Windigo Fire, by M.H. Callway ~ Launching October, 2014!

“This is the most ambitious publishing program in our 19-year history,” says publisher Maureen Whyte. (Seraphim Editions)

Madeleine Harris-CallwayWe’re thrilled to bring you this fabulous news from Mesdames’ founder M.H. Callway: her debut novel WINDIGO FIRE is scheduled for release in October, 2014!

Fall 2014 Book Launches:
Saturday, October 4 at the Women’s Art Association Gallery, 23 Prince Arthur Ave., Toronto, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, October 5 at the Hamilton Air Force Association Clubhouse, 128 King St. East, Dundas, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Free; short readings by the authors; refreshments served.

Saturday, October 18th at the Sleuth of Baker Street, 4 to 6 pm. 907 Millwood Rd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4G 1X2 416-483-3111 e-mail sleuth@SleuthOfBakerStreet.ca

Here’s the exciting Press Release from Seraphim Editions!
Mesdames Seraphim1
Mesdames Seraphim2

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Meet the Mesdames, Lisa de Nikolits ~ by Joan O’Callaghan

Joan O'CallaghanAuthors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…

Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.

Lisa has a great passion for mystery, crime and short stories and is thrilled to be invited to join the Mesdames of Mayhem.

She has worked on international titles such as Vogue Australia, Vogue Living, Cosmopolitan, marie claire and SHE.

Lisa designed the book covers for A Glittering Chaos and The Witchdoctor’s Bones and provided the artwork for West of Wawa (photo by Bradford Dunlop).


imageJoan O’Callaghan interviews author Lisa de Nikolits:

Joan: What have you written?

Lisa: I am the author of four published novels, The Hungry Mirror, West of Wawa, A Glittering Chaos, The Witchdoctor’s Bones (all Inanna Publications) and I have a new novel coming out in Fall 2015, Between The Cracks She Fell. I also have a first draft of a novel titled The Nearly Girl and another, Purgatory. I have a short story which I hope will be included in the next anthology by the Mesdames of Mayhem, “Troubled Times”. I also have a short story, “Bleach”, due in 2015 Postscripts to Darkness and two stories, “Henry and Hannah” and “The Love Triangle”, in Maud.Lin House, a new literary anthology.

Joan: When did you start writing?

Lisa: I started in my early teens but I really put my mind to learning the craft in 2005. I have worked on my writing every day since July 2005, treating it as if it were a full time job.

Joan: Why write mysteries?

Lisa: I actually write all kinds of novels but I love writing mysteries because not only does one get to explore the darker side of life and human nature (which you can do in literary fiction) but you also get to create and resolve a puzzle. That’s a lot of hard work but it’s also a lot of fun!

Joan: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?

Lisa: Mysteries are fascinating! They’re entertaining and complex and the characters are so multi-dimensional. People are intrigued by crimes and all the mischief out there and there is nothing better than to fall into a good book and get carried away into a dangerous place where you can hold your breathe in horror while the protagonist goes from one life-threatening situation to another.

Joan: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?

Lisa: I don’t have any particular place, in fact, I have a few places! I like to write in bed sometimes, with my laptop balanced on a pillow. In summer, I like to write in my little sun room and I watch the world go by while I am furiously typing. I also have a wonderful study that is crammed with knick knacks from my travels and adventures and I like to write there, using my Grandfather’s old dining room table for a desk. I like to wear a hat when I am writing. I have quite a few hats!

I used to light a candle but then I realized I am irresponsible and I have left a few burning and so I stopped doing this for fear of burning down the house. I write at all times of the day and night.

I take a notebook with me when I take a bath since it’s very annoying to be hit by inspiration and have to rush out, dripping water everywhere.

Joan: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?

Lisa: I have always prided myself on being a very good time manager. I juggle things well. However, the writing comes first, after having a job thas it, although I am currently unemployed (that said, looking for a job is even more work than having a job!).

My husband is very patient, as are my friends, and I think they let me go off and write because if they don’t, I am impossible to be around, I am distracted and annoying, so it’s better if I just hunker down and write! Sometimes the house becomes quite feral with dust bunnies the size of rats and we run out of groceries and I live on pancakes because they are easy and there’s always a box of Aunt Jemima’s for emergencies!

I am extremely disciplined about my time and I map it all out carefully: there’s the job (or job search), the writing, the family, the guitar playing (I study the classical guitar), friends and recreational time (of which I really have very little). It may all sound dreadfully dull but when writing matters so much, and it really is the thing I love to be doing the most, then in a way, it is the recreation.

Joan: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?

Lisa: I have been very fortunate: The Hungry Mirror won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. West of Wawa won a 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick and was featured extensively on the Chatelaine Book Club. A Glittering Chaos tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction and was endorsed by the literary magazine Broken Pencil. The Witchdoctor’s Bones was endorsed by Canadian Living magazine.

Joan: What are you working on now?

Lisa: I am working on the novel titled Purgatory, revising the first draft. Then I am going to return to The Nearly Girl and work that novel harder; I have some plot ideas that I need to address. Then I am going to do a thorough self-edit of Between The Cracks She Fell before sending that off to my publisher. One of the things I love about my publisher is that she is very happy for me to sculpt to my heart’s content. I will submit that to her by year-end. I am aiming for all these to be completed by year-end, and then I can start work on a new novel, about a man with two families.

That’s all I’ve got for now, he’s polygamist with two families and then, there’s murder and two families become tangled.

Joan: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Lisa: Keep writing! Keep coming up with new ideas for novels, short stories and even poems. Write something, every day. Be it a small paragraph or thousands of words, just keep writing! And then, keep revising, keep sculpting, keep looking for ways to improve. Study style guides and books on characterization. Keep writing, keep revising, keep studying about writing.

Joan: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames?

Lisa: The Mesdames are all such amazingly talented and dedicated writers that I am hugely honoured to be among them. I think I will only really feel like a real Mesdame once the next anthology is out and hopefully I will have a short story in it. Only then will I feel like I am really part of the wonderful gang!

Joan: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Lisa: Love, friendship, books and writing are what make the world go round! Oh, and pets! Any information about me would be utterly incomplete without a mention of Isabella Creamy Diva, my moody, loveable, adorable and spectacular blue point Himalayan cat.

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a proud Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 Independent Publishers Awards (IPPY) Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award.

Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks.

Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and reviewer acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry. A Glittering Chaos tied to win an IPPY Silver Medal for Popular Fiction.

Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched in Spring 2014. The Witchdoctor’s Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.

All books are published by Inanna Publications.

Joan O’Callaghan is the author of educational books and short stories, including Sugar ‘N’ Spice in the anthology THIRTEEN (Carrick Publishing, 2013). Her short story George is available for e-readers everywhere, including Amazon Kindle.

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Meet the Mesdames, Madeleine Harris-Callway ~ by Joan O’Callaghan

Joan O'CallaghanAuthors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…

Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.

Madeleine Harris-Callway (M.H. Callway) is the founder of our author collective, the Mesdames of Mayhem. Her debut novel, Windigo Fire, was short-listed for the 2012 Unhanged Arthur award and previously for the Debut Dagger award. It will be released by Seraphim Editions Fall 2014.


Joan O’Callaghan interviews author Madeleine Harris-Callway:

Joan: What have you written?

Madeleine: I started out as a short story writer. My crime stories have been published in several anthologies, including Thirteen and EFD: Starship Goodwords (Carrick Publishing), Blood on the Holly (Baskerville Press) and Going Out with a Bang (Rendezvous/ Dundurn Press). They’ve also appeared in many American publications like Crimespree Magazine and Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine.

My dream, of course, was to write a mystery novel. I spent many years working on my first novel, which had numerous “near misses” in getting published. Eventually it ended up in my office filing cabinet though some of the characters found new life in “Amdur’s Cat”, my story in Thirteen.

Luckily I decided to continue working on the second novel in the series. It grew into Windigo Fire, which will be published by Seraphim Editions this October!

Joan: When did you start writing?

Madeleine: I have been writing since I was a child. My mother took me on a weekend driving trip to Jasper. We had to stop on the road because some tourists were feeding the bears chocolate bars. Even at age five, I knew that was a bad idea! When the candy ran out, the bears attacked the cars, including ours, slapping the windows and doors muddy. I couldn’t understand why my mum was so terrified – I thought we were having a terrific adventure. Later, I wrote up our story for a school essay and unlike Ralphie in the film, A Christmas Story, I did get an A+.

Thus encouraged, I co-opted my parents’ portable typewriter and churned out dozens of stories and plays, which my friends gamely performed. (I was destined to become a project manager even then!) Later on, life intervened and I ended up studying science and business though I never forgot my childhood dream.

Joan: Why write mysteries?

Madeleine: Because I don’t read anything else! I got hooked on Agatha Christie’s mysteries while I was churning out my doctorate thesis in organic chemistry. It felt wonderful to read a book for pure pleasure. I moved on to the works of Margery Allingham and Ngiao Marsh and tore through everything they’d ever written. I still devour all the works of my favorite authors – and hunger for more!

But to answer your question, there is a more sober reason why I chose crime fiction. In the 1980’s, when working for the Ministry of Health, I was assigned to the scientific team that investigated the mysterious deaths at Sick Children’s Hospital. That six months-long project changed the lives of everyone who worked on it. My boss, for example, left the Ministry to become a forensic psychiatrist: he and I had many deep discussions trying to understand why people choose to commit horrific crimes. To this day, I feel driven to understand the reasons behind criminal behavior though perhaps the answer will always remain one of life’s insoluble conundrums.

Joan: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?

Madeleine: I believe that mystery readers, including myself, seek to find order and justice in the world. Maybe at heart, we are still kids who love to see good triumph over evil, which, sadly, is not always the case in real life.

Joan: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?

Madeleine: My creative juices refuse to flow unless I have complete quiet with no distractions. And that includes my disciplining myself to stay off the internet. (Amazing the weird rabbit holes my mouse will lead me to – from which I emerge hours later with no work done!) The Toronto Writers Centre has been a godsend for me. And when my daughter moves her junk out of her former playhouse, which has power but no internet, I’ll give that a try, too.

Joan: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?

Madeleine: That’s easy: I don’t! Making writing a priority is the only way. Lately, I consider writing my permanent part-time job: I leave the house with my husband, Ed, in the morning and head to the Writers Centre. This method really works for me.

Joan: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?

Madeleine: The biggest thrill was my novel being shortlisted for the Debut Dagger in 2009 and for the Unhanged Arthur in 2012. Though nothing compares with the thrill of Seraphim Editions accepting it for publication!

Two of my stories have won awards. My story, The Lizard, won the 2012 Bony Pete and Kill the Boss, won The Golden Horseshoe Award, a contest held by the Crime Writers of Canada a few years before that.

Joan: What are you working on now?

Madeleine: I’m working on stories for two upcoming crime fiction anthologies: the first is for a crime fiction anthology to be published by Carrick Publishing in 2014 (title to be revealed). The second is for our next Mesdames anthology, Thirteen O’Clock, in 2015. I also have two novellas and two novels in the works.

Joan: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Madeleine: Actually, I received two invaluable pieces of advice from dear friends who are both talented and successful authors. The first was to never give up, because persistence is even more important than talent. The second was to set aside my first novel even though I’d spent years on it. Further tinkering was ruining it. To grow as a writer, I needed to start from scratch and put my energies into a new project. Recently I took a look at my first novel and realized that it needed a complete rewrite. I didn’t have the skills at the time: I needed to work for several more years to develop them.

Joan: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames?

Madeleine: I love the energy and vitality of our group. Nothing in life is better than being with your friends! It’s been my pleasure and privilege to work with a team of women as bright, talented and enthusiastic as The Mesdames.

During our readings, I noticed how much older women enjoyed what we as The Mesdames are doing. It’s a sad fact that older women are often overlooked in our society, so I’m delighted that The Mesdames can inspire and encourage other women to take charge and do even more for themselves.

Joan: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Madeleine: As the founder of The Mesdames, our collective has succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and our future looks even brighter!

Madeleine’s stories have been published by several magazines and anthologies. In 2012, her story, The Lizard, won the Bony Pete prize sponsored by Bloody Words, Canada’s national crime writers conference.

Her debut novel, Windigo Fire, was short-listed for the 2012 Unhanged Arthur award and previously for the Debut Dagger award. It will be released by Seraphim Editions Fall 2014.

Madeleine’s short story, Incompetence Kills, appeared in the 2012 anthology EFD1: Starship Goodwords. (Carrick Publishing)

Visit Madeleine at her Website
or at her FaceBook page

Joan O’Callaghan is the author of educational books and short stories, including Sugar ‘N’ Spice in the anthology THIRTEEN (Carrick Publishing, 2013). Her short story George is available for e-readers everywhere, including Amazon Kindle.

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Meet the Mesdames, Catherine Dunphy ~ by Joan O’Callaghan

Joan O'CallaghanAuthors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…

Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.

A National Newspaper Award winner for feature writing, Catherine Dunphy was a staff writer at The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, for more than 25 years.

She is the author of Morgentaler, A Difficult Hero, which was nominated for the prestigious Governor General’s Award in 1997. As well, she has written two books of young adult fiction related to the much-heralded Canadian television series, Degrassi High, which has been shown throughout the world.


Catherine DunphyJoan O’Callaghan interviews author Catherine Dunphy:

JO: What have you written?

CD: Morgentaler, A Difficult Hero (a biography nominated for a Governor General’s Award in Non-Fiction); BLT, a Young Adult novel; Caitlin, a Young Adult novel ( both feature characters from the Degrassi Classic television show); contributed to the Degrassi Talks series about Alcohol, Depression, Sexuality.

With Eve Crawford, wrote Fallaway Ridge, four-part mystery for CBC radio.

With Eve Crawford, wrote two episodes of Riverdale, a CBC television series.

Many, many articles for magazines such as Chatelaine, Readers’ Digest, Toronto Life.

JO: When did you start writing?

CD: A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. (In other words, started writing for money at a small weekly newspaper in early 1970s after university, travelling Europe and North Africa and a horrible job for Dun & Bradstreet.)

JO: Why write mysteries?

CD: Because I love to read them.

JO: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?

CD: Mysteries present life ripped wide open. Great, unforgettable characters. A way to express social outrage and mete out social justice. ( Nothing like a body to get even with a boss in a former life.)

JO: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?

CD: Other than procrastination, nope.

JO: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?

CD: I wish I could say I get up EARLY in the morning, have one cup of coffee and do not look at either my emails or the newspaper until I have written 4.000 words. I can’t.

But that is what I aspire to do.

JO: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?

CD: The aforementioned nomination for a Governor Genera’s award. A National Newspaper Award for feature writing. A nomination for a National Magazine award. A nomination for a B’Nai Brith award.

JO: What are you working on now?

CD: Am determined to be part of the second Mesdames book. A plot is brewing, albeit on the back burner.

JO: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

CD: BUM IN SEAT

JO: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames ? One for all, all for one.

CD: Not a slogan; we are living it.

JO: Is there anything you’d like to add?

CD: Nope…..

Catherine is the author of Morgentaler, A Difficult Hero, which was nominated for the prestigious Governor General’s Award in 1997. As well, she has written two books of young adult fiction related to the much-heralded Canadian television series, Degrassi High, which has been shown throughout the world.

She has also written screenplays for the Canadian television series, Riverdale, as well as created a four-part CBC radio mystery series called Fallaway Ridge. She currently writes for magazines and teaches print journalism and magazine writing at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Joan O’Callaghan is the author of educational books and short stories, including Sugar ‘N’ Spice in the anthology THIRTEEN (Carrick Publishing, 2013). Her short story George is available for e-readers everywhere, including Amazon Kindle.

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Meet the Mesdames, Vicki Delany ~ by Joan O’Callaghan

Joan O'CallaghanAuthors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…

Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Her popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and A Cold White Sun) from Poisoned Pen Press has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.


Joan O’Callaghan interviews author Vicki Delany:

Joan: What have you written?

Vicki: A lot! I have sixteen published novels (so far). I write the Constable Molly Smith series, of which the seventh, UNDER COLD STONE, has just been released, standalone novels of psychological suspense, the Klondike Gold Rush series, and novellas for Rapid Reads — an adult literacy line.

Joan: When did you start writing?

Vicki: About fifteen years ago. I was still working full time and had children at home, but I wanted to write so I took a few courses in creative writing at Sheridan College.

Joan: Why write mysteries?

Vicki: Because I read them! I write what I want to read.

Joan: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?

Vicki: Crime novels, it has been said, show the human psyche under pressure.

Crime novels take (usually) normal people and put them through a heck of a lot. Some survive, some do not. Physically as well as mentally or morally.

Crime novels allow the reader to ask him or herself: what would I do in this situation? What would I do if this happened to me? How far would I go to save my child/defeat my enemy/get revenge/save myself? What would I do for money/for love?

Would I do the right thing, or would I fail?

I believe people want to read about ordinary people living ordinary lives, facing extra-ordinary conflicts and tragedies.

It’s through the lens of the crime novel that we can explore people under extreme pressure. The use of a crime or a mystery allows the author to up the stakes for the characters, but the essential humanity and the complex range of human emotions are what’s all-important.

Joan: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?

Vicki: I get up every morning, seven days a week. I go to my main computer in my office, and read e-mails, read the papers online, spend a bit of time on Facebook or Twitter.

Then it’s time to start to write. I walk into the dining room and stand at my Netbook computer which is on the half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room and boot it up. As I pass through the kitchen, I put one egg on to boil.

I always write, standing up, on the Netbook. I read over everything I did the previous day, doing a light edit as I go. I then take my egg into the study and eat it while checking email.
Then back to the small computer for several writing hours.

Joan: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?

Vicki: I am lucky enough to now be a full-time writer. In the early days, when I was working full time and had children living at home, I just took it slowly. I read and I wrote when I got the chance and continued taking courses in creative writing.

Joan: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?

Vicki: My books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. They have been praised by writers such as Louise Penny, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Susanna Kearsley, among others. A Winter Kill was short-listed for an Arthur Ellis award for best novella, and Gold Web was short-listed for a Bony Blythe for best light mystery.

Joan: What are you working on now?

Vicki: Something brand new. I have a three book contract with Penguin Obsidian for a cozy series set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first book is titled BY BOOK OR BY CROOK, and is written under my pen name of Eva Gates. It will be out in February.

Joan: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Vicki: Read. To be a writer, says Stephen King, you have to read and you have to write. Read, and read a lot. It’s the only way you are going to learn the craft of writing.

Joan: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames ?

Vicki: The friendship and camaraderie.

Joan: Is there anything you’d like to add?

Vicki: Just my thanks for interviewing me! Oh, and people can find me at http://www.vickidelany.com or http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.com. I’m on Facebook and Twitter @vickidelany

Mesdames Vicki Under Cold StoneVicki Delany is the author of the popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and A Cold White Sun) from Poisoned Pen Press, as well as the Klondike Gold Rush mysteries from Dundurn, and standalone novels of Gothic Suspense also from Poisoned Pen Press.

Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com , www.facebook.com/vicki.delany, and twitter: @vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave (http://klondikeandtrafalgar.blogspot.com)

Joan O’Callaghan is the author of educational books and short stories, including Sugar ‘N’ Spice in the anthology THIRTEEN (Carrick Publishing, 2013). Her short story George is available for e-readers everywhere, including Amazon Kindle.

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Mesdames on the Move ~ Joan O’Callaghan



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1940’s Southern Murder Mystery: To Kill A Debutante

THE MESDAMES ARE PROUD TO BRING YOU NEWS OF THIS SPECIAL UP-COMING EVENT:


You are cordially invited to the 15th Annual Debutante Ball for Miss Rita LaBeauregard in Southern Georgia. Miss LaBeauregard has found a suitor 15 times but tragically they wind up dead the next day. We will take you back in time to the 1940’s through a murder mystery dinner theatre experience that allows the audience to not only figure out whodunit but actually choose the ending that they want to see! If you like, come dressed as a Belle, Dandy or even in your finest gingham!

Blue Moon Café
1677 Snyder’s Rd E Petersburg ON
Tickets can be purchased at www.thebluemoon.ca

Mystery Dinner and Show: $54.00
(inc. tax and grats)
When: July 4, 5 19, 26 & 27th & August 16 &17th Guests Arrive: Starting at 6:30pm
July 27th and Aug 17th are matinees at 12:30 p.m.
We certainly hope to see you there!!

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Raising a Glass to the Best Bloody Conference Ever! ~ by Donna Carrick

June 14 Bloody Words Panel on SettingsWhat do you call 250 Canadian Crime Writers at the Toronto Hyatt Regency in June?

A Bloody Blast, that’s what!

Chaired by our own Mme Cheryl Freedman (aka She Who Must Be Obeyed), featuring Canadian Guest of Honour Vicki Delany, and with most of our Mesdames in attendance, the 2014 Bloody Words Conference was, arguably, one of the best Writers’ Conferences ever held in our fair city.

Before the Conference even began, we were thrilled to enjoy “An Evening With Arthur”, at the formal Arthur Ellis Awards Banquet on June 5. Several of our Mesdames attended this Crime Writers of Canada function, including the evening’s MC and our current Chair of CWC, Mme Vicki Delany.

The Goddaughter's Revenge, Melodie CampbellWe were flying proud when Mme Melodie Campbell was presented with the Arthur Award for Best Crime Novella for her hysterically funny caper: The Goddaughter’s Revenge. If you don’t have your copy, be sure to line it up for your summer vacation!

(Below, Top)Toronto’s prestigious Arts and Letters Club provided a glittering venue for our CrimeLit ladies and gents. Here you see Vicki Delany, Robin Harlick, Howard Engels (who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award that evening!) and Cheryl Freedman.

(Below, Bottom, Left) On Melodie’s far left is Vicki Delany, immediate left is Lou Allin, on her right, Arthur Ellis Chair Cheryl Freedman and of course, the Hanged Man himself!

(Below, Bottom, Right) Long-time supporter of Canadian Crime Writing, artist and former Crime Reviewer Don Graves presents Melodie with a fabulous landscape from his collection!

June 14 BLOG AE BW 1
Thirteen, an anthology of Crime StoriesThe Mesdames made a terrific showing this year, receiving TWO nominations in the Best Short Crime Story category for our anthology titled THIRTEEN:
The Emerald Skull by Sylvia Maultash Warsh
Watermelon Weekend by Donna Carrick

And, speaking of Awards, Mme Joan O’Callaghan also made the very short-list as a runner-up for the Bony Pete Award, for her story Runaway!

We were thrilled to also raise a cheer for Mesdames’ founder Madeleine (M.H.) Callway, whose debut novel Windigo Fire will be released by Seraphim Editions, Fall 2014. Kudos to you, Mad!

(Below, left to right)Donna Carrick, Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Sylvia’s daughter Jessica, and husband, Jerry, Lynne Murphy, Joan O’Callaghan, Ed Callway, our Mesdames’ founder Madeleine (M.H). Callway herself, and Lynne Murphy.

On Friday, June 6, (at high noon, no less) our CrimeWriters of Canada Board met for a wonderful lunch, hosted by former President Robin Harlick.

Below, from the left: Jill Downie, Vicki Delany, Linda Wiken, Melodie Campbell, Donna Carrick, Alison Bruce, Cathy Ace, Phyllis Smallman, Robin Harlick, Peter Kirby.
June 14 BLOG AE BW 3
As the Bloody Words Conference began in earnest, the schmoozing and laughter could be heard in every corridor.

(Below, Top, from left)Canadian Guest of Honour Vicki Delany in full Fiona flair for the banquet, Jane Burfield, John Thompson, Joan O’Callaghan.
(Below, Bottom, from left)First picture includes four previous-year finalists for the Un-hanged Arthur Award: Lois Gordon, Gloria Ferris, Madeleine Harris-Callway, Kristina Stanley. Next: Mel Bradshaw, Donna Carrick, International Guest of Honour Michael Jecks, John Kenney, Lynne Murphy, Joan O’Callaghan, Sylvia Maultash Warsh.

And, of course, this fine Conference is known for its world-class panels. There were numerous writers of distinction speaking on various aspects of the Crime genre.

(Below, Top, from left)Rosemary McCracken, Joan O’Callaghan, Cathy Astolfo
(Middle)Cathy with her full panel.
(Below, Bottom, from left)Dorothy (D.J.) McIntosh, Rosemary M’s panel, including Jake Doherty, Rosemary Aubert.

What is a Writers’ Conference without some good old silly fun? Our authors explore how far they will go in the quest for cover recognition, pounding the catwalk at the Books With Legs event!

Our newest Mme Lisa de Nikolits struts her latest title The Witchdoctor’s Bones. Vicki Delany sports her work Under Cold Stone, and the lovely Melissa Yi dons her book Terminally Ill.

NOTE: Byline Photo features the Bloody Words Panel on Settings. Left to Right: Lisa de Nikolits, Moderator Donna Carrick, Elizabeth J. Duncan, Maureen Jennings, International Guest of Honour Michael Jecks.

ALL PHOTOS courtesy of: Donna Carrick, Lisa de Nikolits, Cathy Astolfo.

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Life is like a book of chocolates ~ Guest blogger Lisa de Nikolits

Life is like a book of chocolates.

Yeah, I know, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense! But bear with me and let me explain.

I am a bookaholic and a chocoholic and it occurred to me the other evening that certain chocolates simply ‘go better’ with certain books, while other chocolates are equally wrong.

In much the same way you wouldn’t pair red wine with fish (although these days that’s under debate), or steadily chug a rare single malt scotch with a main course meat dish, you need to be discerning about which chocolate to pair with a particular book.

Here’s a sampling of a few recently-read books, with retrospective insights as to my imagined perfect chocolate pairings. You’ll see that like my taste in chocolate, I enjoy reading a variety of genres and if you’re going to get all snobby on me, like the wine connoisseur/Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc quaffer who cringed when I admitted to using boxed white for my summer porch spritzers, then this post probably isn’t for you – but I have no shame in admitting to being an avid reader and an equally equal-opportunity chocolate-eater!

DavidFosterWallaceI recently enjoyed DD Miller’s David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide & Other Stories and the originality and vibrancy of these stories had me dipping into a precious stash of Freddos, tiny chocolate frogs that accompanied me back from Sydney, Australia. Why Freddos? Because the stories in this book are as delightful as chocolate frogs; playful with crackling exploding embedded bits of pop rocks, inviting all manner of memories from childhood to mix in with the complexities of adulthood. Life used to be a froggy party and now it’s… well, it’s adulthood, and as you reach for a fresh-faced Freddo and look down at the smiley faces of the shredded empty packages on the floor, it just seems like the right thing to do, while the protagonist reaches for another beer.

When reading Midsummer, the exquisitely beautiful new novella by Carole Giangrande about families, loss and longing, I’d say you need a Champagne Truffle from Godiva, made with Dom Perignon, kissed with Gold Leaf and cast in 64% Private Reserve Dark Chocolate.

While reading the entrancing poetry collection by Catherine Graham, Her Red Hair Rises With The Wings of Insects, I think you’d need chocolate-covered ginger, mysterious, exotic, deep, with many nuances of flavours; bittersweet, tart, memorable, teasing with the soft texture of melting chocolate, the tiny roughness of the ginger graining against your tongue, leaving a tiny sugar bead, palate satisfaction and a lingering taste of wanting more.

I picked up Linwood Barclay’s, Fear The Worst, delighted to find that I hadn’t yet read it. This book called for a good stash; a bar of Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut, Cadbury’s Hazelnut and a big slab of Aero. The wrapper on the Cadbury chocolates proclaims that you get 10% extra joy and I certainly get that with all of Linwood’s books!

Thirteen, an anthology of Crime StoriesFor Thirteen by the Mesdames of Mayhem, I’d suggest a box of Lindt Lindor Assorted Chocolate Truffles; the ‘irresistibly smooth’ chocolate balls have a solid shell (the suspense that won’t let you in just yet, but keeps you wondering what’s inside), and then, the surprise and delight of an ever-pleasing resolution.

Here’s a less light-hearted read; Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease by Gary Greenberg. A funny thing about this book; I purchased the hard cover and removed the cover jacket to find the book spine proclaiming that I was reading The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman! The interior of the book was correctly installed, but it had the wrong cover! There’s one perfect confectionary solution for this book; chocolate-covered pretzels, twisted, salty, crunchy, disturbingly satisfying, leaving you feeling utterly replete.

The Book of Stolen TalesWhen reading one of my favourite authors, D.J. McIntosh, (The Witch of Babylon and The Book of Stolen Tales), I’d recommend a box of delicious Asbach Chocolate Filled Liqueurs.

Next on my list is As A Thief In The Night by Chuck Crabbe and I’m not quite sure what this book will bring, so I’m going to cover all bases and have Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Peanutbutter Minis and an old favourite, Ferrero Rocher all close at hand.

Now, you might ask, what about The Witchdoctor’s Bones? What would I recommend for that? Well, the chocolates would have to be South African, so I’d say an assortment of Sweetie Pies, Crunchies, Top Deck (milk chocolate with a topping of creamy white chocolate) and a Cadbury’s Turkish Delight. It’s a fairly long book, so you need a good supply! P.S., I know most of those chocolates are British but they are also South African favourites.

In the final analysis, I’d say, regardless of your book of choice, or your choice of chocolate, keep reading – and enjoy!

The Witchdoctor's BonesOriginally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.

Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, launched in Spring 2013 to reader and reviewer acclaim, and is about murder, madness, illicit love and poetry.

Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones was launched Spring 2014. The Witchdoctor’s Bones is a thriller about the darkest secrets of African evil; the novel seamlessly weaves witchcraft and ancient folklore into a plot of loss, passion and intrigue and a holiday becomes a test of moral character.

All books published by Inanna Publications.

Links:
www.lisadenikolitswriter.com (website with reviews, photographs and reader comments)
twitter: @lisadenikolits
FaceBook
http://www.goodreads.com
http://pinterest.com/lisadenikolits/

YouTube readings:
http://bit.ly/1e4g8ZR Melusine is fired
http://bit.ly/1ahnDIU Hans’ Medicine
http://bit.ly/1eFSp0K Hans and Melusine

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Arthur Ellis Awards ~ June 5, 2014, Arts & Letters Club, Toronto

Thirteen, an anthology of Crime StoriesWell, Friends, the results are in.

Our beloved THIRTEEN did not win the Arthur Ellis Award last night, but it certainly made a terrific showing, with TWO nominations for Best Short Story.

Our two nominees are: Watermelon Weekend by Donna Carrick, and The Emerald Skull by Sylvia Maultash Warsh.

The Goddaughter's Revenge, Melodie CampbellWe want to send a heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to our very own Melodie Campbell, whose book The Goddaughter’s Revenge won in the category of Best Novella!

Our hats are off to all of the winners, and all of the nominees, with a special mention to Charlotte Morganti, whose outstanding manuscript Snow Job was short-listed for the 2014 “Unhanged Arthur” Award!

AND, without further ado, here are the 2014 WINNERS of the coveted Arthur:
Congrats Arthur 2014

Congrats Arthur 2014

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