Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Writers' Wednesday: Shirley McCann

Welcome to Writers’ Wednesday. This week, I’m happy to welcome mystery and romance author, Shirley McCann. Shirley is a founder of Sleuths' Ink, a mystery writers group, and a long time member of Ozarks Romance Authors. Welcome, Shirley. You've recently released your book, A COLLECTION OF MYSTERIES. Would you please tell us a little about it.

A COLLECTION OF MYSTERIES contains 13 of my previously published WOMAN’S WORLD mini-mysteries. I love writing these stories. The magazine has changed the guidelines over the years, so while most of them are solve-it-yourself, a few are standard mysteries. But they’re all short – under 1000 words.

Writing short stories 500-1,000 words is a challenge. Not a lot of authors can do so, but you’ve been successful at it. In addition to the short mysteries for WOMAN’S WORLD, you’ve also written for THE FORENSIC EXAMINER, ALFRED HITCHCOCK, and many online magazines. What draws you to the mystery genre?

I love the puzzle. When reading, I love trying to figure out who the “culprit” is before reaching the end of the story. When writing, I rarely know who did it until the end. And even sometimes that changes during the writing process.

Mysteries are so strong for you. Do you write in any other genre?

I also love romance. Who doesn’t? They’re feel good stories. I find it a nice balance. I’ve written a lot of confessions stories for various magazines. While they’re not necessarily romance stories, they are feel good stories.

I’m currently working on two romance novels. I do get sidetracked a lot because I love writing short stories. If I’m working on a longer project, I start itching to get back to a short story.

What’s your next project?

I’m always working on several short stories at a time. However, I’m also currently working on a mystery novel, a young adult mystery, as well as romances. I’m always working on something.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Don’t give up. I think everyone says that, but it’s true – you can’t sell if you don’t write and submit. Learn to accept rejection. It’s all part of the learning process. And don’t take it personally.

Very true. Excellent advice, Shirley. Thanks, again, for joining us today.

Visit Shirley at: http://www.cleverchronicles.blogspot.com/

Her books: A COLLECTION OF MYSTERIES:13 Previously Published WOMAN’S WORLD Mini Mysteries. Amazon, Nook, and Smashwords

THE NECKLACE:A Middle Grade Mystery. Amazon, Nook, Smashwords


  1. Thanks for having me this morning, Barbara. I'll be stopping by off and on to see if there are any questions.

  2. Shirley,
    I am a fellow Woman's World writer, (Romances) and I bought your collection of mysteries as an e-book for my Nook. What a great idea! How is it making out, and what advice do you have if I am thinking of doing the same with my Woman's World Romances?

  3. Hi Shirley
    What was your experience with e-publishing?
    Was it hard to submit your stories, and did you have to re-format for publishing e-books?

  4. My collection is doing okay. Marketing is the big thing. And I'm stil
    Learning delane ePub is fairly easy. I could
    Learn a lot more though. Formatting is a learning

  5. I'm always interested in the "how" of ideas, Shirley. Do you get ideas from news stories, magazine articles, or do they come out of the blue?

    And then do you wake up in the middle of the night and write them down?

  6. Shirley,
    I'm so glad you'e here today. I've always been impressed by your prolific mystery stories--you seem to be able to shoot them out in no time and hit the magazine pages without fail. You've got that short story technique down pat.


  7. gary I do get ideas from newspapers although
    I do like starting with a dead body and
    Seeing where the story takes me

  8. Btw sorry for any typos. I'm not home
    So am typing from my iPod touch

  9. I'm so in awe of writers who can craft a story in 500-1000 words. It's like the haiku of prose. Congrats on your new book!

  10. I think this is a great idea for your stories! I love reading them and now they'll be in one place;) Wishing you continued success !!

  11. Great interview, Shirley and Barb. It is nice to know someone else gets sidetracked with other writing projects. Yes, 'never give up' has been said many times, but that is because this is such a trying job and it needs to be repeated. Only the diehard will survive. Like you. Congratulations, Shirley, and continued success.

  12. Congrats on your continued success, Shirley. I always enjoy reading your stories. -- John

  13. Your work is wonderful, Shirley. I love reading your short stories and how you tie everything up so nice. As a short story writer, I know the challenges you face. I can't imagine trying to solve a crime in that span of time. Good luck with your new publishing venture.

  14. John, thanks for stopping by. You're the king of the WW mysteries in my book. Love those Chunky Jones stories.

    As I said, I love the challenge of trying to solve a crime in so few words. Definitely teaches me to write tight.

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments.

    BTW, my new blog address is shirleymccann.blogspot.com. Please follow me. I'm lonely.

  15. Shirley: I am always amazed at how you can write a complete story in 1000 words. I've tried and it's not easy, but you have it down pat. good Luck with your 'Collection of Mysteries'. A great idea.

  16. Hi Shirley,

    I too love to trying to figure out who don it when reading a mystery.

    All the best with your success in writing!

  17. While I'm playing games on my computer, I can see Shirley's house, and I know she's working on something new. She's my hero.

    I don't have a Nook or Kindle. Is there any other way to get your book, Shirley?
    Diana Locke

  18. Hey, Diana. They're getting ready to build a house behind me, so our "view" of each other will be gone soon!

    You can download the Nook or Kindle app free on your computer and download books to those apps. Or if you have an iphone or ipod touch, you can do the same. Even an ipad.

    BTW, why are you playing games when you should be writing?

  19. Okay, I'm on my laptop now. Let's hope this works. Barbara, your blog always freezes up on my computer. It takes forever to download for some reason. I don't have that problem with other blogs but it looks like many others got on with no problem so maybe it's my computer.

    At any rate, great post. Shirley, you know I'm your biggest fan. You're one of the most prolific writers I know. Somehow you juggle working part-time, babysitting your granddaughter, watching Andy Griffith :), yoga, swimming, several writers' groups, a blog, social networking, yet still, you manage to churn out several short stories AND novels on a regular basis.

    So...my question is how do you manage your time? Do you shut everything off and write for a few hours each day? What is your routine? Please tell me. Tell me NOW! Pretty please. Love you.


  20. Did you catch my Jack Bauer moment? Inside joke. ha

  21. Shirley, It's been a blast having you here today. What great questions and comments everyone has had.

    Beth, I'm so sorry my blog doesn't download well for you. I'll try to check into it. I know it takes forever on my computer, but then I'm dial up--everything takes forever for me. Still I'm glad you made it on.

  22. Brenda and Diana, so glad you made it in, too. Posting can be a problem without an online account of some kind. You did it. :>

  23. So totally a small world. I saw Shirley's call out for visitors on my ww loop (sorry, I'm on digest so I'm late...

    But where do I find Shirley? On my friend Barb's blog...

    Good luck with your book!

  24. Thanks for having me, Barb. It's been fun.

    Ha, Beth. I did catch that, but not until you pointed it out. I miss Jack Bauer. And no, I don't tune anything out. I can't because my husband can't live without noise. TV is on 24/7. But I do have a thunder and lightning CD that I listen to a lot, as well as other mood music CDs.

    Thanks gang.

  25. Ack. I could never write with noise. But HOW many hours a day do you write, dear? Do you even write daily? What is your routine and secret to being so prolific? Please tell us.


  26. I adore you, Shirley, as you are my nagging gaurdian Angel of, how much have you gotten written lately? You teach me to be fearless about getting it on paper, and not give up. Good luck Beth, getting her secret to doing everything she does, and so well....out of her. I seem to have to lost the talent of multitasking. One thing at a time....Shirley just plows right through it all, wonderfully!

  27. Hi Shirley,

    Great post. I love your WW mysteries. It amazes me how well you hide the clues. I wish you well with your short story e-book.

    I'm going to check out your blog.

  28. Congrats on all your success and on your latest release. It is difficult to write those short stories but your success at it proves it can be done!

  29. Ha! Beth, I just write whenever I can I've been
    Known to write things in emails at work and send
    It to my home computer. Easier for short
    Stories. No set times life is busy