Writing Competition: This is the end, beautiful friend

Image: Alicja Pixabay

Is it me or does the world feel like it’s more messed up than ever?

There was a time when all we had to fret over was nuclear annihilation and whether Wagon Wheels are smaller now than they were when we were kids (Yes they are.)

Now the NHS is on its knees, we’re threatened with medicine and food shortages if we leave Europe, civil disobedience if we don’t.

We’re in the middle of a man made Mass Extinction event, global warming is causing erratic weather patterns that threaten much of life on Earth and we’re liable to choke on our own plastic waste in the coming decades.

The question is, where do you channel the quite justified anxiety caused by these concerns?

Do you

A: go full Rambo-style survivalist, build a bunker in your flowerbeds and wait for the coming end armed with a cricket bat and some ancient tins of fruit cocktail to throw at oncoming hordes (I’m in the UK – holding them off with an assault rifle is not an option)?

B: pretend nothing’s happening, keep the worries inside until they form an ulcer the size of a dinner plate?

Hmm. If only there was some useful way to work through these anxieties …

Storgy Magazine has the answer.

They’re running a competition called Annihilation Radiation. There’s an End of the World theme, but here’s the twist that got me excited.

You enter the comp through Storgy’s Submittable page. Within 24 hours, you’ll be sent a link telling you whether you’ve been allotted a Beginning, Middle or End story.

Will you get to write a tale about patient 0 in a global a virus pandemic? Or one that records the catastrophe as it transpires? Or tell what life could be like after the mushroom cloud has settled?

And they’re not purely looking for grim outcomes – humorous stories are encouraged.

If you fancy a go, follow the link and if you do enter let me know – I might just be tempted to hold your hand through the End of Days.


Competition Win : On the Premises


Yesterday I received an email from the lovely people at On the Premises online fiction magazine, telling me that I had won their recent mini-contest to write a 50 word story with the theme ‘ten’ or ‘tenth’. You’ll discover the relevance of the above photo if you read the story.

As there were 126 entries, I’m pretty chuffed to have won, so thank you On the Premises!

See HERE to read my story, the wonderful runners up and honourable mentions.

As a side note, I found the competition on Cathy’s Comps and Calls, a great site for all fiction writers, so if you want to enter short story or poetry competitions but don’t have the energy to trawl the net searching for them, you could do worse than subscribe to Cathy’s blog.


Writing Magazine competition win


Gold winners trophy

Image: Pixabay

Back in April, I entered a short story competition run by Writing Magazine. For those unfamiliar, it’s probably the biggest selling writing magazine in the UK, aimed at aspiring and professional authors.

I’ve entered a lot of their competitions over the years – I could wallpaper my spare room with the submissions they’ve rejected – and only been shortlisted twice, once for a short story and once for a novel extract.

The notification period for this one came and went and I experienced my usual emotions, telling myself it was fine not to have won – no, really, FINE – analysing why the story was bad, why my work wasn’t sodding good enough for those darn picky judges – again.

Then an email plinked into my inbox – congratulating me on my competition win.

And you know what, instead of being delighted, chuffed, bowled over my my own skill and talent – I assumed the email was fraudulent and forwarded it to a writer friend for a second opinion! 

Well, my loves, the story did win and has now been published in print and online – the link’s here for all who want a few minutes’ read. May I recommend making an event of it – perhapes fetching a nice cup of something hot and a biscuit (a Penguin for that retro feel, or perhaps a chocolate Hobnob for you dunkers)?

It feels like quite a milestone, after submitting to the magazine so often. Seeing the story there in print and reading the editor’s comments online was the most delightful thing I’ve experienced since I started writing.

And for those in the UK who want to feel the paper in your hands, do rush to your local WH Smith’s and buy a copy (October issue). Even if you don’t like my story, the rest of the mag is very good.

Happy reading all.

P.S A public thanks to Maureen (whose glorious poetry you can read here and here) and Jackie (a wonderfully talented short story writer), my writing group pals, without whose advice and feedback the story would not have won.


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.




Love Nudge Competition final day. Sunday: Loathing


Image: Pixabay


Well, this is it – we face the final Love Curtain, err Love Nudge.

Our couple have gone from love’s young dream to hatred on a supernatural level. He’s working out who’s going to have custody of the Fridgemaster and the La – Z – Boys. She’s wondering how she can make her walking out look like his fault.

Today’s Love Nudge word is


So, for the final time, pop your poetry, prose, elegy, epitaphs and obituaries in the comments box.

Take one last look here for the rules and happy writing.


A huge thank you to all who have taken part in the competition. It’s been a joy to read your work and meet some amazing writers.

Now I need to ask your patience whilst I pick a winner.

As this post goes out, I’ll still be welded to a bench in a florist shop, wishing I could see anything other than red roses and self-conscious men. I’ll start reading tomorrow and announce the winner asap.

Thanks again and – if at all possible – do enjoy your Valentine’s Day.

Love Nudge Competition. Saturday: Ennui


Image: Pixabay


Day Six of the Love Nudge Competition and what a sorry sight our lovers are. If, indeed, they are lovers anymore.

He picks his toenails in front of the news. She can’t even be bothered to tell him off about it anymore. She stopped talking three years ago, but he didn’t notice because he hasn’t listened for four.

Today’s Love Nudge word is


If you can be bothered, compose something – poetry, prose, ekphrasis describing the state of this couple’s living room, whatever you fancy – and if you can muster the energy, pop it in the comments box.

Take a look here for the rules and happy writing.

Love Nudge Competition. Friday: Regret


Image: Pixabay


Day Five of the Love Nudge Competition, and things are going slowly downhill in what was once our little love idyll. 

Maybe the kids shouldn’t have come along so soon. Maybe he should have kept his drinkiing pals. Maybe she shouldn’t work so late, so hard, with a co-worker with such great cheekbones and cornflower blue eyes …

Today’s Love Nudge word is


Poetry, prose, elegy, book jacket blurb, whatever you fancy- pop it in the comments box.

Take a look here for the rules and happy writing.


With apologies, from now until some time late on Sunday, I’ll be up to my eyes in roses, cellophane and shifty looking men. No, I won’t be spending a few days of illicit passion in my own love dungeon – I’ll be working in a flower shop. The rest of my competition posts are already scheduled, but please don’t be offended if I don’t comment now until next week. I will be reading every single entry, so do keep them coming.

Love Nudge Competition. Thursday: Security


Image: Pixabay


Welcome to Thurday’s Love Nudge Competition, Day Four. So, still enthusiastic about this love affair, or wishing you’d stayed single?

We’ve moved on from passion and left jealousy far behind. We’re in our comfort zone now. We’re settling down, getting mortgages, picking out shower curtains … buying ovulation kits. Who needs a social life when you have an Ikea catalogue? What could possibly go wrong?

Today’s Love Nudge word is


Poetry, prose, elegy, elevator pitch, whatever you fancy- pop it in the comments box or leave a link to your post.

Take a look here for the rules and happy writing.

Love Nudge Competition. Tuesday: Obsession


Image: Pixabay


Welcome to the second day of Love Nudge, and what a cracking start we’ve had. There’s already been several submissions on the theme of Attractionsome beautiful, sparky, exciting work that gets the pulse racing just to read it.

Do take a look at other people’s writing and visit their blogs – there’s much to inspire.

So, what happens when that initial shiver of attraction tips over into something a bit more needy, something a bit more … addictive?

Today’s Love Nudge word is


Does your protagonist collect the cards their lover gives them, their hair – or are we thinking something a little more … Perfume?

Poetry, prose, elegy, advertising copy, whatever you fancy – pop the finished gorgeousness or a link to your post in the comments box.

Take a look here for the full rules and happy writing.

Love Nudge Competition. Monday: Attraction


Image: Pixabay

Good morning lovely people and welcome to the first day of the Love Nudge competition.

Each day up until and including Valentine’s Day, I’ll be posting a story prompt – a Love Nudge – to inspire you to write.

Today’s Love Nudge word is


So why not pop something in the comments box: poetry, prose, elegy, blurb for a cereal packet. Do as you feel.

Judging will start the week commencing 15/2/16 and I’ll announce the winner sometime after.

Take a look here for the full rules and happy writing.


Much love to all who have already shared and taken part in this prompt – you’re all wonderful people.