In addition to our wonderful Guests of Honor, Rachel Howzell Hall and Deborah Crombie, we’ve got a terrific line up of conference faculty. Please note, our programming has not been finalized and the below list is subject to change (though probably not drastically).
Edward Arno was born in a field in Frankley Beeches, Birmingham, England. His father was a milkman and his mother was a house parlor maid. They met during a bombing raid at the end of the Second World War. Growing up on a council estate, he attended the local public schools. The Issigonis Mini auto plant at Longbridge was the symphonic sound of his childhood. After attending the Royal Radar Establishment College of Electronic he joined the entertainment industry. Performing as Brinarno the Clown in theatres around Britain. Moving forward with his career he directed many music videos before writing and directing the film Murder Story recently re-released. He moved to America and began writing murder mysteries. He resides in Burbank, California and is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America and on the board of the SoCal MWA.
Anne Louise Bannon
Mark Bruce works as a solo practitioner in San Bernardino, California. He has worked in various Public Defender offices across the state and has tried nearly 150 jury trials as well as thousands of court trials. He won the 2018 Black Orchid Novella Award for his story “Minerva James and the Goddess of Justice.” Ten Minerva James short stories have been published in magazines such as Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and in three Dandelion Revolution Press anthologies. He lives in Barstow with a stuffed mermaid named Mariah and his writing support dragon Ferdinand. His only son lives in Michigan with a wife,a child, and a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering. That’s right. His son is a rocket scientist.
Craig Faustus Buck
Alicia Gaspar de Alba, PhD
Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala recently retired from the LAPD, where, as the Director of the Office of Operations (OO), she was the highest ranking woman in the department. As Director of OO, she was responsible for overseeing four geographic bureaus which cover the entire City of Los Angeles and all uniformed patrol resources: West Bureau, Central Bureau, South Bureau, and Valley Bureau. She also oversaw the Public Engagement Section, which emphasizes the Department’s commitment to community outreach with a variety of community and youth programs.
Assistant Chief Girmala is a 37-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. She is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles who enjoys the diversity and energy which defines this City, and feels that being an intimate part of its geography makes her a true stakeholder in change.
She was a member of the scholastic honor society Alpha Lambda Delta. At UCLA, Assistant Chief Girmala studied political science, public administration, and public law, graduating with honors, Magna Cum Laude, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in the discipline of Political Science.
Veronica Gutierrez is the author of As You Look, a mystery novel (Bella Books). She is a former community organizer, civil servant, civil rights attorney, and corporate executive. She draws from years of experience in those worlds for her fiction. Veronica was born and raised in Boyle Heights, the Los Angeles neighborhood that her protagonist, Yolanda Avila, calls home. Veronica splits her time between Los Angeles and San Francisco with her wife Laura. When not writing, Veronica and Laura host mixology lesson fundraisers called Mixology On a Mission.
Naomi Hirahara is an Edgar Award-winning author of multiple traditional mystery series and noir short stories. Her Mas Arai mysteries feature a Los Angeles gardener and Hiroshima survivor who solves crimes. Her first historical mystery is Clark and Division, which recently won a Mary Higgins Clark mystery award and has been optioned by a major studio to be developed as a limited series for streaming. A former journalist with The Rafu Shimpo newspaper, Naomi has also written numerous non-fiction history books and a middle-grade novel, 1001 Cranes.
Doreen Hudson, former Commanding Officer of the Forensic Science Division (FSD) served as the Director of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Criminalistics Laboratory, overseeing forensic scientists who respond to crime scenes, analyze evidence related to crimes and provide expert witness testimony in the disciplines of DNA, Firearms, Toxicology, Narcotics, Questioned Documents and Trace Evidence.
Ms. Hudson is a veteran forensic scientist and crime scene investigator with more than 40 years of experience and over 1500 crime scene investigations including notorious scenes pertaining to the Sunset Slayer, Night Stalker, Grim Sleeper, North Hollywood Shootout and many more. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California State University Fullerton, and she has been an instructor in organizational leadership and crime scene investigation for over 30 years.
Director Hudson has performed scientific research and authored technical publications on firearm evidence, less-lethal weapon systems, case management, latent fingerprint development, footwear identification and crime scene management. In 2000, she researched, tested and helped redesign a safer beanbag impact munitions platform, which remains in service today. In 2003 she developed and implemented the LAPD Walk-in Wednesday program to enhance the effectiveness of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) in Los Angeles. In 2012, the laboratory completed a multi-year effort to complete analysis of all untested sexual assault kits and by 2014 had drastically reduced the turnaround time for DNA analysis, such that it could be used as a real-time investigative tool.
Georgia Jeffries is an author of suspense fiction and a critically acclaimed writer/producer of TV drama honored with multiple Emmys, Writers Guild Awards, and Golden Globes.
Her work includes a hundred hours of broadcast and cable TV, fifteen original pilots and a half-dozen book adaptions for ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO, Showtime, USA, MGM-TV, Warners TV and Universal Pictures.
A tenured professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, her short fiction was selected for MWA’s Odd Partners and SinC/LA’s LAst Resort. Her latest book, the military-political thriller, Malinche, will be published in fall, 2023.
Gay Toltl Kinman
Gay Toltl Kinman has nine award nominations for her writing which includes several short stories in American and English magazines and in 15 anthologies, including Michael Connelly’s Murder in Vegas; 5 children’s books; a Y.A. gothic novel; 8 adult mysteries; and 8 collections of short stories. Several of her short plays were produced–now in a collection of twenty plays, The Play’s the Thing;. Also many articles in professional journals, newspapers and books, including MWA’s How to Write a Mystery; and has co-edited two non-fiction books. Kinman has library and law degrees.
Ellen Kirschman, PhD
Claudia Hagadus Long
Claudia Hagadus Long is the author of six novels: two mysteries set in contemporary New York City with a sub-timeline in war-torn Europe, three historicals set in Colonial Mexico from 1690-1753, and one in San Francisco in 1920. She’s a lawyer, a mother and grandmother, a weaver, belly dancer and cook, and she lives in Napa Valley with her husband. She has boundless energy, a complicated family history, and an attraction to caffeine. Her newest book, Our Lying Kin, has just been released by Kasva Press, and Nine Tenths of the Law (Kasva Press 2020) is soon to be a major motion picture.
Haris Orkin is an author, playwright, screenwriter, and game writer. His play Dada was produced at The La Jolla Playhouse. A Saintly Switch was produced by Disney and directed by Peter Bogdanovich. As a game writer his games have been nominated for the WGA Award and the BAFTA. The fourth book in his James Flynn Escapade series, License to Die, will be released on July 6th by Black Rose Writing.
Gary Phillips has published various novels, comics, short stories and edited several anthologies including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, South Central Noir and co-edited Witnesses for the Dead. Violent Spring, first published in 1994 was named in 2020 one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. The Washington Post and Booklist named his novel One-Shot Harry as one of the best mysteries of 2022. He was also a co-producer on FX’s Snowfall, (which streams on Hulu) about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central where he grew up.
Terry Shames writes the award-winning, popular Samuel Craddock series, the latest of which, Murder at the Jubilee Rally, was published October 4, to gratifying reviews. She also writes the occasional short story and is recently published in Jewish Noir II. She lives in Marina del Rey, CA with her husband, her dog Monty and her kitty Max.
Nancy Cole Silverman
After 25 years in news and talk radio, Nancy Cole Silverman retired to write fiction. Silverman has penned both short and long fiction. Her short stories have appeared in many anthologies, and she has authored three series: The Carol Childs and Misty Dawn mysteries, and her newest, The Kat Lawson Mysteries, beginning with The Navigator’s Daughter.
Cody Sisco is an author, editor, publisher, and literary community organizer. His LGBT psychological science fiction series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes. He is a freelance editor specializing in genre-bending fiction and an editor for Running Wild Press. In 2017, he co-founded Made in L.A. Writers, an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His startup, BookSwell, is a literary events and media production company dedicated to lifting up marginalized voices and connecting readers and writers in Southern California and beyond. He serves as a Co-Executive on the Board of Governors for the Editorial Freelancers Association and as a board member at APLA Health.
Sheila Sobel spent decades working in the film business before leaving the industry in 2014 to pursue writing full time.
Her debut YA novel, Color Blind, released in 2016 and won the 2017 Killer Nashville Reader’s Choice Award for Best YA Fiction. Her MG and YA works-in-progress were finalists for the Killer Nashville Claymore Award in 2020 and 2022.
Sheila is a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.
Sheila lives in Los Angeles with her husband and rescue dogs, Nikki, Gabby and Ella.
Holly West is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Mistress of Fortune historical mystery series and the editor of MURDER-A-GO-GO’s: CRIME FICTION INSPIRED BY THE MUSIC OF THE GO-GO’S. She’s been named editor of the forthcoming Bouchercon 2023 anthology, and her novella, THE MONEY BLOCK, is out now from Down & Out Books. More at hollywest.com.
Graham Westerson is an up-and-coming writer. He is an avid fan of genre stories, both as a creator and a consumer. He attended the University of California Riverside, where he was a Gluck Fellow. He co-wrote and was a co-executive producer on the Spotify original podcast, Batman Unburied, which, during its run, became the number one podcast on the platform. He lives in West Hollywood with his dog, Wicket.
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Just wanted to say “Thank You!” to the panelists as well as to everyone else involved in bringing this free Special Pandemic Conference to this Semi-Shut-In Senior. Since the Overbooked (Overwhelmed?) Undersigned has been spending the last few months “downsizing” His Own Private Paper Labyrinth by boxing up book donations for libraries in California, Florida, Idaho, and Michigan for mailing later this year, I will also add looking at the websites for panelists and seeing about submitting “Suggestions for Purchase” to ALL of “my” local libraries where I have library cards. Hope that this info “helps brighten the corner where you are” for all of the panelists. Thanks for contributing to this event for This Long-Time Reader at “Isolation Station – On Beyond Zebra!” // Sincerely, Michael D. Toman