular, I often think that local provincial papers contain more in-depth coverage and lurid details than the nationals.

Did you balance reading and writing? Have you read anything good lately? 

I try to ensure that whatever I’m doing I leave myself time to write 1000 words 6 days a week. I have offices in my Sussex and Notting Hill homes, but I can write anywhere. Thanks to laptops, my office has long ceased to be a concrete space and I can write on the move. I actually write really well on airplanes, in the back of a car and in hotel rooms. But my favourite writing time is 6 – 9:30 in the evening. I got used to that when I was working full time in film and TV, and made this my ‘me’ time. I have a stiff drink – often a vodka martini, with four olives, put on music and get in a zone. I really love this time of the day.

I recently really enjoyed I LET YOU GO by Claire Macintosh. I was first sent it as a proof, asking for a quote, and I was utterly gripped.  It is wonderfully written, with credible and interesting characters, and has one of the most astonishing twists I’ve ever read, turning the story completely on hits head halfway through.  It was one of those rare books I put down thinking, “Gosh, wish I’d written this!

Also recently I have been reading Patricia Highsmith, a very recent discovery for me. I have seen Strangers On A Train and The Talented Mr Ripley, but had never read her novels.  She is such a brilliant writer.

Who is a character you wished you created? 

Hannibal Lecter – I think he is one of the most interesting villains in all of crime fiction, a character that in many ways changed the face of modern mystery writing. Before Hannibal Lecter we had good versus evil, with Hannibal Lecter we saw, for the first time, bad versus evil.

Are you a fan of crime television shows? If so, which ones? 

I guess my favourite one of recent is Breaking Bad – if my time ever allows me to finish it! I have always loved them going back into my youth – I have a particular fondness for American shows. The first one I can remember being addicted to was called ‘Highway Patrol’ with Broderick Crawford.

Peter’s Website: http://www.peterjames.com

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 15, 2015 in Police Procedure, Writing

 

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

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Writing

 

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

The Birth of Paradigm Shift Thrillers
THE GALAPAGOS AGENDA
By Leonardo Wild

GAgenda

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 (http://amzn.com/B016Z3EYV6) 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!

LWild

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Writing

 
 
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