April 2nd to 6th – Storytelling: The Art and Craft of Story

Instructor: Steven James

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe. In his podcast “The Story Blender,” he interviews leading storytellers in film, print, and web. Listen now to any of the dozens of archived podcasts for free by visiting his website www.thestoryblender.com.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

To learn more about Steven, please visit his website.


April 9th to 13th – Plot: What’s Happening Here?

Instructor: Grant Blackwood

The New York Times bestselling author of the Briggs Tanner series, (THE END OF ENEMIES, THE WALL OF NIGHT, and AN ECHO OF WAR) Grant Blackwood is also the co-author of the Fargo Adventure Series (SPARTAN GOLD, LOST EMPIRE, and THE KINGDOM) with Clive Cussler, as well as the co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, DEAD OR ALIVE, with Tom Clancy, and the new thriller, THE KILL SWITCH, with James Rollins.

A U. S. Navy veteran, Grant spent three years aboard a guided missile frigate as an Operations Specialist and a Pilot Rescue Swimmer.

Grant lives in Arizona, where he is working his own standalone series starring a new hero.

To learn more about Grant and his work, please visit his website.


April 16th to 20th – Character: The People Who Drive the Story

Instructor: F. Paul Wilson

fpwilsonF. Paul Wilson is the author of fifty-plus books and numerous short stories spanning science fiction, horror, adventure, medical thrillers, and virtually everything between. His novels regularly appear on the New York Times Bestsellers List. He was voted Grand Master by the World Horror Convention and received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers of America and the Libertarian Futurist Society. His works have received the Stoker Award, the Porgie Award, the Prometheus and Prometheus Hall of Fame Awards, the Pioneer Award from the RT Booklovers Convention, and the prestigious Inkpot Award from San Diego ComiCon. He is listed in the 50th anniversary edition of Who’s Who in America.

Over eight million copies of his books are in print in the US and his work has been translated into twenty-four languages. He also has written for the stage, screen, and interactive media. Recently he put his urban mercenary character, Repairman Jack, on hiatus while he pursues other projects. With Tom Monteleone he is writing a young-adult trilogy; DEFINITELY NOT KANSAS and FAMILY SECRETS are the first installments. His new mystery-adventure, THE GOD GENE, was released in January.

Paul can be found online at www.RepairmanJack.com.


April 23rd to 27th – Point Of View: Whose Eyes Are You Looking Through?

Instructor: Hank Phillippi Ryan

hryan2Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV. She’s won 34 EMMYs, 14 Murrows, and dozens more honors for her ground-breaking journalism. The nationally bestselling author of 10 mysteries, Ryan’s also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, two Anthonys, two Macavitys, the Daphne, and for The Other Woman, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. Critics call her “a superb and gifted storyteller” and “a master of suspense.” She is the only author to have won the Agatha in four different categories: Best First, Best Novel, Best Short Story and Best Non-Fiction.  Her novels have been named Library Journal’s Best of 2014 and 2015—and Ryan’s newest novel, SAY NO MORE, is a Library Journal Best of 2016. It is also honored as a Mary Higgins Clark, Daphne and Agatha Award nominee. Hank is a founder of MWA University and 2013 president of National Sisters in Crime. Watch for TRUST ME on Aug. 28, 2018.

Visit Hank online at HankPhillippiRyan.com, on Twitter @HankPRyan and Facebook at HankPhillippiRyanAuthor.


April 30th to May 4th – Dialogue: It’s Not Like Real Conversation

Instructor: James Scott Bell

jsbellJames Scott Bell is the #1 bestselling author of PLOT & STRUCTURE, and thrillers like DON’T LEAVE ME, BLIND JUSTICE, DECEIVED, TRY DYING, WATCH YOUR BACK, and ONE MORE LIE.

Jim attended the University of California, Santa Barbara where he studied writing with Raymond Carver. He graduated with honors from the University of Southern California law school, and has written over 300 articles and several books for the legal profession. He has taught novel writing at Pepperdine University and numerous conferences in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

His short fiction has appeared in two anthologies and he is currently at work on two series: pulp style boxing stories featuring Irish Jimmy Gallagher and the vigilante nun series Force of Habit.

Jim served as fiction columnist for Writer’s Digest magazine, to which he frequently contributes, and has written four craft books for Writer’s Digest Books: PLOT & STRUCTURE, REVISION & SELF-EDITING, THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS and CONFLICT & SUSPENSE. His WRITE YOUR NOVEL FROM THE MIDDLE was an instant #1 Amazon bestselling writing book.

He has developed an online, interactive program that will help you write your novel, step-by-step. It’s the next best thing to having JSB in the room with you as you type!

A former trial lawyer, Jim now writes and speaks full time. He lives in Los Angeles. He blogs every Sunday at The Kill Zone.

To learn more about James, please visit his website.


May 7th to 11th – Setting, Mood, Atmosphere: Bringing the Right “Feel” to Your Story

Instructor: Gayle Lynds

New York Times bestseller Gayle Lynds is the award-winning author of ten international espionage novels, including THE BOOK OF SPIES and THE LAST SPYMASTER. Publishers Weekly lists her book MASQUERADE among the top ten spy novels of all time. The London Observer calls her a kick-ass thriller writer. Lee Child says she’s “today’s best thriller writer.”

Gayle began her writing career as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, where her investigative reporting made such an impact that it led to changes in state legislation. Later she was an editor with rare Top Secret security clearance at a government think tank, where assorted shadowy figures passed through. She was intrigued and inspired. Soon she began writing literary short stories, which were published in literary journals, and at the same time in what some considered to be surely schizophrenic, she also wrote male pulp adventure novels set around the world in the Nick Carter and Mack Bolan series.

Her first Gayle Lynds novel, MASQUERADE, was a New York Times bestseller and a People magazine “Page-Turner of the Week.” THE LAST SPYMASTER won Best Novel from both the American Authors Association and the Military Writers Society of America. THE COIL won Best Contemporary Novel from Affaire de Coeur. MOSAIC was RT Thriller of the Year. MESMERIZED was a Daphne du Maurier Award best novel finalist. About her work, reviewers have written: “superb,” Chicago Tribune; “immensely satisfying,” Wall Street Journal; “a potent storyteller,” Denver Post; “teeth-grinding suspense,” Publishers Weekly; “roller-coaster thrills,” Los Angeles Times; “terrific,” Cosmopolitan magazine; and “authentic,” Chicago Sun-Times.

With Robert Ludlum, she created the Covert-One Series and wrote three of the novels. The first one, THE HADES FACTOR, was a CBS miniseries. Another, THE PARIS OPTION, was a People magazine “Beach Read of the Week.”

A member of the Association for Former Intelligence Officers, she cofounded International Thriller Writers with David Morrell and was copresident for several years. ITW’s annual convention is ThrillerFest, which is held in New York in July. She lives in Maine with her husband, John C. Sheldon, three computers, and two opinionated cats.

To learn more about Gayle, please visit her website.


May 14th to 18th – Voice: What Does a Good Story “Sound” Like?

Instructor: D. P. Lyle

D. P. Lyle, MD is the Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Silver Award winning and Edgar (2), Shamus, Agatha, Anthony, Scribe, USA Today Best Book Award (2), and Foreward INDIES Book of the Year nominated author of many non-fiction books as well as numerous works of fiction, including the SAMANTHA CODY, DUB WALKER, and JAKE LONGLY thriller series and the ROYAL PAINS media tie-in novels. His essay on Jules Verne’s THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND appears in THRILLERS: 100 MUST READS and his short story “Even Steven” in ITW’s anthology THRILLER 3: LOVE IS MURDER. He served as Editor for the Southern California Writers Association’s short story anthology, IT’S ALL IN THE STORY as well as contributing the story “Splash.”

He has worked with many novelists and with the writers of popular television shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars.

He was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama where his childhood interests revolved around football, baseball, and building rockets in his backyard. The latter pursuit was common in Huntsville during the 1950’s and 60’s due to the nearby NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center.

After leaving Huntsville, he attended college, medical school, and served an internship at the University of Alabama; followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas at Houston; then a Fellowship in Cardiology at The Texas Heart Institute, also in Houston. For the past 40 years, he has practiced Cardiology in Orange County, California.

He is the co-host, along with Jan Burke, of CRIME AND SCIENCE RADIO on SUSPENSE RADIO.

To learn more about D. P. Lyle and his work, please visit his website.