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

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A – Z Challenge Day 20

I’m a day late with this one, for which I apologise. I was determined to keep on track with these posts but I found myself exhausted after work yesterday. I attempted to write my story yesterday evening but I decided to stop as I was reluctant to force a story just for the sake of posting it on the correct day. So, with my excuses out of the way you can all put down your pitchforks!

Today’s word (or yesterday’s) comes again from the matriarch of my childhood. As I’ve said, my Mum has been keen to help me with this Challenge wherever she can and has done so by providing me with another fantastic suggestion, and it is “T” for “TORRID”. I had a few ideas spring to mind with this one, although I suspect it may have come about due to my Mum reading trashy literature… who knows!

Anyway, here is what I was able to come up with. I hope you enjoy it and I promise to stay on track for the final week!

TORRID

By Adam Dixon

Deidre reclined on the rumpled bed sheets and smoked a cigarette out of the hotel window, shivering as a gust of bitter wind found its way into the room. She gazed up at the grey sky and eyed its pregnant rainclouds with disinterest. The predicted storm was approaching and soon London would be subdued and miserable beneath its influence. Deidre, however, would not be. On the contrary, she was happier that dreary afternoon than she had been for months, and it was all thanks to Sam.

Deidre’s life had taken a turn for the worst two years previously, and it began on that fateful evening of July 2014 when her husband left her. Deidre had believed that her marriage was a happy one; she had been happy, at least. Derek had been a good husband, if a little on the quiet side, and their lives together had been functional and affectionate. Not enough, it seemed, to ensure Derek’s happiness. He had simply packed his bags that evening and left, leaving a shocked Deidre alone with her disbelief and her tears. As the months and the divorce proceedings wore on, Deidre slipped further and further into a pit of self-loathing and despair. She believed herself to be hideously unattractive, outwardly detestable and inherently unlovable. She was nearly fifty and having been in a relationship for more than two decades she had lost any and all knowledge of how to be single. She wallowed in her own misery, expecting to die in a world where nobody would give her a second thought. Then she met Sam.

Sam came into her life like a burning torch thrust into a dark cave. It was as if the world had regained its colour and the cruel bastard of a deity who wielded the paint had had a change of heart. Deidre had met Sam in a café the morning after her work’s Christmas party. Deidre had gone along out of a sense of obligation and had sat alone in a corner drinking steadily as she remembered previous, happier Christmases. The next morning as she sat nursing a massive hangover in her local Costa, a beautiful, engaging individual had approached her. Sam had been at the party the night before and was likewise dealing with a sore head and so suggested they sit in mutual misery. Deidre hadn’t the energy or the gumption to protest and so the two began talking. Despite their obvious age-gap, Deidre found Sam to be a wonderful, intelligent person who was also respectful, pausing to let Deidre speak whenever she found the courage to do so. Sam was funny too; Deidre had almost forgotten what it was like to laugh before that morning. They parted having exchanged numbers and promised to meet again the next morning. Mystified, Deidre had actually gone about the rest of her day with a smile on her face, bollocks to the hangover!

It didn’t take long before Deidre and Sam were meeting regularly over coffee and soon that moved on to lunch breaks together and the occasional drink at the end of the week. Deidre found herself opening her heart to her new friend, pouring out her feelings of worthlessness and her worries about her future. Sam had held her hand as she had sobbed, offering soothing words and companionship. Through her tears, Deidre had looked into Sam’s gorgeous face and suddenly they were embracing. Quite naturally, yet still surprisingly, they began their affair. It was an affair due to Deidre still technically being married, but it also posed one other, significant problem: Sam was her boss’ partner.

Back in the hotel room, Deidre sighed and glanced at herself in the mirror. She had never liked the sight of herself naked; she thought that she had far too many flabby parts and stretch marks collected through years of obesity to actually be attractive. Sam had never once complained, even going as far in the other direction as calling Deidre beautiful on several occasions. Despite her rational mind telling her otherwise, Deidre did feel beautiful with Sam. She felt beautiful and free…and guilty. Life had surprised her by making her boss a cuckold…she certainly hadn’t seen that coming!

The bathroom door opened behind her and bare feet padded on the carpet. Deidre exhaled the last drag of her cigarette and tossed the butt out of the window.

“You do realise that this can’t continue, don’t you?” Deidre asked sadly, afraid of the answer. Sam didn’t respond but instead moved silently around the bed. A pair of hands gently cupped Deidre’s chin and raised her head up. Deidre’s morose brown eyes locked with the most dazzling green eyes she had ever seen.

“Hush now,” Sam whispered sweetly, caressing Deidre’s cheek. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, not before. Now kiss me, you old worrywart!” Sam pressed her lips against Deidre’s, and her lover’s eyes closed. The two women embraced passionately, oblivious to the rain which began to hammer against their window.

A – Z Challenge Day 16

Today’s story prompt comes from my younger brother, Ben. I should start off by commending him for his restraint, considering the words I was certain he would suggest for “P”!

The word he has picked was pleasantly surprising, as well as quite interesting. Today’s word is “POLYGAMY”. I was initially toying with the idea of writing something dark surrounding this topic, as there are unfortunately several real-life horror stories which I could have drawn inspiration from. However, I decided that I would ignore that impulse for today and come up with something a little more light-hearted. This one has a sci-fi feel to it, too. Thanks again, bro!

Here’s what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it.

POLYGAMY

By Adam Dixon

“Come on, John, just one more drink!” Samuel pleaded, holding tight to John’s coat as he stood up. “Just one more! I…don’t want to go home yet…” Samuel looked down at his friend, meeting his green eyes and seeing something very close to desperation within them. He sighed and sat back down.

“Alright, Sammy,” he relented, “But only one more; I’ve got a meeting in the morning and I’m not facing those androids with bloodshot eyes and beer-breath! They’ve been programmed to detect alcohol in the air now, so I’d have no chance at hiding it!”

“Right, right, just one!” Samuel beamed his gratitude and waved at a passing Server. The mechanical man turned its expressionless face towards their table and strode over, buzzing and whirring as it lifted its heavy metal legs.

“YES, SIRS, HOW MAY I ASSIST?” It looked and sounded almost exactly alike the four other Servers in the pub. The two men wouldn’t have known if they had been served by this particular model before, they were so similar. Samuel raised two fingers in front of the Server’s front sensors.

“We’ll have two more beers, please,” he commanded. “Add the cost to my tab. My code is 080292.”

“CERTAINLY, SIR,” the droid replied, bowing awkwardly before moving in the direction of the bar. They could hear its internal fans from ten feet away. Samuel and John sat in a comfortable silence as they waited for their drinks. The pub was designed to look and feel just like a typical public house from the previous century, complete with wooden tables and chairs and blackboards denoting the prices of various drinks. No-one present knew who J.D. Wetherspoon was, but apparently he had owned several such places. They looked presentable enough, in a dated kind of way, and at least the booze was cheap. It smelled faintly of sweaty feet, but neither man knew if that was intentional.

“Thanks, Johnny-boy, I really appreciate it,” Samuel said as the droid returned with their drinks. The beer was a luminous green and the head on them was a mottled white. The two men clinked their glasses and each took a deep mouthful.

“So, this polygamy thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, eh?” John asked with a wry smile. Samuel grimaced and took another long swig.

“You can say that again, my friend!” he responded, wiping foam from his lips with the back of his hand. “I understand now why it used to be illegal! So many problems every single day!”

“There must be some good things, though?” John ventured. “One thing springs immediately to mind…”

“Oh, forget it!” Samuel waved his hand dismissively. “My sex life isn’t much better for it, and mostly because I’m too exhausted from dealing with them during the day! Even then it’s not like I’m settled on that score. Of course they aren’t always going to be willing to get in the sack, and there is nothing quite as soul-destroying as being rejected by three women in one night…” John burst out laughing and tried vainly to disguise it with another mouthful of beer.

“Yes, go on! Laugh it up!” Samuel sighed. “I can see the funny side, honestly. I just can’t bring myself to laugh at it!”

“I’m sorry, Sammy,” John said, his mirth fading. Samuel only nodded. The two men sat in silence once again, listening to the buzz of conversation as men, women and cyborgs chattered to one another or spoke into their surgically-attached headsets.

“You know, I think our forefathers had it much easier,” Samuel spoke up after a short while. “They mostly married for love rather than business. I mean, look at me: I’ve married three times, strictly for business arrangements and I’m not any happier for it. I’ve become very successful, of course, but I’m stuck in dumps like this every night because I can barely bring myself to go home to my business partners! That’s not living, surely?” John was about to respond when two shrill voices cut through the ambience of the pub.

“SAMUEL! THERE YOU ARE! COME HOME THIS INSTANT!”

“I KNEW WE’D FIND YOU IN THIS PIT AGAIN!”

Everyone in the building stopped what they were doing and turned to look at the two angry women who had burst in through the large front doors. One was older, tall and bony, and the other was young, short and plump. Both were fairly attractive and both wore masks of fury and contempt. Samuel groaned aloud.

“Speak of the Devils and they shall appear!” he said resentfully, lifting his beer and downing the last couple of mouthfuls. John didn’t quite know what to say, merely sitting and staring into his half-finished beer. Samuel clapped him on the shoulder as he stood to leave.

“This is one of the perks, I suppose,” he said, with a forced smile. “My wives are quite old-fashioned; they’d rather march in here to embarrass me personally instead of calling me on my headset! Looks like my second wife has stayed at home…that can’t be a good sign…Anyway, I must be off. See you around, Johnny-boy, and wish me luck!” John nodded and grasped Samuel’s wrist.

“Good luck, Sammy,” he said, smiling at Samuel with sympathy in his eyes. Samuel cleared his throat and strode over to greet his wives. John could still hear them chiding him as the thick doors closed behind them. He raised his pint to his lips, contemplating his friend’s pitiable position. He grimaced as he finished the green dregs.

“You may be right, Sammy,” he muttered to himself. “Our forefathers did have it easier: they had better marriages and better beer!” He left a tip for the android and made his own way home, happily and gratefully alone.

A – Z Challenge Day 15

Week Three of the April Challenge has began, and that means a fresh batch of stories from Yours Truly! Today’s prompt comes again from Sakina, and her word is “OVERCOMPENSATE”. Now, I think you’ll agree that this is a right good ‘un, and I had fun working with it!

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

OVERCOMPENSATE

By Adam Dixon

“Oi, Gaz! Over ‘ere, mate!” The stocky, bald man called from one side of the road to the other, waving his arms eagerly.  A tall, muscular man in a tight red vest and shorts turned round and frowned from behind his sunglasses. The first man waved again and the second’s face broke into a grin.

“Bazza! ‘Ow are you, my son?” the second man shouted back. Neither of them showed any intention of crossing the road.

“I’m all good, mate, cheers!” Bazza declared, thrusting his hands into the pockets of his tracksuit. “Just popped out to the bookies. I reckon my luck’s turnin’ today! ‘Ow about you?”

“Yeah, I’m alright, mate!” Gaz replied, shrugging. “Same old same old, innit?”

“Too right, mate!” Bazza nodded sagely. He gestured towards the gleaming silver car parked a few feet from Gaz.

“That ain’t your motor, is it, Gaz?” he asked hopefully, shouting over the noise of the mid-morning traffic. “I ‘eard through the grapevine that you’d got another one.” Gaz’s grin widened and he switched to a causal pose, cocking his head nonchalantly.

“Oh, that? Yeah, mate, I bought ‘er last month! She’s a beauty, ain’t she?” Bazza’s eyes widened and he whistled in appreciation.

“Fuck me, mate, she’s gorgeous! Second-‘and?”

“Nah, brand-spankin’-new, mate!” Gaz was almost bursting with pride. “Fresh outta the factory, almost! Set me back a fair bit, but I thought ‘fuck it, why not?’! You only live once!”

“True, Gaz, true!” Bazza laughed, unconsciously raising himself to his full height. “Convertible too! I bet your bird loves it! What’s ‘er name again? Sally? Sandy?”

“Suzie,” Gaz’s smile fled and with it his cock-sure composure deflated. “Me an’ Suzie ain’t together no more…things didn’t work out.” Their conversation was cut short as a freight lorry thundered past them, blocking their view of one another.

“Oh. Sorry to ‘ear that, mate,” Bazza said, as quietly as his shouting would permit. Gaz cleared his throat and puffed out his chest, shrugging one shoulder and curling his lip before he spoke.

“Ah, it’s alright,” he replied loudly, waving his hand. “She was draggin’ me down anyway! Too much baggage on ‘er, I’m well shot of all that now!”

“Glad to ‘ear it!” Bazza shouted. He fumbled for something else to say as the traffic continued past them.

“Well, you’re lookin’ pretty trim these days, anyway!” He exclaimed. “You’ve gotten well hench since I last saw you! What’s your secret?”

“Oh, well I’ve been ‘ittin’ the gym, ain’t I?” Gaz brightened, flexing his arms and sounding pleased. “Yeah, I’ve got some spare time now that me an’ Sooz are finished, so I figured I’d get pumpin’!”

“Yeah, gotcha, mate!” Bazza replied enthusiastically, rubbing his own arms sheepishly. “Been meanin’ to get goin’ with that myself, but I can’t seem to find the time.”

“You should, mate, it’ll sort you right out!” Gaz insisted. “You should use them protein shakes an’ all! They taste like shit but they really ‘elp you bulk up quick! I’ve been ‘avin’ to beat the birds off with a stick since I’ve been goin’!”

“Yeah, I bet you ‘ave, mate!” Bazza joined in with Gaz’s laughter, despite knowing that it wasn’t true.

“Anyway, I’d better get goin’, mate,” Gaz shouted, raising an arm in farewell. “I’ve gotta see a bloke about a dog an’ then I’m off to the gym. Nice seein’ you again, let’s ‘ave a drink some time!”

“Sounds good!” Bazza called after him, smiling and waving. “Nice to see you too, mate! Take care of yourself!” Bazza lowered his arm and took a final glance at Gaz’s new car. He sighed and shook his head before walking off down the street.

Two young women seated outside a nearby café watched Bazza as he shuffled past them, muttering to himself about the cost of gym memberships. They looked at each other with bemused expressions.

“Well, they obviously wanted everyone on the street to hear them!” the brown haired lady laughed and fiddled with the spoon on her tray. Her blond friend grinned and lifted her steaming decaf latte to her lips.

“I know, right?” she replied, blowing on her drink. “What d’you make of those two, anyway?”

“Oh, they seem harmless enough,” the brown haired lady shrugged, lifting her own coffee. A mischievous smile crept across her face.

“Although they’re definitely overcompensating for something!” Their laughter pealed out into the morning, unheard by Bazza or Gaz as they went about their days. Perhaps that was for the best.