Tuesday, October 31, 2006

17th First Prize! 199 Hits in 2006

Congratulations to TomC.

Tom recently won Seventh Quark's Frantic Flash, but to show it was no fluke (or a fix) that's Tom's third first place in a month.

This time Tom wins JBWB and picks up $300

This year has been relative disppointing as two of our most prolific winners consciously made the choice to aim a lot higher. One big problem with the competition and publication "market" is the huge gap between those places that cater for very good beginners and intermediate writers, and then the big boys.

When 7Q was launched it aimed to bridge the gap between those places we all start subbing to, and the exalted journals. One problem the editor of 7Q discovered is that many, may writers stay in their comfort zone because they are too scared to saddle up and cross that no-pubs desert.

The 95-110 story i can pick up any time. The stories between 110 and 140 seem rarely to be written.

We can only dream of 150-200


Total Winnings $6,710


01 Colin $200 First Place in Slingink's Eurofiction
02 Mike Joint-Winner in 7Q FF9
03 Dave Joint-Winner in 7Q FF9
04 Lexie Wins Adult SS of the Year ($600) in "Killie"
05 Cally Wins Dark Tales ($60)
06 Fleur wins 7Q FF10
07 Hazera wins Doorknobs & Bodypaint First Place
08 Alex Wins Pencil Bantry $300
09 Lexie Wins Cotswold Prize $1,000
10 Cally wins Bank Street SS Prize $140
11 Alex wins Lichfield Prize $250
12 ColinU wins Cadenza $400
13 Caroline wins Kings Lynn Poetry Prize ($200)
14 Gabiotas wins FirstWriter $400
15 TomC wins at "All About Writing"
16 TomC wins $200 First at 7Qs Frantic Flash 11
17 TomC wins $300 First at JBWB


01 Lexie $150 Second Place in "Dame Throgmorton"
02 TomC gets $100 second in JBWB
03 Dave PR 2nd in 7Q FF10
04 Cally Joint second in Writers Dock Comp
05 Lexie $300 second place Philip Good Memorial Prize
06 Cally in Woman's Own (Prize Value estimate $250)
07 Colin Second in FlashFiction Comp $50
08 Lexie 2nd in City of Derby Comp $400
09 Tom gets $200 2nd in Twyford with CIN Story
10 Calvin Lord 2nd 7Q FF11
11 ColinU 2nd at New Horizonz ($20)
12 Nighttwriter 2ns Aber Valley $60


01 Lexie in 7Q FF9 Third Place
02 Lexie 3rd in 7Q FF10
03 Tom's $25 3rd in Oz
04 Lexie $200 3rd in The New Writer
05 Alex $150 third place Philip Good Memorial Prize
06 DavePR 3rd in 7Q FF11
07 Lexie 3rd at Mere ($150)


01 Alex Night Train Yates Comp, Last 12 "Floating"
02 Alex Poem in "Out of Love" Anthology
03 Laurie (Nartje) in "Out of Love" Anthology
04 Lexie, State of Being" HR at HISSAC (only winner is announced)
05 Lexie, second story finalist at HISAAC
06 Colin finalist in HISAAC
07 Colin HR in JBWB
08 Cally in Final of Belvedere
09 Lexie in Fish Anthology ($100)
10 Lexie last 140 of 1800, Fish
11 Haz named in Best of the web shortlist
12 Lexie Final of Writers Forum
13 Alex last 3 in Carve "Overseas Writer"
14 TomC HR'd in Bank Street SS Comp
15 TomC 4th in Twisted Tongue
16 Alex at Philip Good Memorial (second story placed 3rd)
17 Lexie at Philip Good Memorial (second story placed 2nd)
18 Cally HR in Lymm Festival $20
19 Colin Finalist, $40, dinner at Frome
20 Cally Finalist Flash FictionComp
21 TomC finalist, ditto
22 Britbird shortlisted in Pier Pressure
23 Colin HM in Momaya III, in Anthology
24 Fleur "too late" in FF11 but into 7Q
25 Cally runner up at Mere ($30)
26 Cally Shortlisted at Slingink TBA
27 Cally shortlisted Helen Mullen Award TBA
28 Caroline short-listed Bournemouth Literary Festival
29 TomC named on Wells Shortlist
30 Lexie named on Wells shortlist
31 Lexie named on Wells Shortlist
32 TomC 2nd story shortlisted (Top 6) at JBWB as well as winning!

00 Laurie recently left but was also HR'd at Bank Street (not counted)

Lexie also recieved $25 & $10 payments

Winnings in Dollars, £ = $2, Euro = $1
for simplicity of calculation

Monday, October 30, 2006

Seven already up for tonight's CIN Practice

who's in?

01 Alex
02 TW
03 Dave PR
04 MJH
05 RR?
06 CLT
07 Ralph

Children in Need Practise

Please note there is a Children in Need Practice Flash
Session TONIGHT held in Boot Camp. (Free)

(Join us even if you are not "CINNING")

if new to ezboards, go HERE http://p220.ezboard.com/bbootcampkeegan

and say hello first,

If you are already on board the CIN Forums will be


Please email me if your doing some!

Prompts etc

I thought I'd be away Monday-Tuesday so busted a giut over the weekend to try and hit 40K for October,

Bugger! now I'm on 41.5 K with three days left. That means I need to aim for 45K and 50K

Or maybe I'll sleep

I've been up 3 Hours 15 minutes (but finished primaries)

her y'go


There is no chapel on the day, on which they hang a man

To hell with the dogwood

I forget, I forget, but I know that I was born

I saw Savold fight Billy Conn (unless I've got the names mixed)

Honey, Money

The social life here is limited but odd

Reviews are balls if you ask me and never to be trusted

That Whitsun, I was late getting away

Your letter came today, parachuted food to my jungle

Have you read Comrade Steinbeck's latest?

He was always very upset about the dead and blood and what-not.

It seems to me unbearable in every line that the man killed himself for no personal failing or despair

Picklepot, are the childies having fun?

Have a good time in the army darling

I have been writing every day fiercly all day

My cats are very good to me but unfortunately cannot read

This afternoon mother comes

Will spoily you like goat

My typewriter is broken so I am in Max's office

Your wisdom is more apparent to me every day

Now the colour is terrible

What year at Bryn Mawr

No letters in 1947

i dug this grave with my teeth

Age doesn't matter unless you're a cheese

November Frantic Flash Cancelled

We are up to our ears with the Children in Need Marathon
and demand for the FF is not that high (most are in CIN)
so we wl not hold the Frantic Flash on November 4-5

The next Frantic Flash will be held 3-4 December

Sunday, October 29, 2006

DUNNIT! 41,520 words

I wrote a few days ago saying I hoped to crack 40,000 words this month but it seemed unlikely.

Well a purple weekend and I am on 41,520 (in 24 Days)

That 50K Novel-in-a-Month thing sounds like a doddle

10 Flashes
08 Poems
05 Shorts
08 Stories
01 Articles (SOLD)
01 Unfinished Piece (320 words)

02 Rejections
01 Hits

Quantity before Quality?

I have always found that the more I write, the faster I write, the better it gets. I expect to place 90% of this month's work. One piece is my entry into The National Short Story Prize. At least two others will do very well in comps.

I won't post the list now, but will kep updating it once the stuff starts to place (or not!)

Success Update

Not sure which of these have been posted, but if I'm repeating myself, well does it hurt to mention a success twice?

190 Tom C has an acceptance for Aussie print Journal, Staples

191 Roberta gets into Lyrica

192 Lexie placed third in Mere ($150)

193 Cally is a runner-up and gets $30

194 Lexie on Wells Shortlist I

195 Lexie on Wells Shortlist II

195 Tom C on Wells shortlist (BCers 3/20 Finalists)

196 Caroline Second Place in Aber Valley Poetry Comp

197 AK places a new article at Internet Writers Journal

Sunday Prompts and a Success

Sorry these are late. I was up at 0700 but forgot to post

PS had an email from an ex Boot Camper who said that a story sparked by a prompt from this blog made the last 50 (of 4,000 or so stories) in The Bridport Prize!


I read about it in the paper, on the subway, on my way to work.


and brings the sailor home for tea


In the Oakland Greyhound all the people were dwarfs


Hi there, streets, hi there, squares, hello [i]la foule![/i]


His story begins in New York on the corner of Broadway and Battery Place


I too awaited the expected guests


I read it and I couldn't believe it, and I read it again.


Squalid doubtful figures, family men vaguely happy


Whe he appears every hat is raised


Cutting in ahead of two nuns who were there first


Savitsky, Commander of the Division, rose when he saw me.


The marvellous beauty of political corruptions


1906 Gun-Boat Diplomacy 2006 Gravy Boat Diplomacy


I meat you in an evil time


All afternoon is someone's attic


You who love England, have an ear for her music


Down the long concourse they came unsteadily


Then perhaps I just stared at it.


She thought it was the flaming head of a man whipping like a comet through the sleeping darkness.


Oh, what can you do with a man like that?


I buttoned up my coat, balanced myself; advance slowly towards him, touched his shoulder and said:


The cat had begun to clean its whiskers


We slept, all six of us, beneath a wooden roof that let in the stars


Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirro and a razor lay crossed.


The things they carried were largely determined by necessity.


That evening at Bud and Olla's was special.


When it came to concealing his troubles, Tommy Wilhelm was not less capable than the other fellow.


and a bit of her petticoat hanging like a caricature


We were always loyal to lost causes


The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward

CHORION (for everyone except Lexie)

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I'm on 32.5K so I think I should strike out for 40K.

Unlikely as I have to travel Monday-Tuesday, but I may get out of that yet.

Today I've posted a mass of prompts, but here's the deal. You need to CHANT the whole lists, sing it, at least 4-5 times and then when you think you are almost ready to write, sing it again, take notice of the italics/plain/bold/caps, then, when you write your story try to include at least one actual prompt (or its inspiration/feel) from each type.


All my adult life


Sometimes he turned to smile


In Santiago


I have been a guest in other people's houses


that toothed, long-jawed, lip-less smile


the capital of the kingdom of Chile


following the sun and seasons like a migratory bird


when he was called something particularly insulting


at the very moment of the great earthquake of 1647


an instinct in me, the rich man's cunning feel for ripeness


and always the pain that at any movement produced


in which many thousands of lives were lost


some oyster-in-an-r-month notion working there


grew stronger and stronger


a young Spaniard by the name of Jeronimo Rugera


which knows without reference to anything outside itself


until finally his yellow face was parchment color


who had been locked up on a criminal charge


when to pack the tennis racket


and after his second bull was dead


was standing against a prison pillar


when to bring the field glasses


and the throwing of bread and cushions was over


about to hang himself


to look at a friend's birds


after he had saluted the president


the telescope to stare at his stars


the wet suit to swim in beneath his waters


with the same wolf-jaw and contemptuous eyes


when the exotic fish are running


it's not in the Times


and handed his sword over to the barrera to be wiped


when the black dinner jacket comes off and the white one goes on


it's something surer, subtler


and put back in its case


the delicate guidance system of the privileged


he passed through the callejon


my playboy astronomy


and leaned on the barrera below us


his head on his arms


not seeing, not hearing anything


only going through his pain


Friday, October 27, 2006

Woohoo, a POYM (and Prompts)

Prompts can be amazing things.

I was just posting a random set of prompts, lines of poetry (sometimes bastardised) odd single words, whatever, when I typed TWO WORDS, instantly had a poem, wrote it (well, the first draft) and then continued with the prompts.

I'm up to 29 items for the month, 32,552 words in 21 writing days and it's all OK at least


A Faint Light Blinking in the Bering Strait

Small Boy, Yellow Shirt, Football

A Thousand Missiles Firing From Their Buried Silos

Other Day I'm Reading the Newspaper

Acid Rain

Ten Miles Above the Tits at St Tropez

Milk Bottles

900 Fucking Channels

Calcutta Pullulating With its Poor

At a Motel in Nanton, Alberta

They Had to Lift Her Hand From the Bedside Telephone

Those Stars We Hope to Drink Beneath Tonight

Men Armed With Nineteenth-Century Rifles

I Sing the Song of Myself

Sceptical of the Cult, Suspicious of the Nation

What Innocence? Whose Guilt? What Eyes? Whose Breast?

The Name of the Product I Tested is LIFE

The Daughters of Albion Arriving by Tube

I Was Run Over By Truth One Day

I Came Upon a Child of God, Walking Down the Road

There Was a River Overhung With trees

My Alarm Clock Screams

Nothing Was Said Until the House Grew Dark

Tanks From America, Machine-Guns From France

Each Man Wears His Suffering Like a Skin

In Parliament, Not All Humbug By Any Means

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Latest Boot Camp 2006 Prize List

Total Winnings $6,350


01 Colin $200 First Place in Slingink's Eurofiction
02 Mike Joint-Winner in 7Q FF9
03 Dave Joint-Winner in 7Q FF9
04 Lexie Wins Adult SS of the Year ($600) in "Killie"
05 Cally Wins Dark Tales ($60)
06 Fleur wins 7Q FF10
07 Hazera wins Doorknobs & Bodypaint First Place
08 Alex Wins Pencil Bantry $300
09 Lexie Wins Cotswold Prize $1,000
10 Cally wins Bank Street SS Prize $140
11 Alex wins Lichfield Prize $250
12 ColinU wins Cadenza $400
13 Caroline wins Kings Lynn Poetry Prize ($200)
14 Gabiotas wins FirstWriter $400
15 TomC wins at "All About Writing"
16 TomC wins $200 First at 7Qs Frantic Flash 11


01 Lexie $150 Second Place in "Dame Throgmorton"
02 TomC gets $100 second in JBWB
03 Dave PR 2nd in 7Q FF10
04 Cally Joint second in Writers Dock Comp
05 Lexie $300 second place Philip Good Memorial Prize
06 Cally in Woman's Own (Prize Value estimate $250)
07 Colin Second in FlashFiction Comp $50
08 Lexie 2nd in City of Derby Comp $400
09 Tom gets $200 2nd in Twyford with CIN Story
10 Calvin Lord 2nd 7Q FF11
11 ColinU 2nd at New Horizonz ($20)


01 Lexie in 7Q FF9 Third Place
02 Lexie 3rd in 7Q FF10
03 Tom's $25 3rd in Oz
04 Lexie $200 3rd in The New Writer
05 Alex $150 third place Philip Good Memorial Prize
06 DavePR 3rd in 7Q FF11
07 Lexie 3rd at Mere ($150)


01 Alex Night Train Yates Comp, Last 12 "Floating"
02 Alex Poem in "Out of Love" Anthology
03 Laurie (Nartje) in "Out of Love" Anthology
04 Lexie, State of Being" HR at HISSAC
05 Lexie, second story finalist at HISAAC
06 Colin finalist in HISAAC
07 Colin HR in JBWB
08 Cally in Final of Belvedere
09 Lexie in Fish Anthology ($100)
10 Lexie last 140 of 1800, Fish
11 Haz named in Best of the web shortlist
12 Lexie Final of Writers Forum
13 Alex last 3 in Carve "Overseas Writer"
14 TomC HR'd in Bank Street SS Comp
15 TomC 4th in Twisted Tongue
16 Alex at Philip Good Memorial (also placed 3rd)
17 Lexie at Philip Good Memorial (also placed 2nd)
18 Cally HR in Lymm Festival $20
19 Colin Finalist, $40, dinner at Frome
20 Cally Finalist Flash FictionComp
21 TomC finalist, ditto
22 Britbird shortlisted in Pier Pressure
23 Colin HM in Momaya III, in Anthology
24 Fleur "too late" in FF11 but into 7Q
25 Cally runner up at Mere ($30)
26 Cally Shortlisted at Slingink TBA
27 Cally shortlisted Helen Mullen Award TBA
28 Caroline short-listed Bournemouth Literary Festival

00 Laurie recently left but was also HR'd at Bank Street (not counted)

Lexie also recieved $25 & $10 payments

Winnings in Dollars, £ = $2, Euro = $1
for simplicity of calculation

Approaching 200 Hits - prompts

A recent rush of hits takes us into the mid 190's, will post when we hit the two-ton!


I shouted, turning where I thought the voice had been


Isn't it nice that everyone has a grocery list


These are the days of the horrible headline


Who will sit where in the forest of tiaras?


I'll tell yer then what really riles a bloke


The barman's spaniel, one damp eye a-cock


Concerning the reinements of cruelty


Bomb Blast Atrocity, Leak From Reactor


He aerosolled his name, and it was mine.


The lads, the lads, away the lads


At home, indeed, it was terribly like the world cup


It's all go to the sandblaster, it's all go Tutti Frutti


President, playing the saxophone, hoping to be liked


Flights Everywhere


A society wedding, the autumn hats look swell

and an earlier batch, posted at some unGodly hour

Make Me a Supermodel

Otters Use Tools Too

Friends Resurrected

The Kiwi and the Sheep

Hole Punch

Ferret-Face Fred and the Mystery of the Gas-Leak

The Night has a Thousand Eyes

Taking a Liberty

Waterloo! Waterloo!

A purpose in liquidity

Suffering From Man Flu

Georgia's Epitaph

The singing will never be done

On bended knee

Cosmic Radiation

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Two More Prizes

We previously announced to Boot Campers on the Mere Shortlist

Just heard we had a 3rd ($150) and a runner-up ($30)

Better than a slap in the face with a wet kipper


CIN, and Today's Flashes

If you are a volunteer for Children in Need Marathon Writing Night
but still have not paid your £25 you are very close to being OFF the lust.

Contact the organiser, NOW!

We have held three practice flash session and received 77 Stories, s
ome not so good, many not OK and some super ones!

Here are BC's Flashes Tuesday Morning

At Seventeen I've Come to Read a Poem

Cow Pancake

I Must Retrieve Sire's Saddle


All the boys are howling to take the girls to bed


A Faraway War


She lay beside the bridge.

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.

Wilhelm Could Wrinkle His Forehead in an Amusing Way

Me Equals Empty Squared

The barbarians are due here today

Stuart Backwards

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race

Actors explode, girls go berserk

How beautiful; those rockets are which fill the dark

The Long Line in the Grey Morning

Something From the States I Think

Monday, October 23, 2006

Arsenal Sublime

My son is in America so took my daughter to see Reading v Arsenal. We are Reading Fans now we live near but have been fans of Arsenal since the McLintock Days (well I have anyway, kids weren't born).

But getting tickets is damn hard. First time I managed to get tickets with PJ was at Middlesboro when Arsenal won 0-4.

Yesterday I take his sister Bridie to Reading and Arsenal do it again, winning 0-4.

I'm "talking football" because this wasn't just a win. I can honestly say that this is the best I've ever seen any football team play "live". The Reading fans applauded at the end. Some of the Arsenal football was magical, Brazil at their best. And Bridie got a hug of the Reading mascot.

Woke Sunday AM feeling like crap, no more sleep so Boot Camp Admin, check my word-count for the month (29,950) and update the BC Publications for the year.


Crossing the Line

I remember, I remember, the house where I was born


They kept us close till nigh on noon and then they rang the bell

The Letters of Martha Flint

The beauty of the morning, silent, bare

Albert Backwards

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels


Singing Upside Down

Stained Glass and Other Distractions

Zen and the Art of Fixing a Puncture

The Long and Winding Road

How the make ball-bearings round

The Last Thing He Did


The window is starless, still, the clock ticks

Three-Legged Lambs

I long for scenes where man has never stood

Turkey Soup

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Football, Bridge, CIN

Up early, Mrs working today, but me, a tough time, lunch out with my daughter and then off to see Reading v Arsenal.

Will I cope?

But I have a story to finish so was up at 0700.

Trouble is (near-fatal for me) I broke after 2500 words and now I can't FEEL the story. I strive to write all my story drafts in one sitting. When I don't the story usually sucks. The only time I can remember a real success with a two-siting story is The Card which placed 4th in The Bridport Prize.

But (and this is the REAL point). You get it done anyway. You make the story finish. Don't get into the habt of unfinished work. It gets to easy to repeat.


Played Bridge yesterday (pard and I still qualified as non-experts) and going into the last round we were 11th, (second non-expert pair) on the same percentage as the guy who had the most gold points in the UK last year. (We were on oxygen). Then we blew the last round, losing 19-1 (oops) and dropped to 28th (4th N-E-P) of 136 pairs.

Question, do we think it had anything to do with the bottle of wine over dinner, or are we still out of our depth? Ended on 61% when our target at these places is to beat 50%...


Will take place again MONDAY NIGHT (23rd)


A Green Diary

Just Now the Lilac is in Bloom


Trumpet Involuntary

Much perplexed by various feelings


Walking a Thick Line

The woods are lovely dark and deep

The Small Canyon

And I was green and carefree, famous among the barns


What Goes in Pizza

Greenstone Park

The sea is calm tonight

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

When I am a very old man I shall wear yellow Lycra

And he felt in his heart their strangeness

Naked Woman and City-Scape

Where the wind is like a whetted knife

Oliver's Other Leg

I Have been so great a lover, filled my days

Going Out Two Days With Simon

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Writing, Prompts etc


5 Days off this month and yet approaching 30K


Someone is at the gate


Pray gentle maiden, may I be your lover

The Drive-in Funeral

The Serendipity Club

Thomas is having a bad day


The square footage of the average cell

Daffodils or Narcissi?

The Estrangement of the History Teacher

The Difference Between Blank and Empty

Some heart-broken woman who hopes her married lover will come back to her after a couple of months cos he can't live without her


Preferring the Child

Hammer, hammer-blow, Hammered

Vera's car was there, no others


Friday, October 20, 2006

Prompts For Insomniacs

Night Out Tonight, came in wrote a flash to add to todays, 2.5K sstory

Here are a set of flashes for those without beds to go to.

A Word to the Wise, said Richard

The Highwayman

Dorky Dorky Dorky Dorky Dorky Dorky

Here I am, sweating, sick and hot

The Difference Between Loss and Grief

Call the Super

When Fishes Flew and Forests Walked


She Walks in Beauty, Like the Night

Eaten Alive

From Troubles of the World I Turn to Ducks

In a Wooded Valley

The Wind Was a Torrent of Darkness Among the Gusty Trees

Please Don't Hang Him While I'm There on Holiday

What Passing Bells For These Who Die as Cattle?


Whose Woods These Are, I Think I Know


The Wnter Evening Settles Down

Selling Pyramids

Escape From Bridgend

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thursday Has Come Early

Not sure how tomorrow will be so here are some prompts


You would know him if you saw him

Michaelmas Day

I Am From Barthe-lona

Is anybody there? said the traveller, knocking on the moonlit door

In Chicago, at the Autmun's end

Nobody heard him, the dead man

I registered under another name and paid for the room in cash

Had we but world enough and time

Dirty British Coaster With a Salt-Caked Smoke-Stack

I was shot twice.

When the Evening is spread out against the sky

Midway through October he got himself excused classes for a week

Mrs Coope lingered over her coffee

One time he and momma argued over money. he left

After the cups, the marmalade, the tea

The moon blanches the yard

The singing will never be done

Actually, Mrs Luddy didn't go down to the street either

You blubberous devil said a dark young man

Dorky Day Has Changed My Life

I am all alone in my pad, man, my piled-up-to-the-ceiling-with-junk pad

Then came the camel men, cursing and growling


The girl touches her lover's face

He did not wear his scarlet coat

Here among long-discarded cassocks

CiN Doing Well

We now have 32 on the books, just over half of those already paid entry.

So we start with (hopefully) £320 in prizes, and already £400 received or promised for Children in Neeed

£25:00 001 Alex Keegan Newbury, Berkshire
£25:00 002 Alexandra Fox Northants
£25:00 003 Dave Prescott Hay-on-Wye
£25:00 004 Kirsty Davies Birmingham
£25:00 005 Ralph Hockley
£25:00 006 Caroline Davies Befordshire
£25:00 007 Cally Taylor East Sussex
£25:00 008 Cedric Popa Romania
£25:00 009 Tom Conoboy Beverley, Yorks
£25:00 010 Antony Davies Leeds
£25:00 011 Dan M W
£25:00 012 Bonzoid Canada
£25:00 013 Colin Upton
£25:00 014 T Williams
£25:00 015 Alex Wire Nottingham
£25:00 016 Adam Warren Leicester
£25:00 017 Chrissie Majorca

£00:00 018 Nancy Saunders Bristol
£00:00 019 Michael J Hulme Norwich
£00:00 020 Barbara Godwin Southampton
£00:00 021 Joel Willans Finland
£00:00 022 Lucy Portsmouth Surrey
£00:00 023 Laurie Porter
£00:00 024 Sonam Choki BHUTAN
£00:00 025 Tarl Rivers
£00:00 026 Hazera Forth Hertfordshire
£00:00 027 John Allen Hillingdon
£00:00 028 Jan Bradshaw London
£00:00 029 Fleur Chapman London
£00:00 030 Nigel Allinson
£00:00 031 Sue Baccino
£00:00 032 Kenneth Shand

Grinding on

Despite four days out this month, steadily getting the work done.

Sick last night so failed to join the CiN Practice but managed a story and a poem yesterday (over 2K)

Some Prompts for Wednesday

From the very first coming down


Taller today, we remember similar evenings


Down at the mill, a hammering


The string's excitement, the applauding drum

The Dog, Spot

The church-clock's yellow face, the green sea-light


his black eyes hold his dreams; he has left


sunlight upon a sail, the snap of wind

No Bother

The poet and the revolutionary


as the stained stones kissed by English dead


The bus comes swinging in, doors open


When I consider how my light is spent

Possible, Probable

a flame within us, something swift and tall

If you explain to me, exactly why I can't

when I was a connisseuse of slugs

he married Kate Maloney in the year of his death

I think continually of those who were great

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Not Even Six AM. Prompts


Waterstones are doing 99p sampler-paperbacks and they have one which is a collection of some of the best pieces from the online mag 3 AM.. Worth checking out

Don't forget tonight's flash-blast in BC


At the Post Office he found a joint communique from his worried children

Langsammer Bitte.

Not a Wet Eye in the House


To Boston, Very Early


Alarm! Alarm!

I hear you, Houston

Sleeping With Her Clothes On

I Hear You, Mrs Zoblovsky. I Hear You Maria

Learning to Swear in Seventeen Languages


The Amish Farmer

Human Moments During the War of the Worlds

One small red shoe

The Brilliance of the Moment of Suicide

Heart of a Champion


If Harry Belten Couldn't Play


he had not seen her or any of her children for many years

Even though his business did not need him

Training for would-be champions

Kicking it in the Head

Monday, October 16, 2006

Children in Need Flash Practice

There will be another "CIN" Prractice Session Tuesday Night 1800 thru 0100 (but join for any amount of time)

UK Times

if you have not previously signed up, join ezboards (a pain, but free) and then email Alex with your ezboard sign in ID

Use a GLOBAL, not a Local ID

the prompts will be displayed at


and stories (author-blind) (private) will be displayed at


but you will need to be granted access, hence the ID requirement.

Please let us know if you are up for this.

More Prompts, Monday Morning

The Shining House


Machine Gun Joe

The Incredible Neccesity for Absolute Precision


Thanks For the Ride


The Time of the Eye

Why Marjorie Tavistock Doesn't Any More

An Ounce of Cure


I Have No Mouth, I Must Scream

Day of the Butterfly

The Very Last Day of a Good Woman

Red Dress 1946

The Unwashed Deformed Fat Woman With Extreme Menstrual Distress, Pelvic Floor Issues, a Weeping Pile, Halitosis and Dandruff, an Unfaithful Husband and Druggie Kids, working in an Undertakers, Sees a Foetus and Gets Upset

The Spreadsheet That Had a Nervous Breakdown

The Sky is Burning

I did not hear much about Jane's father except his head was cut off

Body Fluids

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, Three-Four Shoot the Whore

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday prompts, the Day After

if Daniel Gilber it Right, Then You Are All Wrong

The Day after his Birthday

I Carried the Bird By its Small Black Feet

In the Arena

A Blind, Empty, Crumbling Apartment


At six-thirty, the women and girls arrive.

Clive's Cod-Piece

They Have Closed the Museums

My Life as a Refrigerator


The family we were working for had a son

Poor Sailor!

The voice in my head said "Don't listen to me!"

My Father Called Me and We Disappeared

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Cally Has a Blast

Got up this morning to FOUR hits from Cally T in Boot Camp, two stories accepted for the excellent Espresso Fiction (and Cally earns $60 and a story each on two different competition shortlists, results TBA.

Takes us to 189 hits for the year.

Here are Saturday Morning's First Set of Prompts

(posted at 00:50 to beat Lee)

Trailer Park Boys

Bottle Bottom Glasses

Sticky Tape Sagas

Poor Sailor, Running For His Life

The Fifteen Year Lay-Off

A Little Excessive Force Here and There

No, but I'll Keep an Eye Out

An Inconvenient Truth

Has reason to believe

Got to fix these kitties

One, two (three) four and more

Electric Sheep

Lee was posting at 04:14 (bet he thought he was first in)

Dirty Blackleg Miner

The Whitby Boy

Oh to see me aged father a-trembling at the bar

My love has gone across the sea

Fisherman's Blues

On Kileder Side

Time has told me

Lads of Alnwick

Poor Kitty Lake

She moves about the fair

The Black Crow Knows

The Ballad of the Durham Gateman

Two Tall Trees

Jog Along Bess

Just another diamond

Wine for the women who made the rain come

Have a good day

Friday, October 13, 2006

Can't Stop The Hits Rolling In!

Not sure when the last update was but a hit for TomC at Dogmatika, andother for Caroline at Bewildering Stories, and best of all, TWO hits form very new Boot Camper DMW, one at Hiss Quarterly and the other in Print Mag "Trail of Iniscretion'

Takes us to 185 for the year, so hopefully we should at least break through the 200 mark in '06.

And what am I doing here instead of sitting at the pool reading short-stories?

The coffee machine was out. You think I can survice at 0600 without coffee?

Oh and a little aside

Today they launch a TWO-YEAR INVESTGATION into Primary Schooling

The prof leading the investigation appears on radio

30 Seconds later the interviewer says

And so The Grannie's Army (parents who can help) did that work?



Dives & Turns

Finally. late yesterday managed a story (1300 words) when an earlier one had run out of steam (a very rare event). This AM take the boy to swimming (dives and turns practice) so will READ some quality shorts for the hour.


The Very Early Rising of the Sad Father


Half of a Yellow Sun


Vicky, Lacey, Ray, Sharon Corey and Derek


The Almost Futile Pursuit of Happiness

The Disappointment of Eggs

Looking For the Golden Rivet

Black, Apparently

How They Took My bOdy Apart and Made Another Me


The Smoothest Way is Full of Stones

Gone to China

Thursday, October 12, 2006

One in the Eye

Bugger, woke with a nasty sore red right eye, almost closed.

Not a happy bunny. I should post 25 miserable prompts.

But I WILL keep the writing run going, see if I can't get past a daily average for the month of 1,500 a day.

Here are the prompts

I Look Out For Ed Wolfe


His Son in His Arms, Alight, Aloft

Telephone for God? Is God Here?

Ich Bie ein Berliner


One day, before or after forty-two, I became a lomg-distance runner.


It was December, late autumn, rather than winter.

A Small Pile of Shakespeare's Shit


Howard filled his glass again and gulped it down

Xmas in Chesepeake Bay


The myriad of fixed stars continued

Test-Tube Parent

Nothing remains but to fight


Jealous Husband Returns in Form of a parrot


The Incredible Appearing Man

The Forgotten

Sing Like That for ME!

All Shall Love Me and Despair

The Memorial Held BEFORE the War

I wave when he clears the drive


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Woooooo Hoooo!

Still the burning continues

Another story today (God knows where THIS voice came from) and up to 16,200 words in 9 days 1,800 a day) average

Add in the two lost days and I'm averaging 1,472 (but today is not over, 308 more words and I'll be up to 1,500 per day.


A Good Night, Tired, but now a new day

YESTERDAY'S Blast in Boot Camp (for BCers and CINNERS) went very well with 37 pieces written in an evening, posted and already, some at least, critted. For my own part I found the combination of admin, (receiving, sorting, reposting anon etc) and writing almost impossible, but I managed three flashes (2 decent ones) and three poems, all placeable.

But I sagged badly after 9PM and couldn't stay awake after midnight.



I went to several preparatory schools, beginning at six.


The Power of the List

Sorry, Too Black.

Sometimes I feel, I'm not sure why, a touch of foretold death.

Live White Females

Who is that yellow-haired girl in the costume?


We stayed at Montagne for six weeks.

Zen and the Art of the Difficult Shit


Every soul worthy of itself desires to live life in the extremes.


My father regards the tray of pink cupcakes


I speak in earnestness and with sadness


Why We Should Hate Feminists

1400 Monks in Hoodies


Saving Two Kennedys

When I Nod My Head, Hit It!


As a proof of my readiness

Finding Tin-Tacks in the Dark

I was born at a time when the majority of youn people had lost their faith in God

Views of My Father Weeping

The Suicide Club's Quiet Annual Reunion

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

23:59 The Last Set

Negotiations With Paddington

I moved like a double agent among the big concepts

A Reluctant Tragic Hero

The Dangers of Tobacco

A shadow his father makes with joined hands

The Cherry orchard

The helmeted pump in the yard

Swan Song

Their boots crunching the gravel

Shape Without Form, Shade Without Colour

Ohio Impromptu

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante

I was once a pirate wot sailed the 'igh seas

Words & Music

And four wax candles in a darkened room

I think the candour of the light dismayed us

New words prayed at cows

My heart displayed, bleeding, on a white linen cloth

Prompts For Flashing 2300

Make Barricades out of Butcher's Knives

Buttered Toast


He was not going to be rushed

An Indian Mutiny

I crossed over to the hut and looked inside

Where are the tommy-guns?


The night drops swiftly down


The bedroom hot as a bakery

Child's Frock, Lace, One

Postcard From North Africa

Listen, Whisper, Tickle, Cry

A Fat Paperback


We have already received 22 Stories with the 2100 Flashes not yet in!


Green-Shadowed People

A Little Tummy Trouble

A Plum

Parking at the Rugby Club


All the Fun of the Fair


When the dire cloak of dark stiffens the town


I am a woman lying on a leaf

The governor came into her cell, middle-aged and serious


Briggs had always been quite uncomfortable with Carol.


The Desperation in the Act of Love


Tame water lanes, tall sheds, a traveller


Blessings, My Children


Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?


On the Walls of Carelton's Bedroom


My age, fallen, floats away like a soap sud


Last night I dreamt I went to Basingstoke again

Running on Empty

Boys dream of native girls and breadfruit

Where's the Looney Bin?

It's Possibly Plastic

A Place to Suck a Buck

Accidentally started avalanche while putting out fire


The mower stalled, twice, and kneeling

This is a special way of being afraid


Monday is Soup, Friday Fish, Saturday buggery or Murder

There is an evening coming in

The View is Fine From Fifty, They say

The first thing you need to know is I'm not a detective.

Tonight I go to War. Peace is a nice quiet place; I have friends over in Armistice, but the village of War is where it all happens. It is better to wait until dark.

A smear of fresh blood has a metallic smell.

Angela came back to me in a dream, her head tilted up towards me, her bulging eyes screaming “why are you doing this?”

It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

Frederick J Frenger, Jr, a blithe psychopath from California asked the flight attendant in first class for another glass of champagne and some writing materials.

Outside was bright, light, blue.

We are at rest, five miles behind the front.

We meet at the Butterfly Farm, Sundays, half-nine.


He seemed incapable of creating such chaos,

There was a little bloke in the aisle screaming his head off.

Carrying my father's lean old leather case, my mother's cardboard


Don't Look Now

19:00 Prompts

The Ugliest Woman on TV

My Dad never took me up the mountain but I took my son there


Blood gauze through the wound of manwax

Dai Pugh's mother believed in luck


I know that, before I can begin, I must introduce myself, even though this story is not about me.

Man in his maggot's hollow

The man, Gabriel, needed to get to LA by Saturday.

Trim this, use an axe

I was out on the garage forecourt taking in the sun when I saw her.

National Vomit Week

A smell like incense. London darkness beyond the window; the deep breath of metal, heavy on the river far below us.

The note you hold, narrowing and rising

Tom is watching a movie with his mistress when something in the story-line touches him, and breaks through his well-constructed fa├žade.

It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.

18:05 Prompts

Evening of Prompts on the hour for CIN Practice

email stories to alex or lexie

ideal time for flash 30-60 minutes

maximum time for flash 75 minutes


Please reply (at 1800) if you are in)

Grrrrr... I cut and pasted 15 readied prompts and manage to lose the lot!



A Border-Line Case

Each ancient, stone-necked minute of love's season


The rector clenched his fists, and swore that God exists


The Breakthrough

Saturday afternoon and Dai Griffiths sits with his finger-polished roll-up tin.

A Noise Like Living

It is Winter, lightless morning, here in the shallow city, soundless and shipwreck-grey, the tarmac pavements are slept still, glistened with frost, deep and breathing, and beyond my window's sightless eye, the shuddered, huddled, common trees, stuttering towards the sea, the sadrack, greyslack trawler-slapped sea.

She Was Still Intent Upon the Menu

The proprietor spread out his hands in a gesture of regret


I always think, you know, that it’s like being on stage.

When Shelagh Awoke the Sun Was Streaming into her Room

or Google: woman beach 456

Flash at Six. Be There!

Earlier today wrote something really wild.

Time to get serious

Back in with the kids (smell those pizzas!) and stinky from second 45 minutes in the gym. Have prepared 9,762 prompts for tonight's 7 flash sessions 6PM onwards on the hour and not just have time for a shower before we start.

CiN Practice.

Be There!


09:48 and not even thought of writing yet (well that has to be a lie - work it out)... Nipper to swimming for 0600-0730, BC admin, kids to school, short workout at the gym Tescos, couple of posts about crass critting, and now a cuppa tea (no bath yet, yik!)

So I'll try for at least a flash before the bath/shower brekkie, though really it should be a longer story or an article as tonight it'll be 3-7 flashes

Reminder and a Load of Prompts

Two sets of prompts this morning:

Don't forget that tonight, starting at 6PM (but we need to know you are "in"), seven sets of prompts on the hour from 6PM.

Who can write 4 stories? Who 5?



Who can write the best story?

Who will have the first acceptance?

This is a practice night for Children in Need

Today's Two Sets of Morning Pompts

The Fat Man & the Flying Saucer

Penalty Charge

She took her arm from her eyes and looked at him.


Sometimes, when I see people like Rose, I imagine them as babies.

Life on a Star

Warmly, like the morning sun


He stood beneath them and listened for a while


I'd Like to Take You on a Slow Boat to Macao


Officer's Mess, Pardre Speaking...

The Differences between a Desk and a Wife

& Lexie's Set

No Argument, Mate

The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.

Five Little Kittens, Invited Out to Tea...

Cry Havok!

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

The Name of Paris Hilton's Dog

Silent was the flock in woolly fold

The ace that punched a thousand shits

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-

Women want a hundred things but men want only three

Take Your Finger off My Trigger

What is the Matter with Mary Jayne?

Soul in a Bowl

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday Evening, Some More Whacky Prompts

For the devil has broken parole and risen


It's farewell to the drawing-room's civilised cry


Of reasonable giants and remarkable fairies

How a Deluge

Like influenza he walks abroad


A thousand dead in Ethiopia


An amazement of Peacock's

Blather, but then

Well, since you're from the other side of town

The Sergeant's Arms

He arranged himself in purple, then lay down in his bath

A Name, that is all


Hearing lately of your opulence

Varying Notions on Human Emissions

BLUE, It IS Blue

Forgive me sire, for cheating your intent


I will not list the stories etc quite yet (some go into Boot Camp and we like to post anonymously) but at some point I'll list them all and the keep readers posted, see how they do.


Writing fast, writing a lot, IMPROVES quality, not reduces it.


Writer on Fire, Bring More Fuel!

11:51 Monday, up to date with critting and crit-admin, organising a flash session for Tuesday Night and have written a solid story all by 11:51

AND I went to the gym this morning.


Jeez I wish I could bottle this, I'd make a fortune

OTOH it might be manic-depression!

But I have three hours (bath next, then early lunch) and might get out another story or possibly a CW article.

Important point here. If you get in the zone, groving, on firs (call it what you like) GRAB IT, even if it will lead to a bad time some time later. Cancel all dates and run with the writing wolves, otherwise they may turn on you and devour you


Tuesday Night, Seven Flashes, Today, Prompts

Hang on to my shirt-tails, gonna try for a story or flash (or a CW article) every day for the rest of the month. Might try also to catch up those two missing days.

PS If you're interested in Flashing Tuesday Night, a set of prompts on the hour from 6PM to Midnight, (up to 7 flashes) please respond to my email address asap. This is particularly for Children in Nedd Maatnoneers to practice but all are welcome.

You think it can't be done? It can, and far more, and for whatever reason, these sessions always surprise people. They produce stories they did not believe were in them.

email alex.keegan@btconnect.com


Monday Morning Prompts

Nothing Either Way

Seen from the cliffs the sea circles slowly

The Music in the Wire

Wakening, peering through eye-windows, uncurious, not amazed



The force that through the green shoots drives the flower


Caught in an octagon of unaccustomed light

I meant to say, because I'm dying

Telephone Call for the Condemned, Telephone Call for the Condemned


The Difference Between Perhaps and Maybe


Solicitors with poker faces


Coming, in September, through the thin streets


The cottage squatted in its tangled gardens

Sunday, October 08, 2006

He Shoots, He Scores!

It's turning into a half-decent day!

Had to go out this morning, then take the boy to play soccer, so worried, "When will I get time to write today?"

PS If someone asks if you are a writer and you're not sure how to answer, the test is simple. If you wake and the first thought is "When will I find time, today, to write?" You're a writer!

Anyway, PJ played 2/3 of the game, had the best game he's had for a long long time, made one brilliant header, two brilliant passes and scored a goal.

So far so very good.

The I returned home, empty of ideas, pulled up the morning's prompts, and BINGO, wrote, not a flash but a 2,600 word STORY

That's two stories and two flashes this month and I am mt 1,069 words ahead of averaging 1,000 words a day (and I started wih two blanks)

First has to come belief, then determination

after that eveything is possible

Juicy Argument, and Some Prompts

Diary, Sunday

Knew I was out around 10_15 until 4PM so rose early to get a short written (ho ho ho) but then got involved in a juicy, contentious crit-thread in Boot Camp (Moral: never log on until you've written your story!)

One of the best features of Boot Camp is that we do NOT "agree to disagree".

I teach that the very idea of agreeing two opposite opinions of a story is STUPID. Argue, discuss, fight, rip crits to pieces, point out bad reading etc. THIS story doesn't matter (and we don't workshop pieces) but we learn from the ARGUMENT.

So there are two stories with 4+7 crits respectively but 30+ posts in each thread. All the thers are totally wrong (of course) and I'm right (goes without saying) but there are diamonds in the discussion, sparks of knowledge in the clash of swords.

And we never attack EACH OTHER.

It's cool.

Oh and apparently I have missed logging another BC first prize.

PROMPTS for Sunday Morning

In the distance of a blink, the length of a gasp

Wassa Metaphor?

A Rusty Hinge

Tick-Tock, I'm a Clock

After the Revolution

Rink-ee-Dink, Sha-la-la

for there could be no doubt of his sex

A Late Chinese

the most tempetuous flutter of excitement


For it was tickling to hear about things like that


Uncle had come to her elbow


The boy first; his name was Yusuf


soon enough and at the agreed time


a merry little surge of electricity

The Hill

Throw away the child, keep the afterbirth


still trees and bushes growing


something a little strange, that's what you notice

Saturday, October 07, 2006



Ha bloody HA! Father Time!

Finished my story for the day, posted three stories in Boot Camp, answered all my emails, senrt out one more 7Q and now it's 14:08



Join the Club

Still not written? Join the Club?

here's some possible inspiration.

Failing that, pick up a poetry book


An Irish Poet, a Farmer


The Truth With Jokes


The Ploughman's Dinner

They Say He Played Centre-Forward


Alive, Walking the Ghost Road

Lost in Du Sang

Somebody is Coming Over the Metal Railway Bridge


Rosie Curses the Cat Between Her Devotions


The Almost Cornish Pasty


Clay is the Word and Clay is the Flesh


Fish in Their Tank Electrically Heated

Jesus Saves!

The Birds Sang in the Wet Trees

But What About Those IN Limbo?

I Cannot Swim

The Masterpieces We Will Begin Tomorrow

Husting, Gobbledegook

Emnter the Dream-House Brothers

Waiting For the End, Boys

Poetry is a Bugger, He Said.


Auugust is Nearly Over, Summer Was Fat

Time Flies (and never returns)

11:09 Saturday and I haven't written a word! Grrrrr!

Had three 7Qs to send out, one to deliver by hand, had to take daughter to dance lessons, order three books for next year.

Then managed to mislay two books and had to retrace my steps, then pick up daughter, get petrol, return home.

Trival, banal, maybe, but by the time I've boiled a kettle and tidied up Boot Camp, chances are it'll be 12 o'clock.

So now I have to ANNOUNCE, I will write a stry today, BEFORE watching any of the internationals in HD.

This is called incentive, I think.


Boot Camp Prizes 2006

This takes BC stats to:

'06 57 Prizes 16 Firsts 11 Second 6 Third, 24 Finals $6,170

Total Winnings $6,170


01 Colin $200 First Place in Slingink's Eurofiction
02 Mike Joint-Winner in 7Q FF9
03 Dave Joint-Winner in 7Q FF9
04 Lexie Wins Adult SS of the Year ($600) in "Killie"
05 Cally Wins Dark Tales ($60)
06 BCer wins 7Q FF10
07 Hazera wins Doorknobs & Bodypaint First Place
08 Alex Wins Pencil Bantry $300
09 Lexie Wins Cotswold Prize $1,000
10 Cally wins Bank Street SS Prize $140
11 Alex wins Lichfield Prize $250
12 ColinU wins Cadenza $400
13 Caroline wins Poetry Prize TBA ($200)
14 Gabiotas wins FirstWriter $400
15 TomC wins at "All About Writing"
16 TomC wins $200 First at 7Qs Frantic Flash 11


01 Lexie $150 Second Place in "Dame Throgmorton"
02 TomC gets $100 second in JBWB
03 BCer 2nd in 7Q FF10
04 Cally Joint second in Writers Dock Comp
05 Lexie $300 second place Philip Good Memorial Prize
06 Cally in Woman's Own (Prize Value estimate $250)
07 Colin Second in FlashFiction Comp $50
08 Lexie 2nd in City of Derby Comp $400
09 Tom gets $200 2nd in Twyford with CIN Story
10 Calvin Lord 2nd 7Q FF11
11 ColinU 2nd at New Horizonz ($20)


01 Lexie in 7Q FF9 Third Place
02 BCer 3rd in 7Q FF10
03 Tom's $25 3rd in Oz
04 Lexie $200 3rd in The New Writer
05 Alex $150 third place Philip Good Memorial Prize
06 DavePR 3rd in 7Q FF11


01 Alex Night Train Yates Comp, Last 12 "Floating"
02 Alex Poem in "Out of Love" Anthology
03 Laurie (Nartje) in "Out of Love" Anthology
04 Lexie, State of Being" HR at HISSAC (only winner is announced)
05 Lexie, second story finalist at HISAAC
06 Colin finalist in HISAAC
07 Colin HR in JBWB
08 Cally in Final of Belvedere
09 Lexie in Fish Anthology ($100)
10 Lexie last 140 of 1800, Fish
11 Haz named in Best of the web shortlist
12 Lexie Final of Writers Forum
13 Alex last 3 in Carve "Overseas Writer"
14 TomC HR'd in Bank Street SS Comp
15 TomC 4th in Twisted Tongue
16 Alex at Philip Good Memorial (second story placed 3rd)
17 Lexie at Philip Good Memorial (second story placed 2nd)
18 Cally HR in Lymm Festival $20
19 Colin Finalist, $40, dinner at Frome
20 Cally Finalist Flash FictionComp
21 TomC finalist, ditto
22 Britbird shortlisted in Pier Pressure
23 Colin HM in Momaya III, in Anthology
24 Fleur "too late" in FF11 but into 7Q

00 Laurie recently left but was also HR'd at Bank Street (not counted)

Lexie also recieved $25 & $10 payments

Winnings in Dollars, £ = $2, Euro = $1
for simplicity of calculation

Two firsts, Two Seconds and a Buncha Hits

Tom C wins a small first prize at All About Writing then squeezes past Calvin L to win 7Q's Eleventh Frantic Flash, our 15th and Sixteenth First Prize of the Year.

The 11th FF was disappointing in that a number of expected entrants did not file a story and ALL the stories came from Boot Campers. Maybe there's a lesson here for some: Tom wrote three stories to win the £100 prize and produce two more very placeable pieces.

Colin U also hits the prize trail, commend at Leaf and in their next anthology and a second place at New Horizonz

CedricP produced an "Irreverence" piece for 7Q (I can't get people to send in good "irreverence" – are you all so STIFF?)

Lexie is at HISS quarterly, Dave at Duck & Herring.

Not sure if we've already noted TC's "Kangaroo" hit or his story in Fringe or Fleur's hard-luck story. She wrote a cracking story for the FF but missed the cut-off time by a considerable margin. She would have challenged for first place but was disqualified from the comp. It's a good story though and will appear in 7Q5 November December

Sixteen first for the year is OK but it shows that, comparatively we've had a quiet year. Last year's total of 26 Firsts, our best-ever year, looks like staying that way.

That's partly down to me. I've been lazy and not subbed much to comps, and to Lexie Fox who has consciously been aiming pretty high for most of the year.

In the past I've written about the wide "No Man's Land" between being the best of new writers and competing with the New Yorker types. There's a vast distance between winning, say Lichfield or Cadenza and then getting into Paris Review, but what is there BETWEEN these levels? That was one reason I started Seventh Quark, to build a small outpost half-way across the desert.


Friday, October 06, 2006


And the answer was, NOT!

The very first poem I read (not saying which one as it ruins anonymity in Boot Camp) gave me a story idea and the story duly came despite acute (or is it chronic?) tiredness... so that's a good story (probably around the 135 mark) and now this shorter story (c 120) and despite having to get 7Q out this month and starting with two blank writing days I've now got up to over 5,600 words for the month and an avearage of 944 words per day. 1,400 tomorrow (he says hopefully) and I'm back on to 1,000 a day.

I'd like to be a lot higher than that by the end of the month.

Question For You...

06 October 11:25

The life of a writer? Late night last night, then up after four hours sleep to take son to swimming. Read some of The Ghost Road while waiting the hour (so not TOTALLY non-productive) then rush back home for a quick turn-round and take kids to school.

So far so bad.

But I have to drive past Borders...

I mean I CAN'T just "drive past" Borders. I need a solid German Grammar book anyway, and it's the last day of their student 20% discount...

but it's only twenty-to-nine so I have to wait. Ah-hah! Like a very clever person I HAVE BROUGHT A BOOK TO READ so I read the introduction to Thirties Poetry (and immediately get two story cues, woohoo)

Nine o'clock comes round but it is absolutely PISSING down, so I put the seat back slightly, keep reading, waiting for the rain to ease off. It increases. It starts cas and dogs but now it's tiger, lions, jackals and then Elephants and Rhinos (we'll have flooding later)...

I'm feeling drowsy.

I wake, coughing, (crap on my lungs) not sure how long I slept but there's a break in the HEAVY rain so I dash into Borders, get the book I need (and six others, well it IS the last day of the discount...)

Robert Graves Goodbye To All That
Donald Barthelme Sixty Stories
Ferbnando Pessoa The Book of Disquiet
Patrick Cavanagh Collected Poems

and a couple of German books

Seems sensible I have a coffee and a BLT (I can look at the Kavanagh) and eventually I buy the books and leave for home.

Time of writing 11:33

Now have I wasted my morning or not?


Friday (and Prompts)

I Hate Fridays! Bridge Thursday Night and I never get to bed before 01:30, up at 5:30 and feel like crap (to take PJ to swimming at 06:15) And we were awful at Bridge, pard has a lot on her mind.

Early rise, you'd expect a flying start at running, but it's off to the pool, not enough time to come back, so will read The Ghost Road (try to finish the first quick read today)

I'll take some poetry too as that has to be read for next year and snippets of poetry is often great for prompting a story.

Today's Prompts

Not After 9PM

Tear Along the Dotted Line

George + Tomos, Architects


Having Reasonable Cause to Believe


Accepted in Full and Final Settlement

A Slight Problem With the Sky

Ground Falling

Reading Strange Books By South Americans

Please See Overleaf

Sweet Jesus! Sweet!

Standing Up in a Hammock

Sunset Song.

Kiss of the Fly Woman

On the Point of a Pin

From 1 to 2, and Back Again, Begin!

Thursday Continued

11:40 Diary Thursday

I suppose, considering I'm struggling to write, 4,500 words by 11:30 on the 5th is OK. I still have the rest of today (maybe I'll flash) although I have three trips, one to the recycling, one to get the kids, one to post a pile of Seventh Quark's

I must get it right. If I arrive home with all the 7Qs, did I recycle the kids and post a load of plastic bottles, or...?

I feel SO relieved to have got this latest story (long for me) out of the way. Rarely for me it took three days (first draft) when I almost always blast a story out at more than a thousand words an hour.

This one should have been easy but for some reason was excruciatingly tough

but as I say, it's DONE!

Now some admin... and then later

(well I MIGHT write something)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Diary 5th, and Prompts

05 October

Went to bed at 0200 (not a good idea) last night/this morning and before getting into bed read this story to "ready myself".

Woke at 0615 but made the mistake of answering my emails instead of diving into work (bad bad bad bad boy) so now it's 0700, time soon to wake the kids and it'll be 08:30 at best before I get round to the story.

Now, (cough) is there a moral to this story?


Some Wear Blue Hats, Some Red


Before the Children Rise


It is Better Not to Have Loved and Lost


Champion the Wonder Chicken Lays a Plastic Egg

Jeremiah, Jonah

Incoming, Think of it as Heavy Rain

A Good Stoning

The Man Unluckily Killed When His Zippo Deflected a Bullet Into His Heart

Tits & Bollocks

I am Sailing, But Eventually I Will Hit the Ground


Dial or Push-Button?

Samantha Smith and Her One Good Thing

God's Walk-Off

Midnight 4th/5th

04 October


Managed another 1200 words but sheesh it's painful... (might do more yet, in the wee small hours)

Oh what a strained, frustrating day. I have this story and it's coming out in short, painful paragraphs. It feels so IMPORTANT but usually my good ones just pour out. I know why there's a problem (and I ain't saying) but I'm fearful of it imploding or the well running dry.

Spent a small fortune in Borders this morning (even with a 20% student discount) buying loads of set books, text books and 20th Century Novels and poems for my course

Some of the novels I have to read:

The Ghost Road, Pat Barker
Sunset Song, Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Paradise, Abdulrazak Gurnah
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
Kiss of the Spider Woman, Manuel Puig
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K Dick
Orlando, Virginia Woolf
The Collected Short Stories, Katherine Mansfield
Prufrock & Othe Poems, T S Eliott
Selected Poems, Seamus Heaney
HOWL, Alen Ginsberg
Poetry of the Thirties, and some Beckett and Chekhov plays

Then NEXT week, I have to read...

anyone wanna join me?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Diary October 4th

04 October

Still can't shake this cold, dammit! Frustrated this morning. Want to fly into a story, the story I finally got round to yesterday, got 1,400 words in but had to go out. 98/100 stories I write the draft in one sitting. This one was very much a MOOD story so now I have to try and recapture that mood. I bet a judge will see the join. The story was inspired by a single image in a Stephen Dobyns poem.

School run shortly (two minutes ago) and then it's via Borders for a stack of textbooks for the Twentieth Century Literature Course in 2007 and a German course starts November 06.

Oh and to compound the life-gets-in-the-way-of-writing thing, I have to bag up Seventh Quark today. My HOPE is that come 09:15 I can blast out this story, THEN do all that admin, but if form is repeated i'll get back from the S-R and Borders and go brain-dead.

At least I wrote 1,400 words yesterday and at least the story is promising.

I see I have two publications today at Eclectica (with three other BC stories)


and I have a couple of reprints in the "comp winners" section of 7Q, though of course I can't count thoose as hits.

It still frustrates me how hard it is to get material that is above mere competence, hence we often have a lot of comp-winner reprints.


CIN, Prompts

Another signee for Children in Need, and one more signee has paid their entry, so creeping up still!

Prompts for Today

Sheep, Cards, Bridge

Lorna Doone

Oh for a muse of fire!


"Turn here," I have told Allen.

Buttering up Johnny North


Simple Simon Met a Mugger, in the Pouring Rain

Ping, You Have Mail

Pencil, Ireland

The Industrious Life of a Comic


The Book Buyer

Weaning Her Off Colin

Ten Million Bicycles, How Many Wheels?


If I had one million pounds in this pocket, and a
million pounds in THIS pocket, what would I have?

Twice a half of two-and-a-half

Talking to Tinkers

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My October 01-02 and part of 03

01 October

Having "re-started" as a writer (last month was removing cobwebs) and getting an issue of 7Q out I was raring to go at the start of the month, but unfortunately this start-running writing day coincided with a Boot Camp Primaries Deadline Day and that has to take priority as BC is currently my only income.

Primaries involves setting up a new spreadsheet, doing my own crits and posting them, then updating the grids with other scores as they come in, running a macro and then posting the results etc, occasionally getting into a discussion.

I had a choice. I could write and start the crits later (Monday or first thing Tuesday) but I figured getting the crits out of the way and setting a good example was better. The fact that I had an idea brewing that WANTED to come out was good. Hold it down and build the pressure!!

Then, of course there is Seventh Quark's Eleventh Frantic Flash Competition. This time round I was very disappointed to get ONLY Boot Campers entering and I also lost money, paying out more than the receipts after guaranteeing a £100 Prize.

The IDEA, of course is to raise a few bob to fund Seventh Quark Magazine. I run comps often to keep them SMALL. That way we get change, variety and typically £50 profit per comp) enough to soften the losses made by 7Q (but not cover them), but more importantly, get decent work coming in.

I was nicely surprised by the standard this time.

The marks of the top dozen or so were:


Note that a flash scoring 90 will usually place and anything 100 upwards is very good. The top 3-4 were really very good. One story arrived too much beyond the deadline (it would have won or come second) so it was disqualified from the competition but I took it for 7Q5 (so all was not lost).

It's worth mentioning here that it's not of my doing that non-BC writers chose not to enter the Frantic Flash. BCers have won most of the Frantic Flash Competitions but that's because BC stories have made up 55-75% of every FF competition, and this time they were 100% !!

It's been suggested that I ban BC writers from the comps, but I think that's unfair to them. They are good comps with decent prizes and they reward industry. Normally they are independently judged or reader-judged.

This time *I* have judged because the entry was 100% Boot Camp and the Boot Campers know me and trust me to be scrupulously fair. Four of the stories are easily up to the minimum standard of Seventh Quark and if 7Q doesn't take them I know they will easily place elsewhere.

See later in the diary for my moans about submissions to 7Q.

Sunday also meant taking PJ to Soccer (it pissed down and they lost 11-0 to a side top of the division above them) and then on return I felt achey and full of cold so just did more crits, not right for writing.

Read some Stephen Dobyns poetry (great for ideas) and also some of "Bloody Foreginers" by Robert Winder.

02 October

The school week, so early morning is kids' stuff, take them to school etc, get some bits and bobs from Tesco, buy The Independent.

I also have to pick up Seventh Quark 4 from the printers, asap after lunch.

One thing I HATE is not having to do things but the way they break into the time-stretches. I can never settle into a 4-5-6-7-8 hour writing stint.

A few years back we had an au pair and I used to start at 0500 and write straight through to 1300, make lunch listening to the news, eat lunch watching Neighbours, and then I'd do admin etc in the afternoon. That was a fabulously productive time.

I feel a story (a big/good one) threatening but in the car in Tesco's Car Park I do a Sudoko (in the Indie) then a second, third...

More than once this has happened. Some crude avoidance syndrome. It isn't just the time that's an issue (time lost) but the "edge" disappears. I am a great believer in striking when you feel "in the zone".

Now I've gone and depressed myself!

One excuse, this cold is worse and I have a badly upset tummy (don't ask), and my regularly recurring sore eyes (Blepharitis) are, well, recurring.

(And of course I know I'm going out to the printers, then going out AGAIN to get the kids, who of course finish at different times, 3:30 and 5PM and then PJ has to be taken swimming at 5:30, picked up at 7:30)

We have talked about moving from Kingfisher Barn and into town to save so many back-and-forth's. Ooooooh just think of the increase in writing slots!

Been agonising over Open University. I wanted to do introductory French as I like France and the feeling I get when there, but Deb's did high-level German and PJ and Bridie are both doing German. So German it is, a course starting November for 10-11 months, that allegedly takes me to GCSE standard.

Having seen the level of work my kids do I think I'll reach MODERN GCSE standard in about six days.

I've also decided to do a course at the OU on Twentieth Century Literature. As long as I pass that'll be fine, but the reason for doing the course is to force me to read stuff I otherwise wouldn't.

I'll list some of the set books etc some time.

We don't have the money for these courses. We have the money in the bank but all of that plus about another £15,000 is earmarked for doing up the Chapel in Wales. The German course, I can say is "for the family" but not the 20th Century stuff, but I need to have some part of my life where *I* am looking up at "teach" and not always giving out, talking "downwards".

Besides, for a serious writer my reading is SHIT and my academic background is not good. Yeah, I know I have three degrees, including an MA with Distinction in Creative Writing, but I've never done literary theory (including on the MA!), and there are a few million classics I haven't read (but should have).

Finished crits of Boot Camp Primaries.

I hear from an ex-BCer who puts me on to a very good magazine. I should contact the editor and send some stories.

Eventually I send three, two that missed the cut in Bridport (I'm amazed at that) and another that for some reason I'd shelved, yet when I re-read it it's 140+ and should be doing the rounds.

My keeping stuff out there mode has fallen apart and that's one thing I have to get right.

When I go to the printer I take away two boxes. I get home to find they wern't trimmed of the white edges. My fault, I wasn't clear, so that means another trip and then a return to pick up the trimmed copies.

I do the many school runs, take the boy to swimming, come back, collate some BC crits, then it's out again to get the lad FROM the pool. Dinner is next and I'm feeling rotten with cold, achey, tired and it's already 21:30.

That makes two days and no writing, yet I'm "flat-out"

This is a TRAP, however. IMO you simply have to find the time

[b]03 October[/b]

But I'm writing this at 11:17 3rd (Tuesday) still not a word written this month and the printer has just rung, 7Q is finally ready-ready and I'm another tenner worse off.

Of course now there's 7Q mailing and trips to the Post Office ... !

Still dipping into those books mentioned earlier but started reading The Ghost Road, (Pat Barker) one of next year's novels on the OU Course. One thing about "courses" is they make me read what I've bought. I buy 5 books per one read and have more books in my library than I could read in the years I have left (even if I live to be 80!) TGR I bought a long way back and I was always "going to read it"...

Doing my MA in CW got me reading black writers and women writers where previously (not consciously) I had never bothered. It was doing that course that got me to read Alice Munro, and I now love her work

The Stephen Dobyns ("Velocities") is sitting there begging to be re-read to fire me up again.

But now... the printers.

Maybe I'll write this afternoon?

(after Neighbours).


Monday, October 02, 2006

Help Children in Need

The Children-in-Need Gang grows, but slowly. We have 22 but want FIFTY



New Start

Starting a New "Thing", a New Year, You name it (October 1st) and here are the BC prompts

Should get 7Q4 from the printers today...

The New Wall

Sudoko in the Rain

Was That the Post?

The Chimes of Little Ben

The Gentleman in My Garage

Slither, Shiver, Splinter, Die


The Inconsequence of Love

Falling Perfected, Landing Needs Work

All Wok & No Pley


The Gorilla and Her Baby

Various Sheep Arguments

BloodAxe the Almighty is a Fairy

Toothless in Seattle

Upton Park Ballet

The Miner's Strike