NEWS FLASH! The First Two Pages by Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Greetings Readers!

Our April newsletter, Mesdames on the Move, will be up soon, but first a News Flash!

The Mesdames are being highlighted on Art Taylor’s blog, The First Two Pages!

Art Taylor is a critically acclaimed author of short crime fiction, the winner of multiple Agatha, Macavity and Derringer awards. In 2019, he won  Edgar Award for Best Short Story.

After reading In the Key of 13, he invited three Mesdames to guest on The First Two Pages, to outline the craft behind the creation of the first two pages of their story.

Lynne Murphy is Art’s next gues author. Lynne uses her darkly humorous story, “Let the Sunshine In” to illustrate the craft of creating the first two pages of a story. Lynne’s hero is Charlotte Manners, a spry senior. When Charlotte’s choir sings at a nursing home, one of the residents approaches her. Charlotte is shocked to recognize an old friend and even more shocked when her friend reveals that murders are happening at the home. She decides to intervene, but will she be in time to save her friend?

Follow this link to Art Taylor’s blog here.



Posted in Anthologies, News | Leave a comment

NEWS FLASH! The First Two Pages by Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

We are highlighted on Art Taylor’s blog, The First Two Pages!

Art Taylor is a critically acclaimed author short crime fiction, the winner of multiple Agatha, Macavity and Derringer awards. In 2019, he won  Edgar Award for Best Short Story.

Art is a member of the Short Fiction Mystery Society and wonderful supporter of fellow crime writers. He also has nice things to say about our collection of twisted tales!

After reading In the Key of 13, he invited three Mesdames to guest on The First Two Pages, to outline the craft behind the creation of the first two pages of their story.


First up is Mme Rosemary McCracken. who delves into her story, “Farewell to the King”, where a group of friends travel to Memphis for Elvis Presley’s funeral. But one of the women hides a dark secret…

Follow this link to Art Taylor’s blog here.



Posted in News | Leave a comment

NEWS FLASH: Cancellation due to Corvid-19

Dear Friends, Fans and Readers,

Crazy times with a pandemic raging round the world – and through Canada, caused by a new virus, Corvid-19.

Noir at the Bar Toronto, originally scheduled for March 26th, is now postponed.  Our April events may also be moved or go on-line. No worries – we’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, take good care of yourselves and your loved ones,

The Mesdames and Monsieurs of Mayhem

Posted in News | Leave a comment

NEWS FLASH: More March events!

Rosemary McCracken

Rosemary McCracken

Three great news items from Mme Rosemary McCracken!

Rosemary’s story, “A Weekend in Lisdoonvarna” is published by King’s River Life Magazine in honour of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish. You can read Rosemary’s chilling tale here.

On Thursday, March 26th, Rosemary joins Irene Fantopoulos, Sheena Kamal, J.Kent Messum and C.S. O’Cinneides in reading at Toronto’s Noir at the Bar.  A great evening at the Wallace Gastro Pub, 1954 Yonge Street.


Social Media

And more exciting news for the Mesdames on Social Media. Art Taylor, an award-winning American short fiction writer, hosts a blog called  The First Two PagesThree authors from In the Key of 13 have been asked to share their secrets in crafting the first pages of their story. Great recognition for Canadian crime writers!

Rosemary McCracken‘s essay will run on March 24th followed by Sylvia Warsh on March 31st and Lynne Murphy on April 7th. Congratulations everyone!

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy







Carrick Publishing Seeks Story Submissions

Visit Carrick Publishing for full guidelines and details. Deadline for submissions is Monday, June 1, 2020, midnight EDT.

Carrick Publishing Seeks Story Submissions

Posted in News | Leave a comment

Mesdames on the Move: March 2020

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Happy Spring, Dear Readers!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We are delighted to announce two new members have joined the Mesdames.

A number of our Mesdames are participating in events. One of our Mesdames is now represented by a prestigious US agent, a Monsieur is celebrating the acceptance of his story in a new anthology and we’ve got new books to announce.

And speaking of new anthologies, Carrick Publishing is now seeking new stories for another anthology. 

So join us for an exciting month of March!

New Members

A big welcome to two new Mesdames of Mayhem: Mme Jayne Barnard and Mme Therese Greenwood. We are now truly a national organization. Jayne, Therese and M Kevin Thornton all live and write in Alberta.

Jayne Barnard, Therese Greenwood


Melodie Campbell

Mme Melodie Campbell has signed with the prestigious Transatlantic Agency and looks forward to conquering the USA.






Blair Keetch



M Blair Keetch‘s short story “Deadly Cargo” is in the new Superior Shores Press anthology, Heartbreaks & Half-Truths, to be published on June 18, 2020. Congratulations, Blair!




Kevin Thornton


Congratulations to M Kevin Thornton, who is the new Crime Writers of Canada representative for the Prairies.





Books! Books! Books!

Announcing The Light in Trieste, a new historical novel by a Canadian master, Mme Rosemary Aubert.

Review copies are now available:

The Light in TriesteThe Light in Trieste is a novel of international intrigue that spans three centuries. It’s a tale of illegal immigration: the story of an empress, a refugee and a prostitute, three desperate women in three different time periods, each attempting to use the same stolen antique scientific instrument to bribe her way into a new life in America. Inspired by the unusual life of Sisi, Empress of Bavaria and renegade wife of Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Aubert follows the fictional path of the glowing prism once owned by Sir Isaac Newton. The Light in Trieste is available through Carrick Publishing and on


Presses Renaissance Press hosted a live on-line party to introduce the cover and video trailer for Mme Madona Skaff‘s new novel, Death by Association on February 25th.

Death by AssociationMadona Skaff

Pre-order now! Available May 15, 2020!

New Anthology for Carrick Publishing

Carrick Publishing will soon be announcing a new Crime story anthology, to be released Fall 2020.

Submissions open March 1 and will close June 1.

Each story must contain an illness or a disease. The illness or disease can be life-threatening or only relevant in some other way. It can be related to either the protagonist or the antagonist. It can be a rare disease, or something very run-of-the-mill, including colds, flu and the like. But there must be a disease playing a factor in either the crime or the solution.

Story basic guidelines are the following:

  • a Word Count 1500 min – 8000 max;
  • it must contain a clear crime;
  • it can be mystery, procedural or thriller. No horror, please.

There will be prizes for best story and runner up,

Readings and Events

Novel Idea International Women's Day EventMme Lisa de Nikolits is at Novel Idea bookestore on International Women’s Day, Saturday, March 7, 2020,156 Princess St., Kingston, Ontario.









Madeleine Harris CallwayMme M. H. Callway is attending Left Coast Crime 2020 in San Diego.  On March 15th, 9 am, she is moderating the panel “Celebrating the Short Story: when less is better”. She’ll be enjoying social get-togethers with the Short Mystery Fiction Society, fellow Canadian crime writers and of course, taking in Noir at the Bar on Friday, March 13th.




Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Gala

Bloody Words Mini-Con and Bony Blithe Award

A friendly reminder from Cheryl Freedman that space is filling up for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, High Park Club, Toronto. But there’s still room, so register now for a full day (10 a.m. to 9 p.m.) of criminous capers.

Only $75 gets you panels, a loot bag, book dealer Ian Elliott from A Different Drummer Books, luncheon and afternoon nibblies, the Bony Blithe Gala dinner, and lots of time to schmooze with new friends and old.

Authors, the sooner you register, the more likely you are to be on a panel.

Social Media

Kevin ThorntonM Kevin Thornton is profiled by MX Publishing about his Sherlock Holmes stories.

For fans of Sherlock Holmes, we recommend joining the Toronto Bootmaker’s Society  Their monthly meetings at the Toronto Reference Library are great fun and feature talks by interesting crime writers, forensic experts and so forth.




Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

Join Mme Lisa de Nikolitis on a blog tour for her book The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution from March 1-31. All the dates and blogs are listed on her Blog Tour with Partners in Crime page.

The Occult Persuasion



Posted in Anthologies, Awards/Achievements, books, events, News | Leave a comment

Mesdames on the Move: February 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!

Our momentum continues through February with more new books, readings and honours!


Caro Soles

Big congratulations to Mme Caro Soles who is now a member of the Executive Council of the International Crime Writers Association. The ICWA runs the annual Hammett Award for literary excellence in crime fiction.

Caro is a well-known and versatile author from Toronto, who founded and ran Bloody Words, Canada’s national crime writers’ conference.  She was awarded the Derrick Murdock Award of the Crime Writers of Canada for her contributions to the crime genre.

Caro’s website. Her Caro’s Wikipedia bio.


Books, Books, Books!

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert


Rosemary Aubert may be our Mme Emerita but she continues to publish at an enviable pace. Her historical novel, A Light in Trieste, is due to be released by Carrick Publishing in the spring.

Rosemary spent many years researching the colourful history of Trieste, which stands at the crossroads between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.




Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits is delighted to share that she has signed the contract for her tenth novel, The Rage Roomwith Inanna Publications.

From the incomparable crafter of nine cross-genre works of fiction, award winning author Lisa de Nikolits expands her horizons to pen a multi-layered, grab-you-by-the-throat, feminist dystopian domestic suspense thriller, a speculative-fiction murder mystery in the style of Groundhog Day meets The Matrix. The perfect father kills his family on Christmas Eve, and tries to undo his actions by jumping back in time. The result is murder and mayhem in dystopia.


Melodie Campbell

And don’t forget Mme Melodie Campbell, Our Queen of Comedy’s new book, The Italian Cure published by Orca on January 29th.

This romantic comedy is perfect to cozy up with on a chilly evening.



Readings and Events!

Ontario Library Association Superconference

The OLAS 2020 just wrapped up and was a terrific opportunity for three Mmes to showcase their work.

Lisa de Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion

Melodie Campbell

Cover of Crime Club





Lisa signed complimentary copies of her new thriller, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution for Inanna on Thursday, January 30th. And on Friday, January 31st, Melodie Campbell did the same for her new YA mystery, Crime Club (Orca).


Madeleine Harris Callway


In the Key of 13Later on Friday, January 31st, the Crime Writers of Canada hosted their annual line-up of new crime books for 2020. M. H. Callway presented In the Key of 13 on behalf of the Mmes and Melodie Campbell presented Crime Club!



Pivot Readings

Lisa De Nikolits will be reading at the Pivot Readings on Thursday, February 27th, 8 p.m., at the Tranzac Club, Tiki Room, 292 Brunswick Ave., Toronto.


Social Media!

Blog Tours

Lisa de Nikolits Lisa De Nikolits is continuing her  Silver Dagger Book Tour into February after a grueling, almost daily blog tour in January to promote The Occult Persuasion. Check out Lisa’s full blog tour schedule.

And she has also started a new blog of AUTHOR INTERVIEWS. Rumour has it that a number of Mmes will be guesting on it. Stay tuned!

Save the Date!

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

A friendly reminder from Cheryl Freedman that registration is now open for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, High Park Club, Toronto.

Note to authors: The sooner you register, the more likely you are to be on a panel.

Posted in Awards/Achievements, books, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the Women who Love Murder: A CBC Gem Short Doc featuring the Mesdames of Mayhem

In October, 2019, the day before the release of our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13, (Carrick Publishing) the Mesdames were honored to be the subject of a truly wonderful CBC Gem Short Documentary video.

Only 15 minutes long, the video highlights four of our members: Lisa de Nikolits, Melodie Campbell, Jane Burfield and Donna Carrick. Behind the scenes, though, the film could not have been made without the contributions of all of our members, including our honorary member, Director and visionary, Cat Mills, as well as CBC producer Felicity Justrabo.

We hope you will enjoy. Please stay with us till the end of this short labor of love, for insights into the minds of women who love murder!

Posted in Awards/Achievements | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mesdames on the Move: January 2020

Happy New Year, Dear Readers!

Happy New YearThe Mesdames of Mayhem had a truly remarkable year in 2019 to share with you, including the incredibly moving CBC Short Doc on the Mesdames by the brilliantly talented Cat Mills and her CBC team, and the launch of our 4th anthology, In the Key of 13.

In 2020, 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 social media.

January is starting off a busy decade for us with new books, public events and readings, conferences and teaching emerging new crime writers!


Books, Books, Books!

In the Key of 13The e-Pub edition of our fabulous new anthology, In the Key of 13, will be available by Jan. 24.

This means , dear readers, that you can buy it through most e-Pub retailers:  iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and so on. You can already access the Kindle edition here.

Links will be posted as soon as they go live.

And another thrilling piece of news, our antho is now available in the Toronto Public Library. Check out our listing here



Melodie Campbell

Big congratulations to Melodie Campbell, Our Queen of Comedy on her new book, The Italian Cure, to be published by Orca on January 29th.

This a romantic comedy, light and fun, and almost a travelogue to Italy, perfect to cozy up with on a chilly evening.


Here’s the preview: Charlie’s world comes crashing down when her fiancé leaves her for another woman. Then Aunt Della wins a trip for two to Rome. Can Italy mend her broken heart? But with adventure comes mishaps, and Charlie’s trip seems to be full of them! In between the chaos and hijinks of this supposed vacation, will Charlie take another chance at love?

Readings and Events!

Sisters in Crime Reading

On Thursday, January 16th, 7 pm, several Mesdames join their sister crime writers at Northern District Library, 40 Orchardview Blvd., Toronto. This is an annual reading night hosted by Toronto Sisters in Crime. Admission is free for members, $5 for non-members.

Come out and hear the work of M. H. Callway, Lisa De Nikolits, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles. Books will also be available for sale.

Madeleine Harris Callway

MH Callway

Caro Soles

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

Rosemary McCracken

R. McCracken






Ontario Library Association Superconference

This annual event draws librarians from all over Ontario to Toronto for several days of seminars, panels and exhibits.  To learn more:

Lisa de Nikolits


The Occult PersuasionOn Thursday, January 30th, at 1:30 pm, Lisa De Nikolits will be signing complimentary copies of her latest thriller, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution at the Ontario Book Publishers’ Pavilion, Table One.

This is a great opportunity to connect with librarians and other eager book lovers.


Madeleine Harris Callway



And on Friday, January 31st, 1 pm, the Crime Writers of Canada host their annual lunchtime presentation to librarians of thrilling new crime books for 2020. M. H. Callway will be presenting In the Key of 13 on behalf of the Mmes and Melodie Campbell will be promoting The Italian Cure!


Social Media!

It often surprises readers and interviewers that we Mesdames originally got together in 2013 to deal with a new beast:  social media.  Some of us were “power users”, others complete technophobes. We decided to pool our expertise to help out our friends.

Seven years later, how the publishing industry has transformed! Social Media, like blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos, are critical to reaching readers and so will be our focus for the new year. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement next month!

Blog Tour

Lisa de NikolitsOne of our Social Media Masters is Lisa De Nikolits who not only runs at least two blogs but documented her author experiences on YouTube in Writer For a Year!

This month, Lisa joined Silver Dagger Book Tours and has been working an almost daily blog tour to promote The Occult Persuasion. Check out Lisa’s full schedule here:

Dead to Writes


Dead to Writes, Donna Carrick’s podcast featuring primarily Canadian crime writers will resume in 2020.

Check back here for the upcoming schedule.

Rumour has it that quite a few of the authors in our new anthology, In the Key of 13, may be joining Donna on her show!


Learn from the Mesdames!

One of Mesdames’ goals is to nurture and encourage emerging crime writers.  For this reason, several of us teach.  Readers and aspiring writers, here are some terrific opportunities to learn from the best!


Melodie Campbell is back at Sheridan College, Trafalgar Road, Oakville Campus, teaching Crafting a Novel 1. The course starts this Saturday, Jan. 18, 10 am-1 pm, for 14 weeks.

Join award-winning author Melodie for this popular novel-writing bootcamp. Learn about Plot, Characterization, Dialogue,Viewpoint and more; what do we mean by ‘Show Not Tell’; and what makes up the different genres of popular fiction. In addition, learn the specifics of the Business of Writing, including e-publishing.

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh


Sylvia Warsh teaches creative writing to seniors at the Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living, 1003 Steeles Avenue W. Fridays 10:30 – 12:30, January 10 to March 20. Participants have the opportunity to read their work aloud and be critiqued by their peers and instructor in a supportive and friendly environment.


Save the Date!

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman

A friendly reminder from Cheryl Freedman:

For those of you who’ve already broken your New Year’s resolutions, here’s one that’s easy – and fun – to keep. Resolve to come to the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Bony Blithe

We’re back at the High Park Club in Toronto. Space is limited, so register now. We have panels on a wide range of topics, a book dealer, lunch, the BB award dinner, and lots of opportunity to schmooze with old and new criminous friends.

Note to authors: The sooner you register, the more likely you are to be on a panel plus, if you’re published by a traditional publisher, the easier it will be for our book dealer to get your books.





Posted in News | Leave a comment


Happy New Year Readers!

The Mesdames of Mayhem had an absolutely stellar year in 2019. We were the subject of a CBC documentary: Meet the women who love murder | The Mesdames of Mayhem.

We launched our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13, a collection of 19 nefarious tales of music, mayhem and murder, to a terrific review by Jack Batten in The Toronto Star.

To round off a truly amazing year, several of us had  new books and short stories published as well as nominations for the Arthur Ellis and Derringer awards.

We’re looking forward to a terrific new decade starting in 2020. It’s all thanks to you, dear readers: we wouldn’t be here without you. We look forward to meeting many more of you at upcoming conferences, events and workshops in 2020.

We’re in the Movies!

Mesdames of Mayhem CBC Short Doc


Cat Mills

After one of our panels at the Beaches branch of the Toronto Public Library, a young filmmaker approached us. She asked if we would be willing to be the subject of a documentary. Cat Mills is an award-winning documentarian and together with her producer, Felicity Justrabo, she obtained funding from the CBC no less!

Cat shot miles of footage, interviewing several of us separately and together. And from this material, she created a 15-minute film that will make you laugh — and make you cry, because she deftly unveiled the humanity behind why we Mesdames write about crime.

The Mesdames of Mayhem launched on October 25th and we unanimously voted to make Cat an Honorary Mme of Mayhem. We look forward to her many wonderful new films in the Roaring 2020s!

To learn more about how the film was created, view Cat’s interview in CBC Books.

Our 4th Anthology!

In the Key of 13 Cover

On Saturday, October 26th,  we launched our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13. at our favourite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. We filled the space with friends, family and readers.

Our theme for this collection of 18 stories and one satirical poem is music, mayhem and of course, murder! Jack Batten, crime fiction reviewer for The Toronto Star, gave us a warm review saying that “overall, the stories reach more diabolical peaks than the previous collections.” He made special mention of the stories by Melodie Campbell, Catherine Dunphy, Jane Petersen Burfield and Sylvia Warsh.

We were honoured to be part of the same review that featured Peter Robinson’s latest Inspector Banks novel, Many Rivers to Cross. Read Jack’s full review of In the Key of 13.

Our stellar book cover is thanks to the amazing talent and skill of artist Sara Carrick who not only designed our logo and gave us our signature purple colour, but has created the covers for ALL our anthologies.

Donna and Alex Carric

As always, much gratitude to Carrick Publishing,  publisher of all four of the Mesdames of Mayhem anthologies: Thirteen, 13 O’clock, 13 Claws and now In the Key of 13

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


Awards and Recognitions!

Melodie Campbell

Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, was MC for the 2019 Arthur Ellis Awards on May 23rd, proving that a stand-up comic is the best host ever.

Melodie’s writing was recognized by TWO Arthur Ellis nominations: her short story, “A Ship Called Pandora” (Mystery Weekly) and her novella, The Goddaughter Does Vegas (Orca Book Publishers).

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh’s story, “A Cabin in the Woods”, was a finalist for the prestigious Derringer Award for Best Short Short Story. Her chilling tale appeared in Malice Domestic’s 2018 anthology, Murder Most Geographical. 


 Fabulous Publications!

2019 was another amazing publishing year for novels and short stories by the Mesdames.

Melodie Campbell

Cover of Crime Club





Melodie Campbell branched out into young adult fiction with the first of her new teen detective series, Crime Club (Orca Book Publishers.) It received rave reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. 


Lisa De Nikolits

The Occult Persuasion






Lisa De Nikolits continues to go from strength to strength. Her seventh thriller, No Fury Like That, was republished in Italian. In April, she attended the launch in Italy and followed that up with a book tour.  Her ninth novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Nightmare, was released in September to great reviews. (Both books by Inanna Publications.) Her story, “Fire Drill”, was part of the anthology, The Best Laid Plans, the first such collection by Superior Shores Press, Judy Penz Sheluk, editor.


Rosemary McCracken

Mystery Most Edible Anthology






Rosemary McCracken’s dark tale, “Dining Out”, where a restaurant critic gets his just deserts appeared in the 2019 Malice Domestic anthology, Murder Most Edible. And her Derringer-nominated story, “The Sweetheart Scamster”, was reprinted in The Best Laid Plans (Superior Shores Press).

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Nothing Without Us





Madona Skaff’s story, “Backbone”, appears in the anthology, Nothing Without Us, where the protagonists are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or manage mental illness (Renaissance). Look for Madona’s second book in her Naya Assad series, Death by Association, later in 2020.

Caro Soles

Caro Soles






Caro Soles is a master of several genres: thrillers, historicals, speculative and dark fiction and erotica. Readers can sample the spectrum of Caro’s work in her collection of short stories, Do You Know Me? (Baskerville Press). Her new novel (title to be announced) will be published by Inanna Publications in 2020.

Kevin Thornton

A Matter of Time by Kevin Pl Norton





Kevin Thornton’s story, “A Matter of Time”, is one of six truly terrifying tales in the anthology, It Came from the North (Blurb). The stories are inspired by the fantastic, the speculative and things that lurk in the dark.

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Down and Out Magazine Nov 2019






Sylvia Warsh‘s story, “The Comeback” is one of the works featured in a new literary journal called Vautrin, inspired by Balzac’s criminal mastermind character with the same name (Watermark Books). And her noir tale, “The Veiled Heart”, was published in  Volume 2, Issue 1 of Down and Out Magazine.


Sylvia Warsh and Rosemary McCracken

Madona Skaf, Lynne Murphy. Madeleine Harris-Callway

Madona Skaf, Lynne Murphy and Madeleine Harris-Callway

Word on the Street (WOTS) is one of Toronto’s biggest literary festivals and on Sunday, Sept. 22nd, the Mesdames of Mayhem were back in Writers Block for their fifth consecutive year.

We had pre-launch copies of our new anthology, In the Key of 13  on display- and sold out! Also for sale were copies of our three first anthologies: Thirteen, 13 o’clock, and 13 Claws as well as novels by Mesdames authors.

Our new – and somewhat controversial – indoor location facilitated our customary support at the booths of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Word on the Street

Marilyn Kay and Friend

A big thank you to the thirteen Mesdames  (our lucky number!) who made this event possible by staffing the booth and/or giving donations: Rosemary Aubert, Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Donna Carrick, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Mary Patterson, Ed Piwowarczyk, Roz Place, Madona Skaff, Sylvia Warsh.

And big thanks and hugs to Marilyn Kay for the fab photos and to Jane for our ghostly companion!

Mega Conferences!

2019 was the year of conferences both at home in Canada and in the USA.

Bloody Words Minicon 

Cheryl Freedman

Cheryl Freedman reports that the 2019 Bloody Words Minicom on May 24, 2019, was great fun for guests and attendees. Several Mmes attended and took part in the panels:  Cathy Astolfo, Jane Burfield, Melodie Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Ed Piwowarczyk, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh.

Caro Soles announced her retirement from the Board and was honored by the attendees. This year’s winner of the Bony Blithe Award was Mike Martin for his novel, Darkest Before the Dawn.

Left Coast Crime


In March, Mmes M. H. Callway, Lynne Murphy and Madona Skaff attended Left Coast Crime, held for the first time in Canada in Vancouver. We reconnected with old crime writer friends, like Vicki Delany and made new ones, like A.J. Devlin and Debra Goldstein, through Noir at the Bar, the Short Mystery Fiction Society meet-up and the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) dinner.

Madeleine was on the panel, Short Fiction and Novellas and Madona on Medicine and Science. 

This year, we Mesdames signed up for an Author-Reader Connection, a private event where readers and authors meet face to face. It proved to be a terrific success! We took four fun readers to tea at the Vancouver Art Gallery and spent a delightful afternoon chatting about crime fiction.

Limestone Genre Expo


Limestone Genre ExpoOn June 1st,  M. H. Callway, Madona Skaff and Caro Soles attended Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario. They served on author panels, gave workshops and met readers.

This year CWC hosted a new event on Saturday night – a pub quiz. Good beer, food and book prizes! Many thanks again to Liz Strange and her team for organizing.


International Thriller Writers – Thriller Fest

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits attended Thriller Fest XIV in New York City, July 9 to 13th.  In addition to her panel on Highsmith, Hammett OR Agatha Christie? The Thrills Of Mystery, she met celebrity authors, pitched her next novel at an agent pitch session and took in the sights of The Big Apple.


When Words Collide

Madeleine Harris Callway

M. H. Callway

M. H. Callway attended When Words Collide in Calgary, August 9 to 11th.  This multi-genre conference attracts 800+ participants every year and welcomes both established and emerging writers.

Madeleine was delighted to be on the panel, Does It Have to be Murder? She was honoured to read from her story, “The Seeker”, at the Noir at the Bar event, hosted by noir fiction publisher, Coffin Hop Press.

Also, a wonderful opportunity to connect with fab western crime writers and friends, Jayne Barnard and Therese Greenwood.

More Readings and Events!

In 2019, the Mesdames continued to give numerous readings, participate in panel discussions and to hold workshops at libraries and colleges. 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, Runnymede and Queen and Salter Branches of the Toronto Public Library.


Cathy Dunphy

Cathy Dunphy

Our fearless leader, Cathy Dunphy, arranged an overnight event in Bracebridge at  the local University Women’s Club with Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay and Rosemary McCracken. Very successful in terms of recognition and book sales – and spurring us on to more Ontario events in 2020. Stay tuned!

Cathy also appeared on Episode 6 of the crime fiction interview series, Crime Beat Confidential, hosted by CWC member, Sharon Crawford on internet TV station, That Channel. Lisa was interviewed in Episode 7.

Social Media

Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa wound up her podcast, Writer for a Year, in which she documented her writer’s journey for 2019.

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


Noir at the Bar

Noir at the Bar continues to be a Toronto tradition every quarter at the Wallace Gastropub.

Lisa De Nikolits was a featured author in June and Caro Soles in November. Thanks to Rob Brunet and Hope Thompson for their support of Canadian crime writers!



We are now 21 members strong! Cat Mills is an honorary Mme and we have a new Monsieur, Blair Keetch, the winner of our emerging writer contest for In the Key of 13. Blair’s mentor is leading Canadian author, Giles Blunt. 

Blair Keetch

Blair Keetch

A huge THANK YOU, to our newsletter editors, Marilyn Kay and Roz Place, for all their hard work keeping us up to date.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Roz Place

Roz Place


Posted in Anthologies, Awards/Achievements, News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mesdames on the Move: December 2019


Santa Cats

Although 2019 is winding down the Mesdames are still making news.

This year we had two huge highlights: the very successful launch of our fourth anthology, In the Key of 13 on October 26th and the wonderful, penetrating Short Doc produced by CBC, The Mesdames of Mayhem that premiered on October 25th, one day before our book launch.


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

In the Key of 13Top of the list is In the Key of 13 (Carrick Publishing 2019). Music from Mozart to Beethoven to Elvis is a sweet accompaniment to sin in 19 wicked tales, ranging from cozy to noir, by 18 acclaimed Canadian crime writers and one talented newcomer.

Can you hear the violins? They may be plotting your demise. Are you an opera lover? Take care, your passion means a revenge served cold. And that tune that refuses to leave your mind? It will truly drive you mad…

Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, has two terrific offerings for gifts this holiday season: The Goddaughter Does Vegas (Orca Books) and her first YA book, The Crime Club (Orca Books).

The Goddaughter Does VegasThe Goddaughter Does Vegas (Orca Books) is the sixth in her award-winning and hilarious Goddaughter series. In this madcap adventure, Gina has left her loopy mob family behind to elope with Pete to Vegas. Except that eloping may be a mortal sin in an Italian family. Gina’s nerves are frayed by a series of weird deliveries and suitors. To make matters worse, Gina has a crime-committing double whose activities are making Gina front-page news. Gina has to track down this fiendish fraud before the police catch up with her.


Cover of Crime ClubIn Crime Club 16-year-0ld  Penny has moved with her mom and huge dog, Ollie, to live above a small-town pub owned by her aunt. It’s a relief to start over in a place where no one knows her father is in prison.

It’s summer, and the only person she knows is her nerdy cousin Simon. Soon she meets Simon’s best friend, Brent, and Brent’s twin sister, Tara, and their pug, Wolfgang.

When Ollie digs up a human bone in the backyard of the pub, police are called. It turns out the bone is over twenty years old. Who can the dead person be? Surely Aunt Stella can’t be involved.


The Occult PersuasionIn The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, a seriocomic thriller by Lisa de Nikolits, a post-retirement couple embarks on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure. Their travel turns into an exploration of the meaning of life, healing from old wounds, romantic love at all ages, and how with love and passion, we can make a difference, at any age.


Do You Know Me Short Story CollectionLook out for a new collection of short stories by Caro Soles coming soon in December. From the spectacular cover reveal, Do You Know Me? looks to be full of intriguing, even spellbinding stories. We can’t wait to read it.



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” is in the new anthology It Came from the North.




Mystery Most Edible Anthology

Rosemary McCrackens short story “Dining Out” is part of the collection for the 2019 Malice Domestic anthology, Parnell Hall Presents Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press June 2019). book link book link



The Best Laid Plans AnthologyLook for Lisa de Nikolits‘s story “Fire Drill”  and Rosemary McCracken’s “The Sweetheart Scamster” in the anthology The Best Laid Plans (Superior Shores Press June 2019).



Nothing Without UsMadona Skaffs mystery short story “Backbone” appears in Nothing Without Us, a mixed genre anthology featuring disabled protagonists. “We are the heroes, not the sidekicks.”

Nothing Without Us is available in print, audiobook, and ebook versions on the Press Renaissance Press online bookstore! You can also find the print book and Kindle version on Amazon, the audiobook and ebook on Kobo, and the print book on the B&N website.


Down and Out Magazine Nov 2019Sylvia Maultash Warsh‘s story “The Veiled Heart’ was published in Vol 2, Issue 1 Paperback – Nov 1, 2019, Down and Out The Magazine. The story features a Salvador Dali painting by the same name, coveted by a Toronto psychiatrist.





Forest of Reading 2020 Great Stories

Goddaughter Does Vegas

The Ontario Library Association has named Melodie Campbells The Goddaughter Does Vegas a Forest of Reading 2020 GREAT STORIES! This is book six in the Derringer and Arthur Ellis award-winning humorous caper series featuring a Hamilton Mob goddaughter who doesn’t want to be one, but keeps getting dragged back in to bail out her inept family.

Rosemary McCrackenRegistration is open for Rosemary McCracken‘s Novel Writing 2: How to Develop Your Novel course at George Brown College. The course starts up again on January 14, running 12 weeks until March 31. You can register online for this course now.



On Wednesday, December 4th, 6:30 p.m. the Mesdames will be out in force to celebrate with Santa Catfriends 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. The deadline to get tickets is Monday, December 2.

A gentle reminder from Mme. Cheryl Freedman:

The clock is ticking to the December 16 deadline for submissions to the 2020 Bony Blithe Light MysteryAward with its prize of $1000 plus a charming plaque. For the submission rules, visit the Bony Blithe submission rules page at

And for both authors and readers: Registration for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-Con/Bony Blithe Award Gala on Friday, May 22, 2020, is now open. We’re back at the High Park Club in Toronto. Space is limited, so register now for the 2020 Bloody Words Mini-Con.

Posted in Anthologies, Awards/Achievements, books, Holidays, News | Leave a comment