Greetings Readers!

The Mesdames are taking it easy in July and August, gearing up for a super-busy fall with Word on the Street, the Women Killing It mystery festival in Picton, new book launches and many reading events.


No worries: Our newsletter editors will be giving you exciting updates throughout the sultry weeks of July and August. So join our kitty on the beach, don your shades, grab a cool one and read on!


13 Claws, our third anthology was such a smash success, we’re doing another.  Together with Carrick Publishing, we are delighted to announce our 4th anthology: IN THE KEY OF THIRTEEN!

Featuring crime fiction from cozy to noir, from comedy capers to murder most foul, all linked by the theme of MUSIC! 

And yes, we will be running a contest for stories by writers previously unpublished in the crime fiction genre!

More details in the Mesdames on the Move for September!

New Publications and Congratulations!

Congrats to Mme Rosemary McCracken whose story, “Black Bear Country”, is published in the July issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine.

Rosemary McCracken

Print and digital copies and subscriptions available on Amazon here. 


Here’s the cover reveal for Mme Lisa De Nikolits new novel, Rotten Peaches, to be released this fall by Inanna Publications It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon.


The four “rotten peaches” are the four main characters of this dark, comedic thriller featuring theft, blackmail, outrageous sex and of course, murder!

I can still smell the spilled blood and the acrid sweat that rose from the men’s skin as they died. I lean over the cool toilet, hugging the bowl. You’ll have to live with the consequences, Pa had said. He’s right. I have to get my act together.

For a sneak peek, read the advanced review by The Miramichi Reader here.


Melodie Campbell

Mel Campbell

M. H. Callway

Mmes M. H. Callway and Melodie Campbell  have stories in the upcoming anthology The Dame Was Trouble (Coffin Hop Press). Stand by for a cover and contributors reveal later this summer.


Caro Soles

Caro Soles

Mme Caro Soles’ new thriller, People Like Us (Crossroads Press) is now available on Amazon Kindle.

James Dubro, gay activist and investigative journalist writes:

People Like Us is a beautifully written, intricate, haunting tale of how a Toronto woman’s seemingly perfect life is completely upended and almost destroyed by sexual secrets involving her close friends and a 19 year old gay street hustler. Nothing is at it appears to be in this profoundly moving coming of age novel. Caro Soles is a mature literary writer who in this subtle and haunting mystery is at the top of her game.




Catherine Dumphy

Jane Burfield

Rosemary McCracken

On Thursday, July 5th, 6 pm, Mmes Catherine Dunphy, Jane Burfield, M.H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken will tell readers about the Mesdames of Mayhem and show how Canadian women are rocking the mystery world. The event takes place at the Palmerston Public Library, 560 Palmerton Avenue, Toronto.



July 1: Our Canada Day interview with former Canadian Parks Ranger and mystery author, George Mercer. #ReadersOnTheRun short story to be announced.

July 8: Interview with author Jayne Barnard and short story reading of “Easter Aches”, by Jayne Barnard, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing.

July 15: Interview with author Perry Block (Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute) and reading by Alex Carrick of short story “The Size of the Skip” from Three Scoops is a Blast, Carrick Publishing.

July 22: Interview with author Iris Waichler (Role Reversal). Short story reading to be announced.

July 29: Interview with author Jen Knox (Glass City, After the Gazebo). Short story reading to be announced.


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No doubt about it – selling print books is getting harder and harder. E books are great for portability and quick access to exciting new reads. But print books have several advantages: FANG can’t track your reading progress and you never have to recharge a book!

Mme Lisa de Nikolits was extremely fortunate and excited to not only have her book participate in a novel book selling venture: selling your book in a vending machine.  If you’re travelling through Billy Bishop airport, be sure to try out the book vending machine!

Lisa de Nikolits





Lisa also enjoyed a shoutout in the Toronto Star by Books Editor Deborah Dundas.  Here is the article:

No Fury Like That, by Toronto’s Lisa de Nikolits, is a novel partly set in an airport lounge that’s actually purgatory. Could there be a more apt read to pass the time while waiting for your plane to board?

The 2017 literary thriller is one of 20 independent titles available from a new vending machine at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Carry On Books — it’s on the departures level, before security — was put in place by the Literary Press Group, a collective of about 60 independent Canadian publishers.

“We wanted to experiment with a new way to reach readers,” said Christen Thomas, the organization’s executive director. “In this case we think we’ll be bringing books in front of people travelling to different cities in Canada and the States in an environment that’s great for reading.”

Inspiration for the machine came in part from the Biblio-Mat at The Monkey’s Paw bookshop on Bloor St. W., which provides used books, as well as short story machines in Edmonton and Paris airports that dispense a story for those in need of a quick read.

“We thought Billy Bishop was the best place to launch a book vending machine because there’s no real entertainment options on the flight,” noted Thomas. “We often see passengers reading the literature on the plane.” It’s also a way of trying to expand an audience that is becoming ever more difficult to reach.

Print book sales in Canada declined in 2017 by about 4 per cent in units sold and 3 per cent in value sold compared to 2016, according to numbers released in January by BookNet Canada, which tracks sales.

“We do have limited review space (in newspapers and magazines), some closure of independent and chain stores, as well as a decline of shelf and online space for independent Canadian literature,” Thomas said. “So we aim to help our members find audiences and help readers discover really innovative and diverse and emerging authors from across Canada.”

Carry On Books is a summer-long experiment running from June 1 to Aug. 31. The project was funded by the Canada Book Fund, which is part of the federal Department of Heritage.

The machine itself was modified from one that was used in condos to deliver groceries, including eggs, “so we know it’ll treat the books well,” laughed Thomas.

The books will be initially stocked in a rotation of 30 titles from six independent publishers. They are Book*hug, Brindle & Glass, Inanna Publications, Nightwood Editions, Playwrights Canada Press and Stonehouse Publishing.

“It can be very difficult to get independent books into hands of readers,” said Hazel Millar, managing editor of Book*hug. Her titles include work by Oisin Curran and Erin Wunker. “As independent publishers, we have limited financial resources and we have to be very creative with our marketing budgets.”

For this initiative, Millar notes they “consciously selected titles that have received critical acclaim, and in some cases have won, or been shortlisted for, awards.”

Books will cost between $16 to $20 with the machine set up to accept either debit or credit, but not cash. Other authors include award-winning Indigenous writers Gregory Scofield and Lee Maracle. A description of each book is provided on the side of the machine to make choosing easy.

“Some of my fave upmarket cosmetics are in vending machines in airports, so why not books?” quipped de Nikolits. “It’s a great way to showcase books that readers might have missed.”



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Greetings Readers!

June is another super-busy month for the Mesdames with loads of reading events,  publication news. But first, the biggest news for 2018:



13 Claws Anthology

Thursday, May 24th was   Carrick Publishing’s night!

For almost a decade, Carrick Publishing has been a huge supporter of Canadian crime writers and given first voice to promising new authors like Elle MacPherson, winner of the 2017 Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award.

A huge THANK YOU and mega hug to Donna and Alex Carrick, the publishers of the Mesdames three anthologies.

Big congrats and hugs go to Mme Catherine Astolfo for WINNING this year’s Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award for her terrifying tale, “The Outlier”. Jack Batten, the Toronto Star crime fiction reviewer, praised it as scary enough to give Paul Bernardo pause!


And heart-felt congratulations also go to our Arthur Ellis finalists, Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway and Sylvia Warsh! 

Sylvia Warsh

M. H. Callway

Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane Burfield

To read Cathy’s story and the amazing work by more than a dozen of Canada’s leading crime writers, buy a copy of 13 Claws today. It’s available on Amazon, Smashwords, Apple and in print form from our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street.


Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

The Bony Blithe Minicon took place with great fun and success on Friday, May 25th. This year’s winner of the Bony Blithe prize is E. C. Bell for Dying on Second. Enjoy write-ups of the festival on E.C. Bell’s blog here and the Bony Blithe homepage here. This award, for mysteries that make you smile, was created and is run by Mmes Cheryl Freedman and Caro Soles.


Limestone Expo was held on May 26-27th in Kingston with several Mesdames and fellow Sisters in Crime participating on panels, such as “What makes a Great Whodunnit?” and “Film Tropes are Killing my Prose”.  A good time was had by M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Ed Piwowarczyk and Madona Skaff.  Great write-up of the event on Rosemary’s blog, Kingston on My Mind, here and loads of photos on the SinC website thanks to hard-working Marilyn!

Madona Skaff

Marilyn Kay

Lisa De Nikolits

Ed Piwowarczyk


We’re delighted that Catherine Astolfo has returned to the Mesdames from retirement. We look forward to more of her dark fiction.

And we welcome Monsieur, Kevin Thornton, whose stories and novels have been short-listed many times for the Arthur Ellis Award. Check out Kevin’s bio on the right side of this page!


New Publications and Congratulations!

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

Mystery Weekly is a Canadian publisher recognized by the Mystery Writers of America. All stories are eligible for consideration for the Edgar Award.

To learn more about this exciting new publication, to subscribe and to read some great new stories, check out their Mystery Weekly website.


Caro Soles

Caro Soles

Mme Caro Soles’ new thriller, People Like Us, will be released this fall and here is the engaging cover!

How well do you know your friends? At a cottage reunion of old university pals, a telephone call threatens their tightly knit circle. Long-buried secrets being to crack their perfect lives wider and wider until one buckles under the pressure and slides headlong into murder.




On Tuesday, June 5th, 2 pm, Mmes Catherine Dunphy, M.H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits and Marilyn Kay will tell their audience why Canadian women are rocking the mystery world. The event takes place at the Beaches Public Library, Program Room, 2161 Queen St. East, Toronto.


On Saturday, June 9th, Mme Sylvia Warsh will be one of the authors of What’s Your Story, North York and Scarborough? This celebration of reading and writing in North York and Scarborough will be hosted by award-winning author Catherine Hernandez.

The afternoon event takes place at Victoria Village Library, 184 Sloane Avenue, Toronto.

Sylvia will be reading from her North York story at 1:15 pm. At 2:30 pm, Catherine Hernandez will hold a workshop Decolonizing Writing Practice, to help authors find truth in their own literary voice. And at 3 pm there will be a Publisher Speed Dating event with Quattro Books, Guernica Editions, Dundurn Press, Cormorant Books, ECW Press and Inanna Publications. For more information visit the open book website here.


Also , on Saturday, June 9th, 11 am to 3 pm, Mmes Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles will join fellow CWC authors Anita Arvast, Anna Dowdall, Judy Penz Sheluk and Jennifer Soosar  at Chapters / Indigo, 3900 Highway 7, Unit 1, Woodbridge. The event is part of the celebration of the 35th anniversary of Crime Writers of Canada.


On Tuesday, June 12th, 2 pmMme M. H. Callway will be giving her popular, How to Get Published, workshop at the Beaches Library, 2161 Queen Street East, Toronto. And on Tuesday, June 19th, 6 pm, she will be give the same workshop as a guest of Rosemary McCracken’s novel writing course at George Brown College.


Caro SolesOn Tuesday, June 19th, 2 pm, Mme Caro Soles, will be giving a talk on the Pitfalls of Writing Historical Fiction, also at the Beaches Library, 2161 Queen Street East, Toronto.


Melodie CampbellOn Thursday, June 21st, 7 pm,  Mme Melodie Campbell joins fellow comedy writers Janet Bolin, Elizabeth Duncan and Steve Shrott for a Die Laughing panel at the Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd., Toronto. Moderated by Lynn Macpherson.


Also on Thursday, June 21st, 5:30 to 7 pm, Lisa De Nikolits joins writers, Sky Curtis and Mary Lou Dickinson for an authors’ event at Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto.





June 1: Interview with renowned host of Conversations LIVE Cyrus Webb and reading of “Watermelon Weekend”, Donna Carrick, nominated for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award, featured in Thirteen by the Mesdames of Mayhem, Carrick Publishing, 2013.

June 3: Interview with author Lizbeth Meredith (Pieces of Me) and short story reading of “Corner Store”, Donna Carrick.

June 10: Interview with author Michael Jecks (the Knights Templar series) and reading of short story “Appearances”, Donna Carrick, North on the Yellowhead, Carrick Publishing.

June 17: Interview with author Jennifer Berg (the Elliot Bay mystery series) and reading of “Delights in Novelty”, Brad Ling, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing.

June 24: Interview with Canadian Crime writer Dee Wilson and reading of “July is Hell”, Mme Melodie Campbell, Thirteen, Carrick Publishing.


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Greetings Readers!

13 Claws Anthology








The Mesdames have two great events coming up next week. On Thursday, May 26th, 6 pm, we will be attending the Arthur Ellis Awards gala at the Arts and Letters Club, Toronto. We are incredibly honoured to have no less than FOUR nominations from our third anthology, 13 Claws: Cathy Astolfo (ret’d), Jane Burfield and Sylvia Warsh for Best Short Story and M. H. Callway for Best Novella!

Jane Burfield

M. H. Callway

Sylvia Warsh






And on Friday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. the 2018 Bony Blithe Mini-con & Award Gala takes place at the High Park Club, 100 Indian Road, Toronto.

A message from Mme Cheryl Freedman, Assistant to the Once and Future Bloody Boss and 2018 Bony Blithe Chair, Mme Caro Soles.

Cheryl Freedman

Caro Soles

Caro Soles






Hello, my criminous friends…

Just a reminder to those of you who haven’t registered for the 2018 Bony Blithe Mini-con & Award Gala that time is running out: The event is next Friday, May 25, so register now for a fun day of mirth and murder.

New this year are some panels to broaden the horizon of our bony gal, with topics that aren’t focused strictly on light mysteries.

Sex and the Saucy Bits. From characters walking off chastely into the sunset to a jolly bout of good old rumpy-pumpy, how much sex do we want to see in mysteries?

Expletive Deleted? Even the most gentle of sleuths must lose their cool sometimes, so how do characters express themselves when life poops on them? Including a look at creative cussing through the ages.

Killing Them Softly. Guns are so gauche when there are so many other classier and more innovative ways of offing one’s enemies. From a bullet to the brain to a knitting needle to the heart.

Sleuths and Sidekicks. Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Even cops have partners (official or unofficial), and what would Sherlock have done without Watson. Who are your favourite crime-fighting duos?

Woof! Meow! Oink! No matter how badly your investigation is going, you can always turn to your best friend – your pet – for comfort. What role do animals play in various kinds of mysteries?

Besides our panels, your registration also includes lunch and dinner, afternoon nibblies, a book room, and a chance to network, meet old and new friends, and speak with authors.

All this for only $65. So register now for the 2018 Bony Blithe Mini-con and Award Gala on the website here.


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via The Mesdames love a good chat!

The Mesdames visited Vanessa’s Picks this week. Click the above link to join our chat!

Thanks to Mme Rosemary McCracken for sharing!

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MAY 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.

The  2018 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist Event took place on Wednesday, April 18th across Canada.  

In Toronto, award-winning author, Elizabeth J. Duncan  emceed the event. And 13 Claws ruled the night! Imagine our surprise, delight and honour when FOUR authors in the Mesdames’ 3rd anthology, 13 Claws, heard their names read out!

13 Claws

The Arthur Ellis awards will be given out at the annual gala on  Thursday, May 24th, 6 pm at the Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm St., Toronto. Tickets are going fast.  Order through the CWC website.

And MEET FOUR 13 CLAWS AUTHORS on reviewer, Vanessa Westermann’s blog, Vanessa’s Picks here.


Cathy Astolfo

Jane Burfield

Jane Burfield

Madeleine Harris-Callway

M. H. Callway




Sylvia Maultash Warsh

Sylvia Maultash Warsh



Donna Carrick

Editor, Donna Carrick






Congratulations to the four Mesdames whose stories are finalists for the 2018 Arthur Ellis awards:

  • Retired Mme Cathy Astolfo, Best Short Story for “The Outlier”
  • Mme Jane Burfield, Best Short Story for “There be Dragons”
  • Mme M. H. Callway, Best Novella for “Snake Oil”
  • Mme Sylvia Warsh, Best Short Story for “The Ranchero’s Daughter”

A huge thank you is due to Mme Donna Carrick, editor of the Mesdames’ three anthologies, including 13 Claws, to Carrick Publishing for their wonderful support of Canadian crime writing and to Sara Carrick for her signature cover design!

13 Claws is available at Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore, in Kindle and print form on and in the Toronto Public Library.

Publication News!

Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell has signed with Orca Books for the 6th book in her hilarious Goddaughter series. For release in 2019.

And Melodie and M. H. Callway are both delighted that their stories have been accepted for the noir anthology by Coffin Hop Press, The Dame was Trouble, to be published later in 2018.


Rosemary McCrackenMme Rosemary McCracken has just sold her suspense story, “Black Bear Country” to Mystery Weekly Magazine. Stay tuned for details on its publication.


And a reminder that tMalice Domestic: Mystery Most Geographicalhe 2018 Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Geographical, is now available to readers on Amazon where readers can enjoy Sylvia Warsh’s story, “The Cabin in the Woods”.



Tuesday May 8th. It’s a Crime, Novel, that is.

Melodie CampbellWhat makes a crime novel? Join Mme Melodie Campbell, at the Beaches Branch, TPL, 2161 Queen St. East, as she talks about the many sub-genres of crime fiction, and the expectations for each. This workshop is perfect for anyone who loves reading crime fiction, and/or desires to try writing it. 2-3:30 pm. Free. To register, contact the Beaches Branch at 416-393-7703.


M.H. CallwaySaturday, May 12th. Seraphim Editions Author Appreciation.

Mme M. H. Callway is attending a special author appreciation event hosted by her publisher, Seraphim Editions to showcase a new project to augment author visibility.  The launch will be held at the Women’s Art Association, 21-23 Prince Arthur, 1 to 4 pm.


Rosalind PlaceSunday, May 13th. Launch of County Wave Anthology.

The County Wave is an anthology of 21 stories by Prince Edward County writers, including Mme Roz Place. The culmination of the Cressy Lakeside Books short story contest, The County Wave offers readers a wide range of styles and story lines that are thought provoking and entertaining and illustrations by local artists.

Meet the authors at Picton’s Old Town Hall, 2-5 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, enjoy a refreshments and help celebrate this wonderful event.


Thursday, May 24th, 6pm. The Arthur Ellis Awards gala to be held at the Arts and Letters Club, 14 Elm St., Toronto. Several Mesdames will be in attendance!



Friday, May 25th, 11 am to 9 pm. The Bony Blithe Gala and Minicon. High Park Club, 100 Indian Rd.

Registration is now open; sign up on the Registration page on the Bony Blithe website.

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

Caro Soles

Caro Soles






The $65 registration fee includes lunch, three panels or discussions, a book dealer, a loot bag, afternoon nibblies, and, of course, the award banquet in the evening.


Saturday May 26th and Sunday, May 27th, 9am to 5pm. Limestone Genre Expo.

The conference to be held at the Waterfront Holiday Inn, Kingston.  Several Mesdames are confirmed as panelists and readers, including: M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken and Madona Skaff.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Rosemary McCracken

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff






Wednesday May 30thMme Lisa De Nikolits joins authors Sky Curtis, Terri Favro and Gianna Patriarca  at Fearlessly Funny Femmes Fatales, sponsored by Inanna Press at Famous Last Words Bar, 6 to 8 pm, 392 Pacific Avenue, Toronto.




May 1: Interview with organized crime expert and freelance journalist Stephen G. Metelsky ( and short story reading of “Prepared”, Mme Donna Carrick (Carrick Publishing)

May 6: Interview with author Junying Kirk (The Journey to the West trilogy) and short story reading of “The Grief Machine”, Alex Carrick

May 13: Interview with author Judy Penz Sheluk (Skeletons in the Attic, The Hanged Man’s Noose) and reading of short story “Live Free or Die”, Judy Penz Sheluk, World Enough and Crime anthology, Carrick Publishing

May 20: Interview with author Russell Parkway (The Demeter Code) and reading of “Doctor Shediac”, Mme Donna Carrick, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing

May 27: Interview with renowned host of Conversations LIVE Cyrus Webb and reading of “Appearances”, Mme Donna Carrick, North on the Yellowhead


Several important Mesdames readings and workshops are coming up in June. Details later this month.


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13 Claws








Thursday, April 18th will be a night to remember for the Mesdames, with FOUR Arthur Ellis nominations for 13 Claws!! We were blown away to be so honoured! And we owe everything to Carrick Publishing.

Mme Donna Carrick, our editor, writes:

I’ll get right to the point. I am over the moon!!!

Heartfelt Congratulations to:

  • Mme Mad (M.H. Callway) Finalist Best Novella for “Snake Oil” 

  • Mme Jane Petersen Burfield Finalist: Best Short Story for “There Be Dragons”

  • Mme Sylvia Maultash Warsh Finalist: Best Short Story for “The Ranchero’s Daughter”

  • Cathy Astolfo (Mme, retired) Finalist: Best Short Story, “The Outlier”

Huge thanks to all the authors who contributed to this exceptional anthology!

And thanks to Sara Carrick for the outstanding ORIGINAL AND BEAUTIFUL cover and to M. Ed Piwowarczyk for the fine standard of Copy Editing.

And yes, on behalf of Carrick Publishing I will take a tiny bow. We strive for excellence in presentation and I believe we achieved it with this great book!

For the full listing of Arthur Ellis finalists, including Best Novel, click here.





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

With spring comes spring cleaning. Our website is up to date thanks to the work and techie know-how of Mme Marilyn Kay.Marilyn Kay We owe her a huge debt of thanks!

Do check out our updated Who We Are and Anthologies pages. And especially for emerging writers, our resource-rich, Events and Workshops page (formerly Learn from the Mesdames).

April is crime writing award season!

The  2018 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist Event takes place on Wednesday, April 18th. The  event stretches across the country from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Vancouver, B.C. with author appearances and of course, The Big Reveal.

In Toronto, award-winning author, Elizabeth J. Duncan will emcee the event, and special guest, Maureen Jennings will announce the Arthur Ellis Award finalists.

Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken are delighted to be among the presenters at the Toronto Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist Event. For details please see the graphic above.

On Thursday,  April 19th, Mme Caro Soles will announce the finalists for the 2018 Bony Blithe Award for Best Light Mystery. Be sure to check out the Bony Blithe Facebook page  here.

And fingers crossed for the authors whose stories appeared in 13 Claws! The finalists for the 2018 Derringer Awards will be announced shortly.




New Publications and Congratulations!

The 2018 Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Geographical, is now available to readers on Amazon. We’re especially excited because it contains Mme Sylvia Warsh’s story, “The Cabin in the Woods”.

Sylvia and fellow author and Arthur Ellis award winner, Susan Daly, are the only two Canadian authors with stories in the collection.



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

Mystery Weekly is a Canadian publisher recognized by the Mystery Writers of America.  All stories are eligible for consideration for the Edgar Award.

To learn more about this exciting new publication, to subscribe and to read some great new stories, check out their website here.


Edizioni le Assassine has acquired the Italian rights to Mme Lisa de Nikolits’s novel No Fury Like That and the translation into Italian is underway.  Una furia dell’altro mondo will be published in Milan in 2019!


Tuesday April 10. Mme Rosemary McCracken’s course, Novel Writing II: How to Develop Your Novel starts up again at George Brown College, 200 King St. East, Toronto. Sessions run every Tuesday through June 26, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Two hours of every class will be devoted to critiquing students’ work.

Prerequisites are the college’s Novel Writing I or an approved equivalent. Register by clicking here. For more information call  416-415-5000, ext. 2092.

Wednesday April 18. Arthur Ellis Shortlist Event. Authors Alison Bruce, Pamela Blance, Mel Bradshaw, M.H. Callway, Sharon Crawford, Rosemary McCracken, Lynn McPherson, Lorna Poplak and Ann Shortell will pitch their newest works to the audience.
Chapters/Indigo, 2300 Yonge St., Toronto. 7-8:30 p.m. Free admission, open to the public.

Also on Wednesday April 18thMme Lisa De Nikolits will be reading for the Wonderful Women Writers Series sponsored by the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at OISE, University of Toronto.

Readings are at 5:15 to 7 pm, Rm 2-227, 2nd floor, OISE/ UT, 252 Bloor St. West. The event is hosted by Dr. Nora Gold, Writer in Residence.

Melodie CampbellOn Thursday, April 19th, Mme Melodie Campbell, will host and moderate a conversation with American best-selling authors, Karin Slaughter and Alafair Burke. The event, presented by Harper Collins Canada, takes place at Centennial Hall, Burlington Public Library, 7 pm. Free admission but because of demand, please register at the library at 905-333-9995.

And on Sunday, April 22, Melodie will be interviewed by Mme Donna Carrick on Dead to Writes (see below).  Mel will read “Dog Trap”, her flash story in 13 Claws.


On Monday, April 23rd, Mmes Catherine Dunphy, M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits and Marilyn Kay present an evening with the Mesdames of Mayhem at the Pape/Danforth Branch, TPL. They will discuss: Why we love mysteries; You Bet Women Rule the Crime Writing World and Canadian Mystery Writers You Should Know About. Free admission, 7 pm, 701 Pape Avenue. To pre-register, please call 416-393-7728.

Also on Monday, April 23rd, 4-5:30 p.m., Mme Rosemary McCracken joins fellow CWC mystery writers Mel Bradshaw, Sharon Crawford, Nanci Pattenden and Cynthia St. Pierre on an interactive crime-writing panel at the Richmond Hill Public Library, Richmond Green Branch, 1 William F. Bell Pkwy, Richmond Hill, Ont.  The panel will discuss why they write crime fiction, self-publishing and the current publishing landscape, and their own intriguing works. They’ll also give impromptu critiques of the first page of short stories or novels from the audience. The pages will randomly selected.  This is a drop-in event; no need to register or buy tickets. 905-780-0711.


Ed PiwowarczykThe first Noir at the Bar of the year, hosted by Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson, takes place on Thursday, April 26th, 6:30 pm at the Wallace Gastropub, 1954 Yonge St.

M. Ed Piwowarczyk will be reading with fellow noir writers J. Kent Messum, Amy Stuart among others.  Ed will be reading from “Snakebit”, his story in 13 Claws.

On Saturday April 28th, Mme Rosemary McCracken  will give a 3-hour workshop—suitable for all skill levels—on the craft of writing a novel at the Whitby Public Library405 Dundas Street West, Whitby, Ont. The course looks at character development, point of view, the four-act plot structure, and much more.

The second half of the workshop is devoted to critiquing the FIRST PAGE OF NOVELS in progress. The first page is crucial because literary agents and publishers often read no further. To participate, drop off a copy of your first page on or before Saturday April 21st at any of the Central, Brooklin or Rossland branches. (Format: Times New Roman font, 12-point type, 1.5 spacing, one-inch margins. Include the title of the novel.)

The workshop is free. Group size is limited to 16, so register early.
Contact: 905-668-6531 ext. 2020,



April 1: Interview with author John Rakestraw (Rakestraw Book Designs) and short story reading of “Pretty Sure What Done Him In”, Alex Carrick (Carrick Publishing)

April 8: Interview with author Janet Kellough (The Bathwater Conspiracy) and short story reading of “The Monkey, The Croc and the T-Rex”, Alex Carrick

April 15: Interview with author Jon Strother (The Best of Friday Flash) and reading of short story “The Seagull Poet of Butter Bay”, Alex Carrick

April 22: Interview with author Mme Melodie Campbell and reading of “Dog Trap”, Melodie Campbell (13 Claws, Carrick Publishing)

April 29: Interview with True Crime author and organized crime expert Stephen Metelsky and reading of “Remember Me”, Alexander Galant (Starship Goodwords, Carrick Publishing)


Several important events are coming up in May. Details later this month.

Thursday, May 24th The Arthur Ellis Awards Banquet. Purchase tickets through the CWC website.

Friday, May 26th. The Bony Blithe Minicon and awards banquet. Save the date.

May 26th to 27th, Limestone Genre Expo, Waterfront Hilton Hotel, Kingston 

Join Mmes M.H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Madona Skaff and fellow members of Toronto Sisters in Crime in celebrating all works genre!


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Sharing Irish Blessings

Joanne Guidoccio


May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


May you have:
A world of wishes at your command.
God and his angels close to hand.
Friends and family their love impart,
and Irish blessings in your heart!


May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been
the foresight to know where you’re going
and the insight to know when you’re going too far.


May God grant you always…
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.


May your troubles be less,
And your blessing be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.


May the wings…

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Greetings Readers!

Spring is in the air so we are sprucing up the Mesdames website.  Our overhaul will be done in stages, so stay tuned!

Under Events and Workshops, you will now find the list of the program topics the Mesdames do as a group event. To see what we do as individual authors, go to Learn from the Mesdames.

Look for our new Anthology, Book and Friends pages, coming later this month. And Dead to Writes will soon have a permanent link to our page.



Lisa de Nikolits

On Wednesday, March 7th, 7:30 pmMme Lisa De Nikolits, will be moderating a panel on What’s Life Got to Do With it?  for the International Festival of Authors.

Lisa will steer the discussion on how today’s world impacts our writing. The critically acclaimed poets and novelists on the panel include Lisa herself,  Mayank Bhatt, Terri Favro, Catherine Graham, Kevin Hardcastle and Grace O’Connell.

The event takes place in the  Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto. Tickets are $10.  Free for IFOA Supporters, students & youth.

To book tickets and to learn more about the panel authors, click here.


Melodie Campbell

On Thursday, March 8th, Mme Melodie Campbell hosts an event for her new book, The B-Team, 7:00pm – 8:30pm at the  Ancaster Branch, Hamilton Public Library.

Melodie is a long-time supporter of adult literacy. Join Melodie,  the Hamilton Literacy Council, and the Hamilton Public Library for their launch of The B-Team!  Prize for best mob costume! Cannoli and cookies provided by nefarious means.

The B-Team 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!



Mme Lynne Murphy is once again leading her drop-in writing workshop for seniors at West Scarborough Neighbourhood Community Centre, 313 Pharmacy Ave., Toronto. Sign-up begins in March.

A new session starts Tuesday, April 3, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. There is no charge for the workshop but attendees must be members of the Centre’s Seniors’ Club. Phone the Centre at 416-755-9215 for further information.


Mme M. H. Callway is delighted that her short story, “The Cry”, has been sold to Mystery Weekly, a new MWA-approved publisher of short crime fiction based in Canada! Mad’s story, “The Cry”, tells the story of an elderly assassin who may  have overheard a murder in Hiroshima Peace Park – or not.


Big congratulations to Mme Sylvia Warsh! Sylvia is one of two winners in the established writers category for North York in the Ontario Book Publishers Organization writing contest.

The competition celebrates the literary community in  North York, Scarborough, East York and Etobicoke. Two established writers and two emerging writers were picked for each neighbourhood, then assigned to write a piece inspired by that area.

The prize is a cash award and publication. Literary events will be held in the spring featuring the 16 writers.



The Dead to Writes Playlist is growing. It’s now available on iTunes, Google Play and on YouTube!

Every month, Dead to Writes plans to feature the work of one of the Mesdames of Mayhem!

Authors who would like to be considered for an interview on the podcast should apply through the Dead to Writes website here.

Here’s the March line-up of crime fiction authors:

March 1: Interview with author Kevin P. Thornton and  he’ll read his story, “Writer’s Block” (World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing). “Writer’s Block” was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Short Story Award.

March 4: Interview with author and professional editor Toni Rakestraw of Rakestraw Book Designs and short story reading of “The Melancholic Fog Harvester”by  Alex Carrick.

March 11:Interview with noir author, Rob Brunet (Stinking Rich). Donna Carrick reads the short story , “Dancing With Carole”.

March 18: Interview with author Cathy Astolfo and she will read her story,  “The Outlier”  (13 Claws, Carrick Publishing)

March 25: Interview with author and professional consultant, Karl Bimshas and reading of “There’s No Such Thing as Time”by Alex Carrick.



April will be a busy month for Canadian crime writing:

On April 1st, the Short Mystery Fiction Society releases the finalists for the 2018 Derringer awards in four categories: Flash, Short Story, Long Story and Novelette.

On Wednesday, April 18th,  Crime Writers of Canada hosts shortlist events across Canada where authors and fans learn which books, novellas and stories are up for the 2018 Arthur Ellis awards this year.

And on Thursday, April 19th, the finalists for the 2018 Bony Blithe award will be announced for light mysteries, books that make us smile.

Fingers crossed one and all!


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