2019 Bios

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Panelists & ‘Ask the Experts’

Brenda Buchanon (Panelist)

Brenda Buchanan is a lawyer and former journalist who sets her crime novels in and around Portland, Maine. The three books in her Joe Gale series, Quick Pivot, Cover Story and Truth Beat, feature a newspaper reporter with modern media savvy who covers the Maine crime beat. Brenda currently is hard at work on new projects. A member of the board of directors of Sisters in Crime New England and a regular on the Maine Crime Writers blog.

Lucy Burdette (Panelist)
Clinical psychologist Lucy Burdette (aka Roberta Isleib) has published 17 mysteries, including the latest  Key West food critic mystery, A Deadly Feast (Crooked Lane Books, May 2019.) Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime.

Richard Cass (Panelist)
Richard Cass is the author of the Elder Darrow jazz mystery series: Solo Act, In Solo Time, and Burton’s Solo. In Solo Time won the 2018 Maine Literary Award in Crime Fiction. The fourth book in the series, Last Call at the Esposito, is in production. Cass serves on the board of Mystery Writers of America’s New England Chapter and blogs with the Maine Crime Writers. He lives in Cape Elizabeth, ME.

Ann Cleeves (Panelist, Guest of Honor)
Ann Cleeves is the multi-million copy bestselling author behind two hit television series – the BBC’s Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall, and ITV’s Vera, starring Academy Award Nominee Brenda Blthyn – both of which are watched and loved in the US.  Shetland is available in the US on Netflix, Amazon Video, Britbox and PBS, and Vera is available on Hulu, Amazon Video, Britbox, and PBS.  The first Shetland novel, Raven Black, won the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel, and Ann was awarded the CWA Diamond Dagger in 2017.  She lives in the UK.

Bruce Robert Coffin (Panelist)
Bruce Robert Coffin is the bestselling and Agatha nominated author of the Detective Byron mystery series. A former detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine’s largest city. Following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Bruce spent four years investigating counter-terrorism cases for FBI, earning the Director’s Award, the highest award a non-agent can receive.

Amy Collins (Panelist)
Amy Collins is the President of New Shelves Books, one of the best-known book sales and marketing agencies in the US. Collins is a trusted expert, speaker, and recommended sales consultant for some of the largest book and library retailers and wholesalers in the publishing industry. She is a USA TODAY and WALL STREET JOURNAL bestselling author and in the last 20 years, Amy and her team have sold over 40 Million books into the bookstore, library, and Chain store market for small and midsized publishers.  She is a columnist for and a board member of several publishing organizations and a trusted teacher in the world of independent publishers.

Sheila Connolly (Panelist)
After careers as an art historian, an investment banker, a non-profit fundraiser, a political staffer, and a professional genealogist, Sheila Connolly decided to write mysteries. Now she is the New York Times bestselling, Anthony and Agatha award-nominated author of the Orchard Mysteries, the Museum Mysteries, the County Cork Mysteries, the Relatively Dead Mysteries, and the Victorian Village Mysteries. When she isn’t writing Sheila loves restoring old houses, hunting for ancestors in cemeteries, and traveling.

Judy Copek (Panelist)

Judith’s current novel, Chased By Death, is a woman-in-jeopardy story that ranges from Boston to Northern Nevada. In 2017, Judith and her husband were honored with the first New England Crimebake Lifetime Achievement Award. Short stories and memoir as well as three earlier novels are part of her published writing.

Ray Daniel (Panelist)
Ray Daniel is an award-winning author of Boston-based crime fiction and is the author of the Tucker Mysteries. His short story “Give Me a Dollar” won a 2014 Derringer Award for short fiction and “Driving Miss Rachel” was chosen as a 2013 distinguished short story by Otto Penzler, editor of The Best American Mystery Stories 2013.

Sharon Daynard (Panelist)
Sharon Daynard has been offered the services of a professional hitman, crossed paths with a serial killer, testified before grand juries, and taken lie detector tests. She is member of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime.

C. Michele Dorsey (Panelist, Co-Chair)
C. Michele Dorsey is the author of No Virgin Island and Permanent Sunset in the Sabrina Salter mystery series set on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Michele is a lawyer, mediator and adjunct professor of law, who finds inspiration and serenity on St. John and on Cape Cod. She is co-chair of New England Crime Bake and has served on the boards of SINC NE and MWANE.

Elisabeth Elo (Panelist)
Elisabeth Elo’s new thriller, Finding Katarina M., is forthcoming in March 2019 from Polis Books. Her previous novel, North of Boston, was named one of Booklist’s Best Crime Novels: 2014. Elisabeth also published a literary novel called Save Your Own, chosen as a People Magazine “Great Read,” and her short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in a variety of publications.

Hallie Ephron (Panelist)
Hallie Ephron is the NY Times bestselling author of eleven suspense novels. Reviewing her newest, Careful What You Wish ForKirkus Reviews praised her “tidy approach to stowing clues, arousing suspicions, keeping the chaos of the climax under control, then tying up loose ends makes her a professional organizer of this type of entertainment. In a word—neat.” She is a five-time finalist for the MH Clark Award, Edgar finalist for Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel.

Charles Fergus (Panelist)
Charles Fergus has had 19 books published, including two novels. He has written for publications as various as Audubon, Country Journal, Highlights for Children, and the New York Times. He works as a communications consultant for the Wildlife Management Institute. A Stranger Here Below, his first mystery, is influenced by the personal tragedy of his own mother’s murder. Fergus lives in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom with his wife, the writer Nancy Marie Brown, and four Icelandic horses.

Joseph Finder (Panelist)
Joseph Finder is the New York Times bestselling author of most recently Judgment and his forthcoming sixteenth novel House On Fire. His books have won numerous awards, including the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for Buried Secrets (2011), the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel for Killer Instinct (2006) and the Barry Award for Best Thriller for Company Man (2005). The Boston Globe has called him the “master of the modern thriller.”  Two of his novels have been made into major motion pictures, including High Crimes, adapted into the hit 2002 movie starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman; and Paranoia, the 2013 film starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, and Liam Hemsworth. House on Fire will be published in January 2020.

Kate Flora (Panelist)
Flora’s fascination with people’s criminal tendencies began in the Maine attorney general’s office dealing with deadbeat dads, abused kids, and employers’ discrimination. The author of twenty-one books, Flora’s been a finalist for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer awards. She won the Public Safety Writers Association award for nonfiction and the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction. Her latest books are Schooled in Death, A Child Shall Lead Them, and a crime story collection Careful What You Wish For.

Sally Goldenbaum (Panelist)
Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, an editor, knitter and hiker, and the USA Today bestselling author of three dozen novels, including The Seaside Knitters Society mysteries and the Queen Bees Quilt Shop mystery series. She loves exploring the intricacies of small-town living, along with the power of women’s friendship as her seaside women use intuition and emotion to uncover murderers in their town. Sally does her best writing over lattes in noisy coffee shops or surrounded by millions of words and childhood smells in favorite libraries—or sometimes sitting on a porch with a writer friend. She recently moved to Cape Ann, MA, where she walks the shore every day, rubbing shoulders with her fictional friends.

Carol Goodman (Panelist)
Carol Goodman is the author of twenty-one novels, including The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water, which won the 2003 Hammett Prize, and The Widow’s House, which won the 2018 Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family, and teaches literature and writing at The New School and SUNY New Paltz.

Connie Johnson Hambley (Panelist)
Connie Johnson Hambley’s passion is writing great suspense, but she knows creating successful books is like creating a business. After receiving her law degree, Connie worked with the venture capital and start-up communities, learning the full spectrum of pressures involved in making “authorpreneurial” dreams a reality in today’s changing marketplace. Connie is President of Sisters in Crime New England, a member of Mystery Writers of America, and board member of New England Crime Bake.

Edwin Hill (Panelist)
Edwin Hill is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hester Thursby mystery series, including the Agatha-nominated LITTLE COMFORT and THE MISSING ONES. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

Ben Keller (Panelist)
Ben Keller built a successful PI firm primarily serving the Gulf Coast area, investigating a variety of cases including corporate fraud, missing persons, homicide/violent crimes, and political corruption. Keller now leads an international team of investigators and security consultants for a Fortune 250 company and splits his time between New York, New Orleans, and an endless succession of airports. In addition to advanced training in subjects like Interrogation and Threat Assessment, Keller received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, studying Criminal Justice, English, and Psychology. His continuing education efforts include study at Georgetown University and Northwestern University, and training from the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

Lisa Lieberman (Panelist)
Lisa Lieberman writes the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries based on old movies and featuring blacklisted Hollywood people in dangerous international locales. Her books hit the sweet spot between Casablanca and John Le Carré. 

Dru Ann Love (Panelist)
Dru Ann Love spends her non-working hours on her award-winning blog where the “day in the life” segment is prominently featured. She is an avid reader who quilts, loves watching horror and sci-fi movies, loves to travel and is happy to be in “her element” within the mystery community. Dru Ann is a 2017 MWA Raven Award recipient and was nominated for an Anthony Award in 2015 and 2018 for Dru’s book musings. Website: https://drusbookmusing.com/

William Martin (Panelist)
William Martin is the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels, including Back Bay, The Lincoln Letter, and most recently, Bound for Gold.

Edith Maxwell (Panelist, Co-Chair)
Agatha- and Macavity-nominated Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she pens the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Maxwell lives north of Boston where she gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook.

Ruth M. McCarty (Panelist)
Ruth M. McCarty’s short mysteries have appeared in Level Best Books anthologies, Flash Bang Mysteries, Murder Most Edible and Over My Dead Body! The Mystery Magazine Online. She won the 2009 Derringer Award given by the Short Mystery Fiction Society for her story “No Flowers for Stacey” published in Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers. She is the former editor at Level Best Books, a member SinC, and MWA.

Frances McNamara (Panelist)
Frances McNamara is author of The Emily Cabot Mysteries set in Chicago beginning with the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and extending into the twentieth century. She was a librarian at the University of Chicago before retiring to her hometown of Boston where she plans to set another historical mystery series. With homes in Boston and Cape Cod she sails small boats when not writing. Death at the Blackstone Hotel is book 8 of the series.


Lorraine Sharma Nelson (Panelist)
Lorraine Sharma Nelson grew up globally, constantly having to adapt to different cultures. Writing was her escape from the reality of always being the new girl in school. These days she writes for the pure joy of creating new stories instead of escapism. Her short stories have been published in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery/crime anthologies, and usually feature an Indian protagonist.

Paula Munier (Agent & Panelist)
Paula Munier is an agent and author whose first crime novel A Borrowing of Bones debuts from Minotaur in September 2018. Her other books include the bestselling Plot Perfect and The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings. In her fab day job at Talcott Notch Literary, she reps many great crime writers. L

Susan Oleksiw (Panelist)
Susan Oleksiw is the author of three series, including the Pioneer Valley series featuring Felicity O’Brien, farmer, and healer. She also writes the Mellingham series featuring Chief Joe Silva, and the Anita Ray series set in South India, following the exploits of photographer Anita Ray.

Leigh Perry (Panelists)
Leigh Perry is actually two authors. As Leigh, she writes the Family Skeleton mysteries featuring adjunct professor Georgia Thackery and her pal Sid, an ambulatory family skeleton. The Skeleton Stuffs a Stocking, the sixth, was just released. As Toni L.P. Kelner, she’s written eleven mystery novels and co-edited seven anthologies with Charlaine Harris. She won the Agatha for Best Short Story, and has been nominated for the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Derringer.

Dale Phillips (Panelist)
Dale has published novels, collections, non-fiction, and over 70 short stories. Stephen King was Dale’s college writing teacher, and since then, Dale has found time to appear on stage, television, radio, in an independent feature film, and compete on Jeopardy (losing in a spectacular fashion).

Ang Pompano (Panelist)
Ang Pompano’s first novel WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING was published last month. His story, “Diet of Death” appears in the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology MYSTERY MOST EDIBLE. He has been on the New England Crime Bake Planning Committee for 14 years and is a board member of Sisters in Crime New England. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Annette, and his rescue dog, Dexter.

Hank Phillippi Ryan (Panelist)
Hank Phillippi Ryan is an on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s WHDH-TV, winning 34 Emmys. Nationally bestselling author of 11 mysteries, Ryan’s also won five Agathas, three Anthonys, two Macavitys, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her novels are Library Journal’s Best of 2014, 2015 and 2016. Hank’s 2018 book is TRUST ME, an Agatha Nominee, and a Best of the Year from New York Post, BOOK BUB, Real Simple Magazine, and CrimeReads. Her newest thriller is THE MURDER LIST.

Joanna Schaffhausen (Panelist)
Joanna Schaffhausen has a doctorate in psychology, which reflects her long-standing interest in the brain―how it develops and the many ways it can go wrong. No Mercy is her second novel featuring police officer Ellery Hathaway and FBI agent Reed Markham. Her debut, The Vanishing Season, won the Mystery Writers of America/St. Martin’s Minotaur First Crime Novel Award. She lives in the Boston area with her family and a boisterous basset hound puppy named Winston.

B.S. Shapiro (Panelist)
B.A. Shapiro is the New York Times bestselling author of THE COLLECTOR’S APPRENTICE, THE MURALIST, THE ART FORGER, THE SAFE ROOM, BLIND SPOT, SEE NO EVIL, BLAMELESS and SHATTERED ECHOES. Her books have been on many bestseller lists, won many awards and have been translated into over a dozen languages.

Shawn Reilly Simmons (Panelist)
Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of The Red Carpet Catering Mysteries and over a dozen short stories appearing in various anthologies including Malice Domestic, The Best New England Crime Stories, Bouchercon, and Crime Writers’ Association series. Shawn serves on the Board of Malice Domestic and is co-editor at Level Best Books. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and The Crime Writers’ Association in the U.K. 

Joe Souza (Panelist)
Joseph Souza won the Andre Dubus Award, was Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award and in 2013 won the Maine Literary Award. His psychological thriller, THE NEIGHBOR (Kensington) was published in 2018. His new suspense thriller, PRAY FOR THE GIRL Kensington), was published on April 30th, 2019.

Julia Spencer-Fleming (Panelist)
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Marian Stanley (Panelist)
After a long international corporate career and a closing chapter on the staff of a large university, Marian McMahon Stanley turned to writing mysteries. She is the author of a number of short stories and two Boston-based mystery novels, The Immaculate and Buried Troubles.  Marian lives in a small town west of Boston, where she is working on a new mystery – The Mariposa Circle, based in Pittsburgh and Boston.

Janet Raye Stevens (Panelist)
Janet Raye Stevens writes short stories and novel-length mystery, YA, and romance. A 2019 Derringer Award nominee, three-time Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Award finalist (winning in 2018) and Daphne du Maurier Award winner, Janet lives in Massachusetts, where she spends her days drinking copious amounts of tea (Earl Gray, hot) plotting revenge (best served cold), and creating fictional worlds populated with cool chicks and hot guys.

Barbara Struna (Panelist)
Barbara Eppich Struna, international bestselling author bases her tales on Cape Cod’s history and her own personal experiences. Three suspenseful historical novels, part of her Old Cape Series, have accumulated literary awards and over 1000 reviews. Barbara is President of Cape Cod Writers Center; member of International Thriller Writers; Sisters In Crime, National, New England, LA; Member in Letters- N.L.A.P.W. She also writes a blog about the unique facts and myths of Cape Cod.

Wendy Tyson (Panelist)
Wendy Tyson is a is an active writer, lawyer, and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes three mystery series: the bestselling Greenhouse Mystery Series, the popular Allison Campbell Mystery Series, and the forthcoming Delilah Percy Powers Crime Series. Wendy’s short stories have appeared in literary journals, and she has short fiction in two crime fiction anthologies, The Night of the Flood and Betrayed. Wendy and her family live in Vermont.

Gabriel Valjan (Panelist)
Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Company Files and the Roma Series with Winter Goose Publishing. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications, including Level Best anthologies. He received an Honorable Mention in the Nero Wolfe Black Orchid Novella Contest in 2018. Gabriel lives in Boston’s South End.

Eddie Vincent (Panelist)
Eddie Vincent is a co-owner of Encircle Publications. In 2016 Encircle Publications started publishing full-length mystery novels. Eddie’s background is in graphic design, specializing in book production and cover design. He began his publishing journey in the newspaper business and has been in the book business since 2002, working for a large print publisher as their cover design manager before joining his wife, Cynthia, full time at Encircle Publications.

J.R Walcutt (Panelist)
J.R. Walcutt is a former microfinancier, chicken farmer and tarot card reader. He’s searched for lost Native American tribes in the deserts of Mexico, hitchhiked around the south of Spain, worked as an aid worker in the slums of Mumbai, lived on a sinking boat in the port of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, and started an export business in Beijing. His debut novel, GAIA HUNTED, is an international thriller with elements of fantasy and reincarnation. He lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

Mo Walsh (Panelist)
Mo is a Derringer finalist and winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Short Mystery/Suspense Contest whose stories have appeared in Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine, Woman’s World, five issues of Best New England Crime Stories, and on line. Mo coauthored the “killer trivia” book A Miscellany of Murder. She is a member of SinCNE and chapter president of MWA-NE.

Jane Willan (Panelist)
Reverend Jane Willan is the author of the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery series published by Crooked Lane Books.  She is embarking on a new clerical mystery series in Vermont featuring an amateur sleuth who is a former Marine and newly ordained pastor. Jane is the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Paxton, MA and lives in the church parsonage with her husband Don and their two rescue dogs, Magi and Moses.

Paul Zambella (Panelist)
Paul Zambella was employed as a Forensic Scientist at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory for 36 years. His functions in the laboratory included crime scene investigator, criminalist, drug analyst, serologist and toxicologist. He participated in more than 500 crime scene investigations, examined thousands of physical evidence items and testified in more than 350 criminal trials. Paul has taught courses in Forensic Science at Northeastern University, Salem State University and Hesser College. He has also lectured at Suffolk University and to various law enforcement institutions.

Kristopher Zgorski (Panelist)
Kristopher Zgorski is the founder of the crime fiction book review blog, BOLO Books and was awarded the Mystery Writers of America Raven Award in 2018. Kristopher’s reviews also run in genre-specific publications such as Deadly Pleasures Magazine, Crimespree Magazine and Mystery Readers Journal, and most recently he took over the Blog Bytes Column in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Kristopher is also the Secretary on the Malice Domestic Board.

James Ziskin (Panelist)
James W. Ziskin, Jim to his friends, is the author of the Anthony and Macavity award-winning Ellie Stone series. His books have been finalists for the Edgar, Barry, and Lefty awards. He worked in New York as director of NYU’s Casa Italiana before spending fifteen years in the Hollywood subtitling industry. He speaks Italian and French.