Industry Focus: On the Frontlines

By Kimberley Howe

ThrillerFest attendees are still buzzing from this year’s memorable conference. We kicked off the week with a day at the FBI where participants were fortunate to meet canine agent, Iris, a specialist in discovering electronics and computers, along with several human agents whose expertise ranged from counterterrorism to gangs to cyber crime.

We held a record eight classes for Master CraftFest where authors studied with New York Times bestselling authors Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, David Corbett, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, Andrew Gross, and Gayle Lynds, in addition to screenwriting instructor Richard Krevolin. And we have exciting news to share from CraftFest Director D.P. Lyle M.D. about next year: “Master CraftFest will again offer eight classes, each with a maximum of 10 students. This unique, all-day, hands-on school will be held on Tuesday July 11th, 2017. It’s always a long but very rewarding day. We have many excellent mentors lined up already, including Steve Berry, Lee Child, Gayle Lynds, Grant Blackwood, Meg Gardiner, and Andrew Gross. Plan to spend the day with one of these best-selling authors and gifted teachers.”

ITW works hard to provide exceptional schools for teaching the craft of thriller writing. We want to support authors at every level, helping them reach their personal dreams and career goals. As Lyle comments, “For over a decade now we have worked to fulfill this vision. 2016 was yet again a great success and now we are preparing our 2017 line up of teachers and classes. As always, CraftFest will have four tracks that for 2017 will run all day Wednesday, July 12th, and for two hours on the morning of Thursday, July 13th. Many of your favorite teachers will return and other exceptional authors and teachers will be added as we continue to evolve and improve.”


ThrillerFest X by Kimberley Howe

By Kimberley Howe

The mood at the Hyatt was exhilarating and energizing this year—what better testament to ten years of dynamic success at Thrillerfest? We’ve grown from a small event in Arizona to a widely respected international conference for writers, industry professionals, and enthusiasts of the thriller genre.

As co-founder Gayle Lynds shares: “ITW was based on a dream. Author organizations come and go, and there were no guarantees ITW would not only survive but thrive. What a thrill (truly) to see so many happy people hurrying down the halls of ThrillerFest and sitting in audiences and talking animatedly on panels. I particularly loved Daniel Palmer’s song at the banquet, which seemed to encapsulate the extraordinary experience of young ITW and ten ThrillerFests, from that first small gathering in Scottsdale to the rich feast of New York. Bravo, Daniel. And Bravo ITW and ThrillerFest! And BTW, one of my most proud inventions was the name ThrillerFest. To see it in tall letters everywhere was a high I’ll never forget.”

Between the FBI workshop, CraftFest, Master CraftFest, PitchFest, and ThrillerFest, and that memorable banquet, we had six incredible days of education and celebration, with people making vital new connections and catching up with cherished friends. I keep hearing people say that Thrillerfest is like summer camp for writers. It’s heartwarming to see a core of authors return, year after year, to have that kind of experience.


Interview With FBI Agent Michael Plichta by Kimberly Howe

The FBI Files: Gangs and Organized Crime

By Kimberley Howe

THE SOPRANOS brought organized crime into our living rooms, and SONS OF ANARCHY revved our interest in the world of motorcycle gangs. But are these popular television shows an accurate portrayal of what gangs and organized crime look like today?

Michael Plichta, Unit Chief, La Casa Nostra/Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs/Major Theft Unit,was kind enough to appease my burning curiosity about this fascinating subject. His informative answers opened my eyes, as I hope they will open yours, to this growing international issue.


How are gangs growing and evolving?

For most people who join an urban street gang, the decision is less of a choice, and more a way of life. These gang members are not weighing options, but rather accepting a lifestyle within their comfort zone. Rough neighborhoods provide a ready-made membership.


Meet the 2015 ThrillerFest Debut Authors!

ThrillerFest 2015 is upon us and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you the authors debuting at the International Thriller Writers’ ThrillerFest X on July 7-11 in New York. CLICK HERE to discover the next big authors this summer and be sure to pick up one of the exciting new books.



By Jon Land

When it comes to book reviews, we’re looking at the classic good news/bad news scenario. First, the bad: less traditional print media are reviewing books, and the ones that do (albeit less titles) remain as difficult to crack as a bank safe. Now, the good: more review outlets than ever before have sprung up online, many offering more incisive and better written coverage for authors with the initiative to crack this vault instead. If you haven’t already, check out sites like Bookreporter, the New York Journal of Books, and FreshFiction to see what I’m talking about.

So where does that leave a writer in search of building or expanding his or her brand? How can you critically survive, even thrive, in an age of disappearing or shrinking print book pages in outlets as esteemed as the New York Times and USA Today? Let’s explore some ways.

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