VOTING IS OPEN FOR THE BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS (ABBAs)

This is it. The wait is finally over!

 

The FOURTH Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2018 are now OPEN FOR VOTING.

 

You can vote HERE.

 

We had a HUGE number of nominations, so thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate your favourite bloggers.

 

Voting Closes at midnight on April 30th (BST). The winners will be announced on May 19th at the Bash in London. If you can’t make it along to the event don’t worry, we will put a winners post out on the evening of the same day. Although we have pingbacks to all the winners blogs it would be best for you to check back to see if you won.

 

TO THE VOTERS – Choose carefully, you can only vote ONCE per award. There are 9 awards (so this is a long post). Yes, you can vote in each category, but only once in every one.

 

TO THE NOMINEES – Good luck to you all. Every nomination is really well deserved and as a result, this year we are doing things a little differently. Winners will have their prizes and certificates shipped to them as well as their winner’s badges emailed. However, all nominees will be entitled to a Bloggers Bash nominee badge once the voting is over. 

 

Don’t forget to follow all the fun in our Facebook group, on Twitter, or using the Hashtag #BloggersBash. We also have a mailing list which ALWAYS gives you the most up to date info before anyone else. 

 

Disclaimer: The committee has done their best to coordinate the nominations and to ensure, where possible, we gave nominees a choice of which category they wanted to be in. Due to time constraints and limited resources, this may not have always been possible. In addition, the committee is not responsible for the quality of information nominators gave. The committee uses the information it is given. This year we specifically requested the ‘NAME OF YOUR BLOG’ not your first name. Therefore this is what we are displaying. If your name has been displayed incorrectly, you can contact us and request a change by emailing annualbloggersbash@yahoo.co.uk. While the committee will endeavour to make changes promptly we neither guarantee to make those changes nor do we guarantee to do so in a certain time frame. 

 

Awards:

 

BEST OVERALL BLOGGER 

 

Who is the blogger that excels in a variety of categories? Who provides excellent content, is sociable and engaging with readers, shares other posts, or has a writing style that keeps you coming back time and time again?

Whoever you choose needs to be an all-rounder. A blogger that is head and shoulders above the rest as that’s what makes the Best Overall Blogger.

 

FUNNIEST BLOGGER

 

Which blogger always makes you laugh the most? Whether that’s through humourous content or their blogging manner. A blogger that has your sides aching from laughter and brightens up the blog-o-sphere is what makes the Funniest Blogger.

 

MOST INSPIRATIONAL BLOGGER

 

Who inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought-provoking and inquisitive? Perhaps they’re a muse to you with the constant provision of inspirational content or imagery. Who’s the one blogger that touched your heart? This is what makes the Most Inspirational Blogger.

 

 

MOST INFORMATIVE (Original Content) BLOGGER

 

This award is for the blogger with the most informative and original content. Who creates fascinating content that you find yourself longing to read? Perhaps they’re a history blogger or they write about the craft of writing/blogging, or maybe they like archaeology or wine tasting. They could be an artist or musician. The topic is irrelevant, it’s the original content that counts. A blogger who shares a wealth of knowledge in an informative way is what makes the Most Informative & Original Blogger.

 

BEST BOOK REVIEW BLOG

 

There are so many wonderful book bloggers out there, but which one stands out for you? Whose book reviews do you enjoy reading and engaging with? It’s not the number of reviews that’s important, but more about the quality of them. Who has you clicking the ‘buy now’ button after reading a riveting summary, or who has the most thoughtful reviews? A blogger who shares an abundance of book reviews in a memorable way deserves the Best Book Review Blog.

 

SERVICES TO BLOGGERS

 

Which blogger goes out of their way to help others? Maybe this is someone who helped you kick-start your blog with tutorials or how-to guides. Perhaps they continually reblog your posts. It could be a blogger who consistently provides useful posts on how to boost your blog. Or maybe you want to nominate someone who provides an engaging platform for others.

Someone who selflessly dedicates themselves to other bloggers is who deserves the Services to Bloggers award.

 

HIDDEN GEM

 

Have you stumbled upon a blog by chance and discovered useful information, or thought-provoking content? Is there a blog that doesn’t get the notoriety they deserve? Maybe they have such an original style you can’t help but read their posts. A blogger who you believe should get the limelight for a change is who deserves the Hidden Gem award.

 

NEWCOMER BLOGGER

 

A category for those bloggers who have been blogging less than a year (joined the blog-o-sphere after 1st June 2017). Did they join with a bang? Have they made an impression? Do they engage with readers? Are they funny, or well designed, or maybe share posts that make you smile time after time. A newbie blogger who deserves recognition makes the best Newcomer Blogger.

 

BEST PAL 

 

Which blogger do you want to go to the pub with? Or maybe have dinner with? Who never fails to reply to comments, and has thoughtful things to say? Maybe they encourage the community through weekly challenges or blog parties. A blogger who makes the blog-o-sphere a better place is what makes the Best Pal.

 

That’s it, folks!

 

Remember to get your ticket and to follow us on Facebook or Twitter using the Hashtag #BloggersBash. We also have a mailing list which ALWAYS gives you the most up to date info before anyone else.

 

 

 

 

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THE BLOGGERS BASH NEEDS YOU! Panel Debate 2018

 

The Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever on Saturday 19th May 2018. The venue is booked, and the committee have been busy working behind the scenes to ensure the day is full of fun, learning opportunities, networking, and, of course, the blogtastic award ceremony.

 

To ensure that you get the most out of your day we are looking for your input. We received incredible feedback about the panel debate at last year’s event so we’ve decided to bring this back.

 

In order to maximise the time and choose the right panellists to meet your needs we want you to submit questions/topics that can be put forward for debate.

 

Here are a few suggestions to get your mind ticking:

 

  • Do you want to learn more about Flipboard, StumbleUpon, or another platform?
  • Are you interested in how to make graphics for your blog, or how to create images?
  • Would you rather learn how to market, or monetize your blog?
  • Does learning how to create an effective social media strategy appeal to you?

 

Let us know what topics you would like to see covered at the Panel Debate 2018 and help us help you.

 

STILL TIME TO GET YOUR TICKETS:

 

Tickets (available until 3rd May) £25 pp

Late entry ticket (available between 4th – 18th May) £30 pp

 

Please take note of the small print:

  • Tickets are non-refundable unless the event is cancelled
  • 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.

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 Twitter Hour on the first Sunday of the month 7pm-8pm using the hashtag #BlogBashChat or join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #BloggersBash hashtag.

 

You can be the first to know all the latest bash news by signing up to our mailing list here.

THE BLOGGERS BASH IS BACK! GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

 

Now in its fourth year, the Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. The venue is booked (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.

 

TICKETS:

 

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 unless the event is cancelled
  • 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.

 

  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 Crown Jewels

Here is a piece of flash fiction I have Written for The Bloggers Bash Blog Post competition. If you’d like to enter then you’d better get scribbling as it ends TONIGHT (22.03.2018) at 23:59 GMT! The theme is “Royalty”, and can be about anything which springs to your mind!

Click here for full details of the competition and how to enter. First prize is a £100 Amazon gift card, with two runner-up prizes also on offer. Not bad for a paragraph or two!

Being a committee member, I can’t officially enter the competition, but I thought I’d give it a bash regardless! I hope you enjoy it, it was a fun way to spend my lunch break!

The Crown Jewels

By Adam Dixon

 

“And, lo! Behold, the Crown Jewels! Worn by the monarchs of England for centuries!”

“Wow! They’re incredible, Professor!”

“Stunning, aren’t they? The craftsmanship which went into creating these marvels…ooh, it gives me goose-bumps!”

“The guys in the lab have scrubbed them well. I can’t see any dirt on them.”

“Quite right, too! It’s painful to think of them buried amongst the rubble of the Tower for so long…”

“They’re impressive, sure, but why did we bother?”

“What do you mean, lad? That’s Old Earth history before your eyes!”

“Yeah, I get that, but the custom is backwards. Allowing a single family to have so much influence doesn’t scream equality, does it? Surely we don’t want that revived?”

“Well, no, but you see, it- “

“Plus, it’s impractical; the bloody thing must weigh a ton! Not the best idea for a hat, is it?”

“A hat? A hat?!”

“Calm down, Professor, I’m just pulling your leg! You should’ve seen your face!”

“Hmmph! I should like to teach you a little respect for history! Every human being should appreciate relics from when we were free!”

“They really are fascinating, Professor, but I do still wonder why we bothered. The Overlords will have us vaporised if they find out we have them!”

“That’s exactly the point, lad! These aren’t simply relics, they’re symbols! They will remind us of what we lost when the Overlords descended. We don’t need to bring back an outdated system, we just need to let it light a fire in the minds of the public! Now, turn off the lights and help me lock this away. It’s a precious thing.”

MEET OUR GUEST SPEAKERS FOR THE ANNUAL BLOGGERS BASH 2018. 

 

We are delighted to introduce you to our two guest speakers for the 2018 Annual Bloggers Bash. Details of the final agenda will be released soon so keep an eye out for future posts.

 

Our first speaker is well known and loved in blogging circles and was the proud winner of Best Overall Blog at last year’s event.

 

Meet Ritu from But I Smile Anyway

 

Ritu

 

Ritu will be sharing her top tips from a working mother on how to keep your blog running smoothly and giving it plenty of attention without abandoning your family and real life too!

 

Connect with Ritu via:

 

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

 

Our second speaker is another well known blogger and author as well as being the Boss Lady/Captain/List Writer Extraordinaire/Chief Whip Cracker of the Bloggers Bash Awards.

 

Meet Sacha from Sacha Black

 

Sacha

 

Sacha will be talking about the importance of mailing lists and how we can utilise them as bloggers and writers to the greatest advantage for our blogging stats and book sales.

 

Connect with Sacha via:

 

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

 

There will be a chance to ask Ritu and Sacha a few questions after their talks.

 

Don’t miss out on this informative and fun day – BUY your ticket today.

 

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 will also announce the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards, which you, the blogging public, vote for. You can see last year’s winners here.

GREENSTORY SPONSOR THE BASH

This year, the awards are being sponsored by Greenstory – a fantastic eco-friendly company who are awarding each of the winners with a STONE notebook… Yes, a notebook actually made of stone. For more details, check out Suzie’s review of the notebook here or their website here.

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

 

Join Sacha and the committee on our Facebook Group

 

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

 

There’s still time to enter our Bloggers Bash Competition and be in with a chance to win £100 in Amazon vouchers. Find out more here.

 

DON’T FORGET TO BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW, find out how, here.

 

There’s still time to nominate your fave bloggers so they’re in with a chance of winning a bloggers bash award. You can nominate here.

 

The Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition – Deadline for Entries Extended  

We’ve listened, and we’ve acted. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve extended the deadline for entries to this year’s Bloggers Bash Blog Post competition. The deadline for entries is now 23:59 on Thursday 22nd March 2018. 

 

What is the competition about, and how do I enter?  

 

As you may have noticed, there’s another exciting event happening in London the same day as our Bloggers Bash. Although it won’t be as much fun as our event, the news of a Royal Wedding has undoubtedly given us a lot to think about.  

So, the Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition 2018 is on the theme of ‘Royalty.’ You’ve got a maximum of 300 words to share a flash fiction story, anecdote, poem, or another piece of work or writing on the theme of royalty. You might be inspired by Harry and his princess, or by the venue of this year’s Bloggers Bash (George IV). Or you might have another idea in mind. If you’re a photographer, then publish a post that includes photos of what ‘Royalty’ means to you.  

 

The Cost: £5 per entry or £8 for two entries – all proceeds go to funding The Bloggers Bash, payment accepted through PayPal only, at the bottom of this post.  

 

IMPORTANT – How to submit: Publish your entry(ies) on your blog and then drop an email to annualbloggersbash@yahoo.co.uk with the following information:  

  • The link to your blog post(s)  
  • The word count of all the words (excluding the title) in your post  
  • Your name  
  • Your Twitter Handle  
  • The identification number on your PayPal payment.  

 

Use the email subject title: BB Blog Post Competition. 

 

Prizes 

1st prize is a £100 Amazon gift card and a winner’s trophy 

2nd prize is a £30 Amazon gift card 

3rd prize is a £15 Amazon gift card 

 

We welcome entries from all over the world. The competition is open to all bloggers, regardless of if you’re coming to the Bloggers Bash or not. 

 

This year, we’re delighted to announce that our judges for the competition are Kaisha Holloway and Jo Robertson.  

 

Kaisha Holloway blogs at The Writing Garnet 

Kaisha won the top award for Most Inspirational Blogger at the 2017 Bloggers Bash and continues to inspire readers all over the world with her incredible book blog. She supports authors by promoting their books and helping with their social media presence. Her passion for all things book related is evident in the number of blog tours she participates in every year.  

 

Find Kaisha on Twitter: @kaishajayneh 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thewritinggarnet/ 

 

Joanne Robertson blogs at My Chestnut Reading Tree 

Jo won second place in the Hidden Gem category at the 2017 Bloggers Bash and through her fabulous book blog she shares many hidden gems with her readers. She set up My Chestnut Reading Tree in 2016 and enjoys sharing crime and psychological thrillers as well as women’s fiction. As a Top 55 Amazon reviewer, you can rely on Jo’s reviews to guide you towards a great book.  

 

Find Jo on Twitter @jocatrobertson 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mychestnutreadingtree/ 

 

The Small Print – Important, Please Read Before Submitting Your Entry 

 

  • Only entries with the identification number of the PayPal payment and sent by email to annualbloggersbash@yahoo.co.uk will be entered into the competition.  
  • Up to two entries per person are allowed. Anybody found to have entered the competition more than twice will be disqualified.  
  • Members of The Bloggers Bash committee and judging panel are not eligible to enter.  
  • The competition closes at 23:59 GMT on Thursday 22nd March 2018. Entries received after this date will not be included.  
  • Your entry must be a maximum of 300 words (not including the title) and can include: pictures, photos, videos, and artwork.  
  • The competition is only open to adults aged 18 and over.  
  • Winners must agree to have their full name and winning entries published on the blogs of the Bloggers Bash committee.  
  • No alternative prizes are available.  
  • The judges’ decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.  
  • By entering the competition, you agree to abide by these rules.  
  • Click here to make your payment for entering the competition.  

 

Winners announced at The Bloggers Bash on May 19th, 2018. 

GOOD LUCK!  

 

Click hereto buy a ticket for the Bloggers Bash. 

 

Click here to meet the sponsor for this year’s Bloggers Bash awards. 

 

NEW Bloggers Bash Website COMING SOON! 

 

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS (ABBAs) 

The Bloggers Bash is just three months away, which means the ABBAs (Annual Bloggers Bash Awards) are back! Every year, we run a set of blogging awards nominated and voted for by you. 

 

To nominate – click here. 

 

For more information see below: 

 

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; 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. 

 

HOW DOES THE AWARDS PROCESS WORK? 

 

Each year we stage a two-step awards ceremony. 

 

STAGE 1 – You ‘NOMINATE’ who you would like to see listed in each category. 

STAGE 2 – You vote for your favourite bloggers. 

 

WARNING – MUST BE READ BEFORE NOMINATING 

 

Now, a word of warning before you get nomination happy. In previous years, lots of you failed to read the rules or provide the correct information. That led to extra work for the committee who needed to take a full week to track down the information for all the nominated bloggers. We are a non-profit, voluntary group of bloggers, therefore we have taken the decision that we will automatically disqualify any nomination that comes in with: 

 

  • The wrong information 
  • Incomplete nomination 
  • Breaks the rules listed below. 

 

We will not chase you for missing information and we will not notify you of any errors. It is your responsibility when nominating to triple check the rules and the nomination entry:
 

NOMINATION RULES (AKA THE SMALL PRINT, OR THE STUFF YOU NEED TO READ) 

 

Complete the nominations form at the bottom of this post – it will ping an email to the bash inbox, job done. It will only allow you to nominate for one award at a time, sorry, but that’s the way it is, if you want to nominate in every category you’ll need to fill it out several times. 

 

Information Required: 

 

  • Your full name 
  • The full Website address of the blogger you are nominating 
  • The full name of the blogger’s website (this is the name that will be on the listing, if the nominator gets it wrong, tough).  
  • The category of the award you are entering them for. 

 

NB: The committee members cannot be nominated. Members include: Sacha Black, Geoff le Pard, Hugh Roberts, Suzanne Elliot, Helen Jones, Graeme Cumming, Adam Dixon, and Shelley Wilson. 

 

If you do not submit the required information, your nomination will be disqualified. 

You cannot nominate yourself. 

To ensure a spread of winners, you can only win in one category. Therefore, if you are nominated in more than one category we will attempt to contact you to ask what category you would prefer to be in. If you don’t want to choose, or we cannot reach you, then the committee will decide for you. 

You can only nominate ONCE in EACH category. 

You can only vote once in each category 

You can only win three years running. Should you win for three consecutive years, you will be not be eligible to be nominated the following year – sozberries, but we want the awards to recognise as many bloggers as possible. 

 

NOMINATIONS CLOSE at 23:59 (GMT) on 20th March 2018 

 

GREENSTORY SPONSOR THE BASH 

This year, the awards are being sponsored by Greenstory – a fantastic eco-friendly company who are awarding each of the winners with a STONE notebook… Yes, a notebook actually made of stone. For more details, check out Suzie’s review of the notebook here or their website here. 

 

 

Award Categories: 

 

BEST OVERALL BLOGGER  

 

Who is the blogger that excels in a variety of categories? Who provides excellent content, is sociable and engaging with readers, shares other posts, or has a writing style that keeps you coming back time and time again? 

Whoever you choose needs to be an all-rounder. A blogger that is head and shoulders above the rest as that’s what makes the Best Overall Blogger. 

 

FUNNIEST BLOGGER 

 

Which blogger always makes you laugh the most? Whether that’s through humourous content, or their blogging manner. A blogger that has your sides aching from laughter and brightens up the blog-o-sphere is what makes the Funniest Blogger. 

 

MOST INSPIRATIONAL BLOGGER 

 

Who inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought provoking and inquisitive? Perhaps they’re a muse to you with the constant provision of inspirational content or imagery. Who’s the one blogger that touched your heart? This is what makes the Most Inspirational Blogger. 

 

 

MOST INFORMATIVE (Original Content) BLOGGER 

 

This award is for the blogger with the most informative and original content. Who creates fascinating content that you find yourself longing to read? Perhaps they’re a history blogger or they write about the craft of writing/blogging, or maybe they like archaeology or wine tasting. They could be an artist or musician. The topic is irrelevant, it’s the original content that counts. A blogger who shares a wealth of knowledge in an informative way is what makes the Most Informative & Original Blogger. 

 

BEST BOOK REVIEW BLOG 

 

There are so many wonderful book bloggers out there, but which one stands out for you? Whose book reviews do you enjoy reading and engaging with? It’s not the number of reviews that are important, but more about the quality of them. Who has you clicking the ‘buy now’ button after reading a riveting summary, or who has the most thoughtful reviews? A blogger who shares an abundance of book reviews in a memorable way deserves the Best Book Review Blog 

 

SERVICES TO BLOGGERS 

 

Which blogger goes out of their way to help others? Maybe this is someone who helped you kick-start your blog with tutorials or how-to guides. Perhaps they continually reblog your posts. It could be a blogger who consistently provides useful posts on how to boost your blog. Or maybe you want to nominate someone who provides an engaging platform for others. 

Someone who selflessly dedicates themselves to other bloggers is who deserves the Services to Bloggers award.  

 

HIDDEN GEM 

 

Have you stumbled upon a blog by chance and discovered useful information or thought-provoking content? Is there a blog that doesn’t get the notoriety they deserve? Maybe they have such an original style you can’t help but read their posts. A blogger who you believe should get the limelight for a change is who deserves the Hidden Gem award. 

 

NEWCOMER BLOGGER 

 

A category for those bloggers who have been blogging less than a year (joined the blog-o-sphere after 1st June 2017). Did they join with a bang? Have they made an impression? Do they engage with readers? Are they funny, or well designed, or maybe share posts that make you smile time after time. A newbie blogger who deserves recognition makes the best Newcomer Blogger. 

 

BEST PAL  

 

Which blogger do you want to go to the pub with? Or maybe have dinner with? Who never fails to reply to comments, and has thoughtful things to say? Maybe they encourage the community through weekly challenges or blog parties. A blogger who makes the blog-o-sphere a better place is what makes the Best Pal. 

 

To read the terms and conditions, i.e. the rules of the awards please click here. 

Click  here to buy a ticket for the Bloggers Bash. 

Meet our awards sponsor by clicking here. 

Click here to enter the Bloggers Bash Blog Post Competition. 

 

Aiden’s Decision #Fortnightly Fiction

Hi everyone. Here is my latest story for my new feature, “Fortnightly Fiction”. Now, before any of you smart arses point it out, I am aware that it’s been more than a fortnight since my last story. The reason for that is that my organisation skills are terrible! I am working on that, though, so please bear with me for the time being. I’ll get back to forming a proper writing schedule once I’ve finished giving myself the required lashes.

This prompt came from the lovely Ruth over at Image & Word , and it was a tough one. In short, it was:

‘What kind of man walks out on his newborn son?’

Wow. I knew this one would be difficult to write but I gave it my best shot. I hope I’ve handled this delicate subject with due care and sympathy. Thank you, Ruth, for providing me with such a challenging and thought-provoking prompt.

Here is what I was able to come up with. I hope you enjoy it.

P.S. If you would like to get involved and offer me a story prompt to use in the future, please feel free to do so in the comments section.

 

Aiden’s Decision

By Adam Dixon

 

The grey day matched Aiden’s mood. He was sat in a cramped aisle of Victoria Coach Station with strangers and their suitcases stacked either side of him. Club-footed pigeons hopped about underneath his seat, as much a part of the scenery as the bland walls. The mingled smells of sweat, dust and stale pastries hung in the air; it never changed.

Aiden had tried to avoid looking at his reflection in the grimy windows. He didn’t want to be reminded of how wrinkled his brow was, or how his hair was turning grey. Aiden sighed and tried to stretch out his legs. He kicked a garish purple suitcase by accident and murmured an apology to the woman sitting next to him.

“Oh no, it was my fault!” the woman said, her plump cheeks reddening as she dragged her suitcase aside. “I should’ve watched where I was puttin’ it! My old mum always said I didn’t have no death perception!” The woman laughed, and Aiden gave a pained smirk at her mistake. He wondered which of them was the stupid cow who got that wrong. As the woman settled back into her seat she glanced over again.

“You’re travelling light,” she said, indicating Aiden’s lack of luggage. Aiden nodded. The woman’s smile faltered, but she pressed on.

“Goin’ all the way?” she asked cheerfully.

“Yeah, I’ve got friends in Aberdeen,” Aiden replied. Not that it’s any of your business, he almost added. The woman sighed in appreciation.

“Oh, I love Aberdeen!” she said, showing the dimples on her cheeks as she smiled. “My old mum came from there, an’ we used to pop back to visit my auntie. You by yourself?” The woman looked around expectantly.

“Yes,” Aiden said, feeling his eye throb. “I’m alone because I walked out on my girlfriend today.”

Aiden felt a glow of satisfaction as the woman’s face registered his words with shock. Her mouth fell open and Aiden folded his arms and turned away from her. His smug delight was momentary, and he soon returned to his stupor.

As he sat, he replayed parts of the earlier phone call he had had with his sister. Suzie had been livid.

“Are you fucking mental?” Suzie had screeched. Aiden had winced and held the receiver at an arms-length.

“No, Suze, I’m not,” he had replied firmly. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”

“But, Ade, why now? What about your son?” Suzie had demanded. Aiden had closed his eyes and groaned in the confines of the phone box.

His son.

“I…I can’t do it, Suze,” he had stammered, bracing himself against the plastic window with a trembling arm. “I thought I could but…I can’t.” Suzie had fallen silent, and Aiden’s scalp had prickled with sweat.

“You’re not like him, Ade,” Suzie had said at last. “You’re nothing like him.”

“But what if I am?” Desperation had lent weight to Aiden’s voice. “You weren’t there when Karen left Mikey with me that afternoon! It was going fine until he spilled his juice on the carpet, then I…I shouted at him, Suze. Just like dad.” Aiden could almost sense Suzie’s shock. He took several deep breaths and wiped the back of his hand across his damp brow.

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Suzie had replied, but she sounded shaken.

“Yes, it does,” Aiden had insisted. “It was the rage, Suze. It was there, just like the old man.” He had lifted his leg and unconsciously stroked the old, puckered scar across the back of his thigh.

“But that still doesn’t mean-“

“And like his dad!” Aiden interrupted, flushed with anger. “There’s a pattern, for fuck’s sake! I won’t let it carry on!”

“But what about Melanie?” Suzie had changed tactics. “She’ll be all alone! Christ, she’s not even named him yet!” Aiden had sighed, scrunching his face tight.

“She’ll be okay, Suze,” he had said.  “She’s got Deb and Jack to help out. They’re not old yet, and they’ll be brilliant grandparents. I’ve left her all my savings, and I’ll send more once I’m settled.”

“And what about me?” Suzie had asked. She was desperate then. “When will I see you again?”

“I don’t know,” Aiden had answered, squeezing the bridge of his nose. “I’m so sorry.”

“Ade,” Suzie’s voice had cracked then, and Aiden’s heart had torn in half. “Ade…don’t do this. It’s not right.” Aiden added two more coins to the machine before he replied.

“I know,” he said, tears leaking from his closed eyes. “But I’m doing what’s best for Mel and the baby. Tell her I’m sorry.”

Aiden was jerked from his reverie by a surge of movement around him; the coach to Aberdeen had arrived. The weary strangers were on their feet, edging forwards to form a haphazard queue by the doors. As Aiden stood, the woman with the purple case barged past him, shooting him a brief, venomous look. Aiden ignored her and pulled his ticket from his pocket before he stepped through the door and into the cold morning air.

The coaches were lined up along the forecourt, grumbling as their engines ticked over. The drivers were frowning as they inspected tickets, apparently eager to be off. You and me both, Aiden thought, but he stopped as he joined with his queue. He was still, one hand holding his ticket as the would-be passengers filed past him. He was shouldered and nudged, but barely registered the muttered apologies offered to him. He stood, staring ahead with his mouth twisted.

What about his son?

Aiden felt as if he stood on a precipice, not the worn tarmac of the coach station. He felt as if he was teetering, that his future hung on a hair’s breadth of space. He thought of Melanie, how she’d still be in recovery and wondering where he was. He thought of the little boy whose face would remain a mystery to him. His body wavered, hanging over the edge.

“’Scuse me, sir!” called a gruff voice. An overweight, bored-looking man in a high-visibility jacket was glaring at him. “You on for Aberdeen?”

Aiden looked at the man, then at the ticket in his hand. He stared at it for several seconds.

“Yeah, one to Aberdeen,” he said at last. The man inspected it with a quick glance and nodded.

“On you get, then,” he said, his expression unchanging. Aiden took a deep breath and climbed on to the coach.

The coach was packed full of people, and the air inside it was close and warm. Aiden sat in the only remaining seat in the centre of the vehicle, next to an old man with a flat cap and faded cords. The man was already snoring, and he smelled strongly of whisky. It seemed that he’d be out for much of the journey, which worked for Aiden. The driver boarded and surveyed his meagre empire with his ever-present frown before squeezing himself behind the steering wheel.

The coach coughed into life and pulled away from the dreary station. A pitiful whimpering broke through the muted chatter. A young woman with red hair was rocking a baby girl in her arms, hushing her softly but to no avail. The baby began to cry in earnest, and several passengers groaned aloud. Aiden sat and listened to the wailing, letting it pierce his heart as well as his ears. Rain began lashing against the windows, mirroring the tears which trickled down Aiden’s cheeks. The coach rolled onwards. He had made his decision.

 

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

THE BLOGGERS BASH AWARDS ARE BACK!

Now in its fourth year, the Annual Bloggers Bash returns bigger and better than ever. The venue is booked, 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.

 

The nominations will open soon but we wanted to share the award categories with you to give everyone plenty of time to think about who they feel deserves a nomination.

 

Get your thinking caps on and keep an eye out for future posts. Nominations will open on March 6th 2018.

 

Award Categories for the 2018 Bloggers Bash Awards

BEST OVERALL BLOGGER 

 

Who is the blogger that excels in a variety of categories? Who provides excellent content, is sociable and engaging with readers, shares other posts, or has a writing style that keeps you coming back time and time again?

Whoever you choose needs to be an all-rounder. A blogger that is head and shoulders above the rest as that’s what makes the Best Overall Blogger.

 

FUNNIEST BLOGGER

 

Which blogger always makes you laugh the most? Whether that’s through humourous content, or their blogging manner. A blogger that has your sides aching from laughter and brightens up the blog-o-sphere is what makes the Funniest Blogger.

 

MOST INSPIRATIONAL BLOGGER

 

Who inspires you? Is there a blogger that’s thought provoking and inquisitive? Perhaps they’re a muse to you with the constant provision of inspirational content or imagery. Who’s the one blogger that touched your heart? This is what makes the Most Inspirational Blogger.

 

MOST INFORMATIVE (Original Content) BLOGGER

 

This award is for the blogger with the most informative and original content. Who creates fascinating content that you find yourself longing to read? Perhaps they’re a history blogger or they write about the craft of writing/blogging, or maybe they like archaeology or wine tasting. They could be an artist or musician. The topic is irrelevant, it’s the original content that counts. A blogger who shares a wealth of knowledge in an informative way is what makes the Most Informative & Original Blogger.

 

BEST BOOK REVIEW BLOG

 

There are so many wonderful book bloggers out there, but which one stands out for you? Whose book reviews do you enjoy reading and engaging with? It’s not the number of reviews that’s important, but more about the quality of them. Who has you clicking the ‘buy now’ button after reading a riveting summary, or who has the most thoughtful reviews? A blogger who shares an abundance of book reviews in a memorable way deserves the Best Book Review Blog.

 

SERVICES TO BLOGGERS

 

Which blogger goes out of their way to help others? Maybe this is someone who helped you kick-start your blog with tutorials or how-to guides. Perhaps they continually reblog your posts. It could be a blogger who consistently provides useful posts on how to boost your blog. Or maybe you want to nominate someone who provides an engaging platform for others.

Someone who selflessly dedicates themselves to other bloggers is who deserves the Services to Bloggers award.

 

HIDDEN GEM

 

Have you stumbled upon a blog by change and discovered useful information, or thought provoking content? Is there a blog that doesn’t get the notoriety they deserve? Maybe they have such an original style you can’t help but read their posts. A blogger who you believe should get the limelight for a change is who deserves the Hidden Gem award.

 

NEWCOMER BLOGGER

 

A category for those bloggers who have been blogging less than a year (joined the blog-o-sphere after 1st June 2017). Did they join with a bang? Have they made an impression? Do they engage with readers? Are they funny, or well designed, or maybe share posts that make you smile time after time. A newbie blogger who deserves recognition makes the best Newcomer Blogger.

 

BEST PAL 

 

Which blogger do you want to go to the pub with? Or maybe have dinner with? Who never fails to reply to comments, and has thoughtful things to say? Maybe they encourage the community through weekly challenges or blog parties. A blogger who makes the blog-o-sphere a better place is what makes the Best Pal.

STILL TIME TO GRAB YOUR BASH TICKETS:

 

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 unless the event is cancelled
  • 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 will also 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 in the 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.

 kckEGc0r.jpg-large

Blogger Bash Award Rules:

The Bloggers Bash Awards are given annually to the Blog with the highest number of votes in each selected category (here, a Category and Categories shall be construed accordingly). Categories are chosen by the Bloggers Bash Committee (here, the Committee) each year and may vary at the Committee’s discretion.

Nominations to each Category are accepted from anyone, blogger or non-blogger who complies with the rules laid down for that year’s Award. These rules may change between years and the person nominating (here, the Nominator) is solely responsible for compliance with the rules applicable in any one year. Once a nomination has been accepted the person Nominated (here, the Nominee) will be eligible to have their blog (here, the Nominated Blog) included on the list of Blogs to be voted on in the nominated Category (subject to the rules permitting only one Category nomination per Blog – see below). The applicable rules applying to both the Nominator and the Nominee are as follows:

No one can nominate their own blog. In the event of any doubt the Committee’s decision is binding.

The Nominator is solely responsible to complete any specified Mandatory Fields that are designated at the time of the announcement of the Categories. In the event no Mandatory Fields are mentioned at that time they will be deemed to include the full Blog address of the Nominee (i.e. http://nominatedblog.com) and the email address of the Nominee. Failure to include both at the time of nomination will render the nomination null and void.

At any point the Committee may waive strict compliance with 2 above in their discretion. However no appeals will be admitted.

Once a Blog has been nominated the Nominee will be notified by email. If the Nominee does not wish to have their Blog included in the Category the Nominee must notify the Committee by email within the specified time frame (and if none is specified within five working days of the date on which the email notification is sent). If no such withdrawal is received the Committee will include the Nominated Blog in the Category list for voting.

In the event that a Blog is nominated for more than one Category the Nominee will be notified. The Nominee will be able to choose under which Category the nominated Blog is included. The Nominee must notify the Committee by email within the specified time frame (and if none is specified within five working days of the date on which the email notification is sent). If no such notification is received within the specified time frame (and this includes if the notification is for any reason lost or not delivered after being sent by the Nominee; the Committee accept no liability for any failures whatsoever to receive the notification) the Committee will include the Nominated Blog in such Category as the Committee determines in its discretion.

Throughout the Nomination and Voting process only the Blog title supplied by the Nominator will be used; if more than one nomination for a Blog is received with differing titles the Committee will use such as it sees fit and accepts no responsibility for any errors or omissions.

The Committee reserves the right to exclude any Blogs form the voting process as it sees fit, without cause or giving reasons. In particular any R rated blogs, or any containing any offensive material (in the judgment of the Committee) will be excluded.

Voting will be organized and collated by, or under the supervision of, the Committee. While every effort will be made to ensure the accuracy of the voting process no complaints or appeals will be countenanced.

The results of the voting in each Category will be announced at that year’s Bash or in such a manner and format as the Committee determine.

Any prizes awarded for a Category will be dispatched at no cost to the winner to an address within the United Kingdom. If the winner wishes the prize to be dispatched other than to the UK the cost will have to be deferred by the winner or otherwise (in the Committee’s discretion)

In all circumstances the Committee decision final.

Each Category winner will be able to include the winning Annual Bloggers Bash Award badge for that Category on their blog and in such promotional material as they wish. However all copyright in the Badge is retained by Nica Hawkins de Koenigswater on behalf of the Annual Bloggers Bash and such use is licensed until such time as it is revoked by the Committee in the event of misuse (as determined by the Committee in its discretion).

No Nominator or Nominee may use the Annual Bloggers Bash Facebook page (insert details) or the twitter handle (insert details) [anymore?] for promotion/inappropriate material/promotion for votes for their Category or any other unacceptable use (as determined by the Committee). In such an event the Committee reserves the right to remove the Nominee’s Blog for the relevant Category.

The Committee reserve the right to change the rules if they deem it appropriate or expedient at any time. No appeals will be considered.

 

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