Mystery Fest 2017 Square Art w TDC out of county logo (1)

Schedule of Events: June 16-18, 2017



1:00 – 1:45 p.m. Workshop 1: To Be Announced (Special Guest Appearance)
2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Workshop 2: James O. Born – Police Myths
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Workshop 3: Lisa Black – Blood Spatter Forensics
4:00 – 4:45 p.m. Workshop 4 – Nancy J. Cohen – How to Write a Cozy
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Reception and Buffet Dinner at Hemingway Home and Museum
Welcome – Mystery Fest Co-Founder Shirrel Rhoades
Special Guest Speaker – John Hemingway
8:30 p.m. Sloan’s Ghost Tour Key West – hosted by Heather Graham

8:30 a.m. Coffee & Danish

8:45 a.m. Introduction

9:00 – 9:45 a.m. Panel Discussion: Where I Get My Ideas
Moderator: Randy Rawls
John H. Cunningham
David Beckwith
Dan Ames
Paul Sinor

10:00 – 10:45 a.m. Panel Discussion: How to Commit a Perfect Murder
Moderator: Heather Graham
Lisa Black
Rick Ollerman
Robert Coburn

11:00 – 11:45 a.m. the Whodunit Mystery Writing Award, presented by Shirrel Rhoades.
Introduction of 2016 winner, Lewis C. Haskell
Presentation of the 2017 Whodunit Award

11:45 – 12:00 p.m. Presentation of the Florida Keys Community College Scholarship Winners

12:00 p.m. Luncheon

12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Clifford Irving, Keynote Speaker

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Panel Discussion:  It Takes a Crook
Moderator – Rick Ollerman
Mike Dennis

Ken Rijock
Reef Perkins

3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Panel Discussion: Cozy Mysteries and Female Sleuths
Moderator – Nancy J. Cohen
Susan Haskell / Nora-Jean Perkin
Marjory Sorrell Rockwell
Renee Kumor
Meg Muldoon


4:00 – 4:45 p.m. Panel Discussion: Law Enforcement 
Moderator: James O. Born
Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Key West Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Federal Bureau of Investigation


5:00 – 5:45 p.m. Book Signing

7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Event To Be announced

8:30 – 11:00 a.m. Brunch at Schooner Wharf Bar at the historic Key West waterfront (included in registration + $15 for each additional guest.

To Contact:
Mystery Fest Key West
Please write to:
Mystery Fest Key West,
926 Truman Avenue,
Key West, Florida 33040
or Email Us



Key West And Mystery Writers: A Great Combination

Authors at the Bar Crawl Mystery Writers Key West Fest 2014 I spent two days hanging out with the writers in this picture, and let me tell you, my writing will never be the same. We all had fun at the bar crawl Friday night, starting out at Smokin’ Tuna, with drinks and dinner, and music. Then most of us moved on to other bars, hanging out at Hogs Breath for a bit, Fairvilla Megastore (which has to be seen to be believed. Trust me. Do not take children there),  Pat Croce’s Rum Barrel and the waterfront Schooner Wharf Bar. Michael Haskins, a great writer and good friend, took pity on my sore feet and gave me a ride back to the Doubletree Resort, the base for the conference. Saturday morning dawned bright and early, as the panels began at 8:30 am. I’d give details, but that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about how the conference worked, and how it affected me.  The conference opened up my eyes to a whole other country of ideas, characters, and locales. Rest assured, my protagonists will at one time or another go to Key West, chasing clues, or just resting up between cases. (I do have to say the one thing I didn’t expect was the prime rib at our buffet lunch. Delicious!) Other people can talk about what happened at the panels, the various writers who attended and taught us about their writing. I simply am in awe of everything accomplished in two days. We all came away better people and better writers. I know I came home, ready to think about what works and doesn’t work in my WIP, and how I can attack the different problems that have cropped up as I write. Not to mention, the adventures some of us took part in. Ask Heather Graham. She’ll tell you. Adventure is where you find it. And not always in the obvious places.

Two Weeks From Tonight…

Mystery Writers Key West Fest Schedule
Friday, June 13, 2014
Registration/Opening Ceremonies/Bar Stroll

3 – 5 p.m., DoubleTree Grand Key Resort, Hotel and conference check-in.

5 – 8 p.m – Smokin’ Tuna Saloon, Opening Ceremonies: 
Short welcoming address by Chief Donie Lee, KWPD, and Sheriff Rick Ramsey, Monroe County Sheriff. Mayor Craig Cates will officially proclaim Mystery Writers Weekend in Key West. Murder & Mayhem Band with Don Bruns, Mike Dennis and Hal Howland. Meet and greet the authors and conference attendees.

8 – 10 p.m. – Bar stroll: Join renowned author W.E.B. Griffin (William Butterworth IV) and Jim Linder, military contractor and retired Navy officer with the JIATF (Joint InterAgency Task Force, South) for a stroll to some of the preferred Key West lairs of authors, actors, detectives and shady ne’er-do-well’s: Hog’s Breath Saloon, Fairvilla Megastore (free rum punch in Key West’s home for Fantasy Fest costumes), Pat Croce’s Rum Barrel and the waterfront Schooner Wharf Bar.

*Subject to change

Saturday, June 14, 2014
Author/Publisher/Crime Expert Panels
Group Book Signing Event
Viewing of Film Noir Classic RAW DEAL at the Tropic Cinema

<p8:30 – 10 a.m. Women of Mystery 
1. Sandra Balzo – MWA – Award winning author of crime fiction
2. Nancy J. Cohen – MWA – Award winning mystery and romance author
3. Miriam Auerbach – MWA – Author of the Dirty Harriet mysteries
4. Carla Norton – MWA – True-crime and mystery thriller author
5. Heather Graham – MWA – New York Times bestselling author
Moderator Jeremiah Healy – MWA – Creator of the John Francis Cuddy private-investigator series and author (aka “Terry Devane”) of the Mairead O’Clare legal thrillers

10 – 11:30 a.m. Importance of Getting Locale Right
1. Jonathan Woods – Award winning crime story writer
2. Hal Howland – Author of the acclaimed detective thriller Landini Cadence 
3. Robert Coburn – Titles include A Loose Knot, A Deadly Deception and The Pink Gun
4. Michael Haskins – Author of Mad Mick Murphy Key West mystery series; co-founder of MWKWF
Moderator Sandra Balzo – MWA – Award-winning author of the Maggy Thorsen Coffeehouse Mystery series and the Main Street Murders series

11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet luncheon (included in ticket price) with guest author William E. Butterworth IV (W.E.B. Griffin) who will discuss writing and his career as an editor, novelist and co-author with his father, William E. Butterworth III.

1:30 – 3 pm Writing the Series
1. Don Bruns – MWA – Award winning mystery writer
2. Mike Dennis – Crime and Noir fiction novelist
3. Heather Graham – New York Times bestselling author
4. Jeremiah Healy – MWA – Award winning author of novels and short story collections.
Moderator: Carla Norton – True-crime and mystery thriller writer; author of The Edge of Normal and Disturbed Ground; co-author of Perfect Victim

3 – 4:30 pm ePublishing – Today’s Reality
1. Neil S. Plakcy – MWA – Writer of mystery, adventure/romance, and gay erotica
2. Shirrel Rhoades – Publisher, author, film critic and co-founder of MWKWF
3. Wayne Gales – Author of Treasure Key and Key West Camouflage
4. Sheri Lohr – Publisher, editor, author and proprietor of SeaStory Press
Moderator: Mark Howell – Award winning journalist, editor and investigative reporter

4:30 – 6 pm Crime in the Florida Keys
1. Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsey
2. Key West PD Chief Donie Lee
3. U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jim Fitton (Ret.)
4. True Crime writer and journalist Terry Schmida
5. Jim Linder, Joint Interagency Task Force – JIATF/DEA (Ret.)
Moderator: Bill Becker – US1 Radio News Director

6 – 7 p.m., Group Book Signing. Panelists and authors attending the conference will hold a group book signing by the hotel’s outdoor bar.

9 p.m., Tropic Cinema, Noir & Hollywood, RAW DEAL (1948) 
Dennis O’Keefe, Claire Trevor, John Ireland, Raymond Burr.
Director: Anthony Mann. 

*Subject to change

One of the toughest noirs of all time. O’Keefe escapes from prison with Trevor’s help, looking to settle a score with Burr, who is hundreds of miles away. The journey won’t be easy, though, because the cops are never far behind him, and neither is Ireland, whom Burr has dispatched to intercept him. Not only that, but he’s torn between the two women traveling with him.

Mann’s sharp direction shows how thoroughly he understands film noir, while cinematographer John Alton skillfully mixes shadows, light, and angles to provide breathtaking visuals. O’Keefe is perfect as the conflicted loner in this great film, and Burr is at his absolute vilest. The tension rises to incredible heights, pulling the viewer to the uncompromising, violent climax.

Discussion of the movie led by Key West noir writer Mike Dennis. Two admission tickets included in Registration fee. Additional tickets for attendee’s guests may be purchased for $5.00 each at the door. Non-festival tickets available to the general public for $10.00 each at the door.

Come on and join us! It’s going to be a great weekend of learning, schmoozing, and fun.