One Hundred Words A Day Challenge

I’m temporarily going back to the one hundred words a day challenge introduced by the Austin Chapter of Romance Writers of America. After all, it is what got me The Cowboy’s Baby and Arroyo written, edited, and published.  It’s nothing to snicker at. One hundred words a day translates to a full novel in a year or less.

I had more ambitious plans for myself this year than just writing one novel, but you know what they say about plans. I’ve just finished day two. It’s very hard because I’m typing with only my left hand fingers (except when I get carried away and use the right hand by mistake.) And I have to force myself to stop with just the hundred words (or thereabouts). Now I’m finished with day three. The plot progresses. Now I’ve done day four.

I fell last week and got hurt. Strangely enough, though, I’m making painful and clumsy efforts to keep writing. Seems I’ve got some stories I want to tell. It’s really hard using the mouse from the left side of the keyboard, not to mention hunt and peck typing. My injuries are minor. But I could easily let them stop me. Have a look at this instead (and read the comments). Kristine Rusch has got a lot more to say than I do. .


You can find my novels at for the Nook reader.



WHAT I READ THIS WEEK–Dodger by Terry Pratchett. The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker.  Fidelity by Thomas Perry.  Winter Study by Dakota Barr.

Is this the end of STDOOU?

Is this the end of Scare The Dickens Out of Us?

In a word, yes. The 2012 contest will be the last of it. We will make a formal announcement at the end of the year at , but this is our first informal announcement.

Scare The Dickens Out of Us has always been primarily a fundraiser for the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library; only secondarily was it a ghost story writing contest. So, as we have never been able to raise more money than we spent running the contest (prize money, trophy money, advertising, postage, reading party), we will be calling it quits and turn to donating the money we’d have used on the contest directly to the Friends (and ultimately to the library). The Friends and the library will get more from this than they every got from the contest, only the writers will lose (and we are very sorry about that, but there are a lot more contests out there to choose from).

Rather than dwell on the negative, we’d like to address the positive. In the four years of the contest we raised $5,000.00 for the Friends. We received helpful cooperation in promoting the contest from many organizations across the country, and abroad, mostly from literary contest sites (thank you each and every one of you), regional branches of the Romance Writers of America (from which we got a couple of our winning stories), and also the regional branches of Mystery Writers of America (from which we got some really interesting stories). We also got a lot of support from many of the individual writing clubs throughout the country. We appreciate you. A very big thank you goes out to the several writers who submitted to our story contest for consecutive years. And thank you Logos of Lockhart for helping us find some of the most beautiful and unusual glass trophies available for our top winners. Of course we’d be nothing without our two great final judges Sue Smith and Erin Pringle. Thank you, ladies.

We’d like to thank each and every one of  you who entered Scare The Dickens Out of Us and Junior Scare The Dickens Out of Us. Contrary to popular legend, ninety-nine percent of the stories submitted to our contest were not crap. Only about ten percent were. The remaining eighty percent of the stories were good, and then we got about ten percent that were outstanding. It was a pleasure and honor to read your submissions. However, we did notice a marked lack of paperclips on the entries (use paperclips, guys) and far too many stories that were folded three or four times and then stuffed into an envelope meant for letters (no, don’t do that), and way too many writers thought it was just peachy keen to submit their entries the very last day of the contest.

Enough bad news. Here’s the good news. We are hard at work right now selecting the stories that will go forward to the final judges for the 2012 contest. We should have the winners at about Thanksgiving time. Emails will go out this week letting everyone know where they stand. Check after Thanksgiving to see if the winners have been posted yet.


WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—Rising Sun by Michael Crichton. Charming Blue by Kristine Grayson. Tales of a Traveller by Washington Irving. The Assassin’s Curse by Lindsay Buroker. (Actually, this is what I read between this post and the last one.)

Photo by Roxanne Rix.  Scare The Dickens Out of Us logo by Molly Humphrey.

Meet Morris Payne

 Good Fences

Meet Morris Payne, misanthrope, loner, agoraphobiac, and out and out the most engaging computer hacker you could ever invent.  He’s pretty much a prisoner in his own house, and he likes it that way. And he’s very much a believer in the old saw that good fences make good neighbors. He stays in his house, he wants everyone else to  stay in theirs.

Along comes a horrendous snow and ice storm. He’s only got the electricity and time to finish one vital hacking  job when he gets the rug pulled out from under him in the form of his neighbor’s cute kid who’s just done his own hacking job right up to Morris’s back door where his security system shot him full of darts. The rest of the family is out in the snow banging on his front door to let them in.

What’s a good and twisted neighbor to do? Leave them out there to freeze, to die from the poisoned darts? What a treat to read an exciting short from beginning to end in fifteen minutes. Good Fences is a prequel short story to the exciting full-length novel Fate’s Mirror.

Riding Fourth 

Too short by half!  Riding Fourth is the short story intro to M.H. Mead’s upcoming novel Taking The Highway which is excerpted after The End of the short story in question.  I wanted more (obviously), and that’s a good thing.  This story is about the sub-species of job that opens up for hitchhikers when it becomes illegal to drive the highways with less than four people in the vehicle. You can drive the side streets, take public transportation, or hire a fourth, which is a lot like picking up the day laborers you see in the convenience store parking lots as you drive early into work. Lots and lots of trust is involved, so you can pretty much guess what happened to the fourth.





WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  Good Fences by M.H. Mead.  Riding Fourth by M.H. Mead.