2024 Board Nominees

Who’s Behind the Names on the Ballot!

Officers (Executive Committee)


image of Claire A Murray
Claire A Murray

CLAIRE A MURRAY is a crime/mystery, fantasy, and sci-fi author who hosts multiple weekly write-ins for aspiring and experienced authors, writes reviews for Kings River Life Magazine, and participates in critique groups. A lifetime National SinC member, she is a member of five chapters as well as Mystery Writers of America and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Many of her short stories are published in magazines and anthologies. Claire was lead editor for 2023’s SoWest: Wrong Turn and recently published her own short story collection, Play the Hand You’re Dealt.

“As vice president in 2022 and president in 2023, I set us on the path toward being eligible for non-profit discounts to reduce our operating costs and sought resources to improve and streamline chapter management. I have also tried to expand our visibility in the writing community nationwide, aided by a number of talented members and chapter leaders.”

VICE PRESIDENT: open, no nominee yet


image of Margaret Burnison
Margaret Burnison

MARGARET BURNISON is a retired programmer who has been actively writing for eight years and enjoys the monthly presentations and 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. Margaret has worked closely with other chapter leaders to create transparency in our financials and co-chaired WriteNOW! 2023, which was a success on all levels.

Margaret will take on the role of vice president if someone else steps forward as treasurer. She will mentor the new treasurer in that role.

“I feel the way to get the most out of an organization is to be involved. I joined in late September 2019 after attending an in-person Desert Sleuths conference. In October of 2021, I accepted the position of Treasurer, which I have held for the last two years. I still want to be involved and use my skills to see our great writers’ organization grow even more.”


image of Paula Barr Skillicorn
Paula Barr Skillicorn

PAULA BARR SKILLICORN is an accomplished journalist with expertise in writing, interviewing, investigating, and editing. She is an excellent networker who connects with people from all walks of life and is experienced writing stories dealing with government, crime and courts, real estate, gardening, and more. She is a professional writer through her company, Make a Difference Writing Services.

“I accepted the position of secretary of the board of directors for our chapter in 2023 because I realize how important it is for an organization’s members to participate in leadership roles, even those of us who have had little or no experience doing so. This year, I have been learning the roles and responsibilities of the secretary and would like to use my newfound skills to continue to serve the chapter as secretary in 2024.”


Jennifer Dornbush
Jennifer Dornbush

JENNIFER DORNBUSH is a screenwriter, author, international speaker, and forensic specialist. Raised by a medical examiner whose office was in their home, forensics and crime writing are infused into her DNA. To date, Jennifer has penned the suspense thriller, Hole in the Woods; an historical crime fiction, The Locard Principle; a true crime memoir, Raised By the Ice Man; the The Coroner’s Daughter ongoing mystery series; and contributes to mystery anthologies. She also created the acclaimed crime writer’s guide, Forensic Speak. As a screenwriter, she has optioned, sold, developed, and adapted material for film and television. Jennifer is a sought-out international teacher, speaker, and mentor.

“I served as DS Member-at-Large in 2022 and on the Program Committee in 2023. I want to continue to support and uplift my sisters in crime on our writing journeys.”

MEMBER-AT-LARGE: Some committee chairs will be appointed to Member-At-Large positions as needed, but anyone who wishes to add their name for consideration, please write it in on the ballot.

COMMITTEES: (no vote needed)


image of Suzanne Flaig
Suzanne “Sue” Flaig

SUZANNE E FLAIG 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 and current Member-at-Large of the Desert Sleuths chapter. She is also a member of the Society of Southwestern Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and the Mesa Writers Guild. Suzanne was an editor for 2023’s SoWest: Wrong Turn and is editor of The Savvy Sleuths newsletter.


Donis Casey
Donis Casey

DONIS CASEY is the author of twelve historical mysteries, including a new mystery/thriller series set in glamorous 1920s Hollywood and starring Bianca LaBelle, intrepid heroine of the silent screen action serial, The Adventures of Bianca Dangereuse. Donis also penned ten Alafair Tucker mysteries set in Oklahoma during the booming 1920s. Her first novel, The Old Buzzard Had it Coming, was named an Oklahoma Centennial Book. Donis has twice won the Arizona Book Award, been a finalist for the Willa Ward, and is a nine-time finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award.

Donis has managed the membership for several years and seeks someone to assist her in the unglamorous but highly important task of keeping our membership data up-to-date and welcoming new and returning members.


JENNIFER DORNBUSH (see above for Member-at-Large). Jennifer has served on the program committee over the past year and will continue as co-chair and represent the committee on the board as member-at-large.


image of Karen Odden
Karen Odden

KAREN ODDEN: After a career in publishing and marketing, Karen Odden earned her Ph.D. in English from New York University, writing her dissertation on Victorian literature and history. Once she turned to fiction, she camped out in 1870s London. Karen’s first novel, A Lady in the Smoke (2016), 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 next two novels, Down a Dark River (2021) and Under A Veiled Moon (2022), feature Michael Corravan, a former thief and bare-knuckles boxer who becomes an inspector at Scotland Yard in 1878. Under A Veiled Moon was nominated for several major awards.

A six-year member of Sisters in Crime, Karen served as the Secretary for Desert Sleuths in 2021 and Program Chair since 2022 and is the Publicity Liaison for National SinC. She offers workshops on craft and aspects of the writing life to National SinC, Desert Sleuths, and other writing organizations nationwide. She appreciates the opportunity to give back to the SinC community that has supported her professionally and personally for the past six years.