Stop stressing and learn to chill with this mindfulness and meditation guidebook that can help workaholics and others let go of anxiety and achieve and maintain the healthy work/life balance they need.
We all know good health and happiness depends on having proper balance between our professional and private lives. But in today’s hectic work environment, in which we must do more in less time with fewer resources, that goal can feel impossible to attain. We stay late at the office rather than being home with our families. We work into the night and on weekends to perfect that presentation or just catch up, rather than relaxing with a hobby or spending time with our friends. Under constant pressure to over-perform, work easily becomes the dominant force in our lives.
Licensed psychotherapist and professor Bryan Robinson understands the demands we face. He also knows that it’s difficult to stop the cycle of over-work. But there is a solution. In #Chill, Robinson explains how ending the cycle of work addiction can be achieved by reframing priorities and cultivating mindfulness in our daily lives. He provides a month-by-month guide with meditations that help center and soothe us, allowing us to step back, close our eyes, take a long breath, and focus on the moment.
Filled with wise advice, inspiring quotes, and gentle guidance, #Chill gives us the tools we need to quiet our anxiety, break our addiction to work, and bring compassion, calm, confidence, and creativity into our daily existence—and at last, have the peaceful, balanced life we all deserve.
Award-winning author and psychotherapist Bryan E. Robinson spent time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest work of nonfiction, #CHILL: TURN OFF YOUR JOB AND TURN ON YOUR LIFE:
The year is 1942 and World War II is in full swing. Odette Sansom decides to follow in her war hero father’s footsteps by becoming an SOE agent to aid Britain and her beloved homeland, France. She leaves behind her children, her friends, and her life. After five failed landing attempts—including a plane crash—she finally arrives in occupied France to begin her mission. It is here that she meets her commanding officer, Captain Peter Churchill.
As they complete mission after mission, their forged bond of trust gives way to love. All the while, they are hunted by Germany’s top spy-catcher, the cunning and relentless Hugo Bleicher. Bleicher finally succeeds in capturing them and they are sent to Paris’s Fresnes prison, and then to concentration camps. In captivity, Peter and Odette are starved, beaten, and tortured, but never give up the whereabouts of their colleagues, their hope, or their love for each other.
The Big Thrill caught up to international bestselling author Larry Loftis to discuss his nonfiction thriller, CODE NAME: LISE: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Highly Decorated Spy:
ADRENALINE JUNKIE is more than a renowned, multi-award-winning author entertaining with his life history. Les Edgerton understands that backstory matters. It influences the present. So he journeyed through his past seeking answers for why he was the way he was. Seeking answers for his thrill-seeking, devil-may-care, often self-destructive behaviors. Seeking a sense of personal peace.
Why was he compelled to be the best he could be in all his endeavors—legal or otherwise? What drove him to excel, then flee success, only to strive for supremacy in another field?
ADRENALINE JUNKIE holds the answers. With nothing held back. With his life-saving humor, an indomitable spirit, and a fierce courage to expose the ugly and painful. Like the tough, raw, vulnerable characters Les writes about in his short stories and novels, he exposes us to a man fighting against family, society, and his own sense of injustice. Fighting for a moment—regardless of how fleeting—to feel in control of his life. And, as uncomfortable at times as Les’s life adventure may be for us to witness, we come away grateful he took us with him.
So settle back. Meet a real-life, 21st-century Renaissance man. A real-life adrenaline junkie:
PULP ACCORDING TO DAVID GOODIS starts with six characteristics of 1950s pulp noir that fascinated mass-market readers, making them wish they were the protagonist, and yet feel relief that they were not. His thrillers are set in motion by suppressed guilt, sexual frustrations, explosions of violence, and the inaccessible nature of intimacy. Extremely valuable is a gangster-infested urban setting. Uniquely, Goodis saw a still-vibrant community solidarity down there. Another contribution was sympathy for the gang boss, doomed by his very success. He dramatizes all this in the stark language of Philadelphia’s “streets of no return.”
The book delineates the noir profundity of the author’s work in the context of Franz Kafka’s narratives. Goodis’s precise sense of place, and painful insights about the indomitability of fate, parallel Kafka’s. Both writers mix realism, the disorienting, and the dreamlike; both dwell on obsession and entrapment; both describe the protagonist’s degeneration. Tragically, belief in obligations, especially family ones, keep independence out of reach.
Other elements covered in this critical analysis of Goodis’s work include his Hollywood script-writing career; his use of Freud, Arthur Miller, Faulkner and Hemingway; his obsession with incest; and his “noble loser’s” indomitable perseverance.
Professor Jay A. Gertzman, author of PULP ACCORDING TO DAVID GOODIS, spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest work:
“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know about Sherlock Holmes,” says Liese Sherwood-Fabre, author of THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES: ESSAYS ON VICTORIAN ENGLAND, a fascinating companion guide for anyone who can’t get enough of the legendary English detective, or that seemingly endless list of writers who insist upon resurrecting Holmes or some facsimile of him in their work.
“We were latchkey kids,” Sherwood-Fabre says, talking about her years growing up in Dallas, Texas. “And if we weren’t helping my father out in his micro-film business, we were home watching old black and white films on a local TV show called Dialing for Dollars. They never did call us, darn, but I remember watching those Basil Rathbone movies and that’s how I first got to know Sherlock Holmes.”
There are plenty of folks who have paid and continue to pay homage to Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective, but that’s not really what Sherwood-Fabre is all about. Instead, she’s fascinated by how the Victorian Age influenced Holmes and made him who he was. To that end, she’s produced an incredibly well-researched, easy to read, helpful book of short, illustrated essays.
At first, your reaction might be, Who cares? I mean, haven’t we had enough Sherlock Holmes? Obviously not. And with good reason.
“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle references many everyday Victorian activities and aspects that are lost on the 21st century reader,” Sherwood-Fabre says.
Variety, as the old saw has it, is the spice of life. Every so often, a book shows up in The Big Thrill list that’s a bit different and this is certainly one of those instances. As an avid reader of—and occasional writer of—short stories, I was delighted to take the opportunity to get Windy Lynn Harris’s take on the subject.
This is your first full length book. How does it feel?
I’m thrilled, of course, but I miss her. Picture me looking wistfully out the window, waving goodbye to a dear friend. I spent years compiling the material for this book, studying industry information, researching, attending events, talking to editors, etc. Saying goodbye to a final copy meant an end to the fun of putting the project together.
Is the sensation different to publishing short stories?
Absolutely. Maybe it’s because I have so many short pieces of writing on my desk every month. I write both essays and short stories: currently there are seven short items in late-editing or submission status around here, and that’s pretty typical for me. Seeing one of my shorts fly off to a new home is a thrilling relief. It makes room for the next idea in my head.
Do you have a favorite short story? Which one and why?
I read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery each January to set the mood for my year. It’s more than great storytelling that I’m hoping to tap into when I dive into that story, it’s a reminder about prose that stays in your chest when the last word is done. That’s what I hope to achieve.
Cara Brookins’ memoir has three sentences alone on a front page. They read: “Our task was both extreme and simple. My family needed sanctuary. So we built it.” And build it they did.
The family needed to escape domestic violence. They required a new place to live. Cara had to keep her four children safe. Give them peace. During a Thanksgiving holiday they retreated to a cabin in the woods. While there, they entertained themselves by building a model house of twigs held together with sewing thread. By the time the weekend was over they began to think they could build a real house. One that was theirs. A safe haven in which to heal.
RISE, HOW A HOUSE BUILT A FAMILY is the story of that build and the strength they found along the way.
How did you come to write this book?
When we were building I never had any intention of writing about it. We were embarrassed to be in the financial and emotional state we were in so we told very few people what we were doing. My coworkers didn’t even know that I was building the house myself and my kids didn’t tell most of their friends. Domestic violence isolates women and children. Most victims have been pulled away from family and friends and are very much alone in the world.
After we finished the house, people who heard about the project always told me I had to write about it. A top agent with William Morris called me after one of his authors (who I met at a conference) told him the story. He had a tough job selling me on the idea though. I really didn’t want to write about my biggest mistakes and worst fears. They were tough memories to revisit and I’ve never been one to dwell on the past. At that time we were still afraid, too. We weren’t sure what would happen if my ex read the story.
The Haunting Tragedy of an Abduction in Iran
In December 2011, a disturbing video hit the news. In the brief clip, an American in his sixties, Robert Levinson, missing since March 2007, said to the camera: “I have been treated well, but I need the help of the United States government to answer the requests of the group that has held me for three-and-a-half years. And please help me get home. Thirty-three years of service to the United States deserves something. Please help me.”
Our media has since overflowed with horrific videos of Americans imprisoned in the Middle East. But Levinson is an unusual case. He went missing while on Kish Island off the coast of Iran, his precise status within the American intelligence community is debated to this day, and he remains missing. His wife, seven children, his many friends and former colleagues, all are scarred by the mystery of Robert Levinson.
In MISSING MAN, the nonfiction book published by Farrar Straus and Giroux, award-winning journalist Barry Meier delves deep into that mystery, painting a vivid—and troubling—picture of an American intelligence community that ultimately failed Levinson through timidity, ineffectiveness, and political infighting and fingerpointing. While ingenuity and loyalty to comrades is a central theme of TV shows like Homeland, saving one’s job trumped saving Levinson’s life at the real CIA.
“By not standing up, they basically doomed him,” says Meier of Levinson. “He was road kill.”
The True Story of Dusko Popov—World War II Spy, Patriot, and the Real-Life Inspiration for James Bond
By J. H. Bográn
How to tell apart a James Bond movie fan from one who enjoys the books better? Simple. The latter is still upset that they changed baccarat for Texas Hold ‘Em in the 2006 version of Casino Royale. James Bond is the ultimate suave spy whom women desire and men want to emulate. But did you know that Ian Fleming based his character on a real person? It turns out that James Bond is not the amalgamation of several bits and parts from people like Frankenstein’s monster, but based on one individual who lived a dangerous life as a double agent for the British government, and whose exploits would rival those of his fictional counterpart. Ian Fleming met this man during a mission and watched an event that largely mirrored the gambling scene in Casino Royale.
Meet Dusko Popov, World War II spy, patriot, and the real-life inspiration for James Bond.
This tale of nonfiction written by Larry Loftis reads much like a novel, and a thrilling one at that.
The Big Thrill had the opportunity to interrogate Mr. Loftis this month. Note we didn´t use the words “ask questions” because this book is worth probing in more than one read.
How did this project come about? When did you first hear of this story?
I had started an espionage novel and wanted to do a little research so my story would be exciting and realistic. I began digging for the “greatest spy ever” and all roads led to Popov. The information was sketchy because so much has been classified until very recently, but what I read was incredible. This MI5/MI6 agent had done more in real life than I was making up! The more I learned, the more fascinated I became. I kept asking myself, “Why doesn’t anyone know about this man?” In short order, my historical fiction novel became a narrative nonfiction book.
Since I gather most of the people involved in this tale are dead, was research particularly difficult?
It made it a bit more difficult, yes. Fortunately, I had Popov’s memoirs and the interviews he had given before he died, as well as the thousands of pages in the MI5 and FBI files. And I had many online discussions with one of Popov’s sons, and “baby Misha,” who plays an interesting role in the book (I won’t spoil it here). The “baby” is now in his seventies and is as delightful as his father (Ivo Popov, agent DREADNOUGHT).
In 1763 a noticeably nervous James Boswell made the acquaintance of poet-editor-essayist-lexicographer Samuel Johnson in Davies’ Bookshop in Covent Garden. Boswell’s subsequent years of intense observation of the great man led to the publication of the momentous Life of Samuel Johnson, a landmark in literary biography.
More than two centuries later, Andy Martin’s approach to Lee Child worked a bit differently. On Aug. 22, 2014, Martin, an author and Cambridge lecturer, sent an eloquent and amusing 320-word email to the bestselling author proposing “a kind of literary criticism in real time” by his coming to New York City to observe Child writing his 20th book. The next-day email response: “Very interesting idea. Much to discuss. Detailed answer Tuesday from New York. Lee.”
After not too much more back and forth, Child agreed to Martin’s proposal and the result is REACHER SAID NOTHING: LEE CHILD AND THE MAKING OF MAKE ME (with a quote opening the book from Boswell). It is a fascinating book that not only shows exactly how the sausage is made in the creation of a Lee Child novel but also reveals, with complete honesty, how Martin pulled off such an unusual project. Observing Child in action was not without its challenges. In Chapter 21, we learn that Child’s publishing team was having second thoughts about Martin’s book. “They think I should stop talking to you,” Lee informed him. “They are worried that the stuff you are writing is going to be picked up and turned into a thousand different ways of destroying me.” Fortunately, Martin’s research did not stop there; he was able to follow Child for a year through his creative process. And there is no destruction. From literally watching the author come up with his sentences and imagine his plot to tagging along on his book tour appearances and conference dates, Martin is present.
We asked Martin to take us behind the scenes of his going behind the scenes, and he graciously complied.
Why did you choose Lee Child as your subject and not the author of another type of successful genre or an author of literary fiction? Why Lee?
Lee Child was not the first writer I thought of. He was third. The first two were Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. So I guess Lee was the first living author. But he reminded me a lot of the other two. There was something about his style or his voice or maybe just his attitude that I don’t find in Jonathan Franzen. And he said “Yes.” So that helped. And he was starting the following week. The pieces just fell into place. Almost like a novel.
By Jeff Ayers
It was planned to look like a suicide but even in the best-laid plans evidence is left behind…
Jocelyn Branham Earnest was found dead on the living room floor of her home in Forest, Virginia. By her side were a gun and a suicide note—typed, lacking in signature and with one fingerprint on it. A fingerprint belonging to her estranged husband.
Wesley Earnest was a respected high school administrator, poised to restart his life in a new community. An investigation into the life the couple once shared would reveal adultery, troubled finances, and shattered dreams—enough that one man with murder on his mind would travel hundreds of miles…Under Cover of the Night.
Diane Fanning is the author of eight mystery novels and thirteen true crime books including Edgar-nominated WRITTEN IN BLOOD and the national bestselling MOMMY’S LITTLE GIRL. She has been featured on a long list of television programs including the Today Show, 20/20, Forensic Files, and 48 Hours.
Diane chatted with THE BIG THRILL.
What drew you to the case that you cover in Under Cover of the Night?
I was drawn to the case that is the subject of Under Cover of the Night first of all because of the victim. Jocelyn Earnest was a competent, well-loved, professional woman whose future looked very bright. It seemed inconceivable that she would ever be a victim. Then there was the perpetrator, Wesley Ernest, Jocelyn’s estranged husband and a high school administrator. It’s hard to imagine that a man charged with watching over children every day would be capable of committing such a crime. Finally, rumors of adultery, suspicions of homosexuality, a staged suicide and the $1.2 million lake house burnt to the ground added the spice to drive a story.
By Jeff Ayers
The author of more than fifty books—125 million copies in print—Clive Cussler is the current grandmaster of adventure literature. Dirk Pitt, the sea-loving protagonist of twenty-two of Cussler’s novels, remains among the most popular and influential adventure series heroes of the past half-century. In THE CLIVE CUSSLER ADVENTURES: A CRITICAL REVIEW, Steven Philip Jones explores and analyzes Cussler’s rich body of work—from the importance of Pitt to modern fiction to Cussler’s literary themes; from Cussler’s early influences to deconstructing the author’s classics, such as Raise the Titanic! and Iceberg. Cussler joins the pantheon of such acclaimed adventure writers as Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ian Fleming, and this overdue volume demonstrates that beneath Cussler’s immense popularity lies a literary depth that well merits scholarly attention.
Steven chatted with THE BIG THRILL about this fascinating perspective and examination of Cussler’s work.
What prompted you to write the book?
Oh, goodness, that’s a long story. Let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.
Around 1989 I was selling a lot of freelance comic book scripts to Malibu Graphics. This included a four-issue adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula that sold out its initial print run of twenty thousand and went back for a second printing, which got me thinking, if an adaptation of a classic public domain novel could sell that well, how much better would an adaptation of a recent bestseller sell? It would depend on the bestseller, of course, and Mr. Cussler’s novels came immediately to mind. They were extremely popular, but had only been adapted in a newspaper strip of RAISE THE TITANIC! and the 1980 movie of the same book. I wrote Mr. Cussler with my idea, he liked it, and Malibu, Mr. Cussler, and his agent Peter Lampack tried to work out a deal, but they couldn’t come to an agreement.
All too often, following the “rules” of writing can constrict rather than inspire you. With Story Trumps Structure, you can shed those rules—about three-act structure, rising action, outlining, and more—to craft your most powerful, emotional, and gripping stories. Award-winning novelist Steven James explains how to trust the narrative process to make your story believable, compelling, and engaging, and debunks the common myths that hold writers back from creating their best work. When you focus on what lies at the heart of story—tension, desire, crisis, escalation, struggle, discovery—rather than plot templates and formulas, you’ll begin to break out of the box and write fiction that resonates with your readers.
Story Trumps Structure will transform the way you think about stories and the way you write them, forever.
“Steven James is the best teacher I’ve ever worked with. I’ve been keenly awaiting STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE since I first heard it was coming out. Like Steven’s lectures, the book is an invaluable resource for aspiring authors and published novelists alike.” ~Robert Dugoni, New York Times best-selling author of THE JURY MASTER
KILLER NURSE, John Foxjohn’s first non-fiction work, is set to be as successful as his widely read fiction.
In 2012 a Texas court sentenced Nurse Kimberly Clark Saenz for the willful murder of five patients in her care. John Foxjohn–a former Army Airborne Ranger, policeman, homicide detective and a successful fiction writer–felt compelled to write about the case. He spent three years researching the facts behind KILLER NURSE, including “every second in the courtroom” during the voir dire process by which attorneys select / reject jurors before they are confirmed, “and every second in the courtroom for the four-week trial.”Hardly surprising. A nurse who kills her patients cannot be explained away by brushstrokes of penmanship alone, and John Foxjohn went the extra mile for his readers.
Kevin Flynn, coauthor of NOTES ON A KILLING, says KILLER NURSE is “A testament to show-leather journalism…The definitive tome on the case. A must read for true crime fanatics.”Joni Fisher calls it “Positively blood-chilling”
On April 28, 2008, two very frightened patients reported to a supervisor at the DaVita Lufkin Dialysis Center in Lufkin, East Texas, that they had witnessed 34-year old Nurse Kimberly Clark Saenz, a mother of two, inject bleach into two of her patients’ IV ports.
Here, for the first time in decades, is a gripping, minute-by-minute account of the day President John F. Kennedy was shot, told by James Swanson, author of the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller MANHUNT, which so vividly brought the Lincoln assassination to life. In END OF DAYS, he reveals Lee Harvey Oswald’s bizarre history of violence and follows John and Jacqueline Kennedy’s wildly successful swing through Texas and their fateful Dallas motorcade ride. In the most riveting account ever written about the assassin’s shots, Swanson takes us to the sixth-floor Texas Book Depository window to look through Oswald’s rifle sights. Swanson also re-creates the last hours of the doomed assassin and the days of national mourning for the president that followed, culminating in a funeral that united the country in a tearful farewell to the fallen commander in chief.
In END OF DAYS, Swanson combines extensive research with his unparalleled storytelling abilities to turn the events of one of the darkest days of the twentieth century into a pulse-pounding thriller that will remain the definitive popular account of the assassination for years to come.
In 2006, twenty-seven-year-old Jessica Buchanan stepped off a plane in Nairobi, Kenya, with a teaching degree and long-held dreams of helping to educate African children. By 2009, she had met and married a native Swede named Erik Landemalm, who worked to coordinate humanitarian aid with authorities in Africa. Together the two moved from Nairobi to Somalia, and with hopes of starting a family, their future couldn’t have been brighter. . . . But on October 25, 2011, Jessica and a colleague were kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom by a band of Somali pirates.
For the next three months, Jessica was terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters, held outdoors in filthy conditions, and kept on a starvation diet while her health steadily deteriorated. Negotiations for ransom dragged on, and as the ordeal stretched into its third month, the captors grew increasingly impatient. Every terrifying moment Jessica Buchanan spent suffering in captivity was matched by that of her adoring husband working behind the scenes to deal with her captors.
After ninety-three days of fruitless negotiations, and with Jessica’s medical state becoming a life-or-death issue, President Barack Obama ordered Navy SEAL Team Six to attempt a rescue operation. On January 25, 2012, just before the president delivered his State of the Union speech, the team of twenty-four SEALs, under the cover of darkness, attacked the heavily armed hostiles. They killed all nine with no harm to the hostages, who were quickly airlifted out on a military rescue helicopter.
By Ian Walkley
Aficionados of the epic fantasy series THE DARK TOWER will be delighted at the April release (from NAL) of THE DARK TOWER COMPANION by Bev Vincent, the foremost authority on Stephen King’s evolving magnum opus. Whether you are a fan who has followed Roland’s journey or are discovering it for the first time, THE DARK TOWER COMPANION gives a fascinating overview of the series and an inside look at the creative process of one of the world’s most popular authors.
Featuring interviews with Stephen King, Ron Howard, DARK TOWER expert Robin Furth and others, Bev Vincent reveals THE DARK TOWER’s influential literary origins, examines its connections to the vast majority of King’s other novels, explores the expanded universe, catalogs the major characters, locations and concepts, and includes a travel guide to the story’s real-world locations.
This ultimate compendium has been described by the master Stephen King himself as: “…a valuable tool for exploring the series. Both newcomers and frequent visitors to Mid-World will be informed and delighted.”
It was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to get into the Black Tower. I had no crampons, harness or rope, and security on the top floor was tighter than that inside a Swizz bank. I considered going the traditional route: up the elevator, through the gauntlet and into the lion’s den. But that way was madness. Lew Wasserman was the legendary creator of Universal Studios, the long-reining king of Hollywood, friend of Cleveland’s Silent Syndicate, and he hadn’t gotten that far by being nice and open.
So, I swallowed hard and did what every non-fiction suspense author does: I requested an interview.
And I was summarily rejected.
That was about 13 lucky years ago, after I signed a deal with a New York publisher to write Lew’s biography called MR. AND MRS. HOLLYWOOD: EDIE AND LEW WASSERMAN AND THEIR ENTERTAINMENT EMPIRE. Who knew that the kingpin never gave interviews?
Like many movie legends, aspects of Lew’s reputation turned out to be false. I eventually interviewed the man in his Tower, but only after several years and 450 interviews. Hollywood has an arcane pecking order with all the intrigue and betrayal of a Borgia Court. But I wasn’t a thriller fan for nothing. As a reporter, I turned to the tactics I’d read about in the nail-biting novels penned by so many ITW friends. To wit:
Do not read further—classified materials. Reading this interview may improve your writing and help you land that next big advance due to the clandestine techniques learned herein.
Please join me in welcoming former CIA agent, J.C. Carleson in her interview tell-all.
J.C. Carleson has written WORK LIKE A SPY, a business advice book that is as applicable to the publishing world and thriller writing as it is to Wall Street.
In Work Like a Spy, author J.C. Carleson applies lessons learned from her years as an undercover CIA officer to the business world. Quite simply, the techniques used in the clandestine world are broadly applicable, universal methods for getting what you want from other people.
In the business setting, you may be seeking a new job, a promotion, a big sale, or a regulatory ruling in your company’s favor. Whatever it is that you seek, someone has the power to give, and this book will teach you new strategies to get it. Broken into three parts, WORK LIKE A SPY includes an introduction to the basic skill sets used by CIA officers, clandestine methods that can be applied at the organizational level, and techniques that can be applied to specific business situations.
Have you ever wondered why some books are adapted into movies, and others aren’t? Or wished you could sit down and talk to the people whose stories have been adapted–and pick the brains of the people who adapted them?
In this book, author John Robert Marlow has done it for you–interviewing book authors, playwrights, comic book creators and publishers, as well as the Hollywood screenwriters, producers, and directors responsible for adapting fictional and true-life stories into Emmy-winning TV shows, Oscar-winning films, billion-dollar megahits and smaller independents. Then he talked to the entertainment attorneys who made the deals.
He came away with a unique understanding of adaptations, which he shares in this book: which stories make good source material (and why); what Hollywood wants (and doesn’t); what you can (and can’t) get in a movie deal; how to write and pitch your story to maximize the chances of a Hollywood adaptation; and how much (and when) you can expect to be paid.
MAKE YOUR STORY A MOVIE contains the distilled experience of storytellers whose works have earned over $50 billion worldwide.
By Amy Shojai
In a former life/day job I worked as a legal secretary and have the utmost respect for attorneys. So I was delighted to interview author and attorney Leslie Budewitz about her award-winning nonfiction book designed to help fiction authors “get it right.” Her BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS was the 2011 Agatha Winner for Best Nonfiction and 2012 Anthony and Macavity Nominee.
Leslie has tried cases before judges and juries, resolved cases in mediation and arbitration and has experience in everything from personal injury and child abuse litigation to multi-million dollar corporation issues. Leslie also writes mysteries and understands what fiction authors need to know about the law to effectively incorporate these details in the story.
Thriller novelists get to make stuff up, but it needs to ring true and include enough real world details to engage the reader. So I asked Leslie about her writing process and how her work can help authors of thriller fiction.
In D.P. Lyle’s new release, MORE FORENSICS AND FICTION the reader will discover answers to questions such as: How do hallucinogenic drugs affect a blind person? If snake venom is injected into fruit, would that cause death? How would you perform CPR in a helicopter? What happens when someone swallows razor blades? How long does it take blood to dry? Can DNA be obtained from a half-eaten bagel?
By Gary Kriss
OK, here’s the question: whadda you get when you mix together a death by cattle stampede, a three-shot suicide, a love child, a secret city and two medical examiners threatening law enforcement with firearms?
Get it right and there’s a bonus.
Hint: it’s not an episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
But the latest episode of “Keeping Up With Diane Fanning,” called by some “the Queen of Real Life Crime Writing”—ah, that’s a different story, one that’s darkly detailed in HER DEADLY WEB just out from St. Martins.
By Diane Holmes
An Interview with thriller master, Jon Land, about his latest book, BETRAYAL.
Jon Land’s BETRAYAL (Forge, January 3, 2012) is a stunning, true-life thriller that pits a lone, fearless FBI agent against the gangster who betrayed the mafia, fooled the FBI, and got away with murder… all while under the FBI’s protection.
…What “untouchable” agent Elliot Ness did to Chicago gangster Al Capone…
…What FBI agent Melvin Purvis did to notorious bank robber John Dillinger…
by Jeff Ayers
MANY GENRES, ONE CRAFT: LESSONS IN WRITING POPULAR FICTION features 65 essays on writing genre novels for success in the mass market. All the contributors have taught or studied at Seton Hill University’s unique MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program, including such award winning thriller and suspense writers as Tess Gerrittsen, David Morrell, Michael Arnzen, Gary Braunbeck, Victoria Thompson, David Shifren, Pat Picciarelli and many more. Divided into sections on “Craft” “Genre” and “The Writer’s Life,” the book covers the entire range of the profession.
Bestselling criminologist R. Barri Flowers delves into the dark world of prostitution in his latest book, Prostitution in the Digital Age: Selling Sex from the Suite to the Street, where he tackles the commercial sex trade industry and its influence on society. Flowers is known for exploring crime and legal issues in his work, covering topics such as murder, female crime, sex crimes, and more. He also writes crime fiction (Murder in Maui and Justice Served), teen mysteries (Danger in Time and Ghost Girl in Shadow Bay), and true crime (The Sex Slave Murders).
In examining the careers of communist and liberal actors, screenwriters, playwrights, and directors in Hollywood from the late 1920s to the present, this book uses studio and PCA correspondence, FBI files, film and theater reviews, and other sources to reveal how all of these artists were concerned with and active in the cinema of social protest.
By Mark Terry
Laura Caldwell has written chick-lit, international suspense, and romantic suspense, but now she’s turned her considerable talents to the book she believes she was “mean to write,” a nonfiction story about a young man who was wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.
In the book Long Way Home, Caldwell tells the story of Jovan Mosley, a Chicago kid who in 1999 was falsely accused of and arrested for taking part in a fight that resulted in a death. Even though he claimed innocence, the Chicago police bullied the 19-year-old into a confession. Then, says Caldwell, “They sent him off to a jail that’s probably the worst in the country. It’s basically a holding cell where you wait for trial. You just wait around and try not to get killed. The system lost him and he spent five years and ten months without trial.”
Janice Gable Bashman and Jonathan Maberry have unleashed a torrent of terror in their new nonfiction release, Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil, from Citadel. The book is a far-ranging investigation into the nature of evil and a fascinating history of our preoccupation with the struggle between light and darkness. Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “fantastic and inventive approach to the world’s oldest war (and) a gripping and informative work.”