01/10/2015 - 4:06pm

Three writers  joined Natasha Mitchell (RN Life Matters ) at the Sydney Writers’ Festival to discuss women who kill: Caroline Overington, who won the 2015 Davitt (Non-fiction) for Last Woman Hanged: The Terrible True Story of Louisa Collins, Kellinde Wrightson, author of The Notorious Frances Thwaites: The Story of the Brunswick Baby Farmer  and Xanthé Mallett, Mothers Who Murder: And Infamous Miscarriages of Justice.

From the notorious baby farmers of the late 19th century to the last woman hanged in NSW, the authors investigate some of the most scandalous, notorious, complex cases in criminal history, and share their encounters with infamous women. 

How do the law, media, and the public respond when those deemed as society’s nurturers - mothers, wives, sisters, daughters - become killers instead?

From Eve onwards, ‘dangerous’ women have excited and horrified society.

A ghoulish intrigue, or something stranger?

RN Life Matters played the interview on 30 September. You can listen online for the following week or download to your pod anytime. Click here.



02/09/2015 - 5:15pm

Last Woman Hanged takes out 2015's Davitt Award

The Australian Women's Weekly's Associate Editor, Caroline Overington, has taken out the top prize in the non-fiction category at this year's Davitt Awards.
30/08/2015 - 8:32pm

New York Times best-seller, Big Little Lies (Pan Macmillan Australia) by Sydney writer, Liane Moriarty, has won Sisters in Crime’s Davitt Award (Best Adult Novel).

Pan Macmillan's Sophie Anderson accepts Davitt (Best Adult Novel) for Liane Moriarty

Moriarty told the packed audience at Melbourne’s Thornbury Theatre by video on Saturday night (29 August), “P.D James said ‘we don’t necessarily choose our genre, the genre choose us’ and that was certainly the case for me. It was a surprise to find out that my sixth novel Big Little Lies had turned out to be a crime novel...it certainly never occurred to me that I would ever write a crime novel. “

Big Little Lies, which opens with a death at the local primary school’s trivia night, has sold a million copies in the US alone. Moriaty was the first Australian author to have a novel debut at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Film and television rights have been acquired by Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon who will both take roles in the production.

A record total of 96 books by Australian women crime writers were in contention at the Davitt Awards, now in their 15th year. Leading UK crime writer, Sophie Hannah, presented the awards at a gala dinner. Prior to the presentations, she discussed her own life in crime with Melbourne author, Angela Savage.

Compere Angela Savage & UK crime author Sophie Hannah

Ellie Marney, who lives near Castlemaine in regional Victoria, won the Davitt (Best Young Adult Novel) for Every Word, the second in her three novels in the Every series. Marney won a highly commended award in last year’s Davitts for Every Breath.

Marney paid tribute to the community of YA authors. “We encourage each other, give each other a boost when things are tough, applaud each others' victories, and generally try to make the 'balancing act life' of writing an easier path to travel. I would also like to thank the Centre for Youth Literature, and the #LoveOzYA campaign, for their unwavering support,” Marney said.

The Davitt (Best Children’s Crime Novel) went to Melbourne writer and illustrator, Judith Rossell, for Withering-by-Sea (Harper Collins).

Rossell’s illustrated novel, Withering-by-Sea, has also won the 2015 Indie Book Award for Children and YA, the 2015 ABIA award for older children, and was shortlisted for the CBCA and Aurealis Awards. She teaches Writing for Children at RMIT and the Australian Writers’ Centre. She has written 11 books and illustrated about 80. Recently, her picture book, Oliver, was published by Harper Collins in New York.

Judges praised Withering-by-Sea as a great story for middle to upper primary readers and the child within us all: “It is suspenseful, fun, sensitive and filled with glorious illustrations.”

Walkely-award winning journalist, Caroline Overington,won the Davitt (Non-Fiction) forLast Woman Hanged (Harper Collins).about Louisa Collins who was executed in New South Wales in 1889.

Overington, Associate Editor of the Australian Women's Weekly, is based in Santa Monica, California, and has written nine books as well as profiling many of the world's most impressive women, including Hillary Clinton, Ellen de Generes, Helen Mirren, Julia Gillard and Gina Rinehart.

Overington told the crowd by video that for years she had been passionately telling Louisa's story to anyone who will listen: she was hanged for the crime of murder despite three juries having real doubt about her guilt.

“Her lawyer was struck from the roll for fraud and incompetence. She had seven children, including a daughter who was forced at age 10 to testify against her. She became a symbol of the struggle for women's rights, including the right to sit on juries. She was buried in an unmarked grave and I have long been able to hear her calling out for justice,” she said.

Overington’s mother, Katrin Schwab, who edited the book, accepted the trophy on her behalf.

Mum (& editor) Katrin Schwab accepting Caroline Overington's Award from Sophie Hannah 

Brisbane-based author Christine Bongers took out the Davitt (Best Debut Book) for Intruder (Woolshed Press – a Random House imprint).

Bongers, who has written three critically acclaimed novels for young people, said that Intruder might never have been written if a prowler hadn’t broken into the bedroom of her eleven-year-old daughter six years ago.

“We were lucky, the prowler ran off when she challenged him. And our daughter is a resilient child – she recovered much faster than I did. But eventually the terrifying ‘what ifs’ that tortured the mother faded into musings that interested the writer … We were all home the night that prowler broke into our house. But what if it happened to a girl home alone? What if her mother was dead and her Dad worked nights? …So the story of Intruder began,” she said.

Sandi Wallace, who lives in the Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne, won the Davitt (Readers’ Choice) as voted by the 660 members of Sisters in Crime, for Tell Me Why (Clan Destine Press).

Tell Me Why is Wallace’s debut novel and the first instalment in her Rural Crime Files series. The sequel Black Saturday will be released in November 2015. She has written the third book and started on the fourth.

Wallace told the audience, “It’s been a year of fantastic firsts: first book signing, crime writer panel, public book reading, launch party, radio interview, library talk, review, festival… It has been a little daunting at times, but always exciting. And I have made special friendships throughout. Nothing tops this, though!” she said.

The Davitts, handsome carved polished wooded trophies, feature the front cover of the winning book under Perspex, and a plaque.

Framed certificates featuring the covers were presented to five highly commended authors in the following categories:

Best Adult Novel: Sulari Gentill, A Murder Unmentioned (Pantera Press)

Best Young Adult Novel: Pamela Rushby, The Ratcatcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins Australia)

Best Children’s Novel: Lollie Barr, The Adventures of Stunt Boy and His Amazing Wonder Dog Blindfold (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Best Non Fiction Book: Julie Szego, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Wild Dingo Press)

Best Debut Book: Candice Fox, Hades (Random House)

The awards are named in honour of Ellen Davitt (1812-1879) who wrote Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud, in 1865. An e-book of Force and Fraud has just been published by Clan Destine Press. 

The judging panel for 2015 comprised Maggie Baron, Deborah Crabtree, Jacqui Horwood, Sylvia Loader, Michaela Lobb and Dr Shelley Robertson.

Sisters in Crime’s treasurer, Robyn Byrne, won the ‘be Immortalised in Fiction’ Competition which means her name will appear in Liane Moriarty’s next novel.

A full script of the Davitt Awards with Judges Reports and author comments included (disregard all the instructions such as Play Video or Pose for Pics etc.)

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood, Davitt Judges’ Wrangler: 0449 703 503

Author interviews: Carmel Shute, National Co-convenor, Sisters in Crime Australia: 0412 569 356 


10/08/2015 - 11:19pm

Sisters in Crime mourns the death of Ann Rule whose book on serial killer Ted Bundy changed the face of true crime writing.

William Grimes from the New York Times reported:

Ann Rule 1931-2015

Ann Rule's 1980 study of serial killer Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me, set her on the road to writing dozens of best-selling true-crime books praised for their insight into criminal psychology.

Rule's articles had been appearing in the magazine True Detective for more than a decade when, in the mid-1970s, fate delivered her biggest subject to her doorstep. She was working on a book about a series of unsolved murders in the Seattle area when police in Utah arrested the man they believed to be the killer, a former law student named Theodore Robert Bundy.

The name did more than ring a bell. In the early 1970s Bundy had been a close friend and colleague, answering the suicide hotline with her on the night shift at the Seattle crisis centre where they both volunteered.

Initially, Rule refused to believe that Bundy was the killer. "For a long time I was holding out hope that he was innocent, that somehow this all was a terrible mistake," she said in 2003. "And it wasn't just me, it was all the people who worked with him."

After Bundy escaped from jail and went on a killing spree in Florida, Rule changed her mind, and the focus of her book. Published in 1980, it became an instant best seller, admired for its detailed accounts of police procedure, the work of criminal investigators and courtroom drama, not to mention the author's jailhouse interviews with Bundy.

Ann Rae Stackhouse was born on October 22, 1931, in Lowell, Michigan. As a child, she was surrounded by relatives working in law enforcement: two sheriffs, a prosecuting attorney and a medical examiner.

On summer vacations in Stanton, Michigan, where her maternal grandparents lived in the building that housed the county jail, she helped her grandmother prepare meals for the prisoners.

"I would pass the tray through the slot in the pantry to the prisoners, and they were so nice," Rule said in 2004. "So I would always ask my grandpa, 'How come they're locked up?' I wanted to know why some kids grew up to be criminals and why other people didn't. That is still the main thrust behind my books: I want to know why these things happen, and so do my readers."

After graduating from high school she earned a degree in creative writing in 1953 from the University of Washington, where she also took courses in abnormal psychology, criminology and penology. When her husband, Bill Rule, left his job to go back to school, she began writing to make money. (They divorced in 1972.)

She began writing for True Detective in 1969 under the pseudonyms Arthur Stone, Chris Hansen and Andy Stack, using male names at her editors' insistence. She wrote two 10,000-word articles a week for the next 13 years.

After the success of the Bundy book, she settled into a productive routine, turning out about two books a year: a hardcover title dealing with the investigation of a single crime, and a paperback in the Ann Rule's Crime Files series, which described a variety of cases. 

Her many books include Green River, Running Red, Bitter Harvest and Small Sacrifices.

Ted Bundy haunted her to the end. 

"I really thought in 1980, when I wrote this book, that I could get it all out of my head, it would be very cathartic, and I would never have to think about Ted Bundy again.

"And yet, he just fascinated people, and he still does. I probably get two emails a day, many of them from women who think they got away from him, and some of them are so close, I think they did."

Ann Rule is survived by five children and seven grandchildren. "

William Grimes, New York Times

31/07/2015 - 6:03pm

Clan Destine Press announces the ePublication of the historic crime novel, Force and Fraud by Ellen Davitt.

Outback Australia in the mid-1800s

When rich, domineering squatter Angus McAlpin is murdered, the obvious suspect is the penniless artist, Herbert Lindsey – who wants to marry his daughter, Flora.

McAlpin may have proclaimed that Flora would marry Herbert ‘only over his dead body’ – and Herbert's bloodstained knife and handkerchief were found near the murder scene – but the artist denies any wrongdoing.

So begins a compelling murder mystery and trial, as the heiress seeks to prove her lover's innocence, and a country town takes sides.

Force may have killed Angus McAlpin, but fraud follows murder in a cunning plan to see Herbert Lindsey hanged – by any means necessary.

For someone else is determined to marry Flora, to obtain her property and her person; and he will stop at nothing.

Force and Fraudis Australia's first mystery novel.

First published in Melbourne in 1865 – in the midst of the often-lawless gold rush era of Australia's colonial past – it is a genuinely original novel; well ahead of its time.

In fact Kerry Greenwood – the creator of Phryne Fisher – describes Ellen Davitt's novel as: ‘a stunning mystery with a court scene worthy of Perry Mason’.

The Clan Destine Press eBook of Force and Fraud features an introduction by writer, Sister in Crime and ‘literary archaeologist’ Dr Lucy Sussex.

It also contains a short story by Ellen Davittfirst published in The Australian Journal in August 1867.  

“The Highlander's Revenge” is a crime story, rather than a mystery; and was the best of Ellen Davitt's short stories and a significant early fictionalisation of European atrocities against Aborigines.

“The Highlander's Revenge” comprises two stories: a memoir of genocide; and the reaction to it from an audience.

The CDP eBook of Force and Fraud will be available in time for the 2015 Davitt Awards for Australian women’s crime writing on August 29.

31/07/2015 - 5:23pm

Sisters in Crime Australia has announced its shortlist for its 15th Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women.

Leading UK crime writer, Sophie Hannah, will present the awards at a gala dinner at Melbourne’s Thornbury Theatre at 7pm, Saturday 29 August. Prior to the presentations, she will discuss her own life in crime with Melbourne author, Angela Savage. Hannah is in Australia for the Melbourne Writers’ Festival.

Twenty-three titles out of the record 96 crime books nominated are shortlisted for six different awards: Best Adult Novel; Best Young Adult; Best Children’s Novel; Best Non-fiction Book; Best Debut Book (any category); and Readers’ Choice (as voted by the 650 members of Sisters in Crime Australia). Four titles are shortlisted twice as they’re debut books.

Davitt judges’ wrangler, Jacqui Horwood, said that women’s crime writing had surged in both quality and quantity.

“Many of the shortlisted authors are multi-award winners. For instance, Malla Nunn, a previous Davitt adult novel winner, has scored two nominations in the Edgar Award, the top US crime writing competition, plus a RUSA Award for Best Mystery Novel.

“This year, Present Darkness, her fourth novel set in 1950s’ apartheid South Africa, is in contention. Nunn's fighting it out with two previous Davitt winners, Honey Brown and Sulari Gentill, plus New York Times No. 1 best seller, Liane Moriarty, and 2014 shortlisted author, Ilsa Evans. Both of Ilsa’s novels have the distinction of being e-books,” Horwood said.

“The titles shortlisted in all other categories exhibit a similar high standard. Jen Storer, who is shortlisted for Best Children’s Novel, won last year with another book in her popular Truly Tanseries. Judith Rossell has already won two children’s book awards for Withering-by-Sea.

What’s also remarkable, Horwood said, was the amazing diversity in theme, location, period and mode of investigation.

“The mysteries are variously located in London, Paris, Johannesburg, Chicago, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, the Blue Mountains and the Australian countryside. Sometimes it’s 1900, the 1930s, or the 1950s but mostly it’s the present. Not all books feature sleuths – and if they do, they’re not always female and hardly any are PIs, these days. They’re more likely to be cops, cafe owners or financial investigators. Quite a few are men.”

The short list is:

Adult Novels

·         Honey Brown, Through the Cracks (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Ilsa Evans, Forbidden Fruit: A Nell Forrest Mystery (Momentum Press) ebook

·         Sulari Gentill, A Murder Unmentioned (Pantera Press)

·         Annie Hauxwell, A Morbid Habit (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Malla Nunn, Present Darkness (Xoum Publishing)

Young Adult Novels

·         Christine Bongers, Intruder (Woolshed Press – a Random House imprint)

·         Rebecca Lim, The Astrologer’s Daughter (Text Publishing)

·         Ellie Marney, Every Word (Allen & Unwin)

·         Pamela Rushby, The Ratcatcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins Australia)

Children’s Novels

·         Lollie Barr, The Adventures of Stunt Boy and His Amazing Wonder Dog Blindfold (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Eileen O’Hely, Kitten Kaboodle Mission 1: The Catier Emerald (Walker Books)

·         Judith Rossell, Withering-by-Sea (HarperCollins Australia)

·         R A Spratt, Friday Barnes: Big Trouble (Random House)

·         Jen Storer, Truly Tan #4: Freaked! (ABC Books – a HarperCollins Australia imprint)

Non Fiction

·           Megan Norris, Love You to Death: A story of sex, betrayal and murder gone wrong (The Five Mile Press)

·           Caroline Overington, Last Woman Hanged (HarperCollins Australia)

·           Virginia Peters, Have You Seen Simone? The story of an unsolved murder (Nero)

·           Julie Szego, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Wild Dingo Press)


·         Lollie Barr, The Adventures of Stunt Boy and His Amazing Wonder Dog Blindfold (Pan Macmillan Australia)

·         Christine Bongers, Intruder (Woolshed Press – a Random House imprint)

·         Candice Fox, Hades (Random House)

·         Anna George, What Came Before (Penguin Books Australia)

·         Rebecca Jessen, Gap (University of Queensland Press)

·         Virginia Peters, Have You Seen Simone? The story of an unsolved murder (Nero)

·         Pamela Rushby, The Ratcatcher’s Daughter (HarperCollins Australia)

·         Sandi Wallace, Tell Me Why (Clan Destine Press) Debut

·           Julie Szego, The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama (Wild Dingo Press)

The awards are handsome carved polished wooded trophies featuring the front cover of the winning novel under perspex. No prize money is attached.

The Davitts apply to books published the previous calendar year. Named after Ellen Davitt, the author of Australia’s first mystery novel, Force and Fraud in 1865, the awards cost publishers nothing to enter.

Horwood said that the Davitts have played a pioneering role in getting women’s crime writing better recognised.

“The Davitts have persuaded Australian publishers to risk publishing crime books by Australian women, instead of just importing the latest blockbusters. It’s a gamble that has well and truly paid off,” she said.

The judging panel for 2015 comprises Maggie Baron, Deborah Crabtree, Jacqui Horwood, Sylvia Loader, Michaela Lobb and Dr Shelley Robertson.

Media comment: Jacqui Horwood on 0449 703 503.

Bookings for the Davitt Awards close Monday 24 August. All seats are limited so book early — individually or in tables of up to 10. Click here

Additional information: Michaela Lobb, 0409 431 397.

20/07/2015 - 8:11pm

Kate Nancarrow, the Education Editor, for Melbourne's Age newspaper, has published an article about Allen & Unwin's Youth Award in this year Scarlet Stiletto Awards.

Entries are open in the 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards and organisers, Sisters in Crime, are looking for young female writers with a passion for murder and mystery to enter the junior competition.

Bridey Carmel, with Janet King actress Marta Dusseldorp, won last year's young writer's prize. Photo: Supplied

Murder at the ballet excursion, blackmail in the principal's office or theft on the netball team – what will this year's crop of young female crime writers come up with for the under 18 section of the Sisters in Crime crime-writing awards?  

Publisher Allen & Unwin is offering a $500 prize for the best short story written by a girl under 18 as part of Sisters in Crime's 22nd Scarlet Stiletto Awards ... and schools are being encouraged to help their students turn their writing skills towards mystery and mayhem. 

Last year's winner was an 11-year-old primary school student from the Mornington Peninsula, Bridey Carmel, who won for Dorothy Gale P.I. – a story about an investigator sent by tornado to a wonderful land, just like Dorothy from Kansas, but with the twist that she must unravel a spate of mysterious deaths.

The competition is open to secondary and primary school girls, but  younger writers need not think they have no chance of success; the youngest winner of the Allen & Unwin prize so far has been an eight-year-old, who wrote about an axe-murdering relief teacher.

Student entrants in previous years have written about thefts of Tim Tams from the school staff room and a teacher's past coming back to haunt her. Others put school as secondary to the junior protagonist's main activity: a 2008 winner set her crime amid a worm farm, where thefts of the worms were tied into a spate of local robberies, and the schoolgirl detective hoped to solve the mystery in time to finish the homework set by her evil teacher.

Some students, however, have come up with plots and settings that could easily be constructed by and for adults. The 2013  winner was a 15-year-old Brighton East schoolgirl, Sarah Robinson-Hatch, who won for Just one Touch – the tale of a vigilante named Ruby Sykes, who gained a special power after a lightning strike. That power went to her head – and her hands: young Ruby is able to kill people by electrocuting them, and decides to use this new skill to wipe out the world's baddies. Sarah was also a joint winner in 2011, and last year became a Sisters in Crime reviewer for Young Adult fiction.

Sisters in Crime's spokeswoman Carmel Shute says that each year the junior writers produce a great variety of plots, and the hope is that these young writers will go on to enter the competition's adult sections. The first youth writing prize (when the competition was open to women under the age of 25) went to Canadian-born model Tara Moss, who has gone on to a very successful crime-writing career.  

Female-authored crime writing seems to be growing in both numbers of writers and breadth of subject and content. The adult competition this year includes sections for environmental crime, financial crime, romantic suspense, disabled protagonist, indigenous writer and many others. Perhaps the most challenging section is the Athenaeum Library's prize of $1000, with the runner-up to receive $500, for the best crime story that includes the words "body in the library".

Entries close August 31, and winners will be announced in November.  

Click here for an entry form. 


14/07/2015 - 10:34pm
On July 15, Penguin Random House begins publishing Lethal in Love, a six-part serialised suspense romance e-book by Michelle Somers, with subsequent episodes released fortnightly after that. The book is available for pre-order so if you order all in advance each episode will download directly to your device on publication. Click here.
Sandi Wallace interviewed Michelle Somers for Sisters in Crime:
Melbourne-based author Michelle Somers has achieved what she calls the “dangling chocolate heart – publication” with her debut title Lethal in Love. She is also part of something that she sees as a new future in digital reading: the serialised eBook.
Many Sisters in Crime profess to have fallen in love with crime and adventure stories thanks to the Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and other series; I’m proud to be in that club. We love crime shows on TV, serials that parcel out thrills in each episode and leave us with cliffhangers at season finales. We are a society of immediacy – whether you see that as good or bad. We want it now; maybe we can stretch that to a week or so at a push.
Michelle admits that she loves-to-hate being left hanging, counting down for the next episode in a TV serial. She says, “Why shouldn’t we get the same excitement and suspense from reading? Sometimes waiting for something makes it all the sweeter. It’s all about anticipation.”
Her new book serial will delve out a steamy romantic suspense about an instinct-driven detective and a sexy, scoop-hungry reporter, both on the hunt for a sadistic killer, via six digital-only episodes at novella length, with Episode 1 released on 15 July 2015.
Michelle says that her lead female character, Jayda Thomasz, is a homicide detective first and foremost, a woman last. Jayda goes undercover as part of her investigation and “one gun-metal blue gaze, one kiss from a sexy stranger, and all her preconceptions about sex and attraction are shot to dust. Pity the timing’s off, with her whole unit outside, listening in.”
Jayda pairs up with Seth Friedin, a hot, determined reporter chasing the story that’ll make his career and impress his academic parents. Both characters are career-focused and battling their private demons, along with a serial killer returned to the streets of Melbourne after a 25-year sabbatical.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Michelle worked in microbiology and genetics, not policing or journalism like her protagonists. She says her background, “is great for understanding anything medical and forensic, but little else,” although she has a collection of knowledgeable people – and Google-power – to help her fill in blanks. But I suspect that medical-forensic knowledge is part of why she chose to write this story about a sadistic killer, combined with her reading taste.
She loves to read straight crime, thrillers and suspense, along with contemporary romance (as long as it has solid conflicts and plot), admitting, “I enjoy (is that the right word?) the psychological thrill of facing a cold, calculating killer; the kind that sends shivers up your spine.” And she’s a sucker for love and happy endings. She explains, “This is the flavour of book I love to read, so this is the book I wanted to write; a story with equal parts romance and suspense.”
Lethal in Love in its entirety is about 140,000 words and editors and agents had advised Michelle that she’d have to cut it back by around 30,000 to be considered for publication. But then she hit a dream run. She pitched her manuscript to Lex Hirst at Penguin Random House at the Romance Writers of Australia (RWA) conference last year. And Lex proposed the idea of a digital book serial to Michelle. Within two weeks, Michelle had a letter of offer for publication. Less than a year later, she is a published author. 
She says, “The whole pitching and publication process has been a whirlwind. And I have to confess, I’ve loved every minute of it!”
She leaves us with some valuable advice for writers striving for publication: “Don’t give up. Find your passion – whether it be romance, suspense, another genre or a melding of several – throw everything you have at it, and believe in yourself.”
And in the words of Jayda to Seth from Lethal in Love, Episode 2: “Achievement comes from within. If you don’t feel it, it won’t make any difference what anyone else thinks.”
Michelle Somers is a full-time writer. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Danny and their three beautiful boys, Josh (11), Nathan (10) and Gabriel (8). Lethal in Love is her first published title. She is currently penning a short story for an anthology to mark the Melbourne Romance Writers’ Guild’s 25th Anniversary (due out November 2015). She is also writing her next book, working title Murder Most Unusual, which features Jayda, Seth and other characters from Lethal in Love, and a bunch of new characters that she hopes to include in book number three.
Michelle is the 2013 winner of the Valerie Parv Award, 2013 winner of the Indiana Golden Opportunities contest (romantic suspense category), 2013 finalist The Molly (romantic suspense category), and 2013 finalist The Catherine (contemporary romance category for her unpublished romance, Worth the Risk). 
For more information about Michelle, please visit her website or connect on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Instagram 
01/07/2015 - 5:49pm

Melbourne's Athenaeum Library, which has sponsored the 'body in the library' prizes in Sisters in Crime's annual Scarlet Stiletto Award short story competition for the past three years, has published the winning stories from 2014 in e-book format:

Winning story: Natalie Conyer - The Book Club             read it here!
Runner-up: Fin J Ross - The VOTOS Solution         read it here!

The Athenaeum Library is again offering a prize of $1000 and a runner-up award of $500 in the 2015 awards.

This year a total of $9350 is up for grabs. Click here to download an entry form. 










01/07/2015 - 5:22pm

Congratulations to Scarlet Stiletto winner Aoife Clifford (above at the 2013 Awards' ceremony) has her debut novel coming out next year with Simon & Schuster in Australia and then in the UK.

Aoife won the top Scarlet Stiletto Award in 2007, came second in 2009 and has won numerous other category awards.

She also won the Ned Kelly – S.D. Harvey Award in 2012. She was shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger in 2009. Her short stories have been published in the crime anthology Scarlet Stiletto: The Second Cut (2011) and in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Scribe anthology, New Australian Stories

The media release from Simon & Schuster reports:

Carla Josephson, Assistant Editor Simon & Schuster UK, bought UK, Commonwealth & ANZ rights in All These Perfect Strangers by Australian debut author Aoife Clifford from Rebecca Ritchie and Clare Forster at Curtis Brown. 

S&S Australia will publish in trade paperback in March 2016, with S&S UK publishing in paperback Original in June 2016. Catherine Drayton at Inkwell is handling North American rights.

The novel tells the story of Penelope Sheppard, whose young life is weighed down with scandal and tragedy.  But entry into university offers her the chance to run away from the past and reinvent herself among perfect strangers. Little by little, through Pen's flawed narration and tantalising diary entries, her secrets and lies come to light and a dangerous dilemma unfolds, twisting and turning until the very last page.

All These Perfect Strangersis Aoife Clifford’s first novel, but she has already won the two major Australian crime writing prizes in short story form: the Ned Kelly - SD Harvey Short Story Award and the Scarlet Stiletto. She was also shortlisted for the UK Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger. In 2013, she was awarded an Australian Society of Author's mentorship for All These Perfect Strangers.

Carla Josephson said, ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be publishing All These Perfect Strangers. I received it on a Friday and read it in one satisfying gulp, barely coming upfor air. Pen is a brilliantly unreliable narrator who pulls the reader into her world wherethe truth is constantly being revised and no one is who they seem. This is a unique and beautifully written debut and I’m delighted to welcome Aoife to S&S.’

Larissa Edwards, Head of Publishing at S&S Australia, said, ‘I am so proud to be publishing All These Perfect Strangers on our list. Aoife is a wonderful and talented writer whose novel haunted me for days after the first reading. It is hard to believe this is a debut when you are drawn into the mystery and intrigue of this self-assured novel. This is certain to gain a wide readership amongst Australian readers.’

Aoife Clifford said, 'It is a dream come true to have my debut novel picked up by Simon & Schuster and to work with their passionate and dedicated editors, both in Australia and the United Kingdom. I wanted this novel to be a compulsive page-turner that would keep the reader up all night but have the emotional depth that they would still be thinking about it long after finishing. I am delighted that my character Pen and her story has found such a wonderful audience.'

Clare Forster (Curtis Brown Australia) and Rebecca Ritchie (Curtis Brown London) said, ‘All These Perfect Strangers is an incredibly accomplished debut, packed with twists, turns and secrets. We are delighted that Simon & Schuster will be publishing Aoife Clifford in the UK and Australia and think this deal spells the start of a very bright future.’