2023 Board Nominee Bios

Who’s Behind the Names on the Ballot!

Officers (Executive Committee)


image of Claire A Murray
Claire A Murray

Claire A Murray has more than 40 years of volunteer and volunteer management experience with nonprofit and membership organizations. She is currently the Desert Sleuths Vice President and Newsletter Editor. Claire worked closely with the Treasurer to shepherd in our new accounting/CRM system (MonkeyPod) and with the Membership Chair and President to import all our membership records.

Claire writes crime/mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi, hosts multiple weekly write-ins, including for SinC National, writes reviews for Kings River Life Magazine, and participates in critique groups. She’s a member of five SinC chapters, MWA, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. She has 13 published short stories (2 earned Honorable Mention and 2 won 3rd Place), is completing a suspense fantasy novel, and has two other novels (one a trilogy) in progress.

Vice President:

image of Debra Kuhns
Debra “Deb” Kuhns

Debra “Deb” Kuhns is an innovative award-winning C-level leader with a proven track record of creating marketing strategy, building brands, and increasing user engagement. While managing major initiatives for Apple, she was inspired by Steve Jobs’ vision to “change the world one desktop at a time.” She currently freelances as a writer/editor of multi-genre fiction, non-fiction, content writing, and marketing.

Now in a new phase of life, Deb strives to serve by lending her skills and talents to organizations and causes that will let her continue to develop and grow. In a relatively short time with Sisters in Crime, she has met extraordinary women with an incredible range of  experience and wants to work with Desert Sleuths in whatever capacity she can be most helpful.


image of Margaret Burnison
Margaret Burnison

Margaret Burnison is a retired programmer who has loved reading books and dabbling in writing for years. A Desert Sleuths member since 2019, she is the current Treasurer and has introduced a new accounting program at half the cost of our former one. Learning MonkeyPod and integrating all our financial records into it was a worthy challenge, as it’s made managing our financial records much easier.

Margaret has been actively writing for eight years and enjoys the monthly presentations and the support of fellow writers. She loves that Desert Sleuths supports all genres, especially since she writes fantasy and romantic fantasy. She has completed two first drafts and is working on the second book in a trilogy.

Secretary: this position is still open for nominations


image of Suzanne Flaig
Suzanne “Sue” Flaig

Suzanne “Sue” Flaig (Historian) is a current member-at-large and Chair of WriteNow! 2022. She is the author of the Missy Jenkins musical mystery series, Terror in Double Time, Death in 3/4 Time, and Killing in Quarter Time. Her short stories appear in print and online, including several in various anthologies. Two books of original short stories, Thrilled to Death and Deadly Droplets, are available on Amazon and Kindle.

Suzanne is a member of three SinC chapters, and a past president of Desert Sleuths. She is also a member of the Society of Southwestern Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and the Mesa Writers Guild.

image of Karen Odden
Karen Odden

Karen Odden (Program Chair) is the current Desert Sleuths Program Chair and was Secretary in 2021. After a career in publishing and marketing, Karen earned her Ph.D. in English with a focus on Victorian literature and history. She taught at UW-Milwaukee and served as an editor for the academic journal Victorian Literature and Culture before turning to writing fiction set in 1870s London.

Karen’s first novel, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller; her next two mysteries, A Dangerous Duet and A Trace of Deceit, won awards for historical mystery and historical fiction. Her fourth novel, Down a Dark River (2021), introduced a detective from 1878 Scotland Yard. Its sequel, UNDER A VEILED MOON, will release in hardcover, e-book, and audiobook on October 11, 2022.


image of Paula Barr Skillicorn
Paula Barr Skillicorn

Paula Barr Skillicorn is a career journalist with a master’s degree in professional writing. She is a contributing author of Crime on Deadline, (The Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN: 1-57297-175-4) and co-wrote an article on restorative justice with her late husband, Dennis Skillicorn, for Prisons Almanac 2004, published by the Prisons Foundation, Washington D.C. An essay on mental health is scheduled for publication in spring 2023.

Paula presented at the first World Congress Against the Death Penalty at the Council of Europe in France, and she and Dennis spoke at the Second World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Canada. She is currently reworking a narrative nonfiction book into a braided memoir about living under the death penalty and is nearing completion on her first cozy mystery.

Thank you.

Desert Sleuths Nominating Committee
Kasandra “Kassie” Singh, Claire A Murray, Erynn Crowley