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"Writing For the Thrill of It"

Is it still possible to write a fresh, intelligent suspensefull thriller or murder mystery without plodding through well-traveled ground? How do professional authors keep the stories fresh and the reader interested from one page to the next, let alone from book to book? What are the tricks of the trade?

This is your chance to gain insight from a panel of accomplished murder mystery and thriller authors, who will take you on a rollercoaster ride of suspense, thrills, chills, and plot twists to help keep you on the path to writing a best-selling novel, instead of getting killed off in the second act.

Guest author speakers are: Morgan St. James, Michael Mallory,
Christa FaustGary Phillips ,
and M.M. Gornell

Saturday, April 23rd, 3:00 pm
Palms-Rancho Park Library
Ray Bradbury Room, Second Floor. 
Come early for best seating.

Christa Faust at GLAWS

A frequent panelist, moderator or speaker, Morgan St. James also presents writers workshops and is a columnist for the Las Vegas and Los Angeles editions of  She is a founding member/Vice President of Sisters in Crime Southern Nevada, editor of their monthly newsletter, and belongs to five additional writers groups in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Morgan and her sister Phyllice Bradner co-author the Silver Sisters Mysteries series. Award-winning  A Corpse in the Soup was followed by Seven Deadly Samovars. Vanishing Act in Vegas scheduled for release in late 2011. Twist of Fate, a romantic suspense series she writes as Arliss Adams, launched in August 2010 with Devil’s Dance followed by Book 2, The Devil’s Due, in November 2010.

Her short stories appear in many anthologies, including stories for two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Mystery of the Green Mist, Dreamspell Revenge, Dreamspell Nightmares and more.

CvrCvrNOVELS: A Corpse in the Soup, Seven Deadly Samovars, and coming in late 2011, Vanishing Act in Vegas Writing as Arliss Adams: Devil’s Dance and The Devil’s Due.

DreamspellSHORT STORIES IN: Chicken Soup for the Shopper’s Soul, Chicken Soup Celebrating People Who Make a Difference, Dreamspell Revenge, Mystery of the Green Mist, The World Outside the Window, Writers Bloc II and Dreamspell Nightmares

LAS VEGAS EXAMINER LOS ANGELES AND LAS VEGAS EDITIONS: Spotlight, and Writers tricks of the trade

Book CollageMemberships include the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society, Sisters in Crime/LA, Sisters in Crime/Southern Nevada, Las Vegas Writer’s Group, Public Safety Writers Group and Henderson Writer’s Group. She frequently appears on author’s panels and Meet the Author events, as well as presenting writers’ workshops.

For more information visit: or


Steve Fisch at GLAWSMichael Mallory’s fiction writing career is criminal...but in a nice way. He is the author of more than one-hundred short stories, mostly in the mystery field, many of which chronicle the adventures of Amelia Watson, the second wife of Dr. John H. Watson, the friend and “Boswell” of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes enthusiasts may not be familiar with Amelia. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the canonical tales (or literary agent to Dr. Watson, depending on your Irregular status), mentioned the existence of a second Mrs. Watson in one story, but then promptly forgot about her, never having named or identified her. I thought the challenge of creating her was simply too good to resist. cvrAmelia’s adventures appear in The Exploits of the Second Mrs. Watson and The Adventures of the Second Mrs. Watson, which are short story collections, and the novel Murder in the Bath. I’m happy to say that the latter two books, having been out of print for some years, are now being made available again through Top Publications.

cvrMike’s other series character is “Scotty,” an eleven-year old detective whose adventures appear regularly in the Los Angeles Times’ Kids Reading Room page, accompanied by Mike’s own illustrations. More stories have appeared everywhere from “Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine” to “Fox Kids Magazine,” and several anthologies, including My Sherlock Holmes, The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers, and The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures. His story “Curiosity Kills” won a Derringer Award in 1997, and his Sherlock Holmes story, “The Beast of Guangming Peak” (which appeared in the anthology Sherlock Holmes: The Hidden Years), was named a Distinguished Mystery Story of 2004 by Joyce Carol Oates and Otto Penzler. He is also the co-editor the Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles anthologies Murder on Sunset Boulevard and LAndmarked for Murder.

Contact: | Get books at:

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Christa Faust at GLAWS

"When I wrote MONEY SHOT, my hardboiled revenge novel set in the adult film industry, everyone wanted to know if I’m a porn star. (I’m not, in case you were wondering, too.) So far no one has asked me if I’m a fighter, but people still ask why I chose MMA as the world I wanted to explore in my new Angel Dare novel CHOKE HOLD. I get these crushes on certain topics. No idea why or what topic I might become obsessed with next. I love research of all kinds, but I’ve found that the most rewarding and useful way to understand what it’s like to be involved in something is to talk to people that are. Anyone who wants to be a writer needs to be a good listener. If you’re respectful, non-judgmental and genuinely interested, people will tell you almost anything."

Hardboiled crime writer Christa Faust is the author of eleven novels including the Edgar and Anthony Award nominated MONEY SHOT, the Scribe Award winning novelization of SNAKES ON A PLANE and CHOKE HOLD, forthcoming in October from Hard Case Crime. She is the first, and so far only woman to be published by Hard Case, a critically acclaimed imprint specializing in old-school Noir and Hardboiled crime fiction.

money shotMoney Shot Won: Crimespree Award, Best Paperback Original
Nominated: Edgar Award, Best PBO, Barry Award, Best PBO, Anthony Award, Best PBO.
Snakes On A PlaneWon: IAMTW Scribe Award, General Fiction, Best Novel – Adapted

Triads Subterranean Press, August 2004; Triads signed, ltd. edition includes original short story ‘Blood Orange Blues’ Subterranean Press August, 2004
Hoodtown From Parts Unknown, May 2004
Control Freak RhinocEros, June 1998, reissued Babbage Press September 2002

Triads Subterranean Press, August 2004; Triads signed, ltd. edition includes original short story ‘Blood Orange Blues’ Subterranean Press August, 2004
Hoodtown From Parts Unknown, May 2004
Control Freak RhinocEros, June 1998, reissued Babbage Press September 2002

Snakes on a Plane Games Workshop, July 2006
Final Destination III: The Movie Games Workshop, January 2006
Friday The 13th: The Jason Strain Games Workshop, January 2006
A Nightmare On Elm Street #2: Dreamspawn Games Workshop, April 2005
Twilight Zone #5: Burned / One Night at Mercy Games Workshop, July 2005

Her novels are available at most bookstores.

Contact:  | Website:


Steve Fisch at GLAWS“The beauty and freedom of writing is you can do anything you want. Blow up the world, go ahead. Have mutant alligators crawl out of the sewers…sweet. Your main character loses their mind midway in the book and runs around in his birthday suit shouting ‘I am the Master of the Universe,’ no problemo.”

cvrBorn in the year that Charlie Parker died and Disneyland opened, Gary Philips writes stories of grifters and grabbers, and dreamers and schemers in various formats. He's currently writing a comic book miniseries about a money launderer called The Rinse; penning the Depression-era tales of pulp secret agent character Operator 5 as the back-up feature in The Spider comic book; writing the adventures of the cool swingin’ ‘60s zen freelance spy That Man Flint; has two crime/mystery graphic novels upcoming, Cowboys and Angeltown: The Nate Hollis Investigations; and his latest novel was The Underbelly, about a homeless Vietnam vet's search for a disabled friend against the backdrops of Skid Row and a gentrified downtown Los Angeles.

cvrcvrHe was editor and contributor to last year’s bestselling Orange County Noir anthology, his short story in Phoenix Noir, “Blazin’ on Broadway,” was nominated for a Shamus, Phillips has short stories in Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying and the upcoming Shaken, a Kindle-only anthology done to aid the victims of the Tôhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. He is also putting to bed as co-editor the incendiary anthology, Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail! Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellion for PM Press.

Phillips’ novels and such are available at fine comic book shops and bookstores everywhere, with a few on them dang Kindles, Nooks and whatever.



Steve Fisch at GLAWSM.M. Gornell's desire is to write novels she would like to read--where through the power of words a world is created that captures her imagination and lets her suspend disbelief for a few pleasurable hours. Then when the time comes to say farewell, she closes the book with a smile of satisfaction and a touch of regret the tale has ended. And if she perchance takes away a couple philosophical thoughts or questions beyond the story--how wonderful!

Ms. Gornell is a lifetime lover of mysteries of all types, and her favorite novelist is P. D. James. Besides reading and writing, she is an avid gardener--with a fondness for roses and fruit trees, and a potter particularly interested in the high-fire reduction process. A long time resident in the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound, she now lives with her husband and assorted canines in California’s high-desert.

M.M. Gornell is a member of Sister's In Crime LA/Nevada/International, California Writers Club, and Public Safety Writers Association.

Contact Author: | Get books at:

Reticence of Ravens

cvrTime and events have turned Hubert James Champion III into a morose man trying for the last year to escape into California’s Mojave Desert—somewhere a little north of Route 66 on the way to Arizona. No longer a practicing psychologist and FBI collaborator, Hugh now owns Joey’s mini-mart, a half-defunct gas station with no gas, no supplies, and little food for customers. Opening hours variable. He has become a man hiding out from the world, and himself—trying to seek redemption among the creosote and Palo Verde trees. His main companions these days are an aged desert dog, and the unkindness of sometimes raucous, but usually reticent ravens. But Hugh soon senses that he can’t escape—especially when a “special” young woman with red Medusa-like hair, and covered in her father’s blood is brought to him one Sunday evening. Turner Jackson has been murdered, and LoraLee Jackson is the main suspect. In quick order Hugh is drawn into proving LoraLee’s innocence by both locals and unwanted East Coast intruders. Add the sudden appearance of LoraLee’s previously unknown brother, a bulldog FBI agent with an agenda of his own, and Hugh’s cousin Della’s love-sick ex-husband—not to mention multiple shootings, exploding drug-labs, and most importantly, Hugh’s past demons rearing their ugly heads once again. No, Hugh cannot escape having to find a murderer—or his own past.

Uncle Si's Secret

cvrBelinda “Bella” Jones and her brother Bernard, owners of the Cedar Valley Residence, have put their hearts, souls, and a ton of cash into this dream endeavor. Now, after five years of hard work, their charming home is almost full of a lovable cast of residents and there’s just one more building addition they want to do. But then Lana Norris, a beautiful area resident is brutally murdered on Cedar Valley Trail just a few feet from their property line, and their world turns upside down. Things like this don’t happen in Cedar Valley, and their residents are shocked—and afraid. Overnight their happy place has turned into a jumbled, unfamiliar world. Indeed, residents are checking out, belongings are mysteriously disappearing, the county government is on their back about raspberries of all things, and it seems that nothing will be right again until this homicidal maniac is captured. Quickly, and to everyone’s relief, the police arrest and charge Kirby Norris, Lana’s husband. He has an alibi, but all the physical evidence points his way; and for motive, there’s a million dollar life insurance policy. It’s enough for the DA to indict, arraign, and bring to trial. But Kirby swears he’s innocent, and so does his mother, the eerily persistent Olive Norris. She engages a slick defense lawyer, but she also calls in Belinda, a past part-time investigator to find the real killer. Belinda has had several modest successes in the crime arena, and her possibly psychic chef-brother thinks Kirby is innocent, and worse yet, the real killer is still loose and she should take the job. But once Belinda begins, she enters a turning labyrinth that not even she could foresee. Suddenly there’s another gruesome murder, and some sudden surprises, and Belinda knows that she must solve this one fast—before she, or someone dear to her, becomes the next victim.

Death of a Pefect Man

cvrJada Beaudine has lost her husband Terry in a tragic and mysterious boating accident--and she badly needs a change. She leaves her home in Puget Sound to get away from the horror, the memories, and the relentless glare of publicity that surrounded her husband’s death. Alone, she drives south and by the second evening finds herself taking a wrong turn in the stark Mojave high desert of interior Southern California. While mesmerized by the bigger-than-life beauty of a desert sunset, she nearly runs out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Amid mounting apprehension, she manages to find the odd “Red Rock Inn & Café,” a lost, creepy old resort from some other place and time--where, Irina, a strange emerald-eyed woman materializes and convinces her to stay the night. She’ll check out early in the morning and be on her way, right? But by morning, events unravel quickly and Jada finds herself pulled straight into the scene of a bizarre murder--a potter for goodness sakes! As she reluctantly tries to make sense of this murder, it’s soon followed by yet another. And all the while, Jada is being followed by people with varied, surprising and even sinister agendas of their own. Yes, she may have a knack for solving murders—as psychic Irina seems to know—but in this off-kilter scenario, Jada has her own powerful hunch that the next victim will be her. And every time she tries to leave this otherworldly place, she finds that somehow she can’t…


The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society is a non-profit organization that provides a forum for writers of all disciplines to meet and discuss the craft and the business of writing. GLAWS accomplishes this through monthly meetings, discussion forums, critique groups, special writer appearances, conferences, and other events conducted for the purpose of educating and mentoring writers of all levels of expertise. GLAWS Special Speaker Events are open to the public, and a great venue to meet other writers and expand your expertise.

Special Speaker Event!
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