Friday, June 15, 2018

Crafting the Perfect Crime: The 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, June 22-24

How does one negotiate a hostage situation? What’s the key to writing compelling historic characters? What’s the perfect poison?

Writers and fans of all genres can get the inside scoop on these questions and more at the 5th annual Mystery Fest Key West, running Friday, June 22, through Sunday, June 24 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd., in Key West, Florida.

"Anyone who writes successfully knows that authenticity in details is what separates the pros from the ‘cons,’" said Fest co-founder Shirrel Rhoades. “Our Fest attracts some of America’s top award-winning and bestselling mystery writers and true crime experts who come together and have a great time sharing details not only about WHO-dunit - but exactly HOW they did it.”

The 2018 “Mystery & Intrigue in Paradise” themed weekend features Keynote Speaker Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of 21 novels; Special Guest of Honor Otto Penzler, publisher, editor and proprietor of the famed The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City; and Special Guest Presenter Heather Graham, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, with more than seventy-five million books in print, published in more than twenty languages.

Events kick off Friday afternoon with four back-to-back workshops: The Business of Being an Author, presented by Debbie Richardson, proprietor of Deborah Richardson Editing & Marketing Services, with author/publisher Shirrel Rhoades; The Forensic Use of Fingerprints, presented by New York Times bestselling author and forensic scientist Lisa Black; How to Write and Sell a First Novel, presented by literary agent Dianna Collier; and Crisis Negotiation, presented by David J. Stark, Crisis Negotiation Team Leader, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

Friday evening, authors and guests can enjoy a poolside reception with island hors d’oeuvres and live music at the DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Key Resort.

Saturday’s series of panels spotlights leading authors and experts representing a variety of mystery genres including, action/adventure, “cozy” mysteries, forensic, supernatural, noir and police procedural. They include, The State of the Publishing Industry, with Patrick Kendrick, Alyssa Maxwell, Dianna Collier, and Otto Penzler, moderated by Diane A.S. Stuckart; Promoting Your Book, with Lewis C. Haskell, Wayne Stinnett, and Nancy J. Cohen, moderated by Patrick Kindrick; Co-writing a Mystery, with Carl and Jane Bock, Susan Haskell, Charles Todd, and David Beckwith, moderated by Rick Ollerman; Writing Historical Mysteries, with Charles Todd, Robert Coburn, John Guerra, Alyssa Maxwell, and Diane A.S. Stuckart, moderated by Heather Graham; and a panel on Audio Books, including how readers audition, with Reef Perkins, Marjorie Sorrell Rockwell, Lewis C. Haskell, and Ross Pipkin, moderated by Mike Dennis.

More Saturday highlights include luncheon with internationally renowned author Ace Atkins as Keynote Speaker, presentation of the Whodunit Mystery Writing Award, an author’s book-signing hour, a Conch Train mini-tour of Key West and a champagne social at the Key West Lighthouse, with speakers Ace Atkins and Otto PenzlerSunday is for chilling along the waterfront with the Fest’s finale Bloody Mary Buffet Breakfast at the iconic Schooner Wharf Bar.

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, the Helmerich Foundation, and the Florida Keys Council of the Arts.

Fest registration is $195 and includes all panels, presentations, luncheon and champagne social, or chose the Saturday only option for just $95.00. Those wishing to do bring a guest to the Keynote luncheon, champagne social or Sunday brunch can do so for only $35.00 additional per event. For registration and information visit

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