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My Mystery Writers Group is Amazing

I’d like to tell you what a great mystery writers group to which I’m fortunate to belong. Sleuths’ Ink Mystery Writers is a fun group of writers with no limit of imagination. We even have authors on the bestseller list among our members.

Sleuths’ Ink hosts something called the JANO Challenge every year. JANO is similar to NaNoWriMo where the goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. The difference is January doesn’t have Thanksgiving or Black Friday, and it has an extra day to write. That’s the equivalent of three extra writing days. It’s also much easier for some of us to concentrate on writing once the holidays are over as opposed to when they begin.

We had our JANO celebration party last weekend. I’m happy to say that I was one of the four people who wrote 50,000 words or more during the month of January. A great deal of those words were written right here on Ozarks Maven. The majority were written in my work in progress, which is rougher than a cob, yet well underway. I also had several words I wrote during the course of my day job. I was surprised how many words I wrote on a daily basis without doing anything extra.

The JANO party was virtual this year because no one is meeting in person yet. I believe there were 19 of us who logged on for the party. While I didn’t win the prize for the most words written, I won some really nice drawings and an acronym contest.

We weren’t able to play the detective game the administrators had planned because not everyone received their envelope with the clues and decoder in the mail, but several of us planned to solve the mystery after the party. It took me about ten minutes to decode, but I imagine most of the others were faster.

I logged out of that party with some nice winnings. I won a gift certificate to a Springfield bookstore I have not visited in a couple of decades. It was my favorite bookstore when I lived there, but I moved away from Springfield well over 20 years ago. I also won a cash prize and a pound of coffee. Is it weird that I’m super excited about the coffee?

It’s not about the prizes, though. I would have had a great time even if I hadn’t won a single thing. The best part of these parties is being with the other mystery writers. The members are full of life, wonderful ideas, and creative solutions that are often surprising, but always interesting. I have so much fun when I’m with Sleuths’ Ink Mystery Writers.

Our group’s speakers teach and enlighten us about things that make our writing better. They allow us to include details we may not have considered before. Our membership also offers wisdom and insight into things that make a mystery worth reading.

One of my favorite and most educational meetings was actually a tea party where we had to solve a fictional murder mystery using clues placed around the room. We were provided with lists of poison plants and things you’d never consider using as weapons such as lipstick (yes, you read that correctly).

It may sound morbid to those who don’t write or read such things, but we are a mystery group, and the majority of our members write murder or cozy mysteries. I’ve used a lot of the knowledge I obtained from our meetings, the tea party in particular, in my work.

I belong to five writers groups, and they are all wonderful in different ways. I love them all, and count myself lucky to be a part of them. I learn from each of them and improve my craft as a result. Only one of them has invited me to solve a murder over tea, though.

Do you belong to any fun groups?

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