This weekend I’m attending the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. Why? Well, it’s SAN FRANCISCO, one of the most romantic cities in the country and it started on VALENTINE”S DAY. My brain said take the hubby, go to the conference and have a romantic weekend for two. Unfortunately, the daughter ended up with a sporting event that nipped that plan in the bud…so here I am at the conference. Alone. And having a great time anyway.

BUT Look what came by FedEx from the man himself!


If you can’t see it, they’re white chocolate covered strawberries with sprinkles…and they are massive. Yes, one is missing and it was delicious. I’m saving the rest for later. What a great guy, right?

Friday, one of the conference session topics was Killing for Cash. It was moderated by Kimberley Cameron, literary agent and hosts were Robert Dugoni, Sheldon Siegel, and Penny Warner (all very successful authors).Here’s a few tidbits from the session:

Funny ways to know if you’re reading a Thriller:

1. Racing Pulse
2. Sweating Palms
3. Staying Up All Night
4. Missing your subway stop
5. Sweating in inappropriate places
The list kept going…I didn’t get the rest, but basically you get so involved in the story, you lose track of everything else.

The difference between a mystery and a suspense:

Mystery: Crime has already happened and the protagonist is working to solve it.
Suspense: Crime is pending and protagonist is working to prevent or avoid it.

Best ways for success in this genre:

Get characters moving and speaking immediately. You want people to care about your characters.
Drop the reader into the story where something big is going to happen.
Characters have to change from the beginning of the book to the end-readers should be able to see it and recognize the change, even root for them. Give this a lot of thought as it’s an important part of connecting with the reader.
Obstacles, Obstacles, Obstacles–throw more and more at them.
Give them a known goal and make it as difficult as possible to reach their goal.
Never kill an animal (oops, I screwed up here as my bad guy kills a dog he gave his girlfriend in one of mine)
Every scene has a beginning, middle, and end–the end should be a cliff hanger that keeps readers engaged and reading on.
Anything that can be presumed, can be cut from the book (trust your readers to be smart enough to interpret).
Make the problems seem overwhelming.

Okay, I have to run as today’s sessions are about to start. I’ll post more soon. Have a great day!