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Welcome Fellow Crusaders – 1st Challenge

I really had no business putting this post together; life is just that hectic right now. But it was the Crusaders first challenge and I really didn’t want to pick up a slacker tag right off the bat (give it a couple months). So as to not to become bloviate, let’s cut to the chase.

Here’s the Challenge: In 300 words or less, tell us…

• one secret
• one lie
• one interesting quirk
• one annoying habit
• one of your best character traits, and
• one of your favorite things in the whole world.

Right. So this is me in a nutshell. The novels I write fall into the mystery/suspense genre, but I explore other genre’s in my short stories. You can find a sample of one linked to my projects tab above. I have this odd aversion to watching people play with their belly buttons, which is ironic since I have two of them. I also have no sense of smell, which would keep me from being a fighter pilot, but an excellent sanitation employee. I annoy my wife to no end by playing around with the change in my pocket, so I’ve learned to stop carrying coins. I have an endless supply of patience, except when it comes to my writing. Was that a rabbit chasing a fuliguline with a blade? Weird. Where was I? Oh yeah, I don’t have many real-life friends, but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for the ones I do have.

What do I call nirvana? Where am I most at peace? With my head resting in my wife’s lap…wherever that may be, or sitting on the balcony of a cruise ship watching natures majestic splendor drift by as we sail along the inside passage of Alaska.

Times up (actually my word count limit). I may have revealed something about me that isn’t strictly true, can you guess what it is?

PS. I’m sorry to everyone for not being able to get around to your blogs these past couple weeks. You know I’m good for it, right?  :)

Whodunnit - A Murderer (and Winners) Revealed

I sure hope you guys and gals had as much fun with this contest as I did! Yes, it was a lot of work setting it up -- writing the story, crafting the clues, planting those clues around the blogosphere, tracking the participants and logging their guesses. But what you may not understand is that for a brief while I was in my world. The world of investigation, deduction, logical assumptions…mystery!

When I designed this celebration/contest I had two objectives in mind. The first, commemorate this wonderful community I’m lucky enough to be part of by nudging people to explore blogs outside of their normal boundaries. What is a better way to meet your neighbors then to hold a neighborhood scavenger hunt? The second was to not only give you a taste of what I’m all about, but also what great fun mysteries have the potential to be. In these times where the BONES & CSI effect is running rampant, I’m striving to write mysteries that are more human. My dream is that when my first book starts making the rounds and is getting noticed, that one particular quote is heard over and over again is “This is the book that made me want to start reading mysteries again!”

“Enough already! Who friggin killed Grayson Wilbourne?”

How many of you have already skipped to the end to find out the answer to that question? Tsk…tsk…tsk. Like all good mysteries, you just can’t blurt out the answer like that. You have to build up to it. So let us first discuss how you SHOULD have solved this crime.

Your investigation should have taken place in two parts. First, finding the clues. Second, figuring out what the clues were telling you. A proper place to start was my blog post seven days prior to the contest, A CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS. In that post I asked for assistance for an undisclosed nefarious purpose. The 33 bloggers who left comments there (regardless of what they said) would have been my first destination. But not all of the clue hosts came from that one source, the rest of them were specifically chosen by me. How did I choose them, and therefore how would you have known they were clue hosts? Because I selected people whom frequently left comments on my blog. Are you getting the impression that people who follow my blog regularly had an inside track into figuring out where the clues were? There was another way to find the clues, but surprisingly nobody decided to go that route. You might have posted something on your own blog asking other bloggers where they spotted clues, becoming a clue clearinghouse if you will. Vicki Rocho and others found all 37 clues, but Vicki went a step further and offered to give clues away (one per customer). I’d be interested in hearing how you found yours.

Once you have your clues (whatever number that may be), then what? Many of you went the route of trying to figure out who the murderer was by trying to use the clues to determine who was the most likely candidate. In fact, what you should have been doing is use the clues to figure out who couldn’t have killed Grayson. I’ve been telling you all along that with the right clues, someone could figure the puzzle out with less than a dozen clues. In fact, it could have been done with five. Of the 36 clues (one was duplicated), 13 of them (36%) eliminated suspects. With 6 possible murderers, all you needed is 5 of those 13 clues to reduce your suspect pool down to one. On the other hand, you’d still be scratching your head if you found 35 of the 36 clues, missing that one final clue that finally eliminates a suspect. Things would have been much easier with fewer clues, but the numbers helped cause confusion. Here’s is how it finally broke down.

Remember, we were looking for someone with blonde hair, at least six foot tall, Type O blood, right-handed, and left the ship to go into port that morning.

• Every one of Christian’s clues eliminated him.

• Matt had red hair, type AB blood, and it turns out was having an affair with Tez’s wife during the time of the murder.

• Joe has brown hair, Type A blood, and did not leave the ship that day.

• Tez met all of the criteria, but sustained an old injury that left him incapable of grasping a knife in his right hand with the force necessary to stab a person.

• Linda met all of the criteria, but she was also colorblind. She was incapable of specifically picking out the gold dagger to stab Grayson.

• Tim met all of the criteria. TIM WAS THE MURDERER. His motive was that he was in love with Linda and angry at Grayson for cheating her out of the Salesperson of the year award.

Some of the contestants found the clue about Linda’s color blindness, but chose to ignore it or mis-interpreted it. The gold dagger was used as the murder weapon because of the symbolic reference to the sales person of the year contest Grayson stole. Sure, Linda could have accidentally picked the gold dagger…but remember, there were no clues eliminating Tim as a suspect and an iffy one about Linda. Tim had to be the choice. :)

Eleven out of twenty-five contestants picked Tim, and with that choice…selected by the random number generator of 13…the winner of the WHODUNNIT mystery contest is…Vicki Rocho!

And the winner of the general drawing with a random number of 64…is Michael Di Gesu!

Congrats Vicki & Michael!!!!! I’ll be contacting you both shortly to work out award details.

Thanks again for everyone who played along…and especially for my wonderful clue hosts!!  Look for this game to make a reappearance in some future celebration.

Have a great week!

Real Men Go Pink

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, Lisa and Laura Roecker’s debut novel The Liar Society is being released on March 1st. Don’t know much about it? Here’s a taste.

Best friends don't send emails once they're dead. With her dead best friend's pearls and skirts tiny enough to make Nancy Drew blush, Kate's on the trail to prove once and for all that Grace’s death was more than just a tragic accident. But secrets haunt the halls of her elite private school. Secrets people will do anything to protect. Even if it means getting rid of the girl trying to solve a murder...

In preparation for their book launch the girls jokingly altered their profile pic to show them with pink hair. See.


Well, it sort of took off and now look whats happened.

Never let it be said that I don’t totally support my fellow writer/blogger friends.


I just hope the next launch party isn’t for a book entitled….Naked! :)

PS.  Don't forget that Sunday night at 10 PM is the deadline for sending in guesses to who killed Grayson Wilbourne.

The Bernard Pivot Blogfest

Nicole at One Significant Moment at a Time recently surpassed the 500 followers milestone and is celebrating with a blogfest designed to bring us together, to get to know each other better. She is accomplishing this by using Bernard Pivot's famous questionnaire and I’m happy to take part in it.

Anyone who's watched Inside the Actor's Studio will be familiar with the questionnaire. The show's host, James Lipton, asks it of every celebrity guest at the close of the interview. The questionnaire was originally created by Bernard Pivot, a French journalist, for the cultural series he hosted on French television from 1991-2001, called Bouillon de Culture. My answers are listed below, but make sure you drop by Nicole’s blog (click on the link above) to see the list of everyone else whose participated.

What is your favorite word? Tolerance

What is your least favorite word? Ignorance

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Music is my one constant when it comes to getting me revved up, mellowed out, or inspired. Whenever I need a change in direction, music shows me the way.

What turns you off? Politics…with a passion!

What is your favorite curse word? It’s actually a phrase. Shit the Bed!

What sound or noise do you love? Unrestrained laughter.

What sound or noise do you hate? A crying child.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’m going to go against the grain here and not say being a full-time writer (too obvious). So, how about Ski Instructor.

What profession would you not like to do? IRS Tax Auditor.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Hammons, party of one…right this way.  :)

Whodunnit – Phase 2

Times up! The period for Phase one has passed for my 600 Follower Mystery/Contest and thus the chance to have your names entered in the prize drawing FIVE times. We ended up with twenty guesses at who murdered Grayson Wilbourne during the first week, but only six of those were correct. That means only 43 names sit in the hat for the drawing and still an entire week remaining to get your name included for a chance at that quarterly gift card.

It’s time for Phase two and as promised here are the location of all 37 clues. Someone already pointed out to me that I accidentally included a duplicate, so there’s actually only 36 unique clues. I want to thank every one of my clue hosts for helping me out and taking part in the FUN. None of them knew where the other clues were located and participated in the game right along with the rest of you. Everyone now has until 10 PM on Sunday, February 20th, to email me their guess at the culprits name. My email address is: dlh(dot)hammons(at)gmail(dot)com. Correct answers earn a SINGLE spot in the drawing. Incorrect guesses will have their names included only in the general drawing for a single $25 gift card

Alex at
VR Barkowski at
Ellen Brickley at
Mason Canyon at
Jen Daiker at
Damyanti at
Deniz at
L. Diane at
Michael Di Gesu at
Elle at
Jemi Fraser at
Olivia Herrell at
Elisa Hirsch at
Jess at
Jules at
Justine at
Katie at
Leigh at
Laura Marcella at
Stacy McKitrick at
Becky Miller at
Nicole at
Vicki Rocho at
Sara at
Sarah (Falen) at
Angela Scott at
Shannon at
Sharde at
Elena Solodow at
Stephanie at
Su at
Walk2write at
Emily White at
Kari White at
Myne Whitman at
Yaya at

Are you just now finding out about my celebration/contest? It’s not too late to play! First read my WHODUNNIT short story, then come back here and get started. What about those who guessed during round one and are unsure of their pick? If you’d like to guess again after reading all of the clues, a correct re-guess will earn you one more additional spot in the drawing.

As some of you have already figured out, having all of the clues doesn’t mean figuring out this puzzle is a piece of cake. Careful consideration of all the facts is a must. Welcome to my world…the world of mystery. Enjoy.

PS.  In honor of Valentines Day and because Jules suggested we pass this along, here's a little something extra for you.  (((HUGS)))

Whodunnit Update

We are almost halfway through WHODUNNIT – A 600 follower celebration/contest and ten people have made an attempt at guessing who murdered Grayson Wilboune. Five of those were right! Kudo’s to them! I know of only one blogger who located all 37 clues *waves at Vicki* and being the generous spirit that she is, offered to give some away on her blog. There is still plenty of time! Those who haven’t made a guess yet and are shooting to have their names entered FIVE TIMES in the drawing for a $20 quarterly gift card, have until Monday morning to do so. Incorrect guesses still get your name entered in the drawing, but only ONCE. On Monday morning I’ll be posting the links to all 37 clue locations and correct guesses after that will also go into the hat just ONCE.

How about a tip on how to figure out the clues? No way…you gotta do the work. But I will tell you this, I am tricky, but not devious. All the clues are to be taken at face value. Don’t read in anything that’s not there or let your imagination get the best of you.

I have to admit I’ve been a bit disappointed with non-mystery related participation. The last time I held a blog contest, back when I achieved 300 followers, I had 57 ‘Like-Minded’ take part. This time around I have twice as many followers, but only one more participant (58). Now it is early and there is still another week left to go, but I don’t think the word about my contest has reached my casual readers, the ones who drop by sporadically. So I’m going to add some incentive to help get the word out.

If you mention this contest on your blog someway (either in a post or on your side-bar), tweet about it, or put it in your Facebook status, you’ll earn an extra two spots in the general drawing (non-mystery related). Just leave me a comment here telling me what you have done and I’ll make the change. Some of you have already spread the word out of the kindness of your hearts, and that means a lot, but I haven’t been keeping track so make sure you leave me a comment and get the proper credit. Remember though, everyone has to leave a comment on my original post to be eligible for any prizes!

Have fun everybody! Enjoy your weekends.

Whodunnit - A 600 Follower Mystery/Celebration

The Significant Other Blogfest was not only a blast, but it also catapulted me across the 600 ‘Like Minded’ followers mark. Yowza!! When I force myself to slow down and really think about it, it’s absolutely mind numbing and humbling at the same time. I realize that a certain percentage of the 618 tiny faces on my sidebar are dead-links, followers who are here in name only. Those are the ones that clicked the button to become a follower (probably in response to me becoming a follower on their blog), but stopped visiting a long time ago. Shame on me for not doing a better job of holding their attention! But those are balanced by readers I know are out there who aren’t registered through Google Friend Connect (like Facebook), and therefore excluded from the 618. Any way you dice it, the size of a small town care what I have to say and are hopefully entertained by my shenanigans. Like most of us, I am not published, I don’t have an agent, and my background carries no expertise that could prove useful in developing our craft. For the most part, I rely on my creativity, inventiveness, dull wit and sharp pen to keep things fresh for all of you…and remain relevant. I vow to continue in that manner for as long as you keep coming by to check on me!

You know what reaching a new plateau means though…merriment for one and all!

I needed to take a little time to mull over what I wanted to do for this milestone and I believe I’ve come up with something both fitting and different. Let me introduce to you the WHODUNNIT MYSTERY celebration/contest!

How is this going to be different? Well, I wanted to design something that would be easy to take part in for those who like it simple, but I also wanted a way to do something that intrinsically represented who I am as a writer. And what do I write? Mysteries!

There are three ways to play. First and foremost, anyone participating (at any level) needs to be a follower of this blog here or on Facebook, and leave a comment on this post at either place. That comment will put your name in the hat for a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card to be drawn in two weeks on Sunday Feb. 20th.

The other two ways to play will require a little work on your part. I’ve written a special short story, a murder-mystery, that needs solving. In order to solve it, you’ll need clues. Where can you find these clues? Your friends have them…of course. That’s right, thirty-seven of your fellow blogger are hosting a clue on their blog side-bar right now. Which bloggers have them? That’s for you to find out…at least for the first week. During that time you’re on your own to find the clues, using whatever investigative technique you choose. Do you need all 37 clues to solve the mystery? No. A smart cookie could probably figure it out with ten, if they’re the right ten. Some of the clues are rather innocuous and others are critical pieces of information. It’s for you to deduce which is which. You can team up if you wish. Play with a friend, play with a CP, play with your husband or wife who’s always yelling out the name of the guilty party halfway through NCIS. Tell all your friends and spread the word!

Anyone who emails me at dlh(dot)hammons(at)gmail(dot)com with the correct solution to the mystery during the first week will have their name entered in a drawing just for mystery solvers, FIVE times. One guess per person.

At the start of the second week, I’ll post the names of the 37 blogs hosting the clues. Anyone who emails me the correct solution during the second week will have their name entered in the same drawing, but only ONCE. Also one guess per person.

And the winnings if you solve the mystery and your name is pulled out of the hat? A $20 Amazon gift card sent to you every quarter in 2011 (Mar. 1, Jun. 1, Sept. 1, and Dec.1). Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

Are you itching to get started? You can find my story by clicking on its aptly entitled name, Whodunnit, but don’t forget to leave your comment below.

Thank you again for linking arms with me, and good luck!

The games afoot!

Top Ten Horror/Sci-Fi Movie Quotes Blogfest

I just couldn’t pass up Ellie Garratt’s Horror/Sci-fi Movie Quotes Blogfest, even though I’m preparing for my own a major celebration/contest post scheduled for Monday.  I'm posting this a bit early because I might need to take it down early, but here it is for now.

It took a bit of thinking to narrow the list down to just ten because there are so many others deserving to be recognized. (Why do I feel like I’m giving away a blog award?)  And one reason why these are some of my favorite movies is because of the witty dialogue, so I could probably pick ten great quotes from a single movie.

Anyway, after much angst and internal debate, here’s the ten quotes from ten different movies that made the top of my list.  They are listed here in completely random order.

1.     “Get away from her you Bitch!” - Aliens
2.     “I aim to misbehave.” - Serenity
3.     “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” - Jaws
4.     “You know the part in scary movies when somebody does something really stupid, and everybody hates them for it? This is it.” – Jeepers Creepers
5.     “Broke into the wrong God damn rec room, didn't ya you bastard!” - Tremors
6.     “Whoa” – The Matrix
7.     “We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks and he sees Russians. He sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.” – The Abyss
8.     “You’re one ugly m**** f*****!”  Predator
9.     “Aziz! Light!” The Fifth Element
10.  “How do you explain school to higher intelligence?” – E.T.




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