Madeleine Harris Callway

Mme M. H. Callway can now reveal the cover of the upcoming anthology, Moonlight and Misadventure, which includes her story, “The Moon God of Broadmoor” (Superior Shores Press, ed Judy Penz Sheluk).

It’s also available for pre-order on Amazon.

A Grave Diagnosis


And congratulations to Mme Melissa Yi for the publication of “Dead Man’s Hand,” her story about Richie, a Texas garbage collector who must win a poker game or… It’s in the April issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Three stories in AHMM and three times her name on the cover. A perfect trifecta! We’re even more proud of Melissa for her work as a physician on the front lines battling COVID!

“Dead Man’s Hand”
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May puppy and kitten

May is not only awards month for the Mesdames, but also includes recognition in online writers’ panels and even an Italian/English interview with one of our Mesdames. And we’re still publishing new work.


Rosemary Aubert
Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert started her writing life as a poet and wrote and edited romance before turning to crime…fiction. She holds a certificate in criminology and has drawn on her working experience in Canada’s justice system to create her beloved Ellis Portal series and standalones, including her chilling novella, Terminal Grill.  She has won the CWC Award of Excellence for both Best Novel and Best Short Story.

Rosemary is a sought-after teacher of creative writing, delivering countless seminars, workshops and authors’ retreats in addition to classes at the University of Toronto and Loyalist College. Though she claims to be retired, she published the critically acclaimed historical novel, The Light in Trieste, and is planning a textbook on writing crime fiction.

The Mesdames of Mayhem: What do readers expect when they meet you?

Rosemary:  I think readers find me to be pretty much what they expect: a rather contemplative aging author but with lots to say when questioned!

Mesdames: What would surprise readers about you?

Rosemary: They’d be surprised to know that I used to be quite a dancer. I studied ballet for several years and spent lots of evenings doing Scottish country dancing.

Mesdames: You used your work experience for your crime fiction, but have you ever mined your personal life?

Not really. I find it so much more interesting to investigate, learn about and depict the wide world outside of myself. But there is one exception.

I grew up in Niagara Falls, New York. We used to cross over the border regularly to buy Red Rose Tea in Canada – and firecrackers! My cross-border childhood experiences inspired my story, “The Canadian Caper” in our first anthology, Thirteen. In my story, two elderly ladies in a Niagara Falls old-age home use a cross-border social lunch to expose a smuggling ring.

Learn more about Rosemary and her work on her website


Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Silvia Warsh’s story, “Days Without Name” (Carrick Publishing), is a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada‘s (CWC) Awards of Excellence for Best Crime Short Story!

A Grave Diagnosis Cover

Jayne Barnard

Sisters in Crime West’s first anthology, Crime Wave, has two nominations for CWC’s Awards of Excellence. The collection was edited by Mme Jayne Barnard together with sister-in-crime, Karen L. Abrahamson with a foreword by Mme Melodie Campbell. “Cold Wave” by Marcelle Dube is a finalist for best short story and “Salty Dog Blues” by Winona Kent for best novella.

The announcement of the winners for the CWC Awards takes place online on Thursday, May 27th.


Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken‘s story, “The Passenger”, has been accepted by Mystery Weekly Magazine.

On May 13th, Rosemary will be the guest speaker of Na’amat Canada, talking about writing crime fiction. Na’amat Canada is a non-profit volunteer Jewish women’s organization whose mandate is improving the lives of women, children and families in Israel.


Several of the Mmes are on Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) panels for the Ontario Library Technicians Association virtual conference being held May 8 to 15.

  • Monday, May 10th, 12:00 to 12:45 p.m., Rosemary McCracken is on the panel: Clearly Canadian, All Canadian Settings, eh?
  • Tuesday, May 11th, 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. M. H. Callway and Melissa Yi are on the panel: The Long and Short of It, Writing Short Stories and Novellas, moderated by Judy Penz Sheluk, Chair, Board of Directors, CWC.
  • Thursday, May 13th, 12:00 to 12:45 pm, Melodie Campbell and Caro Soles are on the panel: Make ‘Em Laugh, Comic Relief to Comic Caper
  • Thursday, May 13th, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Melodie Campbell joins the CWC Author Spotlight Special Discussion Panel


Join Lisa de Nikolits in an Italian/English interview by an Italian blogger for the Italian translation of her 2017 book No Fury Like That.


Skellngton Bony Blithe

The announcement of the winner of the Bony Blithe Award 2021 takes place online on Friday, May 28th. It’s also Bony Blithe’s 10th Anniversary!

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Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Congratulations to Mme Sylvia Maultash Warsh on her story “Days Without Name” in the anthology A Grave Diagnosis (Carrick Publishing 2020) being shortlisted for Best Crime Short Story 2021 by the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence!

A Grave Diagnosis Cover
A Grave Diagnosis

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Best Bookshop Friend! Perfect Books, Ottawa, ON

An author’s best friends are bookstores and librarians who together link us to you, our readers. They introduce our novels and stories to people who would otherwise never learn about them. They alert our fans to our new works. And in the real world, they celebrate with us at our book launches and readings. No wonder they are our BBF’s – best friends forever!

“Whenever I go into an independent bookstore, it always feels a little like coming home. I can browse through countless books, or read a paragraph or two. And if I have trouble deciding which book or books to buy, (because I’ve always believed it’s bad luck to leave a bookstore empty handed) I can comfortably turn to one of the staff to ask for advice. I’ve been to several bookstores, in many different cities, but my favourite is – Perfect Books in Ottawa.”

Mme Madona Skaff
Jim Sherman of Perfect Books


After Jim Sherman retired from teaching English in high school, he looked for something new to be involved in. When Perfect Books (open since 1994) came up for sale in 2009, he bought it. Since then, Jim has been a staunch supporter of local authors. I’ve attended a few events there. Such as the book signings of the first novel in my Naya Investigates series, along with fellow Mme Melissa Yi.

Madona Skaff and Melissa Yi

“It’s always fun to do author events,” Jim says, “whether they’re in the store, an art festival or another venue. It’s particularly gratifying when we host local authors. There’s a rich tradition of local Mystery authors here in Ottawa and their launch events are always gratifying.”

And it’s not just the book events that make Perfect Books special. Jim, manager Michael Varty, and the rest of the staff are incredibly dedicated to their customers.

“I suppose that the best feelings as a bookseller occur when you come up with just the right book for just the right person. Often it’s something they never would have reached for on their own.”

And just when you think things couldn’t get any better, Perfect books will be expanding!

“We’ve grown steadily over the past few years and we took a big leap forward during the Pandemic, despite missing all of the author events and Festivals we usually service. We’ve talked about expanding and our next door neighbour just ended his lease. So by early May, we will have broken through the wall between the two shops and acquired an extra 600 square feet of space.”

With the landlord’s help, the shop will have new flooring, lights and shelves.

“It’s nerve-racking and a bit overwhelming right now, but when it’s done it will breathe new life into the shop just as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.”

As soon as you walk into the store, it’s obvious that Jim and his staff love their job and their customers.

“Our customers have been wonderfully supportive over the past three years. We’ve been through two years of street construction and a year of COVID and we keep growing, all of which I attribute to an excellent staff, led by Michael Varty … and a loyal and growing customer base.”

I can’t wait to see the new store and actually have an in-person event hosted there.

“We’re looking forward to a new normal someday soon!”

258A Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 1L9

Madona Skaff writes the Naya Investigates series, about a young woman who is recently disabled by multiple sclerosis, then turns sleuth to solve crimes. She also has a stand alone science fiction novel, Shifting Trust, coming out in the fall of 2021.

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Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award
Bony Blithe Award Shortlist 2021

Mme Cheryl Freedman sends a long-awaited message to our readers!

Pandemic or no pandemic, Bony Blithe is delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2020 Bony Blithe/Bloody Words Light Mystery Award.

So without further ado, here are five books that can deliver you from the distancing doldrums:

Vicki Delany, There’s a Murder Afoot (Crooked Lane Books)

Candas Jane Dorsey, The Adventures of Isabel (ECW Press)

Liz Ireland, Mrs. Claus and the Santaland Slayings (Kensington Books)

Thomas King, Obsidian (HarperCollins Canada)

Iona Wishaw, A Match Made for Murder (Touchwood Books)

All these books, BTW, are available as both print and e-books. (And the Mesdames add, do order from your favorite bookstore. They need your support more than ever! We recommend Sleuth of Baker Street.)

And do visit the Bony Blithe Website, where you can smile at the jolly shortlist video produced by Mme Caro Soles.

As we announced in March, we have reluctantly decided to cancel the 2021 Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Dinner, originally scheduled for Friday, May 28. However, we will be announcing the 2021 Bony Blithe winner online on May 28 (and yes, there will be another jolly video by Caro about the winner), so watch for an email or check Facebook or the Bony Blithe Website.

We don’t have a date or even a month for postponed 2021 mini-con/award dinner, but we certainly can’t let BB’s 10th birthday pass without a party! So we are looking at holding some kind of event either in the fall or perhaps next spring, and that’s where both the 2020 and 2021 BB winners will receive their award plaque and cheque. Stay tuned.

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Happy Spring!

Greetings Readers!

It’s spring at last. Vaccinations are rolling out and the Mesdames are looking forward to seeing you all in the real world before too long.

What’s more, April opens crime writing award season! And we’ve got plenty of our members with entries in this year’s Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence and the Derringers.


Kevin Thornton
Kevin Thornton

Kevin lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta, the town that burned down in 2016. It wasn’t his fault. After travelling the world, working as a contractor for the Canadian military and being a soldier in Africa, he settled down to become a dad, editor and author.

Kevin is a multi-talented author whose work ranges from poetry, crime fiction, young adult,  speculative fiction through to Sherlockiana. He has been a finalist in the Crime Writers of Canada awards at least seven times, and was honoured with the Literature ‘Buffy’ award in his hometown.

The Mesdames of Mayhem: How do your readers see you when they meet you today?

Kevin: They are disappointed at how respectable I appear.

The Mesdames of Mayhem: What unknown events in your life would astonish everyone?

Kevin: I once spent a weekend in jail in Apartheid South Africa. And I have been in terrorist bomb attacks on three continents and I was never injured once. Stick with me and you’ll be safe!

The Mesdames of Mayhem: This is amazing. You have to use these experiences in your writing!

Kevin: Haven’t yet, saving it for a rainy day.

The Mesdames of Mayhem: What other hair-raising experiences have you survived?

Kevin: I used to be a hell-raiser once. I once drank a Boeing 747 first class lounge bar dry with late great hockey player, Eddie Shack.

Follow Kevin’s blog at Blog: The Old Fort: Musings from the Oil Sands. And learn more about his incredible life and writing at Author page: Kevin P. Thornton.


Melodie Campbell’s Lands End Trilogy Book One: Rowena Through the Wall is now available on Audible!

When Rowena falls through her classroom wall and lands in an alternate world, she doesn’t count on being kidnapped – not once, but twice, dammit – and the stakes get higher as the men get hotter. Unwanted husbands keep piling up, but that doesn’t stop her from falling for the wrong brother. Not only that, she has 18-year-old Kendra to look out for and a war to prevent. Good thing she has the ability to go back through the wall.

Lisa de Nikolits‘s The Rage Room is now available on Audible!

What if you made the worst mistake of your life and got the chance to fix it? Only you made it so much worse? From the incomparable crafter of nine cross-genre works of fiction, Lisa de Nikolits expands her horizons to pen a grab-you-by-the-throat, feminist speculative-fiction thriller in the style of Groundhog Day meets The Matrix.



The Colony DancersBook 5 of Caro Soles’ Merculian mystery series, is now available in ebook/kindle format. Print to follow.

All Merculian is excited about the visiting Colony Dancers. The children’s group is so cute in their old-fashioned outfits and few stop to question how they acquired their brilliant technique so young, or why they are all so carefully guarded.

Meanwhile, Investigator Marlo is tantalized by the strong resemblance of one of the young dancers to a child who was kidnapped long ago.

How far will the guardians go to keep the secrets of the Colony Dancers?

Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Congratulations to Sylvia Warsh! Sylvia’s story, “Family Values” has been accepted for the 2021 BOULD anthology. This flash-fiction story first appeared in Starship Goodwords, a cross-genre anthology published by Carrick Publishing in 2012.

She also has a short story, “The German Credit” appearing in What We Talk About When We Talk About It, Volume 2, a literary anthology published by Darkhouse Books. This story is also a reprint of one of her first stories she had published.


Melodie Campbell

Crafting a Novel, Sheridan College

Join award-winning and best-selling author Melodie Campbell for this online fiction writing bootcamp, that provides you with lots of individual attention. Learn how to create compelling plots and characters that readers care about. Get a good grounding in dialogue, viewpoint, motivation, show not tell, and what readers want. We also discuss the business side of writing, including how to get a publisher and the world of e-publishing. For the first time, all online, from your own home! 14 weeks, $302.98

Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award


A Message from Cheryl Freedman

As most of you have no doubt surmised, there will be no Bony Blithe mini-con and award gala on May 28, 2021. However, we have some contingency plans in place.

Plan A: We are looking at the possibility of having an event (mini-con, party, dinner, whatever) in Toronto sometime in October or November, God willin’ and the creek don’t rise…and enough of us are vaccinated. However, we will be limiting the number of attendees to comply with the almost-certain government regs on indoor gatherings.

Plan B: If Toronto has not opened up sufficiently by this fall for people to gather indoors, we will hold an event in spring 2022. Again, this all depends on vaccination numbers.

Happy Birthday to Us! Yes, 2021 is Bony Blithe’s 10th birthday, which means that whatever event we hold, no matter what kind of event or when, it will be something special (definitely involving a birthday cake and possibly sparklers).

The 2021 award shortlist will be announced online on Wednesday, April 14. We will post on FB and the BB Website and send out an email. The winner of the 2021 award will be announced, again online, on Friday, May 28 (the date of the now-cancelled mini-con). The 2021 and 2020 physical awards will be presented at the next face-to-face BB event.

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Best Bookshop Friend! R&L’s Book Nook, Alexandria, ON

An author’s best friends are bookstores and librarians who together link us to you, our readers. They introduce our novels and stories to people who would otherwise never learn about them. They alert our fans to our new works. And in the real world, they celebrate with us at our book launches and readings. No wonder they are our BBF’s – best friends forever!

Today marks the first in our series Best Bookshop Friends to tell the world about our favorite bookstores and why we love them.  A big thank you and hugs to Mme Melissa Yi for recommending her favorite bookstore, R & L’s Book Nook in Alexandria, Ontario. 

R&L's Book Nook

R&L’s Book Nook


Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy, Interviewer

Melissa Yi’s book launches are never dull.  In 2014, a year when the Mesdames’ newest member launched two books in her Hope Sze medical crime series, she decided that she wanted more than just books at her launches. “Books and bodies,” she said. “Books and dancing.”

Besides writing crime fiction, Melissa is an emergency doctor as well as a yoga teacher and belly dancer. And so, with a friend, she decided to teach a little of both at the launch of her novella, Student Body.  At the Cornwall library, even the librarian was up and shaking her hips.

And at R&L’s Book Nook up the road in Alexandria, owners Roena Ryan and Loretta Shaver put a life-sized skeleton in their window for the launch. It was wearing scrubs. And it looked as if it was dancing. Yi was delighted.  She performed Weird Al’s “Word Crimes”, a satire of Robin Thicke’s “ Blurred Lines”. She danced.

“Everybody danced,” Roena  recalled.

She and her friend Loretta have been co-owners of the small shop on Alexandria’s Main Street for eight years.  She was a recently retired packaging operator and Loretta had worked at a transportation firm when they bought the struggling store.  The bookstore would have closed if they hadn’t.

Now it’s a hub for the community. Granted, it’s across the street from Gaetan’s Chip stand, famous in the area. And it backs onto a millpond, where they often kayak at the end of a business day. But along with homemade jams and knitting for sale, there are about 20,000 new and used books in stock.

“People think it’s a library,” Loretta said with a laugh.

The women make sure they promote local authors. There’s a special section for them along with space on a table near the cash. Customers trust them. Ask them what they should read.  And because they know their reading tastes, they know what to suggest.

Co-owners of R&L's Book Nook

Co-owners of R&L’s Book Nook: Loretta Shaver and Roena Ryan

Take Scorpion Scheme, Melissa Yi’s newest Hope Sze mystery. It’s on display right by the cash. Loretta thinks Anne Perry readers will like it. Or Michael Palmer, another medical writer. Maybe Robin Cook, Roena chimes in. No, no, they both decide almost simultaneously. It’s Patricia Cornwell.


Address: 58 Main St. South, Alexandria ON K0C 1A0 ; Website: ; Telephone:  613-525-9940

A little about Alexandria, ON: Population 2,845 (2016 census), the former town is now part of North Glengarry Township.  Alexandria has a truly bilingual town, half Francophone, half Anglophone.  Founded as a mill site after the War of 1812, by Father Alexander Macdonell, it lies midway on the Canadian National Railway between Montreal and Ottawa. For a time it prospered manufacturing carriages but today it primarily serves the local farming community.

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi is an emergency physician and an award-winning author of crime and speculative fiction. And in her spare time, she’s also a travel writer.  Her latest thriller, SCORPION SCHEME, launched in late fall, 2020. Her fiction has been recommended by The Globe and Mail, CBC Books, and The Next Chapter.



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Dear Readers, We’re Rolling Out New Features For You!

Cat playing with paper rollsAs winter recedes we wanted to bring you something new.  Every month this year we’ll open a window into two of our members’ thoughts and lives through  fun facts about them that you’d never guess! Then mid-month, we plan to have a member share with you a  favorite bookstore.


Of course, we’ll still have our usual books, news, reviews and events in our monthly and breaking news posts. We hope you will enjoy learning a bit more about our Mesdames and Messieurs



Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

The Mesdames of Mayhem: What surprises people about you?

Lynne: They are appalled at how old I am.

The Mesdames of Mayhem: What would readers never guess about you?

Lynne: I am Facebook friends with the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team. I told someone I didn’t know how this happened and they said, “Well, you could always unfriend them.” I said, “Are you kidding? Those are big guys. You don’t want to make them mad.”

The Mesdames of Mayhem: How has this influenced your writing?

Lynne: I am a lifelong fan of the Roughriders and I love Saskatchewan.  I was born and raised there and it shows up in many of my stories.

The Mesdames of Mayhem: What are you working on now? Are the Roughriders part of it?

Lynne: The Roughriders are playing in the background at one point in the novella I am now working on. I think they are going to win!



Ted Carrick

Readers, friends and family of the Mesdames will remember Ted Carrick, the young musician who entertained the crowd at the launches of our anthologies. Most recently, In The Key of 13 at Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore.


Ted also composed and performs the musical score for the podcasts Dead to Writes and Story Stocking.

On Saturday, February 21st, 1 pm, Ted showcased his talent in a concert featuring music from his three albums, Experiment 33, Ideas and Explorations and The Spotting Session as well as short films by gifted fellow artists. One of the many highlights of the launch was the song, “damnsad” performed by Ted and Shian Grace.

Click on the image to the left to hear the song! And find Ted on YouTube here.

Access more of Ted’s music through the Apple Store, Spotify,  his website or contact him at

Follow Ted on Twitter: ; Instagram:; Facebook:


The Rage Room

Lisa‘s book The Rage Room was reviewed in SFcrowsnest.

“The Rage Room is for an adult readership and has underlying political messages. These include the dangers of over-reliance on AIs to sort our problems out, the devastating effects of hyper-consumerism and what can happen if there is a stratum of society that is pushed to one side. This novel follows in the footsteps of the likes of ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984’, but is applicable to our time.”


Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken has been invited to give a Zoom presentation to Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW) on Tuesday, March 16. The topic is Writing a Crime Fiction Novel.

Since 1986, OIW has been supporting fiction and non-fiction writers in the National Capital Region with monthly presentations, workshops, networking, readings and retreats. It currently has more than 180 members.

For the past several years, it has also published anthologies of members’ short stories and poems.

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff will be the guest speaker at the next Sisters in Crime Toronto Zoom meeting on March 18th at 7 p.m. As an author of both crime and speculative fiction, she will be speaking about “When Art Imitates Life’– How do you draw from real life without turning your fiction into an autobiography?

This event is for Sisters in Crime Toronto Members only. Annual membership is $25 for monthly meetings and other benefits. For more information about membership, visit the  Toronto Sisters in Crime website.


Lisa de Nikolits Podcast InterviewLisa de Nikolits is featured in The Bookshop Podcast. Lisa explains what it was like growing up in apartheid South Africa and her life as a magazine art director before becoming an author.  You can listen to her interview here:





Madeleine Harris Callway

Madeleine Harris-Callway

Congratulations to Madeleine Harris-Callway! Madeleine’s story “The Moon God of Broadmoor”, will appear in Judy Penz Sheluk’s new anthology, Moonlight & Misadventure, to be published in June 2021.





When Words Collide

When Words Collide (WWC2021) once again will be a virtual conference running from  August 13 to 15, 2021. Attendance is free of charge, with no cap on the number of attendees, but it will require registration through Registration is being set up and should be available shortly.

Robyn Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest

The Robyn Herrington Memorial Short Story Contest open to all attendees of WWC 2021. For submission details, follow this link:  Deadline is May 1st.


For emerging writers: Sam Wiebe, an award-winning Canadian crime writer and creative writing teacher, is offering his on-line class, Beginning Your Mystery, for free. For more details, check out the link:





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Breaking News: Scorpion Scheme Now Available in Braille

Melissa Yi’s Scorpion Scheme Now is in Braille!

Scorpion Scheme iTranslated into BrailleBlind readers can now experience the mystery and suspense of Melissa Yi’s latest book, Scorpion Scheme. This is exciting news, too, for the Mesdames as Melissa breaks new ground in reaching out to readers of crime fiction.

This embossed (printed) copy is available throughout Canada via interlibrary loan. The library hosting Scorpion Scheme is Cochrane Public Library in Cochrane, Alberta.

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi



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It’s February Already, Dear Readers!

February Valentine KittyAnd we’ve got a boxload of goodies being planned for the year. Besides our Blog Spotlight feature, we intend to add other ways for you to get to know our members and their writing better. And now that our membership has roots from Comox to Montreal, we want to share favourite bookstores in these locations. And that’s only the beginning. Stay tuned for more as the year progresses.


Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

The Rage RoomCongratulations to Lisa de Nikolits, dubbed “Queen of Canadian spec” fiction, in Off/Kilter’s stellar review of her latest book, The Rage Room.





Caro Soles was recently interviewed about her book Dancing with Chairs in the Music House on the program All About Books hosted by Crystal Fletcher.

In a separate video, you can also hear Caro read a passage from Dancing with  Chairs in the Music House on Crystal Fletcher’s program, All About Books.


Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi

Melissa Yi (Melissa Yuan-Innes) was recently interviewed for the Glengarry News by Steve Warburton. She had a good time talking about her time at medical school, writing, her family, and the kindness of my neighbours. See more about Melissa’s interview on her Facebook page.



Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCrackent

Rosemary McCracken was recently interviewed about her Pat Tierney Mystery Series and writing on Sharon Crawford’s blog.

Check out what Rosemary has to say about the genesis of the Pat Tierney series, the financial world and writing mysteries in Rosemary’s interview.



The international CWA Margery Allingham Short Mystery Competition is open to all – both published and unpublished authors from all over the world – and is for short stories of up to 3,500 words. All that is asked is that the story has not been previously published anywhere, or shortlisted for this competition.

Entries cost £12.

Closing date: 6pm GMT Friday 26 February 2021


The Audrey Jessup Short Story Contest sponsored by the Capital Crime Writers is ONLY open to Ottawa and the National Capital Region residents as well as all members of Capital Crime Writers.

Only one submission per author.

Deadline for submission is Thursday April 1, 2021.



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