Debut Author Breakfast at Thrillerfest XI

Congratulations ITW's Debut Authors
Thrillerfest XI Debut Author Breakfast
The Debut Author Breakfast at Thrillerfest XI


Thrillerfest is the yearly conference for the International Thriller Writers Association.  I attended last year for the first time as a Debut Author with my book The Saffron Crocus, and I was one of nearly two dozen  honored at the Debut Author breakfast, presided over by Steve Berry. This year I attended the breakfast for the following Debut Authors:


  • Kim Alexander
  • Flynn Berr
  • Matthew Betley
  •  J.L. Delozier
  •  Lisa Hall
  •  Elena Hartwell
  •  L.S. Hawker
  •  Cheryl Hollon
  •  Karen Katchur
  • Mark Leggatt
  •  Nina Mansfield
  •  Nadine Nettmann
  •  Michael Ransom
  •  Robert Rapoza
  •  Brendan Rielly
  •  Emily Ross
  •  Nina Sadowsky
  •  Janelle Samara
  •  Amy Stuart
  •  Radha Vatsal
  •  Tim Washburn

In my capacity as organizer of the Fearless Bloggers for ITW (a blog tour for Debut Authors managed by volunteers) I’ve gotten to know some of these fine authors. Keep reading and you will get to know them too.

Kim Alexander 

The Sand Prince Cover

The Sand Prince

Kim Alexander’s first book is about  The war between the human and demon worlds was short and brutal, and won by the humans. Since then, The Door between the worlds has been locked, and the humans barely remember the demons, thinking of them as a myth. On Eriis, the misfit demon Prince has spent his life dreaming of the world beyond The Door. When it is revealed he is half a human himself, he must flee through The Door or pay the price in blood. But the human world is not what he expected, and one human woman in particular learns the demons are not mythological after all.

Kim Alexander

Kim Alexander grew up in the wilds of Long Island, NY and slowly drifted south until she reached Key West. After spending ten rum-soaked years DJing in the Keys, she moved to Washington DC, where she lives with two cats, an angry fish, and her extremely patient husband. She began writing when she ran out of authors to interview (and they pulled the plug on her channel, Sirius XM Book Radio.)

Kim was in her twenties when she finally read a book not prominently featuring spaceships and/or wizards. Turns out Jane Austen was pretty funny!

THE SAND PRINCE is Kim’s first novel and begins a fantasy series called THE POWERS OF THE AIR. Her husband tells her she needs to write at least ten more books if she intends to retire in Thailand, so thank you for your patronage.

Elena Hartwell

Cover of One Dead, Two to Go

One Dead, Two to Go

An Eddie Shoes Mystery


So, this is unusual. Established playwright Elena Hartwell has moved from plays to novels. Mystery novels, of course. Her debut book is One Dead, Two to Go, published in April, 2016 by Camel Press.

One Dead, Two to Go is the first in a series featuring Private Investigator Edwina "Eddie Shoes" Schultz's. Her most recent job has her parked outside a seedy Bellingham hotel, photographing her quarry as he kisses his mistress goodbye. This is the last anyone will see of the woman... alive. Her body is later found dumped in an abandoned building. Eddie's client, Kendra Hallings, disappears soon after. Eddie hates to be stiffed for her fee, but she has to wonder if Kendra could be in trouble too. Or is she the killer?

Eddie usually balks at matters requiring a gun, but before she knows it, she is knee-deep in dangerous company, spurred on by her card-counting adrenaline-junkie mother who has shown up on her doorstep fresh from the shenanigans that got her kicked out of Vegas. Chava is only sixteen years older than Eddie and sadly lacking in parenting skills. Her unique areas of expertise, however, prove to be helpful in ways Eddie can't deny, making it hard to stop Chava from tagging along.

Also investigating the homicide is Detective Chance Parker, new to Bellingham's Major Crimes unit but no stranger to Eddie. Their history as a couple back in Seattle is one more kink in a chain of complications, making Eddie's case more frustrating and perilous with each tick of the clock.

Elena Hartwell


Elena Hartwell was born in Bogota, Colombia, while her parents were in the Peace Corps. Her first word was "cuidado." At the age of nine months, she told two men carrying a heavy table to be careful in their native tongue. She's been telling people what to do ever since. After almost twenty years in the theater, Elena turned her playwriting skills to novels and the result is her first book "One Dead, Two to Go." The Eddie Shoes Mystery Series launches April 15, 2016, to be followed by "Two Dead Are Better Than One" and "Three Dead, You're Out."

Nina Mansfield


Cover for Swimming Alone


A YA Mystery

The Sea Side Strangler is on the loose in Beach Point, where fifteen-year-old Cathy Banks is spending the summer with her aunt (who happens to be mystery writer Roberta McCabe).  Although thrilled to be away from her psychotic, divorcing parents, with no cell phone or internet access, Cathy is positive that her summer is going to be wretched. Just when she begins to make friends, and even finds a crush to drool over, her new friend Lauren vanishes.  When a body surfaces in Beach Point Bay, Cathy is forced to face the question:  has the Sea Side Strangler struck again?  

Nina Mansfield

Nina Mansfield is a Connecticut based writer. Her debut novel, SWIMMING ALONE a YA mystery, was published by Fire & Ice YA in 2015. Nina has written numerous plays, which have been published and produced throughout United States and internationally. Her graphic novel FAKE ID: BEYOND RECOGNITION, illustrated by Leyla Akdogan, will be out with Plume Snake in 2016. Nina’s short mystery fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Mysterical-E. She is a member of ITW, MWA, Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, The Short Mystery Fiction Society and the Dramatists Guild.

Robert Rapoza

Robert Rapoza is the author of THE VILCABAMBA PROPHECY, a 2015 Adventure Writers Competition Semi-Finalist, released on April 10, 2016, by Ravenswood Publishing. THE VILCABAMBA PROPHECY, an action packed thriller set in the Peruvian jungles, is the first adventure of archaeologist Nick Randall and his daughter Samantha Randall. 

Cover of the Vilcabamba Prophecy

The Vilcabamba Prophecy

A Rick Randall Novel

What would you do to uncover the truth?

When a mysterious benefactor funds archeologist Nick Randall’s research, he departs on an expedition to find the lost city of Vilcabamba. Hidden deep in the Amazon, Randall believes this legendary city holds proof that his controversial theories are true. Upon arriving, he disappears. 

When Randall’s beautiful daughter Samantha learns of his disappearance, she is forced to make a difficult decision. An accomplished archeologist herself, she must decide if she will set aside her career to search for the man she blames for her mother’s death. 

But someone else is looking for her father as well. Francis Dumond, a shadowy man with unlimited resources, will stop at nothing to find Vilcabamba and use its secrets to control the world.  It’s a race against time to see if Sam can find her father, prove his theories and stop Dumond before a stratovolcano destroys Vilcabamba and all of them as well.

Robert Rapoza

Born and raised in Southern California, when Robert is not writing novels, he enjoys hanging out with his wife Holly, daughter Heather, son Ryan and dog Bandit. He and his family enjoy the outdoors, taking bike rides along the beach and camping along the California coast. A die hard Red Sox and Patriots fan, when not watching sports, he also enjoys coaching his son Ryan, a pitcher and 1st baseman. 

The ideas for his novels are drawn from his interest in archeology and science and his love of adventure stories. 


Brendan Rielly 

Cover for An Unbeaten Man

An Unbeaten Man

Abandoned by his father, orphaned by his drug-addled mother, and devastated by the murder of his sister, Michael McKeon was once a hardened “street dog who learned to play in traffic.” Years later, Michael is now a Bowdoin College professor with a wife and adopted daughter. When he creates a microbe that instantly cleans up any oil spill, no matter how large, by devouring the oil, that discovery should be the breakthrough that defines a career. But the microbiologist's life is ruined when The Global Group kidnaps his wife and daughter, forcing him to use his microbe to destroy all Saudi and Russian oil. As Michael races against the clock to save his family, he becomes a threat to the secret efforts of the American, Russian and Saudi governments to douse the flames in the Middle East by implementing a new Marshall Plan.

Haunted by the loss of one family and determined not to lose another, Michael will do anything to save his wife and daughter, even if it means throwing the world into chaos. And heaven help anyone, even his own government, who tries to stop him. From the moment Michael's family is kidnapped, the action never stops, propelling him relentlessly from Bowdoin College’s deceptively tranquil campus in Brunswick, Maine, to a hidden laboratory in the United Arab Emirates; to Abqaiq in the desolate and unforgiving Empty Quarter; to the bitter isolation of the Sakhalin Island oil fields off Russia’s far eastern coast; and to the final showdown in an isolated dacha outside Moscow, where Michael may not survive the ultimate betrayal of discovering who is really behind The Global Group.

Brendan Rielly

I'm very proud to be the middle of three generations of Maine authors. Although, as the last to be published, I'm the slacker. We have a website for the three of us.

Radha Vatsal 

Cover for A Front Page Affair

A Front Page Affair

A Kitty Weeks Mystery

Capability “Kitty” Weeks is nineteen, well traveled, well-off, and fresh out of Swiss boarding school. She’s just returned to New York and started writing for the New York SentinelLadies’ Page. New York in 1915 is an exciting place. Everything—from cars and movies to culture and women’s roles in the workplace—is undergoing a sea change.

When Kitty is sent to the Sleepy Hollow Country Club to cover the Japanese Fireworks at a Fourth of July picnic, all anyone can talk about is the man who shot J.P. Morgan at his mansionand was pinned beneath the robber baron’s enormous bulk. That is, all anyone can talk about until a man is discovered murdered in the stables.

Radha Vatsal

Radha Vatsal grew up in Mumbai, India, and came to the United States to attend boarding school when she was sixteen. Her fascination with the 1910s began when she studied women filmmakers and action-film heroines of silent cinema at Duke University, where she earned her PhD from the English department. Vatsal lives with her husband and two daughters in New York City. A Front Page Affair is her first novel.