Farewell 2014, but what a terrific year it’s been: New books, dazzling awards and critical acclaim, oh, my! And the New Year promises the Mesdames more new books and success, which I’ll highlight in my upcoming blog.
But first, let’s brag a little…
The Mesdames had a very busy twelve months with dozens of readings, panels and book launches throughout the GTA. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our hard-working marketing whiz, Mme Joan O’Callaghan, and to Mme Cathy Astolfo for chasing down and bagging these gigs for us. And many, many thanks to all the Mesdames who made these events a success.
We re-learned an important fact: a librarian is an author’s best friend! As are our hard-pressed indie booksellers. Hearts and flowers go to Pickwick Books and especially to Marian Misters and J. D. Singh of Sleuth of Baker Street.
The Mesdames formed a wonderful partnership with community theatre. Cross-promotion at three mystery plays in Oakville and Toronto led us to meet new readers and launched further events to promote our books. Many thanks to Mmes Joan O’Callaghan and Elaine Freedman for creating these opportunities for us and to the many hard-working Mesdames, among them Mmes Cathy Dunphy, Rosemary McCracken and Lynne Murphy, who braved winter weather to “man” our tables.
And now, on to the glory…
In 2014, several Mesdames were winners or finalists for leading awards in crime fiction.
Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, took home an Arthur and a Derringer for Best Novella for her terrific book, The Goddaughter’s Revenge. We all long for Nico, The Lone Re-arranger, to burglarize our homes!
Mme Joan O’Callaghan, long a successful non-fiction writer, penned two award-winning short stories this year. “Runaway” took Third Prize in the Bony Pete contest at this year’s Bloody Words Conference and “Torch Song for Two Voices” beat out literally hundreds of flash fiction entries to win first prize in Polar Expressions Publishing’s short story contest. It is featured in their anthology That Golden Summer.
We were also thrilled that, Thirteen, the Mesdames’ first anthology, received three prestigious nominations. Mme Rosemary McCracken’s Pat Tierney story, “The Sweetheart Scamster”, was a finalist for the 2014 Derringer Award. And Mme Donna Carrick’s chilling story, “Watermelon Weekend”, and Mme Sylvia Warsh’s sinister tale, “The Emerald Skull”, were both short-listed for an Arthur.
Five Mesdames published new books in 2014.
Mme M. H. Callway’s debut novel, Windigo Fire, was published by Seraphim Editions in September to very positive reviews. Windigo Fire is on Huffington Post Canada’s fall list of Books for Book Clubs and it is one of the “New Talent – Ten to Taste” chosen by the British website, Crime Fiction Lover. Margaret Cannon of the Globe and Mail praised it for its well-done atmosphere and chilling premise and said “M.H. Callway is a writer to watch”. And Don Graves, in his 50 Words Review called Windigo Fire “visually powerful, action packed, blunt and driving with writing polished beyond that of a debut novel.”
Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest book in the hilarious Goddaughter series, The Artful Goddaughter, was published this fall by Orca Press. Canadian Mystery Reviews called it “A blast and a laugh”. And showing her mastery of the (sexy!) sword and sorcery genre, our Queen of Comedy launched Rowena and the Viking Warlord, the third in the Rowena series published by Imajin Press. Vine Review praised it as “Outlander meets Sex and the City”.
Carrick Publishing’s latest anthology, World Enough and Crime, was published in October, 2014 and features works by 22 established and emerging crime fiction authors. Eight Mesdames are delighted to have their stories in the collection: Mme Donna Carrick uncovers an eerie family secret in “Dr. Shediac” while Mme Rosemary Aubert uses a most unusual murder weapon in “The Prime Suspect”.
Mme M. H. Callway spins a mystical tale in “The Ultimate Mystery” while Mme Mel Campbell, launches the reader into future policing in “ Cover Girl”. Mme Rosemary McCracken’s hero, Pat Tierney, uncovers more financial sins in “Antonia” and Mme Lynne Murphy’s senior citizens continue to break the law in “Potluck”. Readers can now enjoy Mme Joan O’Callaghan’s prize-winning story “Runaway” as well as Mme Jane Petersen Burfield’s charming Christmas tale, “Belief”.
The Mesdames are especially happy that Ed Piwowarczyk, the editor of our new anthology, Thirteen O’Clock, makes his debut in this anthology. “The Angels Wait” is a dark tale of justice and retribution.
Don Graves had high praise for World Enough and Crime in his 50 Word Review: Excellent storytelling that keeps you reading.
Mme Vicki Delany had a relatively quiet year with “only” two books published! Under Cold Stone is the seventh book in her critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith Series from Poisoned Pen Press. Juba Good is the first in the Sgt Ray Robertson series of Rapid Reads novellas for Orca Press. This year, Mme Vicki was the Canadian Guest of Honour at the Bloody Words Conference in Toronto. And in her spare time, she’s President of the Crime Writers of Canada!
Our newest member, Mme Lisa De Nikolits published her latest mystery, The Witchdoctor’s Bones, with Inanna Press. Doug O’Neill of Canadian Living Magazine writes: “You’re drawn in…. Embark on a journey that seethes with peril.” And T.O. Poet praised Mme Lisa’s deft handling of a large cast of characters with complex motives, saying: “If romance, suspense and serial killers under the African sun are your cup of tea this book is for you.”
In December, Mme Rosemary Aubert released her latest Ellis Portal mystery: Don’t Forget You Love Me. The book is available in paperback and e-book editions. All are welcome to join Rosemary at the Arts & Letters Club, Toronto, on January 16/14 for the launch party!
More Publishing News
Mme D. J. McIntosh was hard at work throughout 2014 researching and completing the third book in her best-selling John Madison archeological thriller series. The only secret she’s let slip so far is that the story centers on the legend of the Garden of Eden. We can’t wait for Penguin to announce its 2015 release date!
This fall, the Canadian Sisters in Crime brought out their follow-up anthology, The Whole She-Bang 2. We were thrilled that in the Globe and Mail’s review of the collection, Margaret Cannon singled out for praise: Mme Cathy Astolfo’s touching story, “The End of the World” and Mme Mel Campbell’s smart and funny police procedural, “Women’s Work.”
Farewell to Bloody Words
Our wrap-up of 2014 ends on a bittersweet note: Mmes Caro Soles and Cheryl Freedman announced that Bloody Words 2014 would be the last one. After thirteen terrific national conferences, they’ve certainly earned a rest but both are hard at work. Mme Caro has a new project, nEvermore, a tribute anthology to Edgar Allan Poe, to be published fall 2015 and Mme Cheryl is busy writing and editing.
Happily, though, the Bony Blithe prize will continue under a new name: The Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, which will delight authors and fans everywhere.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!