Welcome back, Readers!

We hope you had a great summer holiday.

September begins with a bang for the Mesdames, with a new book by Mme Melodie Campbell, and lots more book news and events.

September also has one of the year’s most important writing events, Toronto’s annual Word on the Street. The Mesdames will be back hosting their own table and will be helping out at tables sponsored by Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime. Do pay us a visit!


Melodie Campbell

Mel Campbell

Cover of Crime Club“If you killed before, you can kill again.” Crime Club (Orca Books Soundings) Mme Melodie Campbell’s latest novel, Crime Club,  launches on Sunday, September 1, 2019, and is available on Amazon and at Chapters/Indigo.

Follow 16-year-old Penny and her new group of friends as they investigate the mystery of a 20-year-old human bone and skeleton buried in her aunt’s backyard.

Official launch and media event at Eastgate Mall, Hamilton, on October 4th. More details to come…


Lisa de Nikolits

Lisa De Nikolits

The Occult PersuasionMme Lisa De Nikolits launches her new novel, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution, on Thursday, September 26th, 6:00 to 8:30 pm at Queen Books, 914 Queen Street East.

In Lisa’s seriocomic thriller, a post-retirement couple embarks on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure. Now available on pre-order at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.




Rosemary McCrackenOn Thursday, September 19th, Mme Rosemary McCracken talks to Sisters in Crime Toronto  (SinC Toronto) about “traditional” cozy mysteries. And how the Queen of Cozies Agatha Christie’s novels follow the 21 elements of cozy mysteries.

The SinC Toronto meeting begins at 7:00 pm begins at 7:00 p.m. in Room 200 at the Toronto Public Library, Northern District Branch, 40 Orchard View Blvd (just a block north of Eglinton subway station on Yonge, or half a block west of Yonge). Guests are welcome. Cost is $5.

Besides being at our Mesdames booth for Word on the Street, Rosemary will be at the Crime Writers of Canada booth from 2:30 to 4 pm together with fellow authors,      M. H. Callway and Madona Skaff (11:30 to 1 pm) and Sylvia Warsh (1:00 to 2:30  pm).

Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

M. H. Callway

Sylvia Warsh






On Saturday, September 28th, Mme Rosemary McCracken joins Crime Writers of Canada authors Anita Arvast, Diane Bator, Nanci Pattenden, Maggie Petru and Judy Penz Sheluk at 1:30 p.m. at the Orangeville Public Library in Orangeville, Ontario. They’ll be talking about crime writing and its various sub-genres.


Word on the Street Toronto




The Mesdames of Mayhem are back in 2019 hosting their own table at this annual event for book lovers. This year we will be inside Harbourfront Centre sharing space in the Marilyn Brewer Community Centre with other writer associations.

Marilyn Kay

Marilyn Kay

Lynne Murphy

Lynne Murphy

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert

Jane Petersen Burfield

Jane Burfield

Ed Piwowarczyk

Ed Piwowarczyk






Madona Skaff

Madona Skaff

Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia Warsh

Come visit us at booth WB3 in the Writers’ Block from 10 am to 5 pm:

10 am to 12 noon: Jane Burfield and M. H. Callway
10 am to 11 am: Lisa De Nikolits
12 noon
to 2 pm: Rosemary McCracken and Ed Piwowarczyk
to 3 pm: Rosemary Aubert and Madona Skaff
to 4 pm: Sylvia Warsh and Marilyn Kay
4 to 5 pm: Lynne Murphy
and Marilyn Kay

WotS Map 2019

And don’t forget…

In the Key of 13Our 4th anthology In the Key of 13, featuring tales of music and murder by some of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors, launches on SaturdayOctober 26th from 2 to 4 pm at Sleuth of Baker Street, Millwood Road, Toronto.



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BREAKING NEWS: Our Cover for Our New Anthology

Ta Dah! Our Cover for In the Key of 13!

We’re so excited to reveal our cover for the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth anthology, In the Key of 13,  to be published in the fall by Carrick Publishing. 

In the Key of 13 CoverMany thanks to the very talented Sara Carrick for our dramatic and elegant cover, which captures our theme of music and murder.

Don’t forget! Our official launch of the In the Key of 13 anthology takes place in Toronto on Saturday, October 26, 2 to 4 pm at Sleuth of Baker Street, 907 Millwood Rd. Watch for more details as we near publication.

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Happy Summer, Readers!

cat sipping summer cocktailThe 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 editor 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!

Our Book Launch Date

Mark your calendars! We have a date and place for the launch of In the Key of Thirteen, the Mesdames fourth anthology featuring tales of music and murder by some of Canada’s leading authors. The launch takes place on Saturday, October 26th from 2 to 4 pm at Sleuth of Baker Street, Millwood Road, Toronto.

Watch for our cover reveal later in the summer!


Lisa de Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken


Mmes Lisa de Nikolits and Rosemary McCracken have stories in the newly released anthology, The Best Laid Plans. (Superior Shores Press).



Thrillerfest Panel


Mme Lisa de Nikolits is attending Thrillerfest XIV in New York City from July 9th to 13th. She will be member of Cathleen Antrim’s panel on Highsmith, Hammett or Agatha Christie on Friday, July 12th from 10:20-11:10 am.




M. H. CallwayFrom August 9th to 11th, Mme M. H. Callway will attend When Worlds Collide 2019, a multi-genre conference in Calgary, AB. Stay tuned for more details!

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BREAKING NEWS: Two stories by Mme Sylvia Warsh

Sylvia WarshBig congrats to Mme Sylvia Warsh who received great publication news to add to Mesdames on the Move for June.

After her story, “The Ranchero’s Daughter”, appeared on Otto Penzler’s 2018 long list of best mystery short stories,  Vautrin, a new Kansas, USA publication, contacted her. They asked her to write a story for their inaugural issue.

Sylvia penned “The Comeback”, a chilling noir tale with themes of archeology – and of course, murder.  Vautrin’s first issue, has just been released. To order copies and to learn more about this exciting new publication, visit their website.


And Sylvia has more good news: Darkhouse Books is publishing a new noir anthology, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.  They will reprint Sylvia’s story, “The German Credit”, one of her very earliest publications, in their upcoming book.  (Publication date to be announced soon.)

In 2016, Darkhouse published, Black Coffee, an anthology of noir stories of crime and desperation, which included a story by Mme Rosemary McCracken.

For a full listing of Darkhouse publication, visit their website here.


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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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