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This week join ITW Members Toby Tate, Vincent Zandri, Merry Jones, Chris Allen, Catherine Stovall, Judith Cutler, Melinda Leigh, Sharon Alice Geyer, Amy Lignor, Lee Weeks, Michael Sims, David Housewright, Catherine Jordan and Jason Dean, as they discuss how to determine when a story is ready.


Melinda Leigh writes dark romantic suspense. Her debut novel, She Can Run, was a 2012 Thriller Award nominee for Best First Novel and sold over 100,000 copies in its first 6 months of publication. In 2012, She Can Tell and Midnight Exposure were both #1 romantic suspense bestsellers. Her next book, Midnight Sacrifice, is scheduled to release in April 2013. She is a mom, a dog lover, a 2nd degree black belt in Kenpo karate, and a women’s self-defense instructor.

Len & Mick writing as Maynard Sims have had numerous novels, novellas and stories published over the past thirty five years. They have run a small press, been editors, essayists and reviewers. Currently they are writing novels, screenplays and stories.

Chris Allen writes escapist action thrillers for realists. A former paratrooper, Chris retired from the Army as a Major in 1996, transitioned into humanitarian aid work during the East Timorese emergency, served with three major law enforcement agencies in Australia, protected the iconic Sydney Opera House in the wake of 9-11 and between 2008 & 2012 was the Sheriff of New South Wales. His novels DEFENDER and HUNTER feature Alex Morgan of INTREPID.”

Catherine Jordan is a Pennsylvania author of paranormal thrillers. She is a wife and mother of five children. Born in Indiana, she was raised in Northeastern PA. She is a graduate of Penn State University with a BS in Finance. Catherine has been writing stories since learning to hold a pencil. She loves family, travel, good food, great stories, and writing. “I do what I love.”

As the daughter of a career librarian Amy Lignor grew up loving books; ‘Patience & Fortitude’ at the NYPL were her heroes. Beginning with Amy’s first book of historical romance, her career flourished when her YA series THE ANGEL CHRONICLES arrived on the scene. She began developing the storyline for this new seven-book series which moved her into the world of action, adventure and romantic suspense. Working as an editor in the publishing industry for decades, Amy is now the Owner/Operator of The Write Companion, as well as a contributor to various literary publications and websites.

Merry Jones is the author of the suspense novel THE TROUBLE WITH CHARLIE, the Harper Jennings thrillers (SUMMER SESSION, BEHIND THE WALLS, and WINTER BREAK), and the Zoe Hayes mysteries (THE NANNY MURDERS, THE RIVER KILLINGS, THE DEADLY NEIGHBORS and THE BORROWED AND BLUE MURDERS). She has also written humor (including I LOVE HIM, BUT…) and non-fiction (including BIRTHMOTHERS: Women who relinquished babies for adoption tell their stories.)

Catherine Stovall is the author of the fiction series, The Requiem of Humanity, and the short story, Fearful Day. Stovall received a degree in Criminal Justice from Colorado Technical University. After working in the field for several years, she has decided to dedicate her life to her true passion, creating captivating works of fiction. She lives in Southeast Missouri with her husband, three children, and pets.

Lee Weeks was born in Devon. She left school at seventeen and, armed with a notebook and very little cash, spent seven years working her way around Europe and South East Asia. She returned to settle in London,marry and raise two children.She has worked as an English teacher and personal fitness trainer, a tomato pollinator and a nightclub hostess. Her books have been Sunday Times bestsellers. She now lives in Devon.

Vincent Zandri is the author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT RISES, and more. An adventurer and freelance photo-journalist, he lives in Albany, New York.


Dubbed Birmingham (UK)’s Queen of Crime, Judith Cutler began her working life as a college lecturer. She is a prize-winning short story writer: her work has been widely anthologised. Most of her full-length thrillers feature contemporary female protagonists, but Tobias Campion, a nineteenth century clergyman, has joined the women in their fight to right wrongs. Her latest novel is Burying the Past, featuring Detective Chief Superintendent Fran Harman.

Sharon Alice Geyer lived and worked in both Iran and Israel from 1963 to 1989. She returned to the United States and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Arizona State University. She lives in San Juan Capistrano with her husband, an archaeobotanist and research fellow at the Sinman Institute. She is currently working on the third book in the Samson Option Trilogy.

Toby Tate has been a writer since about the age of 12, when he first began writing short stories and publishing his own movie monster magazine. LILITH is his second novel. Toby is also a songwriter and musician. He currently lives with his family near the Dismal Swamp in northeastern North Carolina.


Jason Dean was born in London and raised in the south-east of England. After spending much of his working life as a graphic designer, he finally decided he wanted to try writing the kind of American thrillers he’s always loved reading. Now a full-time author, Jason lives in the Far East with his wife, making occasional trips to England or the States whenever the need arises. BACKTRACK is his second novel.

David Housewright has published 14 novels including PENANCE (winner 1996 Edgar Award for Best First Novel from the Mystery Writers of America and nominee for Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America), PRACTICE TO DECEIVE (winner 1998 Minnesota Book Award) and JELLY’S GOLD (winner 2010 Minnesota Book Award). His next novel – THE LAST KIND WORD (St. Martin’s Minotaur) – will be published in June 2013. Housewright’s short stories have appeared in publications as diverse as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and True Romance as well as mystery anthologies TWIN CITIES NOIR and ONCE UPON A CRIME.