Love Nudge Competition Winner


Image: Pixabay


The judging is over and what a tough week it’s been for me here at Shamble Towers.

I received so many submissions of such high quality and in such a wide range of styles, it felt almost impossible to choose between them. If I could afford to send you all a prize I would.

I was impressed by what an emotional lot you are – you covered everything from pure joy and passion to twisted loathing, blackmail andstalking finally nudging towards jealousy-fuelled homicide. The full gamut of the love experience.

Poetry was a big hitter in the competition and I’ve been introduced to forms I’d never heard of previously – haibun, senryus, shadorma, rondelet, gogyohka – and each one a sparkling gem of brevity and beauty.

Before we go to the result – and because this was about reading people’s work and discovering new blogging pals as much as a finding a winner – I thought I’d share some of my favourite moments from each entrant.

All writing below is the author’s own and merely reproduced to show how clever they all are.



Kittykat-bits and bobs

The dressing room door stood open, revealing rows of designer clothes. Her perfectly manicured fingernails caught the sunlight in the mirror as she applied foundation to cover the bruises. The price of security.


In Medias Res

From to love to loathing
a step down a twisted path
thorns prick, bleed insults


Making it Write

when you try to leave he’s filled with remorse
and you don’t realise that it’s par for the course.
his claims of regret bring you back to his arms
but once you are there he drops the charm.


Life Lessons

New love blogs extreme attraction.
Experience posts a retraction.



Why are women jealous when I talk to their men, thinking I’ll steal them away. When really it’s the men who should worry, when I talk to the girls.


What the Woman Wrote

stay away
from this broken heart
nothing else
makes me sick
more than watching you pretend
that you give a damn


F Dot Leonora

it was like a fire at first, but she put it out. the warm remnants ignited again, and she could not help but savor the wamth, the feeling, the draw…it reminded her she was alive…


Only 100 Words

The collection of Max and Olive’s drawings has you stumped for hours. He gets the children, he’ll get more drawings. So you should keep these. Then you think of the children – they might miss their masterpieces.


Merlot Bookbinder

Instant attraction.
Love at first sight.
Jaw dropping beauty,
Feel as high
As a kite.



The bell rang, but he waited as she collected her notes, her book, and zipped her backpack. It was how he said goodbye each day. But he couldn’t let her leave him again. This time, he chose to follow her.


Olivier Fiction

Observing obscure overtures optimistically. 


Obnoxious?  Obtuse? Oafish?  Officious? Obliterated outright. 


Jibing, jeering, JERK!  Just you judge your jugular, junior, for jagged joints.


A Word Adventure

Sure she was no longer young or beautiful but was it reason enough to cheat on her, to leave her and the kids for a Barbie doll?


And now to the prize giving. 

I wish I could give you all a gold star just for finding this competition and for being here.

Honourable Mentions

I send a big, electronic hug to my blogging pals Kat and Sonya and to all those who spread the competition on social media – they know how rubbish I am at Twittering and without their help no one new to this blog would have heard of Love Nudge at all.

More Honourable Mentions

To those who submitted every day – thank you, you’re amazing. And for those very clever souls – Jane at Making it Write, Walt at Waltbox and Sonya at Only 100 Words – who not only posted for each prompt, but also made each a chapter in the same story: a nod of admiration to you talented group. Also special nods go to Annie at What the Woman Wrote for being so proficient at so many beautiful poetic forms and to Jonathan at Olivier Fiction for torturing himself by using only alliteration in his submissions.

And now to the Winner!

Firstly, let me explain the reasons behind my decision. Not only did the winner post every day, they used a poetic form – the haibun – which combines prose with a haiku ending. They also weaved all seven segments together, making one story, beginning at the height of a passionate affair, passing through its souring by jealousy, stalking, attempted blackmail, separation and a high profile trial. I was by turns gripped, saddened and angered by the way the plot developed, the writer making me care for a protagonist that was foolish, selfish, but strong and witty – someone who was manipulated and could have become a victim but emerged a survivor.

And all this written in the rather tricky second person POV.

So, first prize and a copy of Still Me by All Write Then goes to Sonya at Only 100 Words for her exceptional work. My email is on my profile – if you’d be happy to send me your address, I’ll wing a copy to you in the post as soon as the Royal Mail will allow.

Thank you, again, to all of those who took part. It’s been a joy to meet many of you for the first time and to be introduced to your writing – a pleasure to know such a talented bunch of people all across the world.






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

We’re going on a cave hunt… Writing Caves #4


I love being in bed. Not like that, saucy!

I just enjoy that soft, warm feeling that only hiding in your bedroom brings. Not that my bedroom’s anything glamorous. No four-poster, cushion-jungle, Barbie-bed shenanigans for me.

For a start, we’ve too much ‘stuff’ to keep the room clutter-free, so against one of the walls are boxes of books due for the charity shop, toys my son no longer plays with now he’s surgically attached to a games system when he’s not at school, bags of old clothes that are awaiting the imaginary car boot sale which we really are going to do one day… You get the picture.

Then, on my side of the bed is THE NEST. THE NEST comprises stacks of old notebooks, numbered and in the date order they were completed, along with the index book I use to record what’s in each one, so I at least stand a tiny chance of finding old short story/ novel ideas I had three years ago, but never had the time to complete (It’s one of the few areas of my life/ writing/ existence on this planet where I’m a tiny bit organised.)

Also in THE NEST are two stacks of books I-keep-meaning-to-read-but-haven’t-quite-got-round-to-yet. These include The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber, several Booker nominees (which I’ve eschewed for years in favour of Suzanne Collins, Ben Aaronovitch, Neil Gaiman and tons of other great authors who will never be nominated for that esteemed prize). There’s a book of Greek Myths, a Grimm’s Fairy Tales and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, which I’m just too chicken to read at night-time.

Then there’s the box of as yet unsold copies of Still Me*, the anthology of short stories and poems my writing group, All Write Then published a few years ago, testament not to the quality of the writing, but to how thoroughly useless I am at promotion. There’s also a pack of 200 business cards- Lynn Love:Author (Ha!Ha!)- which I misguidedly bought for my one and only foray into book fairs. Sold not a single book and it wasn’t fair!

THE NEST is a messy dust trap, but it encapsulates my love of books and writing (successful and really, very not so) and I love having it so close to me at night. Maybe I’m hoping the talent from all those Bookerists will leech out of the paper and into my brain as I slumber.

Anyhoo. Despite being a mess, my bedroom is great for writing in.

Imagine. It’s the weekend, early morning. The family are up and about because even though they don’t need to be, neither of them can sleep in when there are computer generated aliens to slay/ cities to build/ race tracks to conquer. I’ve had my first wee of the day (lovely), switched on the WIFI (a mistake for someone so easily distracted) and with freshly brewed tea in hand, sneak back upstairs for a couple of hours of tip-tapping on Dominic Silversteak**. The sun streams in (on a good day), I’m separate enough from my loved ones to concentrate, and close enough to hear them laugh/ argue/ moan about having to do their homework.


Bed- the Writing Cave of champions!

*If you’d like to purchase a copy of Still Me, they’re available from our publisher, Pewter Rose Press at a very reasonable price. All proceeds go to the Alzhiemer’s Society, so you’ll be buying quality and doing a good deed- hurrah!

**You’ve not been paying attention- Dominic’s my laptop, not the lover I keep in the airing cupboard.