Our second post on anthologies is from Madeleine Harris-Callway, the driving force behind the Mesdames. Here is her take on THIRTEEN, the first anthology from the group:
The Mesdames of Mayhem:
A meeting place for deadly minds….
The Mesdames of Mayhem are fifteen crime writers who have worked together for many years in two longstanding critique groups. All of us are published authors and/or editors in the mystery genre. And most of us have won or been shortlisted for major awards, including the Edgar, Arthur Ellis, Debut Dagger, Indie and Bony Pete.
How does the individual author get noticed in an ocean of published books? How indeed!
The answer lies south of the border with our American friends. At a recent Hillerman conference, I learned how fellow mystery writers had banded together to form a marketing consortium. And what they could accomplish together!
I floated the idea past my two writing groups – and to my surprise and delight, my friends loved it. Mme Joan O’Callaghan, master teacher and marketing whiz, gave us
our name – and the Mesdames of Mayhem were born!
We are extraordinarily lucky to have Mme Donna Carrick as a mainstay of our group. In no time at all, she had the Mesdames’ website, Facebook page and Twitter account up and running.
In the words of Monty Python, the Mesdames are an autonomous collective. We pursue our individual work – and we support and co-market with each other wherever possible. All important decisions, such as the front cover design for Thirteen, are voted on and approved by all the Mesdames.
To further entice readers, we thought why not show how well we can… write? If readers like our style, they will go on to discover -and buy – our books. And so Thirteen, our e-anthology came about. Published and vetted by Carrick Publishing, it is now available on Amazon (Kindle).
The title, Thirteen, stands for the thirteen Mesdames of Mayhem who contributed stories to the anthology. Most feature the same protagonist as the author’s mystery series. And despite ranging in tone from supernatural chiller to outrageous comedy, the tales centre on the themes of mother love, age, abuse and revenge.
As we say in the foreword:
“Never again will you feel safe in a hallowed cathedral or a charming country church. There is no solace in a seemingly normal high school or a family’s beloved cottage. Nor can you put your trust in police officers in July or in history-loving librarians in small Ontario towns. And no one will hear you scream in that tough bar in outer space.
“You would be wise to remember the saying about old age and cunning. In these pages, oldsters hunt fortunes, horde cursed antiquities and engage in cross-border spying instead of shopping. And they will stop at nothing to protect their neighbour’s worms. Youth is no protection either. What’s a newly-wed to do when her husband finds only dust, not gold? And there you are, planning the perfect wedding, when someone drops a body in your car– just because you happen to be the Goddaughter of a certain Italian family.
“Nothing is as it seems. Senior civil servants stumble across lions…or do they? And black cats may or may not bring bad luck. You must enter the pages of Thirteen to find out.”
To learn more about the Mesdames of Mayhem, visit our website at