An Adventure…

Hello, everyone!

I know, I know – it’s been a little while between posts. I’ve been focusing on a massive editing job, a final push to get The Last Raven out to my editor by the end of this month… and I managed to finish yesterday!

Just in time, too, as tomorrow I’m heading off on an adventure – a trip to New York, then Toronto, then Boston, with a side trip to Salem and a drive along the New England coast. Oh, and I’m doing it all in two weeks.

Mad, right?

I’m really looking forward to it, though. Not just because I’ll get some more material for my Wednesday Wanders, but also because I’ve never been to New York, Boston, Salem or any of New England, and I love seeing new places. I plan on seeking out the partner to Cleopatra’s needle in Central Park, and have a tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island booked, just for starters. I’m also looking forward to finding out more about the sad story of the Salem ‘witches’, as well as seeing the New England coast.

I can’t wait to see Toronto again – I went to high school and university in that part of the world, and will be catching up with family and old friends, as well as being a bit of a tourist – well, it’s been a few years (decades) since I’ve been there.

And when I return, I’ll be back to it. There are more books to write and blog posts to share, plus the Bash will be less than a month away…

See you soon!

xx

 

The Bloggers Bash – In Our Own Words…

I’ve been to every single Bloggers Bash since they began in 2015, and each year I’ve had the best time connecting with bloggers, putting faces to names and enjoying a fantastic event! We’ve come a long way since the first Bash at Pizza Express, and I’m thrilled to be part of the committee this year. Read on to find out more…

The Annual Bloggers Bash returns this May for its fourth year, but the committee don’t run this event just because they fancy a day out in London! Oh no, the Bloggers Bash has grown in size and popularity because of you, the blogging community who attend, engage, and spread the good blogging cheer across the world. 

Don’t take our word for it! Here are just a few of the testimonials we’ve received over the years. 

There was so much food for thought at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards event in London last Saturday that I came away positively bursting at the seams.  

Between the presentations and celebrations of the awards, there were very interesting talks by Suzie and Elena on how to monetize our blogs and make good use of Pinterest. With around four decades of training experience, military and technical, Suzie made me realise that there are real opportunities to use that experience to earn myself some cash. And having only used Pinterest to search for nice images, my eyes were suddenly sprung wide open by Elena’s descriptions of the possibilities. Quite amazing!LANCE MITCHELL 

The Bloggers Bash is an amazing event which is held annually in London. It is organised by Sacha Black and a wonderful team of authors/bloggers. I have had the pleasure of being a bloggers bash attendee since its inception and I haven’t missed a single event. I would thoroughly recommend attending. It is a wonderful way to meet authors, writers and like-minded souls in a friendly environment. You won’t regret it. MARJE MALLON 

I had an amazing day at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in London! I was very nervous about going (as everyone can tell if they’ve watched the videos taken by Hugh throughout the day!) but I had a great time meeting lots of friendly and supportive bloggers!JO ROBERTSON 

Even when you can’t attend in person there are plenty of ways to get involved as ROSIE AMBER points out in her post. As many of you will know, the recent Bloggers Bash award ceremony took place in London, with many bloggers attending, even from far flung places outside the UK. I was unable to be there in person, but kept an eye on the proceedings via Twitter and videos kindly posted by the organisers.’ 

2017 was my first time attending the Bloggers Bash. The occasion was well worth attending. All the people I met were warm, welcoming and inclusive. We listened to informative talks about all aspects of Blogging, social media etc…  and had a super Q and A session at the end. I for one learned useful tips that i still refer to a year later. Meeting virtual friends in the flesh and swapping ideas was wonderful. Winning first prize for my flash fiction was pretty damned good too. The award presentations were exciting to be part of, we all swapped cards and swore allegiance and became great supportive friends. This function is certain to leave you inspired, informed and proud to be part of.’ ELLEN BEST   

Two years ago, the nervous trepidation of meeting a whole lot of virtual people gave way to the immense pleasure of finally putting faces and voices to names and blogs. Last year, the build-up was the excitement of seeing those faces once more. This time it feels like I’m getting ready for a long-awaited family reunion! 

The Annual Bloggers Bash had been a fantastic opportunity to meet bloggers I have admired for a long while. There have been opportunities to network with like-minded individuals, learn a lot of ‘tricks’ to boost blog reach and performance, recognition for bloggers via the ABBA’s (the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards), and most importantly, certain individuals may say, a chance to eat CAKE! RITU BHATHAL (BUT I SMILE ANYWAY) 

The Annual Bloggers Bash is a fantastic event that I look forward to every year. It’s a great opportunity to mingle with fellow bloggers and exchange views on all things blogging.
As most of us know each other only online it’s fabulous to meet in the real world and discover the face behind the avatars.
It’s a well-organised and well-run fun event with excellent information panels and enjoyable networking sessions.CHRISTOPH FISCHER 

Me with the lovely Suzie from Suzie Speaks

Attending the Bloggers Bash 2015 was the turning point in my blogging career. From that day onwards, I became connected to some great people, I learnt new skills and my blogging confidence grew. It’s like you become part of a blogging family when you attend the Bash. Everyone looks out for each other and the help you get from the experienced bloggers is priceless.  

You can pay hundreds to go on a one-off blogging course and learn some skills from someone who may or may not have had blogging success or you attend the Bash and hear first-hand accounts of how bloggers have got near one million views or have over twenty thousand followers. They share their best practices with you and the talks are amazing. I know which one I would rather attend…LUCY MITCHELL (BLONDE WRITE MORE) 

I have attended the Bloggers Bash twice so far and each time I have come away having met old friends and found new ones. The atmosphere is friendly and informal, with good deal of laughter. The inclusion of speakers who share their expertise adds an extra dimension to the event and the awards themselves are both fun and a serious attempt to recognise the work of the blogging community. But the best thing about the Bash is the people you get to finally meet and connect with.  SUE VINCENT 

Throwback to everyone meeting at the very first Bash!

Although I was pretty new to blogging, I attended the 2016 Bloggers Bash. I had already made lots of friends and was excited to get to meet them in person; I was so glad I did. Relationships already formed became stronger plus I got to meet some new and interesting people.  

The committee worked hard to ensure that everything ran smoothly, and we had a good time. There was plenty of blogging advice available from other bloggers and a guest speaker, there was even cake made by the lovely Geoff!   

The one thing that I loved more than anything was the friendliness of our blogging family. Everyone is exactly the same as they come across on their blog, so you already feel that you know many of them.JUDY MARTIN 

This year will be my third Bloggers Bash. If you have not been to a Bash before I am here to tell you that the Bash is the best way ever to meet other bloggers, learn skills and it’s a darn good way to network. 

All you need to do, is to attend, I can promise you will not regret it. Bring your business cards, pen and paper and a big smile.  

I love the Bash it’s the highlight of my year.  So, I look forward to meeting you there. All of the Committee are lovely friendly people, in fact, all the bloggers there are lovely people. 

Looking forward to seeing you all there.’ WILLOW WILLERS 

‘I’m fortunate to have attended all three Blogger’s Bash events and can’t wait for this year’s on May 19th. Through these events, I’ve met many of my online fellow bloggers in person, and each year is now a fantastic reunion with ‘old’ friends and a great opportunity to make new. A wonderful panel of highly respected and knowledgeable bloggers shares great blogging tips with time for a Q&A session, and of course, always great excitement with the announcement of the Annual Blogger’s Bash Awards. I am not a prolific blogger lately due to writing and family commitments, but I am no less welcomed at every Blogger’s Bash with warm hugs and happy smiles. The Blogger’s Bash is for bloggers everywhere, an event not to be missed if you want a whole lot of Friends Fun and Photos!’ SHERRI MATTHEWS 

How can you get involved in the Annual Bloggers Bash 2018? 

  • BUY a ticket. 
  • Cast Your Vote (voting opens 6th April). 
  • Spread the Word – blog about it, tweet about it, Snapchat it, Instagram and Facebook it, climb on your roof and shout about it! 
  • Check out our fabulous sponsors (Greenstory). 
  • Join us for a wonderful day of networking. 
  • If you can’t be with us in person then follow proceedings on Facebook or Twitter 

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 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. 

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

Be the first to find out the latest news and updates by signing up to the bloggers bash mailing list HERE. 

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET INVOLVED THIS YEAR? 

 

What a Difference A Day Makes

I took this photo last Friday. The sun was shining, bees were humming among the blossoms, and it felt as though Spring was finally on her way.

What a difference a day makes.

This was Saturday morning. Overnight an arctic blast had come through, the temperature dropping to a face-freezing minus one, snow falling. It hadn’t quite begun to settle on the ground at this point, but it was resting on the tree branches where, less than twenty-four hours before, it had felt like Spring.

Nature has a way of doing the unexpected, doesn’t she?

A day later, this was the scene in my back garden. However, today temperatures are starting to rise, the MiniBeast withdrawing back to the frozen east where it belongs. The spring equinox is almost upon us, and there will be more blossom and bees soon…

…I hope.


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

And don’t forget to get your Bloggers Bash tickets – follow this link to join the fun 🙂

 

Bloggers Bash Awards 2018 – Nominations are now CLOSED

We have had a phenomenal response to the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards (ABBAs) with an incredible number of nominations. Thank you to everyone who nominated your favourite bloggers. 

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. 

The committee is now busy collating all the data ready for VOTING which opens on the 6th April 2018. 

While you’re waiting for voting to open it’s the perfect time to check you’ve bought your Bash Ticket, purchased any necessary travel and accommodation, printed business cards, and bought new stationery to take notes! 

The countdown is on… 

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 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. 

DON’T FORGET YOU CAN  BUY YOUR TICKETS here. 

Meet Our Guest Speakers For The Annual Bloggers Bash 2018

We’re delighted to introduce 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 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 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. 

Wednesday Wander – Cleopatra’s Needle, London

I had an impromptu trip into London yesterday. I’m currently trying to sort out a new passport for a trip I’m taking in a few weeks time, which has necessitated two trips to the Canadian embassy in Trafalgar Square. Yesterday’s visit was to replace my passport photos with another, equally dire set of images, as the ones I’d originally provided were ‘too glare-y.’

However, I didn’t have to wait too long to be seen by the very helpful staff, so  was soon back out in the sunshine with some time to spare before lunch. I thought I’d take a walk along the Embankment, which is where I encountered my Wander for this week.

This is Cleopatra’s Needle in Westminster, London. One of three similar obelisks in London, New York and Paris, it is actually a pair with the one in New York, and doesn’t really have anything to do with the legendary Egyptian queen (other than being from Egypt).

The Needle is an ancient Egyptian obelisk, and originally stood in the city of Heliopolis, where it was erected around 1450 BC by the Pharoah Thutmose III. Originally it had a single column of heiroglyphics on each face, but two more were added around 200 years later, to commemorate the military victories of Ramses II. Around 12BC, the obelisks were moved by the Romans to a temple in Alexandria, where they remained, buried under sand, until 1819, when the ruler of Egypt and Sudan presented one of them to the UK in commemoration of Lord Nelson’s victories in the Battle of the Nile.

The British government were pleased with their gift (one would imagine), but not pleased enough to pay to have the obelisk shipped to the UK. That didn’t happen until 1877, when Sir William James Erasmus Wilson, a noted anatomist, paid the enormous (at the time) sum of £10,000 out of his own pocket to have the obelisk brought to England. The trip almost ended in disaster when the ship was caught in a storm, but eventually the obelisk arrived, towed up the Thames to its eventual resting place .

When the obelisk was installed in its current position, in 1878, a time capsule was placed in the pedestal base. It contained a set of 12 photographs of the best-looking English women of the day (!), a box of hairpins, a box of cigars, several tobacco pipes, a set of imperial weights, a baby’s bottle, some children’s toys, a shilling razor, a hydraulic jack and some samples of the cable used in the erection, a 3′ bronze model of the monument, a complete set of contemporary British coins, a rupee, a portrait of Queen Victoria, a written history of the transport of the monument, plans on vellum, a translation of the inscriptions, copies of the Bible in several languages, a copy of John 3:16 in 215 languages,[6] a copy of Whitaker’s Almanack, a Bradshaw Railway Guide, a map of London and copies of 10 daily newspapers. Phew!

The obelisk pedestal has several Egyptian embellishments, and is flanked by two cast-bronze Sphinxes. Placed incorrectly, they are looking at the obelisk, rather than outwards, guarding it. Benches in the area were also designed to reflect the Egyptian theme, with more Sphinxes holding up the seats.

Nowadays the obelisk looks out at the London Eye and The Shard, the waters running past it the cold grey-brown of the Thames, rather than the glistening Nile. It is an oddity, out of place and time, almost lost among the trees and buildings, traffic roaring past. I wonder whether it dreams of palms and blue sky, of desert heat, and a time when it stood, whole and proud, with its twin.

I guess we’ll never know.

Thanks for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me. See you next time!


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

And don’t forget to get your Bloggers Bash tickets – follow this link to join the fun 🙂

 

 

#writephoto Arch – Through The Window

It’s Thursday, and time for another #writephoto prompt, courtesy of Sue Vincent. This week’s photo brought a character to mind, and here he is:

He liked to watch the world change. Today it was snowy, the little tree purged of leaves by winter, the land beyond carpeted white.

Some days he saw green grass and flowers, butterflies dancing. At other times wind blew the little tree, bending it so he feared it might break, russet and gold leaves streaming into the air. Lightning crashed, bright across the landscape, and sometimes, if he woke at the right time, the sky was clear and full of stars, silence ringing like a bell.

Around and above him the stones wept dampness, green moss blurring what was once carved precision. The rainbow of glass was long gone, the windows wide and open to whatever the elements brought.

But he was beyond it all as he paced the old pathway, no wind coming to touch him, no water cold upon his neck. He wondered at that, standing with arms wide beneath stormy skies, staring up to where the roof had once arched.

He couldn’t remember his name, anymore. All he knew was that he was stuck there. Sometimes other people came to walk the stones with him, but he couldn’t make them hear his voice, no matter how he cried and called to them. Children seemed more aware, jumping when he touched their faces, or trailed his fingers through their hair. One little girl had cried, telling her mother over and over about ‘the man in black.’ But she had gone, just like everyone else, leaving him alone beneath the stone arches.

Watching the world change.


Enjoyed this post? Want to read more? Find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJFacebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, Under Stone (Ambeth Chronicles #4), is now available on Amazon. Visit my Amazon Author Page to see more.

And don’t forget to get your Bloggers Bash tickets – follow this link to join the fun 🙂