Throwback Thursday: Howler

A throwback to a short story about a couple who decide to holiday in the middle of the woods, and get more than they bargained for.

There was the sound of something running around outside, followed by a low growl. Lexie lifted her head off the pillow to see if she could make anything out on the other side of the curtains, but it was too dark for her to be sure.

“Can you see anything?” she asked Ed.


“Me neither.”

Source: Howler

Guest Blogging Opportunity

There are some fantastic guest blogging opportunities out there for writers who want to expand their audience and improve their chances of being published (or being published again).

My book, City of the World, was published by Creative Talents Unleashed at the end of 2015. I have also been published in several of their anthologies. This all happened because I agreed to become a guest blogger for the company, and provided three writing tips each week for several months during 2015.

The company has since expanded, and they are now looking for a new staff writer to create articles for their WordPress blog (2 per week). The writer will receive 2 free publishing opportunities each year, which I’m sure you’ll agree makes this a fantastic opportunity! You’ll have to send a letter of interest and a writing tip article to the company by email to apply (see below). Check out the Writing Tips on their WordPress blog to see the sort of thing they’re looking for!

I’ve taken the post from their Facebook page and posted it below for anyone interested.

CTU Staff Position Available: Staff Writer

Position: We are currently accepting applications for a staff writer. The staff writer will be responsible for writing 2 articles a week for our blog.

Requirements: 2 Writing Related Articles Released Per Week.
– 8 Articles a Month
Must have WordPress experience
Must have excellent research and writing skills
Must be able to meet weekly deadlines

Compensation: No Cost Publishing Services twice a Year

To Apply: Write a letter detailing why you would like to be a staff writer for CTU. Write a writing tip related article to provide a sample of your writing skills. Email your letter of interest and article to: to apply.

I suggest that eager writers consider this opportunity. If you’re not ready for this kind of commitment, however, you should still follow their Facebook page –  CTU publishes several poetry (among others) anthologies per year and is always looking for new authors!

YouTube Tuesday: “Work on It,” They Said

It’s Tuesday again – so here’s another poem from my YouTube channel. I’ve always loved this one, so I hope you enjoy hearing it out loud!

“Work on It,” They Said

A pit of lust and sleaze:
Our love is a disease;
A burning, itchy feeling
In every fibre of my being

It began when we declared
That our future would be shared
In solitude and health;
My sickness and your wealth

It grew into something bleaker
As my life signs became weaker
Now what sparks the tender flame
Is nothing more than shame

When we got deeper into life
Our marriage bonds untied:
The sound of your very name
Only increases my pain

Both of us have suffered
(And found pleasure in another);
This illness has consumed me:
Without love, we’d both be free

I’ve started to get quite a collection of poetry on my YouTube channel now. It’s still a work in progress, but please feel free to check out some of the other videos and let me know what you think:

Monday Reflection: Week 11

Monday again! The weather in Birmingham has improved this past week – I even saw the sun a few times! There’s lots of time to scroll through my reader while I sit lazily in the sunlight. Here are some great picks from throughout the week:


I am no tree by Sarita Jay Brady

In the Silence on Poet’s Corner


Grounded on Tales of Unusual Strangeness

Knaben by David Henson on Spelk


Here’s a blog that combines photography with poetry and displays the images in a nice, clear style that’s sure to catch your eye: uptown jack. The poetry is often short and thought provoking. Check it out by clicking the link!

I hope you enjoy going through these posts as much as I did. Happy reading! And if you’ve read something worthy of sharing, add a link in the comments below to share it with everyone else!

Life Moves On

I went back through my life
In old diaries
On social media, in embarrassing posts
Tagged by friends
On nights out
In the club, surrounded by strangers
Followed by scribbled notes
On hungover mornings
With hints of regret hidden
Between words written with shaking hands.
It was a stepping stone
This looking back
From one world to another –
From youthful freedom
To forty hours a week, working
As a drone
Some faceless soul
Whose memories can surface only
On Saturday nights,
Returning momentarily
To those old diaries
And social media

The wall flower

Great poetry

Withering Ambience

Arrayed themselves in sheer spice
these Blossoms of her paradise
greeted her charm that remains
no more driven by hurricanes

There with a vessel of colours
entreated the anodyne flowers
spattered to her heart’s content
that dissolved all crafty torment

required neither precision
nor any easing fusion
her bossom then unhands balking
thus divulges any crackling

she twirled and twirled around
overwhelmed with novel astound
succumbed so buried beneath
this fetching garth o’er heath

her kirtle swelled free
towards a long-awaited flee
as to reach the barriers subtend
stood high and stiff to forfend

A new demesne she loved
under dreams this wall gloved
walked steadfast to a corner
uttering, “I’m not a loner!”

returned to her yard having solace and will power
adorning her crumpet with a gentle wall flower


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You Just Don’t Understand

Emily stared at the menu and sighed. The food sounded delicious, but it was so overpriced. There was no way she could justify paying over the top prices just because her friends were going.

Samantha spotted her gazing at the photo of the brownie in the dessert section and placed a hand on Emily’s arm.

‘Don’t worry about the price,’ she said, ‘I’ll pay for yours.’

Emily smiled, but shook her head. ‘I can’t ask you to do that,’ she said.

‘Sure you can. Nobody needs to know. You can cover the taxi fare – it won’t be that much. Or you can buy me a drink sometime.  Come on, it won’t be the same without you there.’

Emily looked up from the menu and caught Samantha’s eye.

‘Oh, all right,’ she gave in. ‘Thanks. I’ll pay you back, somehow. I promise.’

‘Like I said, don’t worry about it. A great meal out with friends this weekend, and everything will feel better.’

‘Yeah, you’re right.’ Emily paused, looking back down at the menu to mentally make her choices ahead of schedule. Then she said, ‘I’m going to need a new dress, now.’

Samantha laughed. ‘You can’t afford the meal, you can’t afford a new dress,’ she pointed out. Emily grinned.

‘You know, Sam, you just don’t understand.’

‘No,’ said Samantha, ‘I get it.’ She glanced up and down the street, then rubbed her hands together eagerly. ‘Well, no time like the present, is there?’

What’s in a Character’s Name?

How do you go about selecting names for your characters?

In a short story, flash fiction, quick piece of poetry, or example, a name can be just that: a name. It might not even be a full name. Sometimes, the reader will not even learn the name of the character at all.

In longer pieces of writing, such as novels, names are a much more important element. They do not always have to have deep significance, although they could always portray a hint of what their character is like. Think of Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter books, whose first name references Remus and Romulus, who were raised by wolves, and whose surname is a form of the Latin word for “moon”. His name is one big clue to the secret that he is a werewolf.

Names can be a significant part of our characters in other ways, too. Sticking with the Harry Potter theme, let’s think about Albus Dumbledore. It would have made no difference to the story if his name had been Jack Smith, but there’s no denying it would have robbed the character of some of his power. The name alone is designed to impress upon the reader a certain sense of awe about the character – in the same way that calling a character Judas will give the reader a distinct impression.

In the same sense, silly or ridiculous names can distract readers from a serious story. It can be amusing to give a character a quirky name, but think carefully before you do – you may be giving them this name forever, and you do not want a bad name to stick.

It is important, therefore, not to simply pick a character’s name out of a hat at random. It is a careful decision to make, even more so when it is an invented name. Having a list of words and names – real, invented, or both – is always a good idea for an eager writer. Many of these may never amount to anything – but when you find the right name, you will be thankful you took the time to make your decision.

YouTube Tuesday: The First Lesson

Welcome back to YouTube Tuesday! Today’s poem reaches back in time to November 2013, and the first time I ever taught English – to a class of primary school kids, who still somehow managed to terrify me. Please check it out below, and let me know what you think either below or on YouTube.

The First Lesson

What great fear paralyses you?
There are those who fear spiders,
Innocent as the majority are;
Others who feel faint up high
When they look at the ground below;
Some whose concerns are amplified
By the close proximity of a crowd;
Mine strikes me down when I need strength:
A presentation leaves me with chills.

So why then did I gravitate towards them?
Teaching, whatever age the students,
Is all about presenting information:
Public speaking I have always despised,
But I try never to flee from a challenge
And, aware that my uneasiness had
Total control over the person who I was,
I chose to force myself into a position
Uncomfortable to me, so I could master fear.

I would be a liar if I claimed
That it had been easy or enjoyable
To teach that first lesson, when not only
Did it frighten me, but I also had
No skills, no practical training to speak of.
But if life is not for diving in head first,
Then what is it that we’re living for?
I worried, I stumbled, I quaked from head
To toe: my hopes of victory seemed pathetic.

In a moment gripped by our fear
We can be quick to condemn ourselves
To fates most unfitting, early deaths, or
Embarrassment that we imagine to linger.
And so in that first lesson, I believed
That my time was already up.
But afterwards, observed what errors
I could look to correct – and had proven
To myself that fear can be defeated.

© Laura Marie Clark

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: — or find it on Amazon