2018 Featured Speakers

Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins is the New York Times Bestselling author of twenty-one novels, including The Fallen and Robert B. Parker’s Little White Lies, both out from G.P. Putnam's Sons in 2017. One of the best crime writers working today, Ace has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times, twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Outside and Garden & Gun. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

Heather Graham

New York Times and USA Today best selling author, Heather Graham, majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. Her first book was with Dell, and since then, she has written more than one hundred novels and novellas including category, suspense, historical romance, vampire fiction, time travel, occult and Christmas family fare. She has been published in approximately twenty languages, and has 75 million books in print. She has been honored with awards from Walden Books, B. Dalton, Georgia Romance Writers, Affaire de Coeur, Romantic Times and more. Heather has also become the recipient of the Silver Bullet from Thriller Writers. She has had books selected for the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild, and has been quoted, interviewed or featured in such publications as The Nation, Redbook, Mystery Book Club, People and USA Today and appeared on many newscasts including Today, Entertainment Tonight and local television. Continue Reading Here. . .

Otto Penzler

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City,
and founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which now publishes original books
as an imprint at Grove/Atlantic in the United States and Head of Zeus in the
U.K., as well as classic crime fiction through "" Among
the sixty anthologies he’s edited are The Big Book of Jack the Ripper, The
Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories, The Best American Noir of the Century,
The Best American Mystery Stories of the 19th Century and The Best American
Mystery Stories of the Century. He served as the host for Turner Classic
Movies for its “Month of Mysteries” in 2002. Penzler has won two Edgar
Awards, for Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1977 and The Lineup in
2010. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him the prestigious Ellery
Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven in 2003. He has been given Lifetime
Achievement awards by Noircon and The Strand Magazine.

Authors & Experts

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.

Lisa Black

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black spent the happiest five years of her life in a morgue. Strange, perhaps, but true. After ten years as a secretary, she went back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cleveland State University. In her job as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes.
She had her life sorted out just the way she liked it until her husband got fed up with Cleveland snow and moved them to Florida, 1400 miles away from her family and her career. Not that she’s bitter or anything. Now she works as a latent print examiner for the city of Cape Coral, Florida, police department, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes. Continue Reading Here. . .

Carl and Jane Bock

Carl and Jane Bock are retired Professors of Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Carl received his PhD in Zoology from the University of California at Berkeley, while Jane holds three degrees in Botany, a B.A. from Duke, and M.A. from the University of Indiana, and a PhD from Berkeley. Carl is an ornithologist and conservation biologist. Jane is a plant ecologist and an internationally recognized expert in the use of plant evidence in criminal investigations. Coronado’s Trail and Death Rattle are the first two entries in their Arizona Borderlands Mystery series.

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. . .

Nancy J. Cohen

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, and won third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy has also written the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. The author of over twenty novels, Nancy is a featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events.

Dianna Collier

Dianna Collier is both owner and agent at Collier & Associates, a boutique literary agency based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. She grew up in New Jersey and Florida, graduating from Boston University with a degree in languages and political science. Her first position was with Blaisdell Publishing in Boston as an editorial assistant. She later moved to New York City and worked for a tobacco magazine as assistant editor. In the 1980s, she worked with Collier Associates selling award-winning cookbooks before later joining the firm as a literary agent.

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. . .

John Guerra

John Guerra is a career reporter and writer. As a former editor and reporter at Key West's daily newspaper, he has witnessed and written about the daily turn of events as well as witnessed some of the biggest events in the island's history. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites around the country and has written dozens of short stories. Born in Washington, D.C., he graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism and Latin American history. Maddie's Gone and Just Us are his first two novels. He has two other books in the works.

Lewis C. Haskell

Lewis C. Haskell is an award-winning writer who spent his early career with a Fortune 500 company before founding a medical services firm. Today, in addition to writing mystery thrillers set in Key West where he lives, he runs an international consulting firm focused on CEOs and high net worth investors. He has chaired the board of a public company, served on the advisory boards of several not-for-profits and taught leadership at UCLA. When not writing you can find him sailing in the Caribbean or traveling to various locations with his beautiful wife, most recently in Cuba and Mexico.  Haskell took the 2016 Whodunit Writing Competition award for his entry, "Tequila Mockingbird," and Third Place in 2017 with “Kilimanjaro Snow.”

Patrick Kendrick

Patrick Kendrick worked a duel career as a fire fighter and freelance journalist before turning to write fiction full time. As a freelance writer, he published articles and short stories in numerous newspapers and magazines. One of those assignments brought him into contact with a serial killer that he corresponded with for several years...until the killer began to threaten him and launched a series of lawsuits against him. The killer was eventually murdered in prison but his frightening and graphic "diaries" describing his crimes became the basis of "Extended Famlily." Kendrick was knighted by the Fraternal Order of Police for his articles on crime. He's won honorable mentions from the Mystery Writers of America and the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the Opus Magnum Discovery Award from the Hollywood Film Festival and the Florida Book Award for his first novel, "Papa's Problem." He lives in South Florida and when he is not writing, spends as much time as possible in, on, or under the ocean.

Alyssa Maxwell

Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles drew her to the mystery genre. She is the author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries and A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mysteries. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she is a member of the Mystery Writers of American-Florida Chapter and the Florida Romance Writers. 

Rick Ollerman

Rick Ollerman is the author of four novels TURNABOUT, SHALLOW SECRETS, TRUTH ALWAYS KILLS, MAD DOG BARKED, and one non-fiction collection: HARDBOILED, NOIR AND GOLD MEDALS: ESSAYS ON CRIME FICTION WRITERS FROM THE ’50S THROUGH THE ’90S. He also edited and contributed to PAPERBACK CONFIDENTIAL, a book containing 132 short bios about writers from the paperback original era through the present . He also edits the crime fiction magazine DOWN & OUT: THE MAGAZINE, and two anthologies are scheduled for 2018. His fifth novel, NO BAD DAYS, will be released in 2018 as a sequel to his last two books. Continue Reading Here. . .

Susan Haskell/Norah-Jean Perkin

Although fraternal twins born in Canada, Susan Haskell and Norah-Jean Perkin spent their lives apart. Susan has lived in Canada, the Midwest and on both U.S. coasts. She was an Operating Room Nurse assisting in hip replacements to open 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.

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.


Debbie Richardson

DEBBIE RICHARDSON began working in the publishing industry in the early 90s as a reviewer at Romantic Times Magazine and worked there for more than 10 years. She was Editor of the Series Romance Reviews and then Editor with a startup publishing company, Medallion Press. After she left Medallion, she saw a need for editing and marketing services as the Indie Publishing world was beginning to blow up and much of what was being put up for sale simply wasn’t ready. This was the birth of Deborah Richardson Editing & Marketing Services (DRE&MS). “I find it incredibly fulfilling to work with authors one-on-one through every step of the publishing process – editing, formatting, cover design, uploading for distribution and marketing.”

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.


David Stark
Key West Police Department

I have been a law enforcement officer for 40 plus years. During my tenure as a law enforcement officer I have worked as a patrol officer, road Sergeant, a small town Chief of in the State of Oio Police, plus a Public Safety Director in Florida. In July of 1991 I came to work for the Monroe County Sheriff’s. In 1996, I read about Hostage Negotiation and requested to obtain training as a negotiator, where Monroe County Sheriff’s Office has trained me very well. In 2010 the Sheriff’s Office asked if I would be team leader for the unit and along with my regular assignment, which brings us today.

Wayne Stinnett

Wayne Stinnett grew up on the central east coast of Florida, in a small town called Eau Gallie. There he and his brothers explored the beaches, the Indian River Lagoon, the swamps along the St. Johns River and all the streams and creeks that flow into both. After graduating high school in 1977, Stinnett enlisted in the Marine Corps, which opened up a lot more exploration possibilities. He visited countries from northern Europe to the Far East, but returned to Florida after 4 years. Spending a lot of his free time scuba diving, sailing, surfing, and fishing, he also began to write, creating a few fiction short stories in the early eighties. He also compiled an extensive list of beach dive spots, while exploring the many shipwrecks along the Treasure Coast. Today he lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near a small town called Travelers Rest. All his books are set primarily in the Keys and involve a retired Marine by the name of Jesse McDermitt, a charter boat Captain who lives on a deserted island just north of Big Pine Key where he explores, dives, and fishes the back country of Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. That is until trouble comes looking for him. 

Diane A.S. Stuckart
Diane A.S. Stuckart is President, Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter. She is a Texas native with a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. A westerner at heart, she moved to South Florida ten years ago and now can almost call herself a Floridian. Writing as Ali Brandon, she is the New York Times bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop mystery series. Under the name Diane A.S. Stuckart, she is the author of the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mystery series. And for fans of romance, she has penned five critically acclaimed historical romances under the pen names of Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard.

Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the 2017 winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award (The Shattered Tree) and is the New York Times Best Selling co-author of the mother son team with Caroline Todd. They are the authors of 30 novels,, the short story anthology Tales and published 16 short stories. There are nineteen mystery thrillers in the Ian Rutledge Series. A Test of Wills was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and selected by the Independent Book Sellers Association as one of their favorite mysteries of the 20th century. A Red Door (December 2009) was the sixth consecutive novel to receive a starred review from Publishers Weekly and described as “One of the best historical mysteries being written today” Washington Post Book World. The Rutledge Novels have won The Agatha Award, Barry Award, Silver Falchion Award (Best Novel: Traditional Mystery) and received multiple nominations for the Anthony Award, and Nominations for the Edgar, and Mcallan Silver Dagger awards. Racing the Devil was released on February 14, 2017. There are nine mysteries in the Bess Crawford series beginning with A Duty to the Dead in 2009 and in 2013 An Unmarked Grave received the Macavity (Sue Feder) Historical Mystery Award. The next in the series A Casualty of War will be in stores in August 30, 2017.
Charles graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and business and the Culinary Institute of America in Culinary Arts. Beginning to write with Caroline while working as a corporate trouble shooter Charles has extensive business management experience. Charles is the President of the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America Board of Directors, and past president of the South East Chapter. Charles served for fourteen years in a variety of offices on the Mystery Writer of America National Board of Directors. Living in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida gives Charles access to great golf and his love of all things nautical.

Authors Liaison

Britin Haller

Britin Haller is a media escort for Penguin Random House and Hachette and tours with NY Times best-selling authors. In her past life, she wrangled the Rich and Famous, including Paul McCartney, Jack Nicholson and Barry Manilow, among many others. She was the Film Editor and a feature writer for GHOST! Magazine and a co-author of the serial novel NAKED CAME THE FLAMINGO. Britin's critiquing experience makes her a valuable story consultant, while her completed manuscript (a gory, but fun, biblical revenge thriller) is coming soon. She is a Founding Member and Psychic with “The Messengers,” a Miami Paranormal Team.