Mystery Writers Key West Fest Announces Writing Competition and Award to Honor Acclaimed Late Author Jeremiah Healy

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Authors and aspiring authors may compete for the inaugural Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award by submitting the first three pages of a finished, unpublished manuscript. One winner will claim a book-publishing contract, free Mystery Writers Key West Fest registration, hotel accommodations for two nights and a captivating bobble-headed Jerry trophy.

The bobble-headed "Jerry" trophy to be presented at the Mystery Writers Key West Fest in August

Jerry often said a book either captures a reader in the first three pages … or it doesn’t.

The inaugural Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award - “The Jerry” – will be presented at the 2nd Annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest, August 14-16 in Key West, Florida. The winner will claim a book-publishing contract with Absolutely Amazing eBooks, free Mystery Writers Key West Fest registration, hotel accommodations for two nights, and a bobble-headed Jerry trophy.

Sponsored by Absolutely Amazing eBooks, the award salutes the author’s legacy as a beloved and influential mentor credited with helping and advising many aspiring writers. Candidates wishing to compete for the Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award are invited to submit the first three pages of a finished, unpublished manuscript no later than June 30, 2015. There is no fee to enter, finalists will be notified August 1, and will have until August 10 to submit full manuscripts.

"Jerry Healy was a terrific mystery writer and a good judge of mysteries,” notes Shirrel Rhoades, co-founder of Key West Writers Bloc, producer of the Mystery Writers Key West Fest. “Jerry often said a book either captures a reader in the first three pages … or it doesn’t. We agree and have decided to use that as a yardstick for a writing competition in Jerry’s honor. He helped us get the first Fest off the ground, and this way we will keep him as a part of it in future years.”

Healy served as moderator and panelist at the first Mystery Writers Key West Fest in 2014. He is the late acclaimed author and creator of the John Francis Cuddy private-investigator series and the Mairead O'Clare legal thriller series (under the pseudonym Terry Devane). A graduate of Rutgers College and Harvard Law School, his career path included stints as a military police lieutenant and a trial attorney. He launched his writing career while a professor at the New England School of Law, where he taught for almost two decades. Subsequently, he established himself as a multi Shamus-Award winning mystery writer, penning eighteen novels and more than sixty short stories.

The award judging committee will be led by Healy's fiancé, mystery author Sandra Balzo, and includes Shirrel Rhoades, author, film critic, media consultant and publisher of Absolutely Amazing eBooks; Ted Hertel, attorney, author, reviewer and immediate past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America; and Gary Warren Niebuhr, library director, reviewer and author of numerous nonfiction works on crime fiction, including Make Mine a Mystery: A Guide to Mystery and Detective Fiction and Read 'em Their Writes: A Handbook for Mystery Book Discussions.

“Jerry introduced me to Ted and Gary, who became my writers group, as well as close friends,” says Balzo. “It was the kind of thing that Jeremiah Healy was known for in mystery circles—unflagging kindness and making newcomers feel like they belonged. I think Jerry would be thrilled that Gary and Ted are joining us in judging the award that bears his name.”

This year’s Mystery Writers Key West Fest –“Murder & Mayhem in Paradise” –includes multiple workshops, presentations, panel discussions and social events with acclaimed crime fiction and true crime writers. For information on the 2nd Annual Mystery Writers Key West Fest and complete Jeremiah Healy Mystery Writing Award competition guidelines and submission details, visit mysterywriterskeywestfest.com.

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