Writers’ Conference

Image result for meeting free images

image freepik

“Our ratings are really dropping.  I think the public considers our stuff too predictable,” Melling said.

“Are you suggesting that we’re too old fashioned?” Hayes inquired.

“Not so much ‘old fashioned’, as stale,” Melling responded.

“Our stuff dropped them dead in the Palladium,” Hughs interjected.

“Yeah, but that was thirty years ago Artie,” Melling said.

“What if we make it a bit more rude,” Hayes suggested.

“Dropping ‘F bombs’ isn’t Alan’s style, and you know that.  There has to be more grit, without it being dirt,” Melling said.

“What if we take our old gags, and give them a modern edge?” Hughs asked.

“Yeah. How?” Melling asked.

“Like, um, a vegan goes into a pub and asks the barmaid – ‘Do you serve veg here?’ The blonde could say something like “wheel them in and we will see what we can do.'” Hughs suggested.

“That’s just offensive,” Melling said.

“I’m not trying to be funny Melling, but you have turned too P.C.” Hughs said.

“That was obvious,” Melling snapped.

“What?” Hughs asked confused.

“You not being funny.  That’s why we are having this meeting.”




Daily Writing Prompt #24: Comedy



The Silken Temple: A Butterfly Cinquain

Pupa, Cocoon, Butterfly, Chrysalis

The Dwelling Place.
Silken Thread Chrysalis –
Miraculous Transformation
Within its Mysterious Depths.
Former Caterpillar
Now Prepared For
The Sky.


The Butterfly Cinquain form is described as a nine-line syllabic poem with the pattern of two, four, six, eight, two, eight, six, four, two.

Pardon the cheesiness of writing a butterfly cinquain about butterflies.




Tale Weaver #259 – Temple



Neighbourhood Watch

Binoculars, Researchers, Young People

Image by Frank Wittkowski from Pixabay

Danny Walsh leveled the binoculars that he had gotten for his twelfth birthday.  It was certainly the same nefarious looking couple that he had seen over the past several days.  Today, however they were in a silver coloured sedan , and not in the blue SUV he had noticed them in since Monday.

Danny had first grown suspicious of them when they arrived the preceding Saturday and parked, but didn’t get out.  Unfamiliar cars were a rarity in his quiet suburban street, so the men caught his attention.  What made it even more intriguing was that they had parked as he came in from scouts at about nine p.m. and they were still there in the same place when he went to walk his dog, Groot the next morning.

When they returned the next evening, he decided that the watchers needed watching.  He soon worked out that the ne’er-do-well’s were casing that nice Mister Benedetti’s house.

Danny became more vigilant as they shady pair made further arrivals, and Danny began to take notes on their comings and goings.  He hoped to get enough evidence of their foul motives that he could turn them over to the police.  His only problem was that the school holidays were going to be over soon.  It was because of the time restriction that he decided to act.

He lowered his binoculars and placed them in his rucksack.  He then slowly approached the car from behind.  As he came alongside the rear bumper of the vehicle he stooped down as if to tie his shoe.  He then proceeded to take an air horn from his pack and blasted it until it ran out of pressure.  The entire neighbourhood looked out of windows and doors to see what the commotion was about.  FBI agents Taylor and Kolinsky, not knowing what else to do – their cover being blown (literally as well as figuratively) drove off never to return.


Daily Writing Prompt #23: Amateur Sleuth

Indecision: A Three Line Tale turned into a Pseudo-Haibun

three line tales, five year anniversary edition: beware of the dog

photo by Ben Williams vis Unsplash

Buster looked through the bars – uncertain of how to proceed.  His kennel-mate, Fido – a Springer Spaniel, had only moments before used a piece of board purloined from the “walkies-yard” to vault himself over the “doggy prison” fence.  Buster was unsure of what life outside might hold for him, but he would never know if he just sat there and stared.

A barrier erected to keep him in,

Should Buster try to leap it?

Only he who dares will win!





The Pilgrim’s Quest

CCC #63

The Shire of the North-Folk was one of the first settled by the Anglo-Saxon tribes.  They found flat, fertile land there, with slow flowing waterways, and spiritual traditions which preceded even the Roman conquest.  Many Stowe places were found – sites of gathering -and these often had supernatural connections.

In the Christian era, Walsingham in the county’s north, was the site of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Lady Richeldis.  Elsewhere in the Norfolk, the mystic Julian of Norwich inspired faith.  So, it was not surprising that word spread of the arrival of a newcomer in the county offering a new source of peace.

Always ones to seek spiritual guidance, Thomas and Helen Landry traveled from their home in Glastonbury to Norfolk, hoping that this pilgrimage would offer them enlightenment.  Unfortunately the message had become muddled.  No, they didn’t find a Lama providing peace, but a llama providing new fleece.

(150 words)


Crimson’s Creative Challenge #63




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Fingerprints taken, photos made –

In anticipation of the secrets – to you conveyed.

Sign the documents, your oath to keep –

Not to utter a word, not as much as a peep.

Knowledge is power –

And power is not to be shared –

The secrets you hold  –

To “need to know” only –

Ever shall be declared.

It is the state of things –

In the now and here –

It’s a lot of hassle –

About a recipe for beer.




Poetics: Shhhh! Do you Want to Know a Secret?






Day Zero

Image by Fabien Huck from Pixabay

Hector Cummings stood on the hill top overlooking the metropolis.  He had been a wiz at CalTech and landed himself a lucrative job in Silicon Valley.  But he had become more and more concerned with humanity’s impact on the planet.  He saw a mass extinction event as unavoidable, but just what species would fail to make the cut?

After months of consideration, he made his decision.  Humans, or at least their technology, would have to go.  Two things therefore began to fill his time.  The first was the stocking up of a remote cabin in the mountains, and the second was the writing of an ultimate piece of code.

He then gathered a like-minded group of conspirators around him using the dark web.  Among these were a disgruntled NASA engineer, and a hacker extraordinaire who had previously broken into government systems.  They set today, 29 February 2020 as Day Zero.

An hour ago, Hector had triggered his code.  Now power plants were shutting down, and satellites were falling from the sky.  He now watched from his hilltop as a new age dawned.




Daily Writing Prompt #22

Three A.M.


Araki Photograph Studio


“Turn off the light, I’m trying to sleep,

It’s your own fault that you can’t settle.

I said don’t eat –

All those plates that you heap –

You’ll only regret eating it later.

It’s not the three pizzas, that you devoured with one breath?

There’s something else on your mind – that’s the matter?

Then give me a moment to put on the kettle,

You can tell all about what’s on your mind,

I may be tired, having had a long day,

But that’s no reason I cannot be kind.”




A salute to all of the patient and loving spouses and partners who make our lives rich.


Photo Challenge #299






The Island Getaway (Part 3)

Beach, Island, Palm Trees, Nature, Ocean


The Island Getaway

Teresa Grabs wrote:

As soon as Liam read the advertisement, he knew the place was for him. Three-story newly renovated home on private island in the middle of Hidden Hollow Lake. Owner motivated to sell.

“I will have it!” He scanned the ad for a contact number and phoned it immediately. To his surprise, the agent said the house was his as soon as she answered the phone. “What do you mean the house is mine? I haven’t even made an offer yet.”

She laughed. “Mr. Owens, I have been instructed to sell the home to the first person who called, and today is your lucky day. I can meet you on the pier in an hour with your keys.”

“Oh… okay… yeah! Today really is my lucky day, isn’t it?”

Liam rushed around his tiny apartment, threw a few items into a backpack, and caught the train to the pier. Halfway expecting this to be a scam, he was gobsmacked when a professional-looking woman approached him, smiling.

“Mr. Owens, I presume?”

“Um, yeah, that’s me.”

“Good. Sign here, please, and I can release your keys to you.”

His hand shook with anticipation as he scratched his name on the form.

“And here are your keys. That man will take you to the island,” she said, pointing to a man in a small row boat. “Thank you for your business.”

He watched as she walked toward the parking lot and disappeared into the crowd. “How’d she know my name?”

“You ready?” the boatman called.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” He climbed into the row boat and took in the beautiful scenery before him, forgetting all about the sales agent. “This is really pretty, isn’t it?”

The man didn’t respond.

“Ok.” Liam sat in silence until the island came into view. It looked exactly as it had in the advertisement. He rubbed his eyes and pinched himself, convinced it was a dream.

“Get out here,” the boatman said, sternly as they reached the shore.

“Well, thanks, I guess.” Liam stepped out into knee-deep water and shivered as it soaked his pants. “How do I get back?” he asked as the boatman pushed away from the shore.

“There’s a flare in the house should you need it,” he called back, shaking his head.

Liam turned around and saw …

Msjadeli wrote:

…first that a lush forest started directly behind the house and traveled the length of the island. Tropical birds were screeching and flying from branch to branch, their feathers glinting red, yellow, and green in the sun’s ample beams.

That’s funny, this isn’t a tropical location. What happens to the birds in when winter comes?

Liam walked the hundred yards from the water’s edge to the front of the house. He had been impressed with it in the photos and as they approached the island, but up close he saw that the home had the appearance of being vacant for a long time. Mildew had settled into the corners of the windows. There were wet leaves layered on the porch that were disintegrating. There were cobwebs covering the front door. Curiously though, there were what looked like large dog footprints that had worn a path around the front of the house and carried on towards the back of the house.

Liam walked up the leaf-sodden steps to the front door and pulled out the keys. Neither of the keys worked in the lock! He decided to walk around back to see if they’d work on the other door. As he got to the back, he noticed right away that a well-worn path led into the forest/jungle. Like the front, large dog-like prints littered the path.

Liam sighed in relief when the back door opened to one of the keys. He stepped into a stately home that must have cost a fortune to build out here on the island back in its day. Each room spared no expense. The kitchen had marble counters and ceramic floors. The dining room had a heavy oak table with 14 heavy chairs and regressed cupboards. The living room was big enough for large parties, where the centerpiece was a massive stone fireplace.

Over the mantelpiece, high on the stones, was a trophy head of a wolf.

I’m no wildlife expert but that wolf head is three times as large as a normal wolf’s head!

The sun was sitting lower in the sky, throwing shadows inside. Liam tried the light switch, but no power.

That’s right, I need to go turn the generator on in the basement.

Using the substantial oak staircase leading to the basement, he needed his flashlight which he pulled from his knapsack. Within minutes the generator was chugging and he flicked the basement light on. Looking around down there he saw a heavy iron door with a substantial lock on it.

I wonder if that’s what this other key is for?

Liam tried the key in the door, and it clicked. Pulling the heavy door took some strength. Looking in, a shiver ran up Liam’s spine. What he saw with his flashlight looked like the entrance to an underground passage of a cave that had been blasted or carved out of the granite. Liam could hear water echoing in the cave. Then he heard another sound. . . .

My Part:

At first he couldn’t quite make it out, but then as his ear adjusted to the echo of the granite passage it became clear.  It was the melodic singing of a woman.  It was husky, but somehow hypnotically alluring.  Almost involuntarily, he moved towards the voice.

The passage was a bit longer than he had anticipated, and took two unexpected turns making his ability to calculate his position in relation to the island almost impossible.  Was he still even “on” the island or was he under the lake?  The dripping after the first turn suggested the latter, but he was unsure.

Night had fallen before he reached what could only be describe as a subterranean portico.  As he approached the porch-way, his flashlight flitted across what seemed in gloom to be the nude figure of a middle aged woman, but when he focused the beam back on the spot where he had seen the apparition, there was nothing there.  Then there was a definite movement which he caught in his peripheral vision.  Something large, and dark shot into the forest beyond.

“What the f —,” he said aloud, jumping back against the passageway wall.  After steeling himself, he shot his light towards the cave mouth to the trees beyond.  Well, at least I’m still on the island, he mused trying to give himself some consolation.

Once he was sure that nothing was going to come in from the outside he began to systematically examine the porch.  There was a fair amount of tracked-in dirt on the floor, but it was clear that the surface underneath was tiled.  There was a marble bench and a matching marble table – on which there was a framed black and white photo of a young well-to-do looking couple dressed in a style popular just after the Second World War.

His light then fell on a small pile of neatly folded woman’s clothing placed carefully on the corner of the bench.  Under the seat was a pair of elegant shoes, which seemed to placed with similar care.  He stooped to examine the shoes, and as he did his flashlight illuminated not only small human footprints in the layer of dirt, but more of the huge dog prints almost everywhere in the chamber.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when one of the tropical birds called out in the night.  It was then that he saw . . .



Teresa Grabs is the host of Finish The Story.  She tagged msjadeli, who in turn has picked me to write a chapter.

I’m tagging Joanne the Geek to continue/finish the story.   I hope she will take up the challenge, as I love her twists in the tale.


  1. post the story as you receive it
  2. add to the story (or finish it, up to the writer)
  3. tag another person to continue the story (unless you finished it)
  4. Have fun!


Part 1 Teresa Grabs

Part 2 Tao Talk