Mesdames of Mercy Part 2

What We Do In the Sunlight:

Our May 9th blog featured Mesdames  M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken, Joan O`Callaghan and Catherine Astolfo  writing about their volunteer activities.  This month, Mesdames Donna Carrick, Melodie Campbell and Caro Soles describe what they do in the community.

From Mme. Donna Carrick

Donna Carrick

Donna Carrick

As most of you know, my family and I spend most of our free time at a blessed corner of this grand world known as Woodland Beach.  Woodland Beach is nestled on the northeast edge of stunning Georgian Bay, and looks directly across the water at Blue Mountain and some of the most inspiring sunsets ever to grace a skyline.

When I was approached by the Woodland Beach Historical Committee last summer (on the beach, no less), I was thrilled to learn of the book they were working on. Co-authors Margaret E. Robertson and Tracey (Gayle) Price had heard that Carrick Publishing might be able to help with some of the trickier aspects of print publication, and wondered if I would be willing to volunteer.

 Since the Carrick family enjoys a nearly 100-year connection to this part of Ontario, I was tickled to be involved in what has quickly become a rich and deeply personal historical project. Footprints in the Sand — Woodland Beach Memories will be launched 1-Woodland Front and Backthis summer, and is already a source of enormous pride to Carrick Publishing!


 Mme. Carrick and her husband, Alex, are the publishers of the Mesdames’ anthologies, Thirteen and Thirteen o’clock.


From Mme. Caro Soles:

FullSizeRenderI  love dachshunds. Their loyalty, their lively  personalities, their affection and stubbornness. I have always had a dachshund or two and several years ago when I became aware of Canadian Dachshund Rescue through their website,,  I wanted to help. I found out about the horrors of puppy mills, here in Ontario, in Quebec and in the U.S. I leapt into events in malls and pet stores, raising money for vet bills and awareness of what we do.

The group takes in owner surrenders, from people who can no longer look after their pets, we take in the dogs rescued in the raids on puppy mills, poor shell shocked creatures who need space and love and a slow introduction to how good life can be before they are adopted. I drive in some of the transports, coming up each weekend with abandoned dogs of all breeds looking for homes. And I foster these dogs, taking them to the vet for spaying or neutering, deworming, dental work, and anything else that needs doing. Sometimes major surgery is needed. Sometimes just teeth pulled. But always they need to know that they are loved. It takes time, sometimes a long time, but these dogs once won over are very loving and repay the effort big time by growing confident and able to live a good life, often for the first time.

I have always done a lot of volunteer work, from sitting on the Board of the AIDS Committee of Toronto to directing a children’s choir for a church, to founding Bloody Words. A labour of love always always pays back! Right now, I get a lot of licks and tail wags. And that is more than enough.

 Mme. Soles is the editor of the anthology, nEvermore, which has been short listed for numerous awards.

From Mme. Melodie Campbell:

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell

Pay it forward.
That’s what my novel mentor, Michael Crawley, once said to me, years ago in the 1990s.  At the time it didn’t ever seem like I would have anything TO pay back!  Such is the business of publishing.  But time has been kind and my tenth novel came out last week.

I do two things for charity:

1.  The Hamilton Literacy Council
When Orca Books asked me to write for the Rapid Reads series, they also told me these books were used at the high end of ESL and literacy training.  I decided to visit a place where they were indeed used: the Hamilton Literacy Council.  There, I met staff, volunteer tutors, and adult students struggling to read.  It wasn’t long before my heart was captured by the people I came to know.  The students, particularly.

I wanted to do more than just write fun books for them by which they might improve their reading.  So I include the council and the students in my book launches.  I donate all the books that are sold at my book launches to the Hamilton Literacy Council.  This year, we sold 40 books.  All told, we’ve sold over 200, and donated over $2000.  My hope is that with this money, the council can buy more books by other authors that their students would like to read.

2.  The Burlington Humane Society
Animals are close to my heart.  I’m a professional event planner by trade, and my daughter follows in my footsteps.  She is the Event Coordinator for the Burlington Humane Society, and I am her volunteer second-in-command.  It’s a thrilling ‘circle of life’ moment for me.  Not only am I helping her to raise money at large fundraising events such as The Black Cat Masquerade Gala, but I get to see regularly the good that our fundraising does to help rescue and place lonely and discarded animals.

Mme. Campbell is the award winning author of the Goddaughter series. Her most recent novel is The Goddaughter Caper.

In our next Mesdames of Mercy blog, we will feature Mme. Catherine Dunphy writing on her work with the Out of the Cold program.

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