Saturday, 31 January 2009

From Prize Winning Story to a Film!

Regular members of the TWC will recall Brian Heards prize winning story which he cleverly crafted around the lady who begs for money in the Torrevieja church area.

Unbeknown to me his story was made into a short film 'The Passion' by Peter Norman which was entered into a film competition - and this was the result.

"Just thought I would let you all know that The Passion was 1 of 28 films selected from over 200 entries for competition in the 2009 Festival du Film de Strasbourg. It didn't win a medal, but hey it got selected so made the top 10% roughly."

You can see the official site here...

and view the film here...

Congratulations and Well done gentlemen - such talent in our midst!

Posted by Rob on behalf of Brian Heard.

The Circle of Life

Hello all. Woke up this morning after a strange surreal dream and had to get it on the laptop as soon as I woke up. Ironically it took me about ten seconds to dream, another ten seconds to write, ten seconds to cut and paste, and just about ten seconds more to email it in to the blog. Perhaps you can all spend ten seconds reading it? TJ Miles


“Wow! Look at this place! This is amazing! I’ve never seen that before, or that, or this. Wow! It’s so, so…. Oh, I can’t think of the word…. Hey - wow! I can move around it if I shake myself. Wow! There’s someone over there. Shaky, shaky, on my way. Wow! Who are you? Bob? Hi Bob, I’m new here too. It’s amazing! My name’s Bob too. You look so shiny and cool! Wow! Me too? Wow, thanks! Wow Bob, what’s that over there? Don’t know either; I’ll go have a look. See you later Bob. Wow! Floating food! Wow, delish! I’d better go back and tell Bob. It might be quicker if I keep going on round instead. Shaky, shaky, off we go….

Wow! Look at this place! This is amazing! I’ve never seen that before, or that, or this. Wow! It’s so, so…. Oh, I can’t think of the word…. Hey - wow! I can move around it if I shake myself. Wow! There’s someone over there. Shaky, shaky, on my way. Wow! Who are you? Bob? Hi Bob, I’m new here too. It’s amazing! My name’s Bob too. You look so shiny and cool! Wow! Me too? Wow, thanks! Wow Bob, what’s that over there? Don’t know either; I’ll go have a look. See you later Bob. Wow! Floating food! Wow, delish! I’d better go back and tell Bob. It might be quicker if I keep going on round instead. Shaky, shaky, off we go….

Wow! Look at this place! This is amazing! I’ve never seen that before, or that, or this. Wow! It’s so, so…. “

Friday, 30 January 2009

Had a busy week!

Last Monday I interviewed Juliet Maric, British Consul Alicante for The Inland Magazine she permitted to me to take some photos - note the artwork, TWC regulars will be acquainted with the artist (one of our members!)

Yesterday I followed up with Horace Greasley (see Nik's meeting report) for an article that I hope to get placed in a UK magazine. He told me that the first print has sold out much to his amazement - remember his name he might have written a best seller, the book is called 'Do The Birds Still Sing in Hell?'

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Freda Lightfoot

Fans of Freda may be interested to know that she has asked to attend next meeting to listen to Penny Legg's talk. Welcome, Freda!
Freda lives in Almeria and is a popular saga novelist, setting her books in the Lake District: Luckpenny Land, Wishing Water and Larkrigg Fell. She also writes as Marion Carr: Madeiran Legacy, A Proud Alliance, Outrageous Fortune, Hester and Whispering Shadows.
Her website is: (At this rate I can see the meetings may soon have to start at 10:30 and finish at 1pm just to pack everything/everyone in!)
- Nik

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Member´s Contribution Leads To Dusting Off of Smutty Poem.

Today´s meeting was enhanced by cake from Jane. Anyone else got a birthday coming up?

Spurred on by the risqué thoughts of Glynn´s soldier in his story, I offer a poem I wrote earlier (shades of Blue Peter).

It´s called: Pastoral Pleasures.

There´s scandal in the village
Rumour´s running rife
They say our sainted vicar´s
Gone off with someone´s wife.

They think it´s busty Annie
The barmaid from the pub
Who´s into acupuncture
And gives an oily rub.

The vicar had lumbago
And Angie put him right
But then things got quite steamy
One torrid summer night.

Last seen amongst the gravestones
The couple bonked till dawn
Then left the village boundries
That fateful dewy morn.

The pub has lost its takings
The silver´s knicked from church
The landlord and the vicar´s wife
Are both left in the lurch.

Us villagers are gobsmacked
The vicar was so shy
Who´d´ve dreamt he´d get it up
To rollick in the rye.

See you all next week.

Chris Johansson

Meeting of 28 January 2009

Another packed turnout – 22, including another new joiner. It was Pat’s birthday and Jane had baked a cake, which was delicious (no mention of the number of candles…). Happy birthday, Pat!

Brian kicked off with the dramatic conclusion of his story about Juan in the foreign legion; good description of scenes but would benefit from more character’s internal emotion. (Coincidentally for me, last night I watched Follow That Camel.)

Glad to report that Alan is here for 13 weeks during which time he hopes to progress his longest work; we were reacquainted with the characters and now await further developments next week. Jane gave us a bucolic scene from childhood – a veritable word picture, in water colours. Douglas captured the voice and mind of a criminal to good effect. Rita presented a true appraisal of two gay men adopting a girl in New York and this has potential in the magazine market to generate considerable debate.

Geoff has hit upon an intriguing idea. His short story was entitled 22 and it was hilarious. The idea? Possibly The Book of Numbers. A story revolving around each number up to 36 – the number of chapters in that book in the Bible. Just a thought.

I read out the beginning of my western Blind Justice and received some useful pointers. Glyn gave us the first half of his story about a soldier in Afghanistan, which promises to be brutal next week. Lastly, Rob gave us his article on Horace ‘Jim’ Greasley, the ex-POW author of Do the Birds Still Sing in Hell? Horace was 90 on Christmas Day 2008; an amazing man.

Unfortunately, time ran out so several neglected members will be first up for their readings next week.
- Nik

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Writing to a deadline - such as that for a competition - can do wonders for your writing. Besides the monthly competition list you're given which is gleaned from our regular magazines, do consider those advertised online. Check out the link below - 'Writing Competitions'. Some will be familiar since they've been on our comp lists; there are many others, and quite a few are free to enter; both poetry and short story competitions. Best of luck!
- Nik

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Thoughts after last week´s meeting.

I was at the meeting last week when Liane Carter gave her talk on how she got into writing. It was very interesting and you couldn´t help but be inspired and carried along by her enthusiasm. It made me realise that I have a very long way to go , not only in the actual writing but in attitude of mind. You really have to want it, go for it, never be knocked back for long. I´m afraid that I´m one of ( I suspect) the many people out there who won´t ever get very far unless they shape up a lot more and stop letting a thousand and one other things have precedence over their writing.

Anyway, enough of this self castigation! I thought I´d post the poem I wrote for that meeting and ask for any constructive criticism that´s going.
Chris Johansson

So You Think You´ve Got Problems.

It´s three in the morning and you just can´t sleep
You´re thinking of the promises you´ve got to keep.
The last two years have been really hard
But you´ve kept on your toes and held up your guard.
It´s great to be you and to be where you are
To fight and to struggle and to come so far.
Well, now the fight´s over and you´ve got right through
But you wonder if you´ve bitten off too much to chew.
There are problems galore wherever you look
And they can´t be solved by consulting a book.
Everyone admires you and expects a great deal
You hope they don´t realise how scared you feel.
So you sit and you worry on the edge of your bed
Going over and over all the things that you´ve said.
You shiver in your jim-jams and hope for good Karma
And pray for a miracle for Barack Obama.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Ballooning over Benijofar

I was driving along the motorway from Quesada to Elche at the weekend thinking about my upcoming exhibitions in Dublin and Cyprus, and new surrealistic imagery that I was including in my latest pictures. When I have a new exhibition I always like to try to come up with new ideas that will capture the imagination of my collectors and hopefully, if they like them, maybe buy enough to allow me to purchase my return flight to the Costa. Nah, only kidding. I don’t believe in the starving artist in the damp garret thing. Return flights are already booked and I was promised by the breathless airline operator - I had his arm twisted up his back at the time - that the jet engines were already warming up to make sure my return flight would get me back to the sun as fast as humanly possible so my suntan wouldn’t fade in the dull light of the ‘northern territories‘. After I had released him from my vice like grip, he was kind enough to call two nice security guards to escort me from the building in case I got lost, but that’s another story…..

Anyway, I have been including my version of hot air balloons into some of my latest works as something a little different and a little bit obscure to attract attention and to stop me from getting too tied down to the commercial aspect of my job. Got to keep the interest up, for myself and my collectors, or we all start to get a little bored. Long legged elephants and melting watches are all very well but I seem to remember somewhere that they have been done before.

Strange, that as I was driving I noticed the exact thing I was thinking about floating about 200 feet above a field to my right. No, not an elephant, pink or otherwise - a hot air balloon. There is always something magical about watching the gentle wanderings of a hot air balloon. It looks so peaceful and relaxing. The cool light morning air wafting it along a completely controlled charted course free from light aircraft, power lines and mad attacking ‘Hitchcock’ birds. Don’t be fooled! With my head for heights I would be having the screaming ab-dabs up there, let me tell you! I have seen the television programmes where they get wrapped up in electricity sub stations, hit the sides of tall buildings and burst into flames as the gas bottles ignite, probably from the fumes of the bottle of whiskey I would have to drink just to go up in one of those things. My apologies to any aficionados of the sport - I’m sure it really is exhilarating (death defying more like. I mean, I can appreciate the talents of the late Evel Kneivel but there isn’t a hope in h**l that I would ever get on the back of a motorbike with him!). Please don’t write in offering to give me a course of gentle shock therapy by taking me up a few feet just to get the feel of it. I DON’T EVER WANT TO TRY IT, OKAY? Not if you don’t want to see projectile vomiting - or worse - on a grand scale! It’s bad enough getting me on a plane. No, I think I will just content myself with looking and painting them from the ground.

By the way, just in case you were in Benijofar at the weekend and were wondering why you didn’t see the balloon floating past - It was actually nearer Almoradi, but that just didn’t alliterate properly for the title. Benijofar was the closest place I could think of - sorry.
TJ Miles

It Does Work

Some members (who shall remain nameless!) are having difficulty signing on to this blog to add a new post.

The details I gave out at the meeting are correct and it does work!

You must enter the sign on and password EXACTLY as per the little sheet - please note the password is case sensitive (ie you need the Capital letter and NO spaces!)

If you just want to view and/or add a comment you need not sign on.

Good Luck!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Meeting of 21 January 2009

A packed meeting – 24, with two new members and in addition three guests. Ian wrote about the theme, a meal, with a clever and topical tale of today echoing something that happened 2,000 years ago. These eco terrorists called themselves FATE – Fight Against Temperature Extremes! Brenda lingered on her Hard Knocks novel with some excellent period description but will need to address the lack of dialogue. Glyn finished his short story with a grim and sad ending; his problem will be finding a market, though competitions might be the way to go. Geoff dropped in from UK again was burning to give us the wonders of toast. Christine read a topical and clever poem, inspired by the inauguration of Barack Obama the night before. Anne Flynn read her humourous 1,000 word piece, held over from last week, about a call centre. It was written in the vein of Bob Newhart and raised many a laugh and struck a few chords with the members.

Considering we only had half a session for readings, quite a bit of ground was covered. When time allows perhaps more members should offer comments on the shorter pieces read out; difficult, since there’s less material to take in, but I’m sure the writers would appreciate feedback.

The second half was devoted to the talk given by Liane Carter, whose passion for writing generated much interest and enthusiasm. Her mantra comprised several key words: persistence, discipline and self-belief. She offered top tips from her experience and her author interviewees. These days it’s also essential to network and get plenty of contacts and don’t be afraid to promote your work and yourself. While there’s no right or wrong way to write, Liane finds it easier to write in 20 minute spurts; 20 writing, 20 doing other things then back to writing for another 20 minutes. She emphasised, quite rightly, that self-editing is essential as is the ability to take and use criticism. Never give up and never be too precious about your words. At the close, Liane sold copies of her book ‘The Chronicles of Joya’, the first in a projected series of twelve.

Next week’s theme: The storm – or The river. Or anything else that’s been written, of course.

Saw this - and liked it!

Quote from Debbie McAndrew - Playwright

'I loved writing essays and was one of those few strange children who quite enjoyed it when an essay was given as homework.

All mine were very long.

I think I liked the sound of my own pen'

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Meeting of 14 January 2009

Eighteen members this week; and apologies from four.
Glyn began with a first for him, a short story (to be concluded next week); it brought out sympathy for the victim narrator and everyone thought it was a good piece of work and wanted to know what happens next. Douglas’s non-fiction story about his cat going missing and being found was well received; we all like happy endings! Mary K chose a risky (as opposed to risqué) piece about the week’s theme – risk. Brenda is still rewriting and working through her rivetting dual narrative novel and again keeps the language realistic (very!) for the two time periods. Brian is coming to the close of his long short story about Spain and Juan and his time in the foreign legion. Ian missed last week’s meeting but chose that week’s theme, The Street and evoked strong emotion with his poem about a down-and-out person. Phil visited us from UK and offered up a tense and suspenseful story about a boy and an old man with good imagery and vocabulary. Mary S read a ‘sort of limerick’ about trying harder to write this year, well received. Joy read her poem about trying not to be depressing in her poetry, by request of her sister, and succeeded. Jane gave us four lines, which was timely as we ran out of time!
We discussed the longer pieces and subjects touched upon were: visual writing, character point of view, word repetition, story internal logic and the senses, notably touch.
Next week’s theme: a meal described (fact or fiction) maximum 250 words, plus the talk by Liane Carter.
- Nik

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Novel award

A few months back I reviewed The Trojan Project by Eileen Thornton ((Austin & Macauley paperback, £8.99). I've just heard from Eileen that the book has been entered for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2009. It has to be a first novel and a page-turner and the book qualifies on both counts. Best of luck, Eileen! - Nik


Wed: 21 January 2009:
Visit and talk by Liane Carter, weekly columnist for the Costa Blanca News - 'How to write a book' and journalist; author of 'The Chronicles of Joya' Website -

Wed: 4 February 2009:
Visit and talk by Penny Legg, editor of Society of Women Writers and Journalists' Magazine; just had an article accepted by The Lady; commissioned to write a book. Website -

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Meeting of 7 January 2008

As usual, a well-attended and rewarding meeting. Sixteen members in all. The session kicked off with Maureen's insightful piece of observational writing about a dancer which evoked great sympathy. Then newcomer Mary read a clever poem about 'The Street' and followed it up with a delightful story about a young girl and a table-cloth; this should be honed and sent out to a magazine. Mary K read another of her amusing poems, about Christmas. Next we had the continuing saga of 'Hard Knocks' from Brenda; we almost feel as though we're living with her characters; the novel is not yet halfway through but the two voices of the characters, parted by many decades, are well defined. Jenny penned a sad poem about a homeless man - succinct but moving. Brian read from his work in progress about a murder and much more in Torrevieja. Ann gave us a rhyming account of her Christmas and Hogmanay while Chris read a moving poem about a lonely person over the festive season. Jane introduced us to another episode in her ongoing and interesting tales of rural France. Finally, Glyn had all of us in both humorous and sombre mood when reading from his opus about joining the Army in the 1960s. Well done, all!
- Nik, Chairman
(Author of Death at Bethesda Falls, Last Chance Saloon, Pain Wears No Mask, The Prague Manuscript)