2020: WOW WHAT A YEAR – Part One!

Happy Much Better New Year Readers!

Anno horribilis, AKA 2020, started out with the Mesdames’ normal busy schedule of book promotions, conferences and teaching. Then wham – COVID hit!

Left Coast Crime San Diego ended after only half a day and the cancellations kept on coming: Bloody Words Minicon, CWC’s Annual Awards Banquet,  Limestone Expo, Word on the Street,  Bouchercon…

But the Mesdames proved unstoppable! We took to social media like a hurricane. We attended conferences, taught classes and in the fall pulled off a stellar book launch marathon – all on Zoom!

Despite the challenging business environment, Carrick Publishing brought out a fabulous new crime fiction anthology, A Grave Diagnosis, featuring stories by 18 of us.  And the Mesdames had several new books and short stories published as well as nominations for leading awards.

Best of all, we continued to grow, welcoming three new members to make us a national organization of 24 crime fiction authors.  This year, we celebrate our 8th anniversary!

Happy New Brighter and Healthier  Year,  dear Readers. And on to more adventures in cyberspace and to creating the books and stories you love!

Note: Thanks to COVID, we accomplished so much this year that WoW What a Year will be in two parts. 


 A New Anthology by Carrick Publishing!

A Grave Diagnosis Cover

Amazing publisher and editor, Donna Carrick,  decided to do a medical mystery anthology after M. H. Callway shared her public health experiences over lunch. Thus was A Grave Diagnosis born – well before COVID  struck! 

Donna has dedicated AGD  to our hero frontline health care workers who continue to care for those stricken with this horrible virus, despite months of exhaustion and dangers to their own health, families and loved ones.  

AGD includes 35 stories of medically themed murder or malaise from all over the world.

The 18 Mesdames and Messieurs whose stories appear in AGD, owe Donna a huge debt of thanks for bringing out this book under such challenging times!

Donna Carrick


AGD launched on Zoom appropriately on Halloween, Saturday, October  31st.  Marion Misters, co-owner of our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street was our special guest.

The talented Sara Carrick, the designer of our logo and all our anthology book covers, created AGD’s sinister cover. And if you look behind the mask, you’ll spy her in person!

AGD is available in print and on Kindle on Amazon.ca and on order from  Sleuth of Baker Street. Looking forward, too,  to seeing it on the shelves of the Toronto Public Library before too long.

Zoom! Zoom!

Mesdames Book Launch Marathon a Terrific Success!

This fall, we held our first Book Launch Marathon on Zoom, gathering audiences from all over Canada, the USA and as far away as South Africa!

Rosemary McCracken went first on Saturday, October 3rd, launching her new Pat Tierney financial thriller, Uncharted Waters.  Her launch proved so successful that she and  M. H. Callway have a seminar ready to share on How to Have a Successful Zoom Book Launch.

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

Madona Skaff

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert


Caro Soles launched her speculative fiction novel, Marlo’s Dance on October 21st, Madona Skaff, our Zoom pioneer, launched her new mystery, Death by Association on November 7th. On November 21st, Rosemary Aubert celebrated her historical novel, The Light in Trieste, together with new writer,  Blair Keetch, whose latest story appeared in the crime fiction anthology, Heartbreaks and Half-truths.

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi

Blair Keetch

Blair Keetch







Lisa de Nikolits, Caro Soles and new member, Melissa Yi, wound up the series with their smashing tri-author event on November 28th with their latest books: The Rage Room, Dancing with Chairs in the Music House and Scorpion Scheme.

BONUS: All our Zoom events were recorded. Look to see them featured on an upcoming Dead to Writes podcast.

Podcasting: Dead to Writes

Dead to Writes, the Video Podcast

Donna Carrick continued Season 3 of her Dead to Writes podcast into 2020 – a total of 23 interviews!  She then opened her new series, Season 4 for 15 more interviews.

Dead to Writes showcases leading Canadian crime writers, including Maureen Jennings, Rick Mofina and Cathy Ace – and of course, the Mmes of Mayhem.

Get to know the following Mmes and Messrs and the stories behind their publications, by subscribing to DtW: Cathy Astolfo, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Melodie Campbell, Lisa de Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Blair Keetch,  Rosemary McCracken and Madona Skaff.  

In conjunction with Dead to Writes,  tune in to Story Stocking to listen to the podcast of stories from the Mmes fourth anthology, In the Key of 13. In the Key of 13

 Zoom Conferences!

Renaissance Press

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff was our Zoom conference trailblazer. Her publisher, Renaissance Press, hosted two conferences in 2020, the first June 5th to 7th and the second, October 24 to 25th.  Madona participated on several panels and experimented selling her new book, Death by Association, in a virtual bookstore.


When Words Collide Welcomes the Mmes!

When Words Collide, now celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a multi-genre conference held every year in Calgary, Alberta.  Normally, WWC attracts 800+ participants every year and many of us were planning to attend, but COVID intervened. That’s when WWC went on Zoom!

Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell

Ten Mmes took part on several panels held from Friday, August 11th to Sunday, August 13th. One of our fab new members, Jayne Barnardwho’s published in speculative fiction, young adult and crime fiction, participated in the following panels: The Heroine’s Journey, Diversity in Speculative Fiction, From the Mean Streets to the Deadly Wilderness and, with Melodie CampbellPlot vs Character in Crime Fiction.  Melodie, too, writes in all three genres!

Madeleine Harris Callway

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway moderated two panels showcasing the Mesdames: Meet the Mesdames of Mayhem, with Donna Carrick, Rosemary McCracken and Madona Skaff and  The Long and Short of Crime, with Jane Burfield, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy and Caro Soles.  And Lisa de Nikolits and Caro whose works are often described as cross-genre, discussed, Can Crossover Fit the Crime.

And we learned all about Zoom’s break-out rooms at the “Pool Patio”, a great way to connect with new authors.

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane Petersen Burfield

WWC has also made available recordings of the panels on YouTube. Check these on the YouTube When Words Collide channel.




Bloody Words Minicon 

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman took on COVID and though the Minicon had to be postponed, kept the Bony Blithe contest going. The Minicon is rescheduled for May 28, 2021 — fingers crossed.

This year’s winner of the Bony Blithe Award was Liz Freeland for her novel, Murder in Midtown.

Social Media

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits featured several exciting authors on her Goodreads blog, Interview with an Author.

She also resumed her The Minerva Reader blog where she promotes undiscovered Canadian authors readers should know more about.


Several of our Mesdames are fab and committed bloggers. In 2020, M.H. Callway created our new and ongoing feature, Blog Spotlight, where she interviews a Madame or Monsieur and the story behind their successful blog. In 2020, Madeleine interviewed Lisa de Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken (Moving Target) and Melodie Campbell (Bad Girl Blog).

That’s the end of Part One, dear Readers, but before we sign off a huge THANK YOU, to our newsletter editors, Marilyn Kay and Roz Placefor all their hard work keeping us up to date.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Roz Place

Roz Place


This entry was posted in Anthologies, Awards/Achievements, News and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.