Activities 2021

St Patrick’s Day Murder Mystery

Wednesday 17 March 2021

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, Write-on members got together for a virtual Murder Mystery event. It was a most enjoyable occasion and the participants entered into the spirit of the game with enthusiasm and gusto. Awards were presented to the ‘actors’, the most novel of which was the Certificate for BEST SCREAM in a MURDER MYSTERY! No surprises here, and Mary Rose made a wonderful acceptance speech afterwards.

Of course the object of the exercise was to discover which of the participants had performed the dastardly deed! Who was the MURDERER? A virtuoso performance by Geraldine Warren kept the audience guessing right up to the final curtain.

But what is it like to play such a dramatic role? What are the inner thoughts of an actress of such talent? To find out, we asked Geraldine to record her impressions of the evening and to give us an insight into how she won the coveted title of BEST MURDERER in a MURDER MYSTERY!

For as long as I can remember I have hated St Patrick’s Day with a passion. I can trace it back to a freezing cold day in my teenage years where I reluctantly took part in The Parade. In a white bainin dancing costume, being led by a huge Irish wolfhound on a float .. that was me. A recipe for disaster. The wolfhound took flight, pulling me into the crowd, and I made the front pages of all the local papers for all the wrong reasons!

Many years later I hated it all over again. The Irish bars in London never attracted me, and it wasn’t a great time to be Irish in London – that is, except for the five wonderful years I spent working for ABC Australia in London. They loved the Irish, the Aussies. Every St Patrick’s Day the email arrived from Sydney, for my attention. ‘Top of the mornin’ to you, Gerry’, and the sign off was always the same… ‘make sure the boys take you out for a Guinness’. Well, no encouragement needed, we were off at lunchtime. I was feted like a colleen and lunch often turned into dinner, and breakfast even! Ouch!

So this year, when my writing group suggested a St Patrick’s Night Murder Mystery, well, I was delighted. A fun way to celebrate my most dreaded night of the year. The packages duly arrived by email from Frank and Mary Rose – a questions menu and my character description. A sly email from Mary Rose announced that I was the murderess… things were looking up! When I think of how hard Frank and Mary Rose work in our group, I thought: ‘I’m not going to let them down. I’ll surprise them, I’ll start by learning my lines. First, I will actually print them off, read them and be ahead of the game’. I’d show them I was no slouch. No slicing and dicing, ducking and diving between devices, juggling phones and laptops.

7pm came round. I sat smug as you like, with my bundles of papers stapled confidently together. I watched, delighted, as other members shuffled painfully between devices reading their questions. Ha! None of that for me. Mary Rose kicked off proceedings with a blood-curdling scream that would wake the saint himself. And we were off.  With fantastic names for the night, like ‘Sophie Sudds’, ‘Potto Gold’ , and my favourite, ‘Stirren Mix’, we wouldn’t have been out of place in Cheltenham. My own name was Gail Carriere, a flirtatious barmaid with strong arms and a dark secret. The boss of the pub where the body was found had been having an affair with my dad, and this drove me to kill, apparently.  Like all good murder mysteries, each character had a motive. One smart cookie sniffed me out pretty quick… ‘Anita Mapp’ no less, there’s one in every group! 

As everyone was reading their Final Statement, and we were approaching the climax of the night, I realised with horror that I didn’t have one, a Final Statement that is. As murderess supreme, this was to be my defining moment.

What is it about me and Paddy’s Night , that reduces me to a quivering wreck? From the runaway wolfhound to drunken London nights, and now this? I switched off my video in a panic and ran round the room, desperate to find that one sheet of paper. OMG, no easy way outta this … I switched my video back on and had to fess up. I raised one of those annoying little yellow hands and typed in hurriedly ‘Please someone read my Final Statement for me’. Mary Rose stepped in, nonplussed as usual, and nobody screamed down their devices at me. They’re a good sort, the crowd who inhabit our virtual world. We laughed about it in the end.  

This bunch of troopers has carried on regardless throughout lockdown, churning out individual books of poetry, and contributing to our yearly Anthology of work, all the while looking out for each other, offering lifts, collecting groceries and behaving like a community in the very best possible way. Nobody shouts at you for showing up on a Thursday night empty handed. On  the contrary, we actively encourage critique and applaud anyone who has made a contribution. It’s always fun, and there’s always encouragement. You might get a well meaning nudge from Frank and as I write this piece I realise he’s been giving me some gentle nudges since Christmas, and yet, imagine,  this is my first proper effort at writing anything. And they haven’t kicked me out…yet! Thanks Frank, there’s more to come!

Oh and by the way, it turned up, that offending piece of paper … I was sitting on it.

By Geraldine Warren

Literary Agent Tutorial

Monday 8 March 2021

Another well-attended Zoom tutorial in which Frank Fahy unravelled the complicated world and the variety of tasks performed by a Literary Agent. With examples from his own experiences as a Publisher and an Agent, Frank had ample demonstrations of manuscripts that would get to the top of a Publishers pile and those that would remain firmly at the bottom.

There was a lively question and answer session afterwards. At the end of the session, most of the attendees expressed the view that they had a clearer picture of the functions and workings of a Literary Agency.

Photos in Videos Tutorial

Monday 15 February 2021

Following on from the successful tutorial about inserting copyright free music into videos, Frank Fahy will present another tutorial on Monday next at 11:00am.

This time, the topic will centre on sourcing PHOTOGRAPHS to accompany your presentations. Be sure not to miss it!

Music in Videos Tutorial

Monday 8 February 2021

A lively and informative tutorial was presented by Frank Fahy on the topic of inserting copyright free music into videos. Many of the short stories and poems written by members of the Write-on group have been transformed by putting WORDS, IMAGES, and MUSIC together in one video package. ‘The ambient music in the background of a video often goes unnoticed,’ said Frank. ‘Yet, it can make a huge difference to people’s perception of the mood or atmosphere of a piece of writing.’

With various examples, Frank showed how to source different genres of music, everything from Hip Hop to Country and Western. There are hundreds of tracks to choose from and it is a simple matter for Write-on authors to select the track that they wish to have played with their piece of writing. The Production team at Write-on will do the rest.

You can see over 100 examples of the Write-on videos under the headings CHRISTMAS 2020, PRESENTATIONS 2020 and PRESENTATIONS 2021 on this website. In fact, there are videos of the authors work in many sections of the website. Why not browse around and take a look… AND ENJOY THE MUSIC!

Here is what one of our members, Jutta Rosen, had to say about the tutorial:

Frank gave a small group of  Write-Oners a Zoom tutorial on how to select background music for their videos from a YouTube source. In an easy, clear presentation, stressing what was really important, he showed us how to access the source via a Gmail account. A file on YouTube.Studio contains thousands of titles, arranged by genre, easy to access and select.

Of major importance is the observation of copyright, since three infringements can result in being banned from the site for ever!

It was a stimulating session, and Frank later sent us a shortened video of the presentation. We can now send our own choice of music to Frank or to Anne together with our videos, and we hope he’ll show us how to combine these ourselves in a future tutorial!

Jutta Rosen

Visit of Bestselling Crime Writer

by Geraldine Warren

Thursday 28 January 2021

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin aka Sam Blake

It was a thrill to have Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, better known as crime writer Sam Blake, join us for our weekly Zoom meeting on Thursday 28 January. Vanessa has many strings to her bow: No 1 Bestselling Author, Founder & Managing Director Writing.ieThe Inkwell Group & MURDER ONE, Ireland’s International Crime Writing Festival, Board member of the Society of Authors, Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce.

Repro Free:Tuesday 1st September 2015. Picture Jason Clarke.

Her background in publishing and crime writing gave invaluable insights and practical tips to an eager audience. She shared her personal experience as a writer and explained that the craft of writing which most find daunting, is something she actually enjoys.

‘What publishers want is a fresh original strong voice with extremely well developed characters,’ she said. She was attracted to the world of virtual crime because ‘it represents an intellectual challenge, I like solving puzzles and mysteries intrigue me, and that was what stimulated me into writing about crime,’ she said.

Having someone of Vanessa’s calibre was a ‘real coup’ for the Write-on group and we plan to include many more guest writers in 2021.

The group, which is a community non-profit organisation has published an anthology of writing every year since being formed in 2017. New members are welcome and can apply by submitting two samples of their work to

January Mug of the Month

One of the most popular features of our Write-on gatherings is the monthly MUG OF THE MONTH COMPETITION. Anne Murray has taken charge of preparing the entries and her selection of photographs to accompany the pieces have come in for special praise. The reigning champion coming into the new year was Nollaig O’Donnell. There is an unwritten agreement that the current holder of Mugsy does not compete the following month. This ensures that a different winner emerges each month and the competition is not monopolised by any one person.

Mary Rose Tobin won the January Competition by the narrowest of margins. Our Doodle judges were tied in their opinion about the winner until the final vote was cast. Mary Rose celebrated in style with arms aloft and a smile on her face that could be seen from Barna to Brandenburg! Well done again, Mary Rose!

Now, who will be the victor in the month of February? The keywords are TRAIN and TRACK. Entries are travelling in, clickidy-clack, “faster than fairies, faster than witches”. Those members who have not composed their fifty words will need to be nifty. After the deadline, each will be a glimpse, “and gone forever”!

Here is Anne Murray talking about the Mug of the Month Competition:

“I enjoy Mug of The Month. Members write a piece in 50 words or less. Entries must contain two nominated words. The winner becomes the custodian of a specially commissioned perpetual mug which she/he is allowed to keep for a month, before presenting Mugsy to the next victor.
It’s a bit of fun and gets people writing. The competition has grown in popularity during lockdown. The title is hotly contested.



Closing date 21 February 2021.”

For rules of the Competition and further information, including videos of past entries and winners, see the MUG OF THE MONTH section of this website.