Sign up for MWA mentorship

April 8th, 2015

The Hugh Holton Mentor Program is now open for submissions!

Starting April 1 until August 1 2015, you can submit 50 pages of your manuscript to be critiqued by a published member of MWA Midwest.

The cost to members is just $25, non-members pay only $50. You will receive your critique within 60 days of submitting your manuscript so you can get started quickly on re-writes or submitting to publishers.

The best member-submitted manuscript will be awarded a $500 prize. The best non-member-submitted manuscript will receive a one-year paid membership in MWA. The winners will be announced at the Midwest Holiday Party on December 13.

To submit your manuscript, it’s important that you follow these instructions:

APRIL 1- AUGUST 1, you can submit up to 50 pages of manuscript electronically. Send your manuscript to

You can pay either by check/MO to: MWA Midwest, PO Box 8082, Evanston, IL 60204 or by PAYPAL (you will need to sign up at least briefly) to use a credit card. Use the “send money” function to send the payment to


Include title page with:
Title of work
Author’s name and email address.
Indicate membership status (member or non-member of MWA).
(Optional) Indicate subgenre. Some of our mentors have indicated a preference to works such as PI, Police, Dark (Noir), Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, Romance, Historical, Humorous, Suspense. If you think your work falls into any of those categories, you can indicate that. If not, or you’re not sure, don’t worry about it. We’ll make a good mentee/mentor match.
Use Times New Roman 12 point and double space in a Word format.

Thanks for participating!

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MWA Midwest hosts one-day mystery-writing course MWA University

July 21st, 2014

Mystery Writers of America University (MWA-U) is a full-day, low-cost writing seminar designed to teach participants the essential skills needed to write a novel, from the idea stage to the final editing. The focus is on the craft of writing, and the college-level courses are taught by published writers and experienced teachers.

Register NOW for MWA University – Chicago

MWA University in Chicago will take place in downtown Chicago.

Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014

What: An entire day of top-notch classes. Novice or pro, you will benefit from hearing the experts discuss their strategies for all facets of writing and publishing.

Click here for all the details:

You can register by credit card in the MWA Store, both member and non-member rates:

If you’re thinking about joining MWA, join now to get the member discount on MWA University!

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MWA Midwest at Printers Row, June 7 & 8

May 26th, 2014

MWA Midwest will be hosting the MWA tent at Printers Row again this year. Come check out the in-tent activities, author interviews and signings, and contests at the corner of Dearborn and Harrison near the Blake Hotel. Check out these MWA Midwest-led events, too:

Saturday, June 7
10 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
MWA Panel: Violence: How to Write It—and How Far Is Too Far? with Jamie Freveletti, Michael A. Black, Michael Harvey, M.E. May, J. Michael Major, Grace Place 2nd Floor

12:00 p.m.- 12:45 p.m.
Flash Fiction Contest with  “30” Twist, presented by Mystery Writers of America with judges Barbara D’Amato and Sara Paretsky, Center Stage Tent

2 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
MWA Panel: Historical Thrillers & Mysteries, The Attraction, the Research, and the Execution with Libby Fischer Hellmann, Tasha Alexander, Sara Paretsky, Robert Goldsborough, Raymond Benson, Harold Washington Library Center Multipurpose Room

Sunday, June 8
10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
MWA Panel: Light Cozies to Dark Thrillers, Writing Along the Continuum with Clare O’Donohue, Jack Frederickson, Shane Gericke, Susanna Calkins, Julie Hyzy

3:30 p.m.-4:15 p.m.
MWA Panel: Rules of Writing Mysteries & When to Break Them with Reed Farrel Coleman, Ted Hertel, Lynne Raimondo, Lori Rader-Day

Tickets are required for many events. See the full schedule for information and more panels by MWA members:

To help out at the MWA Tent:
• We need your help at the MWA Tent! Email Heather Ash at writermath (at) gmail (dot) com to schedule an hour or two.

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Enter the Hugh Holton Mentor Program

May 23rd, 2014

Don’t forget the MWA Midwest group is now running our Hugh Holton Mentor Program. Turn in 50 pages of an unpublished mystery manuscript and a fee ($50 for nonmembers, $25 for members) and get a critique from a published author!

Added incentive: The top manuscript from member entries wins $500, and the top entry from nonmembers wins a membership to MWA! Email mwamidwest (at) gmail (dot) com for more information.

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Join us for Happy (Half) Hour at Malice!

April 29th, 2014

MWA Midwest Members: Going to Malice Domestic this weekend?

If you’re attending Malice Domestic in Bethesda, MD, this weekend, join MWA Midwest for a Happy (Half) Hour! First drink for MWA Midwest members is on us!

Concours Lounge, lobby of the Hyatt Regency Bethesda
7400 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda
Look for Clare O’Donohue and Lori Rader-Day for your drink ticket!

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March chapter meeting to feature former public defender

March 5th, 2014

Our March 16 meeting at Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore (1 p.m., 7419 Madison St, Forest Park, IL) will feature Julius Kole, a Buffalo Grove attorney who spent two years as a Cook County Public Defender. Kole is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the John Marshall Law School. During his tenure as a Cook County Public Defender for the Juvenile Court, Kole represented young offenders and parents charged with abuse and neglect. He also has experience defending adult misdemeanors and adult felonies and DUIs. Kole now owns his own practice.

Come with questions about about domestic abuse in the courts, and juvenile court.

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Chapter meeting Sunday features psychic Karen Jacobson

February 4th, 2014

Looking for a little magic for your next mystery? Psychic Karen Jacobson will share stories from her work and tips on how to incorporate mystics, tarot readers, or psychics into your stories at this Sunday’s MWA Midwest chapter meeting. We meet at NOON at Love Is Murder (The Hotel Intercontinental, Rosemont, 5300 River Road).

Rev. Karen L. Jacobson has been a Pathways Minister since 1995. She has a BA in Psychology and an Associates of Applied Business Principals.

You don’t need to be registered for the conference to attend the meeting. We have a premonition we’ll see you there.

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MWA Midwest presents Writers Track at Love Is Murder

January 21st, 2014

At the mystery and romance writers conference Love Is Murder, February 7-9, Mystery Writers of America-Midwest Chapter offers The Writer’s Track,  a nuts and bolts approach to the most important and perplexing questions of a writer’s career. From writing great dialogue and character, to the realities of the best seller list, and all the myths and mistakes writers make, MWA Midwest will give you the scoop from people who’ve been on the scene.

Writer’s Track is Friday, February 7, from Noon-4pm


From Conferee to Author: What I’ve Learned in 27 Years, with Matthew Clemens

All the things you wish someone talked about at conferences, but seldom do…from starting out to what happens if you sell your novel. This is the talk to learn the insider tips, the mistakes, and the realities of starting life as a writer, given by a long-successful practitioner of the craft.

Matthew Clemens is a long-time co-conspirator with Max Allan Collins. The pair has collaborated on more than twenty novels, several comic books, four graphic novels, a computer game, and a dozen mystery jigsaw puzzles. Their latest thriller Supreme Justice, will be out in 2014.


Creating Memorable Characters, with Luisa Buehler

Every author wants well-drawn characters and every reader wants memorable characters. This workshop will discuss the melding of the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of character development.

Luisa Buehler writes the Grace Marsden Mystery Series. Reviewers call her style “a cold case sizzle.” The stories follow the cold trail of bygone crimes, blending traditional whodunit with hints of romance and the supernatural. The series won The Readers Choice Award for best traditional amateur sleuth. The seventh in the series, The Reenactor: A Staged Death, debuted at Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Literary Festival. Luisa lives in Lisle, IL with husband Gerry, son Christopher, and the family cat Martin Marmalade.


An Actor’s View on Dialogue, with Diane Piron-Gelman

“Speak the Speech, I Pray You” A wordsmith’s skills are often the same, whether the words are written or spoken. Author, actor, and audiobook narrator Diane Piron-Gelman brings an actor’s perspective to the part of storytelling that’s most like the stage: the fine art of dialogue.

Diane Piron-Gelman, writing as D.M. Pirrone, is the author of No Less In Blood (Five Star/Cengage, 2011) and A Judgment in Ashes (forthcoming in 2014 from Allium Press of Chicago). In addition to her work as an author, editor (Word Nerd, Inc.) and audiobook narrator, Diane has been active in Chicago’s theatre scene since 1985, and often draws on her acting experience when writing. She is a long-time member of MWA Midwest and Sisters in Crime, and currently serves as chapter president of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland.


Stages of a Writer’s Career with Julie Hyzy, Clare O’Donohue, and Lori Rader-Day

On the cusp of publishing a first novel… in the mid-list doldrums… sitting pretty on the bestseller’s list. These are three crucial stages in a writer’s life, where making the right choices can lead to a more satisfying and successful, career. And making the wrong ones can send a writer off track. Three writers—each representing one of these stages—will have a round-table discussion on the best and worst, the “wow” and the “what now?” of the writing life.

A relentless snoop and mystery seeker since childhood, Julie Hyzy gets to play detective by writing amateur sleuth adventures. She’s thrilled to have won the Anthony, Barry, Lovey, and Derringer Awards, and still can’t believe that she has “New York Times Bestselling Author” across the front of her books. Julie writes the White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries for Penguin/Berkley Prime Crime, the most recent of which, Home of the Braised, came out January 7.

Clare O’Donohue is the author of seven novels in two mystery series, The Someday Quilts Mysteries and The Kate Conway Mysteries. She is also a TV producer of documentary and true crime, and has lived and worked in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. She is the current president of the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and when she’s not in a hotel, airport, or shooting location, she lives near Chicago.

Lori Rader-Day is the author of the mystery The Black Hour (Seventh Street Books, 2014). Born and raised in central Indiana, she now lives in Chicago with her husband and dog. Her fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Time Out Chicago, and others. She is the current vice president of the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, and is the editor of the group’s newsletter.

REGISTER for Love Is Murder here.

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A year in mystery writing

January 21st, 2014

At this month’s chapter meeting, several early career writers asked about conferences for the genre. Here’s what the year in mystery writing looks like for 2014:

Love Is Murder, Rosemont, IL, Feb. 7-9, 2014

Left Coast Crime: Calamari Crime, Monterey, CA, March 20-23, 2014

Malice Domestic, Bethesda, MA, May 2-4, 2014

Book Expo America, New York, NY, May 29-31, 2014 (not just mystery, but with mystery programming)

Printers Row Lit Fest, Chicago, IL, June 7-8, 2014**

ThrillerFest IX, New York, NY, July 10-12, 2014

Midwest Writers Workshop, Muncie, IN, July 24-26, 2014** (not just mystery, but lots of mystery programming)

Killer Nashville, Nashville, TN, August 21-24, 2014**

Magna Cum Murder, Indianapolis, IN, October 24-26, 2014**

Murder and Mayhem in TBD, Wisconsin, November TBD, 2014

Bouchercon, Long Beach, CA, Nov. 13-16, 2014

**Especially good content for beginning or early career writers.

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Holiday Party Dec. 8!

December 7th, 2013

Sunday, December 8, is our annual Holiday Lunch. Members and their guests only this time, please.

1 p.m. at Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore, 7419 Madison St, Forest Park, IL.  Lunch from Jimmy’s Place is included.

See you there!

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