Wednesday, August 10, 2016

In honor of the Writers' Police Academy this weekend, I thought I'd re-post the first piece I wrote for the Golden Donut Award contest a few years ago. (And just a little bragging - I was a top ten finalist). 

The picture that year was of a neglected, dilapidated building.

Here's my 200 word story, with a beginning, middle, end and that pesky proverbial twist!


I blame Grandpa for my current predicament.

He filled my head with bedtime stories after my parents died.  Made up stories, he said.  But I saw the looks Grandma gave him.

Grandpa tucked me into bed, covers pulled up to my chin.  I listened to tales of trickery and thievery.  The hero was a clever fellow, pulling off daring heists.  For years the stories thrilled me.

I grew up and moved out of the old two story, isolated family home.  Grandpa died. I pieced together the clues scattered throughout his tales.  I checked out newspaper archives over donuts and coffee.  The stories were true.  I set out to find his stash of stolen goods hidden somewhere under that neglected house of my childhood.

The overgrown grounds almost engulfed the abandoned building.  I sweated and dug in that dank basement.  All I uncovered for my trouble was bones.

So many bones.

Suddenly, in between the decrepit house’s creaks and groans, I heard the sounds of stomping down those rickety steps, dragging something heavy and cumbersome.

I stood paralyzed.  Nowhere to hide and no way out but up those very stairs.

I wondered - who will dig up my bones?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Who? What? Where? When? How?
Why? – because it’s fun to read!

Cub reporter: 5 books (1 from each category)
Columnist: 10 books (2 from each category)
News Anchor: 15 books (3 from each category)
Editor: 20 books (4 from each category)
Newspaper Mogul: 25 books

BONUS CATEGORY: Pulitzer Prize Winner (Newspaper Mogul plus Bonus Category): 30 books


Protagonist is a forensic specialist (forensic accountant, forensic artist, forensic pathologist, forensic dentist, etc)
Protagonist is a crime-solving duo (any 2 person team: hubby/wife, siblings, professionals, etc)
Protagonist is a dead person (ghost, skeleton, vampire, zombie…anybody who is dead)
Protagonist works with animals (vet, dog walker, zookeeper, etc)
Protagonist is a legal professional (judge, lawyer, paralegal etc)


Number in the title
Poison in the title
Weather in the title
Color in title
Title starts with the same letter as your last name


Set in a little town
NOT set on land (cruise ship, boat, airplane, spaceship, etc)
Set in Nevada
Set on foreign soil (not America or England)
Historical novel (pre 1930)


One book set during a party (family reunion, birthday, Christmas, etc)
One that centers around a holiday
One Dark & Stormy night – bad weather plays big role in story
One where the protagonist has to beat the clock (time is crucial to solving mystery)
One set during a courtroom trial


(Method of Murder)
Poison is murder weapon
Knife/stabbing is murder weapon
Gun/shooting is murder weapon
Blunt object is murder weapon
Rope/strangulation is murder weapon


WHO - Protagonist is a child (under the age of 18)
WHAT - 3 word title (title is only 3 words and they all start with the same letter)
WHERE - “Locked Room” mystery (not necessarily a room, as long as the scene is contained)
WHEN – Death occurs during a natural disaster (hurricane, avalanche, tsunami, etc)
HOW - At least 3 different people killed by 3 different means, all in one story

Rules: For this challenge – Each book can only be used for 1 category (Ex: Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap would fit into 3 categories – strangled, cut off from the world due to bad weather, locked room mystery. But you can only place this story in 1 of the categories)

For the bonus round, you must first complete the Newspaper Mogul category and then complete the bonus category. (Just for fun, the bonus round is a bit tougher) However, if you read a book that you realize fits into the bonus category, you can save it to use to fill in the bonus round after you complete Newspaper Mogul status!

There will be one prize ($25 Amazon gift card) given for a Pulitzer Prize Winner (chosen from the group who completes this level).

The challenge runs from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.

You don’t have to choose your books in advance. If you do, you can change your list at any time during the year.

Books can be in any format – paper, ebooks, audio…

Crossovers with other challenges are fine.

Most of all—have fun!

You can read any book you choose for the categories, but here’s a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card. For the Where category—set in Nevada—read A Frenzied Bid For Murder (written by yours truly—blatant self-promo) and write a review on GoodReads. This is my first full-length novel and it will be published in June 2016. The deadline for your chance at the gift card is December 1, 2016. One winner will be picked at random from the posted reviews on December 10, 2016.
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