7 of the Best Short Author Bios of Thriller Writers #MondayBlogs

Barry Eisler

“Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way. Eisler’s bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and the Gumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous “Best Of” lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he’s not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law.”

Barry Eisler,  http://www.barryeisler.com/barry.php

Lee Child

“Lee Child was bornin 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker. But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars’ worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series.

Killing Floorwas an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new installment.

Lee has several homes—an apartment in Manhattan, country houses in England and the south of France, and whatever airplane cabin he happens to be in while traveling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar’s Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.

Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.”

Lee Child, https://www.leechild.com/lee-child.php

Allison Brennan

“Allison Brennan believes life is too short to be bored, so she had five children and writes three books a year. A former consultant in the California State Legislature, Allison is now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than three dozen thrillers and numerous short stories. Reviewers have called her “a master of suspense” and RT Book Reviews said her books are “mesmerizing” and “complex.” She’s been nominated for multiple awards, including the Thriller, RWA’s Best Romantic Suspense (five times), and twice won the Daphne du Maurier award. She currently writes two series—the Lucy Kincaid/Sean Rogan thrillers and the Maxine Revere cold case mysteries.”

Allison Brennan, http://www.allisonbrennan.com/about

Joseph Finder

“Joseph Finder is the New York Times bestselling author of fourteen suspense novels, including THE SWITCH, a stand-alone thriller, and GUILTY MINDS, the third to feature “private spy” Nick Heller. Heller was introduced in VANISHED (2009) and returned in BURIED SECRETS (2011).

Joe’s novels HIGH CRIMES (1998) and PARANOIA (2004) have been adapted as major motion pictures. GUILTY MINDS (2016) and COMPANY MAN (2005) won the Barry Award for Best Thriller. KILLER INSTINCT (2006) won the International Thriller Writers’ Thriller Award for Best Novel. BURIED SECRETS won the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel.

A founding member of the International Thriller Writers, Joe is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He is a graduate of Yale College and the Harvard Russian Research Center, and lives in Boston.”

Joseph Finder, https://www.josephfinder.com/generalbio/

Dan Brown

“Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 56 languages around the world with over 200 million copies in print.

In 2005, Brown was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, whose editors credited him with “keeping the publishing industry afloat; renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci and early Christian history; spiking tourism to Paris and Rome; a growing membership in secret societies; the ire of Cardinals in Rome; eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven guides to read along with it; a flood of historical thrillers; and a major motion picture franchise.

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he later returned to teach English before focusing his attention full time to writing. He lives in New England with his wife.

Brown’s latest novel, Origin, explores two of the fundamental questions of humankind: Where do we come from? Where are we going?”

Dan Brown, http://danbrown.com/#author-section

Karen Slaughter

“Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 37 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books. As well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta. Her novels Cop Town, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her are all in development for film and television.”

Karin Slaughter, http://www.karinslaughter.com/bio-1

Joanna Penn

“Joanna Penn is an Award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers under J.F.Penn. She also writes inspirational non-fiction for authors and is an award-winning creative entrepreneur and international professional speaker. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top 10 sites for writers and self-publishers.”

Joanna Penn, https://www.thecreativepenn.com/about/

What makes a good bio?

There’s more to it than you might think.

That’s why I wrote a book about it.

Your author bio is often the first thing people read about you. While it’s only a snap-shot, it needs to be accurate, well-written and as alluring as a femme fatale. You don’t want to throw together a paragraph that fits as well as last year’s Christmas sweater. Every word counts. Your goal is to knock the reader off the page and onto a sales platform. This book examines the craft of writing a powerful, short bio to promote yourself as a writer.


It’s $2.99 on Amazon.com  (where they will give you a 75% credit on other business books through a Great on Kindle program)   OR   you can get it for free if you sign up for my podcast newsletter.



3 Key Points From Allison Brennan About Villains (2014 RWA Nationals)

Allison BrennanI hate to make a sound-bite out of a comprehensive hour long workshop, but I like to think of this post as an appetizer. Check out the tape from the conference to get the full meal deal.

How do you make a really good bad-guy? You need to know:

One – Every villain is a hero of his own journey.

Allison quoted Christopher Vogler (The Writers Journey) who says that every villain believes himself to be the hero of his own journey. When you create villains this way it makes them believable, and far more interesting.

Two – Every villain has GMC (Goal, Motivation and Conflict)

A well developed villain like every other character in the book has to have a goal, clearly stated motivation and internal and external conflict. Make them real.

Three – Every villain has an epic moment of choice.

Like the hero, the villain has an epic moment of choice in his life. It might come before the story even begins, but we need to know it to understand what makes them tick.

Bottom Line – Make three dimensional villains that have some humanity. Make them real. They will, “make or break your story.”


I love developing interesting bad guys. Maybe that says something about me. I don’t know, but I find cardboard evil villains fall flat. As Brennan says a good villain challenges the hero and the hero needs to be worthy of the villain. His badness is pivotal.

What do you think?

Whose your favorite bad guy? Any opinions on villains?

One of Allison Brennan’s latest releases, Dead Heat, can be be found here on Amazon.


My 4 Fave Workshops at the 2014 RWA Nationals


Among the two thousand plus attendees and hundreds of workshops, it’s impossible to be everywhere at an RWA Nationals. As a result, these aren’t THE four  best workshops. They are my favorite four that I attended.

1. The Villain’s Journey presented by Allison Brennan

I can never get enough Allison. She’s not only a great writer, she’s a maverick at pulling apart what makes stories work and explaining it in understandable language. Her humor and humility are epic. I think many of us want to be her when we grow up. In this workshop she talked about how to create a good bad-guy.

2. The Fabulous, Sexy, Selling Novella presented by Connie Brockway, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn

These ladies really know how to write good novellas, and they shared lots of tips, steamy and pragmatic.

3. Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space presented by Amazon reps and a panel of Indie Writers

Fascinating. I think we’ve all felt the shift in the winds of publishing, but the stats blew my mind. I learned about the new programs Amazon is rolling out, and kept getting the message: “You can Indie publish and succeed.”

4. Deconstructing Alpha Heroes presented by Eloisa James

I came away with lots of ideas about how to tweak my main guy. A great resource.

In the weeks to come, I’ll re-listen to these workshops on tape and write up more detailed posts.

My One Crotchety Note:

We all paid big bucks to be there and expected to attend whatever workshops we wanted, but the rooms weren’t large enough. The big names drew so many people, attendees stood along the wall at the back and sides and were ten deep at the door. I passed on several workshops as a result and quickly learned to arrive early if I wanted a good seat.

Your Turn

Tell me about a favorite workshop you’ve attended recently.