Headshot of Dharma KelleherI write gritty stories about queer characters living in a world of intolerance, greed, and violence, often hidden beneath a veneer of civility and privilege.

Lesbian bikers facing off against drug dealers and outlaw biker gangs. A transgender bounty hunter pursuing murderers, tweakers, and human traffickers. The mother of a rape victim who takes matters into her own hands when the justice system fails.

There’s a lot of cursing in my writing. Also, a fair amount of violence and occasionally a sex scene, though honestly, I find most sex scenes a bit boring when I’m in the mood for a good story.

So if profanity causes you to hyperventilate, you might want to look elsewhere for your plain vanilla, “ketchup’s too spicy”, okey dokey, golly gee whiz kind of fiction. Cuz I sure as fuck ain’t gonna write it.

dharma wearing a gender outlaw vestAlso in the spirit of Sara Paretsky, I take an unapologetic progressive slant with my fiction. Pro-feminist, pro-LGBTQIA+, pro-people of color. Because a world where people from diverse backgrounds are celebrated and welcomed is the world I want to live in. Take your racist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, TERFy or toxic masculinity bullshit somewhere else.

Wow, I feel better after that little rant. Don’t you? Okay, on to lighter stuff. How about a little about my background?

I’ve had a love of books and reading since I was three. Some of my favorite stories from early childhood were Barrie’s Peter Pan and Stevenson’s Treasure Island.

My first job as a teenager was shelving books in the local library, located oddly enough right next to a railroad track. Nice and quiet . . . until a train thundered by.

While working at the library, I discovered a passion for writing, pounding out stories on a manual Smith Corona typewriter. Yeah, I’m that old. At the time, Lawrence Block wrote the fiction column for Writer’s Digest and I fell in love with his Bernie Rhodenbarr and Matt Scudder series.

Years later, I earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! Over the years, I’ve worked as a radio news director, a construction worker, a goldsmith, a caregiver, and a web developer. Why so many different professions? What can I say? None of them really suited me. That is until I became a professional author.

In 2007 and 2008, 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.

And 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 Pariah Press.

Chaser cover artChaser, the first in a new series about transgender bounty hunter Jinx Ballou, was published in March 2018. The sequel, Extreme Prejudice, will be published in December 2018.

I am a member of the Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Alliance for Independent Authors. I live in Arizona with my wife and three 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 on Amazon or Goodreads. Thanks!

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