Key West Writers Guild

Many members of the Key West Writers Guild are published authors. Here are some of their books.

Dorothy Francis

Iowan Dorothy Francis is an award winning author of books and short stories for adults and children. She has spent winters on Big Pine Key for over 20 years. Her short stories have appeared in both KWWG anthologies. Many of her 75 published books are for children. She is now writing adult mysteries published by Five Star/ Cengage, set in Key West and the Florida Keys.
Titles: CONCH SHELL MURDER, PIER PRESSURE, COLD CASE KILLER, EDEN PALMS MURDER. These 4 books will soon be availble as E-Books. A fifth mystery, KILLER IN CONTROL, is scheduledfor June, 2011. A sixth ms, DAIQUIRI DOCK MURDER is currently making the rounds.


Francis’ fourth fast-paced mystery-thriller once again takes place in Key West. Past efforts have featured a rookie private detective and a foot reflexologist, and now we have singer-songwriter Bailey Green. Each of these spunky and complex heroines is in the process of remaking her life. Just as Bailey arrives at the Key West airport, the body of her benefactor, Francine Shipton, is found lying at the foot of a stairway in her Eden Palms mansion. As usual, Francis has assembled an interesting and eclectic mix of suspects, including a doctor operating a private clinic, a funeral director, a real-estate salesman, the victim’s son, and Bailey’s brother. The motive seems to be pretty clear, however, as Francine had plans to donate her mansion as a safe house for the homeless. When a homeless man also goes missing, Bailey tries to get police help and nearly ends up a victim herself. This is an enjoyable page-turner with quite appealing and realistic characters and a well-delivered social message. Buy it on or at the author's web site,


Sand Dollar is available for $14.95 from and

Jane Newhagen

From the author:


I  once lived in a house that was brought to Key West from the Bahamas in the 1800's. The thick heart pine walls were so hard they bent nails. At the kitchen doorway, old wood cupped beneath a new sill. I knew there was dust in the cracks that dated from the original owners. I put a pencil and paper in the attic in case there was a spirit presence with something to say. There wasn’t, but I never lost the sense of the people who lived there before me. These were the seeds of Sand Dollar, a tale of old Key West.

Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, I "went east to college" where I graduated from Brown University in Providence, R.I. Along the way I’ve lived in Massachusetts, New York, France, and mainland Florida. For some years I’ve made my home in Key West.

Visit my web site at


ROAD TO HAVANA, Richard de Grasse

An American single-handed sailor stops at Marina Hemingway in Havana, Cuba, on his way to Mexico. In hopes of having an enjoyable liberty in Havana, he unexpectedly meets and falls in love with a beautiful Cuban singer whose brother is the most popular political dissident in the Country. When the sailor’s visa expires, he reluctantly leaves Havana only to find the singer stowed away onboard his boat. Meanwhile Fidel Castro allows a presidential election to take place. After tumultuous events in South Florida and Cuba the couple are finally wed in Havana and the brother goes on to become the president of Cuba.



Richard, Dick, de Grasse is an electrical engineer turned sailor, writer and most recently novelist. He lives with his wife Kathleen on the Maine island of Islesboro in the summer and fall and somewhere in southern waters on their sailboat Endeavour in the winter. In the past they have sailed trans-Atlantic and visited most of the Atlantic islands before settling on the island of Islesboro in Maine. After exploring the Caribbean islands they have recently picked up a mooring and wintered on their sailboat in Boot Key harbor in Marathon, Florida. Richard is a member of the Key West Writers Guild and winner of the 2008 Key West Writer Guild short story contest for his story Old Man In The Stream.  He is the author of a popular new novel Road to Havana which highlights he and Kathleen’s adventures in Cuba and the Florida Keys. They welcome visiting sailors to their Maine Island home and to their sailboat Endeavour in Boot Key.


"The Rivertown Boys” is the tale of the adventures of Floyd and Hollis, two imaginative boys who, in the pre-TV and video game days, create their own amusement. They grow up in the fictional Rivertown, which closely resembles Wichita, Kansas where Wood himself grew up. The creative boys, like the author, scrounge back alleys and dumps for raw materials with which to build all sorts of projects. They build a push-mobile, a rowboat, and a hot air balloon. They dig for treasure and artifacts along the riverbank. They help to capture criminals, solve a long-ago murder, round up stray hogs, and rid Rivertown of thieving Gypsies. The story continues through their growing-up years when they begin to think about girls, and into the army during World War II. One chapter, ‘The Shannon County Hog War’, was adapted from his prize winning story which appeared in the Key West Writers Guild’s anthology “Key West and Beyond”. Most chapters in the book can stand alone as short stories.

In addition to the novella he has included a collection of highly entertaining tales and reminiscences to amuse and provoke thought, and sometimes transport the reader to another place and time. Orvelo Wood is also known around Key West as a sculptor. His work is currently being shown at the Key West Art Center on Front Street. Published by SeaStory Press $14.95. To order the book email

Joanna Brady Schmida

Earlier this year, Canadian born Joanna Brady Schmida published her first novel, The Woman at the Light, about a female Key West Lighthouse keeper. The book won the Key West Writers Guild award from the Florida Keys Council of the Arts in 2009, and was recipient of an Ann McKee Artists Fund grant in 2008.  Joanna has been living in Key West for 15 years, and has been writing for the Key West Citizen since 2000. She currently writes a weekly food column for the Sunday supplement, Solares Hill. She has been involved in the Key West Writers Guild for about eight years, and won first place in the short story contest in 2006 for " A Lady in Waiting ", which was later chosen as a selection for the Guild's anthology, Voices of Key West. She has sometimes served as secretary for the group.  Joanna holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto. She has lived in Italy, and now spends her summers in the Dordogne region of Southwest France. For more information about her book, visit her at



It is 1838. When lighthouse keeper Martin Lowry mysteriously vanishes off Wrecker's Cay, near Key West, his wife Emily's life is changed forever. Left on her own, Emily gets unexpected help at the lighthouse from Andrew, a charming runaway slave who washes up on the island. Emily teaches him how to tend the light, to read, and to shoot a gun. But Andrew has much more to teach her. A hurricane forces Emily and her children back to Key West. There she marries Pedro Salas, Key West's most successful businessman_a complex older man with bizarre appetites. Later, as his wealthy widow, she navigates a career of her own, and learns the power that comes with money. But one thing still eludes her: finding her lover and her daughter. This exciting story is set against the background of the Second Seminole War. It is unique to Key West taking place in the early days of both the emerging wreck-salvaging and cigar industries that so enriched the city. It's an absorbing tale of sex, slavery, greed, murder and revenge. Most of all, Emily's story tells how the passionate love of a defiant, determined woman can overcome anything.


George Thoman is a man who has lived richly, and he has the stories to prove it. A retired New York cop, he tells his tales as you might expect to hear them in a friendly local tavern, or at a neighborhood backyard barbeque. They are memory and fiction, and something in between. They are funny and frightening, and sometimes surprisingly philosophical, but always entertaining. Hop in the squad car with George; it’s a ride you’ll never forget.

Contact George at to buy the book.