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!

 

 

Advertisements

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. 

 

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

Thinking of coming to this year’s Blogger’s Bash? If so, time is running out to get your early bird tickets!

 

The Bash will be held on May 19th in the leafy London suburb of Chiswick, and tickets are already selling fast. The day is a great chance to socialise with other bloggers as well as learn more about blogging, with talks, Q&A session and a panel discussion all included in the price.

 

Our early bird offer means you can get your ticket for the discounted cost of only £20 – but only until January 11th. After that, prices rise to the standard ticket price of £25, with late entry tickets available between the 4th and 18th of May for £30.

 

So be like the bird and get your worm, figuratively speaking! Follow this link (insert link here) to join the party – we hope to see you there!

 

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 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
  2. 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).
  3. Pop the date in the diary and tell the world you’re attending a fabulous blogger soiree.
  4. Sort out your travel and accommodation.
  5. 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!

 

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

 

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.

 

Post-Bloggers Bash Update

Hello, everyone.

It’s been over a week since I attended the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in London, and it has also been over a month since my last post. My apologies for slacking, because as usual I’ve swamped myself with projects other than writing for the blog. However, as expected the Bash inspired me and I feel the need to write a short follow-up to it and to inform you of the changes I will be making to this blog.

First things first, a massive thank you to the Bash committee, Sacha, Ali, Geoff and Hugh for once again forcing a group of introverts to leave their desks and interact in real life. There was very little squirming or embarrassment, but rather an abundance of laughter, swapped stories and new friendships being forged. In all, it was a resounding success. Every single person I spoke to was incredibly interesting and each had their own take on blogging and what it meant to them. I received some touching compliments and encouragement regarding my own efforts as well as some practical advice which I will be acting on from today.

The first piece of advice I will take is not to beat myself up about the infrequency of my posts in recent months. I both admire and loathe those of you who can write consistently and well for your blogs, but I am not part of that elite group. I need more time to edit and rewrite my work so that I am happy enough for it to be put online, so I need to chill out and recognise that my readers don’t want me to rush. Thank you to all of you wonderful bloggers at the Bash for spelling this out to me, as apparently I needed to hear it.

Secondly, I will be providing links to my previous stories in new posts. If I have an older story which is similar, I will link to it. Sounds obvious, right? Evidently not, as it hadn’t occurred to me before! This is something I will whole-heartedly get behind, as anything which brings fresh eyes to my older stories is a winner to me!

Finally, I will start posting fiction from other blogs on here very soon. There is a wealth of excellent writers of fiction on WordPress, many of whom encourage and inspire me every time I read their work. So, expect to see some great work from other writers in the coming days, courtesy of this fiction addict!

That just about rounds it up for me today. Thank you to all my followers for your patience and your kind words. Thank you to the new friends I made at the Bash for listening to me waffle on about story writing and actual following me afterwards! I hope to remain worthy of your interest.

WordPress informed me that I have been blogging for two years now, and I can scarcely believe it! Here’s to the next year, and watch this space for exciting new things!

 

P.S. – Please do check out the list of bloggers who attended the Bash, as seen below. I must admit that I pinched this list from another more diligent blogger. I am far too lazy to create my own, so I must apologise for the blatant steal! Check them out anyway, they are all such excellent and admirable hobbits!

But I Smile Anyway

Shelley Wilson

Willowdot21

Graeme Cumming Dot Net

If Only I Could Read Faster

M J Mallon Author (Kyrosmagica)

BlondeWriteMore

SC Skillman

SaylingAway

A View From My Summerhouse

Allie Potts Writes

Journey To Ambeth

My Dad Is A Goldfish

E. De Sousa

Julie Lawford

Sun In Gemini

Alex Raphael

Ellenbest24

Elena Peters

Inside The Mind Of Davy D

Lance Greenfield

Smorgasbord – Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Icy Sedgwick

The Gay Stepdad

Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride

Rereading Jane Eyre

BOOKSTORMER

Image & Word

Melanie Roussel

Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Suzie Speaks

My Chestnut Reading Tree

Jot to Jot

The Need for Sleep

I wrote this story for the ‘Hour of Writes’ competition a few weeks ago. If you haven’t heard of Hour of Writes then I recommend you pay the site a visit. The idea is simple: the theme is set each week and participants are encouraged to write a story, poem or non-fiction piece based on it. A timer is set for one hour, and away you go! Each participant must read and mark three pieces of submitted work in order for their own to be considered for the prize, so it has a real community feel to it.

The theme for that particular was ‘Live the Dream’. Here is what I was able to come up with. I hope you enjoy it.

 

The Need For Sleep

By Adam Dixon

The weak morning sunlight trickled into the hotel room, promising a day of brightness and warmth. For Tomasz, the day could not seem any brighter than it already was. He reclined against the plump pillows on the large bed as the breeze from the open window raised pleasant goose-bumps on his arms. He selected a piece of warm, crispy bread from the tray on his knees and held it up to Justyna’s lips. Justyna, glowing from happiness and from their recent love-making, giggled and opened her mouth to accept the offering. She had never looked so beautiful and Tomasz fell in love with her all over again. Justyna crunched the bread and poked around on the tray for a moment. She lifted a piece of sausage and wriggled closer. The bed sheets she had gathered around her fell away, revealing her naked body for an instant before her raven-coloured hair covered her breasts. She placed a hand delicately on Tomasz’s chest and raised the other to his mouth. Tomasz breathed in the scent of the meat, detecting the sweet herbs added to flavour it. His stomach rumbled and Justyna laughed, bird-like and full of life.
“Eat, my love,” Justyna said, smiling sweetly. Tomasz stared into her pale blue eyes and opened his mouth. He relished the rich, succulent flavour of the meat almost as much as the feeling of Justyna’s fingers on his lips and on his chest. Desire awoke within him again and he gently cupped her face. He leaned forwards and moved his face towards hers…

A bell sounded, piercing and urgent. Tomasz awoke with a start and immediately cried out in despair.
“No! Not again!” he wailed, covering his eyes with his hands. Tears coursed down his leathery, wrinkled face and fell to the floor. The bell rang again impatiently.
“Oh, Justyna!” Tomasz moaned as he swung his weary legs from the warmth of his single bed. He could still taste the sausage on his tongue, and her fingertips still lingered on his lips… Tomasz dressed quickly in a simple shirt and trousers, shoving his feet into his reliable old boots. He stood and gazed at himself in the small, grimy mirror on his bedside table. His rheumy eyes took in the image of an old man, crumpled and heartbroken. His eyes strayed to his left arm and he sighed. He hadn’t removed the Artifact; he detested that part almost as deeply as waking up. He unclasped the leather binding as swiftly as his arthritic fingers would allow before pulling it away. He winced as the sharp stud pulled free from his flesh, dripping blood in a thin crimson river down his forearm. Tomasz wrapped a simple bandage around the wound before shrugging on a battered overcoat. The bell rang again as he tucked the Artifact into a secret compartment next to his bed. Tomasz swore.
“I am coming, you cretin!” he said through clenched teeth. “You had better have a lot of work for me today, I wish to sleep for longer tonight!” He patted the unassuming wooden panel hiding the Artifact for reassurance, then he shuffled out of his tiny room. His employer awaited.

“Tomasz, what the hell kept you?” the mage demanded, his ridiculous green eyebrows arching in annoyance. Tomasz bowed, causing his back to crack audibly.
“My apologies, Master Aleksander,” he wheezed. “I must have overslept.”
“This is happening too often, old man!” the mage snapped, crossing his arms in his voluminous golden sleeves. “Honestly, if you ever came to your senses and ask for proper payment I would dismiss you and hire someone younger!”
“Do not fear, Master Aleksander,” Tomasz said with practiced humility. He glanced up with a sad smile. “All I require is for my tasks to be exhausting and for somewhere to sleep once they are complete. Nothing more.” Aleksander eyed Tomasz with distaste. The man had been using the Artifact again; he positively reeked of the ancient magic. Aleksander shuddered at the idea of using fresh blood to awaken a spell, it was almost medieval. For a moment, Aleksander’s coldness evaporated. If only he could find a way for the Artifact to work with magically-induced sleep…that would give Tomasz a bit of an easier time…if he could just- but no, Aleksander did not have time to waste researching such frivolities.
“Good,” the mage said stiffly, regaining his poise. He jerked a poultice-stained thumb towards a set of wooden stairs. “I have twelve barrels of healing potions which need decanting into the one-hundred-and-twenty flasks you will see in the cellar. They have already been laid out, and they will each need to be stoppered and labelled. Do not spill a single drop, Tomasz, it is expensive stock!”
“Right away, sir!” Tomasz said eagerly. “I do apologise once again for my lateness. I will make it up to you, I promise.” With that, he hurried off to the cellar steps and descended into darkness. Aleksander frowned after him. He was almost certain that the old man was thinner than before. He looked almost skeletal.
“You’re not eating properly, are you?” Aleksander mumbled. He shook his head; he had no time to care about the whims of an old labourer!
“Bah! If he wishes to tread this path, so be it!” he said to himself. “I’m not his keeper! I’ll not interfere!”

Tomasz fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit his pillow that night. He had willed his aching, fatigued body back to his claustrophobic room and had attached the Artifact as soon as he could. The brief sting followed by the unnatural throbbing as the magic leaked into him did not prevent him from slipping away quickly. His eyes opened within a dream almost right away. He looked down at his hands. They were old and wrinkled, so it was not a dream of younger times. A shame, but it couldn’t be helped. He glanced around him, and his heart sank in his chest.
He was in a hospital. Sterile white walls surrounded him on all sides and the reek of stale urine and futile disinfectant invaded his nostrils. A corridor stretched out in front of him, and at the end of it was a single bed. On it lay a shape which he couldn’t quite make out, but he knew it was Justyna.
“No, not this one…” he croaked, closing his eyes tight and willing himself to wake up. The offensive odour grew stronger and he heard a weak voice call his name.
“Tomasz? Tomasz, where are you?”
“Justyna!” Tomasz opened his eyes and lurched forward as a strangled sob escaped his lips. His footsteps boomed on the floor, echoing loudly around him and lancing into his ears like daggers. He staggered into a run, seeing the bed moving closer, but slowly, oh so slowly!
“Tomasz? Tomasz, are you there? Tomasz…I’m frightened…”
“I’m coming, my love!” Tomasz called desperately. “I’ll not leave you!” Tomasz hauled himself along the corridor, his old legs protesting and his chest tightening painfully as his breathing came out in short gasps. After what seemed like hours Tomasz reached the bed. It was a simple affair, just a thin mattress on top of a bench, but that was all the space the hospital had been able to provide them with at the time. The Plague had spread so quickly…
“Tomasz?” Justyna tried to raise herself in the bed, her wasted arms trembling with the effort. Her once-radiant face was gaunt and discoloured by the consuming disease, and the light in her beautiful eyes was dim. Tomasz gently lowered her back down and took both of her hands. He forced a smile and blinked away tears as he fought to catch his breath.
“I am…here, Justyna,” he said. “I will…always be…here,”
“Oh, Tomasz, I hurt so,” Justyna said miserably. Her back arched and she winced in pain. Her bony fingers gripped his weakly, and Tomasz felt her wedding band slide up a few millimeters at the movement.
“It’s alright, my love,” he wheezed, leaning down to kiss her cheek. It was so cold, and so thin. She even smelled wrong, like the disinfectant on the floors. Tomasz’s lips trembled as he kissed her and he fought to the urge to cry out in despair. Instead he whispered in Justyna’s ear.
“I love you, Justyna,” he said, channeling all of his passion into the words. “Gods, I love you so much…”
“I love you too, Tomasz,” Justyna said, cradling his head with her arms. They clung to one another in silence, neither knowing what to say. Tomasz wished he could do something, anything for her.
“Tomasz, will we see the Grand Budapest again?” Justyna asked, breaking the oppressive silence with a faint voice. Tomasz choked down a sob; the Grand Budapest was the hotel where they had spent their honeymoon.
“I think so, my love,” he whispered. “You just need to get better first. The doctors will make you strong again, you’ll see.”
“Oh, that’s good,” Justyna said, lying back down with her eyes closed. She wore a smile, and Tomasz smiled as well. Justyna’s breathing became less labourious, and she appeared to relax. Tomasz still held her hands in his, and felt the tears splashing on to them. He opened his mouth to speak to her…

The bell rang sharply. Tomasz was jerked awake and ran a hand across his wet cheeks.
“Oh, Justyna,” he said, shaking his head and groaning. He sat up and pulled away the Artifact, not caring that the blood spattered onto his pillow. He stood and dressed himself, preparing for the next day of work. He stared into the mirror once again, and then staggered off. He sincerely wished for a better dream that evening…

Update – One Thing at a Time

Hello, everyone.

It has been a while since my last post, and I realise that the frequency of my posts has dropped in recent months. There is a very clear and simple reason for this, and that is that I am taking on too many projects at once.

I am quite ambitious with my writing, and I like to keep myself busy with some project or another every day. However, I have come to realise that I am spreading myself too thin when I should be concentrating fully on each project as it deserves. Too often I am making myself anxious because I haven’t found the time to work on a new story for my blog, or wasting time being concerned that it must play second fiddle to my novel writing, or my writing course, or my competition hopefuls. My writing should be enjoyable, as it was when I began posting on this blog, and not the source of stress that it is rapidly becoming.

I have had a long think about all of this, and I have decided to cut myself some slack. It sounds daft and obvious, I know, but it has taken a while for me to realise that it is okay to do so. I want to keep this blog up and running, as it has helped me grow in confidence and ability since I first made the plunge, and I genuinely feel as if I am part of a vibrant, exciting online community. I have made some wonderful acquaintances on WordPress, and some of you I have had the great pleasure of meeting in the real, unedited world, too! I do not want to put and I end to that, but I need to let myself breathe and not worry too much. I will continue to write fiction for this blog, but it may not be very frequently, as I have other scintillating projects which will require my attention. This blog will remain my refuge, my sanctuary if, and when, I start to become buried again. I hope it will not happen too often.

Thank you to every single one of my followers and even to those who casually stumble across this blog. Your comments and feedback keep my feet on the ground whenever my head is in the clouds!

Have any of you had, or are having, similar problems to this? I’d love to hear from you, not least because it will prove that I am not alone! Until next time, thanks for reading!

Fiction Fursday/Reblog

Today’s story comes in the form of a shameless re-blog of my own material. Some months ago, (EIGHT, to be exact! Where the bloody hell does the time go?!), I wrote a story which was all about my beloved Brighton. This week’s choice is mostly a cop-out because I wanted to post something and have nothing ready, and partly because I miss Brighton so. It’s been more than six months since I moved up north and I haven’t thought about it much, but this week has found me strangely reflective and a bit sad to have left that lively, vibrant place behind. Still, I hold it dearly in my heart and will return very soon; I have a particular friend who lives there whom I owe a beer or five, for one! She knows who she is…

Anyway, here is an extract from a fun little story, “Pride and Seagulls”. It made me smile and cheered me up to re-read it; I hope it interests you enough to follow the link and that you enjoy it if you do.

P.S. If you would like to suggest a story for me to write in the coming weeks, please feel free to let me know in the comments section. I will take on any genre and any prompt!

P.P.S. In reaction to the changes in my life and my ambitions, I have been giving some serious thought to the future of this blog. I will explain all in a post very soon. Watch this space!

 

Pride and Seagulls

By Adam Dixon

“I’ve always wondered why that worship that one,” said Waark the seagull, wiggling his scruffy feathers. “I mean, what’s so special about him anyway?”

“You sure it’s a he?” Kai-Kai replied as he dug his beak into his wing. “I’ve always thought it was a female.” He shuffled to adjust his balance as a gust of wind nudged him sideways.

“Nahh, can’t be!” Waark scoffed, but he still cocked his head for a better look. From their vantage point on the roof of the American Express Community Stadium the two gulls had a very good view of the whole building. They were scrutinising the gigantic image of a seagull in flight which decorated one of the walls facing the freshly-cut pitch, the same gull which was depicted onto several rows of plastic seating. They stared at the image in silence for several minutes.

“No, it’s definitely a male!” Waark said triumphantly.