Happy New Year Readers!
2017 was another busy year for the Mesdames filled with new book launches, authors conferences, events and readings.
Our Third Anthology!
THE EVENT of 2017 was the publication and smash launch of our third anthology, 13 Claws, 17 crime stories starring (mostly) evil animals: cats, dogs, snakes, a fish, a dragon – even animal crackers.
For the first time, we held a contest for stories by authors previously unpublished in the crime fiction genre. The entries were of such high quality that a contest for new writers will be part of every Mesdames of Mayhem anthology from now on.
13 Claws received a great review from Jack Batten, the crime fiction critic for the Toronto Star, who said:
“There’s enough suspense and intellectual fascination built into the plots of the majority of stories to satisfy even the most ferociously cynophobic reader.“
Mmes Catherine Dunphy and M. H. Callway were delighted to receive Jack’s shout-outs for their stories.
Our launch took place on Saturday, October 28th at our favorite bookstore, Sleuth of Baker Street. Fans, friends and family crowded the store for readings and food. We especially appreciated the support of our fellow Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime and the Scarborough Scribblers.
Readers will also find all three books in the Toronto Public Library. An author’s best friend is a librarian!
NEW BOOKS AND SHORT STORIES!
Mme Melodie Campbell, our Queen of Comedy, released two hilarious books in 2017, both with Orca Book Publishers.
In Worst Date Ever, newly widowed Jennie kisses an awful lot of frogs when she tries dating again.
And in The Bootlegger’s Goddaugher, the residents of the Holy Cannoli Retirement Home are at it again. This time, they threaten to ruin Gina’s Christmas wedding via a stolen transport truck full of booze.
A big congrats to Melodie for the nomination of The Bootlegger’s Goddaughter for the 2018 Golden Oak Award. The prize has been created by librarians and literacy specialists to recognize books for new adult readers.
Mme Lisa De Nikolits’ seventh literary thriller, No Fury Like That (Inanna Publications) re-invents purgatory as a therapy clinic. Can Lisa’s hero, Julia Redner, rethink and grow her way out of a coma and win a second chance at life? The book has received excellent reviews and was described as “the characters from The Devil Wears Prada trapped in Sartre’s play, No Exit.”
Mme Rosemary McCracken and new Mme Marilyn Kay, joined the company of several prestigious, best-selling crime writers in the 2017 Bouchercon anthology, Passport to Murder (Down and Out Books). It features crime stories with a travel theme and is now available on Amazon.
Mme Caro Soles spent 10 years researching 1916’s American social history for her latest crime novel, A Friend of Mr. Nijinsky (Crossroad Press). In the story, a restless, rich young man gets drawn into the famous dancer’s paranoid world…and of course, murder! Veteran crime fiction author, Barbara Fradkin, called it “an enchanting story of betrayal and murder set in a swirl of debutante soirees.”
Mme Lynne Murphy, M. Ed Piwowarczyk and Mme Lisa De Nikolits all had their stories chosen to be part of Sisters in Crime Toronto’s latest anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3, now also available on Amazon and in the Toronto Public Library.
CONFERENCES AND NOTABLE PUBLIC APPEARANCES!
The grand event of the year was Bouchercon 2017, October 12 to 15th, when the world mystery conference took place in Toronto. This was a chance for Canadian crime writers to shine – and shine we did!
Mmes Jane Burfield, M. H. Callway, Mel Campbell, Lisa De Nikolits, Marilyn Kay, Rosemary McCracken, Lynne Murphy, Madona Skaff, Caro Soles and Sylvia Warsh moderated and/or participated on panels, helped out at the CWC and SinC booths and/or participated in several events like Author Speed Dating and the CWC Pub Quiz. Mmes Jane Burfield, Melodie Campbell and Catherine Dunphy worked on the organizing committee.
This Bouchercon Mmes M. H. Callway and Rosemary McCracken organized the luncheon for the Short Mystery Fiction Society. It was a great chance for Canadian short crime fiction authors to meet their American cyber friends in “reality space”. A big thanks to Shopsy’s and Quinn’s Steak House for a fabulous meal and for getting everyone back in good time for the panels.
A Noir at the Bar event in the run-up to the conference is now a tradition. Tanis Mallow and Rob Brunet organized a fabulous Noir at the Bar at the Rivoli Café. Mme M. H. Callway was honoured to be reading with literary greats, Hilary Davidson and Zoe Sharp. NoB Founder Peter Rozovsky also attended – and though he lives in Philadelphia, he’s originally Canadian!
Word on the Street
The Mesdames were back at Word on the Street for the second time this September. We beat the 40 degree temperatures because our booth was located in the little shade available. We sold lots of books, including pre-launch copies of 13 Claws, volunteered at Sisters in Crime and CWC and had fun with the Vikings from the Royal Ontario Museum!
Bony Blithe Minicon
Mme Cheryl Freedman is a founder of the Bony Blithe award for light mystery fiction. This year, in addition to the award banquet, the celebration of “mysteries that make you smile” had a full day of panel discussions, contests, mingling with the Bony Blithe finalists and general good fun. Several Mesdames attended and participated on panels.
Happy to report that the Minicon will be held again in 2018!
In March, Mmes Jane Burfield and M. H. Callway attended Left Coast Crime in Honolulu. A terrific conference, especially for authors. Jane’s panel discussed the art of short crime fiction while Mad was privileged to be on the panel about outdoor thrillers with Guest of Honour, Dana Stabenow. Friend and fab author, Cathy Ace hosted a Meet the Canucks event: a great hit with Canadian authors and American fans alike!
In June, Mmes M. H. Callway, Rosemary McCracken and Caro Soles together with new Mme Madona Skaff attended Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ontario. They all participated on interesting panels over the weekend and look forward to re-attending next year.
In September, Mme Melodie Campbell was a guest author at the inaugural Picton conference, Women Killing It. Judging by the local press accounts, it was a hit with readers and fans, especially “tea and murder at the vicarage”. Here’s hoping it returns in 2018.
Readings and Events!
This year the Mesdames gave numerous readings at libraries and book stores. We are especially grateful to the ongoing support of the Mt. Pleasant Branch of the Toronto Public Library and for the opportunity to appear at the Annette, Beaches, Coxwell and Whitby Branches amongst many others.
Two events stand out. Sisters in Crime Toronto celebrated their 25th anniversary and SinC USA arranged for Emmy-winner and best-selling author, Hank Ryan to visit Toronto in June. Hank gave a rousing speech that inspired everyone to keep writing and made several friends at the wine and dessert party afterwards. Mme M. H. Callway was honoured to take care of Hank during her stay and to introduce her at the meeting!
In November, Mmes Catherine Dunphy and Lisa De Nikolits joined veteran crime writer, Peter Robinson and filmmaker, Mike Downie, the brother of the late Gord Downie, in a benefit for St. Aidan’s Church in the Beaches.
The Mesdames of Mayhem continue to grow and evolve. We are now 16 members strong! This year, we welcomed four new Mesdames: Marilyn Kay, Mary Patterson, Rosalind Place and Madona Skaff.
LOOKING FORWARD TO MANY MORE ADVENTURES IN 2018!!