ThrillerFest, a convention created by the International Thriller Writers, Inc., is coming to Phoenix in late June. Click the link for specific details.

Yes, I’d love to attend. No, I can’t make it this year. If it were closer, maybe.

But I definitely like the idea of a convention that focuses specifically on thrillers. One problem with the “horror” genre is that horror always ends up grouped under the umbrella title “speculative fiction,” which, of course, it is. But there are horror writers who don’t write fantasy or science fiction, which also fall into speculative fiction, and yet it’s fantasy and sci-fi that tend to get the most attention.

Years ago — it’s rapidly approaching “more years than I care to remember” — when I attended college as a broadcasting major, my journalism school seemed to operate under the assumption that everyone who was in “J-school” wanted to be a newspaper reporter. Sure, there are elements of journalism that apply to all forms, but there was a definite preponderance of newspaper writing, which is quite different than writing geared for broadcast.

When I attended Ravencon last month, I was surprised to find that there were specific sessions about horror and horror alone. I did attend a couple of science fiction sessions, because the individual topics were of interest. I didn’t attend any of the sessions devoted exclusively to fantasy, because they tended to coincide with horror-oriented sessions I wanted to attend, and because I can’t imagine myself trying to write a fantasy story: I think I’d need to “nail down” so much of the “rules” of the world I had created for my characters that I’d never get the story started. Some say mysteries are the hardest genre to write. I think fantasy would be a lot tougher, but maybe that’s just me.

My current work in progress is a horror tale that involves a vampire. But I don’t intend to write about vampires at all in the next novel I’m planning. In any case, though Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a horror novel, it could also be viewed as a supernatural thriller. If I had to choose a one-word description of the kind of stories I want to write, it would be “thriller,” not “horror.” But some book stores don’t have

I would love to see a thriller-oriented convention much closer to my neck of the woods.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.