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



Melodie Campbell

Big hugs and congrats to Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy for her terrific job as MC at this year’s Arthur Ellis Award Gala. Proof that those tough years doing stand-up comedy as a woman do pay off! Joking aside, we Canadian crime writers really are a nice crowd.

Michael Martin, President of CWC, announced two changes for the 2020 Arthur Ellis Awards. The Best Novel Award will now be sponsored by Kobo   and the Best First Novel Award by Maureen Jennings, distinguished Canadian crime fiction author and creator of the world famous Murdoch series.


Announcing the winner of the contest for emerging writers for our new anthology, In the Key of Thirteen.

The winning story is “A Contrapuntal Killing” by Blair Keetch.

Ever since he was young, Blair Keetch has been an avid fan of mysteries – everything from Christie to Connelly. His checkered work history includes roles as an airline project manager, overseer at a pet event centre and promoter of Ontario tourism. He is currently working on his first mystery novel, Flight Risk.


Cheryl Freedman

Caro SolesThe Bloody Words Minicon, chaired by Mme Caro Soles, took place with great fun on Friday, May 24th. This year’s winner of the Bony Blithe prize is Mike Martin for his mystery, Darkest Before the Dawn.

The Bony Blithe award, for mysteries that make you smile, was created by Mmes Cheryl Freedman and Caro Soles. Caro’s retirement from the Board was recognized through a presentation by panelists and attendees.



Limestone Genre Expo

Limestone Genre Expo takes place on Saturday, June 1st at the Kingston Frontenac Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Panels, workshops and the vendor room run throughout the day.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

M. H. Callway

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff






Mmes M. H. Callway, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles will be attending. Caro moderates a panel on “How to Get Through the Mushy Middle” while Madeleine leads a discussion on “Self-Publishing or Not”. Both Caro and Madeleine will be on a panel discussing the trials and tribulations of writing cross genre.

In the evening, the Crime Writers of Canada are hosting a pub night at 7:00 pm at  the Kingston Brew Pub, 34 Clarence Street.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles

M. H. Callway

On Tuesday, June 4th, 2:oo pm, Caro will hold her writing workshop, “The Plot Thickens!” at the Beaches Library, 2161 Queen Street East, Toronto.

And on Tuesday, June 11th, 2:00 pm, M. H. Callway will be back at the Beaches Library to give her popular workshop, “How to Get Published.”


Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCrackent

On Wednesday, June 5th, 6:30 to 8:00 pm, Mme Rosemary McCracken join fellow CWC members Nate Hendley, Lorna Poplak, Desmond P. Ryan and John Worsley Simpson to talk about Toronto the Bad. All of the authors have written books set in Toronto. The panel will be at Armour Heights Library, 2140 Avenue Rd, Toronto.

And on Tuesday, June 18th, 6:00 pm, M. H. Callway will visit Rosemary’s Novel Writing II class at George Brown College to discuss the challenges of today’s book publishing scene.

Lisa de Nikolits with her book Rotten Peaches

On Thursday, June 13th, 7 pm, Mme Lisa De Nikolits will be reading at Toronto’s Noir at the Bar which takes place at the Wallace Gastro Pub, 1954 Yonge Street.







Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits






On Tuesday, June 18th, 6:30pm, Mmes Catherine Dunphy, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Lynne Murphy join forces at the Runnymede Library, 2178 Bloor St., Toronto to discuss Canadian women in crime fiction, their writing and the book publishing industry.



On Saturday, June 29th, 11 am to 2 pm, Mme Madona Skaff joins fellow CWC author, Jim Napier, at a book signing at Chapters Indigo,  47 Rideau Street, Ottawa.

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Mesdames on the Move: May 2019


Cat CelebratingMAY is one of the most important months of the year for Canadian crime writing when Crime Writers of Canada announces the winners of the Arthur Ellis Awards for excellence in crime fiction. It’s also one of our busiest.

The 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist Event took place on Wednesday, April 17th across Canada. In Toronto, we are delighted that our very own Mme Melodie Campbell‘s name was called out twice, once for being a finalist in Best Crime Novella category for The B-Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife, Orca Book Publishers, and again for Best Short Story for “A Ship Called Pandora” in  Mystery Weekly Magazine.


Melodie CampbellMme Melodie Campbell joins Ian Hamilton, John Lawrence Reynolds, Jen Dana for Crime Night Take 4! on Tuesday, May 7th at 7 pm at the Black Box Theatre, Oakville.





On Thursday, May 9th, 6:30 to 8 pm, Bendale Branch, TPL, 1515 Danforth Road. Crime Writers of Canada presents a panel on True Crime vs. Crime Fiction, with Mme M.H. Callway moderating. Panelists include Mme Caro Soles, Ann Shortell, Des Ryan and visiting author, Debbie Levison.

Madeleine Harris-Callway

M. H. Callway

Caro Soles

Carol Soles








Madona SkaffMme Madona Skaff will be at the Barrhaven Indigo Store in Ottawa on May 11th, 2019 signing books and chatting with anyone who stops by. She’ll be there from 1 – 4pm with fellow author Katherine Prairie. Also, she’ll be announcing the Audrey Jessup Award finalists (Ottawa area short story contest) at 1:30pm.



Rosemary McCracken

On Thursday, May 16th, Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) presents a multi-sub-genre panel with Mme Rosemary McCracken and fellow authors Nate Hendley, A. G. Pasquella, Katherine Prairie, Bill Prentice. The time is 7 pm at Mount Pleasant Library 599 Mount Pleasant Road, and admission is free.

Rosemary will also attend the CWC annual general meeting before the Arthur Ellis Awards.


Noir: How Dark Is Too Dark








On Thursday, May 16th at 7:00 pm, Mme Lisa de Nikolits explores neo-noir in fiction in her presentation entitled “Noir: How dark is too dark for you?” at the May meeting of Sisters in Crime – Toronto in Room 200 at the Toronto Public Library, Northern District Branch, 40 Orchard View Blvd. Guests are welcome for $5.

The Goddaughter Does VegasJoin Mme Melodie Campbell for her official launch of The Goddaughter Does Vegas. Melodie is doing a joint book launch with author Sylvie McNicoll at 2 pm on May 19th at A Different Drummer Books, 513 Locust Street, Burlington Ontario L7S 1V3.





Join Mmes Rosemary Aubert, Cathy Dunphy, Madeleine (M. H.) Harris-Callway and Caro Soles on TuesdayMay 21st at 2pm at the Beaches Library, for a lively panel exploring  “It’s a Crazy Idea: So you may want to be an author?”

Rosemary Aubert, Cathy Dunphy, M.H. Callway, Caro Soles

2019 Arthur Ellis Awards Gala

The Mesdames will be out in force for the Awards Gala. Mme Melodie Campbell will be the Gala’s lovely and gracious emcee. As of this writing, other Mesdames attending the Arthur Ellis Awards Gala include Madeleine (M. H)  Harris-Callway and Rosemary McCracken.  Our fingers are crossed for Mme Melodie Campbell and her two nominations for Best Novella and Best Short Story.

The Arthur Ellis Awards will be given out at the annual gala on Thursday, May 23rd, 6 pm at the Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm St., Toronto. Tickets are going fast. Order through the CWC website.

Bloody Words Mini-Con

Bloody Words Mini-con 2019

Bloody Words Mini-Con 2019

Join us on Friday, May 24th from 10 am to 9 pm for the Bloody Words Mini-Con 2019 run by Mmes Cheryl Freedman and Caro Soles.  This is a fun day with panels, book signings and award banquet where the winner of the 2019 Bony Blithe Award is announced. The event will be held at the High Park Club at 100 Indian Road in the Sunnyside neighborhood of west Toronto. Registration is now open.

Limestone Genre Expo

On Saturday, June 1st, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Limestone Genre Expo takes place at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, 130 Johnson Street, Kingston ON.  Mmes M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles will be attending. We are on two panels each and selling books. CWC will have a booth and will be hosting a party on Saturday evening.

The Mesdames Are on Limestone Genre Expo Panels

How to Get through the Mushy Middle: Rosemary McCracken Moderator: Caro Soles
Cross Genres: How to Mash It up without Making a Hash of It: M. H. Callway and Caro Soles
To Self-Publish or Not: Rosemary McCracken, M.H. Callway Moderator: Caro Soles






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Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, hit it out of the park at the Arthur Ellis Short List Event on Wednesday, April 17th!

Mel’s hilarious novella, The B-Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife (Orca Book Publishers) is nominated for Best Novella. And she also brought home a nomination for her crossover short story, “A Ship Called Pandora”, published in Mystery Weekly Magazine.A Ship Called Pandora story in Mystery Weekly

Our fingers and toes will be crossed for Mel at the Arthur Ellis Banquet on May 23rd when the winners are announced!


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April Breaking News: Derringer Awards Finalist

Terrific News for Mme Sylvia Warsh

Congratulations to Mme Sylvia Warsh! Sylvia’s short story “A Cabin in the Woods” has been named a finalist in the “Short Stories” Category for the 2019 Derringer Awards!

You can read Sylvia’s story in the Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical anthology.

Sylvia Warsh

Mystery Most Geographical

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Mesdames on the Move: April 2019


April is an amazing month for Canadian crime writing and especially for the Mesdames. We don’t just emerge from hibernation – we ROAR!

What’s more, April opens crime writing award season! And we’ve got plenty of our members with entries in this year’s Arthur Ellis Awards and a number presenting at the Shortlist event in Toronto.

The  2019 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist Event takes place on Wednesday, April 17th. The event stretches across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, B.C. with author appearances and of course, The Big Reveal.

Toronto’s event will be held at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St., on Wednesday, April 17th at 7 pm. We’ve got our fingers crossed for our Mesdames and a Monsieur who have books, novellas, or stories published in 2018. In addition, Mmes M. H. Callway, Lisa de Nikolits and Sylvia Maultash Warsh will be reading from their latest works and announcing the finalists in the French Crime Fiction Category.

We don’t just move. We fly high! 

Una furia dell'altro mondo

Wow! Mme Lisa de Nikolits heads off to Italy this month for the launch of the Italian version of her novel No Fury Like That, published in 2017 by Inanna Publications. Her whirlwind adventure begins with the presentation in Turin of her book, entitled in Italian as Una furia dell’altro mondo, on Saturday, April 6th, by her Milan publisher Edizioni le Assassine. From there she heads off to Milan for more book presentations, meetings, and interviews. Then more festivities on April 12 at the Festival Off in Suzzarra, Italy. Her main launch activities wrap up with her presentation of her book at the inauguration of Villa Burba in Rho, Italy.

Lisa is grateful for Canada Council‘s support in making this trip to Italy for her book’s launch possible. Congratulations, Lisa!

Una Furia Dell'Altro Mondo









Mystery Most Edible Anthology

Mme Rosemary McCracken’s story “Dining Out” is part of the collection for the 2019 Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Edible. The anthology was published in March in anticipation of the Malice Domestic 31 conference taking place this May 3rd – May 5th in Bethesda, Maryland.




Nothing Without Us

Madona Skaff

Mme Madona Skaff has a story in the Renaissance Press anthology Nothing Without UsHer story entitled “Backbone” is part of “an own-voices, multi-genre fiction anthology with heroes who are disabled, neurodiverse, Deaf, living with mental illness.” Throughout April, Renaissance Press has a Kickstarter Campaign in support of this anthology.


Lisa DeNikolits

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Mmes Lisa de Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken have stories in the anthology “Best Laid Plans” due out in June 2019. The anthology, to be published by Superior Shores Press, features 21 short stories.

Lisa’s story is entitled “Fire Drill”. Rosemary’s story, “The Sweetheart Scamster”, was first published in the Mesdames’ 2013 collection Thirteen. The story was a finalist for a Derringer Award in 2014.


Hogtown Homicides Crime Writers of Canada panel

Join Mme Lisa de Nikolits for a panel on setting crime fiction in Toronto with four other members of Crime Writers of Canada (Desmond P. Ryan, Mary Lou Dickinson, Sharon Crawford, and Maureen Jennings). The panel is part of a series of monthly meetings held every 3rd Thursday by Toronto Sisters in Crime that take place in Room 200, Northern District Library Branch, Toronto Public Library, 40 Orchard View Boulevard (Eglinton & Yonge). Guests are $5.

Salon of the Collective CreativeMme Lisa de Nikolits hosts an evening of Culture, Arts and Entertainment on Tuesday, April 30th from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. The evening features Terri Favro (author), Stedmond Pardy (poet), Ruth Zuchter (poet), Peter Graham (musician and Nancy Ceneviva (artist). Snacks and soda provided. Drop in, no registration is required. The location is the TPL’s Annette Street Branch, 145 Annette Street. For further information, call 416-393-7692.




In the Key of 13 Anthology Contest

The Contest closed on March 1, 2019. We expect to announce the winner and finalist(s) later this month.






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Mesdames on the Move: March 2019

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Dear Readers!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Our Mesdames are going West this month to Left Coast Crime in Vancouver, B. C. 

A number of our Mesdames and a Monsieur are participating in other events, as well as celebrating new stories accepted and published in anthologies. 

So come on in and join us for a month of stories to keep you warm and maybe even a little Irish craic.



Rotten Peaches

On March 7th, celebrate International Women’s Day with four Inanna authors! Join Mme. Lisa de Nikolits as she reads from Rotten Peaches, a novel so noir it’s almost comic. Readings by authors Mary Lou Dickinson, Ursula Pflug and author/poet Elizabeth Greene will also add to the crackling energy. The celebration takes place on Thursday, March 7th at 7 pm at Novel Idea, 156 Princess Street, Kingston, Ontario.



Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa de Nikolits

Mme. Lisa de Nikolits has two other events this month.

On Thursday, March 14th, she will join other authors at Hirut Cafe for their Bright Lit, Big City reading event. The event begins at 7:00 pm and Hirut Cafe is located at 2050 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4C 1J6.

Then, for all you tweeters, Mme. Lisa de Nikolits is hosting a Twitter chat for All Lit Up on Thursday, 28th March, 2-4 pm. All bloggers are hugely encouraged to join in the chat – the topic is blogging.


Lynne Murphy

Mme. Lynne Murphy will speak to the Tapestry Book Club in Vancouver on Wednesday, March 27th about the Mesdames of Mayhem and short story writing. The title of her talk is “You should put this in a story”, something we have all heard at one time or another.


Madeleine Harris-Callway

Lynne Murphy

Madona Skaff





Mmes M. H. Callway, Lynne Murphy and Madona Skaff will be attending Left Coast Crime (LCC) to be held in Canada for the first time in Vancouver from March 28 to 31st.  On Thursday, March 28th, 2:30 pm, Madona will be on the panel, Medicine and Science. Madeleine’s panel on Short Fiction and Novellas takes place Friday, March 29th at 9 am. She’ll also be reading from her short story, “The Seeker”, published in The Dame was Trouble, the same day at 2:50 pm.

One of the best events at LCC is Author-Reader Connections. Lynne, Madeleine and Madona are planning a Tea with the Mesdames. More details later this month.


A Matter of Time by Kevin Pl NortonSherlock Holmes returns to save the world from the evil genius of the brightest mind of his generation. Does time wait for no man or does time, this time, make an exception?  M. Kevin P. Thornton‘s story “A Matter of Time” just came out in the new anthology It Came from the North.



Murder Most Edible

Mme. Rosemary McCracken‘s story “Dining Out” has been accepted for publication in the 2019 Malice Domestic anthology Mystery Most Edible. The anthology comes out on May 3, 2019, in conjunction with Malice Domestic 31 held May 3- May 5, 2019, in Bethesda, Maryland.





Mme. Sylvia Warsh has a noir story “The Comeback” accepted for publication in a new US fiction anthology coming out in April 2019.


The Goddaughter Does Vegas

Stay tuned for information about Mme. Melodie Campbell‘s formal launch for The Goddaughter Does Vegas.


Dead to Writes

March 3: Interview M.H. Callway (Windigo Fire). Reading by Donna Carrick of “Incompetence Kills” by M.H. Callway, Starship Goodwords, Carrick Publishing, 2012.

March 10: Interview with author Lanna Webb (Lonesome Wolf).

March 17: Interview with former FBI Special Agent Barbara Van Driel (It Never Happened).

March 24: Interview with Howard Levine (Last Gasp).

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Mesdames on the Move: February 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February is a busy month for the Mesdames with the year’s first new book launch, new events – and of course,  the Ontario Public Library Association’s annual superconference.

FIRST NEW BOOK OF 2019! And Gina is back!

Melodie Campbell

The Goddaughter Does Vegas

Our Queen of Comedy, Mme Melodie Campbell, has a new book out in her award-winning and hilarious Goddaughter series, The Goddaughter Does Vegas.


Her book, published by Orca Book, is available now in Chapters/Indigo, Amazon and independent bookstores. such as Sleuth of Baker Street and Book City.


Lisa de Nikolits with her book Rotten PeachesOn Friday, February 1st, Mme Lisa De Nikolits will pitch and sign her latest book, Rotten Peaches at the Ontario Library Association’s annual super-conference.

It’s become a tradition for the Crime Writers of Canada to pitch their new Canadian crime publications at a conference lunchtime event between 1:00 and 1:55 pm and to convince librarians why they should acquire these books in a strictly timed two minutes!


Rosemary McCrackenOn Wednesday, February 13 from 10:00 am to 12 noon, Mme Rosemary McCracken will be giving a talk titled: “Traditional Mysteries: The Christie Legacy” that is part of Learning Unlimited Etobicoke’s 10-week winter series, A World of Crime, held at Fairfield Senior’s Centre, 81 Lothian Avenue, Etobicoke



Join Mmes Lisa de Nikolits, Madeleine Harris-Callway and Rosemary McCracken for a Mystery Tea with readings, games, book draws and answers to questions about the crime writer’s life. With tea and delicious pastries provided by Rahier. Rahier Patisserie, Wednesday, Feb 20th, 2 to 4 pm (to be confirmed) Tickets $15.

Lisa de Nikolits, M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken


Our 4th anthology, In the Key of Thirteen mingles music with murder. Publication and launch at Sleuth of Baker Street planned for this fall.

Once again, we are running a contest for authors previously unpublished in the mystery genre.  Check out the submission rules on this website.  Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2019. 


Mme Madeleine Harris-Callway joins host Mme Donna Carrick to talk about our upcoming anthology, In the Key of Thirteen, on Dead to Writes podcast Sunday, February 17th.

Follow Mme Lisa de Nikolits as she takes you on a funny, sometimes wild and always insightful daily journey into the life of a writer in her YouTube series Writer for a Year.

Mme Lisa de Nikolits is also on a Blog Tour this month.

02/01 Interview @ BooksChatter
02/04 Review @ The World As I See It
02/04 Showcase @ Crack A Book Cafe
02/06 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
02/07 Showcase @ Stacking My Book Shelves!
02/08 Review @ Books Direct
02/10 Showcase @ Eclectic Moods
02/11 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
02/12 Review @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
02/12 Review @ sunny island breezes
02/12 Showcase @ Just Books
02/13 Interview @ CMash Reads
02/14 Showcase @ Mythical Books
02/15 Review @ Tome Tender
02/16 Review @ Ruthie Jones: Reading by Moonlight
02/18 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
02/20 Showcase @ Sailor Girl Etc.
02/21 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf
02/23 Review @ The Literary Apothecary
02/24 Review @ Shelleens Musings
02/25 Review @ Queen of Random


Dead to Writes

February 3: Interview with author Michael Poeltl,  A.I. Insurrection; The General’s War. Reading by Donna Carrick of story “The Test of Time” by Melodie Campbell, from 13 O’Clock, by the Mesdames of MayhemCarrick Publishing, 2015.

February 10: Interview with author Lanna Webb, (Lonesome Wolf). Reading TBD.

February 17: Interview M.H. Callway (Windigo Fire). Reading by Donna Carrick of “Incompetence Kills” by M.H. Callway, Starship Goodwords, Carrick Publishing, 2012.

February 24: Interview with author Lisa de Nikolits (Rotten Peaches). Reading by Donna Carrick of “Troubled Times” by Lisa de Nikolits, from 13 Claws by the Mesdames of MayhemCarrick Publishing, 2017



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Mesdames on the Move: January 2019

Happy New Year Readers!

In 2018, the Mesdames of Mayhem had a truly fabulous year to share with you. 

In 2019, we’re looking forward to meeting many more of you at our upcoming events and workshops, as well as through your comments on this blog and our other social media. And don’t forget! We’ve also got the launch of our fourth anthology, In the Key of Thirteen coming up this fall!


Lisa de Nikolits with her book Rotten PeachesAt 10 pm on Tuesday, January 29th, tune into CIUT Howl Radio for an interview with Mme Lisa de Nikolits by Nancy Bullis about Lisa’s latest book Rotten Peaches.

On Thursday, January 31st, 6 pm, Lisa will be reading at The Urban Folk Art Salon held at Mt. Pleasant Library, 599 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Toronto.

Mme de Nikolits will also be attending the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA’s) Super Conference, which extends from January 30th -February 2nd at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. She will present on Friday, February 1st, 1-2 p.m. 



The Goddaughter Does VegasOn January 29th, look out for book six of Mme Melodie Campbell’s award-winning and hilarious Goddaughter series published by Orca Books. We can’t wait to read Gina’s (mis)adventures in The Goddaughter Does Vegas.

Her book will be available in Chapters/Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and fine independent bookstores, such as Sleuth of Baker Street and Book City.




Our 4th anthology, In the Key of Thirteen mingles music with murder. Publication and launch at Sleuth of Baker Street planned for this fall.

Once again, we are running a contest for authors previously unpublished in the mystery genre.  Check out the submission rules on this website.  Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2019. 


January is an excellent time to join that creative writing class you’ve always promised yourself. The Mesdames actively share their knowledge with and encourage new writers.

Rosemary McCracken

Mme Rosemary McCracken is back at George Brown College. Rosemary begins the year by filling in for course instructor Rob Brunet for Novel Writing I: How to Start Writing Your Novel. This is the beginning-level course for writers who are just starting a novel. Novel Writing I runs from Tuesday, January 9th  until March 27th.

Register for Novel Writing I: How to Start Writing Your Novel.

Rosemary will return to her regular Novel Writing II: How to Develop Your Novel. Her Novel Writing II course is for those already deep into writing their novels. The course runs from April 9th through June 25th.


Dead to WritesJanuary 6: Interview with author V.V. Drummond (In Extremis). Reading by Donna Carrick of story TBA.

January 13: Interview with author Brenda Chapman (Stonechild and Rouleau mystery series). Reading by Donna Carrick of story TBA.

January 20: Interview with author Michael Poetle (Insurrection). Reading by Donna Carrick of story TBA.

January 27: Interview with author Lanna Webb (Lonesome Wolf). Reading by Donna Carrick of story TBA.


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Happy New Year Readers!

In 2018, the Mesdames of Mayhem came into their own. We had a truly fabulous year: a major new venture, awards and critical recognition and many book and story publications.

We’re looking forward to another terrific year in 2019 with the launch of our fourth anthology, In the Key of Thirteen. Hope to meet many more of you at our upcoming events and workshops!

Here’s our year end review for 2018. Mesdames on the Move for January will be up shortly.

13 Claws a Critical Hit!

Our third anthology, 13 Claws, featured 17 crime stories starring (mostly) evil animals: cats, dogs, snakes, a fish, a dragon – even animal crackers.

First, Jack Batten, crime fiction reviewer for the Toronto Star, gave us a glowing write-up.

Then 13 Claws received FOUR Arthur Ellis nominations. Authors Catherine Astolfo, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway and Sylvia Warsh were thrilled to have their stories nominated.

But more good news was to come. In May, Catherine Astolfo’s chilling tale, “The Outlier”, WON the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award!

Later in November, two of our stories, “The Outlier” by Catherine Astolfo and “The Ranchero’s Daughter” by Sylvia Warsh, were long-listed in Otto Penzler’s Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny



Donna and Alex Carrick

A HUGE thank-you to Carrick Publishing,  publisher of the Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies: Thirteen, 13 O’clock and 13 Claws!

All three books are available on Amazon, at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street and on the shelves of the Toronto Public Library.



Our 4th Anthology Announced!

Our 4th anthology, In the Key of Thirteen mingles music with murder. Publication and launch at Sleuth of Baker Street planned for this fall.  

Once again, we are running a contest for authors previously unpublished in the mystery genre.  Check out the submission rules on this website.  Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2019. 


First Anniversary for Dead to Writes Podcast !

Dead to WritesIn January, 2018, Donna Carrick launched a new venture: her weekly podcast, Dead to Writes. Each week, Donna interviews a mystery writer and reads a work of their short fiction.

On New Year’s Eve, Dead to Writes celebrated its first anniversary: 52 weeks of great author interviews and readings.

Listeners can look forward to more excellent weekly podcasts in 2019. Listen on iTunes podcasts or on Google Play Music.


A Peak Publication Year!


Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Strong Certain and AloneRosemary Aubert returned to her literary roots  and published Strong, Certain and Alone, a collection of poems inspired by the works of Isaac Newton.




M. H. Callway

Mystery Weekly April 2018


M. H. Callway’s story, “The Cry”, appeared in the April issue of Mystery Weekly, a new Canadian publication showcasing short crime fiction. Together with Melodie Campbell, she was invited to contribute to The Dame Was Troublea collection of noir crime fiction about women by women authors.  Her story’s title is  “The Seeker”.

Melodie Campbell

Mystery Weekly June 2018B-Team





Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, launched her new series, The B Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife, which received a shout-out in prestigious Ellery Queen Magazine.  And she signed a contract for the seventh book in the Goddaughter series, The Goddaughter Does Vegas. (Both books with Orca Book Publishers.) In addition to her chilling tale, :”Hook, Line and Sinker” in The Dame Was Trouble, her cross-genre story, “A Ship Called Pandora” was published in the June edition of Mystery Weekly.


Lisa De Nikolits

Rotten Peaches


Lisa De Nikolits’ eighth psychological thriller, Rotten Peaches received very positive reviews and a by-line from Karen Dionne, best-selling author of The Marsh King’s Daughter. And Lisa’s seventh thriller,  No Fury Like That ,  has been translated into Italian with a launch date in Italy summer 2019. (Both books published by Inanna Publications.)


Rosemary McCracken

Black Water 2nd EditionRaven LakeMystery Weekly July 2018






Rosemary McCracken’s Pat Tierney trilogy was re-released in 2019 with a beautiful new cover for the first book in the series, Safe Harbour.  Her story, “Bear Country” appeared in the July issue of Mystery Weekly and her noir story, “Dining Out” will appear in the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology, Mystery Most Edible.


Rosalind Place

Roz Place

The County WaveRosalind Place’s story, “The Garden Door”, was published in County Wave, an anthology of works by 21 Prince Edward County writers. (Cressy Lakeside Books)




Caro Soles

Caro Soles

People Like UsCaro Soles’s thriller, People Like Us, was published by Crossroad Press and received warm reviews. She signed a contract with Inanna Publications for her latest novel which is scheduled to be released in 2020.



Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Mystery Most GeographicalSylvia Warsh’s story, “The Cabin in the Woods” appeared in Malice Domestic’s 2018 anthology, Murder Most Geographical. Her story, “A Clean Slate”, was a winner in the Open Book contest held by the Ontario Book Publishers Organization. Sylvia’s story portrayed immigrants’ experiences in North York. And her noir tale, “The Veiled Heart”, will appear in the next issue of Down and Out Magazine.


WORD ON THE STREET by Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Word on the Street (WOTS) is one of Toronto’s biggest literary festivals and on Sunday, Sept. 23d, the Mesdames of Mayhem were there.

For the fourth year in a row, we staffed a booth at Harbourfront. We sold copies of our anthologies: Thirteen, 13 o’clock, and 13 Claws, helped support literacy and made new friends. The weather was perfect and Toronto book lovers turned out in throngs.

We had an exceptionally attractive booth, posters courtesy of  Lisa de Nikolits, our resident artist. Catherine Dunphy and I were responsible for the setup and Sylvia Warsh for the teardown. Marilyn Kay took photos of our booth and others.

Lynne and Cathy D

Lynne and Sylvia







Lisa, Rosemary and Sylvia could also be found signing books at the Sisters in Crime booth and Crime Writers of Canada. Lisa also signed books at Inanna Publishers.


Rosemary McCracken and Cathy D








Rosemary and Ed Piwowarczyk, our token monsieur, introduced our anthologies to book blogger Amie Lambert-Gaudet ( who plans to include the Mesdames in a future blog. Stay tuned.

Now we look forward to next year when we plan to introduce our newest anthology, In the Key of 13 to the public. We hope to see all our fans there.

Noir at the Bar

Ed Piwowarczyk

Ed Piwowarczyk

Noir at the Bar  has become a Toronto tradition. In 2018, Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson organized two great evenings at the Wallace Gastropub.  Ed Piwowarczyk was one of the featured authors in April where he read from his 13 Claws story, “Snake Bit”.

Bony Blithe Minicon 

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman is one of the founders of the Bony Blithe award for light mystery fiction. She reports that the 2018 Bony Blithe Minicom was once again well-attended and great fun for all.

Building on its success, she and Caro Soles have expanded it and renamed it, The Bloody Words Minicon.  The new one-day conference is scheduled for May 24, 2019.   Stay tuned for details!


More Conferences!


In May,  M. H. Callway, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken,  Ed Piwowarczyk and Madona Skaff  attended Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario. They  participated on author panels, gave workshops and met readers. Many thanks to Liz Strange and her team for organizing.


In September, Catherine Astolfo and Caro Soles were guest authors at the  Picton women crime writers weekend, Women Killing It . Fingers crossed it continues to be an annual event!


More Readings and Events!

In 2018, the Mesdames gave numerous readings, participated in panel discussions and held workshops at libraries, colleges, clubs and book stores. Several events were together with Toronto Sisters in Crime and Crime Writers of Canada.

An author’s best friend is a librarian. A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to the wonderful support of the Beaches, Mt. Pleasant, Pape and Palmerston Branches of the Toronto Public Library.

Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy

Two events stand out. Our fearless leader, Cathy Dunphy, arranged an evening on international crime writing with the Burlington University Women’s Club and our guest appearance at the Writers and Editors Network.  Both very successful!



Kevin Thornton

Kevin Thornton

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

We are now 19 members strong! In 2018, we became a national organization when our second Monsieur, Kevin Thornton, joined the Mesdames. Kevin lives and writes in Alberta.

And finally a big THANK YOU, to our editor, photog and web guru, Marilyn Kay, for all her hard work and help!



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The year is winding down but the Mesdames are still making news. Our very successful anthology, 13 Claws, remained a highlight in 2018, garnering four Arthur Ellis nominations!! What’s more, Mme Catherine Astolfo won this year’s Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award for her terrifying tale, “The Outlier”, in 13 Claws!!!

We were blown away to be so honoured! And we owe everything to Carrick Publishing.

Building on our success, our fourth anthology, In the Key of Thirteen, is underway. And the second contest for new authors previously unpublished in crime fiction opened on October 15th with the deadline for submission, March 1, 2019. Check the page on this website for submission rules.



Books make terrific holiday gifts, especially the latest books by the Mesdames of Mayhem!

Rotten Peaches Lisa De Nikolits’ latest literary thriller, Rotten Peaches (Inanna Publications) is a gripping epic filled with disturbing and unforgettable insights into the human condition. Love, lust, race and greed. How far will you go? Two women. Two men. One happy ending. It takes place in Canada, the U.S. and South Africa. Nature or nurture. South Africa, racism and old prejudices — these are hardly old topics but what happens when biological half-siblings meet with insidious intentions? Can their moral corruption be blamed on genetics — were they born rotten to begin with? And what happens when they meet up with more of their ilk? What further havoc can be wreaked with devastating familial consequences?


Safe Harbour 2nd EditionBlack Water 2nd Edition

Raven Lake

Rosemary McCracken’s popular Pat Tierney series of Safe Harbor, Black Water and Raven Lake is now in its second edition, with a gorgeous new cover for Safe Harbor



People Like Us

Caro Soles has a new novel, People Like Us (Crossroad Press) that asks how well do you know your friends? At a cottage reunion of old university pals, a long-buried secret threatens to crack their perfect lives wide open. Tentacles from the past grasp each of them, until one buckles under the pressure and slides headlong into murder.



Strong Certain and Alone

Rosemary Aubert has a new book of poetry, Strong, Certain and Alone: Poems in the Voice of Isaac Newton (Carrick Publishing). These poems, written as though in his own voice, show Sir Isaac Newton to be a person much more at ease in searching for answers to the mysteries of the universe than to the secrets of his own heart.




Melodie Campbell’s The B-Team: The Case of the Angry First Wife (Orca Book Publishers) is a spin-off comedy adventure of Melodie’s popular Goddaughter series. Del, Gina’s cousin, teams up with her elderly Aunt Kitty and scary friend, Ritz, to do wrong for all the right reasons. And sometimes it even works!



For fans of short crime fiction, The Dame Was Trouble (Coffin Hop Press Ltd) offers a collection of noir stories featuring dames, all by Canadian women crime writers.  M. H. Callway’s story “The Seeker”and Melodie Campbell’s “Hook, Line and Sinker” are in the line-up with tales by leading  authors Gail Bowen and Kelly Armstrong.



Mystery Most Geographical

Sylvia Warsh’s story, “The Cabin in the Woods” appears in the 2018 Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Geographical. Setting is the critical element in all the crime stories. Sylvia and  Susan Daly are the only two Canadian authors in the collection, both Toronto Sisters in Crime! 



The County WaveRoz Place’s short story, “The Garden Door”, appears in The County Wave (Cressy Lakeside Books), an anthology of 21 Prince Edward County authors, with a wide range of styles and storylines that are thought-provoking and entertaining, with illustrations by local artists.



Mystery Weekly April 2018

M. H. Callway’s suspense story, “The Cry” appears in the April issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine, a new Canadian mystery  publication which showcases noir and hard-boiled short fiction.



Mystery Weekly July 2018Rosemary McCracken’s short story, “Black Bear Country”, is published in the July issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine.




Mystery Weekly June 2018

Melodie Campbell’s new short story, “A Ship Called Pandora”, appears in the June issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine.


On Thursday, Dec 6th, 6:30 pm the Mesdames will be out in force to celebrate with friends and fellow authors at the annual Sisters in Crime/CWC Holiday Party. This year the party will be held at 60 Collier St, Toronto.  Tickets are available online through Toronto Sisters in Crime.


Caro SolesCaro Soles is delighted to share that she has signed a contract with Inanna Publications for her new novel, Dancing with the Chairs in the Music House. Publication date to be announced next year.




The deadline for submissions to the Canadian Crime Writers’ 2018 Arthur Ellis Awards is coming up on December 15th! Find the submission rules and further information on the CWC website’s Arthur Ellis Awards page.




Dead to WritesDecember 2: Interview with author Rosemary McCracken (Safe Harbor, Raven Lake, Black Water). Reading by Donna Carrick of story “Antonio” by Rosemary McCracken, from World Enough and CrimeCarrick Publishing, 2014.

December 9: Interview with author Marta Moran Bishop (EmotionsDinky the Nurse Mare’s FoalThe Void.) Reading of short story “Belief” by Jane Petersen Burfield from EFD1: Starship Goodwords, Carrick Publishing.

December 16: Interview with E.C. Frey (Entangled Moon). Reading by Donna Carrick of “Kitty Claws to the Rescue” by Rosemary Aubert13 Claws by the Mesdames of MayhemCarrick Publishing, 2017

December 23: Interview with author Marilyn Kay (“That Damn Cat”, “Journey into the Dark”). Reading by Donna Carrick of “That Damn Cat” by Marilyn Kay, from 13 Claws by the Mesdames of MayhemCarrick Publishing, 2017

December 30: Interview with author Joan O’Callaghan (Colours of CanadaAmazing Days). Reading by Donna Carrick of the short story “Thrice the Brinded Cat” by Joan O’Callaghan, from 13 O’Clock, by the Mesdames of MayhemCarrick Publishing, 2015




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