Sunday 16 April 2017

I am back to blogging, returning to writing ...

Hello.  This is my first blog post for a couple of years.

I have decided to return to blogging, to help me get back into the swing of keeping up with what others are up to by reading/commenting on their posts.  I also will be posting here about once a month (mid monthly) to start off with.  I expect the majority of my posts to be about information relating to writing, writing competitions in general and about those I organise (see also for full information about writing competitions).  I may also share snippets from my work as an adult education tutor in the community and will sometimes make reference to other blogs which I find interesting, or useful, or entertaining.

Off now to read and hopefully comment on other blogs.  Please do leave me your blog address and a few words to sum up what your blog is about if you want to.  I can't guarantee I will visit every blog which has ever existed but I'm looking forward to reading several a week and keeping in touch with other bloggers.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Back wheel going around

Yes it's true! My back wheel was going around as I've been on my first ride of April today.

I have a clapped out old Giant cycle and I've ridden around the houses for a wee while, up and down the hills (as it is hilly here).  Surprised myself at just how far I can go up hill before I get off to walk.

Will be doing that every day for the next fortnight in an effort to keep healthy.

Does lovely weather encourage you outside to cycle?

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Anyone for an Anecdote?

Anyone for an Anecdote?

At last the first day of the A-Z Blogging Challenge has arrived and it falls naturally to me to use this first 'A' post to natter on about a free entry writing competition you may be interested in taking part in.

Your brief is to come up with an anecdote suitable for a mainstream magazine and told in a maximum of 250 words.

Maggie will award her book to the one she finds the most entertaining and believable,
i.e. it doesn't have to be absolutely true but must sound convincing.

Prize - One copy of Maggie's book Easy Money for Writers and Wannabes,
one free entry to Open Short Story Competition, online publication



Follow these links for entry form and Rules of Entry

Friday 28 June 2013

'BURST' Competition Winner - 'Cold Tea' by Roger Woodcock



Amanda woke with a start, the pain low down in her groin. She turned onto her back, sweat sticking like a limpet to her nightdress. It would pass, all she had to do was lie still, and wait.

In the fetid blackness she listened to the thump of her heart beating against her ribcage. A white light traced across the ceiling, the muffled sound of a car engine impinging momentarily on her brain as it sped along the street. Instinctively she put out her arm, her hand seeking the familiar humped shape lying beside her. Then she remembered and tears clouded her eyes.

He had gone without a word, his wardrobe emptied of the familiar jackets and trousers, old cardigans she`d been threatening to throw out for years. Ken. Good, old fashioned, stick-in-the-mud Ken with his weekly ounce of tobacco and worn-out slippers. How could she have misjudged him so badly. What pent-up passions had lain behind the screen of Old Holborn smoke, what desires and frustrations festered deep inside him as he sat watching David Attenborough and his copulating Rhinos?

She pushed back the duvet and sat on the edge of the bed, the pain now a dull ache. Slipping her feet into her slippers she gingerly felt her way around the end of the bed, her hand feeling for the familiar fluffiness of her dressing gown. On the landing she paused as another wave of pain shot across her stomach. She clutched the banister, beads of sweat pricking her forehead. Outside, the familiar drone of the night mail plane passed overhead. She only knew about the night mail because Ken had told her. He knew everything about everything did Ken. He`d once won a Brain of Britain contest, had his picture blazoned all over the local rag and been interviewed by some skinny crop-haired feminist on breakfast TV.

Slowly she began to descend the stairs. Why hadn`t she put the light on? After all there was no Ken to chastise her any more, tell her how the sudden brightness had disturbed the equilibrium of his brain cells..or some such pompous observation.

She reached the bottom of the stairs and felt for the light switch. The glow threw shadows across the cracked ceiling, showed up the faded wallpaper and the stained and threadbare carpet. Was that why he had gone, she wondered, thinking their relationship was cracked and faded, like the fabric of the old house.

She opened the kitchen door and switched on the light. Another wave of pain hit her, bile rising in her throat. She hung her head over the sink, the smell of disinfectant making the nausea worse. Ken had always insisted on her using disinfectant after every washing-up session. `Can`t be too careful when it comes to germs` he`d said, the stink of his pipe tobacco filling the tiny kitchen.

Gradually the nausea subsided. Clutching her side she lowered herself gently onto a kitchen chair. Why wasn`t he here, making her a drink, fussing over her, telling her she ought to go and see a doctor. Because Ken didn`t do that sort of thing, that`s why. `One has to be stoical about these things`, he`d told her last time she`d had one of her `turns.`

She had no idea where he had gone. And the more she`d thought about it the more she realized she didn`t really care. No, that wasn`t quite true. His salary from the Accountants where he worked would be missed, there was no denying that. But she would get herself a job, something her husband had never allowed her to do. `So demeaning to have people seeing ones wife going out to work`, he had pontificated or more than one occasion. She had trained as a social worker before her marriage. Maybe she would call into their office on the High Street and see if there were any vacancies. She filled up the kettle and set it on the gas ring. No more taking him a cup up to bed only for him to say it wasn`t quite hot enough. Why then had she felt a sudden sadness when she`d reached out for him in the bedroom? Was it the familiar cosiness of their marriage? After all they had been together for nearly half a century. Inertia. Isn`t that what they called it. Like not changing your bank even though you knew you could get a better deal elsewhere. Perhaps if there`d been children.... 

She snatched the boiling kettle from the hob and poured the water into the teapot. As she slipped the cosy over the pot the pain returned, so sharp that she swept her tea cup on to the floor. Doubling up she sank to her knees, cold sweat engulfing her. She had never had pain like this before, her whole body shaking uncontrollably. Slowly she crawled into the hallway, her hand reaching for the telephone table. Pulling herself up she dialled 999 and asked for an ambulance, the pain now so severe she began to sob. Through the tears she managed to give the operator her address. The soothing voice on the other end of the phone said the ambulance would be there in a few minutes and could she make sure the door was left unlocked. It was as she was crawling to the door that she passed out...

She opened her eyes, the face gradually coming into focus.

`Hi,` The voice was soft, reassuring. `You`re in hospital. I`m afraid your appendix burst but we got to you in time and everything is fine. Lucky your husband was there to let us in.`

Amanda stared at the nurse. `My husband..he`s..I don`t understand.`

The nurse smiled. `He was on the drive when the ambulance turned up. He seemed a little upset, mumbled something about a new start before he let the paramedics in. He`s in the corridor now if you want to see him.

Amanda slumped back onto her pillow. `Later....maybe.`






Sunday 2 June 2013

Winning stories to be showcased on Facebook

Hello, welcome to the first blog post for June 2013.

The 'BURST' competition results will be known next week.  In the meantime, I have created a Facebook page and will be trying over the next week or two, to copy the winning stories to this page.

This is with a view to showcase your winning stories.


Friday 19 April 2013

RESULT for 'START' Flash Fiction Competition 2013

This information will also be posted to the competition website as soon as I am able to access it.
Problems with Weebly at present.

Our thanks to Dan Purdue  for judging the competition entries and providing his book as part of the first prize Somewhere To Start From and you can find this on Amazon

You can read Dan's report for the three final entries on the competition website (will be posted there soon).

Winning entry - The Castle by Tony Oswick

Second Place   - The Weight of Stones by Jenny Long

The competition was to have provided first and second places only, but I'm pleased to say an
Honourable Mention has been awarded to You Start by Fiona Faith Ross.


Bonds by Jane Connop
Bubby by Gail Aldwin
Caught Unawares by Jan McGeachie
Descending and Ascending by Tim Craig
Don’t Start by Brian Webster
Fresh Start by Barbara Hill
It Started with a Kiss by Keith Havers
Judgement Day by Jilly Gardiner
Room Nineteen by Jim Hamilton
Start by Steve Clough
Start by Esther Doel
Start by Joan Phillipps
Starting Over by Ros Collins
The Castle by Tony Oswick
The Darkness, Waiting by Sinead O'Hart
The Fright of their Lives by Rob Tye
The Leather-Clad Phoenix by Heather Price
The Portrait by Cathy Lennon
The Weight of Stones by Jenny Long
You Start by Fiona Faith Ross


Don’t you Start by Lyndsay Fisher
Follow Me by Sadie Wikiel
 Fresh Start by Linda Hardy
Incendiary by Renay Allen
Over the Brink by Devika Rajeev
Riot by Lyndsay Warner
Start from Scratch by Julie Kilpatrick

Remember, you may not have won this competition but by entering it you have gained a complete story. I suggest you read Dan's report, read the winning entries and read your entry with a critical eye.  Ask yourself if your entry could be improved then either send it somewhere else, or expand on the idea to make a longer piece of work. 

We are currently inviting entries to the following competitions and would be pleased to receive your work.  Please see the links for full details, rules of entry and entry form:

Entry form

Thanks to all who entered this competition.

Kind regards,