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About Me

A much younger version of me

As a kid, I fell in love with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. In my teens, I discovered Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr and Matt Scudder, as well as Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone and Sara Paretsky’s V.I Warshawski. I was hooked.

When I came out as transgender thirty years ago, I longed to read mysteries and thrillers where queer people where the heroes rather than the victims or the comic relief sex workers.

After much searching, I found Katherine V. Forrest’s Kate Delafield series and Ellen Hart’s Jane Lawless series. But I wanted more. I wanted a crime fiction series about a transgender person that didn’t focus on coming out, transitioning, or romance. When I couldn’t find any, I decided to write my own. Thus, Jinx Ballou, bounty hunter, was born.

I write action crime thrillers about queer characters fighting for their own brand of justice in a world of intolerance, greed, and violence, often hidden beneath a veneer of civility and privilege.

photo of dharma in front of a bookshelf

Lesbian bikers facing off against drug dealers and outlaw biker gangs. A transgender bounty hunter pursuing murderers, tweakers, and human traffickers. Both series feature a wide assortment of diverse characters with agency and attitude.

Over the years, I’ve worked as a radio news director, a construction worker, a goldsmith, a caregiver, and a web developer.

In 2007, I participated in and won National Novel Writing Month. The first time I reached the 50,000-word goal, I hopped into my pickup truck and suddenly heard the voice of my college creative writing professor. No, it wasn’t a hallucination. I heard his actual voice.

Turns out Dr. Coleman Barks, my former professor, was being interviewed on NPR. I took it as a sign and began honing my writing skills with the help of books, editors, podcasts, and critique groups.

In 2016, my debut novel Iron Goddess: A Shea Stevens Thriller was published by Alibi (Penguin Random House), followed a year later by the sequel, Snitch.

Getting traditionally published had been a goal of mine since I was a teenager. However, the rise of ebooks and print-on-demand technology has changed the publishing game.

After Snitch was published, I decided to go the indie author route. I wanted more control over how my books were published and marketed, and how many books were in a given series.

At the same time, I insisted on putting out books that had the same professional quality of traditionally published books. Thus was born Dark Pariah Press.

Chaser cover art

Chaser, the first in a new series about transgender bounty hunter Jinx Ballou, was published in March 2018. Several other books have followed.

I am a member of the Sisters in Crime and the Alliance for Independent Authors. I live in Arizona with my wife and my feline overlords.

If you want to connect, be sure to join my Dharma Kelleher Readers Club. Also, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Or you can shoot me an email.

And if you read my books, PLEASE for the love of pizza, leave an honest review. Thanks!