December 18 – 24: “What´s on your New Year’s resolution list?”

thriller-roundtable-logo5The final Roundtable of 2017 and inquiring minds want to know, as an author, what´s on your New Year’s resolution list? ITW Members Colin Campbell, Matt Coyle, Windy Lynn Harris, Jennifer D. Bokal, Lee Gimenez, Lynn Cahoon, Jim L’Etoile, Wendy Tyson, Victoria Gilbert and Luke Murphy answer the call. Scroll down to the “comments” section; this is one you won’t want to miss!


Ex army, retired cop and former Scenes Of Crime Officer. Colin Campbell is the author of British crime novels Blue Knight White Cross, and Northern Ex, and US thrillers Jamaica Plain, Montecito Heights, Adobe Flats and Snake Pass. His Jim Grant thrillers bring a rogue Yorkshire cop to America, where culture clash and violence ensue.


Matt Coyle knew he wanted to be a crime writer when he was fourteen and his father gave him The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler. His debut novel, Yesterday’s Echo, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the San Diego Book Award for Best Mystery, and the Ben Franklin Award for Best New Voice in Fiction. Night Tremors was a Reviewers’ Favorite Book of 2015 and was an Anthony, Shamus, and Lefty Award finalist. Dark Fissures, the third book in the Rick Cahill crime series, was a finalist for the Macavity and Lefty awards and was a 2016 Top Pick for BLOOD TRUTH is Matt’s fourth novel. Matt is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and lives in San Diego with his yellow Lab, Angus, where he is writing the fifth Rick Cahill crime novel.


Winner of the Sexy Scribbler for 2015, Jennifer D. Bokal is the author of the best-selling Ancient World Historical Romance, The Gladiator’s Mistress and the second book in the Champions of Rome series, The Gladiator’s Temptation. She is also the author of Her Rocky Mountain Hero and Her Rocky Mountain Defender, both part of the Rocky Mountain Justice series with Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Jen holds a master of arts in creative writing from Wilkes University and is a member of both the Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. Happily married to her own Alpha Male for twenty years, she enjoys writing stories that explore the wonders of love. Jen and her manly husband live in upstate New York with their three beautiful daughters, two aloof cats, and two very spoiled dogs.


Lynn Cahoon is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. Guidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series, won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She also pens the Cat Latimer series. A Story to Kill and Fatality in Firelight are available in mass market paperback. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.


Luke Murphy is the International bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (Imajin Books, 2012) and Kiss & Tell (Imajin Books, 2015). Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7). Murphy lives in Shawville, QC with his wife, three daughters and a pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude). WILD CARD, a sequel to Dead Man’s Hand, is Murphy’s third novel.


Wendy Tyson is a writer, lawyer, and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes two mystery series. Killer Image, Wendy’s first novel in her popular Allison Campbell Mystery Series, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by the Examiner. Wendy’s bestselling Greenhouse Mystery Series includes A Muddied Murder (March 2016), Bitter Harvest (March 2017), which received a starred Publishers Weekly review, and SEEDS OF REVENGE. Wendy’s short stories have appeared in literary journals, including KARAMU, Concho River Review, and Eclipse, A Literary Journal, and she has short fiction scheduled to appear in two fiction anthologies, The Night of the Flood and Betrayed. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime, Penn Writers, and International Thriller Writers, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for International Thriller Writers’ online magazines, The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins. Wendy and her family split their time between Pennsylvania and Vermont.


James L’Etoile’s crime fiction work is recognized by the Creative World Awards, Acclaim Film, the Scriptapalooza Television Script Competition, Killer Nashville Reader’s Choice, and The American Book Festival Awards. At What Cost was released by Crooked Lane Books in 2016 and BURY THE PAST (a 2017 Best Book Award finalist in the mystery/suspense category) was published on December 12, 2017. James L’Etoile worked in prisons and jails for twenty-nine years before turning to crime fiction. He is an experienced correctional administrator, facility captain, associate warden, chief of institution operations, and director of state parole. He draws upon his experience to bring his crime fiction to life. He consults in prisons, jails and community corrections across the country and when he isn’t writing, he and his wife Ann-Marie participate in therapy dog programs for seniors in memory care and Read To A Dog children’s reading programs.


Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. A member of International Thriller Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Mystery Writers of America, she lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.


Windy Lynn Harris is the author of WRITING & SELLING SHORT STORIES & PERSONAL ESSAYS: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR WORK PUBLISHED (Writer’s Digest Books). She’s a prolific writer, a trusted mentor, and a frequent speaker at literary events. Her long list of short stories and personal essays have been published in literary, trade, and women’s magazines across the U.S. and Canada in places like The Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, and Literary Mama, among many other journals. Her articles for writers can be found at The Review Review, Writer’s Market, and many industry blogs.


Lee Gimenez is the award-winning author of 13 novels, including his highly-acclaimed J.T. Ryan series. His latest thriller is FBI CODE RED. Several of his books were ebook best sellers, among them The Media Murders, Skyflash, and The Washington Ultimatum. Lee was nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award and was a finalist in the prestigious Terry Kay Prize for Fiction. All of his books are available in paperback and e-book versions in the U.S. and Internationally. Lee is a member of the International Thriller Writers Association, the Science Fiction Writers of America, the Georgia Writers Association, and the Atlanta Writers organization. Please join him on Twitter, where he has over 50,000 followers. Also join him on Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.


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  1. I usually don’t come up with resolutions for the New Year. It ends up looking like a list of things given up for Lent—and if I’m lucky, it lasts about as long. But this year, with your help, I will strive to do better. Here are my author’s resolutions for 2018. They started off like a 12-Step Program list—I’m addicted to writing and I’m powerless over my editor—so I changed it up a bit:
    1. I will give my agent what she wants when she wants it.
    2. I will acknowledge that my agent is all knowing and is always right.
    3. I will support my fellow authors wherever possible, attending their book signings, events, buying their books, and encourage others to do so.
    4. I will not tolerate the harassment of any author, for any reason.
    5. I will make it a priority to tell an author that I liked their work, in person, on social media, or in a review. It matters.
    6. I will read from other genres, including, YA, sci-fi, historical fiction, cozy, and—yes, romance—a good story is a good story. It won’t make me less of a man.
    7. I will write outside my comfort zone.
    8. I will celebrate the small things—a finished chapter, the introduction of a new character or the demise of an old one.
    9. I will fight my natural tendency toward procrastination.
    10. I will work on the non-fiction project that’s been begging to be written.
    11. I will stress eat less during editing—when you realize how shitty that first draft was.
    12. I will cut the bejesus out of the 98k manuscript and feel good about it.
    I will…

    1. Now that’s an impressive list, James! Allow me to save you from failure by helping you to tick off Resolutions 3 and 6. I write romance and romantic suspense so kick off the New year with my latest rom sus book Find Her. Then you can follow up later in the year with the romance sequel to it, The House at Flynn’s Crossing. No release date yet. Or you could try my favourite of my own stories Trouble in Nirvana, for a bit of Aussie rural romantic comedy.

      My own resolutions: Do more clarinet practice, read more, write more, keep learning. I’ve signed up for my first ThrillFest so that should cover the last.

      Btw I call procrastination thinking about the plot and where it might go next 🙂 The brain cells need to percolate the thoughts.

  2. Hello Thriller Writers and Readers! First off, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season in 2017.
    As a writer of mystery thrillers, I have two new year’s resolutions for 2018. First, I want to complete my 14th novel, which I began this year and which will be published in 2018. The book is based on my popular John (J.T.) Ryan character, an ex-Special Forces soldier turned private investigator. This novel will be my fifth in this series (my previous ones are FBI CODE RED, SKYFLASH, The MEDIA MURDERS, and The WASHINGTON ULTIMATUM).
    My second new year’s resolution has to do with another one of my series characters, CIA operative Rachel West. She was featured in several books, the most well-known being KILLING WEST. I’m trying to decide if my 15th novel (the one I’ll start once I’m done with the one I’m currently writing) should be based on J.T. Ryan or Rachel West characters. I’ve had some crossover roles for Rachel in my Ryan series (in fact, they become romantically involved), but I’m still debating whether to do another novel next year with Rachel in the starring role. As we’ve seen in recent movies (the most notable being Wonder Woman), strong female action characters have become very popular. Any suggestions/comments about this on your part would be very welcome. Thank you!

      1. Thanks for that, Windy. I really like my Rachel West character (who’s a CIA operative;she’s tough, very smart, and of course beautiful; she’s the good-looking blonde on the cover of my book KILLING WEST). In the J.T Ryan novel I’m writing now, Rachel plays a big part.

          1. That’s exactly right, Windy. People love crossover characters, as we see in the movies and television. It took me awhile to incorporate this concept into my writing. Thank you for your comments and best of luck on your books!

  3. My resolution this year is to clear space for creativity every morning. It’s how I used to work, but things got out of balance in 2017.

    My first book was published in September. I assumed that new projects would be pouring out of me once that book was sold, but somewhere between the manuscript editing and the marketing efforts I stopped writing new stories. I prioritized the business side of writing every day and didn’t leave time for free writing, idea generating, and first drafting. It wasn’t until I took an online class last month that I played with prose again. I had so much fun in that class that I produced nine new stories. NINE! What a shame that I didn’t let myself write like that all year long.

    The plan for 2018: Let my creative side have two hours of time every morning. After that, I’ll gladly step into the role of marketer and mentor and guest blogger and article writer—whatever is needed to keep the success of my book moving along. But from now on, I’ll start my day with a creative page and let the business side of things wait it’s turn.

    1. Good idea, Windy. I do that as well. I always start my day doing the same thing – writing for about two hours at the beginning of the day. That way I know the novel I’m currently working on progresses. To date I’ve had 13 novels published and it’s a technique that helps me stay focused on my books. Wish you much success on your writing!

      1. You’re so prolific, Lee! If writing first thing in the morning works for you, then I know I’m on the right track. I’ve got more clarity for new pages in the morning, so this feels great so far. One hurdle: My dog doesn’t like the new routine yet. Change is hard 😉

  4. This is always an awkward one. I can’t remember the last time I made a New Years resolution. I suppose a good one would be for me to write slower. I am nothing if not prolific and I write every day. That invariably means I work faster than my agent can sell my books, so there is a backlog. The trouble is, I really enjoy writing so maybe I should just reduce my word count. Or take more coffee breaks. Oh, another resolution; be kinder to small dogs that cock their legs up on me. Nice doggy.

    1. Like you, Colin, I enjoy writing very much. That’s why I end up writing at least several hours every day. To break up my routine I go to the gym or play tennis during the week. Best of luck on your books, Colin.

  5. The new year is a great time to reset old goals and set new ones I’m a very motivated by numbers, so my fist goal is to up my daily word count from 1,500 to 1,750. Then when editing, I’ll spend 4 hours a day instead of 3. My most immediate goal is to finish the proposal for the next Harlequin Romantic Suspense series by February and the work for a successful launch of the last two books in the Rocky Mountain Justice series.

  6. I have one major resolution for 2018 — to READ more. I think I can fulfill that one now that I have (just) retired from my full-time library director position, so I no longer have two very demanding careers! (I may end up working part-time later in 2018, but my former job — on top of writing my contracted and other books — was just a bit too much).
    I also hope to write more, of course! I must write the third book in my series by the end of April (No pressure, no pressure) but I’m also developing a new series and plan to write the first book in that series this year too.
    I also want to do a lot more promotion of my Blue Ridge Library Mystery series — the first book is out now and the second book comes out in July so I have plenty to promote now that I have a little more free time. I’d like to do library and bookstore events in my region, as well as attend some conferences and conventions. (I’m already signed up for Malice Domestic and Bouchercon, but I’m looking for some more local events).
    I think that’s enough, so I will now wish everyone Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!

    1. Great resolution! My brother always tries to get in 52 books a year. I’ll have to ask if he made his goal for 2017

    2. Great resolution! My brother always tries to get in 52 books a year. I’ll have to ask if he made his goal for 2017.

  7. This year, my New Year’s Resolution is to try and find more time to write, which isn’t easy in my life or my house.

    I have a wife and three young children (all girls) who participate in multiple extra-curricular activities. When you have young kids, you have to think about things like: lunches, homework, bath-time, story-time, bed-time, getting them ready for school, entertaining them, etc.

    Other than writing, I have three jobs: teacher, tutor, hockey ref. Teaching is my fulltime career, and tutoring, reffing and writing are part-time jobs.

    Because of my busy life and lack of time, I have no consistency in a writing schedule or to release books. I’ve released books in 2012, 2015, and 2017. So as you can see, readers have to wait years for my books to come out because I just can’t find the time to write on a consistent basis. I’m sure my readers are just as frustrated as I am.

    So in 2018, I plan to try my best to write more. Still not sure how I will go about doing that though LOL.

  8. I LOVE new year’s resolutions. I’m working on my goals and strategies now. I’ve got several contracted deadlines for next year so writing fast is important. I want to carve out time in the mornings for words rather than social media. I’m a firm believer in baby steps so writing in the little bits of time I find here and there works for me.

    I’m also doing a study of marketing. I’ve started a notebook, planning on trying some new activities, reading more in the topic, and taking as many classes as I can.

    I want to set up a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)for releases. I have at least 7 next year. And having a comprehensive checklist will keep me on track and not forgetting things.

    I’m slowing down my travel schedule to give me more margin time. At least that’s the plan.

    And I want to finish my study of JD Robb books mid year so I can start reading some of my TBR pile. 🙂


    1. Thanks Lee. I’m great at planning, but hard on myself if the implementation falls short. I’m working on that too. Good luck with your next book too.

  9. Hi everyone! Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season and peace in the New Year.

    I love reading these resolutions. I have one overarching resolution for 2018: to be more intentional–with my time, my efforts, my words, my thoughts, etc.

    As a busy woman with two jobs and three kids, I can relate to some of what I’ve read here. I often feel like I’m pulled in too many directions and don’t have the time or energy to do the things that are important to me. At first I thought time management should be my goal, but then I realized my issues transcend time management and I need to be more present and intentional across the board. Now, how to put that into practice?

    1. Hi Wendy. One way that I’ve found useful for accomplishing my goals is to set up a weekly schedule for my writing. For example, if I have meetings one day that I have to attend, I’ll write late in the evening that day, or get up earlier to do it. So every week at the end of that week I set up a schedule for the next week. I’ve been using this tool for the last several years and found it successful for me. Hope this helps.

  10. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope you and your families have a good holiday season and a great 2018. And best of luck on your writing and your books.

  11. In my earlier posts I forgot to mention several good resources which have assisted me in writing my 13 novels. I also teach about them in my writing classes. I wanted to share them with you; you may find them useful in the coming year. Here’s the list:
    . “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White
    . “The Bedford Handbook for Writers” by Diane Hacker
    . “Goal, Motivation, and Conflict” by Debra Dixon
    . “Elements of Fiction Writing” by Writers Digest Books
    . “Gotham Writers Workshop on Fiction Writing” by Alexander Steele
    . “Self-Editing” by Renni Browne
    Check these out – you may find them as useful as I have.

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