Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Glyn read a short story entitled “Long time no see”. “Why are you here auntie? I haven’t seen you since mother died almost ten years ago.” The narrator was a Dr Joe Richards, a plastic surgeon, who had not seen his auntie for 25 years. He was at present on a six month sabbatical. His auntie Lily had gone to the Sudan in Africa when he was 8. He had had no contact with her until an hour ago when he had been summoned to meet her. She asked for Darjeeling or Earl Grey tea but got Waitrose tea which was all he had. Although she was obviously well heeled she ate with her fingers, even though it was beef wellington that had been prepared for the meal. Glyn had to get something a bit controversial in and mentioned that Lily had said that clitoral circumcision was frowned upon in her village. When she went to the Sudan she had helped a family who befriended her to plant cotton, the first in the area, and the business had grown to be the largest in the area. His auntie said the village needed a locum doctor. She had booked him on a flight that night. She had to go to Argentina and would see him when she got back from there.

He went along. There were 3,000 inhabitants of the village, it had its own hospital, they had 2 mosques and even a Christian chapel. He went to the school to arrange for vaccinations and met a beautiful lady called Fatima. He assumed she was an assistant and asked in pigeon English where the headmistress was. Fatima said she was the headmistress and 5 years at Yale had perfected her English so there was no need for him to speak to her in a condescending way. They were married 18 months later and they had a daughter Fazil. His auntie Lily was still in Argentina and had set up a beef producing industry which again was the largest in the area. She was happy to hear about the birth of a granddaughter and wrote that her business would be ready for Fazil when she grew up and it would be “Long time no see” all over again. It was his auntie that had enabled Joe to go to medical college and become a doctor so he felt obliged to go and help her out in the Sudan but he was eternally grateful to her for the job he loved and his wife and daughter he also loved.

There were good comments.

Brenda read another part of her story The Diary. The diary was to explain to her daughter Minerva why she couldn’t love her the way she loved her sons. The narrator was Elizabeth who had met and married Will Davis, a railway guard in the 1890’s. Will asked her to be his wife but it was a bit of a predicament for her as she was already married. She contacted the minister of the church where she was married and found out that her husband had already divorced her for desertion and moved abroad. She left the asylum where she worked and married Will and moved into his mother’s house. Cyril was born to them, 4 years later Horace, then Mary in 1908, who died aged 3 months. Then Minerva was born. She had red hair and every time Elizabeth looked at her she thought of her own cold and heartless mother, who had also had red hair. Grace was born in 1912. Cyril hit his head and died. Will volunteered for the army and died in action. She was 41 years old and a widow. Horace also volunteered for the army and served on HMS Curlew in Bermuda. He came back, got pneumonia and died at 19 years old.

There were good comments. Nik said that you could easily lose the reader if there was not enough drama.

Mary read a pen entitled Hot Pen.

Oh why does it have to be Hot Pen Today?
I never ever know what to say
I’m scribbling away with all my might
But I’m smudging everything I write

Because my hands are so wet with sweat
Please don’t let him say time’s up yet
I feel the panic setting in
My face is fixed in a manic grin

Why do we put ourselves through this stress?
Do we enjoy it, well more or less?
One minute left well that’s enough
To finish off all this crazy stuff

There’s just one more thing for me to say
Oh why did it have to be hot pen today?

Ann also wrote a poem about Hot Pen. We were supposed to do “Hot Pen” today but because of so many things to read out – hooray! – there was no time for it.

Jane read out a story about the sale of a couple’s farm. She and her husband ran a pub, but had inherited Crows Farm 5 years ago on the death of her husband’s father. They considered what to do after the sale. Her brother John was in Auckland and she might visit him. The sale was in 3 lots, the acreage, the dairy herd and the house. She was distraught at the thought of not seeing her girls again – the cows! At the auction there was a telephone bid. The acreage went to Mr Perry. John rang; he had bought the herd and the house so that she and her husband could live there for the rest of their lives. How could they thank John enough for the house and their girls.

There were good comments. Emotion needed to be added.

Gerry read out “Angel’s story” Angel was a Spanish sailor and he was feeling terrified in the middle of a storm on the sea. “Mother of God help me” he prayed. He had sailed with the conquistadors as they fought against the English pirates who stole the Mexican treasure bound for Spain. The captain called him “Hijo de puta” son of a whore. He heard a scream and another crewman went overboard. It was daybreak, the light improved. The captain was a vicious man and if he survived the storm he knew he would be in trouble. At this moment the ship struck the rocks …..

There were good comments. Didn’t know where it was ‘on the earth’s surface’ should be ‘on the sea’. The members of the group thought it was a very graphic depiction.

Nik read the end of his story, the first part of which he read last week entitled “The Visitors “. Kate was hit in the head by an Apache, Ethan and Frank, her 15 year old twins, shot 2 of them. Kate said the rest of the Apaches would want revenge. The daughter Alice cleaned Kate’s wound. Alice was 13 and did not have a rifle before, but as Kate could not fire because of her wound, the Winchester was handed to her. The roof was made of slate so could not be set on fire. In the next 2 hours of whooping by the Apaches death seemed close and they thought they had killed 2 more Apaches. Grey Wolf the chieftain barked something at the warriors and urged them back and then left. ‘He has gone for reinforcements’ Ethan said. Kate and the boys went back to their loopholes, the hole through the window where they fired from. She said to make their bullets count. The Apaches axed the door, Alice got shot in the shoulder, Kate got one Apache, Frank got another one, and there were 5 left. Kate said she would dig the bullet out later. There was a thumping sound on the roof; they couldn’t burn the roof so were trying to break their way in. Although they were in danger Kate told the boys off for using bad language but they got back at her for saying ‘hell’. Kate was angry and braced herself; an Apache tumbled into the cabin, the shutters splintered. At that moment Grey Wolf came back and stopped the rest of Apaches. He had gone to get the reservation police and they were going to take the rest of the Apache runaways away; they had escaped from the reservation. Kate was glad to be alive. She was threatened by an Apache she thought was dead and he was shot by a bullet from a gun from the mountain. Kate recognized the sound as her husband’s gun. Grey Wolf helped the Apache to his feet. The wagon moved out. ‘Did you see that, that is some shooting’ said the boys. Later on her husband said “Have you been partying while I have been gone?”

How relieved we were that Kate and the family were saved and that dad got back in the nick of time and that Grey Wolf turned out to be a good egg after all, I just wish some of the animals could have been saved as well.

The group felt there was much tension in the story.

Hot Pen next week. What a pity I shall be away till the end of August!

A Greeting From The Frozen North.

Far off greetings from Scandinavia!

I´ve been here for a month now and have got over the shock of the stillness and lack of noise here in Sweden. At first, it made me feel really nervy and wary - I´d forgotten how it is and it took me about a week before I came to accept it again as the norm!

It´s very green and beautiful here. Everything is well-ordered and the everyday things in life actually work(!!), like the buses come when they´re supposed to and if you ask for information about stuff, it´s actually pretty sure to be accurate, and things start at the time they´re supposed to!!!

But then there are things we get irritated over, like we were out the other day and I wanted a coffee and Lennart wanted a beer but you couldn´t get it at the same place!

Weather-wise: fantastic when we arrived, about 25C but it has now reverted to type and the last fortnight has been very mixed with lots of rain and grey skies. Mind you, I can´t say I´m missing the humidity of the summer Costas.Hope you´re all surviving in the heat.

The blog looks good! Haven´t been moved to write anything but doubtless will make up for this in September.

Chris J

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Book Army

I mentioned the Book Army during last weeks Torrevieja Writers Circle meeting. It really is worth a look - there are lots of interesting readers' reviews of books plus all sorts of forums including some with authors. Quizes, competitions and other book related topics and all for free.
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Wednesday, 22 July 2009


Nik told us about some more writing competitions:

A poetry competition for Anxiety UK, poems to be on the theme of anxiety, first prize £50, closing date 31 August; also one for the Whitechapel Society, a Jack the Ripper story competition, the first line being “After the murder everyone was talking about Jack the Ripper”. Length 3000 words max closing date 3 Oct., entry fee £5, winning entry receives £100.

Lisa read about an article she had written for a health centre who was looking to expand their business. They wanted some PR and she wrote this as an editorial. She started off by talking about Henry Allingham who died a few days ago at the age of 113 and gave a synopsis of his life. At the last count in 2006 there were 8970 people aged over 100 years. It is recognized that the population in the UK is aging and that there is a need for preventative medicine. Complementary and alternative medicine benefits the NHS because it saves them money. Holistic studies show that energy medicine will take over from physical substances as a way of dealing with a number of ailments. Energy medicine helps the organs resonate and regenerate themselves. A high tech machine can tell the patients if there is any injury or disease in the body and they will also receive vital information about viruses and allergies. Advice will be given about lifestyle and nutrition, and replacing negative with positive thoughts. Lisa said that Olympic athletes are using this method.

It was thought that Lisa should target this at retirement magazines like “Yours” or “The Oldie” or “Lifestyle.”

Cynthia read a poem about going to the gym.

Mary read a poem she was intending to send to a competition called “How to Listen” which could only be 12 lines.

“To listen with your ear would be a good start

She was finding it difficult to write a poem in 12 lines and the group thought she could double up the lines making it twice the length,

Ian read a poem about Hopes Spring. It tells of news of an unborn child,
“The day draws near, there is a little fear for you know there will be pain
In your mind you hope you will find the strength to do it all again”

The last line is, “Is my child all right?”

It brought back memories to the ladies of childbirth, never forgotten.

Douglas had written a book review about Troubled Midnight by John Gardner. He has written 53 novels, including the Moriati novels, Susie Mountford books and others. This one is a detective story about two officers from Scotland Yard. There had been a double murder in the context of a military operation. We know who the murderer is from the beginning, although not his real name. At the end we find out about the villain; he escapes to France under a cloud back to his German handlers. It said on the cover that the author was a ‘master story teller’, but Douglas thought that the book was ‘rubbish.’ The structure was wrong - saying who the murderer was up front - and the dialogue was dreadful. There was a long paragraph about ITMA the wartime radio comedy programme which he thought was entirely superfluous. He found the book very Boys Own’ish. He called the piece “Assassination of an author.”

Nik said the Moriaty series was good but agreed that this particular book by James Gardner was not up to scratch. Rob said that Book Army, which has a link from the blog, has reviews of other books.

Glyn wrote on the topic “To be honest I am not fond of my own company.” The story was about a Publican and his assistant James. They both had another job besides the pub. They fly on an aircraft to somewhere for a job and are met by an army officer who explains that Hameln where they are going is very bleak as the town had been devastated during the war. They met again at the officer’s mess the following day and the army officer was pompous about the job that needed doing. The publican stopped him short saying that he had 2 rules he followed, preparation and planning. The next day they met at the prison gates. Inside a woman was presented to them, he secured her ankles, she did not plead, accepted her fate and displayed hatred towards her captors. The noose was made ready and she was dispatched from this life. Mr Pierrepoint, the executioner and publican, looked forward to returning home to his pub. He had dispatched 13 people in the time he was in Germany and those 13 souls would accompany him as he drifted off to sleep. The name of his pub was “Help the Poor Straggler”. There were good comments; perhaps there could be more description of Col Schofield.

Rob had also prepared a story on the topic “To be honest I am not fond of my own company”. This was entirely different, being about Jim, a widower. He had 4 children who were busy with their own families and so Maisie, his next door neighbor, had taken him under her wing. He liked Maisie but she was not Beryl, his wife who had died. Beryl had been a good wife and he felt guilty because, as she had been in such pain and he did not want her to suffer, he had helped her to die. His children had suspicions about this and blamed him for the death of their mother. Maisie had come round to prepare him a meal. Some Guinness went into the pie and the rest into glasses for a toast. “To us” he said. Maisie wanted to move things on but Jim tried to stall her. However, they were married 2 months later. Maisie was happy that her plan had worked; it was she who had encouraged Beryl to end her life. She had loved Jim for years and it was now game over.

Nik thought it needed to be a bit longer for a short story, and that perhaps it should be written from Maisie’s point of view only, rather than from two points of view.

Nik read out a story he was going to send off to Western Anthology. It was being edited at present by an American living in Japan.

Kate and her children were alone in their farmstead when they heard horses coming. Her husband was away at the time. Her stomach churned with fear. They moved the animals into the barn, shut the well and she made the Winchesters ready and closed the windows and door. Four Apache Indians rode up in a row and beyond were another 8 on horseback with lances, Kate stepped on to the porch to speak to them. They wanted water for their horses. The Apaches said they had to search for food because they had been given bad food by the white men. Kate had helped the women at the reservation with childbirth and had recognized the main redskin as Grey wolf. A young redskin hit her across the face and she fell, her son then .shot him. She fell through the door…

It was very cruel of Nik to leave us on tenterhooks as to what happens. Hopefully he will be able to read the rest of the story next week. If for no other reason, than this will shorten the time taken up by the dreaded “hot pen.”!


Friday, 17 July 2009


This week's edition of the Costa Blanca News prints a large piece by Barry Wright all about the TWC - it's on p53. Many thanks, Barry!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


I'm sorry the poem by Ann printed out all wrong as I tried to do it in columns and add a picture which obviously failed.
(PS - Don't worry, I've edited and amended it, though haven't added a picture - Nik)


Apologies were received for the meeting on 15 July from Mary, Chris, Rob, Ann. Nik reported on the sad news that the Coastal Press were experiencing financial difficulties and will not be paying their contributors in future - some of which had been members of TWC. He said that the NEW WRITER has now been received, which had been requested by members.
Nik read out an article he had found regarding ‘that’ and ‘which’. Previous advice had been that ‘thats’ and ‘whichs’ should be expunged from text, or sometimes ‘which’ could be replaced for ‘that.’ In the book ‘English style and Usage’ it says ‘which’ is to be used for description and ‘that’ is to be used for persons. Nik also told us a paragraph was a unit of thought not of length and readers don’t like long paragraphs.
In summary, he said that that recommendation which was in that article that he read out was that kind of advice which was outdated; that said, that which it said was worthy of that consideration.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE IS THE QUESTION, doesn’t sound quite the same does it?

Jenny recited a poem called “Witch Hunt” which portrayed medical receptionists as ‘old cows’ who wouldn’t give you an appointment for over a week, saying ‘Don’t forget to cancel if by next week you feel well.’ We’ve all been there!

Brenda has written a synopsis for her novel about Belle. The synopsis has to be written in the same style as the book, and must include the beginning and the ending. Belle finds 2 journals after her mother’s death, the 1st about Elizabeth and the 2nd about Minerva. She discovers these two women were her grandmother and mother and explain why they could not show love and that failure to love had ruined them. Belle discovers her own self worth by studying the 2 journals. Comments were that it was a good synopsis, but perhaps Brenda could discard clich├ęs like tooth and nail and references to Jack the Ripper and Florence Nightingale.

Brian had rewritten the Bookends of his tale about Caravaca he read out last week. This time at the beginning an old couple were making a pilgrimage from El Salvador to give thanks for their grandson’s miraculous cure, which they felt had been brought about by the ‘true cross’ of Caravaca. He was finding it difficult to put enough description in when he was restricted by the number of words.

Ann read out her poem “The Burkah”, which was well received and is printed below.

Mary read out a story combining two topics, The Library and Dear John. The narrator took out a library book by Sidney Sheldon, and a suicide letter fell out of it; it was to Alex from Marianne. The reader did not know whether it as an old or recent note and felt she had to hurry back to the library to see if she could prevent a disaster. It was felt she should continue with the story using more visuals. “The Heavens opened” was good use of a visual.

I recited a short poem about blogging,
I’VE BECOME A BLOGGER, I don’t know how, I pressed a few buttons but what to do now?
I set up the blog and gave it a name, but nobody’s viewed it so I feel a bit lame
I suppose I could send it out to my mates, though that would seem boastful, which is something I hate
I feel such a failure, I’m not in the pink; nobody wants to know what I think
Next I tried Facebook but don’t want to sound bitter, as soon as I did that people moved on to Twitter
Perhaps all this new stuff is beyond my ken, and I’d be better off sticking to pen

Gerry read out a story about a small village near Bedford. It was set in the 17th century. The village was owned by the Duke of Bedford. William Spring lived in a hovel in the village and the Agent for the Duke was trying to get the slum knocked down and had slapped a ruling that the ceiling had to be raised two feet by the following week. He sent a young lad round who found the measurements to now be correct, the ceiling being at the standard height. The Agent himself came round and nearly fell through the doorway as the floor had been dug out to make sure the ceiling height was correct. The Agent couldn’t now demolish the man’s home and the story spread around the village. Comments were that the beginning needed to be dramatised more. It was felt to be a good story that could be sent off with a few amendments.

Douglas gave us a story called “The Dinner Party“. A man at the dinner party was telling everybody that he had helped an old lady and she had granted him 3 wishes if he followed certain rules; if he didn’t misfortune would befall him. He agreed and she asked what the 3 wishes were; he said he wanted a lot of money, he wanted to have the strength to live until he decided to quit and he would also like to be captain of the golf club. The old lady said he would know what the conditions were when the time came. 3 months later a cousin contacted him saying he needed some money quickly; he didn’t give him the money and 2 weeks later he had gassed himself. His sister in law asked him to be a kidney donor for his brother; they had fallen out previous so he said no, and last week he learned his brother had died and he was not welcome at the funeral. Yesterday he had received a letter from the golf club blackballing him, no reason given. On the way to speak to the secretary of the golf club they had an accident and his wife Elizabeth ended up in a wheelchair and then he lost his job. When everyone had gone Elizabeth came back into the room, minus her wheelchair and said “Have we pulled it off?” He said yes and what about our next plot for the Writer’s Group?
It was commented that there were perhaps too many characters and that the speech needed to be broken up a little. It was thought that for a group outside of a writer’s circle, the scam could be used to get money off those at the dinner party.

THE BURKAH by Ann Braithwaite
Hannah surveys the world from behind her burkah
She feels safe and secure and nothing can hurt her
But she often wonders what it would be like
To uncover her face and even ride a bike

At fifteen years she is no fool
And knows she must not question the rule
That makes her cover her body and face
For to dress like a westerner would be out of place

What if one day she was to break loose
And uncover her face and wear high heeled shoes
Her family would disown her for sure
And on her head their dissension would pour

But as a young girl she can still have her dreams
Life behind the burkah is not as bad as it seems

- Cynthia

Friday, 10 July 2009

Meeting 8 Jul

Another enjoyable meeting was held on July 8th, where some very helpful comments were given. There were apologies from Lisa, Harry, Mary Morris, TK, and Chris. Nik said he would be talking to Violet King, who writes about lifestyle and who has also published a book, about giving us a talk in September. It had also been suggested that we might invite Anita Bond to one of our meetings.

Jane read out a story about a lady meeting someone after an absence of 25 years. The narrator told us about her early upbringing and eventually meeting her husband-to- be Dave. She took him to meet the family and her mother was outraged saying that the family should stick with their own kind and that if her daughter wanted to marry a non-Jamaican she would never accept the marriage. It was a good twist in the story that the Jamaican mother was the one who objected because her daughter wanted to marry a white man. Eventually she meets her mother again at Chichester Cathedral after the death of her father. She notices that her mother has a white stick, i.e. she had gone blind. The final punch line was “long time no see.” There were positive vibes from the group and Jane was encouraged to enter it for a competition.

Ann read about a piece about her grandson who had organised an exhibition of work for Plymouth University which involved painting white lines from the entrance of the university to the Royal William yard. There were many emails received about the event; some people thought it was vandalism; some thought it was a work of genius. Her grandson Jack was interviewed by the BBC and a local art gallery offered Jack a week free of charge to exhibit his work.

Mary read a poem to say thank you to her friends who were so helpful at the last meeting. She hadn’t felt very well and felt she was going to swoon but 10 minutes later she came back into the room. She learned that she had very good friends.

Ian read a story that he had updated called The Gift. Louise worked in a gift shop while she was studying at the local college. Some of the items in the shop were from houses that the shop owner had cleared. An elderly man, a bit of a down and out, came into the shop and picked out one particular painting portraying a couple, which had the initials DM in the corner. It had come from the bedroom of an old spinster, Dorothy. Louise loved the picture because of the story that it invoked of a young couple in love. She felt that the artist loved the lady in the picture. The old man said the man in the picture was his brother who had been killed in the Korean War. He said he would buy the picture. Louise wrapped it up but it was left it on the counter with a card. “To Louise, please enjoy the picture as much as Dorothy obviously had done, DM!”

Brian read the beginning of a story that he was intending to send to a historical society magazine, Solander. It started with a couple at Caravaca de la Cruz who were at variance over the merits of the city. The story then goes back to 1229 and two men discussing the period when 200,000 Moorish soldiers had surrendered to 50,000 Christians and had been slaughtered. The two men, Masud, a merciless soldier, and Sayed (I don't know how to spell that) the General and spiritual leader, also spoke of their next possible conquest of Cuenca. Nik thought the reader needed to connect with the couple at the beginning of the story in order for people to continue reading.

Brenda continued her story about Belle. It was coming up to Christmas and Kenny her long lost brother had come to visit them after many years’ absence. He looked half respectable, which had hadn’t been before. Kenny told her that he had had no friends when he was homeless, all his energy going into protecting his few possessions He had collected his unemployment benefit one day and had been attacked and nearly drowned. He admitted he had almost thrown his life away. He said Belle was a good sister not like Sally. Belle remembered when he went to bed that they were going to see Sally on Boxing Day for lunch! Comments were that Brenda’s dialogue and description had improved a lot.

Douglas read out a ‘heart-rending’ story about a man who gave a false name and address when he went to A & E complaining of a heart problem. He had used this way of disappearing before. He knew the doctors would have to do checks and he could stay there for about a week, which he hoped would be long enough for his financial problems to have gone away. He owed money to a man called Quigley. One of the staff nurses, Tony, asked if they had met before. The patient thought that he must be something to do with Quigley and when Tony came towards him with a syringe he thought he had come to kill him, had a massive heart attack and died. Tony was actually going to give an injection to another patient and was nothing to do with Quigley, so the moral is don’t cry wolf or else you might get what you don’t want. Nik thought the story might be better written in the third person as the narrator couldn’t tell the story and then die at the end. Also the title, ‘Heart Attack’, needed to be changed or it would give the game away.

Glyn read out a nice poem (what Glyn?) about the years going by and being for decades with a “loving you”. It was very well written but the ladies thought it was not like Glyn to write such a sensitive poem, given that he is always boasting about his conquests!

Jenny read out a lovely poem called “Goodbye Michael” about Michael Jackson’s death a few days before.

“Goodbye Michael, the king has gone, never again to perform a song.”

The last line was, “Wherever you are, please be happy again.”


Monday, 6 July 2009

Writing Competitions - July thru September 2009

Shown by deadline date. Remember, unless otherwise stated, double-space with one-inch margins on one side of paper and number your pages; use a cover sheet to show story/poem title, word-count, your name, address and tel-no, e-mail address; do not put your name on the manuscript/entry itself. Don’t forget to check out the ‘Writing Competitions’ link on this blog.

Reader’s Digest – top market for humour. In each issue they publish jokes, quotes and humorous anecdotes and pay $100. Submit through the website

July 31, 2009
Hay-on-Wye short story competition
Words: 2,000
Theme: Lost
Prizes: £400, £200, £100
Fee: £6 (cheque payable to Hay & District Community Support. Plus entry form ;download from
Details: Send to: Hay & District Community Support, Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 5AL

August 3, 2009
Over the Edge short story and poetry competition
Words: 3,000 story; 40 lines max poem
Theme: Any
Prizes: €300 each for story & poem
Fee: €10, multiple entries €7.50 per entry (must not have a book published) – cheque payable to ‘Over the Edge’
Details: Send to: Over the Edge, New Writer of the Year competition, 3 Carbry Road, Newcastle, Galway, Ireland

August 31, 2009
Salopian Open Poetry competition
Words: 40 lines max
Theme: Any
Prizes: £200, £100, £50 plus 3 x £30
Fee: £3 per poem – plus send entry form (downloaded from
Details: Entries to be sent to the competition secretary: Roger Hoult, 5,Squires Close,Madeley,Telford, Shropshire, TF7-5RU.

August 31, 2009
Wellington Short Story competition
Words: 4,500 max
Theme: Any
Prizes: £150, £100, £75
Fee: £3 (payable to Wellington Town Council)
Details: Post to: see entry form downloaded from

August 31, 2009
‘Sinful’ short story competition
Words: not known
Prize: £100
Theme: Light-hearted stories on one of the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
Obtain entry form from Town & Village Magazine, 6 Whittle Road, Ferndown Industrial Estate, Wimborne BH21 7RU

September 30, 2009
Rape and Abuse Line short story competition
Words: 1,500-1,800
Theme: Story to begin with ‘If only someone had listened…’
Prizes: £200, £100, £50
Fee: £4 plus entry form (download from; staple sheets together
Details: RAL Short Story Competition, PO Box 10, Dingwall, Ross-shire, IV15 9HA

Best of luck!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Meeting of July 1, 2009

There were sixteen attendees with apologies from TJ, Maureen, Christine and Rob.

Mary M started off with a humorous poem, partly explaining her absence till September. This was followed by Brenda’s love story. While the descriptions were praised, it was felt that it didn’t constitute a story, more an encounter within a larger piece of work.

New member Gerry read out his atmospheric tale, ‘The Dead Zone’. It was well received; plenty of helpful advice was offered. Although titles are not copyright, it might be a good idea to use a different title as this has been used by Stephen King, who is widely read.

For the second half, we were joined by Barry Wright from the Costa Blanca News, who is writing a piece about the Circle for that periodical. It was only at this point when I realised that nobody had volunteered/been nominated to write up the blog; so I’m now dredging my memory: apologies if anyone is missed out!

Mary K gave us an amusing poem on a free gift, too good to be true.

Douglas read out an excellent story about a suicide and the effects on all those who witnessed it. With minor tweaking, this should be sent out into the marketplace.

Finally, Christina read out her prize-winning poem from the Benidorm outing, which drew a few laughs.