Writing Challenge – April 2019

This month, the prompt was this suitably spring-themed photograph of a vacuum cleaner!

Despite the fact that I find housework about as exciting as doing a tenth edit on a short story, you lot never fail to produce some fantastic pieces.

Read of for tales that will make you smile, think … and laugh!

‘They All Suck!’ by Laura Mason (*Contains explicit language!)

There Are Just So Many To Choose From,

And Quite Frankly I Don’t Give A Shit.

They All Suck The Same,

And Get Stuck On The Same Old Grit.

Be It Bagless, Bagged Or Compacted,

They All Suck The Same.

From Dyson, G-Tech To Henry,

It Makes No Difference To Me.

They Bring Out The ‘Feminine’ Colours,

To Entice I Am Sure.

But They Need To Get A Grip.

It’s A Fucking Hoover

Not A V8 Cruiser!

‘Modern Technology’ by Rita Dalgliesh

A new broom sweeps clean, was a cliche of the time.
Far better than bashing carpets on the washing line.

Then came the hoover; a great step forward.
Salesman’s patter; his advances flatter.

Labour saving sounded grand; buying one first-hand.
It’s a magic machine; hoover-head gets it clean.

On demonstration I’m dumbstruck; all that muck.
A sky blue carpet’s revealed. I’m mortified.

Here’s new technology; things becoming possible.
My carpet’s sucked hard by hoover head propelling.

I’m dancing with the Salesman now I’ve got time.
His patter worked as well as his machine.

‘Spring, my Dear’ by Rachel Kirkpatrick

Spring is here, it’s time to clear –
The cobwebs and clutter my dear
Dust and hoover. Listen, the birds are near.

Spring is here, it’s time to clear –
The garden & weeds my dear
Clear the paths, plant the seeds then have a beer.

Spring is here, it’s time to clear –
Your wardrobe out my dear
Out with old, and pull out new clothes to wear.

Spring is here, it’s time to clear –
Your mind, heart and soul my dear
Walk, do yoga and meditate with no fear.

Spring is here, it’s time to clear –
Your lungs my dear
Breath in the air out for a walk on the pier.

Spring is here my dear – Enjoy this time of year.

‘A Brown Penny Wish’ by Deborah Redden

Cara hoovers the carpet as if it were a lawn – up and down in perfect lines that decorate the living room with their military precision. No great surprise, you might say, given that today is the first of spring. But you see, the time of year makes no difference to Cara, be it Eastertide or the beginnings of Halloween, she’ll be slavishly scrubbing away, bleaching the worktops until they’re in danger of crumbling, and scrubbing at her skin until it’s red-raw, sore to the touch. She wants to stop, of course. But she can’t, the lines must be perfect. Every germ put to bed. Until then, there’ll be no sleep. No brake from the voices in her head that tell her she’s substandard; a gibbering wreck of damaged goods, as simple and worthless as a single brown penny.

‘The Constant Battle’ by Laura Mason

Oh Lord! It just never ends. The tumble weed of cat hair rolled past my feet, gliding effortlessly across the laminate flooring. The cats lounged and stretched, mewing at me. Like they had no idea of the constant hair collecting I had to contend with. I grabbed Henry. My trusty Henry. We have a love/hate relationship. He enjoys a good suck, but I just can’t be bothered. But today I would oblige and use him for what he was designed.

Thank you as ever to all the wonderful writers who have submitted a story or poem this month! It is always difficult to select the very best to feature here – but it’s a job which we love doing!

Have YOU been inspired to write? Check out our new monthly writing challenge!


New Venue for Morning Group

Today marked an exciting day for Lockerbie Writers as we made a move to a new venue.

As of today, the morning group will meet on alternate Tuesdays at the Townhead Hotel, Lockerbie.

Today also marked the first of our peer review sessions ahead of the completion of our second anthology – exciting times ahead for this enthusiastic group!

Lockerbie Writers, April 2019

Writing Challenge – March 2019

Pirates, mermaids, adventurers and far-away places … it’s amazing what a music prompt can inspire in you fabulous lot!

This track seemed to inspire the poetic gene in you – every response was poetry, which is unusual. Most months we get a good mix; I wonder what it was about this piece which brought out the rhymes and rhythms.

Read on for the top pick of the responses to March’s prompt, which was the following piece of music:

‘Bring The Rum, A Sweetie Too’ by Deborah Redden

Bring the rum and row the oars,
Ride the waves to brighter shores.
Brave the winds, the driving rain…
Straighten your back and take the strain.
Pull the rope and scrub the deck…
Mind the bough, don’t break your neck!

For soon we’ll be in France, my Son.
We’ll find a tavern, have some fun.
We’ll raise the rafters good and high,
We’ll drink our fill, but still won’t die!
Then morning comes, with heads of sand,
And we’ll raise our bodies and leave the land.

We’ll take the helm, look proud and strong!
Our grand auld captain won’t see us wrong.
Might Sing a song or tap a dance…
Dream on a girl, might take a chance.
For she might be, the one we need…
To quietly girdle this life we lead!

‘Water, Fire, Earth & Wind’ by Laura Mason

Beneath the sea, deep within a fiery battle begins,
The tridents clash with thundering roars,
Causing the waves above to soar,
The ships rock above the waves, struggling in the sways,
Below the battle ensues, as the mermen gather in the growing swells,
Crack from above as lightning begins, and fire breaks out aboard ‘The Grimm’.
Bodies fall from the ship to sea, as the fight rages on encouraging the storm,
The men sink to their doom, their eyes wide in the gloom,
Then there is light from beyond as the seas calm, and the fight is won.
Mermaids swim around the drowning men, easing their pain,
Sorrowful for the waste, guiding them to the depths below.

‘Ride Safe’ by Carol Price

As the moonlight bathed the lake in silver light,  
she held tight the reins of the stallion.
Together they raced away from the tower,
away from the man who would be king,
away from the danger that lurked within.
Her hair came loose and rippled in the wind,
her skirts they billowed behind her.
Her heart beat fast like a bird in a cage
as they fled through the wooded bower.

Haste to the warm embrace of your sisters three,
where the firelight glows and the peat smoke soars.

Ride safe, sweet child, ride safe.

Have you been inspired to write? Check out our new monthly writing prompt here!

Writing Challenge – February 2019

How fantastic to begin the year with such a varied and interesting selection of BRAND NEW WRITING from Lockerbie Writers and beyond!

Thanks again to our fantastic member, Angela Haigh, for submitting a photograph of the moon over Lockerbie. I loved it as soon as I saw it, and it certainly has had you thinking!

Here is a selection of our very favourite pieces, inspired by Angela’s photo.

‘Just Because’ by Konstantina Sozou-Kyrkou

Just because you’re the closest to earth
You think you can beat the sun,
Sucking up gleams of the real blaze,
Toil to shed light on hidden corners
Esoteric niches, windswept edges,
Sneak into window louvers and barred doors.

All you can do is
Cast shadows over freshly framed sheds
Mist over fertile land
Frost over springing grass,
Smudge the horizon with
A faultily sharpened pencil.

No true rays there to shield you
From the sun’s absence,
From the deepest desire,
Prepare you for the total eclipse
The whole of earth will bring.

Copyright Angela Haigh 2019.

‘Night Stroll’ by Laura Mason

I had always loved walking at night through the village. To many it was just eerie in the darkness, especially in the winter, and they chose to stroll on the summer nights. I had to say I was glad, that way I had the village winter nights all to myself. Tonight was no exception, with the bitterness in the breeze that February often brought and the cloudy skies. I shivered and pulled my coat closer around me. I entered the church yard and looked to the moon, it might be full but not much light was cast with church in the way. I lowered my eyes and looked to the graveyard, and saw the figure from beyond approach. I had no time to react, only to think. Maybe summer strolls would have been better after all.

‘Count Smoothie’ by Deborah Redden

When I applied to be Dracula’s assistant leech, my excitement was immeasurable. What’s not to love, right? There’s no better job for a parasitic worm! Oh, the dreams I had; those long slender necks I’d feast upon when my master’s fangs grew tired!

Now imagine my shock when I found it wouldn’t be so, and that the 552nd Count required my suckers for fruit and veg alone! That’s right, you heard me, old pale face has gone vegetarian! Blood makes him faint. FAINT!

‘No offense, Countie,’ I said ‘but this isn’t for me…if it’s a juicer you want, contact my good friend Ken Worm-Wood….I believe he’s great for juicing! I’ll leave his card by the fruit bowl.’

‘Moon’ by Stephanie Newham

We suited each other, this place and I. It was a shabby hotel. I had a first-floor room with a view of the church. An uncomfortable room with a single bed, sheets cold to the touch. I took a last walk. I’d finished mourning; I no longer had any desire to cling to the dead. What had tempted me back here?

I thrust my hands into my pockets, watched the moon guild the church spire as I entered the churchyard. I sat on a cold stone, took the photograph from my pocket. In the dimness I traced her face, my finger faltered on her lips. My heart closed tight, choking me. I sat for a while as the moon followed its course – a slight breeze stirred; bound me in a mossy dampness that sent me back to the hotel and a brandy.

I slipped between the cold sheets. Other nights had been worse; on other nights there had been no moon.

Inspired to write?
Check out our Monthly Writing Challenge page 
for the March prompt!

Writing Challenge RESULTS – December 2018

One final time for 2018, here comes your monthly dose of brand new writing from Lockerbie Writers and beyond!

This month’s festive image of a toy Christmas pudding, out of a cracker, certainly had a few people stumped – but we can always count on you for some great pieces of writing, whatever the prompt! This jolly photograph has inspired some of you to write some truly mournful pieces, and I am grateful to everyone who took the time over the busy festive period to dig deep into their hearts and produce such emotion, alongside the expected joyful ones. I hope you enjoy reading these.

All that’s left for me to say is one huge THANK YOU to all of the fantastic writers who have contributed to the blog throughout 2018, and to everyone who has taken the time to read the pieces. Your support makes it all worthwhile.

Inspired to write? We’re taking a little break but check back in February 2019 for a new prompt!


Christmas Visit by Laura Mason

“Have A Merry Christmas, Laura.”

“Yes, All Our Troubles, Finally Out Of Sight!”

“Oh They Are Miles Away.”

“This year reminds me, of The Olden Days”

“Ahh, Those Happy Golden Days”

“I know, and Through All Of These Years, We Will All Be Together.”

“So Long As Fates Allow, Laura!”

“We are blessed to be Faithful Friends, Maureen,”

“Yes, Hang The Shinning Star, just there”

“On this Highest Bough?”

“That will do nicely.”


The Price of Pudding by Deborah Redden

Tom was too busy to want anything for Christmas. He had a shelter to make and money to find. It was harder this time of year, getting people to part with their cash. He supposed they wanted to keep it for their families; to buy toys and clothes and all those other niceties he’d never had. But, he was only ten, after all, and you never know, Santa might visit him one day. Of course, he’d have to be good first. A child that needs seven bells knocked out of them doesn’t deserve presents, that’s what his mum said. He supposed she was right – he shouldn’t have taken the pudding – thieves have to be punished! That’s why he was on the street. That’s why his eye was black.


Merry Christmas by Kerrie McKinnel

The dog, asleep, roasting near the open fire,

The baby nipping at my toes,

‘Jingle Bell Rock’ being sung by an enthusiastic pre-schooler,

And I’m dressed up like a Christmas tree …

So I’ll say it once again to you

(If you can hear me above the kids)

Although it’s been said every day, in every shop you’ve been into

and every social gathering, work meeting, and doctor’s appointment

you’ve attended for the last month,

Merry Christmas to you.


Different Meanings by Laura Mason

Christmas is meant to be a joyous occasion, and though I love the season and am of cheery demeanour, there are always moments of sadness. Family no longer around, broken hearts and disappointment from the lack of good will. But what cuts me the most at this time of year is the empty spare room, the lack of toys under the tree, the fun and games missing from the night in front of the fire. I love Christmas and the wonder that it stands for, but I will always have a sadness inside me. I will always reflect and wonder what if.


Dear Chris by Deborah Redden

Dear Chris, 25-12-11 15 Christmas pudding racer

In recent years I have found my job increasingly unrewarding. It’s undoubtable that I’m the best ‘man’ for the job that I do. But, having gone to great lengths to get over my insecurities regarding my ruby-red honker, I feel my efforts to guide the way through many a hazy sky have gone unnoticed. Why, for example, should you be plied with mince pies, pudding and brandy, when I have to make do with a few mangy carrots? I’m the one who pulls and drags whilst you sit on you butt giving orders. And that put aside, flying whilst intoxicated is illegal! You’re a bright man, Chris, you don’t need telling – it won’t be long before the police come a-knocking! Mrs Clause won’t be best pleased.

That’s why I’m leaving – I don’t think I could stand the fallout … I’m not built to withstand a broken home. And so, with a heavy heart, I give you my resignation. A week from today I’m leaving for the Maldives. All this cold has played havoc with my knees.

Yours Sincerely, your concerned and loving friend,


Writing Challenge – December 2018

T’is the season for a festive writing challenge!

Grab your pens and keyboards …


Writing Challenge – December 2018

In 100 words or less, write a story or poem inspired by this photograph. (Hint: It’s a Christmas pudding racer toy out of a cracker! As always, it’s only a starting point!)

25-12-11 15 Christmas pudding racer.JPG

Entry Details, Terms and Conditions

  • To enter, simply add your entry as a comment on this blog post or on our Facebook post, or email it to kerrie_mckinnel@hotmail.com. Entries will be accepted until midnight, Monday 31st December 2018.
  • There is no prize or winner – it’s just for fun! All entries will be read by at least one member of Lockerbie Writers group, and their favourites will be published on this blog and/or on Facebook. Entries will be judged on criteria including originality, plot, and enjoyment.
  • The challenge is open to everyone, including members of Lockerbie Writers.
  • Entries should be fictional, maximum 100 words, based on the prompt. You can enter as many times as you like. All entries must be the entrant’s original work, must not infringe on the rights of any other parties, and should not contain anything which might be considered offensive. Lockerbie Writers reserves the right to remove any entries/comments which they decide do not meet any of these conditions.
  • By entering, you agree to allow Lockerbie Writers to publish your entry on this blog and on their Facebook page. You will retain the copyright to your work.
  • If you have any questions, please get in touch!

Writing Challenge RESULTS – November 2018

It’s that time again – get ready for some brand new writing! This month’s image was a photograph of the moon. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter – it was a challenge in itself to choose our favourites from the variety of fantastic stories and poems.

Inspired to write? Check out December’s writing challenge!


Just a Phase by WJane Swan

You couldn’t make it up. They caught the guy who did it through his username in the online astronomy group. OK, before D.I. Zangpo joined the force, he was a Buddhist monk, right? So in the monastery they lived by the phases of the moon; New Moon, fasting and silence, 8th Day, Tara prayers and so on. Well, the D.I. noticed that all the offences were committed a few days after the full moon. Now, what’s that phase of the moon called? It’s called “waning gibbous”. So that’s how he nailed the perp. From checking out the astro-group members’ usernames – Wayning Gibbus!


A Brooding Moon by Steph Newham

There’s something crazy going on. The Staff Nurses’ Hostel is electrically charged. We give a collective sigh. The full moon’s waning; time for Dr Whites and sanitary belts. Boyfriends absent themselves; men faint at the sight of blood, they’re not used to seeing it. So why do we expect anything different from them? But we’re used to blood. Blood pumping from bodies, seeping from burst infusion bags; drip-dripping from a picked scab; draining tension. Our work, our own bodies bathe us in blood.

We eat ice-cream from tubs, gaze up at the mythical man glowing through un-curtained windows. We discuss the rhythm method, compare our lunar peaks while the moon and our hormones are in synch. We nurses, connected to the moon by our bloodied hormones, brood.


Moony-Eyed by Deborah Redden

Two elderly women sat in a bustling cafe, the plodding chords of ‘Sugar, Sugar’ taunting their ears, and the glare of midday sun making comfort impossible. ‘Course, my Bill sez it’s all a hoax,’ said the larger of the two, taking a healthy bite of a brimming cream bun and pushing the plate of similar fare toward her friend who sat opposite. ‘Sez, there’s no way a Man can land on the moon, and all those films were made in a Hollywood studio.’

‘Can’t say I’d agree, Aggie,’ said the other, her eyes full of mischief, her hands fumbling over a lemon-yellow fancy with a dark chocolate drizzle that dripped over the edges, plopping unto the table with an audible ‘plip’. ‘But, I do know this, I’ll not say no to looking at that Kennedy once or twice more! Thank God for the old Telly-Box, eh?’


Just a Taste by Laura Mason

I ran my finger over the smooth flesh, before gently teasing the skin with me tongue. A smile played across my lips, how long it had been since I had done this? I gripped the flesh firmly in my hand as my tongue slid across my canines, I opened my mouth as sunk my teeth in, my mouth salivating as the skin broke, and me bite sank farther in. Pulling away, I gazed at the apple in my hand. “Man, these taste so much better than I remember!”


16-11-16 01 Close up of the super moon as it begins to wane
November’s prompt photograph. Copyright Kerrie McKinnel 2018.