2024 Events

For Desert Sleuths

An Organization for Writers, Readers, and Fans of Crime Fiction and Mystery 

Our 2024 events, below, are filled in as programming is confirmed. Select any month to move directly to that event description. Presentations are virtual unless the speaker is in the Greater Phoenix area. Then we may announce an in-person location and have a hybrid meeting.


Jan     Feb    Mar     Apr     May     Jun     Jul     Aug     Sept     Oct     Nov     Dec


July 2024

Wednesday, July 17th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast, add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

A Deep Dive into the Artistry of Agatha Christie, with Kathleen Osborne

Dame Agatha Christie (1890-1976) is often referred to as the “Queen of Crime” and “Queen of Mystery,” writing 66 detective stories and 14 short stories during her career. Even posthumously, her popularity has endured, with her works selling millions of copies worldwide, and with many of her novels being adapted for other media.

Consider this: The Murder on the Orient Express was published in 1934; it was adapted for the radio, TV, movies, and video games in various countries, including the Soviet Union, Germany, Japan, China, the UK and the US, in the years 1955, 1966, 1974, 1992, 1993, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2017, 2022, and 2023.  

What gives these works enduring popularity? What makes Christie’s themes timeless? 

White-haired, smiling woman facing the camera
Kathleen Osborne

Kathleen Osborne has been a devoted reader of Christie’s books for many years and has viewed many TV and movie adaptations. During this workshop, Kathleen will:

    • describe twelve of Christie’s significant themes,
    • provide examples, and
    • analyze Christie’s techniques for building suspense and crafting twists.

Rather than using slides, Kathleen will provide a PDF attendees can download. She will guide the group through two exercises with a short Q & A session, and we’ll finish with our usual Q & A time.

Bio: Kathleen Osborne retired from the Air Force after serving 21.5 years. She has always had a love of mysteries, and Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are still her favorite sleuths. Kathleen is the President of the White Mountains Chapter of APW in Show Low, AZ, one of the judges for the Show Low Film Festival, President of the White Mountains Festival of Books, and the Founder of Transcendent Authors.

Website: https://kathleen-osborne.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@WritingsbyKOsborne/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkathleenosborne/  

Alignable: https://www.alignable.com/writingsbykosbornellc (Alignable membership required)

Join us for an informative dive into one of the Grand Dames of Mystery!

Preregistration required. You will receive an email with the link to register on Zoom.

Please register on Zoom before the event.

Members, please come to the chapter member meeting at 6:00 p.m.

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August 2024

Wednesday, August 21st, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast, add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

Writing Historical Settings and Characters, with Clare Broyles

photo of smiling woman with long black hair sweeping over one shoulder
Clare Broyles

Desert Sleuths own Clare Broyles partners with Rhys Bowen to research and write historical mysteries. There’s more to it than conducting a Google search!


More details coming soon!


Please register on Zoom before the event.
(Registration will be available a few days after the July program has ended.)

Members, please come to the chapter member meeting at 6:00 p.m.

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September 2024

Friday and Saturday, September 20th and 21st
(East Coast, add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

WriteNOW! 2024

Our annual conference, again virtual, will have its own page when the full schedule is ready.


WriteNOW! Conference Logo
WriteNOW! Conference

WriteNow! 2024, September 20-21, 2024

Named Best Writers Conference in Arizona (2020, The Writer magazine)

Arizona’s premiere mystery/crime writers conference for authors, readers, and enthusiasts welcomes writers from all genres. WriteNow! 2024 will again be virtual, with an in-person social event.

More details will be released soon , but here are the names in alphabetical order:

Cactus that ends in a fountain pen head with red ink dripping off the point.Michael Brackman | Elizabeth Bracht | Ellen Byron | Jane Cleland
John Connor | Jennifer Dornbush | Christina Estes
Barb Goffman | Jay Hartman | Naomi Hirahara
Shane Hawk | Stephen Mack Jones | Cole Lanahan
Deborah J. Ledford | Anna Michaels | Wanda Morris
Anne Rainbow | Melissa Rechter | Jaden Terrell

With a focus on Craft ♦ Publish ♦ Market, there’s something for writers at all stages.

We hope we have you curious about what each will do, as we have workshops, agent pitches, manuscript assessments, interviews, panels, and presentations! Crowdcast will be our online platform for everything except the agent pitches (on Zoom).

Save the dates! Friday and Saturday, September 20-21, 2024.

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October 2024

Wednesday, October 16th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast, add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Speaker and topic to be announced

Please register on Zoom before the event.
(Registration will be available by mid-September.)

Members, please come to the chapter member meeting at 6:00 p.m.

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November 2024

Wednesday, November 20th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast, add 2 hours; Central, add 1; MT, add 0; Pacific, subtract 1)

Speaker and topic to be announced

Please register on Zoom before the event.
(Registration will be available a few days after the October program has ended.)

Members, please come to the chapter member meeting at 6:00 p.m.

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December 2024

In December, instead of a meeting/presentation, the chapter celebrates the close of the year with an annual holiday party. Details will be provided in October or November.

Decorative green banner with holly

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January 2024

The Publishing Game: Myths, Legends, and Truths Revealed, with Jay A. Hartman

Wednesday, January 17th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Will getting a certain number of 5-star reviews really cause Amazon to promote your book? Is ebook consumption really dying? Can piracy actually help you get sales? And what the heck is the point of metadata anyway?

Join 30-year publishing industry veteran Jay Hartman (and, his cohort, Zeke the Wonder Dog) as he peels back the covers to expose the “alternate facts” and misinformation authors and publishers alike have been exposed to and sets the record straight on a number of topics to help you become a winner in the game of publishing.

Image of a man in a dark blue polo shirt. Brown goatee and short brown hair, small oval glasses and blue eyes.
Jay Hartman

Jay A. Hartman is a 30+ year veteran of the publishing industry, with experience in both selling and producing. He started as a Waldenbooks store manager in Brunswick, Georgia, and was previously the Content Editor for KnowBetter.com, one of the Internet’s oldest sites reporting on ebooks and epublishing. Jay and his business partner at the time were hired by Random House and Simon & Schuster to provide statistical data when both publishing houses were building their ebook divisions.

In addition to his years of writing material for KnowBetter, Jay graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Literature and has worked in the retail management sector for over 30 years. Early in his career he was an on-air journalist for WVFS radio in Florida, and writer for the Florida Flambeau newspaper.

Jay would later found publishing house Untreed Reads, serving as its Editor-in-Chief for 13 years before making the decision to leave after the company was acquired by another entity. He is known as a respected innovator in the ebook industry—constantly ahead of the curve. Because of his expertise and instincts, he is a regular speaker and interviewed expert—at conferences in person and online—on ebooks and all things in the ebook industry. His newest venture, publishing house Misti Media, is now running and open for submissions. Contact info for Jay is below.

With his love of literature and his knowledge of all aspects of the ebook industry, he is an author’s best friend in this industry. Because of his background and his nature, instead of doing what most companies do and building a business on what they “think” a customer wants, he listens to the customer and gives them not only what they want now but anticipates what the customer will want 10 years from now—and gives it to them now.




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The Joy—and Art—of Writing and Selling Short Mysteries

Wednesday, February 21st, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Mystery short stories have been around as long as there’ve been mysteries (looking at YOU, Edgar Allen Poe!) and they’re tremendously fun to read—and write. Short Mystery Fiction Society VP Kathleen Marple Kalb will talk about structuring a short story, fitting plot and characters to the format, and how you can use your novel worlds in short work. Plus, we’ll take a look at the short story market, with tips on submitting to magazines and anthologies, and good places to start. (HINT: Sisters in Crime anthologies are your best friend!) We’ll also explore new opportunities for short story writers, including podcasts. Whether you’re a regular short story writer, or curious about the form, you’ll get practical craft advice and useful market information.

Three quarter view of a woman with wavy blond shoulder length hair, wearing a cobalt blue wool blazer. She is looking at the camera with a beautiful smile
Kathleen Marple Kalb

Kathleen Marple Kalb describes herself as an Author/Anchor/Mom … not in that order. An award-winning weekend anchor at New York’s 1010 WINS Radio, she writes short stories and novels including the Ella Shane and Old Stuff series, both from Level Best Books. As Nikki Knight, she writes the Vermont Radio and Grace the Hit Mom series. Her stories, under both pen names, have been in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Weekly, Mystery Magazine, and many anthologies, and short-listed for Derringer and Black Orchid Novella Awards. Active in writer’s groups, she’s Vice President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society and Co-VP of the New York/Tri-State Sisters in Crime Chapter. She, her husband, and son live in a Connecticut house owned by their cat.

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March 2024

“Writing Adjacent” for Fun and Profit: What & Why & How to Write Beyond Your Fiction, with Kirsche Romo, Kelly Oliver, and Sharon Short

Wednesday, March 20th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Your primary project may be to write a novel or novella or short stories. But whether you are an emerging or established writer, there are advantages to working in other genres and finding other places (in print and online) to publish your shorter pieces.

build street cred | hone your writing skills | raise professional visibility | earn extra cash

image with 3 presenters: Romo, Oliver, Short
Romo, Oliver, Short

In this panel, these three established and award-winning mystery authors— Kirsche Romo, Kelly Oliver, and Sharon Short—will discuss some of their “other writing” that is ancillary to their novel writing but adds value to their brand. Combined, these authors have written hundreds of book reviews for numerous publications, developed a newsletter with tens of thousands of subscribers, contributed a regular column in Writer’s Digest for four years running, and more.

They will discuss how they started on these “adjacent” paths. You will Learn How To:

  • find places that will welcome your writing,
  • pitch your writing,
  • balance “adjacent” writing with your primary project, and
  • where they find their ideas, as well as
  • some “do’s and don’ts” for pursuing these other avenues.

This will be a panel discussion with 15 minutes for Q&A at the end.

Bio: Kirsche Romo (K.L. Romo) writes about life on the fringe. She is passionate about women’s issues, loves noisy clocks and fuzzy blankets, but HATES the word normal. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, for which she directs the QueryFest program at ThrillerFest, and is Assistant Editor of their entertainment website, The Big Thrill. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Bio: Kelly Oliver is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle grade Pet Detective Mysteries; and the seven-book historical cozy Fiona Figg Mysteries (with spin-off Fiona Figg & Kitty Lane Mysteries). She is the current President of Sisters in Crime.

Bio: Sharon Short is the author of fifteen published books. Her newest, Trouble Island, is historical suspense inspired by bootlegging and family history. Sharon is a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest, for which she writes the column, “Level Up Your Writing (Life)” and teaches for Writer’s Digest University. Find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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April 2024

Wednesday, April 17th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (MST)

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast: add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

The Long Road to Overnight Success, with Craig Johnson

3 images: The Longmire Defense book cover, author Craig Johnson, Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire on cover of Cowboys & Indians magazine
The Longmire Defense, author Craig Johnson, and Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire

Join us for a very special presentation from Craig Johnson, the New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mystery novels, the basis for Longmire, the hit Netflix original drama. He has graciously offered to share his writing journey, from growing up in West Virginia, to the earliest days of writing, to his Netflix success (with over 4 milli2on viewers), to his most recent and upcoming novels. You will not want to miss this event.

Bio: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mystery novels, which are the basis for Longmire, the hit Netflix original drama. The books have won multiple awards: Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur/Bibliobs, the Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year, Le Prix 813, the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award, the Mountains & Plains Book of the Year, the SNCF Prix de Polar, Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, The Watson Award, Library Journal’s Best Mystery of the Year, the Rocky, and the Will Rogers Award for Fiction. Spirit of Steamboat was selected by the Wyoming State Library as the inaugural One Book Wyoming. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-six.icon for return to top of page

May 2024

Saturday, May 11th, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (MST)
(East Coast: add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

Workshop $25 Desert Sleuths and TSinC members, $35 all others

Four or Five Key Points on the Short Story
A virtual workshop with Art Taylor


Man with glasses in a dark blue shirt smiles gently at the camera
Art Taylor

Short stories must start quickly—middle of the action. The final lines need to wrap everything up—and offer a surprise plot twist. Between start and finish, every word must count. Oh, and the best word count: 5000. (Don’t go over!)

In this virtual workshop, Edgar Award-winning short story author Art Taylor offers fresh insights and perspectives into some of the “rules” for writing short fiction—and offers tools for writers to use in drafting, revising, and putting the final polish to their own stories.

While this workshop is one of several offerings to help our members get their stories into shape for the upcoming anthology, SOWEST: DANGER AWAITS!, we encourage others to take advantage of this learning opportunity and improve your short story skills.

Bio: Art Taylor is the Edgar Award-winning author of two short story collections—The Adventure of the Castle Thief and Other Expeditions and Indiscretions and The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspenseand of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First NovelHe won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for “English 398: Fiction Workshop,” originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and he has won three additional Agatha Awards, an Anthony Award, four Macavity Awards, and four Derringer Awards for his short fiction.

Taylor’s work has also appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, and he edited Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015, winner of the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection, and California Schemin’: Bouchercon Anthology 2020. He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University, and he has contributed frequently to the Washington Post, the Washington Independent Review of Books, and Mystery Scene Magazine.

You can find Taylor at:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6153513.Art_Taylor

X (aka Twitter): https://twitter.com/ArtTaylorWriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtTaylorShortStories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arttaylorwriter/?hl=en


Preregistration Required: The workshop will be conducted via Crowdcast, but you will register on our site and receive a confirmation message from us.

If you already have a Crowdcast account, please register with us using the same address you use on Crowdcast. That will remove one step from your being ready to attend. If you do not have a Crowdcast account (it’s free), you will be asked by Crowdcast to create one after we upload the registrations to their platform. You must follow through with that to get into the workshop and to view the workshop again after the event has concluded.

One week before the workshop, you will receive a confirmation message from Crowdcast with the login link.

(East Coast: add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

Desert Sleuths and Tucson SinC members, we will confirm your membership before submitting your registration to Crowdcast.

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Wednesday, May 15th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (MST)

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast: add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

A Character’s Journey Through a Standalone or Series,
Elena Hartwell/Elena Taylor

book cover, author, and another book cover
Elena Hartwell Taylor

Characters have arcs, whether they’re in a single book or long-running series. But what does that really mean?

Join author and developmental editor Elena Hartwell Taylor for a discussion about how a character’s internal state drives action and why super-objectives are key to generating a successful plot. Understanding character arcs can help finish a first draft or put the final polish on a submission-ready manuscript.

Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning to novels. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime fighting duo. With Sheriff Bet Rivers, Elena returned to her dramatic roots and created a much more serious and atmospheric series. The 2nd, A Cold, Cold World, launches August 6.

Taylor is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays.

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June 2024

Wednesday, June 19th, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Chapter Meeting at 6:00 p.m.; Presentation from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
(East Coast, add 3 hours; Central, add 2; MT, add 1; Pacific, subtract 0)

Life on the Streets as an LAPD Cop—The Details, with James Bultema

Image of a white man with short silver hair, piercing blue eyes, serious expression looking directly into the camera.
James Bultema

Are you writing a book and need to know more about police procedures? How are initial investigations conducted? The camaraderie between officers? How are radio calls handled? Detectives and street cops’ relations?

Award-winning author James Bultema, a former 26-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department, brings his expertise to share with Desert Sleuths. Through Q & A in this session, you can learn that and, most importantly, the details you want answered for your book.

Bultema’s first novel, Sea of Red, a military thriller, won awards from BestThrillers.com, American Fiction Awards, and the Independent Press Awards. Bultema has written several books related to law enforcement history, including Guardians of Angels: A History of the Los Angeles Police Department

website: https://www.jamesbultema.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=61553646783602 

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