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2018 Press Releases


May 23, 2018
For Immediate Release
Press contact: Carol Tedesco/305-393-6450/caroltedesco@mac.com

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Heather Graham Talks About Writing, Karaoke Singing, and Why She Loves Mystery Fest Key West

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than 150 novels and novellas. She has more than seventy-five million books in print, published in more than twenty languages. The wildly popular author will appear at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West as Special Guest Presenter at the 5th annual Mystery Fest Key West, taking place June 22-24. In advance of the Fest Heather has agreed to answer a few questions:

Q: Can you tell us a little about your writing process? Are you an outliner or do you let the story reveal itself to you as you go?
Heather: My writing process just flows along with life. I tend to like mornings because we have five children and I spent years waking up at five-thirty to get people to school. I still like the morning. But, thanks to five children, no amount of noise bothers, and, so, while they're now grown, my style is something like a Dr. Seuss book . . . I can write in a car, going far, up in a plane, or on a train, by morning light, or the darkness of night . . . 

 

Q: Have you ever sung Karaoke in Key West and if yes, would you do it again?
Heather: LOL -- surely, you jest. Having spent my first make-a-living adult days in musical theater, I am happy at any time to head to a karaoke bar. Yes, I've had many a great night and met many interesting people in Key West's karaoke bars!

Q: Have you ever cried over a character that you killed off?
Heather: There’s a character in a book called “The Dead Room” I was very sorry to see go. But then again, I do often write about ghosts.

Q:  In 2017 you co-authored “The Rising” with Jon Land. How did the writing partnership come about and do you have any thoughts/insights to share on collaborative book projects?
Heather: I had been with Tor books editor Bob Gleason at NASA facilities many times and it was there that the concept of NASA-inspired books for young people originally came about. Jon is a dear friend and we came up with the idea for “The Rising” over dinner one night. I've also written a book with actor Chad Michael Murray. I'd first declined the offer since I am under contract, but, Chad turned out to be earnest, wonderful, and a great dad—and, when we first met, had to excuse himself to talk to his vet. His dog—he'd lived with the dog in his car when he'd first moved out to L.A. —needed surgery. I love animals even more than karaoke and therefore . . . animal talk turned into me saying yes. Both were wonderful experiences! Now, you can't write with just anyone—if you want to co-write, you need a kindred soul!

Q: Heather, you have appeared at every Mystery Fest Key West since the inaugural one in 2014. What keeps you coming back?
Heather: I love this con! The community support in Key West is like no other. I have loved Key West all my life, and it’s been a refuge and get-away for me forever. To have this con, with such fantastic information from experts in so many fields is amazing. I will always be there!

Appearing with Graham at Mystery Fest Key West 2018 are some two-dozen crime-fiction and true crime experts, including Keynote Speaker Ace Atkins, the multi-award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of twenty-one novels; Special Guest of Honor, the multi-award-winning editor and publisher Otto Penzler; New York Timesbestselling authors Lisa Black, Diane A.S. Stuckart, and Charles Todd; bestselling and award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen; award-winning authors Patrick Kendrick and Lewis C. Haskell and many others.

Event highlights include presentation of this year’s Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition Award, workshops on the business of being an author, how to write and sell a first novel, crisis negotiation and the forensic use of fingerprints, multiple panel discussions on subjects ranging from the state of the publishing industry to book marketing and promotion, author book signings, a Keynote luncheon with Ace Atkins, a Conch Train mini-tour of Key West, an ice-cream social event with Atkins and Otto Penzler at the historic Key West Lighthouse, and a Bloody Mary Morning breakfast courtesy of Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter, at the famous Schooner Wharf Bar at the Key West Historic Seaport.

All who register for the Fest by midnight June 1 will be automatically entered in a drawing to win a cameo walk-on role in author Diane A.S. Stuckart’s as yet untitled second release in her Tarot Cats cozy mystery series from Midnight Ink, due out in 2019.

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. All panels and presentations will take place at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West.  Event registration is $195 and includes all panels and presentations, a luncheon and the Bloody Mary morning breakfast. For a full Fest schedule, online registration, and links to accommodations visit MysteryFestKeyWest.com.

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For Immediate Release
April 25, 2018
Press contact:
Carol Tedesco/305-393-6450/caroltedesco@mac.com

One Mystery Fest Key West Guest Will Nab Cameo Role in “New York Times” bestselling author Diane A.S. Stuckart Novel

Key West, Florida Keys –Today, in a cunning plot twist, organizers of the upcoming Mystery Fest Key West have announced that one Fest guest will walk into the pages of an upcoming novel by “New York Times” bestselling and multi-award winning author Diane A.S. Stuckart.

Stuckart, author of numerous mysteries, historical romances and short fiction works, is slated to be a featured panelist at the upcoming “Mystery and Intrigue in Paradise” themed Mystery Fest Key West, a gathering of mystery, true crime and suspense writers and fans to take place in Key West, Florida, June 22-24. All who are registered for the Fest by midnight June 1 will be entered to win a cameo “character placement” role in the author’s as yet untitled second release in her Tarot Cats cozy mystery series from Midnight Ink, due out in 2019.

What is a “cozy” mystery? Cozies are one of numerous sub-genre’s in the mystery writing world. While a “hardboiled” mystery typically follows a gritty Private Investigator in a corrupt urban setting, and “noir” is known for its “no heroes, no happy endings” darkness, “cozy” mysteries are written with a warm and often humorous approach, light on sex, violence and coarse language and generally feature a non-professional detective in a small-town setting. In this case two of the star characters are cats, one with a gift for interpreting tarot cards.

“I love turning friends and family into fictional characters in my books,” said Stuckart, who is also the current Chapter President of the Florida region of Mystery Writers of America. “And the winner of this particular cameo has an opportunity to be memorialized in a really fun way. Since the Tarot Cat mysteries are told, in part, from the feline point of view, the winner can choose to be a human character…or, he or she can opt to walk on as a talking cat, dog, or any other member of the animal kingdom.”

Appearing with Stuckart at the Fest are a hit-list of high-profile and award winning mystery and crime fiction authors and true-crime experts, including 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 Mysterious Book Shop” in New York City, and Special Guest Presenter, “New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author Heather Graham, along with “New York Times” bestselling author Lisa Black, bestselling and award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen; “New York Times” bestselling co-author Charles Todd, and many others.

In addition to panels and presentations with some two-dozen high profile and award-winning mystery authors and true-crime experts, 2018 Fest highlights include book signings, professional publishing and marketing discussions, a mini Conch Train tour around the tropical island of Key West, and annual presentation of the 2018 Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition and Award.

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, all panels and presentations will take place at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key. Event registration is $195 and includes all panels and presentations, a luncheon and a brunch at Key West’s historic seaport. For a full Fest schedule, online registration, and links to accommodations visit MysteryFestKeyWest.com.

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April 18, 2018
For Immediate Release

Mystery Writers and the Fans Who Love Them to Convene at 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West

Celebrated mystery writers, acclaimed storytellers and the fans who love them are set to infiltrate the tropical island where so many have found their inspiration during the 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 22-24, 2018 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West, Florida.

Why is Key West such a popular incubator and setting for generations of authors— from Hemingway to Heather Graham, Tennessee Williams to John H. Cunningham, Elizabeth Bishop to Roberta Isleib? Maybe it’s the archipelago’s history as a haven for pirates and drug-runners, its salty off-the-grid renegade energy – or simply the hypnotic effect of swaying palm trees reflected against water on a tiny island surrounded by endless miles of ocean. Whatever it is, the locale has spawned a multitude of tales and a small army of authors.

Mystery Fest Key West was founded in 2014 and while it has grown in fame and attendance since then, “it still has the intimacy of a boutique-sized convention with lots of direct interaction between authors and audience,” commented author, publisher and Fest co-founder Shirrel Rhoades. "And, because of the exceptional caliber of our guest authors, the fascinating panels and unique social events—all in a tropical island paradise—we also attract writers and fans of other genres as well.”

During the weekend’s series of panels, presentations and social events, Mystery Fest attendees will have the opportunity to learn first-hand how to craft or simply refine their own tales of crime, murder and mystery from a stellar line-up of high-profile mystery and suspense luminaries and true-crime experts.

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.

Featured presenters include “New York Times” bestselling author Lisa Black, bestselling and award-winning author Nancy J. Cohen; “New York Times” bestselling author Diane A.S. Stuckart; “New York Times” bestselling co-author Charles Todd, award-winning authors Patrick Kendrick, Lewis C. Haskell and many others.

Event highlights include presentation of the 2018 Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition Award, workshops on the business of being an author, how to write and sell a first novel, crisis negotiation and the forensic use of fingerprints, multiple panel discussions on subjects ranging from the state of the publishing industry to book marketing and promotion, along with author book signings, a Keynote luncheon with author Ace Atkins, a Conch Train mini-tour of Key West, an ice-cream social event with Ace Atkins and Otto Penzler at the historic Key West Lighthouse, and a Bloody Mary Morning breakfast at Key West’s historic Schooner Wharf Bar.

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, all panels and presentations will take place at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West. Event registration is $195 and includes all panels and presentations, a luncheon and a brunch at Key West’s historic seaport. For a full Fest schedule, online registration, and links to accommodations visit MysteryFestKeyWest.com.

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The 5th Annual Mystery Fest Key West is set for June 22-24, 2018 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West, Florida. (Photo by Carol Tedesco)
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Author, publisher and Mystery Fest Key West co-founder Shirrel Rhoades. (Photo by Carol Tedesco)
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New York Times bestselling author Lisa Black, a real-life forensic scientist, will teach a workshop titled “The Forensic Use of Fingerprints” at the 2018 Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 22-24 at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Grand Key in Key West, Florida. (Photo by Carol Tedesco)
Click here for High Res Photo

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2018


Otto Penzler, ‘Expert on all Things Hard-Boiled,’ to be Mystery Fest Key West 2018 Special Guest of Honor – Registration is now open

Mystery Fest Key West has announced that Otto Penzler, dubbed ‘expert on all things hard-boiled’ (Chris Talbot/AP Entertainment) and widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on crime, mystery and suspense fiction, is to be Special Guest of Honor at the annual convention of mystery writers, aspiring authors, true crime experts and fans set for June 22-24 in Key West, Florida.

A multi-award winning editor and publisher, Penzler is proprietor of the renowned ‘The Mysterious Bookshop’ in New York City, the oldest mystery specialist bookstore in America, and founder of ‘The Mysterious Press,’ which now is an imprint at Grove/Atlantic, where it publishes literary crime fiction.

Penzler served as host for Turner Classic Movies ‘Month of Mystery’ in 2002 and has edited more than sixty mystery anthologies, including ‘The Big Book of Jack the Ripper,’ ‘The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes,’ ‘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.’ Continue reading here . . .

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For Immediate Release
March 28, 2018


New York Times Bestselling Author Ace Atkins to Headline Mystery Fest Key West 2018 in June – Registration is now open

Ace Atkins, the multi-award winning, “New York Times” bestselling author of twenty-one novels is to headline a smash hit-list of mystery writers and true-crime experts at the 5th annual Mystery Fest Key West, set for June 22-24 in Key West, Florida.

Ranked among the topflight of mystery writers, in addition to several acclaimed stand-alone novels, Atkins has produced two highly successful series of his own conception—The Nick Travers series and the Quinn Colson series. In 2010, already firmly established as an A-list author, Atkins came to the rescue of bereft Robert B. Parker “Spenser” fans when he was tapped by the late author’s estate to continue the iconic private eye series – no small compliment, as Parker’s character had spawned a passionate cult following sure to skewer a writer lacking the dexterity to characterize the private investigator’s unique persona.

Writing in flavors that range from Southern grit to Boston hard-boiled, and time-frames from historic to contemporary, Atkins, a former crime reporter for “The Tampa Tribune” has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction along with a Pulitzer Prize nomination for investigative journalism.

“I can’t think of a more fitting or beautiful spot to talk writing, editing, and publishing books over a few cocktails,” said Atkins. “From To Have and Have Not” to “92 in the Shade” and John D. MacDonald to James W. Hall, Key West is the perfect place to contemplate the enduring fascination of crime fiction.” Continue Reading Here . . .


March 24, 2018
For Immediate Release
 
Mystery Fest Key West Whodunit Mystery Writing Competition Entry Deadline is April 15
 
Key West, Florida Keys – Do you have a finished, but unpublished, mystery genre manuscript?
 
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 whodunitaward@mysteryfestkeywest.com 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.
 
The inaugural, 2015 award 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.”
 
Complete Whodunit Writing Competition guidelines and submission details are available at mysteryfestkeywest.com.
 
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March 14, 2018
For Immediate Release

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

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 whodunitaward@mysteryfestkeywest.com 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 mysteryfestkeywest.com.

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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.”


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
Email:info@mysteryfestkeywest.com

To Contact Mystery Fest Key West

Please write to: Mystery Fest Key West,
926 Truman Avenue,
Key West, Florida 33040
or Email Us info@mysteryfestkeywest.com