Mystery and Thriller Summit

Mystery and Thriller Summit
Full lifetime access: $45

You have an idea for a mystery. But will it be a suspense novel or a thriller? Do you know the difference?

The Mystery and Thriller genres probably have more very specific subgenres than any other. From cozy cozies to police procedurals, from historical mysteries to domestic thrillers, from traditional mysteries to true crime, our online Mystery and Thriller Summit will help you decide if you need the body in the picture or the thoughts of the killer.

Do you want to be Tess Gerritsen or Louise Penny, Ellery Queen or Ellis Peters? There are many ways to cook a mystery but they all have their own ingredients. Each of our best-selling mystery/thriller authors will discuss his recipe for murder to help you solve the riddle of how your own mystery should be served to the reader.

Our speakers include:

  • Tess Gerritsen
  • Hank Phillippi Ryan
  • William Martin
  • Barbara Ross
  • Crystal King
  • Richard Adams Carey
  • Cate Holahan
  • Paula Munier
  • Dan Blank

For $45, you can access the entire Summit, 9 videos interviews of the speakers above, more than 5 hours of expert advice!

What You Will Learn

Tess Gerritsen discusses:

  • The key difference in mysteries and thrillers.
  • How changing one word took her from rejection to publication.
  • How she begins with only a concept and writes to find out the ending.
  • The trick to keeping a series going.
  • How dreams gave her a story.
  • Mistakes new mystery writers make.

Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses:

  • How the readers are the jury in a psychological thriller.
  • The BIG key of a mystery/thriller.
  • A list of specifics of what a mystery needs.
  • Why a murder mystery should be more than a murder mystery.
  • The difference in a mystery and a thriller.
  • The key to red herrings.

Barbara Ross discusses:

  • Definite rules for cozy mysteries.
  • Additional traits of most cozies.
  • What’s NOT in a cozy.
  • The appeal of a cozy.

William Martin discusses:

  • What are “high stakes”?
  • How all stories are mysteries.
  • The many types of books he has written as “historical thrillers.”
  • Several ways that readers have changed in the last 30 years.
  • How to keep history in check.

Cate Holahan discusses:

  • The key of a psychological thriller.
  • Contrasting psychological and domestic thrillers.
  • Some problems with careful plotting.
  • Researching police procedures
  • The “girl” phenomenon

Richard Adams Carey discusses:

  • Great advice on how to do the research.
  • The importance of a true crime book to the healing of a community.
  • The challenges of a true crime book.
  • The emotional toll of a true crime book.

Crystal King discusses:

  • Special considerations if your mystery is set in the past.
  • Why the setting is so critical in the historical mystery.
  • Advice on plotting and timelines.
  • How to balance the history with the story
  • Research online and on the ground.

Paula Munier discusses:

  • Never say this about your book
  • Why setting is SO important in all mysteries
  • What’s a USP and why it’s critical to have a strong one.
  • How a set of highlighters can improve your writing.
  • Different ways to begin a platform.
  • What you can learn from your competition.

Dan Blank discusses:

  • The importance of having an author platform.
  • Human-centered ways to consider what reader engagement looks like.
  • Practical ways to consider the value (and process) of using social media.

You can purchase lifetime access to all sessions here:

Speaker Bios

Tess Gerritsen
Tess Gerritsen’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), Last To Die (August 2012), Die Again (January 2015) and Playing With Fire (coming October 27, 2015). Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world. Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”. Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. Her new book, The Shape of Night: A Novel will be released October 1, 2019.

Hank Phillippi Ryan
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV. She’s won 34 EMMYs and dozens more journalism honors. The nationally bestselling author of 11 mysteries, Ryan’s also an award-winner in her second profession—with five Agathas, three Anthonys, two Macavitys, the Daphne, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. Critics call her “a master of suspense” and “a superb and gifted storyteller” and 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, 2015 and 2016. Hank’s 2018 book is the acclaimed standalone psychological suspense thriller TRUST ME, an Agatha Nominee. Suspense Magazine’s reviewer calls it “By far one of the best thrillers I’ve read in years.” The Booklist starred review says “a knockout!” and New York Post, BOOK BUB, PopSugar, Real Simple Magazine, CrimeReads and Criminal Element named it one of the Best Thrillers of 2018.
Coming in August: THE MURDER LIST. Her latest book: Trust Me: A Novel.

William MartinWilliam Martin
William Martin is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, a PBS documentary, book reviews, magazine articles, and a cult-classic horror movie, too. His first Peter Fallon novel, Back Bay, established him as “a master storyteller.” He has been following the lives of the great and anonymous in American history ever since, taking readers from the Mayflower in Cape Cod to Ford’s Theater in The Lincoln Letter to the South Tower on 9/11 in City of Dreams. His latest, Bound for Gold, sweeps readers back to California in the legendary year of 1849 and “solidifies his claim as king of the historical thriller” (Providence Journal). He was the 2005 recipient of the prestigious New England Book Award, given to an author “whose body of work stands as a significant contribution to the culture of the region.” In 2015, the USS Constitution Museum gave him the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, for “patriotic pride, artful scholarship, and an eclectic interest in the sea and things maritime.” And in 2018, the Mystery Writers of America (New England Chapter) gave him the Robert B. Parker Award. He serves on the boards of many of Boston’s historical and cultural organizations, lives near Boston with his wife, and has three grown children. His latest book: Bound for Gold: A Peter Fallon Novel of the California Gold Rush.

Barbara Ross
Barbara Ross is the author of seven Maine Clambake Mysteries. The eighth, Sealed Off, will be released in December 2019. Her novellas featuring Julia Snowden are included along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis in the anthologies Eggnog Murder and Yule Log Murder. A new anthology, Haunted House Murder, will be released in August 2019. A new, non-Clambake mystery, Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody, will be released on June 25, 2019. Barbara’s books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She blogs with the Maine Crime Writers and the Wicked Authors. Her first mystery novel, The Death of an Ambitious Woman, was published by Five Star/Gale/Cengage in August 2010. In her former life, Barbara was a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of two successful start-ups in educational technology. She and her husband live in Portland, Maine. Her new book, Steamed Open (A Maine Clambake Mystery), will be released on August 7, 2019.

Crystal King
Crystal King is an author, culinary enthusiast, and marketing expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University, as well as at GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart Prize–nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her MA in critical and creative thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston but considers Italy her next great love after her husband, Joe, and their two cats, Nero and Merlin. She is the author of Feast of Sorrow. Her latest book: The Chef’s Secret: A Novel.

Richard Adams CareyRichard Adams Carey
Richard Adams Carey grew up in Connecticut, attended Harvard, and worked various low-paying jobs before going to teach in the Yupik Eskimo villages of western Alaska. His first book, “Raven’s Children,” was described by Alaska Magazine as “the best book on Alaska since John McPhee’s classic ‘Coming Into the Country.'” The New York Times praised “Against the Tide” as “deep ecological journalism at its best, a worthy successor to such classic portraits of American fishermen as William W. Warner’s ‘Beautiful Swimmers’ and Peter Matthiessen’s ‘Men’s Lives.'” “The Philosopher Fish,” said Kirkus Reviews is “a book about America in microcosm. Caviar, as it turns out, is not just tasty. In Carey’s hands, it’s luminous.” Carey’s new book, “In the Evil Day,” concerns a 1997 shooting incident in Colebrook, New Hampshire. Said Booklist, “Carey’s tension-filled report of a small town’s terror is portrayed with surprising love, bittersweetness, and hope, resuting in a beautifully written and enthralling true crime tale.” Carey lives in Sandwich, New Hampshire, and teaches in the MFA fiction and nonfiction program of Southern New Hampshire University. His latest book: In the Evil Day: Violence Comes to One Small Town.

Cate HolahanCate Holahan
Catherine “Cate” Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower’s Wife (August 2016), Lies She Told (Sept. 2017), Dark Turns (November 2015), and the upcoming One Little Secret (July 9, 2019) all published by Crooked Lane Books. An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money,,, and CNBC. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, ages 7 and 8, and dog Westley. Her latest book: One Little Secret: A Novel.

Paula Munier
Paula Munier is the author of A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in a new series from Minotaur Books, as well as the bestselling PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, and FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle. She was inspired to write A Borrowing of Bones by the hero working dogs she met through MissionK9Rescue, her own Newfoundland retriever mix rescue Bear, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction. A popular writing teacher and public speaker, Paula began her career as a journalist, and along the way added editor, acquisitions specialist, digital content manager, and publishing executive to her repertoire, working for such media giants as WGBH, Disney, Gannett, F&W Media, and Quayside. In 2012, she joined Talcott Notch Literary Services as Senior Literary Agent and Content Strategist. Her specialties include crime fiction, women’s fiction, upmarket fiction, MG and crossover YA, high-concept SFF, and nonfiction. She lives in New England with her family, Bear, Freddie, and a torbie tabby named Ursula. Her new book, Blind Search: A Mercy and Elvis Mystery (Mercy and Elvis Mysteries), will be released on November 5, 2019.

Dan BlankDan Blank
Dan Blank is the founder of WeGrowMedia, where he helps writers develop their author platforms, connect with readers, and launch their books. He is the author of the book Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience. He has worked with hundreds of writers, and amazing organizations who support creative people such as Penguin Random House, Sesame Workshop, Hachette Book Group, Workman Publishing, J. Walter Thompson, Abrams Books, Writers House, The Kenyon Review, Writer’s Digest, Library Journal, and many others. Dan’s work has been featured by Poet’s & Writers magazine, the National Endowment for the Arts, Professional Artist magazine, and 99u.You can find Dan on his blog at or on Twitter and Instagram at @DanBlank. His latest book: Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience.

Alison Taylor BrownYour Host: Alison Taylor Brown
Alison Taylor-Brown is the founder and director of The Village Writing School, a 501c3 nonprofit. The school is an independent creative writing program, located in beautiful northwest Arkansas. Its mission is to help writers tell their stories in a more readable, publishable way.She holds an MFA in fiction and once sold a novel about her great-grandfather to Simon and Schuster. In addition to teaching at various universities, she started a literacy council and an ESL school; started, grew and sold her own company; worked in global aid and education; and served on various foundations. She lives in a medieval town in Italy and is working on a novel about the 14th-century writer Boccaccio. She teaches her own writing program online entitled: Everything You need to Write a Beautiful Story.

You can purchase lifetime access to all sessions here: