Using Mystery Tropes Across Genres

Jun 22, 2019 — 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Penrose Library 12 N Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 (get directions)


Two workshops for the price of one!

This double feature workshop starts with Creating Suspense in Fiction, presented by Barbara Nickless.  Suspense is a crucial element of fiction. Whatever genre you’re writing, your ability to create a sense of unease, anticipation, excitement and even dread is what keeps your readers turning pages far into the night. Barbara uses examples from film and literature to illustrate the myriad ways to hook your reader, generate page-by-page tension, and build suspense across the full arc of your story.

After a short break, award-winning mystery author Laura DiSilverio get to the heart of Using Mystery Tropes Across Genres. She will first define several mystery tropes and how they’re commonly used. Then she’ll lead our author panel in a discussion how each trope can be used to great effect in other genres. The panel includes Angel Smits, John Stith, and Christopher Barili, who have all written in a variety of genres.

Workshop price is $25, payable in advance via PayPal.

Reservations are required, and no payments will be accepted at the event.

Seating is limited. Reserve early to save your space!



Barbara Nickless

Barbara Nickless writes the award-winning, best-selling Sydney Parnell crime novels featuring a railway cop and her K9 partner. About the series, Jeffery Deaver promises “you’ll fall in love with one of the best characters in thriller fiction.” Barbara’s essays and short stories have appeared in Writer’s Digest,Criminal ElementPenguin Random House, and other markets in the U.S. and UK. She also teaches creative writing to veterans at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

Laura DiSilverio


A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Laura DiSilverio is the national bestselling and award-winning author of 21 mystery, suspense and young adult sci-fi novels. Library Journal named Close Call one of the Top Five mysteries of 2016, and The Reckoning Stones (2015) won the Colorado Book Award for Mystery.. Incubation, the first book of her young adult dystopian trilogy is an Amazon bestseller. A Past President of Sisters in Crime, she teaches writing and creativity in various fora, speaks widely on the publishing life and reinventing oneself after forty (or fifty or sixty), and recently completed her first women’s fiction title, The Empty Nesters Club.

John Stith

John E. Stith is the author of nine novels, including Redshift Rendevous, a Nebula Award nominee, and Manhattan Transfer, a Hugo Award Honorable Mention. Several of his works with Ace Books and Tor Books have been bought by the Science Fiction Book Club, optioned for film, and translated into numerous languages. He has optioned several feature-film screenplays, and has sold to television (Star Trek). Complete information on his works may be found at His backlist was re-released in trade paperback and all major ebook formats from ReAnimus Press. His latest novel is , a mystery-suspense novel set in Colorado and published in November 2018 by ReAnimus Press and Audible.

Christopher Barili

Chris Barili, when not oppressed by his day job writes all kinds of stories, and has published fantasy, science fiction, horror, western, and paranormal romance, with his first crime story coming out in this year’s inaugural print edition of Toe Six Magazine. He is author of the self-published, weird western Hell’s Butcher series, with Book One (Hell’s Marshal) twice ranking in the top five of western horror on Amazon.

Angel Smits

Angel Smits is the author of several romance novels, the most recent for Harlequin SuperRomance. Her stories of Heart and Home have won such awards as the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and PPWC’s Paul Gillette. Her non-fiction work has appeared in numerous publications such as WILD WEST and FRAGMENTS. Angel lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter in a big yellow house with a wraparound porch complete with its own lovely swing.