November 14 to 20: “The holidays are here. Will you slow down or speed up writing?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5The holidays are fast approaching! Will this slow down, or speed up your writing? This week, ITW Members Hank Phillipi Ryan, Ray Anderson, Anna J. Stewart, J. T. Rogers and Neil Plakcy will discuss the pace at which their writing is effected.


say-no-moreHank Phillippi Ryan is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 33 EMMYs, 14 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her groundbreaking journalism. A bestselling author of nine mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: five Agathas, two Anthonys, the Daphne, two Macavitys, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award.


in-from-the-coldJ.T. Rogers grew up wanting to be either a superhero or a spy—but rather than pick one over the other, she chose to become a writer instead so she could be both in her spare time. Her fiction reflects her childhood obsessions, blending together the distrustful, cloak-and-dagger world of spies with the high-octane action and camaraderie of her favorite superheroes. The product of a bilingual education and an alumna of a handful of universities, J.T.’s passions include history, comic books, and Shakespeare. She has lived all over North America and loves to weave threads of authentic local color into her stories. Just ask her about Lucy the Elephant. Currently, she’s living the dream of being overworked and underpaid. She writes to stay sane—or that’s the story she likes to tell, at least.


the-next-one-will-kill-you-600Neil Plakcy has written or edited over three dozen novels and short stories in mystery, romance and erotica. To research The Next One Will Kill You, he participated in the FBI’s sixteen-week citizen’s academy, practiced at a shooting range, and visited numerous gay bars in Fort Lauderdale. (Seriously, it was research.) He is an assistant professor of English at Broward College in South Florida, and has been a construction manager, a computer game producer, and a web developer – all experiences he uses in his fiction.


more-than-a-lawman-thrillerUSA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can’t remember a time she didn’t have a book in her hands or a story in her head. A geek at heart, Anna writes romances featuring strong, independent heroines. RT Book reviews says Anna’s romances are “refreshingly unique, quietly humorous, and profoundly moving” and NYTimes bestselling author Brenda Novak says “The talented Anna J Stewart delivers every time!” Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious SUPERNATURAL, STAR TREK, and SHERLOCK addiction and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it’s Snickers who tolerates her). When she’s not writing, you can usually find her at fan conventions or at her local movie theater.


sierraRay Anderson began hiking in New Hampshire and has climbed all the 4,000-footers in New England. He’s thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, hiked all of the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked parts of the Continental Divide Trail. When not hiking or writing, he spends his time with family and friends in Massachusetts and Florida.


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  1. After being on deadline last year during the holidays, I swore I wouldn’t let it happen again. Well…I have a book due this week and my third suspense book is due January third (along with a proposal due December 30th), so not only will I be kicking things up, I’ll be aiming for light speed. I am taking Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday off to decorate. Hey, this is my dream job. Not going to complain. It just means when I do get some down time to enjoy the season, it’ll be all the more welcome and appreciated. 🙂

  2. My day job is as a college professor, so my writing schedule is impacted more by the academic calendar than by the holiday season. I generally write every day for an hour or so– on the weekends I try to manage two hours. During the holidays I usually get more writing done, because I don’t have to drive back and forth to campus, hold classes & office hours and so on. If Starbucks is open I’m usually there!

  3. My writing will speed up, hopefully! As a debut novelist, I’m obviously not making a living off my fiction, and with the holiday season comes some much needed R&R from the work that actually pays the bills. I have a couple of projects I’m very excited about, including the sequel to IN FROM THE COLD, and I’m planning on making the most of this holiday season to churn out the word count before real life comes knocking again!

  4. I will speed up my writing because of more opportunity. This may seem counter-intuitive, but here’s why: When I worked full-time, my bosses relaxed their grip a bit over the holidays–they took vacation time or were gone. So, there was more opportunity to write. Now I’m retired, and my wife and family are going in all kinds of directions over the holidays. I can go to a coffee shop, and they don’t even know I’m gone. I will speed up during this opportunity over the holidays.

  5. Holidays? Holidays? remember on Dpwnton Abbey when the Dowager Duchess says: “What is a weekend?” That’s how I feel about holidays. I have been a TV reporter for 40 years, so holidays are the same as any other days: work days! .Luckily for me–because as an author, “Holiday” just means a day I have the joy of being able to write..
    SO hurray–my deadline is Jan 1, so you better believe I will be chained to the computer.
    Don;t get me wrong–I am thrilled. I could get done! Imagine. Now there’s a holiday present!

  6. As an example, this morning, my wife has gone to shop. I’ve hired my grandsons to rake leaves. When I end this sentence with a period, I’m back to work on my manuscript for book three.

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