Saturday, 28 November 2009

More E-book Information

I thought you might like to take a look at a short BBC video from their technology programme 'Click'

Just a shame they seem to have found a presenter with the most boring monotonous voice in the world:

Just click here:

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Dreaded Hot Pen Strikes Again!!

Could it have been the lovely weather that lured members off to sit in the sun? Or could it have been that Wednesday was the regular HOT PEN DAY? Perhaps it was simply that the last meeting was bursting at the seams so "only fifteen" members appeared a bit thin on the ground when, in fact, it´s quite a respectable attendance.

The meeting started with a demonstration by TJ of his new aquisition, the Ebook from Amazon, Kindle. He´d only just got it so wasn´t sure of all the functions but was obviously a converted
Ebook man. I must say, it looked very neat (fits into a jacket pocket) and can increase print size to something akin to the bottom line on the optician´s chart, which suits me just fine. It can hold masses of books (did he say 1500?) so if that´s right, it would cover my holiday reading adequately. Only snag was the cost, around 200 dollars, so I´ll wait till the price reaches my level, but for those of you with a generous budget, it´s the perfect Christmas gift.

We then went on, led by our illustrious chairman, to do a very useful exercise in editing. The piece was from a recently published item which really shouldn´t have seen the light of public day. However, it sufficed to help us all see what sort of things we should be looking out to avoid in our own writing. Good exercise, Nik.

After the break we finally got on to the meat of the day, the HOT PEN (!!!+? ¤!!!).

The words chosen were Saw and Found.
After 10 minutes of feverish activity, we listened to the results.

kicked off with a good piece, except for the fact that, absentmindedly, she had forgotten to include her chosen word!

Gerry produced an amusing poem - SEE BELOW.

Heather wrote a piece about how she found her husband at a car boot. ( She didn´t say whether or not he was a bargain).

Ann Flynn described a woman observing a shoplifter.

Chris wrote about a young boy finding a bloody saw in his gran´s basement.

Ann B´s poem told of a Scotsman´s pound note found by an Englishman.

Maureen Moss´s
piece was about kids disobeying parents

Ian told of a woodcutter finding a racoon in his shed.

Henke, as is her wont, went over the top with her description of a warring couple who decide to divorce and divide the house by cutting it in half with a chainsaw!

Alan, new to the hot pen exercise, declared he hadn´t really understood what to do and wrote a very short, factual piece. Now you know, Alan, with Heinke´s example in mind, the sky´s the limit!

Glyn´s piece centered on a businessman in Thailand looking for an evening´s entertainment.

Finally, Nik wrote about a man entering No Man´s Land to infiltrate athe enemy´s secret bunker. It sounded like the beginning of a rattling good thriller.

It never ceases to amaze and impress, how varied and interesting the results are even when we all have the same starting point.

With that, another very pleasant and instructive meeting was over.

Hasta la próxima vez! Chris J
Gerry´s poem follows

It´s Wednesday morning and here we are
Just a few minutes out of the bar

It´s hot pen time and I´m searching around
The word is Saw.... or is it Found?

It could be Found, not neccessarily Saw
I´m totally lost and very unsure.

Perhaps by the end I´ll have made up my mind
But as time goes on I´m in more of a bind.

I must move fast, I mustn´t linger
When I used a saw last, I cut my finger.

It bled like crazy, blood all around
A bandage, a plaster, not one could be found.

So I think I´ll plan slowly and maybe then
I think I`ll get better at wring Hot Pen.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Poets' Corner

The reason for this week's title will become obvious.

This week's subject titles were: "I know he was only a dog..." or
"Doom and Gloom".

Another well attended meeting with 20 members being present.

Nik kicked off with the opening to a short story entitled "Golf Lynx" where early morning golfers make a gruesome find in one of the sand traps. We all await the outcome.

Cynthia's effort was poem (number 1) on the subject "Doom and Gloom". With the title "The Crisis", it gave a humerous point of view from a woman.

Gerry asked for feedback to his cowboy yarn "The Old Ranger" as he feels that he is still learning the craft. Members thought that his story was much better and tighter than some of his others. It was suggested that he could tell more of the backstory through the use of dialogue and that the use of character names could be better employed.

Lisa unusually read a poem (number 2) dealing with "Doom and Gloom". It's title "Miss Haversham Remembered" took us back to our reading of Dickens. This piece was very visual with its dust and cobwebs etc, but with a modern slant.

Jane gave us a poem (number 3) on "Doom etc" but from the viewpoint of one who hates visitors whose sole topics of conversation are painting nothing but misery. This was a rant against some people she knew.

Ann F narrated a piece of nonsense called "No Big Deal". This was like a spoof version of the TV show "Deal or No Deal" and, for those of us who have seen the show, it was extremely lifelike. It was suggested that with a bit of polishing and enlargement this could be sent off to a number of sketch shows who might be interested in it.

Poem (number 4), can you guess on what subject?, was provided by Chris. Now this was full of Doom and gloom but at least had a happy ending!

Mary's poetic rant called "Frilly or Plain" was her marketplace observations on the choice and purchase of knickers. The female view was practicality at all times where the male partner in the relationship suggested something more skimpy and frilly. Guess who won? Has potential for sending out, with an appropriate title - Brief Encounter, maybe.

Ian's piece "The Letter" was the opening for what will be a longer item. Based on "Doom and Gloom", it left the members wondering what the outcome was going to be. This was thought to be a very descriptive piece of writing with good visualisation.

During the break it was agreed that we would buy 3 Xmas Lottery/el Gordo tickets. There was also some discussion on whether we should extend the meeting times and various options were put forward. It was agreed that we should continue with the current arrangements but with the proviso that if we felt we should go on later that this could be an ad hoc arrangement.

Glyn gave us the start of the 4th chapter of his novel on army life and dealt with such subjects as lusting after Brigitte Bardot, breaking wind and trying to please the recruits' officers. This was not neccessarily in that order but was of course up to Glyn's usual high standard.

Brenda completed this week's offerings with another part of Belle's story. This was a new chapter to everyone and various suggestions were made to Brenda including one that the last piece should be omitted from the chapter to leave the reader in suspense and open the next chapter with that information.

Next week it is a HOT PEN day but as well as this Nik is going to provide an insight into the breakthrough novel.


Friday, 20 November 2009


Love it or hate it, the new 'social' web sites bring people closer together. We - the TWC - are now on Facebook and have just received a message from Phil McNulty:

Good to see some photographs and news. Not been able to attend recently as planned. Never mind. Look forward to attending meetings in the future. Best of luck with the writing. Really appreciate updates on comps etc, Nik and Rob. All the best. Phil

The world is truly a smaller place. Sometimes maybe that is good?


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Picture This

From the archives... Before Douglas went off to the antipodes in 2007, he took these photos of our group.

The above shows Lisa and Nik.

The above shows Joy, Mary, Mary, Ian, Arthur and Christina.
Posted by Nik, photos by Douglas.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Kindle - Wireless Reading Device

This is a video which shows what a Kindle is, what it can do and how it does it - amazing, worth a look:

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A Full House

The meeting held on 11th November was well attended with 24 Members present.

Prior to commencement Nik announced that at midday (11 o'clock in the UK) we would observe two minutes' silence. There were also a number of announcements including distribution of new themes lists for those who were not on the internet, consideration of Lottery numbers, competition lists and a copy of "The New Writer".

Maureen showed the meeting a copy of a book on marketing including publishing.

Ann F remarked on a book she had just read, "On Chesil Beach" where the book contained no dialogue between the two protagnists which she found most disconcerting.

The meeting started with readings from those members who had been left over from last week.

Maureen first of all read out a poem "The World" not written by her but which inspired her to write her piece entitled "What It Is". This was quite profound and contemplative. It was thought to be well written but some suggestions were made to improve the style.

Glyn asked for feedback on his synopsis of his novel which has been renamed,"Tits, Toenails and Donkey Dick". Everyone thought that he had captured the characters well although it was possibly too lengthy and he should indicate the era in which the story is set.

Heinke also gave us a synopsis except that this book still has to be written. The plot centres around a love story on a Space Station in a future world with one of characters having a pet giraffe called Rafi. The members thought this excellent and wanted more.

This week's themes were, "If Only I Hadn't Drunk So Much" or "The Crisis".

Christina read a poem/rant about a visit to Rome and the effects of drink.

Rob ventured forth with a humorous piece on the effects of the banking crisis where the hero is a Mr. G. Ullible and the merchant banker is named Mickey Taker. Rob was encouraged to progress this piece of work.

At the break two minutes' silence was observed then Nik asked everyone to consider if we needed time extensions as the meetings were now so well attended, members were not always able to read that week. Nothing was settled, however, so it's 'wait and see...'

The meeting continued with Pat giving us a further insight into a child's life in WWII.

Mary M chose the drink theme to give us a poem on drowning our sorrows.

Chris's poem "Water Works" was a poem which took an unusual slant on this week's theme.

Mary K had a tale albeit true on a series of disasters which had befallen her and resulted in her missing last week's session. A rhyming teacher's note?

Ian's poem on the drink theme was entitled "The Worse For Wear" which a lot of members recognised...

New member Alan's contribution was about "A Free Meal" which concluded that there was no such thing.

Jenny's item on the drink theme was the story of a wedding day escapade.

Last but by no means least Kelle read a rant on "Times Remembered", being an introduction to a proposed longer work. How many of us recalled the things she itemised? Quite a few!

Before the meeting broke up, discussion took place on a venue for Christmas/New Year meal. It was suggested the members should make enquiries about costs, availability etc. Tentative date would be 13th Jan with about 30 attending.


Saturday, 7 November 2009


Some very good stories and poems were read out this week.

Mary Morris continued her story about the little girl whose parents split up. This part was called The Robbery because it reflected the girl taking the red shoes of the lady - Aunt Ciss - who took her daddy away from the family. The feelings of the little girl came over very well. She was encouraged to send the story off to a magazine

Chris read a story entitled Soft option, one of the themes this week, in which she told of the time when she met her husband to be Len in Famagusta. He was going back to Sweden and asked her to go with him, which was the Soft Option. If going to Sweden seemed a soft option it certainly did not prove to be so. So many things were different, doors open outwards, soured milk was mistaken for milk, people making a loud noise is put down to being drunk, punctuality is sacrosanct, shoes are taken off inside the house, the host has to take the first drink at a dinner party etc. etc. Chris said that although moving to Spain has its difficulties it is easy compared to Sweden. As she put it, ‘If your life comes to cross roads and something seems to be a soft option, it may be more than you bargained for.’

Douglas’s story was called ‘Smoke gets in your eyes’ and related to a wealthy lawyer who liked to smoke Cuban cigars. He arranged for insurance cover for the cigars and smoked one each evening until the box was empty. He made a claim the following day saying that the cigars had been lost in a series of small fires. The judge said the case was frivolous but nevertheless he expected the insurers to make due restitution. The insurance firm, Arrogant Insurance, paid out a large sum to the lawyer rather than pay for appeals. The following Monday the police arrested him for arson and the insurers won back the money. Apparently it was in part based on truth. Everyone agreed it was a brilliant story.

Kellee read part of a long story about a relationship breaking up. ‘It was 3 years since we met and you ended our relationship.’ The story involved best friends falling out and saying words that cannot be taken back. The narrator had written a letter in which she reminisced about being in an ugly house in the ugliest village in Spain after the owner had thrown himself under a train. The description of the smell of nicotine and the cloud of spores that came out of a pile of old towels was very evocative. Kellee has a compelling writing style.

Alan, a newcomer to the group who had come along to see if he will fit in, told us a little about himself and had written a piece about his daily life. He talked of getting up early at 10 o’clock!! He didn’t feel he needed to make excuses for doing nothing. Three wives later he is renting here in Spain, after providing each one of them with a house. It sounds as if there will be a few stories for him to tell. He is allowed 2 glasses of red wine a day and a perfect end to a perfect day entailed eating a large pud. He sounds as if he will fit in very well with the group!

Ian’s contribution was a poem on the subject ’the last hidden beauty in the world’ which was yet another of his lovely poems about the Scottish painter Jack Vettriano and hopefully he is going to put it on the blog.

Gerry wrote a yarn about a Confederate soldier Zak going to his aunt’s house in Union territory after the war. He took a shine to Lizzy, the daughter of Clinton Craddock (I wonder if his wife was called Fanny) the local hard man, ‘a mean son of a bitch.’ He comes to the aid of Lizzy and Clinton when Clinton is attacked by a grizzly bear and stays on to care for him. Once he is better Clinton was heard to say ’You let that Reb in here?’ The story ends happily with Zak and Lizzy getting married, ooh bless.
Gerry was advised to check his work with, which will tell him how many repetitions of the same word are in the story.

I told the circle about There are some adverts on the TV about people confessing to eating somebody else’s sandwich. Each month someone will win £250 in Red Letter Day vouchers and there is also a chance that your confession could feature on their packs. You are given a space to put your confession in and you can use a maximum of 150 characters. You can also look at what other people have sent in as examples of confessions.

Next week’s topics are ‘If only I hadn’t drunk so much’ (we can all relate to that) or ‘The crisis.’