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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Get Ready For JANO 2014

About JANO

During January, 2010, Sleuths’ Ink held it’s first-ever JANO challenge. Modeled after the popular National Novel Writing Month in November, JANO begins in, you guessed it, January.

Participants are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel during January. Join us and kick off the new year with a novel in progress! 

Two good reasons we picked January: 
1) You get an extra day to write. To complete 50,000 words during January, you only need to write 1,613 words a day.

2) The holidays are over. Winter has set in. What  better way to spend a long, dreary month than writing a novel?

Over the past few years, participants from across the nation entered our challenge. Many of them reached their 50,000 goal, with a few actually receiving a contract for their completed JANO project.

To celebrate JANO members’ successes, Sleuths’ Ink will sponsor a party the first Saturday in February. Details are forthcoming. As always, during the party, prizes will be awarded to our JANO 2014 JANO participants.  See categories below.  In addition, we're giving away a $100 grand prize to one lucky JANO participant at our annual December holiday party.  The winner of this grand prize must be a Sleuths’ Ink member and must have written a minimum of 25,000 words.


1st Person to reach 50,000
  • 2nd Person to reach 50,000
    3rd Person to reach 50,000

    Best Title
    Best First Sentence
    Best First Page – This is read at the JANUARY 12th, meeting
    Best Blurb – 100 words or less
    Best Title
    Best Blurb – 100 words or less
  • Best Blurb – 100 words or less
    KEEP IN MIND: a Blurb is often used in your query letter to sell your story to an editor or what is found on the back of the book to grab your potential reader’s attention.
    Participant MUST have written at least 10,000 words to be eligible for prizes
    Must be on the loop (if feasible)
    No acceptances after MIDNIGHT January 31, 2014 deadline. NO exceptions!!!
    With the exception of Best First Page, attendees of the Wrap-Up Party judge all categories on Saturday February 9thd, and prizes awarded accordingly. You do not have to be in attendance to win, but we encourage everyone within driving distance to come join the FUN!


Sleuths' Ink will hold its FIFTH Annual JANO in 2014 beginning January 1. Please join us and kick off the new year by writing a new novel or adding new words only to a work in progress. 

Rules: There may be no actual writing on your JANO novel until January 1, but you may plot your novel and create character sketches before January 1, 2014. On that date, write like mad (no editing) the entire month in order to reach the 50,000-word goal.  Again this year, at least ten prizes will be awarded to JANO participants. All donations are greatly appreciated.

JANO is sponsored by Sleuths’ Ink, a mystery and suspense writers’ non-profit organization in Springfield, Missouri. Contact: Sharon Kizziah Holmes  JANO 2014 Chair  JANO2014@yahoo.com

Or sign up at janowriters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Sunday, September 8, 2013

September Speaker - Award Winning Author Jan Morrill

Jan Morrill’s award-winning short stories and essays have been published in several Chicken Soup for the Soul books and other anthologies. In February, her debut novel, The Red Kimono, was published by The University of Arkansas Press. She enjoys speaking at schools, libraries and conferences, and she is currently working on the sequel to The Red Kimono. For more information, please visit www.janmorrill.com.

Jan has used several methods of developing characters in her stories, including interviewing and letter writing. Join her on Saturday, September 14 for her workshop, "Who Is Your Character, Anyway?"


Thursday, August 8, 2013

August Speaker/Toni Somers

Toni Somers is a retired photographer, guitar teacher, and Adult Education teacher.  Her degree was in studio art and she has taught drawing in Port Aransas, TX and in Springfield, Missouri.  Somers began writing in 1995 and has been published in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Today’s Woman Magazine, Grist magazine and in the recently published Life Lessons From Teachers.  In January one of her flash fiction pieces will appear in The Binnacle published by the University of Maine.  She is the recipient of a number of awards for poetry, short fiction, and memoirs.  During her years in Port Aransas Somers initiated the first Texas Laughing Gull Writing Competition sponsored by the Port Aransas Art Center.  She currently resides in Springfield, Missouri with her husband (John) of 58 years.

Join us on Saturday, August 10th, as Toni talks about Murder Plots in the Bible.


Saturday, June 15, 2013


Congratulations to the winners of Sleuths' Ink's WHODUNNIT CONTEST!

The winners for the WHODUNNIT contest are below:  If you entered, you can expect to receive your judges’ comments by email this weekend as well. Checks will be in the mail by Monday.
1st place:  Occupational Hazard by Rekha Ambardar
2nd Place:  Night Raider by Rekha Ambardar
3rd Place:  Who Killed Seth Watson by Jacqueline Stern
Honorable Mention:  Recipe For Murder by Jody Lebel
Thanks to everyone for their participation in this fun event.


Saturday, June 1, 2013


Greg Yen is a native Springfieldian who now lives in the city of Ozark. His interest in the outdoors, hunting, fishing and guns, started when he was a young child. It seems it's always been second nature to him. He's a self taught master marksman and for some time, was a competitive shooter.

Although his main job is being a hairstylist, he is also a NRA Certified Concealed Carry Weapon instructor. He teaches CCW classes regularly, gives personal shooting instruction, makes custom holsters for his own company and runs a fireworks stand in the summer months.

His goal is to teach people, interested in legally owning a firearm and having their CCW, how to be a safe and responsible a gun owner.


Join us on Saturday, June 8th to learn more about guns and the Conceal and Carry laws.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

WHODUNNIT? A Mystery Contest Sponsored by Sleuths' Ink



sponsored by


Springfield, MO


Join the ranks of mystery writers and try your hand at writing a mini-mystery. If you've never written this genre, we suggest you read Woman’s World magazine, which publishes a new mystery weekly. The mysteries are located near the back, are always 700 words, and a solution is provided.

These mysteries are fun and interactive. And who doesn’t like to solve a whodunnit? Put on a Columbo trench coat and try your hand at this genre.


Guidelines and Word Count:

Simply write a short "solve-it-yourself" mystery of 700 words. That count must include the narrative and the solution. Stories should be fun and entertaining with an ending that challenges to the reader to figure out whodunnit or howdunnit. 

Submission information:  

Send your entry to Sleuthsink95@gmail.com. Write "Contest Submission" in the subject line.


Payment information:

Include a $5 entry fee per entry. (You may enter as many times as you want, but you’ll need to mail $5 for each entry.)

You’ll need to mail your entry fee to

Shirley McCann

4750 S. Ridgecrest Drive

Springfield, MO 65810


You will receive a confirmation once we’ve received your entry and your fee.




$65  First prize

$25  Second prize

$10  Third prize


Additionally, all entries will receive feedback by at least two published WW authors! What have you got to lose?


Deadline: May 31, 2013

(winners will be announced in early July)


Note: This is a contest sponsored by Sleuths' Ink Mystery Writers, and has no affiliation with Woman’s World Magazine. We do, however, encourage you to submit your finished story to WW. Remember, you are eligible to win cash prizes, plus your stories will be judged and critiqued by at least two published Woman’s World authors.


Questions? Email us at Sleuthsink95@gmail.com and good luck!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April Speaker - Ron Yoder of Southwest Missouri Forensics

Wanna know what to look for at a crime scene? Do you know how to determine time of death? Can you define Lividity and Livor Temperature?

If you have questions about Crime Scenes and Au-topsies, you won’t want to miss Saturday’s meet-ing.

Not only is Ron the former Greene County Deputy Medical Examiner, and now owns Southwest Mis-souri Forensics in Nixa, Missouri, but he’s also been an honorary member of Sleuths’ Ink since he first spoke to our group many years ago. You won’t want to miss this infor-mative meeting, as well as Ron’s delightful sense of humor. As our President, Wanda Fittro, has said, Ron makes death "fun".


Friday, February 15, 2013


If you didn't participate in JANO 2013, stay tuned for 2014. Not only will one lucky Sleuths' Ink member win a KINDLE in December of this year, but the following people were also winners of various prizes.  Remember you DO NOT have to be a member of Sleuths' Ink to win any of these other prizes. But we'd love to have you.

The top three to 50,000 were :
1st  Sharon Smith,    2nd - Lynn Fredrickson, and    3rd - Cindy Blackburn.
A total of six people completed 50,000 words during JANO 2013.
Best Blurb: Sharon Davis.
Best Title:
Susan Keene.
Best first line:
Allison Merritt.
Best First page:
Allison Merritt.
And a BIG THANK YOU TO Kelly Henkins for chairing
JANO 2013.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

JANO is less than one week from completion. People from all over the world have signed up for this 4th annual event.

Our JANO party year is scheduled forf Saturday February 2, 2013 at The Event Center on Republic Road in Springfield, MO.  Looks like seventeen of our 50 participants will be able to attend this event.

Prizes will be awarded at this time. The following categories are:

1st Person to reach 50,000
  • 2nd Person to reach 50,000
    3rd Person to reach 50,000
    Best Title
    Best First Sentence
    Best First Page – This is read at the JANUARY 12th, meeting
    Best Blurb – 100 words or less
    Best Title
    Best Blurb – 100 words or less
    Best Blurb – 100 words or less
Also, check out the poem by JANO participant Cindy Blackburn. It's appropriately called Lightning Writing.
Happy Writing.