Writers Write

As part of our mission to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers, we are providing on this page some very brief bios and links to our Toronto Chapter members of Sisters in Crime who have self-identified as authors. They are listed alphabetically by their pen names.

We have also periodically published featured interviews in the Criminal Intent column of our bi-monthly member newsletter, Crime Scene.

Not a Sisters in Crime Member? Take a moment to join the parent organization and pay your Chapter fee online and we will add your name and links to the website.

Catherine Astolfo headshot of Catherine Astolfo

Catherine Astolfo retired in 2002 after a very successful 34 years in education. Her short stories and poems have been published in a number of Canadian literary presses and anthologies, including The Whole She-Bang 2. She is the author of the Emily Taylor Mystery series. 
@CathyAstolfo     Catherine Astolfo

Anne Barton headshot of Florence Barton

Born in Drumheller, Alta., the B.C.-based octogenarian is a retired veterinarian, a pilot and flight instructor, and the writer of more than a dozen detective novels. A lifelong fan of detective fiction, Barton started young with the novels of crime writing doyenne Agatha Christie. Later in life, acting on the time-honoured principle of “write what you know,” she decided to weave her professional expertise into her own mystery novels, and also to explore Anglicanism, church politics and certain theological themes. “I wanted to show people what the church is really like,” she says.

Karen Blake-Hall headshot of Karen Blake-Hall

Karen’s sharp-bladed fiction cuts to the heart of the emotions driving her characters in desperate situations. Her short story, "The Hunter", was featured in our first anthology The Whole She-Bang.
@Karenblakehall     KarenBlakeHall.author

Janet Bolin headshot of Janet Bolin

Author of the Threadville cozy mystery series. Her books have been nominated for both Agatha and Bony Blithe awards.


Linda Cahill headshot of Linda Cahill

A former journalist and TV news assignment editor, her short stories display the fast-paced gritty writing style developed while covering political speeches and murder trials. Her short stories have appeared an a variety of anthologies, including The Whole She-Bang 2.

@lindamarycahill     LindaCahill.author

Donna Carrick (also Carrick Publishing) headshot of Donna Carrick

An Air Force Brat, Donna Carrick grew up in locations all over Canada. The author of three mystery novels: The First Excellence - Fa-ling’s Map, Gold And Fishes and The Noon God. Her Toboggan Mystery Series, which includes Sept-Iles and other places and Knowing Penelope, offers short-story lovers a broad collection of her work for Kindle.
@Donna_Carrick     Donna Carrick
- 2011 Indie Book Event Award for Excellence in Fiction: The First Excellence

Sharon A. Crawford headshot of Sharon A. Crawford

Writer, editor, gardener, teacher, Crawford has been running a writing group in Toronto for over 15 years. Beyond Blood was her first mystery novel, featuring a female private investigator. It was followed by her short story collection, Beyond the Tipping Point
Sharon A. Crawford

Susan Daly headshot of Susan Daly

Susan has found her niche in the world of short crime fiction, where she successfully rids the world of deserving victims. Her stories keep popping up in a surprising number of anthologies: The Whole She-Bang 2, The Whole She-Bang 3, the SinC Guppies' Fish Out of Water and the Malice Domestic anthologies for 2017 and 2018. Her short story, "A Death at the Parsonage", won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story and can be found in our mystery anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3.

- 2016 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story: "Death at the Parsonage", The Whole She-Bang 3 mystery anthology

Lisa de Nikolits headshot of Lisa de Nikolits

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has seven published novels, including Between the Cracks She Fell, The Nearly Girl and the recently released No Fury Like That. She has published several short stories including one in the recently published mystery anthology The Whole She Bang 3.
@lisadenikolits     Lisa de Nikolits Author
- 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women's Issues Fiction: The Hungry Mirror
- 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction: West of Wawa
- 2014 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction: A Glittering Chaos

Mary Lou Dickinson headshot of Mary Lou Dickinson

Despite a life working in fields from consulting to counselling, Dickinson has been actively writing since she was a young child. After taking retirement, Dickinson published three books, two novels and a collection of short stories. Dickinson's next book, The White Ribbon Man, is a mystery and is due out later this year.

@mldcos     Mary Lou Dickinson

Alice Fitzpatrick headshot of Kate Freiman

Born in northern England, Alice Fitzpatrick was raised in Oakville, Ontario, where she began to write as soon as she could pick up a pen. Now living in Toronto, Fitzpatrick writes the Kate Galway mysteries (set on an island off the coast of Wales). Toward the Pebbled Shore was a finalist for the 2013 Malice Domestic Unpublished Novel Award, and This Thing of Darkness was a Top 10 Finalist for the 2015 Killer Nashville Claymore Award. Her short story, "Summer of the Black Madonna", appears in The Whole She-Bang 3.

Kate Freiman headshot of Kate Freiman

A national best-selling, award-winning, critically acclaimed author of romantic fiction, Kate started telling stories with happy endings when she was a small child. Freiman has written 8 novels and several short stories, one of which can be found in the mystery anthology Villanous Vacations.
@KateFreiman     KateFreimanAuthor

A.B. Funkhauser headshot of A. B. Funkhauser

A funeral director, fiction writer, and wildlife enthusiast, her first book in the Heuer series, Heuer Lost and Found created a lawyer protagonist who is "complex, layered, and very dead". Her second novel, Scooter Nation is completely different in tone despite being set in the same funeral parlor as the first book. 
@iamfunkhauser     HeuerLostandFound
- 2015 Best Horror Novel for Heuer Lost and Found
- 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing: New Apple Medalist Winner - Horror for Heuer Lost and Found
- 2016 SIBA Best Humor Winner for Scooter Nation
- 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing: New Apple Medalist Winner - Humor for Scooter Nation

Joseph Glazner headshot of Joseph Glazner

Madeleine Harris-Callway headshot of M. H. Callway

When her job working for Disease Control put her in the middle of a murder case, it changed her life. Instead of going into law enforcement or the forensic sciences she became a crime writer. Her debut novel, Windigo Fire, was a 2015 Finalist for the Unhanged Arthur Award before being picked up by a publisher. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, including World Enough and Crime. As the founder of the Mesdames of Mayhem she has published in their two anthologies: Thirteen and 13 O'Clock. Callway's most recent publication is her collection of short stories, Glow Grass and Other Tales
@mcallway    Madeleine Harris-Callway
- 2005 Golden Horseshoe Award (Crime Writers of Canada) for Best Short Story: “Kill the Boss”
- 2012 Bony Pete Award for best short story: “The Lizard”

Marilyn Kay headshot of Marilyn Kay

Marilyn began as a medieval historian, before moving into the commercial world as a business journalist, then communicator within and outside government. She debuted as a crime fiction writer with two short stories published in the following: Passport to Murder, the anthology for Bouchercon 2017;; and, 13 Claws, the latest anthology by the Mesdames of Mayhem. She is presently at work on a police procedural set in Toronto.

@triskeleweb     Marilyn Kay Author

Mary Keenan headshot of Mary Keenan

Despite her dedication to her Procrastination Diary, Mary has published several short stories in mystery anthologies, including The Ladies' Killing Circle.

Heather MacDonald-Archer headshot of Heather MacDonald-Archer

Drawing on almost 40 years experience as an editor, reporter and feature writer, MacDonald-Archer has published short stories in the mystery anthologies Nefarious North, The Whole She-Bang 2, and The Whole She-Bang 3
@MacArcher     Heather M Archer

Lesley Mang headshot of Lesley Mang

Lesley Mang is a former English teacher and editor, actively involved in the Sisters in Crime/mystery community. Published works include book-length non-fiction and mystery short stories, the latter of which have appeared in both The Whole She-Bang and The Whole She-Bang 2
  Lesley Mang

Rosemary McCracken headshot of Rosemary McCracken

As a journalist, Rosemary McCracken has worked as a reporter, editor and editorial writer on newspapers across Canada for over 25 years. Author of the Pat Tierney mystery series, McCracken's short stories have appeared in mystery anthologies such as The Whole She-Bang, Nefarious North, Thirteen, and World Enough and Crime. Her short story, "The Sweetheart Scamster", was short-listed for the 2014 Derringer Award. 
@RCMcCracken     Rosemary McCracken

D. J. McIntosh headshot of DJ McIntosh

Dorothy McIntosh submitted The Witch of Babylon, the first of what would become the Babylon Trilogy novels, to Crime Writers of Canada. The book made the Debut Dagger short-list and won the Unhanged Arthur Award. This watershed moment launched her writing career. The other two books in the trilogy are The Book of Stolen Tales and The Angel of Eden. A member of the Mesdames of Mayhem, McIntosh continues to write mystery short stories as well as her historical novels.
@DJMcIntosh8     Dorothy McIntosh
- 2008 Arthur Ellis Award (Unhanged Arthur) for Best Unpublished First Novel: The Witches of Babylon

Lynn McPherson headshot of Lynn McPherson

Lynn McPherson grew up in various parts of Canada, from the Canadian Rockies to the big city of Toronto. She is a debut author who has channelled her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, any time. Having a particular love of New England, possibly stemming from a snowy winter’s night spent at a cozy inn, Lynn knew this is where her mystery series must take place. She is a member of Crime Writers Of Canada, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters In Crime. Her cozy mystery, The Girls’ Weekend Murder, is the first book in The Izzy Walsh Mystery Series.
@CozyMysteryLynn     Lynn McPherson

J. A. Menzies headshot of J. A. Menzies

A prolific author of both non-fiction and fiction, including the Paul Manziuk and Jacquie Ryan mystery series - classic whodunits set in contemporary Toronto. J. A. Menzies is the mystery pseudonym of writer and speaker N. J. Lindquist
@JAMenziesAuthor     J. A. Menzies Mystery Author

Lynne Murphy headshot of Lynne Murphy

Murphy studied journalism at Carleton University and worked as a reporter on the now defunct Ottawa Journal and then as an editor for CBC Radio News. (It was in the sixties and Lynne was the first woman editor they ever hired.) It was there she learned to "write tight". Her first published short story, "The Troublemaker", was in our first mystery anthology, The Whole She-Bang. Since then Murphy has published stories in several mystery anthologies including all three from Mesdames of Mayhem.
Lynne Murphy

Helen Nelson headshot of Helen Nelson

Helen Nelson has been actively involved in the Sisters in Crime chapter for over a dozen years, and the larger mystery community even longer including co-chairing Bouchercon 2017. Her short stories have appeared in several mystery anthologies, including all three of ours: The Whole She-Bang , The Whole She-Bang 2, and The Whole She-Bang 3 
  @HelenLN115     Helen Nelson

Ken Ogilvie headshot of Ken Ogilvie

Ken Ogilvie is a debut mystery author with Her Dark Path. Prior to taking up writing, Ken worked in a variety of roles in the environmental policy domain, including positions with three governments in Canada (Federal, Manitoba and Ontario) and as the Executive Director of Pollution Probe and has received two honourary doctorates from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, and Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia.

Nanci Pattenden headshot of Nanci Pattenden

A genealogist and fiction writer, with non-fiction articles in Indyfest, The Attic, Ancestors, and Site Lines, Pattenden is currently working on a collection of detective stories set in Victorian Toronto, as well as a novel based on an 1891 murder involving a young relative.

@npattenden     Nanci Pattenden

Judy Penz Sheluk headshot of Judy Penz Sheluk

An Amazon International bestselling author, Judy writes two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (The Hanged Man's Noose and the just-released A Hole in One); and The Marketville Mysteries (Skeletons in the Attic). Her short crime fiction also appears in several collections, including The Whole She-Bang 2 and The Whole She-Bang 3. On her website Judy regularly interviews and showcases the works of other authors, and blogs about the writing life.

@JudyPenzSheluk     Judy Penz Sheluk

Ed Piwowarczyk headshot of Ed Piwowarczyk

Ed Piwowarczyk is a veteran journalist who has worked for the National Post, Toronto Sun and Sault Star. As well, he has edited Harlequin novels on a freelance basis, and is currently a freelance editor. His short stories have been published in several anthologies, including World Enough and Crime, 13 O’Clock, and The Whole She-Bang 3
Ed Piwowarczyk

Lorna Poplak headshot of Lorna Poplak

Born in South Africa, Poplak received a diploma in library science, then moved to Canada and into the field of information technology. She also became an editor, proofreader, and fact checker. Her debut book, Drop Dead: A Horrible History of Hanging in Canada, is a darkly humorous non-fiction about crime and punishment in Canada’s first century that also examines the relevance of capital punishment today.
Lorna Poplak Author

Katherine Prairie headshot of Kastherine Prairie

Originally trained as a mining geologist, Prairie discovered the joys of teaching and technical writing. When Prairie finally stepped away from the petroleum industry, she fulfilled a life-long dream of writing mysteries and so Alex Graham, the intrepid mining geologist with a penchant for trouble, was born. Her debut novel, Thirst is set in Canada's Slocan Valley. Prairie is also the founder of Sisters in Crime - Canada West and now lives in Kingston, Ontario.

@AuthorPrairie     Katherine Prairie

Bill Prentice headshot of Bill Prentice

A crime fiction author and freelance writer, Prentice specializing in international trade and investment marketing, economic development and public-private sector partnerships. His debut mystery novel, Why Was Rachel Murdered?, was released in 2018.

Andre Ramshaw headshot of Andre Ramshaw

Currently a copy editor, Ramshaw was for many years a reporter, covering news, sports and features for newspapers in Canada, Britain, and Australia. As well, he has been an auxiliary police constable for the past ten years in Toronto and Hamilton, worked as a special constable in the U.K. and trained as a recruit constable with the Calgary Police Service. For many years he worked as a private investigator in his home province of B.C., conducting surveillance operations, interviewing witnesses and testifying in court. He continues to write non-fiction, contributing travel features and columns, and several short stories. His short story, "The Finest Quality", appears in our third mystery anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3.

Dianne Scott headshot of Dianne Scott

A Toronto-based writer and teacher, Scott's Toronto Island mystery Devastation is a finalist for the Crime Writers' of Canada Unhanged Arthur Award and was longlisted for Mslexia’s First Novel Award. Some of her non-fiction writing has appeared in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and on CBC radio. Her literary writing have been published in numerous Canadian literary magazines such as The New Quarterly, the Windsor Review, Other Voices, and the Prairie Journal.

Ann Shortell headshot of Ann Shortell

Born in Kingston, Ontario, Shortell was raised on legends of John A. Macdonald, and of her Celtic ancestors. In a previous century she was a business journalist and author. Her debut mystery, Celtic Knot, was written in homage to the Irish storytelling tradition McGee embodied.
Ann Shortell

Steve Shrott headshot of Steve Shrott

Steve is an award-winning comedy and mystery short story writer. His stories have been published in several magazines and anthologies including The Whole She-Bang and The Whole She-Bang 2. Shrott has written two mystery novels, Audition for Death and Dead Men Don't Get Married,and contributed to the "collaborative novel" Chasing the Codex written by 24 authors!
  Steve Shrott

Madona Skaff headshot of Madona Skaff

Skaff has been telling stories to the neighbourhood kids even before she could write. Initially writing science fiction with short stories published in small presses, she recently moved into mysteries. Her debut novel, Journey of One Thousand Steps, is a tense race against time as Naya tries to solve a disappearance close to home.

Caro Soles headshot of Caro Soles

Soles has been a prolific writer since the age of 10. With several degrees under her belt, she taught French and Spanish in universities, community colleges, a few private schools and collegiates. In the 1990s, she gave up writing Harlequins and turned out a gay S&M adventure instead. Five novels, four anthologies and a short story collection later, along came the dreaded writers’ block. So Caro organized The Bloody Words Mystery Conference. Soles remains a prolific writer with more than 10 books and short stories under her belt.

Jennifer Soosar headshot of Jennifer Soosar

Soosar has written dozens of screenplays as well as crime and suspense short stories. Her first novel, Parent Teacher Association, is a psychological suspense set in an elementary school. Soosar is from Toronto and has a degree in anthropology from York University. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, and Sisters in Crime, and lives with her family in Toronto. Her short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (May 2016) and Flash Bang Mysteries (July 2017).

@jensoosar     Jennifer Soosar

Sylvia Warsh headshot of Sylvia Warsh

With a a BA from the University of Toronto and a Masters degree in Linguistics, she learned elementary Chinese, dissected the Zulu language, and discovered that she was not cut out to be a scholar. After writing poetry and short stories, the award-winning writer began the Dr. Rebecca Temple historical mystery series.
@StanleyKMS     Sylvia Warsh
- 2004 Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original: Find Me Again

Maaja Wentz headshot of Maaja Wentz

As a teen, Wentz devoured shelves of mysteries. She admires sleuths with noir style and Sherlock Holmesian brilliance. In her fiction, Wentz plays with elements of thriller, horror, and urban fantasy. She was delighted to sell her short story, "Inside of a Dog," to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Wentz's supernatural thriller, Feeding Frenzy, received over 141,000 reads on Wattpad, and went on to win a Watty award. Since then, it has been professionally edited and indie published.
@MaajaWentz    Maaja Wentz

Christine Whitlock headshot of Christine Whitlock

A former police reporter for CKOC Radio Hamilton and police stringer for the Toronto Star, she has written Relative Contact a feature film script based on her experiences. The Cat Holmes and Bunny Mysteries was first a children's TV pilot script and is now a children's book series.


Michelle Woodvine headshot of Michelle Woodvine

Writer, editor, dreamer. Writing YA romantic spec.fic. and cosy mysteries.



Writers' Resources

How to Write A Mystery -- So you wanna be a writer? Join the club! Gillian Roberts, author of the Amanda Pepper series, offers lessons here.

250 Things You Should Know About Writing by Chuck Wendig

Bartleby.com -- Gray's Anatomy, Bartlett's Quotations and other useful references.

Writer Beware a blog sponsored by MWA and SFWA keeps an eye on news and views but especially ripoffs and other perils of the publishing industry. Required reading for writers, fascinating reading for industry watchers.