Writers I’m thankful for


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It’s time to give a shout out to some writers I’m thankful for.

A.A. Milne, for taking me on lovely expotitions with Pooh and Piglet when I was a child. And for giving me the Winnie-the-Pooh stories to read to my own children when I was grown.

Walter Farley, for pulling me and my nine-year-old friends back to the library again and again to check out the Black Stallion novels.

Carolyn Keene — every damn version of her — for Nancy Drew.

Ray Bradbury, for introducing me to the world of science fiction and dark fantasy when I was twelve.

Ron Hansen, for teaching me that stories need a beginning, a muddle, and an end. And for encouraging me to send out a story I wrote in his college creative writing class. That validation gave me courage.

Sue Grafton, for opening my eyes to the possibilities available for women writing mysteries. And for Kinsey Millhone.

Stephen King, for making me love and cry for the characters in The Stand, all the while scaring me to death.

Stephen King, for everything he’s done for me.

And my everlasting thanks to the teachers who imparted their love of literature to me: JoEllen Hansen in fifth grade, Peg Harris in tenth, and, of course, my dad, Frank Gardiner, from the day I was born.

I’m lucky, and grateful.

Reminder: Master CraftFest 2016


Here’s a reminder: In July 2016 I’ll be teaching at Master CraftFest in New York City. It’s part of ThrillerFest. Details from International Thriller Writers:

“Tuesday July 5, 2016 at ITW’s Master CraftFest, a hands-on workshop for writers of all levels. It’s an intense but extremely helpful day. Each class, which is limited to 10 students, will allow you to work with a best-selling author on your manuscript in progress.

Our instructors this year are: Steve Berry, David Corbett, Grant Blackwood, Meg Gardiner, Heather Graham, Andrew Gross, Richard Krevolin (Screen Writing), and Gayle Lynds.”

For more information or to register, check out the ThrillerFest site.

Where I get my ideas: hot weather

Hot weather.jpeg

Some times you need a writing prompt. Some days you turn on the weather report and just stare.

I snapped this photo of an actual recent Austin weather report.

How hot is it? The forecast is FLAMES.

Yeah, I could turn that into a novel. Or at least an action sequence.

My Top 20 List of crime novels for MysteryPeople


MysteryPeople is celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend in Austin. As part of that, they’re going to publish their list of Top 100 Crime Novels. They asked me, and other authors, to submit our own Top 20 list. Which I did, though it killed me. How could I choose only twenty crime novels as my top picks? Twenty novels is barely a starting point.

But I buckled down and listed twenty fantastic crime novels — books I love for their stories, characters, language, influence on the genre, and staying power. Click the link for the entire list. The authors are listed in alphabetical order.

Countdown to the MysteryPeople Top 100: Meg Gardiner’s Top 20 List.

March-April 2016: ITW’s Online Thriller School


In March and April 2016 I’ll be teaching an online lecture for the International Thriller Writers’ Online Thriller School.

Here’s the gist, from ITW:

“In this seven-week program, which begins March 14nd, 2016, the craft of thriller writing will be front and center. Each instructor will teach an aspect of craft though a podcast, written materials that include further reading and study suggestions, and an entire week of online Q&A with the registered students. The goal is simple: To make each student a better writer.”

Here’s what you get — and who’s teaching. I’m excited to be part of this lineup.

March 14: Storytelling: The Art and Craft Of A Good Story? — David Corbett

March 21: Plot: What’s Happening Here? — Meg Gardiner

March 28: Character: The People Who Drive The Story — F. Paul Wilson

April 4: Point Of View: Who’s Eyes Are You Looking Through? — Hank Phillippi Ryan

April 11: Dialog: It’s Not Like Real Conversation — James Scott Bell

April 18: Setting, Mood, Atmosphere: Bringing the Right “Feel” to Your Story? — Peter James

April 25: Voice: What Does A Good Story “Sound” Like? — Lee Child

Registration space is limited, so if you’re interested, get on it. Register here.

It’s Halloween. Let’s have some scary books.

It’s Halloween weekend. What are some of your favorite scary books?

A few of mine:

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ray Bradbury

We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson

The Stand, Stephen King

The Exorcist, William Peter Blatty

Acceptance, Jeff VanderMeer

By scary, I mean these books had me holding my breath, curled in a ball, creeped out, watching over my shoulder, with goosebumps on my arms. In other words, I loved them.

How about you?

Upcoming event: MysteryPeople’s 5th anniversary celebration


On Saturday, November 7th, I’ll be joining crime fiction aficionados to celebrate the fifth anniversary of MysteryPeople — BookPeople’s Mystery bookstore-within-a-bookstore in downtown Austin.

MysteryPeople: Our Life in Crime
Authors, Booksellers and a Critic on the Novels That Define the Genre and the Future of Mystery/Crime Fiction Reading

Celebrating MysteryPeople’s 5th anniversary with a discussion of where crime fiction’s been and where it’s going. Besides the panel discussion there will be trivia, giveaways, and of course, cake and beverages. The store will also be unveiling its list of MysteryPeople’s Top 100 Greatest Crime And Suspense Books.

All are welcome!

Saturday, November 7, 2015,  3:00pm
Book People — third floor
603 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703

And if you’re not reading MysteryPeople’s fantastic blog, with all its essays, reviews, and author interviews, what are you waiting for?