Mystery Fest Key West 2017- True Crime

Included in the Mystery Fest Key West 2017 panels and workshops is a blue ribbon panel of True-Crime experts in Law Enforcement. Join us as they share their experiences and insights.

True-Crime Experts

Carol Frederick – FLorida Department of Law Enforcement
Carol Frederick has been with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for 26 years. She has investigated fraud, corruption, missing persons and narcotics violations and is a nationally recognized speaker on the topic of identity theft. Carol is currently serving as FDLE’s Resident Agent in Charge for Monroe County.
Chief Donie Lee – Key West Police Department
Chief Donie Lee joined the Key West Police Department in 1994. Since his start with the police, he has held every rank within the department. In March of 2008, Chief Lee was appointed as head of the Key West Police Department. Chief Lee is a fifth generation Conch, and holds a degree in criminal justice from the University of Florida. He is also a graduate of the Southern Police Institute’s Command Development School, Drug Enforcement Agency’s Drug Unit Commanders Academy and the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar. Chief Lee is of Cuban and Chinese descent, and has had the pleasure of visiting both of these countries.
Jim Linder – Joint Interagency Task Force
Jim Linder – is a President and CEO of Technical Systems Management Corporation, an aviation consulting and services firm in North Carolina. Specializing in aviation mysteries, Jim was heavily involved in the recent search for Malaysian Flight 370 and as member of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), participated in the September 2014 expedition to Nikumaroro Atoll to search for Amelia Earhart.

A former naval aviator, Jim served in every war and conflict involving the United States since Operation Just Cause in 1989 — in the air, on the ground, on the sea and under it. From 1999-2008, excluding periodic deployments to the Middle East, he ran drug interdiction operations in Latin America and the Caribbean while serving with the Defense Intelligence Agency in Key West.

Sheriff Rick Ramsay – Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Richard A. “Rick” Ramsay graduated from Marathon High School in 1984 as president of his class. His affinity for the field of law enforcement began in school, where he was in the Safety Patrol, eventually serving as captain. He was also a member of the Sheriff ’s Office Law Enforcement Explorers program. Rick’s strong desire to serve his community led him to attend the Florida Keys Institute of Criminal Justice — Law Enforcement Academy class of 1987. Upon graduation Rick began his career with the Monroe County Sheriff ’s Office as a road patrol deputy.

Rick’s next post was in the Traffic Enforcement Unit. He was promoted to sergeant of that unit before transferring back to Road Patrol in a supervisory role. He held the position of road patrol sergeant, then became detective sergeant of the Monroe County HIDTA Group, in the Special Operations and Narcotics Division. In 2012, he ran for Sheriff and was elected with an overwhelming majority of the vote.

Mystery Fest Key West Program Advertising

Program Advertising

The 4th Annual Mystery Fest Key West: Murder and Mayhem in Paradise, June 16-18, 2017

To pay for your program advertising, select your sponsorship level and click ADD TO CART. This will take you to a new page where you can choose to pay via PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express.

Festival Sponsorship Ad Sizes:

Full Page 5.25″ wide x 8.25″ high
Half Page 2.5″ wide x 8.25″ high
1/4 Page Vertical 2.5″ wide x 4″ high
1/4 Page Horizontal 5.25″ wide x 2″ high

Acceptable Formats: jpg and PDF at 300 dpi.
Email to Phone: 305-292-7963

Advertising deadline is May 1, 2017

Murder & Mayhem Sponsorship – $1,000.00

Logo on posters and Mystery Fest Key West website

Full Page Color Ad

Two (2) tickets to Saturday luncheon with Keynote Speaker at DoubleTree Grand Key Resort

Two (2) tickets to Saturday evening dinner with Guest Speaker at Turtle Kraals Restaurant and Tower Bar

Click here to reserve

Writers Bloc Sponsorship – $500.00

Half Page Color Ad

Logo & Link on Mystery Fest Key West website

Two (2) tickets to Saturday luncheon with Keynote Speaker at DoubleTree Grand Key Resort

Two (2) tickets to Saturday evening dinner with Guest Speaker at Turtle Kraals Restaurant and Tower Bar

Click here to reserve

Full Page Sponsorship – $275.00

Full Page Color Ad
Logo & Link on Mystery Fest Key West website

Click here to reserve

Half Page Sponsorship – $175.00

1/2 Page Color Ad
Logo & Link on Mystery Fest Key West website

Click here to reserve

Quarter Page Sponsorship – $125.00

1/4 Page Color Ad
Line Listing on Sponsor page –Mystery Fest Key West website

Click here to reserve

Full Page Author’s Discount – $220

Full page Color Ad
Logo & Link on Mystery Fest Key West website

Click here to reserve

Half Page Author’s Discount – $140

1/2 Page Color Ad
Logo & Link on Mystery Fest Key West website

Click here to reserve

1/4 Page Author’s Discount – $100

1/4 page Color Ad
Line Listing on Sponsor page – Mystery Fest Key West website

Click here to reserve

MWKWF 2016 Advertising

Murder & Mayhem Sponsorship (+$1 000.00)Writers Bloc Sponsorship (+$500.00)Full Page Sponsorship (+$275.00)Half Page Sponsorship (+$175.00)Quarter Page Sponsorship (+$125.00)Full Page Author’s Discount (+$220.00)Half Page Author’s Discount (+$140.00)1/4 Page Author’s Discount (+$100.00)

Mystery Fest Key West: Whodunit Award News

Whodunit cutout

*This is an image of the 2016 trophy.

Last Call to Submit Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition Entries

 Key West, Florida Keys, April 6, 2017 – The final day to submit entries for this year’s Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition is Saturday, April 15. The winner will claim a book-publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks, free Mystery Fest Key West 2017 registration, airfare, hotel accommodations for two nights, meals and a Whodunit Award trophy to be presented at the 4th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 16-18 in Key West, Florida.

Sponsored by Absolutely Amazing eBooks and supported by the Marion Stevens Fund at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, candidates wishing to compete for the 2017 Whodunit Writing Competition are invited to submit the first three pages (maximum 750 words) of a finished, but unpublished manuscript to no later than April 15. There is no fee to enter, finalists will be notified by May 1, and will have until May 10 to submit full manuscripts.

The inaugural, 2015 award was won by J.E. Irvin of Springboro, Ohio, for her entry titled “The Dark End of the Rainbow.” Lewis C. Haskell of Key West, Florida, took the 2016 Whodunit with “Tequila Mockingbird.”

Complete Whodunit Writing Competition guidelines and submission details are available at


April 6, 2017

For Immediate Release

Mystery Fest Key West 2017

4th Annual Mystery Fest Key West Set to Infiltrate Southernmost City

Celebrated mystery writers, acclaimed storytellers and their fans are set to infiltrate the tropical island city where Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams found their inspiration during the 4th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 16-18, 2017 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West, Florida.

During the weekend’s series of panels, presentations and social events, Fest guests will have the opportunity to learn first-hand how to craft their own tales of crime, murder and mystery from a stellar line-up of high-profile mystery and suspense luminaries and true-crime experts.

Headliners for 2017 are John Hemingway, grandson of Ernest and author of ‘Strange Tribe,’ Keynote Speaker Clifford Irving and Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter past-President Randy Rawls.

Featured presenters include New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black, award-winning crime and science fiction writer James O. Born, award-winning ‘cozy’ mystery writer Nancy J. Cohen and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham, each of whom will also moderate and appear on panels with mystery/suspense authors Dan Ames, David Beckwith, Robert Coburn, John Cunningham, Mike Dennis, Lewis C. Haskell, Susan Haskell and Nora-Jean Perkin, Renee Kumor, Meg Muldoon, Siera London, Rick Ollerman, Reef Perkins, Ken Rijock, Shirrel Rhoades, Marjory Sorrel Rockwell and Paul Sinor.

“In its first three years our Mystery Fest Key West developed a reputation not only for the caliber of authors that attend and participate, but the wide range of mystery genres they represent,” said Shirrel Rhoades, co-founder of the Fest. “It’s an intimate environment where authors and fans get to mix and mingle while exploring the craft in a tropical island paradise.”

Event highlights include a reception and dinner at the Hemingway Home and Museum, presentation of the 2017 Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition and Award, a ghost tour hosted by Heather Graham, a panel on ‘How to Commit a Perfect Murder,’ author book signings, a Bloody Mary Morning breakfast at Key West’s historic Schooner Wharf Bar and several back-to-back true-crime workshops led by Florida Keys Law Enforcement Officers who will present a bird’s eye view of how detectives and CSI investigators collect and work with evidence in real life – vs. popular television and film depictions.

The 2017 Mystery Fest Key West is sponsored by the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the Key West Citizen daily newspaper, Mystery Writers of America – Florida Chapter and the Florida Keys Council of the Arts.  Event registration is $175 and includes all panels, presentations and four meals.

Contact: 305-587-9392


Decisions, Decisions

antique coins

I’ve been working on getting a synopsis of my novel WIP done, and I’ve run into a problem: I’ve figured out what’s really going on, so when I work on the synopsis, I end up writing new chapters.

So, decisions decisions…. I am contemplating starting all over again, but writing a one page book flap summary of the events in the book and going from there. I now know what the difficulty is in the muddy middle.

What, you may ask, is the difficulty? Simple. I started writing this book with one idea, then one of the side characters whispered in my ear, “Hey, I’m over here! Pay no attention to that idiot PI. I’m the one who needs to tell this story.”

So, I sat down with a legal pad and worked out a bio for the now no-longer side character, and the light dawned about the events that led up to Gus and Mike being in trouble. Now the murders make sense (at least to me), and the logical progression of the story also makes sense; at least, more than it did when I started.

This is the one I am going to finish by the end of the summer. This is the one that just might be The One that gets my writing noticed.

I started out with a story about a former baseball catcher and his pitcher in trouble; I’ve ended up with that side character (a cop in Boca) being the one who’s telling the story of the fiasco that is the events of this story.

This fictional cop is based on a friend of mine, a fellow writer, who’s better than he thinks he is. I won’t use his name here in the blog, but he gave me permission to name this character after him. I had no idea back then that his character would take over the story

Another thing this means is I have to pull out about 10,000 words, set them aside, and begin again. I know from speaking to other more well-known published writer friends that this happens to them, too.

That’s why tomorrow afternoon, I’m hitting the keyboard and going till the end. I don’t know what will happen but I do know this one is gonna be a blast to write.

And you’re going along for the ride.

turner field

Mystery Fest Key West 2017: Writers

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2017 Writers

Dan Ames

Dan Ames, author of the award-winning John Rockne Mystery Series, is an international bestselling author and winner of the Independent Book Award for Crime Fiction. His books have been #1 on mystery and crime fiction bestseller lists in both the United States and abroad.

David Beckwith

David Beckwith is a three-generation native of Greenville, Mississippi, with a BBA and an MBA from Ole Miss. His parents owned an independent cash commodity trading firm which also cleared securities trades through Goodbody & Co. David spent 40 years in the securities business, the first half of his career with Bache & Co. and its successors, the second half with Morgan Stanley. He retired as a Senior Vice President with approximately $500 million in responsibilities. For 25 years he has served as an adjunct professor at five different universities. His first book was a narrative nonfiction work published by the University of Alabama Press in 2009 entitled A New Day In The Delta. The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters chose it as the runner-up for nonfiction book of the year. David and his wife Nancy started writing the Will and Betsy Black Adventure Series in 2010. The protagonists of this series are a married couple somewhat reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles of The Thin Man Series or Jonathan and Jennifer Hart of Hart To Hart. Their unique hook was that like the books’ protagonists the authors were also a happily married couple. Moving to Key West, the Beckwiths were tapped to write a book review column for the Key West Citizen, which David continues to produce on a weekly basis.
Robert Coburn

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Robert Coburn graduated from Maury High School and then spent three years in the U.S. Army.  Upon his discharge he enrolled in the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary VPI as an engineering student.  A year later he transferred to Richmond Professional Institute (now VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, as an advertising major, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Advertising.
Coburn spent his advertising career at major ad agencies in New York and Los Angeles.  He worked ten years with Doyle Dane Bernbach in New York, starting as a copywriter and becoming a Vice President Copy Supervisor.
He joined Rubin Postaer and Associates in Los Angeles where he became a Senior Vice President and Creative Director.Continue Reading Here. . .

John Cunningham

Author John H. Cunningham has a background as eclectic as his literary subjects. Once the editor in chief of The Pro Review, a magazine for professional photographers, he has also enjoyed a long career as a commercial real estate professional developing projects in New York City, Washington, D.C., Toronto and other Mid-Atlantic states. Like his fiction protagonist, Buck Reilly, he’s also an aviation enthusiast, island hopper and an avid escapist. John lived in Key West in the late ’70’s and early 80’s, but now lives in Virginia with his wife and two daughters, and spends much of his time traveling. His choices for the places and plots that populate the Buck Reilly series include many subjects that he loves: Key West, Cuba, the Bahamas, and multiple Caribbean settings, along with amphibious aircraft, colorful characters, and stories that concern themselves with the same tensions and issues that affect all of our lives. He developed Buck Reilly as a protagonist who is more everyman than superman to create a hero on a human scale, with many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the rest of us. Wrapping these elements into a genre that is both popular and under-supplied, his work offers a compelling escape for readers who like against the odds stories in tropical settings. Continue Reading Here…

Mike Dennis

For thirty years, Mike Dennis was a professional musician, retiring from full-time playing around 2003. He then became a professional poker player, and left Key West for Las Vegas. In late 2009, one of his novels was picked up by a publisher and he had to abandon poker to devote time to developing a platform for his books. Since then he has published five more novels, two novelettes, and numerous individual short stories. In December, 2010, Mike moved back to Key West.
In 2013, he had the opportunity to get into audiobook narration. Since then, he has over 40 audio titles available, about half in the crime/noir genre. His biggest title is I, The Jury by Mickey Spillane, the first Mike Hammer novel. Continue Reading Here. . .

Lewis C. Haskell

Lewis C. Haskell is a former international corporate executive and today is a fresh water conch who has owned property in Key West for 15 years. A diver, sailor, and Harley owner he can be found riding his bicycle around town most mornings or with a glass of wine at Grand Vin in the evening.

Susan Haskell/Nora-Jean Perkin

Although fraternal twins born in Canada, Norah-Jean and Susan spent their lives apart.
Susan has lived in Canada and on both US coasts and the Midwest. She was an Operating Nurse assisting in hip replacements to heart surgeries. As a traveler, she has experienced over 50 countries (still more to go). But being a Mum was her favorite job.
Norah-Jean has spent her working life in Ontario, Canada, as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer and editor, and fiction author. She has published five novels, Outrageous, Blue Dawn, Crazy in Chicago, Alien’s
Daughter and Night Secrets. Her inspiration has come from thrills and chills in places as far flung as Timbuktu, West Africa; Sydney, Australia; and down the street from the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. She has a loving husband, and three grown children who keep returning to the “empty nest” despite her best efforts to keep them away.

Renee Kumor

Renee Kumor has lived in North Carolina for over thirty years. The setting for the River Bend Chronicles series reflects her early life in Ohio and her later years in western North Carolina. She was a stay-at-home mom for several years developing a personal ethic of community service. Through the years as her children aged, she became active in the political and non-profit life of the community. She began writing a political opinion column for the local newspaper, but retired from writing when she announced her candidacy for local political office. After eight years as a county commissioner, she returned to non-profit service and began writing a monthly column for the newspaper on non-profit management and service issues. Renee has been married to her husband for forty-four years. They have four children and four grandchildren.
Listen to an interview on Middle of the Air

Meg Muldoon

Meg Muldoon is the Amazon bestselling author of 12 books. A former small town news reporter, Meg has always had a special place in her heart for lost dogs, homeless cats, and feisty old locals. She enjoys bread pudding, red cowboy boots, and craft glue guns.

Meg loves writing cozy mysteries with humor and heart. She lives in central Oregon with an Australian cattle dog named Huckleberry.

Siera London

I write about Sassy, Sensual heroines and the Alpha Males that love them, flaws and all.
Contemporary romance and women’s fiction is my therapy of choice. I served 22 years in the United States Navy as a registered nurse before I decided to focus on my writing career. It’s never too late, to follow your heart’s desire.
I live in Florida Keys with my husband and a color patch tabby named Frie. I am a pet lover at heart. I would gladly welcome more furry friends into the household; however, I had to guilt my husband into the cat. As a native Floridian, it’s nice to leave the DC weather in the rearview mirror. Continue Reading Here. . .

Rick Ollerman

I was born in Minneapolis some time in what seems like the distant past. My parents told me I taught myself to read using the Sunday comics and a particular comic strip that showed each letter of the alphabet and, apparently, how to use it. This might be so. I’ve read of other people who have made that claim themselves. Regardless, I was an early reader. The Hardy Boys, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigaorsi, biographies, history, pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I won the reading contests at the library in Simsbury, Connecticut for a few years.
Like many people I followed a trajectory of science fiction to westerns and on to crime fiction. I still read what a good amount of science fiction, especially when I walk outside and see the stars and the Milky Way shining down on my house in the New Hampshire north country woods. Continue Reading Here. . .

Reef Perkins

Captain Mark T. “Reef” Perkins is a marine surveyor with a colorful past. From commanding a 150-foot 300 DWT US Army diving ship off Vietnam to smuggling in the Caribbean, Reef Perkins has become a living legend. A graduate of both the US Army Engineer Officer Candidate School and the US Navy Salvage Officers School, he’s a man comfortable in or out of the water. Raised in rural Michigan, Reef now lives in Key West where he can get his feet wet.
Ken Rijock

Ken Rijock is author of “The Laundry Man” and “Dirty Dealing.” Twice decorated Vietnam veteran. High flying lawyer. And one of the world’s biggest money launderers. In 1980s Miami, Ken Rijock was the middle man between the Columbians and the Mafia flooding America’s streets with cocaine and marijuana. Every Friday, carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in a tattered suitcase, he would fly by private jet to a tax haven in the Caribbean. Rijock’s operation was responsible for “cleaning” over $200 million of dirty cash. And all the time he was in love with a cop. It finally came crashing down when a client testified against him. He agreed go undercover for the FBI, and he now works with banks and governments to track the new generation of money launderers.
Shirrel Rhoades

Co-founder of Mystery Writers Key West Fest, Shirrel Rhoades is a man of many hats — author of numerous mysteries and travel books, a publisher, syndicated film critic, former NYU professor, and museum president. Currently the publisher/CEO of Absolutely Amazing eBooks as well as New Pulp Press, he is a former executive with Reader’s Digest, Scholastic, Harper’s, and Marvel Entertainment, where he succeeded Stan Lee as publisher of Marvel Comics. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication selected Rhoades as the 2014 Professional of the Year. He lives full-time in Key West with his wife Diane, 1 dog, and ½ cat. Continue Reading Here. . .

Marjory Sorrel Rockwell

Marjory Sorrell Rockwell says needlecraft arts – quilting, crocheting, knitting – are pastimes every woman can appreciate. And she loves quiltmaking. “It’s like painting with cloth,” she says. But when not quilting she writes mysteries about a midwestern sleuth not unlike herself, a middleaged lady with an unpredictable family and loyal friends. And she’s a big fan of watermelon pie.

Paul Sinor
Paul is a published novelist and produced screenwriter. He has two mystery series in print, one stand-alone novel, a book on marketing screenplays and eight feature films produced from his screenplays. He is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and was the Liaison to the TV and Film Industry in Los Angeles, CA for five years and worked on TRANSFORMERS 1&2, I AM LEGEND, GI JOE, THE MESSENGER and many other films and television episodes. He teaches screenwriting at the University of West Florida, in Pensacola. Paul has a MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. His website is:

Mystery Fest Key West Reminder

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Just a friendly reminder that if you are attending Mystery Fest Key West this year, and you need to share the hotel room expense, email me at with the subject line: Need A Roommate for the Conference, and I will attempt to pair you with another attendee.

You other guys: get on the stick, as my dad used to say, and register for the conference at the southernmost point in the US. Website is .