Love Nudge Competition


Image: Pixabay

You know what today is, don’t you? 

Yes, my darlings, it’s the 7th of February and you know what that means, don’t you?

No, it doesn’t mean it’s the 619th anniversary of the Bonfire of the Vanities, where the good people of Florence had a headfit and decided to purge the city of sin by burning books, paintings and make-up. It also doesn’t mean it’s the 112th anniversary of the Great Baltimore Fire, which left 35,000 people unemployed and caused $3.84 billion of damage in today’s money.

Well, it is these things, but of course you already knew that.

No, my sweet puddings of delight, what today is is exactly a week until – de-de-de-de-de-de-derrrrr!

St Valentine’s Day!

Now, apart from having a mob-related massacre named after him, being the patron of beekeepers, epileptics, fainting, travellers and plague victims, Saint Valentine is of course the mastermind behind the greetings card, floral and choc-tastic sell-athon that is next Sunday. Who would have thought that a 3rd century Roman priest and martyr would inspire such a commercialised grab-fest? Not him for one.

Anyhoo, in honour of the day, I thought I’d run a little competion. I have a series of


key words, which if read in order could chart the beginning, middle and end of a doomed relationship (and let’s face it, the doomed ones are the most interesting, aren’t they?) Everyday next week, I’ll post a ‘nudge’ a day and all you have to do is write a little something relating to it and pop it in my comments box.

Your writing can take any form – poem (tanka, haiku, ode, blank verse, limeric – whatever you fancy, knock your poetic socks off): prose (up to three sentences), song lyric, ditty, advertising blurb … Really, whatever you fancy as long as it’s short-ish.

And don’t feel you have to be all Mills and Boon – I’ll be pleased to see romantic/horror, romantic/surrealism, romantic/magic-realism, romantic/sci-fi/zombie/Hemmingway fanfic. As long as it refers in some way to the day’s word and has some reference to a romantic relationship (straight, gay, bi, vegetal) that’s fine by me.

But nothing explicit in content, please – don’t make me blush, now.

If you’re an eager beaver and want to do some swotting up for the week ahead, here’s the schedule of events –

Monday: Attraction

Tuesday: Obsession

Wednesday: Jealousy

Thursday: Security

Friday: Regret

Saturday: Ennui

Sunday: Loathing

Yes, we end a week of romance with Loathing, and what a better way to finish. It’s what Val would’ve wanted.

Well, I said it was a competition and competitions have prizes, so the sweet soul who inspires me most over the week will either have my undying respect, admiration and pixel-licks, or (if they live inside the UK), will receive a copy of Still Me an anthology by my writing group All Write Then, and my first foray into print.

Final judging won’t start until the week commencing 15/2/16 as I’ll be in thorny-rosy-floristy hell until then.

Brownie points, extra love and virtual hugs and kisses got to all those who spread the word on any social media outlet, so Twitter and Facebook your little hearts out.

So, let the Love Nudge commence!




I need to go home now.

I keep telling them, the girl with the watery-eyes and the other one. I don’t know their names. No one tells you anything here and I don’t know why. It makes a fluttery ball form in my chest when I think about it, so I try not to think about it.

They’ve put me in a room but it’s not the right one, because the sun comes in from the wrong angle. The sun’s always come in from left to right, not right to left. And it’s the wrong shape- I get a wiggly shadow on the floor that never used to be there, not when I was home. I’ve told the girl with the watery eyes, but she just smiled and patted my hand. I didn’t want her to pat me- I’m not a dog. But the sun had moved all the way to the left, which means it’s nearly time for something and I get all jittery and find it difficult to think when I know it’s time for something.

At least the girl with the watery-eyes smells nice, like… something sweet. Something to do with a big piece of wood and a rolling pin.

The other one just smells like mince, like she’s got a pound of mince tucked into each bra cup. Dirty cow. What’s she doing looking after old people when she’s got mince in her undies. I tried to have a look, lifted her arm, tried to pull down her top to see how she was keeping it in place, but she grabbed my wrist. It pinched and I tried to wriggle free so she pinched some more. I screamed like billy-o until the watery-eyed one came and took me to my room. She’s got a soft voice, like a wood pigeon’s coo.

Almonds. That’s what the watery-eyed one smells of. Almonds, like that cake with sliced fingernails on the top and jam on the bottom. Sliced almonds, that’s what I mean- but they look like fingernails, like my Mam’s fingernails when she took the polish off with a ball of cotton wool. The cotton would start white like a snow cloud and end up with a smear of sticky red like a post box.

The food’s all wrong, too. They don’t mash the carrots and there’s no butter in them and no matter how much I try, I can’t find my cruet set, the one with the push-button on the top. I asked one of the old women today if she’d seen it, but I think she was a bit simple because she started to tell me about her cat being run over. The old lady had sticky spit in the corners of her mouth and her nose was running. I didn’t have a hanky, so I wiped her nose with her dressing gown. My Mam used to spit on a hanky to clean our faces- the spit smelt of cigarettes and she always scrubbed hard until I cried.

The watery-eyed girl told me her name. She says she told me what it was before, but I think she’s got me confused with one of the old people, because I’m sure I never knew it. When she told me and I smelt her smell again, I thought of a wooden table big as a door, sunlight slanting onto it through a high little window. The table’s white and dusty, covered in flour. There’s a ragged circle of something beige and a metal pie dish and my Mam standing over it with a rolling pin. And her fingernails are clean and white, just like the flaked almonds that sit in a bowl in front of me.

My Mam making Bakewell Tart.

I don’t know why the thought made me feel so sad, but I started to cry and the watery-eyed girl put her arms around me. I told her, she needs to send me home now, else my Mam will worry. The watery-eyed girl patted my back and I didn’t want to shrug her off this time. She sat me in the chair they’ve put in my room where the light’s all wrong and said she’d fetch a cup of tea. I asked her for a slice of Mam’s Bakewell Tart, but she just smiled and left the room.

I really think they should send me home now.

Today’s Writing 101 challenge was to write a post about losing something.

Much of my fiction seems to involve losing things- people, memories, minds- it’s clearly something I’m fixated with. But then it’s a good subject to write about, making the protagonist terrified, agonised, forcing them on a quest to recover what’s gone.

Sadly in this story, my protagonist suffers from dementia and has lost her connections with the present, with her own past and she’ll never get them back. But she grasps at moments that comfort her- the memory of watching her mum baking.

My first published stories were in an anthology called Still Me in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. If you’re interested in supporting the society and reading some short fiction and poetry, do take a look at Pewter Rose Press