Early in 2013, I had a little idea of how best to surf the tsunami of change in book publishing. Social media can give authors readers throughout the world, but how can readers find new authors? Several members of my two writing groups already had a strong web presence so if we all banded together, we could reach a truly staggering number of readers. And that’s how Mesdames of Mayhem came to be.
Today, less than a year later, the Mesdames have a vibrant website with a weekly blog on crime fiction. We are on Face Book and Twitter – all thanks to the enthusiasm and hard work of fifteen fabulous dames!
We also brought out our first anthology of crime stories, Thirteen, (Carrick Publishing, 2013) in both print and e-format. Joan O’Callaghan and I dove head first into the mysteries of the cyber launch on September 5th. Twelve straight hours of terrific discussions with friends and fans as far away as Texas rocketed Thirteen to second place on Amazon’s mystery anthology best seller list.
On October 27th, the Mesdames launched the print version of Thirteen, at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. The theme was Halloween and the Mesdames were out in force, if not in costume as witches, pirate queens and even a worm composter. The gothic decorations, flowing wine and the dark and delicious munchies helped make our book sales spectacular!
In November, the Mesdames ran a successful book selling co-venture with the Village Theatre in Waterdown. Murder by the Book is a light-hearted play about dastardly deeds in a writing group. Author, Mat Kelly, kindly inserted our name, Mesdames of Mayhem, into the script.
Thirteen is definitely The Mesdames’ lucky number. And 2013 proved to be a great year for publishing new books, bagging book deals, and winning awards and recognition.
Mme Cathy Astolfo’s standalone novel, Sweet Karoline, was published by Imajin Books in July, 2013. It hit the bestseller list on Amazon Canada in the first week. She also has several short stories in the upcoming publication Uncle Tom’s Gabbin’ and So Am I.
Mme Rosemary Aubert’s chilling novella, Terminal Grill, published by Quattro Books, received great response and acclaim from readers.
Mme Jane Burfield returned to writing with her story Triskaidekaphobia in Thirteen and warmly supported The Mesdames throughout all their ventures.
Mme M. H. Callway signed a contract with Seraphim Editions for her first mystery novel, Windigo Fire. Under different titles, it was short-listed for both the Unhanged Arthur and Debut Dagger awards. She was also co-editor of Thirteen.
Mme Melodie Campbell continues her reign as our very own Queen of Comedy. She published two books in 2013: Rowena and the Dark Lord with Imajin Books and The Goddaughter’s Revenge with Orca Books. Her short story, “Hook, Line and Sinker”, won the $3000 first prize in the contest held by Your McMurry Magazine. And her story, “Life without George” was short-listed for the 2013 Arthur and won second prize in the 2013 Hamilton Arts Awards.
Mme Donna Carrick continues to build her company, Carrick Publishing, which now carries over sixty titles by diverse and talented authors. In addition to her work as publisher, she is the Mesdames’ webmaster, social media guru and co-editor of Thirteen.
Mme Vicki Delany saw two books published in 2013: A Cold White Sun, the sixth Constable Molly Smith book, by Poisoned Pen Press and Gold Web, the fourth in the Klondike Gold Rush series by Dundurn. Next year will be a big for Vicki. Not only will she be the Canadian Guest of Honour at Bloody Words, Canada’s mystery convention, but she’ll publish two new books: the seventh Molly Smith book, Under Cold Stone, and Juba Good, by Orca Rapid Reads. Recently she signed a three book contract with NAL, Penguin Group, for a cozy mystery series set in a lighthouse library in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Mme Catherine Dunphy created her story for Thirteen while researching and developing her novel set in Africa.
Mme Cheryl Freedman became President of the Board of Directors for Bloody Words. She is heading up the team that will put on the Toronto conference in 2014.
Mme Rosemary McCracken’s second Pat Tierney mystery, Black Water, was published by Imajin Books. Toronto Star mystery critic, Jack Batten, praised its “wonderful pace and invention”. Her short story, “The Pre-paid Funeral” appeared in the anthology, Nefarious North. At Bouchercon this year, she promoted Thirteen – though she had a story in each of the three crime fiction anthologies spotlighted.
Mme Dorothy McIntosh’s archeological mystery, The Book of Stolen Tales, was released by Penguin in Canada, Spain and Croatia. The second book in her acclaimed Mesopotamian trilogy, it was named Best Thriller of 2013 by Quill & Quire.
Mme Lynne Murphy’s manuscript was long-listed for the 2013 Unhanged Arthur award.
Mme Joan O’Callaghan is the Mesdames marketing maven. In addition to co-editing Thirteen, she completed a commissioned non-fiction project as well as her first crime novel. She spearheaded the co-ventures with community theatre and booked several readings for the Mesdames in 2014.
Mme Caro Soles retired from Bloody Words after running Canada’s national mystery conference for fifteen years. She continues her animal rescue work as well as writing, teaching and travelling.
Wishing a Happy New Year to all our readers and expect even more scintillating news in 2014 from the Mesdames of Mayhem!