Biographies and mission statements

At the age of 7, Bryan Patrick Avery discovered a love of reading and mysteries after receiving his first Bobbsey Twins Mystery book. Today, he is an award-winning poet and author of more than a dozen books for children. His middle-grade story, “The Magic Day Mystery,” appears in Super Puzzletastic Mysteries, an anthology from HarperCollins and the Mystery Writers of America. His Jake Maddox JV Mysteries, Off Base and Soccer Suspicions, were released by Stone Arch Books. Bryan is the 2021 recipient of the SCBWI Work in Progress Award for his chapter book mystery The Robot in the Library. He is also the author of The Freeman Field Photograph, Black Men In Science, and the chapter book series, Mr. Grizley’s Class.

Mission Statement: I have always found MWA to be an inviting and inclusive organization. As a member of the NorCal Board, I will work to bring the joys of the mystery genre to the next generation of mystery readers and writers.


Daisy Bateman lives in Alameda, CA with her husband and the nuttiest labradoodle to ever zoomie around the living room. A member of MWA and the NorCal chapter since 2004, she is the author of two cozy mysteries under her own name, as well as a standalone thriller written as Stacie Grey, coming May 2024.

Mission Statement: In my long and eventful writing journey to this point, MWA has been a constant source of support, encouragement, and valuable knowledge. As a member of the board, I would hope to be able to extend that support to our members, both longstanding and those just starting out in joining the mystery community.


Dale Berry is a San Francisco-based writer, artist, and publisher who has produced stories, articles, comics, and graphic novels since 1986, for both major publishers and independently (including contributing to the latest MWA Handbook: How To Write A Mystery). He has additional background as a professional stagehand, scenic designer, and almost thirty years’ experience as a disc jockey and on-air radio personality. In 2016, Dale became the first comics creator to be published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and his second graphic short story for them was submitted for Edgar Award consideration in 2017. Communication and storytelling are his life.

Mission Statement: As a Board Member for MWA NorCal, I hope to bring my diverse skills and talents to the job of assisting, expanding, and promoting our impact in the mystery community and beyond, in whatever ways I can. Just as MWA NorCal has made a home for me, I’d wish to return that opportunity to all our current and potentially future members.


Glenda Carroll was a long-time sports columnist for the Marin Independent Journal. Her articles have been featured in local, national and international publications. She is the author of Dead Code, Drop Dead Red, and Dead in the Water, the Trisha Carson mysteries set in the San Francisco Bay area. Her thrillers have a swimming undercurrent based on her own experience. She has raced in more than 150 open water swim events in Northern California, as well as Hawaii and Perth, Australia. Currently, she tutors first-generation, low-income high school students in English and History. She lives in San Rafael, California with her dog, McCovey.

Mission Statement: I feel that social media is the quickest way to connect with MWA members and readers. My overall strategy is to show our audiences that MWA is a group of exciting, interesting, welcoming and talented people…one that they want to be involved with.

Vera Chan is a debut author and veteran journalist who has served on several Bay Area boards, including the Asian American Journalists Association (SF), Exceptional Women in Publishing, and Sisters in Crime (NorCal).

Mission Statement: I’d like to bring to the MWA chapter my experience in technology (editorial product teams at Microsoft and Yahoo) and its potential opportunities for authors as well as with my dedication to diversity, inclusion, and equity.


M.M. Chouinard is the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Amazon Charts bestselling author behind The Vacation, a standalone psychological thriller, and the bestselling author of The Detective Jo Fournier series. She loves animals, coffee, amateur genealogy, and anything to do with Halloween, Serial Killers, or the zombie apocalypse.

Mission Statement: What I hope to contribute: My books are published through a primarily digital traditional publisher, so I have some experience with that fast-growing area of publishing. And when we meet in person again, I also make one heckuva cranberry salsa.


Margaret Dumas is the author of the bestselling Movie Palace Mysteries, set in a classic movie theater in San Francisco which is populated by the kind of people she’d love to hang out with. She also authored the popular Married to Mystery series, the first of which,Speak Now, was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger award.

Mission Statement: As a longtime member of MWA NorCal, I’d like to give back to the community that has been so supportive and welcoming.

Chuck Freadhoff always dreamed of being a novelist and began writing professionally as a reporter for a small daily in Ontario, California. He has published six thrillers starting with Codename Cipher (published by Walker and Company) followed by Blue Rain and A Permanent Twilight (published by Harper Collins), and self-published two traditional thrillers, City of Serpents and A Plague of Iron as well as a humorous thriller, Free Booze Tonight. After twenty-five years in journalism, he moved into corporate writing and media relations and retired seven years ago after ten years as the director of media relations for a major investment management firm headquartered in Los Angeles.

Mission Statement: I believe MWA is a valuable resource for writers whether it’s helping them learn more about structure, dialogue, or offering advice on self-publishing. As a member of the NorCal Board, I will work to inspire writers and help them gain and master the tools they need to succeed.


Claire M. Johnson’s first novel, Beat Until Stiff, won the 1999 Malice Domestic Writer’s Grant, was a BookSense pick for Winter 2002, and was nominated for the 2003 Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her second novel in this series, Roux Morgue, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Her most recent book, Fog City, is set in 1930 San Francisco. It is being shopped to publishers and won the gold for crime and mystery fiction awarded by the Florida Writers Association.

Mission Statement: The mystery community has a reputation for being inclusive and welcoming to new writers with new voices. I would like to support that sense of camaraderie by joining the MWA NorCal Board.


Saul Lelchuk lives in Oakland with his wife, son, and two cats. He is the author of the Nikki Griffin series and teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College (which gives him a good excuse to spend summers on a lake in New Hampshire). He is working on several new books including a standalone. 

Mission Statement: After my debut novel published in 2019, I soon became aware of the incredibly supportive community of writers in the Bay Area, and foremost was MWA NorCal. I am eager to try to help newer and veteran writers alike connect with each other and with readers while setting up new events, venues, and workshops to foster crime fiction in the Bay Area. 


Lexa M. Mack is an avid mystery reader and writer. She lives with her husband, a very fat cat, 4 chickens, and 40,000 honeybees in the Sierras between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. Her next goal in life is to upgrade her MWA membership to Active Status. She published her first mystery, Legacy of Lies, in 2022 and has been having a blast working on the Lineup (and hanging with the big kids).

Mission Statement: To work with other members of the board to energize, coordinate, and facilitate communication, camaraderie, and sharing in the diverse and far-flung reaches of the NorCal Chapter. The 21st-century version of “Hey, gang, let’s put on a show” (Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, circa 1930s).


Laurie Sheehan is a Program Analyst for the Department of Defense, working at the Naval Postgraduate School. She does get to handle some cool unmanned systems, but there’s not much cloak and dagger to her job. She has a degree in Cultural Anthropology (heavy on archaeology with a lot of physical anthropology and forensic anthropology tossed in). She’s currently working on The Modern Speakeasy Mysteries and plans to return to an earlier series based on an archeologist, Delaney Cross.

Mission Statement: Laurie is a long-time member of MWA and is eager to help others the way so many MWA members have encouraged and supported her.

Faye Snowden is the author of The Killing series (Flame Tree Press) featuring homicide detective Raven Burns. The 2nd book in the series, A Killing Rain, was released in 2022. She steals writing time in her multigenerational household with two adult children, three if you count her husband, one new grandson, and two rowdy dogs intent on protecting the family from bandits every time the doorbell rings.

Mission Statement: Aside from being one of the bestselling genres in the country, the mystery genre is important because it gives writers from all backgrounds an opportunity to explore societal themes while thoroughly entertaining the reader. A good mystery is like a sneak attack. We need organizations like MWA to help lift up those voices, and give the mystery genre and all its subgenres the space to be a part of the literary conversations in this country.