It was lovely reconnecting with old friends and making new ones too.
Unfortunately, as with all bashes there is always that moment when you realise that you haven’t had a chance to speak to everyone. So apologies to those I missed and to those I only chatted to briefly.
I took very few photos. Getting lazy…
But here are some, below myself, with Willow and Ritu.
Congratulations to Ritu for winning best book blog and to Sam Smith at Loving The Fifty Something Blog for winning the writing competition this year. I really enjoyed chatting to Sam and wish her every success and happiness with her writing and inspirational lifestyle.
I particularly enjoyed listening to guest author Gemma Todd talking about her writing journey.
From working class girl with no books in the house, or readers in her family, to librarian and Headline author! That shows determination, tenacity and a love of the written word! Gemma flitted across the stage in an exuberant but down-to-earth way making me smile. She shared some touching anecdotes about her father and her genuine authenticity shone through.
A curious cat muse. Each day is a discovery. I am five again, and my nine lives are creeping away…
Time is ticking and I yowl to tell stories, so dear MJ grasps her keyboard and pounds the keys, stealing seconds, minutes and moments.
No wonder MJ writes about time: time is precious, each day offers vast adventures. Writing has taught her to embrace and explore every moment.
So on her way to work she prowls, stalking victims. We imagine stories, we marvel, or rage at the inequality in our society. Memories invade our consciousness: a homeless person standing up, swaying in his sleeping bag like a ghost in motion, a lady in a red hat glaring at us.
MJ is an addict: a nosy parker, an eavesdropper. People notice and give her evil looks. What they don’t know is that evil look is her’s. It just became a character in her new story.
MJ spent her teenage years in 5 Craigcrook Park, Scotland. Such a strange sounding address. No wonder she possesses a cat-like curiosity, a criminal intention to steal words.
And a love of trees. Trees have oodles of energy and some have grumpy faces!
And… a zest for the beauty of the natural world: rocks and crystals.
Creep into our crystal grotto in Juniper Artland, Scotland.
Or explore five crystal beauties in The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone: Merlinite, Red Jade, Quartz, Black Obsidian, Bloodstone.
Witness a grasshopper sculptural clock in Cambridge, England, The Corpus Christi Chronophage Clock.
Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club is a friendly group on Facebook for authors, bloggers and book reviewers. The club endeavours to create a wonderful community, a place to make friends, and to foster meaningful, helpful connections with like-minded people.
He is a thoroughly decent chap, a friendly, amusing bloke whose blog I urge you to follow. He is also a top dog in the Annual Bloggers Bash in London – next event – Saturday 9th June 2018 – one of the current gang of four organisers – enough said. He’s a writer of wit, a keen flash fiction enthusiast, a course junkie, (Arvon, MA at Sheffield Hallam, etc,) dog enthusiast, walker, (that follows,) gardener, and has written four novels. One of which – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle – I have read and reviewed, with a title like that how could I not!
On Saturday 10th June I caught the train to London in the early hours of the morning and travelled to the much-anticipated Bloggers Bash.
I bought a new dress, jewellery and even did my nails….
In typical Marje fashion I did some nutty things on route, starting with trying to get through the barriers with an invalid, outdated ticket. This gave me a mini case of palpitations until I realised that I had the correct ticket in my wallet! Thereafter, I had a sneaky feeling that something else would happen and it did. I jumped on the tube at St Pancras without checking what I was doing. Of course, this meant that I was now headed in the opposite direction to the way I should have been going, so I jumped off, gave myself a stern talking to and sorted myself out!
Phew…. thereafter it was easy peasy. Blogging pal, committee member Geoff’s instructions were great … Though, I didn’t hear any giggles to follow, so that was a bear faced, or in Geoff’s case, a pink beard face lie! Miraculously, I arrived at the hotel with time to spare.
Thereafter, it was a blast. So many faces, both new and not so new. Bloggers from far away, bloggers from London, bloggers from just about every neck of the woods. Have bloggers will travel.
A big thank you to the committee for organising this labour of love: Sacha, Geoff , Ali and Hugh.
I failed miserably at taking photos during the event – Bloggers Bashes do that to me – obviously I struggle to talk and take photos, but there are loads of photos on Facebook on the #bloggersbash page: Facebook: Bloggers Bash & ABBA Awards.
But I did take this one of Sherri, Sally, and Mary.
Can you believe it? Three years of bashes! This year’s bash felt grown up. It occurs to me that, in retrospect, the first bloggers bash reminded me of those first baby blogger steps into the unknown, the second bash involved toddling off confidently and now we’re all grown up and have progressed to an International Bloggers event! Very posh.
So, who knows what the fourth bash will bring? Exciting times ahead. I just hope they get proper name badges next time rather than those sticky labels that refuse to stick to your dress and travel up your arm, waltz around your skin and end up being worn as a bracelet.
If you haven’t been to a bash before and would like to come, here are several reasons why I think you should:
You will learn a huge amount. At this event there were discussions about social media, Pinterest, and many blogging tips from the panel of experts: Suzie, Elena and Christoph.
You’ll meet loads of like-minded people.
It’s a great opportunity to network with other writers and authors.
We are all introverts so we know what it’s like to come to your first event.
You’ll feel welcome. Everyone is very friendly.
There are cakes, (this has to be a good thing,) biscuits, tea and coffee, and alcohol too!
You will find that there are hugs a plenty, from huggable Hugh who is our resident king of the hugs, but newsflash – Hugh may have competition. Our inspiring Shelley is huge on hugs. She gave me a real bear hug as I was leaving – it took my breath away.
After the talks and discussions I rewarded myself with a great big carrot cake cupcake – just one of Ritu’s delicious recipes which she brought along. It melted in my mouth – so delicious. I had a ‘wee’ drink but not too much, as I had a sneaky feeling that getting home inebriated would be a bad idea for someone who can’t even find their way whilst sober!
The lovely Ritu, and Willow accompanied me from the venue, until sadly we drifted off our separate ways home. I ended up on the slow train to Cambridge which stopped at every bl***dy stop. This meant that I had to walk about a mile to my bus stop from the train station in my (for me,) high heels, to catch the last bus to the back water I call home. Yes, our sad little village has a last bus home at 8.40pm, thereafter you have to wait until 10pm for the next one!
Guess who I saw on my way home ? My youngest riding towards me on her bike. So I asked her where she was going. Bad idea, I should have run, but in those heels, I had no chance. She had forgotten her keys so I ended up going back home with her and taking her out in my car. What a sucker, such a soft-hearted mother, that’s me. Luckily, I had only had one drink, so could drive!
The story doesn’t end there…
No, there were chips, and a very dodgy scampi supper to consume. I wish I hadn’t. The scampi oozed milky liquid which really didn’t look edible. Still, I survived, I have a tough old stomach that can consume such dubious delicacies with no ill effects.
And… In the short while I was away… a mere day, my hubby decided it would be a good idea to let my daughter have her first driving lesson. He let her reverse his car out of our very tricky driveway. Whatever possessed him? So, wonder of wonders she had a bit of an accident. He said ‘crashed,’ but I checked the damage and luckily it is a mere scratch! It could have been a lot worse!
So the moral of the story? Next time, I will be staying over in London so no one can find me, or assault my stomach with a chip supper or request that I lift them anywhere in my car, even if it means that my hubby does something crazy!
Sorry for that waffle, un-bloggers bash yarn. I thought it was funny and hoped you might do too!
Who did I chat to? Loads of folk… methinks they were… perhaps…
It was such a shame that Esther couldn’t make it this year as she was moving house that very day and of course there were many others who would have loved to have come but couldn’t join in the fun. They were sorely missed too.
But there is always another year, another opportunity.
The date has been set for next year’s bash so don’t forget to put it in your diary:
9th June 2018. It sounds a long way off but don’t believe it, before you know it I’ll be on a tube going the wrong way again.
I believe it all began when I moved to Cambridge from Scotland.
Shortly after our marriage, my husband and I made the rash decision to live out in ‘the sticks,’ in a sleepy Cambridgeshire village called Chatteris. What an enormous culture shock for an Edinburgh city girl like me – I felt isolated and pretty miserable.
Perhaps I would never have started writing if it wasn’t for this and later sadness’s in my life. In time we moved to the suburbs of Cambridge, within easy reach of the city centre. I made new friends but missed the loving support of my extended family. My husband worked long hours, but I knew that he longed to Do What He Loved – ski on a mountain or be in a rock band! Financial responsibilities meant that his personal dreams languished. Inadvertently, this sacrifice triggered my idea for The Curse of Time – The Bloodstone, my WIP – which is currently being edited by my lovely friend – Colleen Chesebro – Author of The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy/
As my daughters grew older I developed an interest in alternative therapies and worked as an Aromatherapist/Reflexologist. During this time I discovered an interest in crystals. This beautiful Malachite captured my attention, demanding to be my first crystal purchase.
The Malachite definitely sparked my creativity, and helped alleviate my shyness! My urge to write developed in a whirlwind of reading, and imagination. I woke up with ideas and jotted them in a notebook. This manic phase coincided with the arrival of a strange black cat who demanded my attention. He became my muse. Was he a stray? Or perhaps a witch’s cat? Sadly, he disappeared without a trace. I had an odd idea (to find a black cat model,) and my blogging friend Gary Jefferies: Fiction Is Food introduced me to Samantha Murdoch – the proud owner of Lily.
Astonishingly Lily bears a remarkable resemblance to the black cat in my book, Shadow.
Guess what? Samantha loves crystals too! Bloodstone, (photographed below by her son,) plays a central part in my book – another extraordinary coincidence!
Photo credit for above three photos: Alex Marlowe, Samantha Murdoch’s son.
All these incredible connections have fuelled my desire to write. I am so lucky to have many inspiring writers, bloggers, and creative individuals who I call friends. Astounded by their support and encouragement my confidence has soared. I’ve participated in short stories prompts, poetry, photography challenges, and weekend coffee shares… In August 2015 I did the unthinkable – I shrugged off my shy persona and attendedMy First Bloggers Bash.
In part, this is thanks to the power of my Malachite crystal! I can’t wait to attend the next bash in June, and see some of my blogging friends, (unfortunately not all can attend,) and new ‘faces,’ too.
Life is devoid of meaning without ‘real’ positive relationships, connections that matter. I believe that if you give of your best, you will receive the best back. I have a passion for the arts, and I will continue to promote bloggers, writers, and creative individuals who I count as my dear friends. I love supporting authors by writing book reviews: My Wise Old Owl A – Z Book Reviews, and offer Blogger/Author Spotlights. One recent example is:Sue Vincent and Stuart France
Hugh from Hugh’s Views and News has some news that he’s desperate to share with us, (even though he’s on a bloggers break.) The Bloggers Bash is one years old! If you’d like to join in with the next event keep your eyes out for posts like these…. This bash is growing, gaining momentum, be a part of it! Watch this baby grow. Happy Birthday Bloggers Bash!
I have a few regrets which are inevitable with these events:
Not taking enough photos, I was too busy enjoying myself!
I didn’t quite manage to talk to as many people as I would have liked to… sigh. Shall have to remedy this next time.
There was a lot of cake but I only ate a few pieces…
I forgot to sign the comments book.. oops. So here’s my on-line comment: It was brilliant, I enjoyed it so much, even more than last year if that’s possible! Thank you to the committee. Keep up the hard work, crack that whip Sacha! ! The idea of having a speaker was spot on, perhaps a little dancing next time?
We had a prebash at O’Neills which was arranged by Graeme, and then the bash itself and the post bash afterwards for those who were still there until the bitter end!
It was great that a speaker came this year. Thanks to Luca, Growthketeer at @automattic for his interesting talk on all things blogging.. and for showing me his amazing photography later on, so inspiring. It makes me want to rush out and buy a professional camera!
The blogging tips from his talk that linger in my mind are:
‘Drive your numbers,’ rather than the other way round. ‘Numbers are sexy’ – we are obsessed with stats but be in control, show those numbers who’s boss.
‘Help other people and be positive.’ The value of the content that you share on your blog is key.
‘Water, shelter, food, and WordPress!’ These are the four things that you need as a blogger!!!! But test other platforms to see which might suit your goals. Different social media tend to attract different followers – Instagram and snap chat tend to be popular with young people. Facebook is for us oldies.
‘Connect to your goals/aims.’
‘Activate as many sharing options,’ as you can on your blog.
During the discussion Luca Sartoni was astonished to learn that people use the reblog option so much! Now he’s planning to convey this information to the powers that be so that they can make reblog even more snazzy… As well as this he touched upon the merits of the reblog option versus Press it… and his method of sharing others’ content via links, and twitter.
Keep a look out for Sacha’s detailed post about Luca’s talk soon. And keep the date in your diaries for next year’s bash June 10th 2017!
After all that excitement I hardly slept a wink last night, now I really need a coffee ….
The Bloggers Bash is so near I can feel the adrenalin mounting with each second. The comments on Facebook are escalating minute by minute bringing us closer and closer to the big day! The general term I would use to refer to this phenomenon is excitement!! Pure and simple…
So to calm myself down today I am writing my own personal list. I thought I might as well share this with you –
My Totally Serious List of What To Bring To The Blogger’s Bash:
Depending on the British Weather: sun cream, sunhat, raincoat, umbrella, tarpaulin, or if all else fails enlist Zeus to help you, he’s the King of The Gods, he should be able to sort out the sky. If Zeus is busy, sigh…
Your travel tickets!Passport. Bus Pass.Helicopter Ride. Parachute. I’m going by train – off to pick up my tickets this afternoon so I’m ready… I swear those ticket machines at the little train station I travel from see me coming. They tend to be a bit uncooperative, or have a long queue if I’m in a hurry so I’m going to trick them into behaving by turning up early.
Clothes. Yes this is a necessity folks. At least some form of attire is required. Preferably whatever you feel comfortable in. Don’t turn up in a formal suit and tie, or a kilt, or a scratchy jumper unless you really want to!
Shoes. Still to decide on this too.. If you wear heels all the time and can walk in them without waddling then do feel free. I have enough trouble walking on little heels so I’m not going to turn up with stilettos! Oh damn I just got rid of those bright purple Doc Martins..
Snacks. Choccies.. This has been mentioned already numerous times but in my book treats of any kind are always welcome. Make sure we have enough sugar!
A Camera to record the event.. Don’t forget to clear your memory if it is full. This memory tip via Suzie Speaks..https://suzie81speaks.com/) Just make sure you don’t erase your own thoughts while you’re doing it – that could make conversation a little tricky.
Change… Monopoly money. Things to barter with. Oh I do hope I don’t forget this one… This afternoon I’m off for coffee with a few friends after work so hope I manage to get some change then. My daughter keeps on raiding my pennies for bus fares..
Hard Cash. IOU’s. Following on from no. 7. Bring some hard cash too, share it around it will be welcomed!
Handbag.. Clutch purse. Bum bag. This is open to whoever would like to bring one – so guys don’t feel left out! I’ve opted for a snazzy little black number. Yes I’ve decided about my handbag before my clothes and shoes, they’ve got some catching up to do!
Sword. Martial Arts moves. Bodyguard. You do meet some funny folks in London. It might be wise.
Makeup. Fancy nails… face paint.. Body armour whatever you feel like, just don’t frighten anyone away!
A Book. What? This one’s for book addicts, myself included, just in case you have a long journey, or a short journey, or no journey at all. Book addicts always carry books. Fact.
Mints, floss, toothpicks. Don’t forget to brush your teeth, just in case you do forget pack those extra strength mints. You know that piece of green vegetation that always gets stuck in your teeth needs to be removed fast!
A husky dog, a wild cat, or a squirrel. Ah that would have been nice – would have been a plus for the photos but sorry no pets allowed. But any mythical creatures are welcomed, especially dragons.
Glasses. No not pint glasses. Spectacles – this is a necessity for folks like me who can’t see a darn thing without them. Note to self: Don’t fall asleep the night before with your specs on and break them.
Business Cards. Thanks for this one Hugh… If you haven’t got any come tattooed on your forehead with your blog name..
17, 18 and 19 for when it is going off kilter….. 19, 20 we’re back on track!
19. Booze and remedies. After all that you might need some Bach’s Rescue Remedy or a stiff drink, a glass of wine, or a cocktail.
20. Bloggers Unite. Remember we are all bound to get on famously as we’re all bloggers! No one else understands our weird obsession. So new blogging buddies don’t worry we are a friendly bunch. Hugs will be plentiful just don’t creep up on anyone unawares..
21. Yippee we’re nearly there!
Can’t wait to see all you lovely bloggers on Saturday.
Bye for now,
Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx
My fun (totally not serious but nevertheless 90% true,) author bio on Wattpad – Link below.
Marjorie Mallon was born in Lion City: Singapore. She grew up in a mountainous court in Hong Kong. Her crazy parents dragged her spotty soul away from her exotic childhood and her much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. There she mastered Scottish country dancing, haggis bashing, bagpipe playing and a whole new Och Aye lingo.
As a teenager she travelled to many far flung destinations to visit her abacus wielding wayfarer dad. On one such occasion a barracuda swam by. It stopped to view her bikini clad body, longing to take a big bite. With dogs' fangs replacing barracudas' teeth, she returned to her mother's birthplace: Kuching, Cat City. There, Blackie, a black-hearted dog sniffed her frightened butt, whimpered and ran away! Shortly after this extraordinary event an angry female Orang-Utan chased her unfit ass out of the Malaysian jungle believing that she was a threat to her babies! She still monkeys about, would love to own a cat, or a replacement Topsy but refuses to entertain murderous dogs, or over-protective monkeys.
It's rumoured that she lives in the Venice of Cambridge, with her six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and her two enchanted daughters.
After such an upbringing her author's mind has taken total leave of its senses. When she's not writing, she eats exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surfs to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out she practises Tai Chi and Yoga on the crest of a wave. If the mood takes her she goes snorkelling with mermaids, or signs up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
She is a child of the light and the dark. Her motto is simply this: Do what you love, stay true to your heart's desires, remain young at heart, and inspire others to do so, even if it appears that the odds are stacked like black hearted shadows against you...
Do not despair there is no way you will get lost, Geoff has it all covered with these detailed directions no one will/will not make it to the Bloggers Bash… not even people like me with every/no sense of direction can/cannot possibly find/miss it!