Friday, July 31, 2015

Mystery Writers Key West Fest to Reveal True Crime Secrets

What exactly constitutes a crime scene, you wonder? How do you determine the boundaries? Learn the ins and outs of investigating true crime scenes and lots more at the upcoming Mystery Writers Key West Fest, August 14-16, at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel.

(–Key West, FL)  Mystery Writers Key West Fest to reveal true crime secrets during workshops and panel discussions
International number-one bestselling author Jeffery Deaver—who will be the Keynote Speaker for the upcoming Mystery Writers Key West Fest next month— knows full well how to put into practice the reality of a crime in his writing.  Deaver’s suspenseful writing and uncanny ability to deliver meticulously detailed plot twists have garnered him an armload of awards and books that have been translated into over 25 languages.
In his book The Bone Collector (made into a feature film starring Angelina Jolie and Denzel Washington), Deaver seamlessly delivers true crime details while policewoman Amelia Sachs (who later calls upon quadriplegic forensic criminology expert Lincoln Rhyme to help her piece together the killer’s cryptic clues) finds herself the first officer at the scene of a grisly crime:
Deaver effectively uses police jargon in a way that stays true to the facts but doesn’t turn us away from the plot build-up despite our lack of knowing the code.  But just how does he pull this off? 
 Don’t let the mystery of it all dissuade you.  Deaver and more than 20 authors and true crime experts will be gathering during the Mystery Writers Key West Fest from August 14-16, helping participants uncover just what it takes to make a crime ring true in the craft and genre of mystery writing. 
What exactly constitutes a crime scene, you wonder? How do you determine the boundaries? How do you document it, lift fingerprints, package the evidence?  Who gets to enter the scene, and who doesn’t? The “Murder & Mayhem in Paradise” themed Fest will answer these questions and more during a three-day weekend of panels, presentations and parties open to authors, aspiring authors and non-writing mystery-buffs alike.
Beginning at 1p.m. on Friday, August 14, true crime investigation kicks off the Fest with two back-to-back workshops led by Monroe County Sheriff’s Detective Manny Cuervo and Crime Scene Investigator John Underwood. The two will set up a typical scene for investigation and answer questions while they work with the tools of their trade and figure out just whodunit.
Among Saturday’s many offerings, true crime gets another opportunity for examination with a  “Crime in the Florida Keys/Florida Straits” panel. Moderated by award-winning writer James O. Born, the panel features notable true crime experts: Florida Department of Law Enforcement Carol Frederick, Joint Interagency Task Force Jim Linder, Drug Enforcement Administrator Ken Davis (ret), Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay, KWPD Chief Donie Lee, and USCG Commander Jim Fitton (ret).  They will riff on the Keys criminal riff-raff and the details of strange crimes that surround them. 
“Honestly, what makes criminals interesting in general is that they are creative,” says Frederick, whose focus areas are identity theft and protective operations— subjects she thinks would make interesting twists in future mystery books. 
“One of my favorite thieves was a man who would pretend to own your house...and then he'd sell it,” she says. “I called the case "For sale by Non-Owner”.”
Sounds a bit like a story that hit the Key West stands last fall on a certain little lane in Bahama Village.  And the beginnings of a very good mystery novel for anyone out there ready to write one.  So, are you ready to write one?
“The sky is the limit on what a writer can choose to focus their book on,” says Frederick.
Indeed it is.  And this year’s Fest is sure to help you take flight. 
For more information, contact 305.587.9393, or visit  Sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America – Florida Chapter, The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and the Key West Citizen daily newspaper, event registration is a steal at $125 for all panels and presentations, plus three meals.


Edit Like an Expert -- a Free, Live, and Informative Teleseminar

Edit Like an Expert, a FREE, live, and informative teleseminar, is offered to you at two convenient times--Tuesday, August 4th at 7:30 p.m. EDT and Wednesday, August 5th at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Patricia Charpentier is excited to share with you the who, what, when, where, why, and how of editing your work followed by an open Q&A session. Register today to receive your access code and learn how to be your own best editor. 

Feel free to share this link with your friends and others who may be interested.

If you'd like to learn more about the Edit Like an Expert program before the call, go to  Should you have any questions about the teleseminar, or have trouble with the registration process, please contact ...

Patricia Charpentier
Writing Your Life

Monday, July 27, 2015

Donald L. Gilleland Releases Final Book in Series

Retired military officer and corporate executive highlights profound generational differences and exceptional Americans in his books

The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.” – Newton D. Baker.

Don Gilleland loves America and has written three books to explain the foundation for his affection. On July 16th, to coincide with our nation’s month of independence, Gilleland released his third book America: An Exceptional Nation.

“We are truly a diverse nation that fits comfortably into an interdependent world and serves as a breadbasket and security blanket for much of the planet,” explains Gilleland who spent more than thirty years in the Armed Forces. “We are a generous and caring nation that has a bright future on which the world can depend.”

In this book, Gilleland explains why he believes God has blessed America to be one of the few nations that can hold out hope for the 21st century.

“Gilleland pulls no punches and makes a compelling case for his perspective,” shares John Torino, editor of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association Newsletter. “But this book is no puff piece. He shows what has made America exceptional and what…is working toward undermining that exceptionalism.”

According to five star reviewers, Gilleland’s book has a lot of information and issues worthy of reflection. It reads easy and is well worth getting.

Gilleland plans to sign and discuss his book at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 3115 Friendship Place, Rockledge, FL from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, 2015. The Fellowship Hall is located one block west of U.S. 1, two blocks north of Suntree Blvd. He will be in attendance with other local authors who have recently published their books.

Also published by Black Rose Writing are Gilleland’s first book, America: A Cultural Enigma, (ISBN: 978-1-61296-302-0) about major changes to the American culture over the last 50 years (For senior citizens it is like looking through a review mirror at their lives; for young folks it explains how differently they were raised when contrasted with that of their parents); and his second book, America: Where Great Things Happen, (ISBN: 978-1-61296-447-8) is about wonderfully exciting things Americans do that rarely get much media attention, because the media tends to focus on negative stories.  

Book Details

Paperback: 262 pages

Publisher: Black Rose Writing (July 9, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1612965539

ISBN-13: 978-1612965536

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches

About the Author

Gilleland, an Evangelical Christian, served thirty years in the U.S. Military, eight years enlisted in the Navy, and twenty-two years commissioned in the Air Force. After retiring from the military in 1984, he worked in the defense industry for 10 years, retiring from General Dynamics Corporation as corporate director of public affairs where he was responsible for worldwide news media relations. Don is a frequent contributor to Florida Today Newspaper, TC Palm Newspaper, and Vero’s Voice Magazine with over 500 total published articles.

 He lives in Melbourne, Florida. For more information visit or the publisher, Black Rose Writing, at

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Solving the Mystery of the Mystery Genres: A Fun Glossary of Terms

The 2nd Annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest will take place August 14-16 at the island’s Marriott Beachside Hotel.

(Key West, FL). If you were to hear the words “hard-boiled” and “cozy” you might think they described a resort-town breakfast restaurant and not genre and sub-genre terms for mystery writing.
In less than a month, the resort town of Key West will be the backdrop for 20 world-class mystery writers here to clue you in on genre genius and other insider intelligence during the 2nd Annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest, August 14-16. Below is a quick guide to just a few of the many genre possibilities and a sneak peek into some of the Fest authors who represent them.
Action/Adventure:  Usually categorized together, the protagonist takes a risky turn and typically journeys somewhere epic to accomplish their mission. 
* John H. Cunningham’s Buck Reilly series are against-the-odds stories set against the tropics—including Key West-with a hero we can relate to. 
The Classic Whodunit:  The crime itself is the most important element, and the figuring out of the puzzle is the main focus.
*Michael Haskins’ Key West Mysteries feature “Mad Mick” Murphy, a dark-deeds magnet who gets to the bottom of one mystery only to be pulled inexorably into the next. Murphy’s experience as a journalist is key to his puzzle-solving savvy. Shirrel Rhoades’ “Four Finger Four Minute Mysteries” blend classic mysteries with detective stories.
Comic:  Mystery fused with humor. Expect to laugh. 
*Publishers Weekly calls Don Bruns “Laugh-out-loud funny!” and his work has been described as the “Grown-up Hardy Boys.” David Beckwith and wife Nancy’s Will and Betsy Black series combines adventure with humor as two reluctant desk-jockey amateur sleuths plow their way through adventures and misadventures.
Cozy and Amateur Detective:  Small-town mystery where tension is laced with the possibility of betrayal; light on sex, violence and coarse language.
*While Robert Coburn spins out amateur detective thrillers, Sandra Balzo “puts a 21st century spin on the traditional cozy,” and Nancy J. Cohen, author of the “Bad Hair Days” series tells you how it’s done in her instructional guide, “Writing the Cozy Mystery.”
Conspiracy Thriller: A subgenre of thriller fiction often involving corrupt politicians and/or corporations.
*Laurence O’Bryan’s “Puzzle Series” are “electrifying conspiracy thrillers” that dive deep into research and history to support intricate plot twists.
Furry Sleuth:  The human may take the backseat, with a dog or cat key to solving the crime.
*James O. Born’s “Scent of Murder” is a buddy-team adventure that describes events from the perspectives of both Deputy Tim Hallett and his partner Rocky - a Belgian Malinois K-9 cop.
Forensic/Disabled: Features a protagonist who must use cool logic and intelligence and/or overcome a physical challenge to bring a criminal to justice.
*Award-winning and international bestseller Jeffery Deaver’s novel “The Bone Collector” encompasses all of the above in the tale of quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme and his forensic analysis-based pursuit of a serial killer.
PI/Spy: Stars an investigator who is not a police officer or agent of the government.
*Carolina Garcia-Aguilera is the multi-award winning author of the widely acclaimed Lupe Solano mystery series, which chronicle the adventures of the “sexy, scrappy” Miami-based, Cuban-American private investigator Solano; Chuck Van Soye is author of “Spy Mates,” the tale of a retired engineer whose new career path takes a surprising twist into an undercover world.
Hardboiled:  Gritty PI in a corrupt urban setting.
*Bestselling and award-winning author Libby Fischer Hellmann, a former Washington, DC, broadcast news editor, writes gritty crime fiction in her Georgia Davis PI series.
Noir: “No heroes. No happy Endings.”
*Key West’s Jonathon Woods pens noir with a satirical twist; Mike Dennis’s noir novel “The Take,” is a tale of ordinary people, “caught up in extraordinary circumstances and emotions,” and Vicki Hendricks’ “Voluntary Madness,” is tagged “…a noir erotica classic!”
Police Procedural: Depicts the processes of police agents and officers as they solve crimes.
*Former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent James O. Born uses his personal experience in crime investigation to fuel his mystery thrillers.
Supernatural: Add ghosts and a very strange crime.    
*Bestselling author Heather Graham has penned more than 100 novels in genres from romantic suspense to the occult. “The Cursed” is a supernatural mystery set in Key West, involving a long-haunted B&B, a murder, a B&B proprietor who segues into amateur sleuth, and the ghosts of deceased victims who help solve the crimes.
Suspense/Thriller: Sometimes lumped altogether, sometimes separated, in each type a character is trying to get at the truth of something, or prevent some bad thing from happening.  Typically, the protagonist is in danger, and in Suspense, only aware of it gradually though the reader sees it all along, biting their nails along the way. 
*Called “shiver-rich” and “red hot suspense” by Publishers Weekly, author Sharon Potts’s Miami-based thrillers are about ordinary people in extraordinary situations.
Quest Thriller: The hero or hero’s leave ordinary life behind in pursuit of an epic or legendary prize.
*Chris Kuzneski’s “The Hunters” series follows an elite team of renegades as they seek to recover legendary lost treasures.
While each of the Fest authors has their distinct style and genre and often cross over to include other sub-genres in one story, they ALL offer narratives that twist and turn in convoluted ways to keep readers on their toes. No matter the genre - over a three-day weekend of panels, presentations and parties, open to authors, aspiring authors and non-writing mystery-buffs alike - the Mystery Writers Key West Fest authors will clue you in on how they actively engage their audience.
Event registration is $125 and is sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America – Florida Chapter, The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and the Key West Citizen daily newspaper. For more information visit 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Two Keys Characters to Take the Rap for Upcoming Star-Studded Celebration of Sleuthing

Key West Writers Bloc co-founders Michael Haskins and Shirrel Rhoades are shown with the bobble-headed Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award that will be presented by the late author's fiancé, mystery writer Sandra Balzo, at the 2015 Mystery Writers Key West Fest. The winner will nab a publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing e-Books among other prizes.
Back in 2013, two fairly conspicuous Florida Keys characters – Michael Haskins and Shirrel Rhoades – put their heads together and hatched a plot to further advance Key West’s literary foot-print both locally, nationally and internationally, and stir up some fun in the process.
 “Key West has a remarkable literary tradition that we wanted to build on, as well as a provocative reputation for mystery and intrigue. Our goal was to create an ongoing vehicle to celebrate that Key West is still a writer’s paradise,” said Haskins, who is author of the popular Mick Murphy Key West Mystery series. 
With a lifetime of media, literary, publishing and entertainment business experience between them, it wasn’t long before the two were supporting and promoting Florida Keys and South Florida writers with a series of Key West based author’s events, produced under the umbrella of their jointly owned company, Key West Writers Bloc.
Just one year after launching KWWB, Rhoades and Haskins debuted the inaugural Mystery Writers Key West Fest. Headlined by several mystery genre celebrity heavy-hitters including W.E.B. Griffin (William Butterworth IV), Heather Graham, Carla Norton and Jeremiah Healy, the 2014 Fest drew an enthusiastic crowd of authors, from the up-and-coming to the widely acclaimed, along with an audience of aspiring writers and non-writing fans of the genre.
“I attended last year's Mystery Writers Fest and learned so many helpful writing tips on character creation, plots, etc.,” commented Crystal Ruffo, an artisan soap crafter and part-time aspiring mystery writer who lives and works in Key West. “The panels and presentations were fun and thought provoking and I loved meeting the authors and hearing about the trials they encountered in creating their first stories. I am really looking forward to this years seminars and meeting Jeffery Deaver, one of my favorite writers!”
The 2015 Mystery Writers Key West Fest will launch on Friday, August 14, with two back-to-back panels on crime scene investigation led by professional true-crime law enforcement investigators; a Social Media & Writing session presented by Irish mystery writer Laurence O’Bryan and an Audio Books session with Mike Dennis. With the evening comes a party presided over by New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Heather Graham followed by a Key West bar stroll.
Panels, presentations and social events will continue through Saturday and into Sunday, August 16, with highlights to include a luncheon with international bestselling and global multi-award winning suspense-thriller writer Jeffery Deaver followed by a panel discussion titled “Does Sex Sell,” featuring Deaver, Don Bruns, Nancy Cohen, Vicki Hendricks, and Laurence O’Bryan, moderated by Heather Graham.
Other Fest highlights include the opportunity to participate in a roundtable editing critique session with Deni Dietz, Senior Editor for Five Star Publications, presentation of the inaugural Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award and a dinner with award-winning Florida author and former undercover agent James O. Born, to be followed by a showing of “Swingers Anonymous” at the Tropic Cinema. Based on a short story by MWKWF panelist Jonathan Woods and directed by Quincy Perkins, the 25-minute neonoir mystery was shown at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival.
At just $125, the “Murder & Mayhem in Paradise” themed Fest is “a penny-wise mystery aficionados dream come true,” says co-producer Rhoades. “For less than the cost of dinner for two in many Key West restaurants, our guests will have full access to three days of panels, presentations and social events, plus three meals. It’s practically criminal.” For a full Fest schedule, online registration, list of sponsors, and links to accommodations visit

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Brevard County Author, Jaimie M. Engle, Hired to Run PR for Texas Based Publishing House

Melbourne, FL, July 18, 2015:“If you help enough people reach their goals, you will achieve success!” author, Jaimie M. Engle
When the email came in from Texas based publishing house Black Rose Writing (BRW) offering a position as their Public Relations Specialist, local author and editor Jaimie M. Engle jumped at the opportunity.

“I love sharing marketing ideas with authors, who tend to flounder when it comes to selling their books,” said Engle, owner of editing and coaching firm A Writer For Life. “Educating authors to become branding experts is one of the many PR tools I provide for Black Rose Writing authors.”

With nearly 300 clients, Black Rose Writing Founder, Reagan Rothe reached out to Engle after she edited BRW client Don Gilleland’s book America: An Exceptional Nation, the third in his America series.

“I reviewed Engle’s resume and also browsed her website,” shared Rothe, who opened up the position to several other candidates. “I felt this was something that Engle would definitely be able to take on if interested.”

About BRW

Black Rose Writing is an independent publishing house that strongly believes in developing a personal relationship with their authors. Established in 2006, BRW features books from an array of fiction, non-fiction, and children's book genres, all having one thing in common, an individual's originality and hardship.

About Engle:

Jaimie M. Engle has written professionally since 2003 with more than 100 publications in journals and e-mags throughout the world. In 2013, she published her first middle-grade novel and three months later, she signed with her agent, Pam Howell of D4EO Literary, after sending her manuscript off a tweet. Engle is a regular conference speaker with the Space Coast Writer’s Guild, Eastern Florida State College, the Orange County and Brevard County Library Systems, and the Society of Children Book Writer’s and Illustrators. She is the PR Specialist with Black Rose Writing, a publishing house based in Texas and speaks regularly to students in Lake and Brevard County, Florida. Engle offers a coaching and editing service for aspiring writers at Learn more about her books at

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mystery Writers Key West Fest Announces Walk-On Role Winner

Rusty Hodgdon, winner of a walk-on role in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham’s next novel is pictured here with a Heather Graham fan.

  Key West, Florida Keys – Rusty Hodgdon, of Key West, Florida,
has won a walk-on cameo appearance in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham’s next novel.     
The “character placement” prize contest was an early registration promotion for the Mystery Writers Key West Fest, set to take place August 14-16 at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel.      
“As an author and aficionado of mystery novels, I am thrilled and honored
to be part of a work by Heather Graham, one of the greatest writers in the
genre,” said Hodgdon, himself the author of five “psycho-thrillers.”    

Graham, who has more than seventy-five million books in print published in approximately twenty languages,and whose 2014 novel “The Cursed” is set in Key West, is slated to be a featured presenter and panelist at the upcoming “Murder & Mayhem in Paradise” themed Fest.     
Sponsored in part by the Mystery Writers of America - Florida Chapter, the Key West Citizen daily newspaper and the Florida Keys Council of the Arts,        Fest registration is $125 and includes three days of panels, presentations and social events with best-selling and global award winning authors. For more information visit:       .