Posts Tagged ‘David Morrell’

ThrillerFest is the annual conference of the International Thriller Writers. A community with over 3,000 members in 28 countries and nearly 3 billion books in print!


This was my third year attending the conference and I couldn’t be any happier. For the second year in a row I attended the Master CraftFest class which is an 8 hour, intensive course examining your work with an ultra successful author in a class of only 10. And let me tell you, you learn a great deal from this one day event.

But that’s not all.

That was just Tuesday of last week. The next day and a half you have hours of tracks and classes by a variety of instructors. And let me tell you, there not just any authors giving instruction. They’re Best Selling authors giving you the goods on what they’ve learned over time.

Steve Berry, Peter James, Gayle Lynds, David Morrell, Andrew Gross, James Scott Bell….geez. The list goes on and on. To see a list of all authors, go to their website: ThrillerFest.

And that’s not all.

The second half of Thursday gets you the opportunity to pitch to many, many agents looking for authors. Even if an agent is not interested, most of the time you will learn something new about your book, your story and how to tell it/sell it to others. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned just trying to pitch my work to an agent.

But….there’s more.

Then ThrillerFest starts. It’s two days of panels and interviews, coupling some of the greatest Thriller authors we have on this planet.


It is like drinking from a fire hydrant of knowledge. Half the time I’m scratching down notes from the instructor/author and the other half I’m scratching notes to address all the new ideas they’ve helped me spawn in a session.

If I could only go to one conference, ever, I would chose ThrillerFest.

BTW, I volunteered this year to help the organization. If you attended ThrillerFest 2015 – and another BTW, it was their 10th year, I probably handed you your swag bag full of books, water bottles and a hat.

Come empty handed because you’ll be buying books galore to have your favorite authors sign them.

If you’re into Thrillers, this is the BEST place to go.

I’ll be posting more on the individual authors and experiences I had this year. Too much to cover in one short post.

See ya soon,


I felt compelled to expand on my last post – So you want to write a novel – because I’m passionate about doing what I really want to do in life and I’ve also received a great deal of feedback from many of you that apparently liked what I had to say the first time.

I’m a self-motivated, highly-motivated individual. I’ve always had a strong desire to do something when I put my mind to it, but as I’ve found, it takes help to not only start something, but to finish. I wasn’t always good at finishing.

Fresh out of college with a finance degree, I got a job as a stockbroker. The handbook of the day was “Think and Grow Rich” by Carnegie Mellon. He talked about getting that burning, white-hot desire for money. Honestly, I was a little put off by that. I’m not an overly materialistic person. I’m more interested in doing, in memories, in adventure. An extra thousand dollars in my savings account is nice, but I’m not going to work through the night for it. I will work through the night to finish something that satisfies me. For something that I will be able to carry around for the rest of my life.

Part of my motivation comes from being shy. Many times in my life I didn’t step up for what I wanted. And I regretted it. As I’ve learned, I only regret things I didn’t try. Because I’ll never know what would have happened if I asked.

Part of the apprehension that comes with writing is that you feel like you’re putting your inner thoughts on paper and asking people if they like it. It’s hard. It’s soul bearing. You feel absolutely naked in front of strangers. Very few people are natural writers, so the rest of us need help. We need feedback so that we can learn. Start slow. I employed professional editing services to give me constructive feedback and help me build up momentum. I never felt like I was being judged.

Most importantly, learn to be yourself. Speak your mind. The great writer and writing coach David Morrell (creator of Rambo) pleaded with us at ThrillerFest to do this. What you feel will come across in your words. If you’re honest…

No matter how I slice it, with my age, I’m half way through the movie. So I want to make the second half count. When I wanted to be a musician I played and practiced and worked hard and had a great time and career with some very great friends. When I wanted my pilot’s license, I did the same. Now that I circle back to the one thing I’ve done all my life – writing – I want to write and publish books. I want to give back to the collective that’s given me so much fun in my life. Books, adventure, vision, introspection.

I will drag my broken body across the finish line to complete what I started.

Find your motivation and you’ll discover it’s not as hard as you think.

Thank you all!
p.s. Today’s my birthday so I’m allowed a little soap box time 🙂

David Morrell

Posted: September 19, 2014 in Writing
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ThrillerFest is an amazing conference concerning all things in the thriller genre. One of the best things they started this year was an immersive class called Master CraftFest. This is a class where you spend the entire day with about ten other budding authors and a teacher that has done more things in the genre than you can imagine.
I was lucky enough to be placed in David (creator of Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone) Morrell’s class. Aside from a short lunch, we ground out ten hours of workshop time. In this class the instructors critique your first ten pages (you submit weeks before the class) and they’re all discussed intimately. One of my greatest takeaways was David’s picking at the ‘trombone effect’ as he calls it. It is finding those pesky, hidden past tense words like ‘had’ in your sentences. When you realize they jerk the ready in and out of present tense, you can easily picture a trombone sliding back and forth. As he tells it, you’re telling a flashback at this point. When you look back at your work and see a flashback within a flashback, you realize how ineffective the work is. It’s okay to put a flashback in your work – but as he reminded us, ‘you better have a damn good reason to do so’.
What a fantastic writing coach and mentor. He freely hands out some base writing philosophies on his website:
David on Writing

Another fantastic new acquaintance – Robert Dugoni. And silly me forgot to get a selfie with him. 😦 I was chatting with a friend of mine (Todd Gerber) in David Morrell’s MasterClass session at ThrillerFest, and he told me he couldn’t wait to sit in Bob’s session. I was intrigued. Knowing that ThrillerFest was fat with fantastic authors helping/teaching and sharing their knowledge, I looked him up. A New York Times Bestselling author. Okay. Let’s try it. – I was amazed. He was so clear and charismatic. Everything he said made sense to me. Light bulbs and connections in my brain were firing and flashing like mad. It was so helpful I ran up to my room and worked on my own book for the next hour. I felt like I made marked improvements with the new found knowledge. The good news is he was teaching a second class at ThrillerFest.
The lucky dozen – I think there were only 12 of us sitting there at 9 o’clock on a Friday night in New York City, ingesting a wonderful load of ideas and hints. Bob even ran over the time allotted because he cares about writing and teaching. It was soooo worth it.
I had to grab one of his books and found he was every bit of the writer as he was the teacher. His new book comes out Nov. 1st. Check him out:
Robert Dugoni

David Morrell

Posted: July 12, 2014 in Writing
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Wow! What can I say? I had the opportunity to spend 10 quality learning hours with the incomparable David Morrell. He is the creator of Rambo. He has written 28 books translated into 26 languages. He is an amazing teacher with a passion for writing. Thank you David for the MasterCraftFest class at ThrillerFest IX this year. David Morrell


Me and David Morrell