Thursday, 25 February 2010

Bombs, Brawls and the Bible

Although this week's meeting was a hot pen, 20 members still attended.

Nik presented a number of apologies from members and advised on several magazines recently received. One magazine that the group subscribes to, "Telling Tales", has folded and we hope to receive a refund of our subscription shortly.

Today's subject, chosen at random, was "Woman".

Chris's account of a bar room fracas and its effect on the remaining customers was quite compelling.

Anne F told of a woman's obsession to become an intellectual until she saw the light and settled for a more mundane routine.

Mary M's story of a woman shopper planting a bomb brought memories of Baghdad and Belfast.

Jane gave us a mild rant on a TV programme about woman giving birth to a child and the pressures under which the woman was put.

Pat's very short but very amusing poem about a female tennis superstar had everyone imagining Billie Jean King.

Alan's piece was a short history of woman in the Bible and the origin of their names.

Gerry told the story of an attempted street mugging where the victim was saved by a woman who had a black belt in judo.

Nan's effort was about family life and a conflict of conscience.

Stan related a nostalgic tale of a meeting a woman at the Palais de Danse. Very 50s/60s.
Autobographical? Nan says "No!"

Nik's tale was of a private detective being warned that he was about to be murdered. The warning came from the murderer's wife.

Maureen narrated a piece about a journey in South America and of a woman she encountered there.

Norma told the story of neighbours and in particular, Juanita and her outlook on life.

TJ started by apologising as his effort was about the chairman of a writer's circle and the choosing of the word "woman" as a hot pen. Sounded like inside information!

Glyn gave us a study of women from a man's point of view highlighting both their attributes and faults.

Heinke's usual "off-the-wall" narrative was about packaging and in particular a woman's effort to open a packet of firelighters.

Ian related what could be the opening of a longer piece about the discovery of a woman's body bricked up in the walls of a church partially destroyed in an earthquake.

Jenny gave us thoughts and regrets of being a woman.

Mary K's poem told of seeing a beautiful woman who turned out to be a drag queen.

Ann B's account of a TV interview with a sex change individual was most graphic and illuninating.

After these readings, there was still a little time left so Stan read a true story of his days working at the pits and in particular one of those incidents where there is a chance encounter with ...what? This was X-Files stuff.

As Norma will not be here next week, she told her very visual and true story of attending Buckingham Palace at her husband's investiture ceremony.

A really mixed bag of enjoyable contributions this week. But that's what you get from a hot pen.
- Ian

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Brass Monkey Weather?

Just to remind everyone why we moved to Spain..... This is Gothenburg a couple of days ago. The front garden and carport are under that lot!

The other picture is the PeƱon in Calpe on a lovely summery day. Mind you, it´s been a bit grey and desperate here, too, this last week. Roll on spring.

Wednesday saw diminished numbers but nonetheless 15 members turned up and a very pleasant meeting took place.

The day´s subject was to include the words: he signed the cheque and passed it to her.

Mary K
had written an interesting piece about a man who´s being blackmailed by the woman he´s been having an affair with. It ended with his decision to contact a hitman to kill her. It had possibilities, it was thought, perhaps as a longer story or even as a novel? To it, Mary!

All the other members had come along with their own subjects.

Glyn continued with his novel. He read about the football match where Ned leads his team mates to victory by using his staggering physical attributes to divert the attention of the opposing team´s player who is attempting to score the decisive penalty. Hilarious!

Chris J had written a rant about people who envy others. Would she ever be envious? Of course not!! Except for all those who go on cruises to places she´s never been, and who win the lottery.

Ann F first read out a 50-word story by her 12-year-old grandson published in a book called Mini Sagas ( very good it was, too) then read her own piece written in clipped sentences and present tense about a writer trying to get down to wrting but not having much success. Should be sent off to an appropriate publication, thought Nik.

Cynthia had written a poem about a choral group she belongs to, called Spangles. It was funny and I´d hoped to include some here but haven´t had it sent to me so she´ll have to include it herself when she next writes the blog.

Alan´s piece was a bit of a rant about the commercialism of St Valentine´s Day.

read half of a rewritten piece called Same Place, Another Time. Very good - we wanted him to go on but he said he´d finish next time.

Nan had done a story about a family coping with the grandfather having a heart attack.

Stan didn´t get round to reading his piece so he´ll start off next time.

By the way, info for those who weren´t there:
the car boot has gone the way of all flesh. Seemingly there were no appropriate licenses so the Guardia saw them off. No more quick perusals at break time , no more ponderings about buying meat pies or cheap books. Pity. I love car boots. Still, it was a lot quieter.
See you next week in a suitably quietly scholarly atmosphere.

Chris J

Saturday, 13 February 2010

FEB 10

Nik was back as Chairman and it took him a little time (about five minutes) before his pun-making reasserted itself.

Glyn told the meeting about a helpful book for writers called Writers Market 2010, which he thought was better than the Artists’ and Writers’ year book, as it gives more selections of publishers and what they are looking for and what they will accept. He paid about £10 for it including postage. Nik said it was available from the Book Depository post free.

There were two new members, Stan and Nan (you’re having us on aren’t you? Stan said it was his first attempt at writing. His story was about a holiday at Butlins. Names were being taken for a singing contest and George’s name was put forward. He decided on a Paul Anka song and the boos started. The results were announced and he was the winner, much to his surprise. He found out that he had been entered in Butlins' worst singer contest and that the boos had been orchestrated. In fact the one with the most boos won the contest. Everyone thought it was a good first attempt.

Next came Nan. The best days of your life are your school days and she felt so proud on her first day at school in her new school uniform; she usually had to wear hand me downs. The new children were given a wooden board and plasticine and she set about making a model of a dog. When she finished it she realised that her mother had gone, so she gave the model to the teacher and said ‘I had better get home now, my mother will be worried about me.’ The teacher was hard on her and called her a spoiled brat and when she went home at dinner time she thought the school day was finished, but was dragged to school screaming after lunch. She realised that her brother was right, school really was hell. Everybody enjoyed Nan’s first effort.

Alan’s story was about ‘spot check’, one of the themes for this week. The narrator was doing his garden, got a rash, went to hospital, got MRSA and C Diff and died. Because he went to heaven quite young he was given 35 years of everything he wished but he would rather go back to his old life as long as he could have a bit of luck once a month. It was thought that if he had used his name when he was at the doctor’s earlier in the story, there would have been less confusion when he ended up in heaven. At least I will be warm where I am going!

Heather’s contribution was about a cop’s widow in the USA called Marcy. She had come to see the lieutenant. Her dead husband’s partner, Barney, had been suspended after his death, we don’t know why yet. Marcy said that if a homicide detective is suspended Joe public will think he did it if the force insisted on looking in the wrong direction. This is part of a longer story. Nick suggested reading cop fiction to get the flavour of what publishers are looking for, and doing research into the police set up in America as there was a bigger market for these types of stories if they are set in America.

Chris’s contribution was on the theme ‘seeing ourselves as others see us.’ It was about the change in routine that is necessary when visitors arrive. You have to get up earlier, you can’t slop around in old clothes, and you give a sigh of relief when they go. It also makes you rediscover your neighbourhood and even feel a sense of civic pride in the changes that have happened. You discover that your feelings about Spain are redefined and that actually it is not too bad after all. Thought-provoking.

Christine also wrote on the theme of ‘spot check.’ Her poem was about spots on the bum. I hope they are not catching! Better give that the bum’s rush.

Mary K wrote a poem about ‘the woman next door’. A young attractive widow moved into the street, threatening the stability of marriages as the men were all keen on her. After a few months it was noticed that she was pregnant and the ladies waited nervously to see who the baby would resemble! Amusing as usual.

Jenny had written a ditty about dieting, a subject dear to all our hearts. We all ate big breakfasts in the 70’s and weren’t worried about diets then because that was before calories were invented. How true!

Ian’s poem was on the theme of ‘the visit’. Early morning the sky was grey, there are miserable faces on all you see. It was about a visit back to Scotland. Was he glad to get back to ‘laugh in the sun!’

Rita’s story was ‘a brief observation.’ She had been watching ‘Come dine with me’ when a young so-called celebrity, a pop singer, didn’t know who Omar Sharif was, when he had been such an important actor and had starred in Rita’s favourite film Dr Zhivago. It was a shock to realise that the generation gap was so wide. That got us all going.

Glyn’s story continued. Ned had an afternoon soccer match to look forward to. He went to the sports store for his kit, and indicated his keenness to be in the team. The pep talk before the game was ‘if they move kick them, every time you fall down shout foul, but fair play was paramount, so make sure the ref doesn’t see you when you kick the bastards.’ Very amusing as usual.

Rob’s tale was on the theme ‘she burst into tears’ and concerned Russell’s dilemma. Anna fancied Russell but all was not as she thought. They all worked at the same firm. Anna wanted someone to go to the theatre with her so Russell went. Afterwards she rang up the narrator saying that she was going to resign because she felt so humiliated. “Why didn’t you tell me, I felt such a fool.” It turned out that Russell was gay and she hadn’t realised, and in those days there wasn’t the tolerant attitude to homosexuality that exists today. It was suggested that more description of the characters would give them life; clothes and body language can convey character.

I told members of a new prize for writers over the age of 60 (of course there are only a couple at the TWC!). They want stories of no more than 750 words which must be an account of something that happened in your own life. Details are available on You don’t have to send the stories by email as they can be handwritten or typed. The winner receives £500 in book tokens. However, as Rob pointed out entries have to be from people resident n the UK, although I am sure that is not an insurmountable problem.

Another enjoyable meeting. Welcome to our new members and welcome back to those returned from their sick bed or trips abroad.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Full House

This week's meeting was well patronised with 24 members in attendance.

Rob took the chair in the absence of Nik. Two main announcements were made the first being that Nik had had a manuscript accepted . The story is in the "adult" genre. The second announcement was made by Jerry in that a short story which he had read out a few weeks ago had been accepted for inclusion in "Frontier Tales".

Anne F read her woman's story which had a really good ending. It was suggested that she should try to have this published in some of the women's magazines in the UK.

Jerry gave us a piece of flash fiction with a rendition of "First Time". A story about a landscape artist.

Glyn continued his apprentices story and was up to his usual standard. A couple of tweaks were suggested which Glyn took an board.

Rita's contribution was a book review of "Three Cups of Tea", the story of an explorers effort to build schools in Afghanistan.

Brenda read out "Minerva's Story" which is the second diary of her novel. Some members suggested several changes whilst others felt it should remain as it was as the piece worked well.

Mary K's effort this week was a poem entitled "Sports Report" and was a synopsis of various sporting events and their participants which had taken place over the last week.

Ann B's poem called "Rain" was based on one of the themes suggested for this week.

Chris narrated an item called "No Such Thing As A Free Lunch" and was a report on a trip where to receive free gifts of a duvet and a cross, she and her husband had to endure a presentation outlining the benefits of a new medical machine.

Jane gave us a rant on her "favourite subject - Computers and IT. It turned out to be a rant on new technology in general and the style portrayed Jane's usual humourous style.

Pat was encouraged to read her piece which was the completion of last week's hot pen. This was a very clever item which incorporated a mixture of poetry and prose in an excellent, funny and very visionary piece of writing.

Douglas gave us a scene setter of his latest work "Patrol". He wondered not so much about the actual content but the atmosphere and tension he was trying to create. The comments were all favourable.

Phil read out an item "In Search Of The 10th Legion". This was a competition entry of 500 words based on the theme of a journey. It transpired that the hero wanted to be involved in the making of a film and was being cast as an extra. Dissolusionment with the movie industry quickly set in however.

Look forward to next week when we will be hearing from those who had no chance to read.

Ian C

More Success on 'Beat to a Pulp' for Nik Morton

This short story 'HBT' is published online for a week.

It's the third of mine they've used and the first ('Spend it now, Pay Later') will appear in their print anthology later this year.

thereafter, it will be in the archive 'forever'...

Best wishes,

(Posted by Rob)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

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