Chelle Martin is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and Romance Writers of America. We’ve known each other a good number of years I’m honored to say. We share a love for well written short stories and I can tell you that Chelle writes a great short story. Chelle, welcome and thank you for blogging with us today!
Thank you so much for inviting me. I’m honored to share my thoughts on short mystery fiction with you.
You’re published in a lot of anthologies, and have won numerous awards, too! I’m very aware of your love for suspense and mystery writing. But you have a great flair for humorous writing, too, as demonstrated by your recent Dead Bird award. Do you prefer writing one over the other?
Thank you for the compliment. I enjoy writing both, but humor comes naturally to me, so if it works for the type of story I’m writing, I find it makes the story flow and keeps the reader interested. I’ve been writing more humor of late because I’ve done well with it in contests and the feedback I’ve received on non-contest pieces has been very positive. People keep telling me we need more humor these days. I totally agree.
Why do you enjoy writing short fiction?
I started writing short fiction to improve my writing skills. With short fiction you need to write tight. Just like a novel, short stories need a beginning, middle and an ending. You only have so many pages to bring your characters to life, grab readers with a plausible and compelling plot, and then wow them with an ending that will hopefully interest them in reading more of your work. You can really create a following with short stories. Whether it’s winning contests or having a story selected for an anthology, every achievement is important for a writer’s resume.
I enjoy reading flash fiction, but I don’t write it, or at least not much of it. Is there one type of short fiction that you like more than others?
I tend to write in the 2,500 to 3,000 word range or shorter. I’ve also written very short fiction that was published at several online sites. I think the story had to be 50 words or shorter. My longest short story is a humorous romance set at the U.S. Open called “Game, Set, Love Match”. L&L Dreamspell published it in their “Romance of My Dreams” anthology. That story ran about forty manuscript pages.
We’re both authors in the Sisters in Crime-CJ anthology Crime Scene 1, but you are in a lot of other anthologies as well. I think you’ve been in two with the Seven Sisters Press, right? Can you tell us how you got into those?
Yes, I have stories in Gone Coastal and Never Safe by Seven Sisters Press. The editor, Karen Kavanagh, is a SinC member. I’m also in the NY SinC Chapter’s “Murder: NY Style” anthology. I’ve become friends with quite a few writers who belong to different chapters of SinC. There really was no secret to getting into the anthologies. I just answered their call for writers and they happened to like my work. I have also been invited to submit to some anthologies because editors were familiar with previous works of mine.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a few short story ideas for various contests and publications. As you mentioned, my story “Cracking the Case of Humpty Dumpty” just won the BEST OF SHOW AWARD and the LAUGHING LUCAS AWARD in the San Joaquin Sisters in Crime Chapter’s Coveted Dead Bird Contest. I’m very happy about that. The winning stories were read aloud at the chapter meeting, and I’ve heard many nice things from their members.
What collections are available today and where can people go to buy them?
You can see all of the anthologies I’m published in if you go to the MWA website (www.mysterywriters.com) and click on my name. You can contact the publishers directly for some of the books. Others are available online from Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.
If there was one thought you wanted to leave writers with, something you’ve learned from your journey of writing, what would it be?
If you don’t know where to start writing, try writing in the genre(s) you like to read. It might take you a while to see what works for you. Try short stories as well as novel-writing. Learn your craft, take classes, network. Find a critique partner you can trust who writes in your genre. Keep submitting your work.
Chelle, thank you for your time and knowledge! I hope you’ll come back and blog again later in the year!
Thank you! I would love to visit again.
Chelle’s complete bio is available at the Mystery Writers of America website. I’ll invite her back this summer. If you’d like to ask Chelle questions, please leave your comments and I’ll see that she gets them!
Be well and keep writing!