Virginia Beach Publisher to Speak at May Meeting

John Koehler (Courtesy photo)

John Koehler (Courtesy photo)

We are pleased to announce that John Koehler, president and publisher of Koehler Books in Virginia Beach, will speak at our May meeting, to be held Monday, May 9, from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Greenbrier Library in Chesapeake. John will answer questions and offer insight about publishing trends and author duties after publication.

In John’s own words: “I plan on coming to tell the amazing writers of Sisters in Crime the SECRET UNTOLD REASON FOR BOOK SUCCESS:

Write a great book!

Boom. That’s all folks. All done….

Oh, and then all the other stuff they want to know about marketing and promotion, distribution, when it is okay to self-publish, why are publicists so !@#@!! expensive, what exactly a publisher DOES, why you only see one shoe on the side of the road, and many more compelling subjects.”

John is the founder of Koehler Books and runs the company’s day-to-day operations. He earned a BFA in Communications Arts and Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and attended graduate studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

John’s professional career includes being senior art director of a major advertising agency and running a design studio. He is an award-winning graphics designer and the author of five books.

John lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is active in his church. He has helped run a ministry dedicated to helping children with disabilities, a cause to which he is still very much dedicated. John made an international splash in 1991 by winning the Boomerang World Championship in Perth, Australia, and was a member of the Foster’s Boomerang 2000 Team, a touring troop that taught professional athletes and others the gospel of boomerangs.


Dressing Miss Jane at our February Meeting

Fifteen members and guests took part in our February meeting at the Greenbrier Library in Chesapeake on the 8th. Speaker, author, and Mystery by the Sea member Jayne Ormerod presented “For Gawd’s Sake, Put Some Clothes On!”, offering informative (and hilarious) information on the do’s and don’ts of writing a mystery.

Jayne’s skeletal sidekick, Jane Bones, was on hand for the event. During the presentation Jayne “dressed” Miss Bones. She explained how the items of clothing represented the parts of a mystery novel and how they can be used to tell the story. For instance, affixing a scarf to the skeleton’s neck helps authors remember to give their sleuths a strong link to the mystery.

Here is just a sampling of the words of advice Jayne gave to authors and aspiring authors alike:

  • Know your characters inside and out, including the villain
  • Good plots come from good conflict – always look for ways to create conflict to ratchet up the tension (and reader interest!)
  • Use a storyboard and chapter checklists to keep yourself on track
  • Treat the setting of your mystery like another character and spend time developing it

By the end of the evening, presenter Jayne Ormerod had decked out her skeletal sidekick, Jane Bones, with a set of fancy new duds and inspired her audience to go forth and write!

Jane Bones dances with joy in her new outfit (left) while author Jayne Ormerod imparts words of wisdom to her audience.

Jane Bones dances with joy in her new outfit (left) while author Jayne Ormerod imparts words of wisdom to her audience.



March Meeting to be Held at Museum of Contemporary Art

VIFMIIIn lieu of our regular March meeting at the Chesapeake Library, please join us at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Virginia Beach on Tuesday, March 15. As part of the MOCA Nights series, authors from the newly released anthology, Virginia is for Mysteries II, will autograph books and read excerpts from their work. The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. See you there!

For more information, click here.


2nd Annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival a Success

The 2nd Annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival was held Saturday, August 22nd, at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Hundreds of people attended the event to meet the authors and purchase signed copies of their books, listen to readings from the authors themselves, hear writers’ firsthand experiences during moderated panels, and learn from experts about the topics of publishing and writing. For a video featuring clips from the event, click here.

Mystery by the Sea members were on hand at the festival to sign copies of the group’s latest anthology, Virginia is for Mysteries. Check out some photos from the event, taken by group member Ken Wingate.

Book Signing 1

An eager reader waits for Maria Hudgins to sign her copy of the Virginia is for Mysteries anthology.

The festival offered numerous moderated panels and workshops, including two hosted by Mystery by the Sea members. Group members took part in the workshop entitled How Do I Get Published?, which focused on ways authors can market their work, build their platforms, and handle social media. Another workshop held during the festival explained how to piece together all the parts of a murder mystery. Aptly titled Anatomy of a Mystery, the workshop was led by Mystery by the Sea members Jayne Ormerod, CB Lane, and Yvonne Saxon.

From left to right: CB Lane, Jayne Ormerod, and Yvonne Saxon.

From left to right: CB Lane, Jayne Ormerod, and Yvonne Saxon.

Anatomy of a Murder featured special guest Jane Bones. Jane modeled all of the elements that go into a murder mystery novel and how they help the sleuth solve the mystery and reveal the killer.

Jayne Ormerod, right, goes over the keys to great mystery writing, as modeled by Jane Bones.

Jayne Ormerod, right, goes over the keys to great mystery writing, as modeled by Jane Bones.



Road Trip! Join us in Suffolk for the 2nd Annual Mystery Authors Festival


Mystery by the Sea will not be holding its usual meeting in August. Instead, the group will be attending the 2nd Annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival on Saturday, August 22, at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

The event runs from 1 to 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The day of books and fun will include book signings, readings by the authors themselves, and workshops, including one entitled “How Do I Get Published?” that will be led by Mystery by the Sea members as they talk about what it takes to compile and publish an anthology, based on their experiences putting together Virginia is for Mysteries.

For up-to-the-minute information about the 2nd Annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, click here to follow them on Facebook.

See you in Suffolk!


Coastal Crime Fest 2015

Flyer with registration info


Holiday Happening

Members of Mystery by the Sea gathered at Pancho & Luigi’s in Norfolk for our annual celebration of the year’s writing accomplishments.  Some new faces this year!  Welcome to all!

MbtS Holiday Dinner 2014

Cheers to another great year!