Saturday, March 17, 2018


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Friday, March 16, 2018

5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West


Renowned mystery writers, aspiring authors, true crime experts and fans will infiltrate the island paradise where Hemingway and Tennessee Williams found their inspiration during the 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 22-24 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West, Florida.
2018 headliners are Keynote Speaker Ace Atkins, the multi-award winning, New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including the recent Robert B. Parker “Spenser” mysteries; Special Guest of Honor, the multi-award winning editor and publisher Otto Penzler - proprietor of the famed The Mysterious Book Shop in New York City; and Special Guest Presenter, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham.
Fest highlights include panels, presentations and parties with some two-dozen high profile and award-winning authors, book signings, professional publishing and marketing discussions, presentation of the 2018 Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition and Award, a mini Conch Train tour, and social events at different landmark locations in the Southernmost City of the United States.
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 $195 and includes all panels, presentations, events, a luncheon and a brunch at Key West’s historic seaport.
Contact: 305-587-9392


Mystery Fest Key West Announces 2018 Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition—Entry Deadline is April 15

Key West resident Lewis C. Haskell was the 2016 Whodunit Writing Competition winner for his entry titled "Tequila Mockingbird," and took Third Place in 2017 with “Kilimanjaro Snow.”

Key West, Florida Keys -- Mystery Fest Key West has announced a call for entries for this year’s Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition. The winner will claim a book-publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks, free Mystery Fest Key West 2018 registration, airfare, hotel accommodations for two nights, meals and a Whodunit Award trophy to be presented at the 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 22-24 in Key West, Florida.

Sponsored by Absolutely Amazing eBooks, candidates wishing to compete are invited to submit the first three pages (maximum 750 words) of a finished, but unpublished manuscript to no later than April 15, 2018. There is no fee to enter, finalists will be notified by May 1, and will have until May 10 to submit full manuscripts.

“Why just the first three pages? That criterion is a nod to late author Jeremiah Healy, a terrific mystery writer and great judge of mysteries,” says Mystery Fest Key West co-founder Shirrel Rhoades. “Healy often said a book either captures a reader in the first three pages…or it doesn’t. The competition judges all agreed with that assessment, and decided to use it as a yardstick for the competition.”

The inaugural, 2015 award was called “The Jerry” in Healy’s honor and 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,” and in 2017 Mike Pettit of Gulf Breeze, Florida, for his entry, “Key West Flashpoint.”

Whodunit Writing Contest judges for 2018 are Dr. Toby Armour, a playwright, author, dancer and choreographer, whose credits include the murder mystery book “Blood Tells” and play, “Is This 24 Lily Pond Lane?”; Carol Lazar, an author, columnist, photojournalist and former senior editor for South Africa’s Independent Newspapers; Captain Reef Perkins, author of “Sex, Salvage and Secrets,” Screwed, Blu’d and Tattoed,” and the mystery novel “Deep Air”; Robin Robinson, an author, syndicated newspaper columnist, educator and horticulturist; and Rhoades, an author, film critic, media consultant and publisher of Absolutely Amazing eBooks.

The 2018 “Mystery and Intrigue in Paradise” themed Fest is to include multiple workshops, presentations, panel discussions and social events where attendees mingle with acclaimed mystery, suspense, crime fiction and true crime writers, including Keynote Speaker Ace Atkins, the multi-award winning, New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including continuation of the Robert B.

Parker “Spenser” series; the multi-award winning editor and publisher Otto Penzler - proprietor of the famed “The Mysterious Book Shop” in New York City; New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black; New York Times bestselling co-author, award-winning writer and Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter past-President Charles Todd; bestselling and award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen; author and President of Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter, Diane A.S. Stuckart; author and two-time Whodunit prize winner Lewis C. Haskell and many others.

Complete Whodunit Writing Competition guidelines and submission details are available at

The Spring Arts Boutique sponsored by The National League of American Pen Women - Cape Canaveral

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Creative New Children’s Book Debuts, Teaching a Strong Message on Environmental Awareness, Water Pollution, and Conservation of the Blue Planet

Written by Janet Balletta, ‘Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Oceans’ is an innovative new children’s book that explores water pollution in Florida and the Seven Continents. As an educator, Janet invites children to become world-class citizens and join these mermaids on a mission to preserve the lakes, rivers, and oceans of the blue planet.

The story begins in Miami Beach where Marlene is assigned as a guardian of the Atlantic Ocean by the Oceanic Council.

It continues in a brilliant new book by Janet Balletta, titled ‘Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Oceans.’ It’s the story of Marlene and her six mermaid sisters assigned to each of the Seven Continents to protect the surrounding oceans from mankind’s pollution. In this fictional work, Marlene and her mermaid sisters combat the natural elements with their super powers to increase awareness of water pollution, conservation, and recycling around the world.

With its colorful cast of characters and illustrations by Alyssa Figueroa and Alexander C. Appello, this book will captivate children and parents alike. It culminates with the mermaids being honored for their dedication to the mission followed by a whimsical mermaid celebration. The story motivates children to care about the oceans as a natural resource and habitat to many aquatic animals and plants in Florida and around the globe.

Marlene and her six mermaid sisters are on a mission to save the oceans from mankind's pollution. One mermaid is assigned to each of the Seven Continents to protect the surrounding oceans. Together the seven mermaid sisters take care of the sea animals and raise awareness on water pollution, conservation, and recycling around the world. The story is fiction but builds an important bridge for young children to connect with real environmental issues occurring in Florida and around the world.
With years of experience in working with children, Balletta is committed to education and helping kids understand the importance of the planet’s sustainability for the future. Books like this can be a great resource for teachers to teach children about water pollution, the interdependence of living things, and environmental awareness. “It’s our responsibility to build a better tomorrow for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come. Education is the key to raising mindful leaders for the future.” says Balletta.

Janet’s launching her new book on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2018, at the Authors for Authors Spring Conference at the Rialto Hilton Hotel, 200 Rialto Way, Melbourne, FL 32910 between 10 am & 5:00 pm. She’s looking forward to celebrating Earth Day with local authors and speakers.

‘Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Oceans’ published by WRB Publishing, is available now on Amazon:
Official website:


About the Author:

Janet Balletta is a bilingual second-grade teacher in Florida. She is also the author of two award-winning bilingual children's books, The Legend of the Colombian Mermaid and The Legend of Roberto Cofresi – A Puerto Rican Hero. Originally from New York, Janet and her family now enjoy living in the Sunshine State. Janet hopes this book inspires children to care about the environment, make positive changes where they live and around the globe, and become world-class citizens. To learn more about Janet's books and free learning activities, visit her website:

Writers Block Bookstore and Quantum Leap Winery present a book launch for Kristin Harmel

Wine, Wisdom and Words Reading Series
Location: Quantum Leap Winery
1300 Wilfred Drive, Orlando FL
Date: March 29th, 2018
Time: 6:00 PM
Writer’s Block Bookstore
124 East Welbourne Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789
The Room on Rue Amélie

Writer’s Block Bookstore is delighted to partner with Quantum Leap Winery and present the first in a series of book talks called Wine ◊ Wisdom ◊ Words. On March 29th, 2018 at 6:00PM, Kristin Harmel will be at Quantum Leap Winery to celebrate the launch of her newest book The Room on Rue Amelie, signing copies of her work with a customized wine created by the only sustainable winery in Orlando. Writer’s Block Bookstore is also proud to announce that we are the exclusive seller of signed copies of The Room on Rue Amelie in the nation.
“Set against all the danger and drama of WWII Paris, this heartfelt novel will keep you turning the pages until the very last word.” –New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe
“The strong and courageous inhabitants of The Room on Rue Amélie occupied all my time until the tender and powerful final pages. Beautifully written, Kristin Harmel’s latest is an unforgettable exploration of love and hope during the darkest of moments.” –Amy E. Reichert, author of The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go
“Richly detailed and yet fast-paced, Harmel’s story flows at remarkable depth, as ordinary citizens rise to the challenge of extraordinary circumstances in occupied France. A fascinating exploration of the escape routes set up for downed Allied pilots, readers will be swept up in this heart-wrenching drama.” –Juliette Fay, author of The Tumbling Turner Sisters
About the author: Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Sweetness of ForgettingThe Life Intended, and When We Meet Again, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in PeopleWoman’s DayMen’s HealthRunner’s World, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.
About Writer’s Block Bookstore: We are Central Florida’s only full-service, independent community bookstore, located just one block east of Park Avenue in beautiful downtown Winter Park. Serving the Orlando area since 2014, we have all your favorites, New York Times bestsellers, and Indie Next picks. We host author events, monthly book clubs, coordinate author school visits, and offer discounts for educators and loyalty club members.