Friday, 29 January 2010

In belated honour of Burn´s Night , plus the fact that we have a Scottish Deputy-Deputy Chair and this week we had a Scottish prospective new member, Nan Holcroft, I searched high and low for an inspiring photo from over the border.

I feel this picture says what the Writers´Group is about. The true spirit of seeking new inspiration, pushing the envelope, as the modern parlance goes and, despite being at times set back on your heels by what you discover, having the courage to go forward, undismayed.

We showed our True Grit on Wednesday when, despite our Guiding Light Nik being brought low by a fiendish bug, our valiant Deputy Leader Rob led the group through the horrors of a HOT PEN.

The word was Chest. After the initial stunned shock when all eyes were focussed for some reason on Glyn, everyone set to work and ten minutes later, the fruits of our labours were revealed.

Lisa, Gerry, Rosemary, Jane, Ann F, Mary M, Mary K, Rita, Alan, Christina and Rob all wrote pieces centering on wooden chests found in attics or cupboards and which contained a variety of interesting things. Gerry´s and Ann F´s were both thought to have intriguing follow-up possibilities.

Pat, Chris, Ann B, Douglas, Glyn, and Heinke all went more physical, with interesting results.

Despite it being a Hot Pen Day, nine people had written pieces to read out. Since there wasn´t time for everyone, Ann F and Gerry are to have first go next week.

Mary wrote a piece called Bosom Friends which was uncannily on target for the Hot Pen word, about her girlish Tackle arriving too late and too little.

Heinke´s Toilet Seekers described a true incident on one of the Monday Walkers´ outings.

Glyn read out part of a screenplay set in a British Legion club with 2 members discussing the proposed closedowns of the military stations at Aldershot and Shrewsbury.

Alan gave us another episode in the life of Spike the dog, where Spike goes through his Rites of Passage with Mabel, a bit of a trollopy bitch renowned for putting it about.

Rita gave us more of her cruise diary, this time from Odessa.

Douglas surprised us all with his description of an attempted robbery at the charity office he was working at, which he managed to foil with a well-aimed kick.

Finally, Rosemary asked for suggestions for a sub-heading to her diary about learning Spanish as an adult, Out of the Learner´s Mouth.

Since it was a cold, windy day, very few customers turned up to the car boot and they were gone by the time our coffee break began so all-in-all, we weren´t disturbed by them.

Thanks to Jane for her generous ( desperate? ) distribution of lemons from her tree.

To the next time!

Chris J

Need more on POV?

Point of View seems to be the 'in' topic at the moment - following on from Lorraine Mace replying to my POV question in her feature in 'Words with Jam' the Womag blog also offers useful advice on the subject.

Womag Blog

also contains information on Women's magazine submission guidelines.

Rob Innis

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Member Published on Expatify Site

Our Deputy Chairman, Rob Innis, has just had his 2nd article published online on the Expats site - Expatify.


"10 Reasons to Move to Spain"

and is illustrated with some of Rob's own photos. (Spot the TWC-er, in another photo)

This follows his first article:

"10 Things You Didn't Know About Spain Until You Lived Here"

published in 2009 and currently the sites 5th most viewed article.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

BANGING AWAY AT THE BACK (not that sort of banging!)

Rob was Chairman this week as Nik had to do some babysitting. He reported on a new Magazine called Platinum Page. He has had a story printed in issue 2 and Gerry has also sent one. Issues are £3.99 each but they may be available on a subscription basis later on. If you log on to Rob’s blog the details are available there. Another useful website WOMAG can also be linked from our blog.

Ian gave details of the new writing circle that started last Friday. He and a few other members of TWC went along to see what it was all about. They will be giving out information about competitions and help through a form of networking. They are not restricted to specific types of writing; features will include poetry and script writing. They are looking to set up a website and blog. The next one will be held at Maggie’s Bar at 9.30 on 12 February.

Gerry read out the beginning of a historical story which will go back 150 years. A young couple stood looking at graves. He had tanned skin and was of Red Indian blood, she was fair with blond hair and blue eyes. The story would revolve around racial tension concerning their different cultures. The group thought it was very descriptive. Gerry received some useful feedback from the group.

Jane’s contribution was a story called Water. It started with her broken washing machine which made her think about the Haiti earthquake and the fact that across the world there is no water to drink. She resolved not to take water for granted and to change her washing machine.

Heather had written a story about a school where a TV documentary was being made about the return of a pop star to the school he attended when a boy. They were going to interview Mr Slater who had been at the school for 35 years and ran the choir. When it was edited down the programme only showed one verse of the song the choir had rehearsed. As Mr Slater was an old-fashioned teacher, Heather had used old-fashioned words to describe him.

Anne’s contribution was a report of her Mediterranean cruise at Christmas time. She described how tips were involved in everything paid for on the cruise and also when they docked, even the horse on the horse drawn carriage wanted a tip! It was a descriptive account of her travels. Rob said that one of the Sunday papers is asking for people to send in 500 words about their holiday experiences. These are two possible contacts:

Mary K’s input was a poem (although it didn’t always rhyme) called the Love Child. ‘I have loved you from the start my precious darling baby boy.’ It was an evocative tale of a young girl awaiting the arrival of her baby with excitement and fear as the child’s father was married, ‘so there is only me and you.‘

Rita’s story was about the youth of today. It revolved around a museum in New York where an exhibition of El Greco’s paintings was being held, and the interest shown in El Greco’s life by the young people.

Glyn told us that the next part of his story was a serious bit but there was no swearing. (Wot!) It tells of youths in balaclavas entering their barrack room and beating Jock up for some supposed insult to them. They were like a pack of hyenas. The other boys covered their ears and didn’t get involved. It was very graphic and hit the spot!

Alan continued his story of Spike the dog. His family were talking about going on a summer holiday. He didn’t know what that meant but he had heard that it involved going to live somewhere else for a couple of weeks. He didn’t see the point but was on his best behaviour anyway. There was talk of flying to their holiday destination and he hadn’t realised that humans could fly! It was very amusing. Feedback was that more tension would help the story along.

Maureen’s story was a celebration of the men in her life. A list of good things about men included their sense of humour, their strength, they are protective, practical, courageous, chivalrous and they know about the offside rule. Some of the women felt a bit cheated as the men they knew had none of the attributes listed (except knowing about the offside rule).

Brenda continued Belle’s story. She was now reading her mother’s second diary, which she didn’t know existed. The language was evocative of the East End (skin and blisters for sisters). Her mother told of going to see where her dad had worked. She met a young man on the bus and we were just about to hear about her first sexual experience when time ran out and it was 1 o’clock. Let’s hope we continue the story next week! There was feedback about the language but as Brenda pointed out, Belle was using the language that she was used to.

Another enjoyable and provocative meeting, with people in the background hammering away making up the stage for the panto at the end of the month, and the market outside.


Washington Post´s Clever Words Competition

Once again, The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

Even the goat thinks these are funny!

The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.) the person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted (adj.) appalled over how much weight you have gained.

3. Abdicate (v..) to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4.. Esplanade (v.) to attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly (adj.) impotent.

6. Negligent (adj.) describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly
answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph (v.) to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle (n.) olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence (n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are
run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash (n.) a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle (n.) a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude (n.) the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon (n) a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster (n.) a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) (back by popular demand): The belief that, when
you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent (n.) an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Bozone (n.) The substance surrounding stupid people that stops
bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Cashtration (n.) The act of buying a house, which renders the
subject financially impotent for an indefinite period

3. Giraffiti (n) Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

4.. Sarchasm (n) The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
person who doesn't get it.

5. Inoculatte (v) To take coffee intravenously when you are running

6. Hipatitis (n) Terminal coolness.

7. Osteopornosis (n) A degenerate disease. (This one got extra

8. Karmageddon (n) It's like, when everybody is sending off all these
really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like,
a serious bummer.

9. Decafalon (n.) The grueling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are good for you.

10. Gilbido (v) All talk and no action.

11. Dopelar effect (n) The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter
when they come at you rapidly.

12. Arachnoleptic fit (n.) The frantic dance performed just after you've
accidentally walked through a spider web.

13. Beelzebug (n.) Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into
your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

14. Caterpallor (n.) The color you turn after finding half a grub in the
fruit you're eating..

15. Ignoranus (n): A person who's both stupid and an asshole

Here´s to their next competition!


Sunday, 17 January 2010

Strive to be the best

An interesting article by Clint Eastwood in today’s MoS about his film, Invictus, concerning Nelson Mandela and the Rugby World Cup. Eastwood says, ‘I believe that if you strive to be the best you can be, you will find, in some way, that things will happen for you.’ I believe that too. So, no matter if you know that other writers have had inferior work published, don’t despair: in your writing, strive to be the best you can possibly be, and be true to yourself.

The film’s title is from a poem by William Ernest Henley that inspired Mandela during his 27 years in prison.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

And it's a poem that rhymes...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I am Chuffed

Just seen a review of the Expats anthology I was published in -

"Next comes some short stories with Mediterranean Lady Seeks A Friend, a noir-ish tale of scams before the euro being my favorite. I just wish it were a bit longer"

Ironically my story was originally longer. I had written it for a competition but due to confusion I missed the submission date (lesson learnt) and edited it for submission to the book.

Rob Innis

Better late.....?

As Jenny aptly put it :

Most groups and organisations arrange a party of some type just before Christmas so that the members can get together and enjoy a nice festive meal to start off the holiday season.

Torrevieja Writers´Circle are no exception.They discuss dates and possible venues each week at the meetings for several months because they want such an important event to be perfect and really special. Many people make interesting suggestions but an actual decision is very hard to make so the subject is always postponed until the following week, whereby the same scenario occurs.

Christmas comes and goes and no decision is forthcoming. However, miraculously, they finally agree on a most original and unique setting; the Olympia, Mil Palmeras, the restaurant where they meet every week throughout the year. Not only that, but they also agree on the perfect date for a Christmas party - January 13th, because it is only 353 days before Christmas.

Do I detect a slight touch of asperity??

Anyway, the lunch went off quite well, apart from Nik having his tipped all over the table and even splashed on him. Was this the waiter´s hint that he hasn´t been tipped enough?
So, good people, we have plenty of time in which to procrastinate before next Christmas.


Rob offers the following site as a possible source for those who think they might be good at writing for greetings cards:

The meeting was well attended but a novelty for the day and for the foreseeable Wednesdays (and which could turn out to be a pain you know where) was that the Sunday flea market is now also taking place midweek in the grounds outside where our meeting is held. A tad noisy and parking crowded. Mutterings about a change of venue were heard from some members but perhaps we should see how things develop?

To cut to the chase.

Glyn read another rewritten episode of his novel.This described the lads´ first medical, which left the field open for a certain amount of graphic description of cupped hands and Belisha Beacons. No serious critical comment from members but it was generally felt that this was because the writing is so much tighter and better now.

Heinke read another surreal episode about her space giraffe. Having missed a week, I was lost, but everyone else seemed to understand what it was about. ( Is it them or me, I ask myself....)

Maureen has started a diary about the cruise she went on and there was much discussion about a lost bag and flight attendants. Some thought her plane trip across to America sounded like a modern day Marie Celeste experience.

Alan wrote a piece about how glad he is to have retired to Spain and left the English winter behind. ( He wrote it before it turned nippy here).

Ian wrote what might be a series of pieces (?) on life as a pensioner.
It provoked a number of lively comments on his not looking a day over 70.....

Jenny´s piece is at the beginning of the blog and she also dashed off a short poem while waiting for her turn to read. Clever girl!

Mary M came up with a poem on riding a bike. Rob suggested she should have those little wheels put on to keep her upright (what are they called?) [Stabilisers - Nik]

Rita´s contribution was a travel piece about a visit to Olympia and some interesting facts on how the Games started.

Mary K´s poem told of her decision not to make any New Year´s Resolutions. Very wise.

Chris described parties she had thrown and a possible way of making them successful, including throwing the dessert at her guests...

Jane read a reworked version of one of her French pieces where a smelly, drunken villager invites her to dance and she is unable to escape.

A fairly relaxed meeting.

Apologies from Brenda and Anne F - both were unwell. Hope you´re feeling better and can be there next time.

Chris J

Monday, 11 January 2010

Writers' Forum - letter published

Just observed that my letter to Writers' Forum has been published in the 100th issue - February, 2010.

'MG Sherlock’s woes don’t stop there (No Deal, #99). Even if MG was fortunate enough to overcome the various obstacle courses and run the marathon and get a book published, that doesn’t mean the second or subsequent books will get published. Author Michael Parker was published by Macmillan in 1980 but they turned down his second book and his third book didn’t get taken up (by another publisher) till 1984. After that, he waited 26 years before his second book was accepted and published. His seventh is due out next year, but it has taken a great deal of persistence and faith in self.

'Remember, Jack Higgins, Ken Follett and James Le Carré had several published books under their belts before their breakthrough novels; nowadays, publishers aren’t so accommodating and expect the first book to be a breakthrough and rarely nurture new or promising authors. You can’t change that situation. You can only rely on your own perseverance and hope for a bit of luck. So, I agree with the editor, don’t moan about what you can’t change, just get on and write and write and write. Persevere.'

Unfortunately, I made a silly typo and it's still there! I guess James Le Carré must be John's Most Secret lost brother, the less successful writer who isn't so hot at self-editing...


Friday, 8 January 2010


Nik told us about a badly written Western which was an example of how not to write. Although it had been published there was no feeling for character, there was far too much repetition and it read like a first draft. "Hauled on the leathers" was repeated a dozen times. That particular publisher prints 10 books a month so must be short of well written books being sent to them, and could provide a good opportunity for would-be writers. He also brought copies of “A fistful of legends” a book of 21 short stories edited by Nik with a co-editor in Japan.

Apologies were received from Joy, Mary 2, Chris J, Heather, Lisa, Christina. Glyn reported that the first 3 chapters of his book had gone off to the publishers. He told us about an article in the news that publishers are disposing of 77 million unsold books a year. Celebrity works were some of the lowest sellers, including Cherie Blair who is said to have received a one million pound advance for her autobiography, which has sold only 33,000 odd copies since 2008. Nielsen Bookscan says that an average of only 18 copies were sold of new titles published in 2009.

Ian reported on a new writers' group being set up in Maggie’s Bar, Playa Flamenca called Wordplay. They will meet on the second Friday of every month, the first meeting to be on Friday 15 January at 9.30, the aim being to learn about the world of writing through presentation and discussion. The cost is 5 Euros a month.

Heinke said that her book "Camping with Wolves" was nearly ready for distribution. Maureen, who helped to edit it, said it is really funny. It is about a gran on the run who is in love with Laurie Lee. Nik asked if she had approached any of the Laurie Lee appreciation societies.

Alan continued his story of Spike the dog. Spike says that it is now 6 months since he was taken in by a family, and the kids had done a real good job of looking after him. He feels frisky around bitches but doesn’t know why yet. He doesn’t know what Christmas is but they had to go shopping and his paws are now killing him. The family bought him a new coat which makes him look silly. He sometimes goes through a gap in the fence and meets up with Butch, a boxer. He tells him stuff about bitches and things and they have a laugh. On returning home he has some food and sits about watching TV until bed time. (A lot like humans really) It was very amusing. Nik said that although publishers are prejudiced against stories written by animals, there are exceptions to the rules.

Glyn read out chapter 5 of his tome about Ned. The group is now in the quartermaster stores. 'Gobshite' their NCO told them ‘today you will sign for bedding and then go and get inoculations for any disease ending in ..osis, cos we don’t want you dying before you finish your square-bashing'. Kit talk was like a second language to the apprentices. Taff broke the mug he had just been given, which cost him 6 pence out of his first pay packet. Their hats made them look like bus conductors but if they bent down the peaks like their sergeant they would be fined for that as well. They marched down to the cookhouse with their new crockery and cutlery. The food was slightly better than breakfast, consisting of pies of every combination full of fat and gristle. Then there was sticky pudding with custard. Ned’s granddad had told him there were three kinds of turd, ‘mus-turd, cus-turd and you you big shit’. Doug said the story was very visual. Can’t wait to read the book and see the film.

Heinke continued her story about Raffie, the giraffe on the space bubble where everything is round and time is measured in bubbles (I think!) Raffie sees old footage of Eric Cantona and falls in love with him, thinking he was a brilliant footballer and a really hot bloke! The giraffe returns to who she thinks of as her mummy, the shower head. Nik thought there must be an outlet for such weird stories and said he would search them out for her.

Maureen read out a book review she had written of A New Earth, written by Eckhart Toller who also wrote The Power of Now. It was written to show people how to find inner peace by surrendering to the fact. He asserts that life is not limited to the physical form and is part of eternity. A bit too deep for me; I can’t think beyond lunch.

The problem about the Christmas meal was resolved by it being agreed that next week as many as possible would eat in the restaurant at the Olympia restaurant after the meeting.

Ian read a delightful poem about 'The Inheritance'. “No longer life in this old house.” The inheritor opened a door and received a pleasant surprise when he found a room full of antiques. He didn’t know his dead relative had hidden treasure in the house.

Brenda also read a poem called 'Fire glow' which was written thinking about the poor people in the UK who are suffering from bad weather while we are having such lovely days. What a shame eh! The wording was very visual, with lots of images portrayed in the poem, ‘Dry logs shift and settle, Toasted chestnuts, hot toddy, contented pleasure without any doubt.’

Jenny had written a limerick while she was at the TWC about a young woman from UK who had moved to Calpe, who went to the shops only to find out that they weren’t open because of the bloody Three Kings’ day.

What is it with this plethora of poems? So many poems, so much rhyme, it must be because of Christmas time. You get cards from people long forgotten, it’s too late to send one and you feel rotten. You read the verse and see if it fits, and if it doesn’t the card you ditch. I am even writing the blog in rhyme now. Heaven help us!
Mary had written a story called ‘Poetic justice’. The young lady in the story makes up names for herself, the first name being a girl’s name and the second a boy’s name, like Julie Stevens, Rosemary Martin etc. She goes dancing where she can pretend to be who she wants. Sometimes she says she is a trapeze artist or a brain surgeon. This one time when her dance partner asked her questions about herself she said she was called Julie Stevens and was a professional jewel thief. She watched people checking into hotels, noted their room number and broke in later and stole their jewellery. The man noted this and continued dancing. She asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a police officer, chief inspector Richard Barton (Dick Barton). Was her face red!

Anne’s story was about going to live with family members in California. She chatted to people on the plane and they exchanged phone numbers, promising to contact each other. Three months later there was a phone call, one of the men wanted to meet her. She couldn’t remember what he looked like but was disappointed when he turned out to be a very short bald headed man. Of course when he was sat down on the plane she couldn’t see how tall he was and he wore a baseball cap so couldn’t see that he was bald. Although looks shouldn’t matter, they do to a 19 year old.

Douglas’ story ‘Aspiration’ was about a man worrying whether he was up to the task ahead of him at the British open golf competition. He was to be amongst the best. Several players were already in the practice area, and he nodded to Monty who didn’t acknowledge him, although Tiger did. (I would worry about that Douglas!) There were lots of spectators and he knew it would be a challenging day but he was so proud to be a representative of his country. The rain came down and scores started to drop behind. His arms were sore keeping up. Finally they were called in and were told that ‘Stewards would be required again the next day.’ A nice twist.

Gerry’s story was called ‘A close thing.’ Lisa could see a sea of white faces. What has happened? ‘It is alright, you are in hospital, you collapsed in the street.’ She realised that she was staring at herself in the operating theatre. Panic set in below and a nurse who no one had noticed stepped forward in between the surgeons, laid her hand over Lisa’s heart and stepped back. ‘We have got her back.’ She opened her eyes and the doctors were looking back at her. They said that everything was going to be fine although there had been concerns at one stage. Lisa said yes there were and the doctors exchanged glances. Lisa said ‘It was that nurse over there that really saved the day.' The nurse gave her a wave. 'What nurse?' they chorused. They thought it was a hallucination on the part of Lisa. The nurse crossed to her bedside and took her hand, ‘We shall meet again but not for quite some time’ and went. Some useful advice was received, which Gerry is always grateful for.

Another enjoyable and useful meeting.

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Book Awards - Winner - Nik Morton

The 2010 Short Story Competition Winners!

'Codename Gaby' by Nik Morton

Nik Morton winner of short story competition

Codename Gaby is a thrilling wartime story by the accomplished author Nik Morton. The atmosphere and rich character depiction in this story convinced our panel of judges it was the outright winner of The Book Awards Short Story Competition 2010 and a prize of $100 along with our hearty congratulations has been sent to the author. You may download this story free of charge by clicking the following link Codename Gaby and discover more about the author and his other works at the following website;

Well done Nik!!

Posted by the DC

Saturday, 2 January 2010

How to Avoid a Hot Pen .

Rob was in the chair as Sub Chairman (SC) on a bright, sunny pre-New Year`s day. As per the previous week, we were a happy band but few. This did not deter us, however, and armed with generous slices of stollen, donated graciously by Mary K, we assembled to hear the glad news that one of our lottery tickets had come up! The general whoops of delight were somewhat dampened when the SC informed us that after subtracting the cost of all three tickets from the winnings, we were only about 30 euros better off. A suggestion was put forward that the SC should consult the C about a possible purchase of an El Niño ticket. Don´t know what has happened about that. Watch this space.

We agreed that, in order to avoid a dreaded HOT PEN, all work written should be read slowly and discussed to death.

Brenda continued with her novel- a short but interesting extract.

Douglas had a new laptop with him and was experiencing the odd technical difficulty ( the damned thing wouldn´t work to begin with). However, once under way, he read a slightly blue piece called French Letter.

Mary M wrote a factual piece about a cruise, which made us all a bit envious.

Chris came up with a poem about a meeting at the Benidorm Palace. Anyone wishing to read it should look on her blog where it will appear once she gets her bum in gear.

The SC, Rob, saved us from a hot pen with a nifty little exercise he´d picked up from a creative writing course he´s doing. You had to write down the 26 letters of the alphabet in an order decided by the SC and then write the first word which you thought of, beginning with that letter. Some clever clogs managed to write words which joined on, half sensibly, into a series of events. Others managed two or three interesting combinations. Whether it was the lingering effect of Douglas´French Letters piece I don´t know but quite a few were a touch frisky (bedknobs, French underwear, Fun under bed, George´s quiet pyjamas to mention one or two).

There was still 20 minutes to go when Heather came to our rescue with a brilliant short story which she´d been inspired to write based on her experience working for a while with the British Federation of Handtool Manufacturers....... It was very good indeed and had a lovely twist at the end. Gotta publish it kid!

See you all next week.

Happy New Year!!!!

Chris J