Five Reasons I Enjoy Blogging

 

Going to start blogging again, I said. Going to write those posts regularly, I told myself. But getting back into the habit, both of checking comments and writing new posts, is taking a little bit of time. However, onwards and upwards!

Blogging has (and I’ve said this before) literally changed my life. I’ve made some of my best friends in the world through blogging, as well as becoming a published author. I’m also a committee member for the annual Blogger’s Bash in London (coming up June 15thdo you have your ticket yet?), which has broadened my blogging and social media circle even further.

So, being a bit stuck for a blog topic, I thought I might tie in to my committee work and make a shameless plug for our Bash Blog Post competition. Each year we run a themed post competition, and this year, as it’s our fifth year of operation, the theme is ‘Five’.

I thought I’d keep things simple with a short list:

Five reasons I enjoy blogging

  1. The words. I love writing, and I know for a fact that regular blogging has made me a better writer
  2. The knowledge. There are blogs covering just about any subject under the sun. If you’re interested in it, chances are someone is blogging about it. And hey, if they’re not, there’s a niche for you.
  3. The inspiration. There are loads of fab writing prompts in blogland. In fact, The Last Raven, my book currently out to submission with an agent, started life as a writing prompt over on Ali Isaac’s blog.
  4. The experiences. From wandering hillsides with Sue Vincent to meeting bloggers in London at the Bloggers Bash, blogging has led me to experiences I might never have otherwise had
  5. The people. The best bit, to be honest 🙂

And that’s it! As the competition is restricted to posts of 375 words or less, I need to wind up. However, if you’d like to enter, entry is £5, first prize is a £50 Amazon gift card, with £15 and £10 cards to second and third place respectively. For more details, or to enter, click here – but only until March 24th!

Happy blogging x

#writephoto Sanctuary

Sue Vincent’s #writephoto is one of my favourite blog writing prompts. The photos she chooses are always so inspiring, and she gets such a variety of responses to the same image. I don’t always get a story but, when I do, they come immediately. This one appeared when I saw her image for this week:

‘So, this is the place?’

The man grinned, revealing chipped and blackened teeth, his hair blonde against the blood-spattered furs he wore. His similarly-attired companion shrugged.

‘It is.’

‘Some sanctuary. It doesn’t even have a door.’

‘Huh. C’mon. This is where she’ll be.’

They moved towards the small building, their boots crunching against the snow. More flakes swirled around them, catching in their long tangled hair, melting on the iron blades they carried.

***

She watched them approach, fear closing her throat. There was no one left to hear if she screamed, anyway. She closed her eyes, willing herself to stay still, pushing aside her grief. When she got through this, if she got through this, there would be time enough to mourn.

She could hear their breathing as they stepped between the pillars, the clank of their weapons.

They entered the sanctuary.

It seemed as though the forest itself held its breath.

‘What the-‘

From her hiding place she heard a clatter of metal on stone, then a thud. A tear escaped from under her closed eyelids. They had destroyed the offerings, from the sound of it. The bronze bowl she used for scrying now taken as a spoil of war, the stone pillar on which it had rested knocked over.

Anger curled in her stomach, combining with the fear. She felt sick. But there was nothing she could do except wait, and hope.

***

‘She’s gone.’

‘Bitch probably ran into the woods.’

‘Hehe, yeah. She won’t get far.’

‘Let’s go. If the wolves don’t get her, we will.’

They left the small temple, stopping in one final act of desecration to urinate across the threshold, laughing as their piss hit the snow. Then they disappeared among the trees, the crashing of their passage growing fainter until she could hear no more.

***

She took in a deep breath. Uncurled her cramped and cold fingers, shook the snow from her hair. She spoke a word of power, and the branches enclosing her opened, releasing her. She spoke another, and two grey wolves appeared, their soft fur brushing her hands as they circled her, awaiting her command. ‘Go,’ she said, and they bounded away, golden eyes sharp with the thrill of the hunt. She listened as the howling grew louder, thought she heard a distant scream. Then she stepped inside her temple and began the work of cleansing.

She hadn’t been able to save her village.

But she could still avenge them.


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 – Sirens

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Sue Vincent has chosen yet another evocative photo for her #writephoto inspiration series. This time, I ended up with a couple of fragments – a poem, and a short paragraph with hints of a longer story…

Out to sea,

Past waves that shimmer and foam

We dance

 

Light as air,

Streaming bright through sky and spray

We land

 

Voices sweet

All flickering bright temptation

We lure…

———————————————-

‘That’s where they live.’

‘Where who live?’ I shaded my eyes against the sun, looking at the smudge of land just visible beyond the waves.

‘The sirens,’ he said. I frowned, looking for a smile on his face, some indication he was joking. But he just stared out to sea, blue eyes creased against the glare.

‘Sirens? Huh. I thought they were Greek or Roman or something.’ I tried to make a joke of it.

‘They are everywhere the sea is,’ he said, clouds drifting in his eyes. I hugged my knees closer, the day gone cold. He turned to me then. ‘And the sea-‘ his voice was soft ‘- is part of me…’

For more entries, visit Sue’s site and, if you’re quick, enter this week’s challenge (the deadline is today!)

#writephoto Challenge – In Memory Bound

Sue's tree‘Bind her.’

The Forest King turned away, his crown of leaves gleaming in the last light of day. She called out, keening, her branches shivering so leaves fell like rain.

But it was to no avail.

The vines came up from the earth around her roots, soft at first then hardening like steel, twisting, knotting and tangling. She felt their grip extend up into her branches, forming a cage in which she was doomed to remain, living but apart from the rest of the forest.

All for daring to love.

For stepping out of her tree late in the silvered night, to walk with her beloved under whispering leaves hand in hand, warm in the soft air.

A small thing, really, falling in love. A matter of importance only to the two involved, the effect rippling outward and losing intensity as the circle widened.

But to fall in love with the son of a King was another story. Especially a son promised to another, a stately oak crowned with green.

No matter that he loved her back.

Alliances had been made, promises had to be kept, and so she had kept her mouth shut as they wed. Had danced with the other dryads under a full moon, pretending her heart was as light as her feet, knowing that another silvered night would bring him back to her.

Which it did. But, unknown to them both, it also brought the eyes of another, the trees that whispered telling their tale until it reached the ears of the Forest King himself.

And so her fate was sealed. A simple tree, like so many others – what hope did she have? They would not kill her, oh no. There was enough of that in their world already, of men with their hard edges, their crunching terror. Among the trees, to kill another was thought a sin beyond reckoning, instant condemnation. But they could shut her in. Cage her. Bind her in vines.

And let her live to regret her choice.

But she vowed she never would, instead sinking into a dreaming sleep, to a place where she danced, free once more, her memories more real than reality itself.

They might bind her, but they could not take them away.

And on the next silvered night he was there, his hand reaching between the vines to touch the bark where she now lived, mute prisoner.

Her branches shook once more, though the leaves that fell were gentle, like soft kisses, like a lover’s touch, like a memory.

Bound.

————————————————————————————————————

This is my entry to Sue Vincent’s #writephoto Challenge – for more entries, or to add one of your own, visit Sue’s site.

Sacha’s Writespiration – Time Won’t Wait

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I’ve been doing a few writing prompts recently. This is for a couple of reasons – first, because they challenge me to stretch my writing brain. I’ve been writing about Ambeth for a long time and it’s nice to visit other worlds once in a while (although I’ll always love Ambeth). Second, because I’ve been inspired – whether it’s Sue’s photographs, Rachael’s Blog Battles or Sacha’s Writespirations, there have been ideas-a-plenty floating around the blogosphere these past few weeks.

So this post is in response to Sacha’s latest Writespiration, where we were instructed to pick up the closest book or magazine to hand, turn to page 77 and pick the tenth, thirty-third and last words on the page, plus the longest word, then work them into a 100-word piece of flash fiction.

My closest book to hand happened to be The Monsters Of Templeton by Lauren Groff (and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it), and my words were human, on, have and whispering. Sacha thought they’d work quite well with Silver and Black, which is my NaNo novel for next month, but when I started writing a different story emerged and here it is:

His mask glittered, curving papier mache making him appear more than human. She knew she looked the same, laughing as they wandered hand in hand, heels clicking on the cobbles, past whispering lamplit canals and down narrow passageways, crumbling plaster puffing into dust as they passed.

‘We have to go back.’ He checked his watch, anachronistic under the satin cuff.

She stopped, laughter leaving her. ‘Time won’t wait, will it?’

‘It never does. We have only so long before it catches up with us again.’

He twisted the dial and she felt time stretching elastic, the world turning to grey.

———————————————————————————————————–

And that’s my hundred words. If you’d like to read more Writespirations, or add one of your own, visit Sacha’s blog and be inspired!

 

 

Sue Vincent – Writing Prompt – The Fairy Door

It’s Thursday, so I normally post a door as part of Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors Challenge (and I may yet still, it’s Thursday for a little while longer yet). But Sue Vincent over at  The Daily Echo posted a writing prompt based on this picture she took of a mysterious door in a stone wall, and it inspired me to do something a little different.

hobbit-door

Sue asked that we use a hundred words or less to describe what we think lies beyond the door. I started writing a poem, for some reason – it arrived quite quickly and so, here it is:

Beyond the door the pathway waits,

Through trees and tiny fairy gates,

Lined with velvet petals sweet

Mosses soft beneath your feet

Branches whisper as you pass

Trailing fingers through long grass

Singing sigh of leaves that fall

As you approach the elven hall

Twigs like fingers pull your hair

Vines appearing from thin air

To wrap you in a green embrace

Leaves to cover up your face

Music lulls you deeper still

Pulled into the fairy hill

There to spend your final hours

Bound amongst the scattered flowers

So take the pathway if you dare

You know not what you’ll find in there…

Hmmm. Well, it started off very sweetly but got a bit darker towards the end. Plus it is slightly over 100 words – I hope you don’t mind, Sue!

If you’re feeling inspired, head over to Sue’s blog and add your own response to her photo – the challenge is open until March 1st.