Ah, the Cat Days of August, Dear Readers!

Lazing on the beach is fine, but the Mesdames aren’t letting the heat of August get in the way of our publications and writers’ events.

Which means you, dear readers, are in for a multitude of treats, courtesy of the Mesdames.


Sylvia Warsh’s essay, “Recreating the Past,” appears in the Mystery Readers International Journal, Summer issue. Historical Mysteries II – Mystery Readers International

Historical Mysteries II

Sylvia  has a new website too! You can check it out at:

Melissa Yuan-Innes‘s (Melissa Yi) story “The Bao Queen” appears in Food of My Peoplea fabulous mix of speculative stories about food and the authors have included delicious and/or fantastical recipes related to the stories and to their diverse backgrounds. The anthology Food of My People is available for preorder. 

Melissa Yuan-Innes (Melissa Yi) was a winner in the International Thriller Writers’ Best First Sentence contest. Her sentence was chosen by Allison Brennan!  Check it out at


Craft Bites Preliminary Play Reading

The Playwrights’ Guild of Canada selected Melissa for Craft Bites, a preliminary play reading, on Monday, August 30th, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The Playwrights’ Guild of Canada members have been paired up to share their work and discuss the craft of playwriting with one another.

Craft Bites are open and free to the public.

Register at  to see Melissa and Damian Lovejoy.

When Words Collide

Jayne BarnardCaro SolesMelissa Yi and Madeleine Harris Callway are all participating in the When Words Collide virtual multi-genre conference from August 13 to 15th. Attendance at the conference is free but you must register through EventBrite and have Zoom on your computer. The conference is held on Zoom. Here is the registration link:

There are lots of opportunities for both established and emerging writers including Master Classes, Manuscript Pitches, Live Action Screenwriting and Submission Feedback.

Check out the Mmes‘ sessions schedule!

Friday, August 13, 2 p.m. MDT/ 4 p.m. EDT
Writing Groups and How to Run Them: M. H. Callway

Cross-Genre Writing: Caro Soles

Friday, August 13, 4 p.m. MDT/ 6 p.m. EDT
The Heroine’s Journey Continues: J. E. Barnard

Saturday, August 14, MDT/ 4 p.m. EDT
Twisted….: J. E. Barnard

Saturday, August 14, MDT/ 4 p.m. EDT
Short Stories as Stepping Stones: M. H. Callway

Saturday, August 14, 5 p.m. MDT/ 7 p.m. EDT
Love of the Land — The Importance of Place in Fiction: J. E. Barnard

Sunday, August 15, 11 a.m. MDT/ 1 p.m. EDT
Crime Fiction in 2021: Trends and Evolution: M. H. Callway

Sunday, August 15, 4 p.m. MDT/ 6 p.m. EDT
Mystery: Big Crimes, Small Towns: J. E. Barnard and M. H. Callway

Melissa Yi is providing one-on-one author-writer consultations at the Blue Pencil Café. Emerging writers must sign up.

Mesdames at When Words Collide 2021


Lisa de Nikolits

Keep an eye out for Lisa de Nikolitis‘ newest website/venture I Read Somewhere That. The pilot episode will launch in September with a fab debate, reviews of hot new books and lots of buzzy book gossip! Then the site will go live monthly in 2022. Lisa will feature books by Inanna Publications, Breakwater Books Ltd., Dundurn Press and Wolsak and Wynn Publishers and have lots of great guest opinions from some of her favourite authors and, as promised, lots of info about the publishing industry!

Melissa Yuan-Innes’s story My Two Legs will be published in The Alfred Hitchcock Mystery MagazineMy Two Legs was longlisted for the Staunch Prize. “Running since 2018, this unique prize is welcomed by readers all over the world, many of whom had given up on thrillers because of the increasingly graphic violence towards women in the genre. We’re proud to create a little elbow-room for all the clever, exciting and engaging stories out there – published or unpublished – by authors who have found something a bit more original to write about!”

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May puppy and kitten

Summertime and the Mesdames are still rocking it with film, books, events and more recognition! We’ve also had time for reflection on what it means to be Canadian and who we are as writers. Some of us have baked in record-high temperatures and we’ve seen the terrible consequences of climate change to fellow Canadians and those in the Pacific Northwest.

Yet with the pandemic on the wane, thanks to our Public Health and to vaccinations, we look forward to a summer of new hopes and more accomplishments to come.

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival 2021
Cat Mills

Documentary Month 1st – 31st July 2021

Our fab film maker, Cat Mills and her producer, Felicity Justrabo, get our mega congrats. Our film, The Mesdames of Mayhem, is being screened at the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival.

2021 International Book Awards
Lisa de Nikolits

Big congrats to Lisa De Nikolits. Her latest novel, The Rage Room, was a finalist for the 2021 International Book Awards in Science Fiction.

The Rage Room

Caro Soles‘s, latest book, The Colony Dancers, the fifth in the Merculian series is now available on Amazon!

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?


Melissa Yi will be speaking at Toronto Sisters in Crime via Zoom on Thursday, July 15th, 7 p.m. Melissa will be appearing as both an emergency room physician and an award-winning author to teach us how to make sure medical details in your manuscript are true to life. Plus a Q&A about common medical mistakes in crime fiction!

This is a members only event. To join Toronto Sisters in Crime is only $25 for the year.

Madeleine Harris Callway

On Saturday, July 3rd, M. H. Callway was delighted to be one of the authors in Moonlight and Misadventure interviewed by author and podcaster Joanna VanderVlugt. AUTHOR | JCVArtStudio. The Moonlight and Misdadventure podcast included a terrific interactive panel with authors Elizabeth Elwood, Susan Jane Wright, Karen Abrahamson, Susan Daly and Judy Penz Sheluk, who edited and published the anthology.

New Website

Blair Keetch’s website is up and running. Check out. Blair Keetch – Discover Crime Writer..

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NEWS FLASH! The Mesdames Documentary at Melbourne Documentary Film Festival

Terrific news! Cat Mills and Felicity Justrabo just let us know that the documentary they made of the Mesdames of Mayhem will be part of the Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. In Australia!!

Here’s the link:


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Madeleine Harris Callway
M.H. Callway

Moonlight and Misadventure, the latest anthology edited by Judy Penz Sheluk (Superior Shores Press) is now available in ebook and print.

M. H. Callway’s darkly humorous tale, “The Moon God of Broadmoor”, is one of the stories by 20+ amazing writers.

The book has a 4.7 star rating on Goodreads. Read American writer/editor Kevin Tipple’s review on his blog, Kevin’s Corner. See his review. And Canadian writer/reviewer, Vanessa Westermann’s take on Moonlight and Misadventure.

Earlier in June, Madeleine was a guest on Art Taylor’s blog, The First Two Pages, where she revealed the craft behind the opening pages of “Moon God” – and the challenge of moving from bureaucratese to creating crime fiction! Read the blogpost on “Moon God“.

On Thursday, June 24th, 7pm, Madeleine will be reading from “The Moon God of Broadmoor”. She joins authors David Rotenberg and Robert Rotenberg at Toronto’s virtual Noir at the Bar, hosted by Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson.

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Mesdames on the Move: June 2021


June is a super-busy month for the Mesdames with lots of book news and events. We look forward to taking a break over the summer holidays to catch up on reading – and writing!


Lisa de Nikolits
Lisa de Nikolits

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

Lisa: People invariably say “Lisa, you’re such a sweet person, how on earth do you write such dark and bizarre books?” To which I have no answer!

Mesdames: What fun fact about you would blow them away?

Lisa: When I was young, I was an equine life coach a.k.a. a horse whisperer! I was an excellent animal trainer and I still am! I am very good with dogs and cats, too.

Mesdames: Have you used your animal training techniques in your writing?

Lisa: It’s helped me handle the difficult characters in my books. I know how to coax and cajole them and then crack the whip of tough love at an optimal moment!

Mesdames: Which book or story really needed your tough love?

All of them! I’ve published ten novels and written two more. I am currently working on the sequel to The Rage Room and I’m using all of those skills as we speak!

Learn more about Lisa’s amazing writing career at Inanna Publications, Inanna Publications – Canadian independent feminist press

And be sure to check out Lisa’s website at: and buy Lisa’s latest novel, The Rage Room, here:


Caro Soles

Congratulations to Caro Soles!

Ippy Awards 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards

Bronze Medal

Dancing with Chairs in the Music House (Inanna Publications

Melodie Campbell

Congratulations to Melodie Campbell, the new Vice President for Crime Writers of Canada!

Kevin Thornton

Kevin Thornton is keeping busy. Not only has he rejoined the board for Crime Writers of Canada, he’s also kept busy on the Awards, Marketing and Membership Committees, the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Board of the local arts council here in Fort McMurray.

And that’s not all. He’s had a short story published in the latest MX Sherlock Holmes Short Story Collection, and has three more due by the end of June for their next volumes. He’s also got a story in the upcoming anthology Asinine Assassins, as well as Rich Ryan’s collection Sherlock Holmes, A Year of Mystery 1882, for the August story.

Jayne Barnard

Jayne Barnard is thrilled to announce the re-release of her award-winning Maddie Hatter Adventures. Twice finalists for the Aurora Award & named 2018 Alberta Book of the Year, these family-friendly novels follow a heroine as inquisitive as Eloise Bridgerton, as daring as Miss Scarlet, and as sharp a sleuth as Lady Holmes herself.

In Deadly Diamond  this amateur detective hunts a legendary gemstone, trails a cunning con-woman from Egypt to Europe & beyond, and goes undercover against a penny-pinching airship heiress who never lets a good grudge die.
Available June 1 from Amazon.

Book 2: Gilded Gauge is coming up for preorder any day now, and we’ll be launching a cover vote for Book 3 in early June.

Madona Skaff

Shifting Trust ( Renaissance Press) Madona Skaff-Koren‘s latest sci-fi novel is now available for pre-order!

Tyler Demir left the RCMP after an undercover operation he was in charge of turned deadly. Refusing to make life and death decisions anymore, he now works as assistant head of security for a military funded Canadian nano-tech company. But when one of their scientists is kidnapped, the military send Tyler to England to retrieve him.

Not sure who to trust, Tyler uses contacts from his undercover days to get the scientist to safety. At every step, he sees the rescue crumble around him and again he has blood on his hands.

How the hell did he manage to go from a stress-free job, where lives didn’t depend on his split-second decisions, to this?

Blair Keetch

Blair Keetch‘s short story ‘Killings 4 Sale’ appears with  Kevin Thornton‘s story, “One Good Thing” in the upcoming anthology ‘Asinine Assassins’ by Smart Rhino Publishing to be released in late 2021.

Asinine Assassins
Madeleine Harris Callway

On June 18thM. H. Callway’s story, “The Moon God of Broadmoor”, will be published in the anthology, Moonlight and Misadventures (Superior Shores Press), edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The book is available in print and eBook on Amazon: Moonlight & Misadventure: 20 Stories of Mystery & Suspense (A Superior Shores Anthology Book 3)

Moonlight & Misadventure


Join Madeleine on Thursday, June 24th, at Noir at the Bar on Zoom where she will be reading. More details later in June.

Madeleine is also participating in a virtual Ride to Conquer Cancer. Due to the lockdown, the Ride was moved from June 12 & 13th to August 28-29th

Melissa Yi’s story, “The Three Little Pigs”, a new take on the fairy tale, will appear in Burly Tales, edited by Lamda Literary Award winner Steve Berman Featured Products (

A Message from Cheryl Freedman and Bonny Blithe

Bony Blithe, our winsome, fun-loving skeletal lass, has several announcements to make today, but let’s start with the most important and happiest one: the winner of the 2021 Bloody Words Light Mystery Award, a literary award for books that make us smile.

Drumroll, please…and congratulations to our 2021 winner:

Iona Whishaw, A Match Made for Murder (Touchwood Editions)

In this 7th book in the Lane Winslow Mystery series, it’s November 1947 and newlyweds Lane Winslow and police inspector Fred Darling can’t escape murder, even on their honeymoon in sunny Tucson, AZ, some 2600 km away from their home in Nelson, BC.

Want to see what critics say about Iona’s book? Check out the jolly winner video produced by Caro Soles at

The Bony Blithe is an annual Canadian award celebrating traditional, feel-good mysteries. Now in its 10th year, the award includes everything from laugh-out-loud to gentle humour to good old-fashioned stories with little violence or gore – in short, books that are fun to read.

Party, Party, Party

We’re still planning to have an event to celebrate our 2020 and 2021 Bony Blithe Award winners as well as Bony Blithe’s 10th birthday, but we still don’t know when. We’re hoping for this October/November or alternately sometime in spring 2022. It all depends on what Ontario Public Health rules about group gatherings. Considering that many of us are at “that certain age” and the rest of us would like to get there, we will be limiting attendance to people who have been fully vaccinated. Stay tuned for more information on our FB page or

End of an Era

Bony Blithe is retiring. We’ve had a great run over the past 10 years, but now it’s time for our bony lass to rest her weary bones. We’d like to thank all the publishers and authors who’ve made the Bony Blithe Light mystery award the huge success it has been and who’ve given us so many delightful books to make us smile.

While we will no longer have an annual award and mini-con, we still want to pay homage to our wonderful Canuck light mystery authors, so watch for Bare Bones, the new and exciting Bony Blithe Light Mystery newsletter, coming soon.


When Words Collide August 13-15, 2021

The multi-genre conference, When Words Collide, is being held on Zoom from August 12-15th

o Panelists will include several Mesdames. Confirmed so far: Jayne Barnard and M. H. Callway.

o Registration is free, no cap on numbers but attendees must register beforehand

o This popular conference is an excellent way for authors to learn new writing tools and marketing strategies and to explore other genres. Lots of social events and readings, too.

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Madonna Skaff’s Cover Reveal Event

Madona Skaff is delighted to announce that the cover reveal for her new SF novel, Shifting Trust, will be this Saturday, May 29th at 7 p.m. (EST). Just a side note: the cover art was created by her very talented daughter! There’ll be readings as well as the world premiere of the exciting book trailer! Oh, and there’ll be door prizes!

Here’s the link for the Facebook event. Don’t forget to also register on Eventbrite.

A Talk and Book Reading with Caro Soles

Caro Soles Reads from The Colony Dancers

To join Caro on Sunday, May 30th at 6 p.m., as she reads and talks about her latest book, The Colony Dancers, click on this YouTube link. 

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Spotlight: Sylvia Maultash Warsh, CWC Best Short Story Finalist

In “Days Without Name”, Sylvia Maultash Warsh offers us a glimpse into her classic yet subtle understanding of the human condition. This exceptional tale, set in the heart of the Mayan jungle, was featured in A Grave Diagnosis (Carrick Publishing, 2020) and is a finalist for the 2021 Crime Writers of Canada Best Short Story Award.

It’s easy to see why the judges were drawn to “Days Without Name.” Sylvia‘s readers will recognize her lyrical insight:

“Lou opened her mouth but nothing came out. Here it was, the paradox of the human heart. Love and malice in the same breath.”

Sylvia Maultash Warsh, “Days Without Name”, A Grave Diagnosis

Her stories have been featured in six of our Carrick Publishing anthologies produced since 2012, including: A Grave Diagnosis, Starship Goodwords, the Mesdames of Mayhem series, Thirteen, 13 O’Clock, 13 Claws and In the Key of 13. Her story “The Emerald Skull” (Thirteen, Carrick Publishing 2013) was nominated for the CWC Best Short Story Award in 2014.

Sylvia is the author of the Dr. Rebecca Temple series. To Die in Spring, Find Me Again and Season of Iron were all winners or finalists for prominent Awards. Project Bookmark Canada chose The Queen of Unforgetting, an historical novel, for a plaque installation in Little Lake Park in Midland, Ontario. Her novella, Best Girl, came out in 2012.

Donna Carrick

Carrick Publishing is the publisher of A Grave Diagnosis, as well as the Mesdames of Mayhem series of anthologies.

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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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