New Fiction in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

“Little Martha”

“Little Martha” appears in the anthology Trouble No More, edited by Mark Westmoreland and featuring crime fiction inspired by Southern Rock—in my story’s case, inspired specifically by the Allman Brothers’ song of the same name from the 1972 album Eat a Peach.

“Inspired,” however, may be a strong word here, given that the song is solely instrumental—so no lyrics led me toward character or plot. While there’s some story (several stories) about the genesis of the song—a dream about Jimi Hendrix, the grave of a 12-year-old girl, and then a woman that Duane Allman was having an affair with—none of those fed directly into my own writing here. However, because the song is short—2 minutes, seven seconds to be precise—I set a challenge to myself to keep my story short too: 415 words ultimately. (Though I’d toyed with both the idea of 207 words (echoing 2 minutes, 7 seconds) and 127 words (127 seconds total), my skills fell short. I also tried for a certain kind of rhythm with the language and a series of repetitions within the structure, and I hope I succeeded better there.

The anthology also features stories by Bill Baber, C.W. Blackwell, Jerry Bloomfield, S.A. Cosby, Nikki Dolson, Michel Lee Garrett, James D.F. Hannah, Curtis Ippolito, Jessica Laine, Brodie Lowe, Bobby Mathews, Brian Panowich, Rob Pierce, Joey R. Poole, Raquel V. Reyes, Michael Farris Smith, J.B. Stevens, Chris Swann, N.B. Turner and Joseph S. Walker. A fine line-up, and I’m pleased to have my work alongside theirs!

Book categories: Anthologies