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Mystery Writers Academy

A Message from Patricia Marcantonio:

Dear Mystery Academy Writers,

I hope you all have been using this time to write your mysteries. As you know, we haven’t been able to hold our presentations because of COVID-19 precautions.  While this may not make up for those, I do want to keep our conversation going with a review of a great book I have discovered.

FORENSIC SPEAK How to Write Realistic Crime Dramas was written by Jennifer Dornbush. I heard Jennifer speak at a conference and she is great. The daughter of a medical examiner, she completed more than 360 hours of CSI training at a forensic science academy. She is a screenwriter and the author of THE CORONER and the new SECRET REMAINS. She is a busy forensic consultant to TV writers on shows including Deception, Hawaii Five-O, Prison Break and Rectify, among many others.

FORENSIC SPEAK is a fantastic writer’s tool that covers, well, coroner’s tools. Jennifer writes about the major fields of study in forensic science, including toxicology, fingerprints, DNA, blood spatters, and firearms, as well as the workings of a coroner’s office, evidence collection and what happens during a trial. She also provides pages and pages of resources.

This is no dry text book on forensic science.

Instead, expect a vibrant comprehensive book with cool examples from film and TV.  She makes difficult subjects very understandable. With each topic, she also adds a “How can I use it?” section that encourages writers to use what they have learned, as well as exercises.

Your understanding of forensics will benefit, as will your writing. No doubt you will want to keep this book on your desk. This book is fantastic for both beginning and veteran writers.

You can find her book at Amazon.com. I encourage you to sign up for Jennifer’s newsletter which is always filled with lots of information. She also hosts a YouTube channel on forensics and crime writing. Check out her website at www.jenniferdornbush.com.

Upcoming events

    • 06/24/2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (MDT)
    • Zoom Meeting

    Bring your story to life with the use of vivid verbs. Editors and readers are looking for reading that captures their imagination and holds their attention. The best compliment that an author can earn is, "I could not put this book down."
    This class will teach you how to utilize verbs and other literary devices more effectively. You will learn how to create vivid pictures in your writing and bridge that gap between showing and telling, ultimately earning those fabulous reviews and loyal fans.

    Thurs., June 24, 2021, 6:30 PM

    Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82755240364?pwd=NnV1bjRwNStsQklRZm1rc3dhMG5QQT09

    • 06/24/2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (MDT)
    • Zoom Meeting

    The language of blood spatters, June 24 at 6:30

     Criminalist Christine Cannon-Bakeman with the Nampa Police Department will speak about blood spatter analysis.

    Zoom link:  Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

    • 07/10/2021
    • 11:30 AM (MDT)

    Write Track: Diversity in Writing
    Join Jenn Falls as we do a deep dive into the issue of writing diverse characters. It can be a journey of discovery for all writers and one we don’t have to do alone. This talk will reveal some of the reasons why writing diverse characters is important, give an introduction to some next steps, and provide some useful resources.

    RSVPs on Facebook greatly appreciated:

    But if you're not on Facebook, we'd still love to have you! Here's the direct link:

    About Jenn Falls:
    Jenn Falls writes paranormal cozy mysteries as Bella Falls and is about to launch a new pen name for her paranormal women’s fiction. She is a co-founder of The Author Conference Club on Clubhouse, and helped implement a successful, full author conference on the app June 4-6, 2021.

    • 07/15/2021
    • 6:30 PM (MDT)

    Blogging, with Troy Lambert

    Do you want to keep up your blog, but you have no idea what to talk about? How are blog posts structured and written? What can they do for me and my website? And what about freelance blogging? In this quick lesson, we'll give you and overview of blogging: the what, why, where, and how. Join us!

    Here's the Zoom link.

    • 07/22/2021
    • (MDT)

    Check back for an exciting new program in August!

    • 07/22/2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (MDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    Developing believable characters can be a complex task. This presentation will explore the art of making your protagonists ready to jump off the page. We will cover stereotypes, conflicts, motivations, and much more. Whether you are a new writer learning the craft or experienced author needing a refresher, there will be something for everyone.

    To register for this free event, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-dos-and-dont-of-character-development-tickets-158809576719

    Zoom link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88239184904

    • 07/30/2021
    • (MDT)
    • Online submission until July 30


    1. All entries must be ORIGINAL and NOT previously published
    2. Any genre is acceptable, all entries however should be adult or new adult fiction or non-fiction
    3. Entries must be received by July 30, 2021.
    4. All entries MUST:
       * Be in English, and author’s original work
       * Be double-spaced with 1” margins in 12 point Times New Roman or Arial font
       * All pages of the submission must have the category, manuscript title, genre, and page number listed in the upper right-hand corner (this can be a header outside the 1 inch margin)
    5. Your name must NOT appear on any page of the manuscript. Your name should only be located on your Entry Form
    6. Non-refundable fee for each entry
    7. Failure to follow instructions will result in disqualification. Should your entry be disqualified, you will receive a letter stating the reason for disqualification and, time permitting, an opportunity to resubmit at no additional charge.
    8. Contest scores must average at least a 75 to be eligible as a winner.

    *Prizes will not be awarded if no scores meet the minimum requirement (score of 75 or above). Scores are an average of all judge’s scores.

    1st place winner in each category = $100
    2nd place winner in each category = $50
    3rd place winner in each category - $20 gift card

    Each category is judged by two or more industry professionals. You will receive the Judges’ scorecards  FREE with each entry! Winners names, title and genre of works will be posted in October.


    Go to the Writing Contest event on the IWG website. Click on the Register button at the bottom of the page. Complete the registration form, upload your writing sample (ONLY ONE submission per registration form), and pay the fee. Each writing sample submission requires a separate registration/entry form.

    If you are unable to submit online, please contact the Contest Director for accommodations (sherryabriscoe@gmail.com).

    • 08/16/2021
    • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM (MDT)
    • Zoom meeting

    Writers Corner: Critique Groups- They shoot horses, don’t they?  with Connie Weidel

    Someone once said “A critic is someone who comes onto the battlefield after the battle is over and shoots the wounded.” If you’re looking for something to put you out of your misery—and a to elevate your writing to the next level, a good critique group could be your secret muse.

    During this presentation, you’ll learn how critique groups operate, how to find a good one, and how to start a good one.

    Monday, August 16, 2021 at 6:30PM

    Hosted by Idaho Writer’s Guild via Zoom:

    Zoom link:  Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting

    • 09/16/2021
    • 6:30 PM (MDT)

    Let’s face it, if your reader finds your world boring, rather lackluster, or illogical in any way, they’re likely going to scoff, scratch their head, or even walk away. Together, we’ll explore the in’s and outs of one of my favorite subjects. Don’t miss this one!


Past events

06/15/2021 Literary Lunch: Making online marketing work for you, with Kendall Shew
06/08/2021 Writers' Corner: How to Avoid the Top 5 Novel-Writing Mistakes, with Cristen Iris
05/27/2021 Mystery Writers Academy: US Marshall Brent R. Bunn
05/18/2021 Literary Lunch: Publishing Panel
05/15/2021 Writers' Corner: Your Novel From Started to Done, with Cheryl Flinn
05/08/2021 Write Track: Copyright Basics
05/05/2021 Writers' Corner: Feng Shui Your Writing Space, with Sherry Briscoe
04/22/2021 Mystery Writers Academy: Dr. Greg Hampikian, BSU Forensic Justice Program
04/20/2021 Literary Lunch: What can I use in my novel without getting sued and losing?, with Brad Frazer
04/10/2021 Writers Corner--Covering & Re-Covering Your Indie Book, with Kate Baray
04/08/2021 Writers' Corner: Plotting for Discovery Writers, with Troy Lambert
04/07/2021 Writers' Corner: Top 10 Habits of Successful Writers, with Amanda Turner
03/25/2021 Mystery Writers Academy: Inside the Public Defender Office with Ada County Chief Public Defender Anthony Geddes
03/20/2021 Writer's Corner, An Introduction to Writers at Harriman
03/16/2021 Literary Lunch: Jeanne Huff, Idaho Press
03/13/2021 Write Track Presents: SEO and Keywords for Authors
03/13/2021 Writers' Corner, 7 Steps to Highly Effective Short Story Writing
03/11/2021 Writers' Corner: Steps to Plotting Your Novel Quickly, with Troy Lambert
02/25/2021 Mystery Writers Academy: Murder, Mayhem and Mental Illness, with Forensic Psychiatrist Camille LaCroix
02/18/2021 Writers' Corner: The Quick and Dirty Launch of a Pen Name, with Kate Baray
02/16/2021 Literary Lunch with Dr. Flores
02/09/2021 Writers' Corner: Make Your Story Epic! with Stacey Smekofske
01/28/2021 Mystery Writers Academy, with Shandee Votaw and Melonie Wilson, Ada County 911 Dispatchers
01/27/2021 Writers' Corner: Writing and Book Awards, with Cristen Iris
01/19/2021 Vardis Fisher's Boise
01/05/2021 Writers' Corner: Writing and Marketing a Series, with Sherry Briscoe
01/02/2021 Write Track: Setting Your Writing Schedule & Business Planning, a 12-Month Rolling Schedule
12/12/2020 Write Track: NaNo...Now What? Published NaNo Winners Tell All
11/19/2020 Writers' Corner--Writing Prompts to Stir Up Imagination, with Patricia Marcantonio
11/14/2020 Write Track. Top Five Tips for Meeting Writing Goals: Staying Motivated!
10/22/2020 Mystery Writers Academy: Carolina Ramos, Ada County Coroners Office. The difference between TV forensics and Real Life
10/15/2020 Writers' Corner--Your Novel From Started to Done
10/03/2020 Write Track: Tools for Fiction Writers, with Kate Baray and MG Herron
09/26/2020 Writers' Corner--Writing the Cozy Mystery, with Sherry Briscoe
09/24/2020 Mystery Writers Academy: Danny Smith, mystery writer, Los Angeles Sheriff's Homicide (retired)
09/19/2020 Write Track Extra! Planning a Series with Bella Falls
09/17/2020 Writers' Corner--Bestseller in Progress, with Stacey Smekofske
09/12/2020 Write Track: Painless NaNo Planning for Plotters and Pantsters, with Troy Lambert
08/08/2020 Write Track: Hiring: Coach or Developmental Editor? with Dana Long
07/16/2020 Writers' Corner--Meeting Genre Requirements & Exceeding Reader Expectations, with Stacey Smekofske
07/11/2020 TENTATIVE: Writers' Corner--Infuse Tension into Your Writing
07/11/2020 Write Track: Worldbuilding in Fantasy, with Lani Forbes
06/25/2020 CANCELED: Mystery Writers Academy: Anthony Geddes, Ada County Public Defenders Office
06/20/2020 Writers' Corner: Newsletters for Newbies!
06/18/2020 Writer's Corner: Self-editing--make your manuscript shine
06/13/2020 Write Track: Creating Annual Marketing Plans for Independent Publishing
05/23/2020 CANCELED: Writers' Corner--How to Write Your Story
05/21/2020 CANCELED: Writers' Corner--Poetry Comics
04/23/2020 Canceled: Mystery Writers Academy: Alan Perry, Idaho State Fire Marshal's office
04/14/2020 Virtual Lunch with Lani Forbes
03/26/2020 Canceled: Mystery Writers Academy: Lt. Bret Kimmel, Idaho Dept. of Corrections
03/14/2020 Writer Track: Annual Marketing Plans for Independent Publishing
02/27/2020 Mystery Writers Academy: Dr. Kathryn Turner, Deputy State Epidemiologist, Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
02/22/2020 Writers' Corner--Intro to Self-Publishing
02/20/2020 Writers' Corner--Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You
02/18/2020 Literary Lunch with Mitch Wieland
02/08/2020 Write Track--Character Development
01/23/2020 Mystery Writers Academy: "Armor" by Karl Henwood
01/21/2020 Literary Lunch with Elaine Ambrose
01/16/2020 Writers's Corner--NaNo, Now What?
01/11/2020 Write Track--Social Media for Digital Hermits
12/19/2019 Writers' Corner, 4 Author Panel
11/21/2019 Writers' Corner, Write on the Road
11/09/2019 Write Track--Writing as a Business
11/02/2019 Writers' Corner, Making Money Writing for Magazines
10/24/2019 Mystery Writers Academy: David Frazier, crime reporter
10/19/2019 Writers' Corner, Traditional Publishing 101
10/17/2019 Writers' Block, Is Blogging Dead?
10/15/2019 Screenwriter to Novelist:What I learned Along the Way
10/12/2019 Write Track--"Save the Cat"
10/05/2019 Writers' Corner, Don’t Fear the Paper
09/26/2019 Mystery Writers Academy: Tim Brady, Boise Police Department
09/21/2019 Writers' Corner, Romancing the Plot
09/19/2019 Writers' Corner, Branding for Authors
08/15/2019 Writers' Corner, Fantasy and Poetry
08/01/2019 Writers' Corner, Creating an Artist’s Statement & Writer’s Resume
07/20/2019 Writers' Corner, Researching the Novel
07/18/2019 Writers' Corner, The Editing Process
07/16/2019 Literary Lunch
07/13/2019 Write Track--Is indie publishing right for you?
06/20/2019 Writers' Corner, Journaling
06/15/2019 Writers' Corner, Publish it Yourself
06/08/2019 Write Track, The Reader as Participant
06/01/2019 Writers' Corner, From Started to a Finished Novel
05/25/2019 Writers' Corner, Branding for Authors
05/23/2019 Mystery Writers Academy: Chuck Ambrose-Clinical vs. Forensic Psychology
05/21/2019 Literary Lunch, Kim Cross presenting
05/18/2019 Writers' Corner, Critiquing for Authors
05/16/2019 Writers' Corner, Creating a Successful Book Launch
05/11/2019 Write Track, Using your hobby as a springboard
05/04/2019 Writers' Corner, Imagery & Poetry
04/25/2019 No April meeting of the Mystery Writers Academy
04/18/2019 Writers' Corner, Write, Illustrate, & Publish a Children's Book
04/13/2019 Writers' Corner, Outlining Your Story
03/30/2019 Writers' Corner, MMA for Authors
03/28/2019 Mystery Writers Academy: Gunshot Wounds & Stabbings, Dr. Glen Groben, forensic pathologist
03/21/2019 Writers' Corner, Author Critiques
03/19/2019 Literary Lunch, with Bruce Reichert
03/11/2019 Writers' Corner, How to Write Place
03/09/2019 Write Track, Tips, Tricks, and Tools
03/02/2019 Writers' Corner, Travel Writing
02/28/2019 Writers' Corner, Memoirs
02/28/2019 Mystery Writers Academy: Idaho State Police Crime Lab tour
02/23/2019 Local Author Panel
02/21/2019 Writers' Corner, Read Like a Writer
02/19/2019 February Literary Lunch
02/16/2019 Writers' Corner, 12-Step Writing Process
02/09/2019 Write Track, Creative Nonfiction
02/07/2019 Writers' Corner, Publish it Yourself
01/24/2019 REOPENED! Mystery Writers Academy: Det. Victoria Gooch, Idaho State Police
01/15/2019 January Literary Lunch
01/12/2019 Write Track, Why Blog?
12/20/2018 Author Panel
12/18/2018 No Literary Lunch This Month
12/08/2018 Write Track, Finding the Right Editor
11/20/2018 No Literary Lunch This Month
11/15/2018 Mystery Writers Academy: Clark Harshbarger, FBI Cyber Crimes
11/10/2018 Write Track, Bite Me!
11/10/2018 IWG Rakes Up Boise!
10/27/2018 Putting the Thrill in Thriller
10/27/2018 Fall Master Class
10/18/2018 Writer's Corner, Historical Fiction
10/16/2018 October Literary Lunch, A Writer's Guide to Grantsmanship
10/13/2018 Write Track, Marketing 101
09/20/2018 Writer's Corner, Romancing the Plot
09/20/2018 Mystery Writers Academy Introduction and Overview
09/18/2018 September Literary Lunch
09/13/2018 IWG Book Club, A Gentleman in Moscow
05/04/2018 Idaho Writers Conference
04/17/2018 Literary Lunch - April 2018
04/14/2018 Write Track - April 2018
02/20/2018 Literary Lunch

Thanks to the sponsors of the Idaho Writers Guild

 Rediscovered BookshopMill Park Publishing



Idaho Writers Guild

PO Box 8862

Boise ID 83707


Idaho Writers Guild is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization committed to providing a safe environment for all its members and guests. The IWG has a zero tolerance policy for any form of discrimination on any ground, and from harassment of any type. This includes all members, presenters, and attendees at any and all IWG functions. 

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