The Ranch

Welcome to Carrot Ranch!

We are a dynamic online literary community practicing craft, reading stories, and discussing the process of writing. Charli Mills is the lead buckaroo who hosts weekly 99-word story challenges. Those who interact and write here are the Rough Writers. All are welcome to write and are invited to submit their responses for publication in our weekly collections of 99-word stories.

What do we write? 99 words, no more, no less. It’s a simple constraint, an easy-to-master literary art form, and a powerful writing tool for creatives and entrepreneurs. Writers fine-tune the usefulness and beauty of 99-words through weekly flash fiction challenges. Weekly practice open up creativity, builds confidence, and fosters breakthroughs in the craft of creative writing.

You might think of the Ranch as a writer’s getaway: read, write, repeat. It offers support for motivated writers. The community is open, friendly, and engaged. D. Avery hosts a virtual Saloon for friendly banter, guest characters (yes, fictional people are welcome here too), and spontaneous writing challenges.

The core of this literary community is the Congress of Rough Writers, who challenge themselves to explore creativity, craft, and voice. Equally important are the Friends who read, comment, and offer encouragement. Patrons support the operations of the Ranch, including literary outreach to libraries and veterans.

Flash fiction becomes the common ground for a global group of writers who include different genres, backgrounds, goals, and countries of origin. Carrot Ranch makes literary art accessible to writers, readers, and even lurkers. Together we are Carrot Ranchers.

Take a look around. This website is full of resources and inspiration. You can:

The current schedule includes:

The 2020 Flash Fiction Rodeo results are posted.

Feel free to join us! Pour a cup of cowboy-coffee and wander about the Ranch.

« ? »


A buckaroo called Charli once decided between saddle and pen. She chased an ink trail across the Rockies to the city-slicker lights of Minneapolis. She signed on to an outfit writing roughshod over marketing communications, wielding their brand.

That’s where she discovered carrots — the food movement that believes in accessibility for people. Food for people matters. The kind of horse a buckaroo rides matters. And words matter, too.

“With lots of junk food on the market, people deserve access to fresh carrots and words.” ~just a thought from a buckaroo

One day, the ink trail wandered west, and then north to the UP’s Keweenaw, toward stories and copper sunsets. Charli found a place to settle her pen, and she called it Carrot Ranch. Other word wranglers joined the show. That’s the legend, and Charli is sticking to it. Rumors that Charli Mills is a country-western singer can easily be dispelled — just ask her to sing.

Carrot Ranch provides words for people: stories to read, encouragement to practice craft, and a commitment to creating community through literary art. That’s something we can all raise a carrot to.

« ? »

Introducing the Kid, keeper of Ranch Yarns. Author, D. Avery, begins the serial:


The sky, sun-blistered blue, was punctuated by patient buzzards. Heat soaked, every rock and bit of sage shimmered, illusory to their uncertain eyes. So when they spotted it, they stared, blinking and unsteady, wondering if it were real. They stumbled on.

Sounds of laughter and conversation drew them on. Finally, they reeled through the gates. “Please,” they croaked. “We’re parched. Please, give us some words.”

In a flash, the ranch hands refreshed them with words, cool and crisp. They gulped thirstily.

“Whoa, now. There’s plenty. Just take 99 at a time.”

“Wha- ?”

“I’m Shorty. Welcome to Carrot Ranch.”


For more Ranch Yarns visit ShiftnShake.