Chorus #Fortnightly Fiction

Hello, everyone. Today marks the beginning of my new venture, Fortnightly Fiction, in which I will write a short story once every two weeks using a prompt provided from one of my readers. As my explanatory post suggests, I aimed for January and missed, but I’m still making the leap. As most of you know, simply starting is the hardest part!

My first prompt comes from Geoff Le Pard. Geoff apparently wanted to give me a hard time right from the start and so suggested this head-scratcher:

“You wake from a dream in which you are in front of an audience and not wearing any trousers to find you are indeed without trousers. The genre is Greek Tragedy, and the setting is on a cruise ship.”

Right…thanks, Geoff! I do so love a challenge, and so I dived right in. I didn’t quite follow the prompt exactly, but I covered the main points. I had a lot of fun with this one, and although it made me want to tear my hair out at times, it was incredibly enjoyable as an exercise.

Here is my attempt to answer the challenge. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Chorus

By Adam Dixon

 

Gary woke up bathed in sweat as the last vestiges of his dream faded away. He panted as if he really had been running through a garden and he almost checked his ankles for dew droplets.  He felt panicked and exhilarated, but all he could remember was the slapping of his bare feet on the grass and a chill on his legs.

“That bloody dream again,” Gary said, closing his eyes against his hangover. He swung his legs from his bunk and ran a hand through his greying hair. The dream was probably a glimpse of his youth, but he couldn’t remember much about those days. He always woke from it wondering why he hadn’t been wearing any trousers. The gentle rocking of the cruise ship upset his senses as he staggered into the bathroom. His mouth tasted sour, like old whiskey. He glanced in the mirror and noted with distaste the wrinkles gathering around his eyes.

“You’re getting too old for this,” he said.

Gary emerged a few minutes later, wrapped in a towel and cradling his head. Moving hurt and he cursed himself for getting carried away. He pulled on a clean white shirt and hunted for a pair of jeans. He frowned when he couldn’t find any in his wardrobe.

“I could’ve sworn…” Gary turned to look in his suitcase. Still no jeans, and none of his evening trousers were there either. Even his shorts and swimming trunks were missing.

“What the hell?” Gary struggled to order his thoughts. He upturned his suitcase and spilled its contents onto the bed. As he rifled through his clothes, his fingers closed around a piece of paper. It was a note, written in delicate, precise script. It read:

‘Mister Reynolds. I have your belongings. Follow the trinkets from your past.’

Gary stared at the note in confusion. It was then that his hangover Voices spoke up in their shrill, musical tones. They sounded like eager dramatic amateurs.

“Look! The drunkard has made another enemy!”

“Alas, will he ever learn?”

“He deserves no pity!”

“Shut up!” Gary held his temples and forced the Voices into silence. He must’ve told somebody at the bar about his dreams. Fantastic.

Gary emerged from his cabin wearing his towel around his waist. He was relieved that the corridor was empty as he knocked on the opposite door. He’d at least be able to borrow some trousers and save some embarrassment. He put on a charming smile as he waited. There was no noise from behind the door. Gary frowned and knocked louder. Still nothing.

“Must be at breakfast,” Gary said. There was no answer at the next door, nor at the five others he tried afterwards.

“Hasn’t anyone on this ship heard of a lie-in?” As he turned the corner, something glinted. There was a silver flute lying on the navy carpet.

“What the hell?” He was alone and hadn’t heard anyone passing by. The flute was light and cool against his fingers. Gary recalled that he’d gone out with a flute player many years before.

“What was his name, now?” Gary wondered. “Dark hair, mole on his neck, nice legs…” He noticed an engraving on its side and the penny dropped.

“Daniel…” Gary whispered in shock. On the flute was a short message – “Daniel, play like the angel you are.” Daniel’s flute had been a gift from his grandmother. He stared at the instrument.

“How the…” he began but trailed off. His spinning head slowed enough for him to recall a stinging memory. He saw Daniel’s anguished face, one hand outstretched as he strode away from their table. Gary remembered Daniel begging him to reconsider and his heart recoiled from the sudden shame. His Voices chose that moment to return with vigour.

“You were cruel to so crush his hopes!”

“Daniel! Poor, sweet Daniel!”

“The first of many hearts you broke!”

“Shut up!” Gary growled, his anger flaring as he quashed the Voices. He gave the flute a lingering glance before tossing it back onto the carpet. He hadn’t thought of Daniel for twenty-five years and he didn’t appreciate the reminder. Finding a specific flute was too elaborate for a simple prank. Gary began to feel unnerved and started hammering on the next cabins.

Suddenly, one of the doors swung open with a slow creak, revealing the luxury room within. It was large, tasteful and it smelled of clean linen, but it was empty. Gary threw his hands up in frustration, then he noticed something on the bedside. He stepped inside with a feeling of trepidation and saw a golden, heart-shaped locket which glinted in the weak light from the port hole. He recognised it, and ran his fingers across the smooth, aged metal as he tried to place it in his memories. Unclasping it revealed two photographs. One showed an attractive, plump woman with a bright smile and curling hair. The other showed a grey-haired man with dark, brooding eyes and a neat goatee. Gary chuckled as he made the connection.

“Bloody hell, it’s Deb and Luke!” he said. “My god, they were fun! Not the first time I’d slept with a woman to get to her husband, either!” The return of his Voices interrupted Gary’s amusement.

“He prayed on their lust and still he laughs!”

“To cuckold them both…for shame!”

“Not the first defiled union, there were others…”

Gary felt a sudden panic flood his system as a half-formed image entered his mind. It was just a silhouette, but his subconscious screamed at him to stay blind to it. Gary banished the Voices with difficulty and was left staring at the locket with wide eyes.

“Shit…”  An unfamiliar sense of guilt settled in Gary’s stomach. Deb and Luke hadn’t stayed married for long after his interference, and Gary had melted from their lives with his usual ease. He wondered with sadness what had happened to them.

“This is ridiculous!” Gary was suddenly angry. “Where’re my bloody trousers?” He stomped from the cabin and slammed the door. He was breathing hard and he could smell alcohol in his sweat as it trickled down his forehead. It was eerie how empty the corridor was when the ship usually bustled with life. Steeling himself, Gary continued walking.

The corridor stretched on and Gary found himself thinking about the ghosts from his past. Gary didn’t consider himself to be a bad person, but he was uncomfortable with facing those memories. He’d been wild in his younger days, but he was single and comfortably mundane now. He was a maths teacher, for goodness’ sake! He trudged on with his towel gripped tight.

As he neared the end of the corridor, Gary squinted at the final door and approached it with dread trickling through his limbs. Once close, Gary could see that there were two photographs pinned to the door. One showed a young girl of around six with blond hair and a scattering of freckles across her nose. The other showed a woman who could only be her mother, also blond and showing a playful smile. Gary stood with his jaw set, willing his brain to work.

Suddenly, he understood.

“Oh, Christ!” Gary raised his hands to his mouth. Everything made sense now, the trinkets, the slow mosaic of shame, the dream without trousers…

“Layla,” Gary whispered, brushing trembling fingers against the girl’s smiling face. He couldn’t recall her mother’s name, but he had only caught a glimpse of her as he had fled from the bedroom. The startled girl had watched, agape, as he had lumbered through to the back door. In his haste, Gary had dropped his clothes as he had burst into the garden. He had been naked except for this shirt as he had run through the wet grass to make his escape.

“Dean…” Gary said in strangled voice. “Dean Stevenson…” The silhouette he had glimpsed earlier warped into focus in his mind, revealing a handsome, middle-aged man with long black hair and a sad smile. Gary could remember the panicked realisation on Dean’s face as he woke up to find Gary in his bed and his wife returning home from her night shift. True to form, his Voices returned.

“Ah, now he remembers!”

“Yet more debauchery!”

“For shame! Shame!”

The Voices howled like a vengeful chorus, paralysing him. He leaned a hand on the door to steady himself, but it shifted and opened. Gary blinked, fearful of what might lay beyond. There was a figure seated within, draped in darkness. A rhythmic hissing and whooshing sound filled the room.

“Are you…” Gary’s voice was timid. “…my clothes?” There was a scoff from the darkness, and another figure approached.

“Still thinking of yourself? Typical Gary!” the voice was female. Gary remained outside the threshold as a woman stepped into the light of the corridor. She was around twenty-five, tall, blond, and plain, with eyes which seemed older than her years. Gary shuddered as he saw the identifying freckles on her nose.

“Layla…” he croaked.

“We meet again,” Layla sneered. The hatred in her eyes was staggering.

“I… I’m sorry,” Gary offered, hearing the hollowness of his words despite his sincerity.

“Oh, not yet,” Layla replied, stepping back into the shadows. There was a fumbling sound and a bedside lamp illuminated the room. A man in his sixties sat in a wheelchair, his frail body hooked up to a drip, with tubes snaking from an oxygen canister into his nostrils. His dark eyes were orbs of sorrow floating above a dusting of freckles. Gary’s heart froze; it was Dean.

“Dad tried to kill himself after mum left him,” Layla said, her words dripping with malice. “She won custody and he had nothing left.” Layla stroked Dean’s face affectionately, her fingers rasping across his stubble. “The train didn’t kill him, but he may as well have died. He’s been like this for nearly twenty years, and all because of you.” Layla stood and took a purposeful step. Gary’s mouth worked as he tried to form a response. Layla seized something from the bed and thrust it into his hands. Gary staggered and glanced down to see a pair of black trousers. They were discoloured with age, but he knew in his heart that they were the pair he had left behind that fateful morning. The same pair which were missing from his dreams.

“A souvenir of the day that ruined our lives,” Layla spat. “I hope it was worth it!”

Gary clutched the trousers to his chest, unaware that the towel had fallen around his ankles. His knees trembled, and his throat was dry. He looked into Layla’s terrifying, rapturous eyes and then at Dean’s. Dean was blinking as tears made river downs his cheeks.

“Tell me how I can make this right!” Gary cried in desperation. Layla looked at him with contempt.

“Bit late for that, isn’t it?” she replied. She rested a hand on Dean’s shoulder. Gary stared at the two of them, his eyes wide.

“Please!” he said as he took a step into the cabin. “There must be something I can do…you must want something from me!”

“I only wanted to make you face your past,” Layla said, her voice hard and cruel. “I wanted to make you suffer as you remembered. That’s enough for me.” Layla suddenly shoved Gary with unexpected strength. He staggered back through the threshold and fell sprawling onto the carpet. Gary stared up at the door in disbelief as it was slammed in his face. He lay there, stunned, and unaware that the passengers had finally begun to return. Most gave him no more than a fleeting, confused look, and some ignored him outright. Nobody wanted to know what the half-naked man on the floor was crying about.

Whatever it was, they decided as they entered their cabins, it was probably his own fault. Why else would be caught without his trousers on?

 

 

If you would like to get involved in Fortnightly Fiction, please feel free to suggest a prompt in the comments section. I’ll do my best to do your ideas justice!

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com.

Follow me on Twitter @ADixonFiction.

Don’t forget to buy your ticket for The Bloggers Bash on 19th May 2018! For more info, click here

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The Soldier in the Wood #writephoto

Prompt provided by Sue Vincent. Follow the link to read more posts inspired by her photography.

The Soldier in the Wood

By Adam Dixon

The soldier spluttered into full consciousness, tasting coppery blood on his lips. Agony rippled through his body and he closed his eyes against it. The sweat on his brow felt cool and the air he sucked in in ragged gasps was moist and fresh. He cracked an eye and took in his surroundings. The woodland was quiet, the mixing of dull earth and green leaves providing a false sense of peace. The sun peeked through the leaves of a nearby tree like a curious child, but its cheerful rays didn’t reach him.

The soldier had seen many woods but somehow this one seemed to be the most beautiful. He snorted at the thought and coughed, spraying crimson droplets from his mouth. His leather jerkin creaked as he lifted a hand from his hip. His palm was wet and scarlet and the jagged tear in his side was nauseating. He groaned as he recognised the wound to be fatal. The cavalry charge had cut through them like butter, he’d never stood a chance. He remembered crawling off the field into woods, but he couldn’t remember collapsing against the tree.

He hawked and spat a mouthful of blood into the trees before removing his leather cap with trembling fingers. His brown hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat. He couldn’t remember where he was, or who he was fighting for. Was he in France? Spain? Scotland? His mind ached as he tried to think, and he soon gave it up. It didn’t matter anyway, he was done for. The bright green foliage blurred, and he forced himself to sit up, groaning as his side flared with pain. The bark of the tree was rough against his back, but he was grateful for it. It was sturdy and reliable, just as he had been for five years as a mercenary.

He could still hear the battle raging on nearby. The clash of steel on steel, the cries of wounded men and the screeching of horses shattered the peace of the woods. He guessed that his side had lost the battle, judging by the weight of the enemy’s charge. They’d come to finish him soon. It was a shame he’d dropped his sword.

The soldier wondered if God would forgive his sins. Every nation he had taken employment from claimed to have God on their side, and whilst they had been winning he had considered that to be proof enough. But now? He’d spent his short life killing and whoring, and he had little to show for it. No wife or family, and no real friends. He’d lived by the sword and he was going to die by it. Still, at least it was pleasant in the wood.

The muted clatter of hooves on soil announced his doom. The eager sun was blocked as a man in bright, blood-stained armour came into view, riding upon a magnificent white steed. The quality of the man’s armour and the banner draped over his horse signalled he was a noble. The soldier sighed and closed his eyes. He was tired, and his body was growing numb with cold. He heard the man dismount and followed by the harsh scraping of a drawn sword. The wood smelled of life now that his death was near, and he loved it for it.

Still, he wished he hadn’t dropped his sword.

 

Follow me on Twitter @ADixonFiction.

 

 

 

Don’t forget to buy your ticket for The Bloggers Bash on 19th May 2018! For more info, click here

LAST CHANCE TO GET YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKETS FOR THE 2018 BLOGGERS BASH. #BLOGGERSBASH #BLOGGING

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A Man in Love

Hello everyone! Today I’m sharing a short story I wrote few months ago,which was inspired by the prompt of an ‘unreliable narrator’.

This is an aspect of story telling that I find very interesting, and it can be seen in plenty of book and films. How do we know if we can trust our only source of information as a reader? Should we believe anything they say? At which point do we realise that our narrator is, in fact, compromised? These are just a few questions to consider when writing a story like this, and I had a lot of fun doing it!

I hope you enjoy this story, and thanks again for reading.

P.S. I’m looking for story prompts for my new feature! See my previous post, Fortnightly Fiction – A Call for Prompts! for more details.

 

A Man in Love

By Adam Dixon

 

My name is Brian Sedgwick and I am a man in love. Consider that my confession, if you like, I’m happy to tell anyone who’ll listen. It’s not easy to love someone so much that it hurts. Before I fell in love I was alone in my flat with my games and microwave meals, but now I dream of children and country houses and all that cheesy stuff. Some people will try to belittle it and say that I’m only into her because she’s my boss, but that’s just insulting. Plus, I know that she loves me, too.

Eleanor Robins is thirty-two, a couple of years younger than me. She has long, shining brown hair and gorgeous green eyes that you could lose yourself in. She has a sweet, lopsided smile, a dusting of freckles on her nose, and a birthmark on her wrist; it looks like a USB drive to me, which I like to think is a sign that we’re meant to be. I love to hear her laugh, it’s the best sound in the world. I try to make Eleanor laugh every day in the office; she works so hard and I notice that the stress gets to her sometimes. It can’t be easy running a business in this economy, so whenever she comes into my office with an issue I look over my computer and crack some stupid, half-baked joke just to make her smile. I know she appreciates it, even though she doesn’t say it. She even started flirting with me a few months ago, which I’ll admit knocked me for six. Nothing outrageous, just the odd raised eyebrow or a smirk after a euphemism about hard drives or something. She’s also got a bit of a wild side, as the office Christmas Party 2016 can attest to. I caught her alone under the mistletoe at the end of the evening; it was the single greatest moment of my life. The next day Eleanor insisted that it was a mistake, the result of too much wine and good spirits, and asked me to keep it to myself. Ever the professional. God, I love that woman. Her husband has never deserved her.

Oh yeah, she’s been married to that ape, Darren, for six years now. I’d only met him once, but I knew all about him right away. A personal instructor at a gym in London, all muscles and protein with limited brain cells, like a hi-spec desktop with a tiny processor. He did some freelance writing on the side, mostly articles about the importance of fitness in modern society and advocating encouragement instead of body-shaming, blah blah blah…I’ve read them, they’re not very good. They were probably ghost-written, anyway. It doesn’t matter, just imagine a lout who wants a trophy wife. Eleanor is perfect; beautiful, intelligent, and successful, just the kind of woman who makes Darren look brilliant by association. He’s never loved her like I do, and I could tell that Eleanor was only pretending to love him back. The amount of times I’ve passed by her office and heard her rowing with him on the phone is ridiculous. She even started taking her wedding ring off and leaving it in a drawer. This had been going on for months, and it sounded like Darren was an arsehole at home, as I’d suspected. Eleanor only stayed with him because she didn’t know how to get away from their marriage. Poor, sweet Eleanor.

I decided to do something about it after the Christmas Party. It was made clear that Eleanor wants me as much as I want her, but I knew I’d need to be careful. Eleanor isn’t the kind of woman to engage in affairs, and I respect that. Darren was unlikely to cheat on her, because, seriously, who in their right mind would do that with Eleanor in their life? No, I needed to find a way for her to get rid of Darren, which meant proving that he was being abusive. So, I learned Darren’s schedule and started following Eleanor home when I knew he’d be waiting for her. I even managed to borrow her key from her bag and get a copy made during a lunch break. I hid three cameras in their house, one in the kitchen, one in the living room and one in their bedroom. On the days that Darren was at home I’d park across the road and keep an eye on him. I needed to make sure that Eleanor was safe.

Things seemed okay for a bit after that, Eleanor wasn’t being harassed too much at home and she was continuing our little back-and-forth at work. She even bought the whole office pizzas after a busy but successful month, and she gave the biggest one to me. Extra toppings and an extra smile thrown in, too. She’s so good to me. But in February things started to go wrong. Darren must’ve known something was up, because he started exercising more control over Eleanor. He was taking her out for fancy meals more often rather than making her cook. Then there was the long weekend in Paris for their anniversary, and the gifts and smiles and new lies. He was getting what he wanted, as they were having sex more often as well. It made me sick to watch them from the darkness of my car, hearing Eleanor moaning beneath him. I could have sworn that she whispered my name once, which made me jolt upright in a panic, but Darren didn’t seem to notice, or care. I could see right through all his tricks, but it seemed that poor Eleanor was being slowly taken in by it all. She started keeping her wedding ring on, and smiled when Darren called her at work. There was some big deal a few weeks ago, Eleanor rushed out of the toilet and showed Darren something small and plastic she’d taken in there. I didn’t get a proper look at it, but they both started crying and holding one another. It was maddening to watch him touching her, as if he deserved her. The bastard was winning, and there wasn’t a bloody thing I could do about it…

Until last month. I was feeling pretty low, believing that my love was lost to me, when Eleanor revived all of my hopes and dreams. She came in to my office to ask me about a storage issue with her computer, and requested that I teach her what needed to be done. As I clicked about and showed her the process on-screen, Eleanor leaned over the desk and put her cheek very close to mine as she watched. I could smell the sweet perfume of her skin and the fruity aroma of her shampoo, and I longed to close my eyes and rub my face against hers. I could easily see down the front of her smart white shirt, which she’d left partly unbuttoned. It was deliberate, I’m certain, and it almost drove me mad. I finished my little tutorial, blushing and stammering, unable to stand up for the moment. Eleanor stared into my eyes and gave me a smile which melted my heart. She thanked me, asking what she’d do without me. I mumbled a reply and made another terrible joke. Eleanor laughed, and I knew then what was needed. I was on her wave-length and saw that it was a signal, a request for aid. My princess was aware of her danger, and I was the only one who could rescue her from the troll who held her hostage.

The next step was easier than I expected. Through observing Darren at home I had discovered some useful facts about him, including his allergies. It was fitting that he should be allergic to peanuts when his brain was roughly the size of one. All I had to do was call in sick and wait until Darren went out on his morning run. He always made one of those disgusting protein shakes for when he got back. I let myself in and added something a little extra to it, then I waited in my car for the show. I watched the kitchen camera with a pounding heart as Darren got back. The idiot took a huge gulp of his shake without even looking at it! I had to stop myself from leaping out of the car and jumping for joy as he collapsed and convulsed. Eleanor and I could be together at last! After the respectful period of mourning had passed, of course. We both still had parts to play, but I’d waited so long already that a few more weeks would be simple.

I didn’t expect to get caught. It turned out the neighbour opposite Eleanor had a CCTV camera, and my car was in its view every time I sat and watched. When the police requested it, it didn’t take long for them to arrest me. They found my cameras, too. That was sloppy, I should have taken them out of the house right away but I was too excited about my future with Eleanor. I haven’t seen her since as she’s not been at work; she’s still playing her part beautifully. I bet she looks divine as a grieving widow.

My trial will start soon. I’ve got a pretty good idea that my barrister doesn’t think we’ll win, but I’m still pleading not guilty. I’d do it all again to rescue my princess, my love. She’ll be in the court room, too, of course. I can’t wait to see her face again, to see that lopsided smile, those freckles, and that prophetic birthmark. I know she loves me, and because of that I’m confident I’ll get off with her help. We’ll get through this, and then we’ll be together.

I love her so much.

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If you’ve never attended a Blogger Bash event before then you’re in for a treat. Created by Sacha Black and aided by her intrepid committee of eight bloggers, the Bash is open to any blogger, regardless of age or niche. Previous events have included speakers, competitions, a panel, and attendees from all over the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada.

 

There will be an opportunity to network, eat cake, and meet some amazing online friends in person! The event takes place in a single day, and you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic time and a sore face from all of the smiling that you’ll do!

 

Timings and the exact breakdown of the day will be available closer to the event, but it will start mid-morning and end in the evening. We announce the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards, which you, the blogging public, vote for. You can see last year’s winners here.

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

 

Join your Blog Bash Chat host, Suzie and other members of the committee every Sunday on Twitter https://twitter.com/BloggersBash – don’t forget to use the hashtag! #BlogBashChat

 

NEW Bloggers Bash Website COMING SOON!

Fortnightly Fiction – A Call for Prompts!

Hi everyone! As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I’m going to be launching a new feature on my blog. Just like my previous ‘Fiction Fursday’ posts, I am looking to write stories with your input! I will write, edit, redraft and post one short story every two weeks for your enjoyment (I hope!) and your scrutiny.

What I will need from you, dear readers, is writing prompts. They can be in the form of first/last lines, a particular theme you would like to see, a suggested point of view, or even just one word to get the cogs turning. I’ll welcome any suggestion of genre, too, so please feel free to give me something tricky! Please note, I will draw the line at anything unsavory, such as extreme erotica or gore. Just as a heads up!

This process has worked very well for me in past, both in my April A-Z Challenge in 2016 and my ‘Fiction Fursday’ posts, and it gave me a tremendous sense of achievement as I was regularly writing and receiving feedback. Of course, I will also be adding stories from within my own mind-palace from time to time, as I can’t let you lot take all the credit!

I’m currently looking to begin in January 2018 with six prompts, which will take me into the middle of March. If I receive more than I need then I’ll simply file them away for future use, especially if they are good ones! My aim is to stay ahead of the game by keeping to a strict schedule this time around, as it’s high time I got this blog organised!

As always, I will aim to keep the stories around the 2000 word mark or less. If any are likely to go over by a large amount then I’ll consider splitting the story into parts. Also, anyone who suggests a prompt which I use will be acknowledged and linked in to the blog post. I’d be extremely grateful for any suggestions and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can come up with together!

Thanks, everyone!

 

Image credit to pixabay.com. 

Here are a few of my ‘Fiction Fursday’ short stories, to give you a flavour of the excellent prompts I have received in the past. 🙂

A Crisis In Alexandria

Flossy’s Chance

The Boy and the Oak Tree

Dark Side Debriefing

The Animals’ Advice

Death Vision

 

Bloggers Bash Tickets – Now on Sale!

THE BLOGGERS BASH IS BACK!

 

Now in its fourth year, the Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. The venue is booked (link to venue post https://wp.me/p885Ux-1Qi ), and the committee is busy working behind the scenes to ensure the day is full of fun, learning opportunities, networking, and, of course, the blogtastic award ceremony.

 

Over the next few months, we will be sharing various posts about the award nominations, the attendees, our writing competition, and the other opportunities that will be available for those bloggers who attend.

 

To enjoy this day out in London surrounded by fellow bloggers, we suggest you sign up for the early bird tickets TODAY, so you don’t miss out.

 

TICKETS:

 

Early Bird Bash Ticket (available until 11th January) £20 pp

 

Standard Tickets (available until 3rd May) £25 pp

 

Late Entry Tickets (available between 4th – 18th May) £30 pp

 

Please take note of the small print:

  • Tickets are non-refundable
  • Tickets are non-transferable
  • Tickets are limited on a first come first served basis
  • Cost of a ticket is for entry to the event only (not for food or anything else)
  • Those buying a ticket agree to comply with any health & safety rules set by the venue and to behave in a way that will not impact upon the enjoyment of other people
  • The Committee reserves the right to change the venue and/or agenda of the event
  • Payment for tickets via PayPal only.

WHAT IS THE BASH?

 

If you’ve never attended a Blogger Bash event before then you’re in for a treat. Created by Sacha Black and aided by her intrepid committee of eight bloggers, the Bash is open to any blogger, regardless of age or niche. Previous events have included speakers, competitions, a panel, and attendees from all over the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada.

 

There will be an opportunity to network, eat cake, and meet some amazing online friends in person! The event takes place in a single day, and you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic time and a sore face from all of the smiling that you’ll do!

 

Timings and the exact breakdown of the day will be available closer to the event, but it will start mid-morning and end in the evening. We announce the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards, which you, the blogging public, vote for. You can see last year’s winners here.

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

 

Join Sacha and the committee on our Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/991165987611263/

 

You can also join us for our weekly Twitter Hour every Sunday 7pm-8pm using the hashtag #BlogBashChat or join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #BloggersBash hashtag.

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO NOW?

 

  1. BUY your ticket! https://wp.me/p885Ux-1Qc

 

  1. Send us your blog name and link to annualbloggersbash@yahoo.co.uk so you can be added to our attendee’s post. (NB: if you don’t send this information you won’t be added).

 

  1. Pop the date in the diary and tell the world you’re attending a fabulous blogger soiree.

 

  1. Sort out your travel and accommodation (link to Geoff’s post).

 

  1. Pack your bag, remember to bring business cards, throw in a notebook, and join us for a fantastic day of blogging fun.

 

NEW Bloggers Bash Website COMING SOON!

 

 

The Triumphant Return! Update on blog and plans.

Hello, everyone! So, since my last post approximately ten years ago I’ve been busying myself with projects which have nothing to do with this blog, the main culprit being NaNoWriMo. During November, I found that I was only able to do the challenge justice at the expense of everything else. Long story short, I completed the challenge and now I can get my head in the right space for blogging once again!

Excuses aside, I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and what I can do to get motivated to post more regularly. As some of you may know, I previously ran a feature called ‘Fiction Fursday’, in which I wrote short stories each week using prompts provided by my friends in the blogosphere. I intend to start up a similar feature in the New Year, but this time I will give myself a fortnight rather than one week, as I will be less likely to burn myself out over it, as I ultimately did before. I will still be searching for prompts from you wonderful people on WordPress and beyond, but crucially I will get organised and plan ahead.

If any of you have read Shelley Wilson’s fantastic new book ‘How I Motivated Myself to Succeed’ you’ll know that she emphasises the importance of organisation and forward-planning, and I fully intend to take that advice. Obviously, some of you may already know this and I’m just late to the planning party, but it is a eureka moment which couldn’t have come soon enough! Shelley’s book has inspired me to knuckle-down and think about ways to keep my blog moving and my content flowing, and I am very grateful to her for that. I have also been recalling the kind words of encouragement and useful criticism I have received from my readers over the last two years, and this has also given me the push I need to get going again.

There will be further posts this month which will cover my new features in more depth, so watch this space! Until then, thank you all so much for your support and as always, thank you for reading!

 

You can find Shelley’s book on Amazon here. Give it a try!

Image credited to pixabay.com.

Annual Bloggers Bash Announcement!

Looking forward to next year’s Blogger’s Bash? In case you haven’t already seen the post (link to Geoff’s post), we have a date (May 19th), and we have a venue: The George IV in Chiswick, London!

 

Licenced since the 1770s, this charming pub is known for its excellent menu and comfortable surrounds, which make it the perfect venue for our upcoming Bash. Located close to transport links in leafy Chiswick, there is also plenty of accommodation nearby for anyone planning to make a weekend of it.

 

Address: 185 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London W4 2DR

 

Closest Tube Station: Turnham Green Tube station

Closest Overground: Kew Bridge

 

Nearby accommodation:

 

Best Western Chiswick Palace and Suites, 71-73 Chiswick High Road

Premier Inn Chiswick, Hogarth roundabout, Axis House, Chiswick

Clayton Hotel Chiswick, 626 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick

 

WHAT IS THE BASH?

 

If you’ve never attended a Blogger Bash event before then you’re in for a treat. Created by Sacha Black and aided by her intrepid committee of eight bloggers, the Bash is open to any blogger, regardless of age or niche. Previous events have included speakers, competitions, a panel, and attendees from all over the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada.

 

There will be an opportunity to network, eat cake, and meet some amazing online friends in person! The event takes place in a single day, and you’ll be guaranteed a fantastic time and a sore face from all of the smiling that you’ll do!

 

Timings and the exact breakdown of the day will be available closer to the event, but it will start mid-morning and end in the evening. We announce the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards, which you, the blogging public, vote for. You can see last year’s winners here.

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

 

Join Sacha and the committee on the website https://sachablack.co.uk/annual-bloggers- bash/ or our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/991165987611263/

You can also join us for our weekly Twitter Hour every Sunday 7pm-8pm using the hashtag #BlogBashChat or join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #BloggersBash hashtag.

 

Cracked Head

Hello, everyone 🙂 I wrote this story a few months ago, using a first line prompt and I was very pleased with how it turned out. It’sa little bit different from my usual type of stories, but upon re-reading it I’m still quite fond of it. Please do let me know what you think 🙂

As always, thank you for reading!

Cracked Head
By Adam Dixon

“Is that what you meant to do?” Pete smiled at the memory of his question from three years ago. It was the crack in the headstock of Jimmy’s bass which had prompted it, or the lack of one; Jimmy had it fixed almost right away.
“Yeah, course it was,” Jimmy had replied, rolling his eyes. “Halfway through the gig I thought ‘you know what’ll liven this up? If I drop my bass on the stage!’ Bloody hell, Pete…” Pete remembered blushing at the remark. He had admired Jimmy back then, believing that his big brother could do no wrong. Pete’s smiled faded as he ran his finger over the spot where the crack had been. The instrument had always been lovingly cared for, so finding a layer of dust on it had been a shock.
“Well, d’you still want it?” Jimmy asked, breaking Pete from his reverie. Pete stood from his crouch and faced him in the small bedroom. Jimmy looked terrible, his face was pale and haggard, his blond hair was a scrambled mess and he had lost a lot of weight. His cheerful brown eyes were dimmed and bloodshot above deep purple bags. He was also sniffing constantly as if he had a cold.
“Well?” Jimmy insisted, frowning in annoyance.
“I…yeah, course I do,” Pete answered, thrown by Jimmy’s bluntness. Jimmy nodded and smiled, nibbling at a stubby fingernail.
“Cool,” he said. “Did you bring the money, then?” The hopeful tone in his voice made Pete feel uncomfortable. He pulled a wad of notes from his Marvel Comics wallet and held them out. Jimmy’s eyes lit up and he snatched the money in an instant.
“Nice one, bro!” Jimmy said gleefully. “And you told me you were skint last month!” He snorted and shot Pete a brief, accusing glance. Pete felt sick.
“I was,” Pete said. “But I’ve been saving up from my paper round; it’s taken me three months to get that. Why are you selling it anyway, Jimmy? You love that bloody thing!”
Jimmy barked an unpleasant laugh, and pocketed the notes. “I’ve told you already, it’s for food and toiletries and all that boring stuff. My student loan barely covers this place!” He swung an arm around the room for emphasis before winking and adding: “Condoms, too. The price soon adds up!” Pete smiled in response, but stayed silent. When Jimmy had gone to uni he had been attractive in a scruffy rock-star kind of way and had boasted of late-night encounters with his fellow students. Pete had burned with jealousy and curiosity, but Jimmy had changed a lot in a year. Their frequent phone calls and constant Whatsapping had trickled to almost nothing in recent months, and Pete was worried.
“Well, I’ll look after her, don’t you worry!” Pete smiled and changed the subject. “So, what’s the plan for today, then?” Jimmy’s brow creased.
“Plan?” he echoed, sniffing twice and scratching his head.
“Yeah,” Pete said, disbelief and anger stirring in his stomach. “You do have a plan, right?” Jimmy stared blankly for a moment then slapped his forehead with his palm.
“Oh crap!” Jimmy said, his eyes wide. “It’s your bloody birthday! Oh, mate, I’m so sorry! I forgot! Yeah, let’s totally do something! Like, we could go to the bar in a bit? Get you a pint, yeah?”
“I’m fifteen, Jimmy!” Pete snapped, unable to stop two tears from sliding down his cheeks. Jimmy’s face crumpled and he stepped closer. A strong smell of B.O. and cigarettes assaulted Pete’s nose; he didn’t know that Jimmy had started smoking.
“Course you are, I know that!” Jimmy said, placing a hand on Pete’s shoulder. “Course I do! We can still get some food at the bar, if you want. Or we could go into town and grab a meal somewhere, or – “
“Forget it,” Pete said, shrugging off his hand. The tears flowed as he lifted the bass from its stand. “You’ve got what you wanted from me now! I can’t believe I’ve spent two hours on a coach for this, what a bloody loser!”
“Come on, Pete,” Jimmy croaked. “Don’t be like that!”
Pete wiped his eyes furiously. “I’m going home. Maybe mum will still take me to see Logan.”
“Pete!” Jimmy tried to touch his shoulder again but Pete shoved him away. Jimmy’s wasted frame offered no resistance and he staggered backwards, shocked. Pete seized the guitar bag which lay at his feet and shoved the bass into it.
“I’m taking this,” Pete declared. He shot Jimmy a tearful, angry look. “Unless you’re gonna charge me for it, as well?” That hit home. Pete stormed out of Jimmy’s room and down the corridor, ignoring the pleading sobs which followed him.
***
“I just didn’t know what else to do,” Pete said. He had calmed down during his walk across town, and the bitter sea wind had given him something else to worry about. The left side of his head faced the beach and tingled as he sat miserably at the coach station.
“That stupid little…!” a strangled voice said in his ear. Pete winced and moved his phone an inch further away. There was a pause and a measure of control entered the voice.
“I’m glad you called me, darling,” it said. “I’m so sorry you had to see your brother like that, today of all days!”
“It’s okay, mum,” Pete said, relieved that the expected eruption had not occurred.
“No, it’s not okay!” his mother insisted. “You’ve just found out that Jimmy is a druggie on your birthday, for goodness’ sake!”
“Would it have been any easier on different day?” Pete demanded, then was immediately contrite.
“Oh, mum, I’m sorry for snapping,” he said, rubbing his puffy eyes. “I’m a little on edge, you know?”
“It’s alright, Peter,” his mother sighed. “Ooh, just you wait until I speak to that boy!” Pete opened his mouth to reply, then closed it. He looked down at the guitar bag which rested against his knee. He hadn’t let go of it since he had left Jimmy’s flat. Strong memories flooded his mind, and Pete swallowed back the lump that rose in his throat. He remembered Jimmy teaching him notes and chords on that very bass and helping him to save up and buy his own. He remembered his incomprehension when their dad walked out, and how Jimmy had seen him through it.
“Don’t call him yet, mum,” Pete said slowly. “Let me talk to him first.”
“I thought you were on your way home?” Pete’s mother was puzzled. Pete stood as the coach pulled up, gleaming in the dim sunshine. The doors opened with a whoosh and a hiss, but he turned away from it.
“Not yet, mum,” he replied. “I’m going back to Jimmy’s. He needs me.” Saying it aloud cemented his resolve, and Pete made his way back towards the university.
“I won’t cut you out, bro,” Pete said to himself. “Never.”
***
Up on stage, Pete revelled in the attention. He and his bandmates made use of the tiny space as best they could, thrusting their hips and nodding their heads with huge grins on their faces. They weren’t great, but they had pulled a decent crowd for the small gig and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The whole space smelled of armpits, beer and excitement, and Pete loved it. He plucked at his instrument, glorying in the pounding of the amp behind him, savouring the vibrations as he strung notes together. The old bass he was using still had life in her, and Pete had taken good care of it.
The song ended to a smattering of genuine, good-natured applause, and Pete scanned the room whilst the lead singer spoke into the mic. He saw a few of his school friends and waved at them, and they replied with smirks and crude gestures. He saw his mother in the crowd, beaming and doing her utmost to embarrass him in front of his mates. He grinned at her sheepishly and continued to gaze around the room. His eyes drifted towards the bar at the rear, and found the brown pair that he sought. Jimmy raised a hand in greeting, nursing a glass of Coke with the other as he leaned casually against the bar. His face and body had filled out since he had dropped out of uni and he had shaken off the haunted look at last. The singer reached the end of his melodramatic speech but before he could count the band in, Pete stepped up to his own microphone.
“Just a sec,” he said, wincing as the feedback screeched across the room. Everyone looked at him in annoyance and curiosity; Pete gulped and wished his heart would slow down a bit.
“Erm, I just wanted to add something quickly before we start,” Pete continued. “I’d like to dedicate this song to someone in the audience, someone who inspired me to get into music. It’s my big brother, Jimmy, who’s hiding at the back over there. Hi Jimmy!” Pete waved and laughed at Jimmy’s alarmed expression as the forty-odd people in the audience turned to look at him. Jimmy cleared his throat and looked down at his feet, his cool, casual poise ruined.
“Anyway, I owe a lot to Jimmy, and since it’s his birthday tomorrow I thought I’d embarrass him. Thanks for coming, bro!” Pete waved again and the audience clapped. Behind him, the drummer counted them in. One, two, three! The room was once more filled with the sound of something resembling rock music and Pete settled into his role. He caught Jimmy’s eye again as he strummed his big brother’s bass. Jimmy was smiling, and he raised his drink in a salute. To the casual observer, it would appear Jimmy was thanking Pete for the shout-out, but Pete knew there was more to it than that. It had been a difficult year for Jimmy, but Pete had been there for him through all of it.
“You’re welcome, bro,” Pete thought as the amps roared. “I love you.”
You can find me on Twitter here.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com