The BIG #BLOGGERSBASH COMPETITION 2017

Have you entered the big #BloggersBash Blog Writing Competition yet? If not, why not? It’s just a bit of fun, with a great theme – CONNECTIONS – and could win you some nice prizes! You have until March 1st… GO!

 

bbGOOOOOOOODMORNING bloggisphere… It’s the start of another year, and what a year it’s going to be. I have a little tickle in my tummy about 2017, and it’s screaming sparkle a…

Source: The BIG BASH COMPETITION 2017

CONNECTIONS #BloggersBash Bestest Blog Post Competition The Tree and Me

The Sacred Tree – na Bílí – is where I made my home, called by a voice unknown, challenged but in the end found worthy. The heart knows when it is home. I pay my respects from a distance, content to wait.

And trees have time to kill.

My life has been filled with trees, from the day as a teen when I missed my train to work because I was so busy writing a poem (Winter Trees) about the trees which bordered the platform, to the day only a few months ago, when I planted the first trees in my garden.

I love them. I admire them. I respect them. I cry when I see one cut down. I feel pain when I see the naked wound of pale, fresh wood.

Trees are tactile. They invite touch. Against my skin, the trunk is cold, hard, unyielding. The tree is not like me: I am soft, warm, weak flesh. Silent and strong he stands, old long before I was thrust into existence; he will remain long after I am gone.

The tree is not like me. He reaches for the stars, blossoms for the sun, always standing tall and proud, bowing to none, resisting. When the storm rages, he dances and sings, but he is resolute.

I am not like the tree. I drift where life’s breeze blows me. I shy from sun and storm. I am human, enslaved to my weak, warm flesh.

The broad path leads me through the forest, and I am dazzled by the myriad shades of green, by the capricious filter of sunbeams, by the golden fall of last years leaves, shed like autumn tears. Above me, branches interlace, shaping the vault of nature’s cathedral. Protecting. Embracing. Forming me into the precious relic contained within their shrine. I breathe, and the burden of life’s woes is lifted.

Beneath my feet, deep in the dark, damp earth, roots search out kin, binding, weaving together, supporting one another, connecting. They are all different – the oak, the scots pine, the rowan, the willow. And yet, they are all the same.

Just like us.


I was inspired to write this by the #BloggersBash Blog Post Competition, which this year is all about ‘Connections‘.

Submit your entry here.


COME ON A JOURNEY OF ANCIENT IRELAND WITH ME.

Join my mailing list and receive your free book.

 

#BloggersBash Myth 2016: Part Two The Pyjama Party

Two lonely figures made their way cautiously up the loooong winding drive.

“Could do with some lights. It’s pitch black around here,” complained Hugh, looking nervously over his shoulder and walking headlong into a gold plated lamppost.

“Ouch!” He rubbed his tender hooter.

“Matches his dark soul,” replied Ali. “You OK?”

“I’b fide.”

“What?”

“I said… oh, forget it.”

The mansion reared up like a forbidding dark shadow ahead of them.

“How does anyone afford a palace like this in the middle of London unless it’s through ill-gotten gains?”

“He was a solicitor in the 80s. Of course it’s through ill-gotten gains!”

“Well he’s obviously trying to save money on his leccy bill then,” said Hugh, stubbing his toe on the diamond studded kerb.

“Look, we’re here now. Ring the bell.”

“No, you ring the bell.”

“Fine.”

Ali pushed tentatively at the doorbell, and from somewhere deep inside the house the muffled sound of chiming reached them.

“No one’s home,” said Ali, and turned to leave.

“But what about the Pyjama Party? I’ve brought my best sparkly pj’s with the glittery collar and my favourite nightcap.”

“You wear a hat in bed?”

“Hardly.” Hugh grinned. “It’s brandy.”

“Ssshhh. Someone’s coming.”

Slow shuffling footsteps could be heard pacing on the other side of the door.

“D’you think it’s a ghost?”

“I don’t think ghosts shuffle, do they?”

“Only when they’re dancing.”

“There was no mention of dancing on the invite.”

“No one said anything about ghosts either.”

“Must be a very long hall. We’ll be dead and buried by the time the door opens.”

With that, the steps stopped. Hugh and Ali clutched at each other nervously as the door began to creep slowly open. Light spilled brightly onto the stone steps, making them blink as they tried to focus on the shadow silhouetted in the door way.

“Hello chaps! Just in time for dinner,” said a voice they recognised.

“Geoffle!” cried Hugh with relief, and bounced through the door.

“We thought we’d got lost and arrived at the wrong house. Your directions were a little… confusing,” said Ali as she followed Hugh inside.

“What’s with all the shuffling? Have you injured your leg?”

“You try walking in these cute fluffy bunny slippers, and see if you get on any better. The Textiliste insists I wear them when we have guests. She’s not keen on me showing my toes. Makes me wear socks with my sandals, too.”

Hugh took a closer look, and blinked. “Are they real bunnies, Geoff?”

“Yes, but it’s Ok, they’re dead. The Vet shot a couple out on the grounds this morning. I needed a fresh pair. The others were getting a bit whiffy, and they don’t fare very well in the old washing machine.”

“Love the nightshirt,” said Ali, stifling a giggle.

“Yes, turned out rather well. I’m thinking off extending the official line of Bloggers Bash merchandise with these. I’ve had boxers and padded bra’s printed too. Wanna see?”

“No thank you!” Hugh and Ali chorused hastily.

“This way then chaps.”

The dining room stood at the other end of the hall, past many intriguing closed doors. Inside, a large polished mahogany table was set at one end with five places.

“Five?” Ali raised her eyebrows enquiringly.

“You’ve been spending too much time with Sacha,” Geoff commented.

“Talking of whom, where is our glorious leader?”

“She’s been upstairs painting on her eyebrows for the last hour.”

“Well, they are a work of art. They’re very mobile. If she makes a mistake, one of them will arch a little too high and completely flip off her face. Beauty takes time, you know.”

“Surprise!” At that very moment, Sacha flounced through the doorway, wearing a steampunk nightdress in black brocade overlaid with a velvet corset with genuine authentic steel boning. She waggled her eyebows. “What d’you think?”

Ali gasped. “They’re PURPLE!”

“Yes, I thought I’d brand them with the Bloggers Bash colours this year. Beat Geoff at his own game.”

“Gorgeous!” said Hugh.

“As ever,” said Geoff, taking her hand and leading her to the table. Which is just as well, because she could barely walk. She collapsed gratefully into a chair.

“Bloody Leboutins,” she grumbled kicking them off under the table. “I don’t know how I’m going to manage in them all day tomorrow. Might need a wheelchair at this rate.”

“But they do give amazingly good toe cleavage,” said Geoff appreciatively.

Sacha levelled a hard stare at him. “You got a secret foot fetish we should know about? Is that why the Textiliste makes you keep yours covered? Ali, Hugh, make sure you keep your socks on tonight.”

“Let’s eat,” said Geoffle, changing the subject hastily. He picked up a slender silver bell beside his plate and shook it. Immediately, a food trolley was rolled in by…

“Urszula!” gasped Sacha. “What are you doing here?”

“I got lost following Geoffle’s directions, so he agreed to take me in for the night providing I cook up a fabulous vegetarian feast.”

Ali and Hugh nodded their heads in sympathy.

“But… the Bash isn’t till tomorrow,” said Sacha.

“I know, but I like to arrive early.”

Urszula served up the feast, and took her seat at the table. It didn’t take long for the committee to inhale the grub… partake of the delicious offerings with the delicate manners and grace of a sty of pigs.

“Wonderful,” sighed Sacha with great satisfaction. “I haven’t eaten real food in weeks.”

“We have serious matters to discuss, ladies and Hugh,” said Geoffle, lighting a cigar. “The small matter of the BOOB.”

“Well you seem to be in the know, Geoffle. We’ve seen enough to guess at your gangsta background. We think you’re the BOOB.”

Geoffle spread his hands and assumed an innocent look. “Come on. I may be a tit at times, but I’m hardly a BOOB.’

“It’s not Geoffle,” said Sacha, looking thoughtful. “But it’s clearly someone with inside knowledge.” She looked at Urszula. “Funny how you turned up tonight so conveniently.”

Urszula laughed. “It’s not me. If it was, you’d all be dead by now. I’d have poisoned your food.”

“Don’t look at me,” said Ali. “It was me and Goeffle who saved the day last year, remember?”

“True,” mused Sacha. “That leaves…”

Everyone stared at Hugh, who flushed bright pink.

Sacha’s eyes narrowed. “It’s the perfect disguise. Everyone loves you. You’re the Chief Hug Master. You have legions of adoring fans. No one would suspect you.”

“But I love the Bash, and I love all of you. I would never sabotage the Bash,” Hugh protested, looking greatly upset.

“But you did write The Truth App.”

“That was just a story. But this monster we have created, this Bloggers Bash is real, and it’s my baby just as much as yours. I would never hurt it.”

Sacha grinned. “Just kidding! No one as lovely as you could be capable of doing something so dastardly and despicable. But we need to be vigilant tomorrow, just in case. I suspect there are BOOBs everywhere.”

“If one of them comes anywhere near the Bash tomorrow I’ll bonk ‘em over the head with this!” said Ali fiercely, whipping out her shilelagh.

“My, that’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” sighed Hugh. “Is it new?”

“Surely is. Specially carved from magical hawthorn by the fairy king himself for just such an occasion.”

“Will you two stop thinking with your shilelaghs and concentrate for a minute?” snapped Sacha, both brows arched to the max. She delved into her dainty postage stamp sized vintage Victoriana lace handbag and pulled out a wad of red envelopes. Then she pulled out ten small boxes.

“Wow! You have a handbag like a Tardis,” breathed Ali, enviously.

Sacha gave a smug smile. “It’s Sacha Black Magic. I need it for carrying all my make-up and my airship puncture repair kit around.” She looked around at them all. “The day has finally come. Tomorrow we open these little red bad boys and announce the winners. Then we present these super duper luxury one of a kind awards. Are you ready for this?”

There was a solemn nodding of heads.

“Right. You…” she pointed a purple talon at Hugh. “Go and get your bottle of pink sparkly stuff so we can dye Geoffle’s beard. And you…” she turned to Ali. “Go and get your PJ’s on, and Geoffle, pour us some Champers and let’s get this party started.”

No one noticed the dark shadowy figure which had been peering through the window as it turned and slipped noiselessly away into the night…


ABBA 2016

You can read Part One of the Bloggers Bash Myth here.

You can read last years Bloggers Bash Myth here.

And if you want to know more about BOOBjust take a look at this, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!


As you are reading this, I am already on my way across the sky from Ireland to London! Keep your eye on our Facebook page, and on our Twitter hashtag #Bloggersbash to catch up with everyone as they set off on their travels to the Bash.

See you tomorrow, Bloggers!

 

The #BloggersBash Agenda and Who’s Who

London skyline2You’ve all been asking for it… and now you’re gonna get it! The Bloggers Bash Agenda, that is. I can’t believe that it’s already nearly a year since the very first Bloggers Bash. When Sacha, Geoffle, Hugh and I sat down to our first Google Hangout to discuss Bloggers Bash 2016, it seemed ridiculous to even contemplate it so soon after the first one, yet here we are, only 16… yes, SIXTEEN days to go, and I can honestly say the time has flown by.

We are really looking forward to seeing all our old friends from last year again, and meeting all our new ones too. It’s an extraordinary experience meeting a blogger for the first time when you have known each other for ages on WordPress. I’m so excited!


what will the day look like?
1:00 PM
Arrival and registration
2:00 PM
Welcome Address from Sacha
2:30 PM
Presentation of first two ABBA awards
3:00 PM
Presentation from Luca Sartoni, GROWTHKETEER AT AUTOMATTIC
Introduced by Geoffle
3:30 – 4:45 PM
Presentation of ABBA Awards
4.45 PM
Closing Speech from Sacha
Food will be served throughout the afternoon
Hugh will be circulating during the event, capturing the day on film

who’s going to be there?

In no particular order. Please feel free to drop by the virtual homes of your fellow bloggers and say “hi”, by clicking the links. Have fun!

Lbeth 1950
Nutsrok

Shell Baker
ChellesBookReviews

Noelle Holten
Crime Book Junkie

Judy E. Martin

Sherri Matthews
A View from my Summerhouse

Lucy Brasier
Secret Diary of Porter Girl

Helen Jones
Journey to Ambeth

Linda Hill
Linda’s Book Bag

Cynthia T. Luna
Living in Cyn

Lucy
Blonde Write More

Ritu
But I Smile Anyway

Rich Moran
Wafflemethis

Esther Newton
EstherNewtonBlog

Marje
Kyrosmagica

GraemeCumming

Barb Taub 

Julie Lawford

Suzanne Cronnolly
Suzie Speaks

Thalia
April4June6

Christina Philippou
Writing Round the Block

Rosie Amber

Alison Williams
Alison Williams Writing

Amanda Lyle
Inside the Life of Moi

Simon Farnell
Universe of Possibilities

Dwane Bickersteth
The Rantaman

Adam Dixon
Adam Dixon Fiction

Christoph Fischer

Shelley Wilson
I Write. I Read. I Review.

Emma Robertson
Hello Emma Kay

Sarah Hardy
By the Letter Book Reviews

Urszula Humienik-Dworakowska
Confessions of a Broccoli Addict

Steve Tanham

Loretta Milan
Literary Lightbox

Becky Brown
It Caught My Eye in Portugal

Ruth
Image and Word

Dave Robertson
Misty Books

Lauren Wills
My Kind of Movie

Alex
Alex Raphael

Willow Willers
Willowdot21

Mary Smith

Erika Kind

Steve
Steve Says

Mick Canning
My Writing

Elouise de Souza
Thoughts by Mell0-Elo

Annika Perry’s Writing Blog

Constantina Kaponi
LondonHealthMum

Olga Nunez
Just Olga

Judith Barrow

Luca Sartoni

Sacha Black

Geoff Le Pard
TanGental

Hugh Roberts
Hugh’s Views and News

Me (Ali Isaac)
Aliisaacstoryteller


So that’s everyone! Hope I haven’t missed anyone off the list. Have fun getting to know one another before the big day, if you don’t already, and see you all there very soon. Any questions? Check out the FAQ on Sacha’s blog. Geoff will be posting directions to the venue on Thursday 2nd June, and if you still haven’t voted for your favourite bloggers, you have until Thursday 9th June.

Have T-Shirt, Will Travel #BloggersBash2016 Here I come!

wp-1457971820014.jpg
I may have a strangely deformed arm and messy hair, but just look at that GREAT T-SHIRT!

Can anyone guess where I’m going? I just got my super-duper, brand spanking new #Bloggersbash tee-shirt, and I’m so excited, because the moment I put it on, it suddenly felt REAL! The Bloggers Bash is really happening, people, and it’s less than two and a half months away. It’s already nearly a year since the last one. This year, it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. Watch out, London, here we come!


www.cavantees.ieI’d like to say a very special thank you to George and Margy of Cavan Tees for printing my lovely Bloggers Bash Tee-shirt… you all want one of your own now, don’t you? Make sure to stop by their blog; not only do they print and sell tee-shirts, but they feature the most beautiful photography of our beloved Co Cavan too.


ABBA 2016

If you want to know more about the Bloggers Bash, have a look at Sacha’s Blog.

And get ready, bloggers, it’s very nearly time to begin the vote for the ABBA’s

If you want your very own Bloggers Bash Tee-shirt, you can get shirty with Geoff.

SATURDAY 11TH JUNE 2016 – See you there!

Have you confirmed your attendance yet? Places are filling up fast. Email us on

Annualbloggersbash(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)uk

Bloggers Bash Myth 2016: Part 1- Behind the Scenes

BB2016: Behind the Scenes... www.aliisaacstoryteller.com
BB2016: Behind the Scenes…
http://www.aliisaacstoryteller.com

“What d’you think?” asked Geoffle, turning away from the mirror. “Purple or pink?”
The Black Witch eyed his rainbow beard, reaching for her tinted flying goggles. “Jesus, Geoffle, purple is good, but neon dayglow is so 1980s.”
Geoffle grinned. “I know. Best decade of my life.”
Sacha sniffed. “I wasn’t even born then.” She brushed her perfectly manicured purple talons gently across the surface of her beloved airship. “Is that gonna hold? I mean, elastoplast is great for holding skin together, but airships?”
“It’ll hold,” said Geoffle with confidence, cringing at the sight. “Skin is skin, after all. Might I suggest you keep your claws… I mean nails away from it, though, just in case.”
“It was sabotage,” she replied, gazing at him with her deep, dark eyes. “You know that, don’t you?”
“How can you be sure? Maybe you’re just over reacting.”
Sacha reached into her amulet, and pulled out a crumpled piece of parchment which she thrust at him. “Read this,” she demanded.
Geoffle’s eyes quickly scanned the document, then looked over the top of it at her. “BOOB?”
“Exactly.” She raised one perfectly waxed brow. “It’s all over the ’net. And that’s not all. Have you seen this?” She handed him another sheet.
“The Truth App?” Geoffle spat. “What twaddle.”
Sacha’s other brow rose in line with the first. “But is it, though? Look who wrote it.”
Geoffle gasped. “Hugh.”
Sacha nodded grimly. “What’s he playing at? Is he the saboteur?”
“Could be. I mean, whoever it is has an awful lot of information about the ABBA’s. Most likely it’s an inside job.”
Sacha shook her head in despair. “I can’t believe he’s betrayed us like that. Why?”
“Maybe he wants your job. Maybe he’s jealous of your popularity.”
Sacha snorted. “I doubt that. He’s got a proper army of crazy-in-love blog followers.”
“Exactly. And they’ll do anything for him. It’s like he has them under a spell or something.”
Sacha’s face darkened. “Spell. What kind of spell? No one casts spells around here but me.”
“I’ve never trusted people who are so nice. How is it possible to be so nice all the time? He’s hiding something, I’m telling you.”
“Yeah, like a dark soul.” She shook her head sadly. “I can’t believe it.”
“Well we mustn’t jump to any conclusions. It might not be him.”
Both Sacha’s brows ratcheted up a notch in unison. “Surely you don’t suspect Ali?”
“Why not? She is Irish, after all.”
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“Well, they appear to be friendly enough, don’t they? But they’re a war-like people. They killed each other over a bunch of cattle, remember? And not just once, either. She didn’t win an award last year. What might she be willing to do to get her hands on an ABBA award?”
Sacha sucked in her breath. “I’ve just thought of something. Ali and Hugh came joint 4th for an award last year. What if they’re disgruntled? What if they’re in cahoots?”
Geoffle shook his head. “Nah, it’s Wales he moved to, not Cahoots. And she’s across the channel. I’d say we’re safe.”
“For now, maybe. We’ll have to cancel. We can’t risk holding the Bash under these circumstances. Who knows what might happen?”
“Let’s not jump to any hasty decisions. And let’s not bow to the pressure. That could be just what they want. Then they’ll swoop in and set up their own awards, and the ABBA’s will be gone forever. Is that what you want?”
“Of course not. The show must go on.”
Geoffle smiled a wicked smile. “Indeed. Let’s make it bigger and better than ever. And if Hugh and Ali are up to something, let’s set the bait and flush ‘em out. Let’s call their bluff.”
“Yeah,” Sacha’s eyes blazed with triumph. “Today London, tomorrow the world! One day, the Bloggers Bash is gonna be bigger than a Kardashian backside, just wait and see.”
“Yeah. I hope we’re wrong about them,” he said. Sacha laid her hand on his arm. “Thanks, Geoffle. To think I once suspected you. You’ve been my rock.”
Geoffle smiled. “That’s all water under the bridge. So. What do you say to taking your new and improved airship up for a test drive, and check out some locations for the venue?”
“Why not? I was thinking Timbuctoo this year,” smiled Sacha enthusiastically. “Or Outer Mongolia. Give all those lovely friendly foreign bloggers a chance to meet me. What do you reckon?”

TO BE CONTINUED…


Keep up to date with what’s happening on our Bloggers Bash Facebook Page

Check us out on our Twitter hashtag #BloggersBash

Have a look at our lovely Venue here

Confirm your attendance here

Hope to see you in London on June 11th!

Find out more about the dastardly BOOB

Read the Truth App

#Bloggersbash | What I learned about Bloggers and Blogging

I know you’re probably fed up of hearing about it, and I promise this will be the last you see of it on this blog… until next year, that is!

The #BloggersBash 2015 is over. We had a great time. We honoured our favourite bloggers with awards. We ate, drank, and chatted. And it was quite an amazing experience.

On Friday, as I drove to Dublin airport, I began to wonder what I had let myself in for. There was no turning back now. I was boarding a plane for the UK capital, being picked up by Sacha Black, who I had never met before, who was kindly taking me into her home and making me dinner, before going on to my hotel in a town I’d never visited before.

The next morning, I was meeting twenty or so other bloggers, none of whom I had met beyond communicating via our blogs, and with Geoffle, Hugh and Sacha, we were going to stage the first  ever Annual Bloggers Bash Awards. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

I’ve never been good in a crowd, one to one is more my thing. To draw attention to myself by presenting an award, well, the thought of it turned my knees to jelly. So it was with some degree of trepidation that I took my selfie in the airport and dutifully posted it on Twitter. Can you see the terror in my eyes?

Of course, I needn’t have worried. Sacha put me at my ease immediately. By the way we gabbed non stop all the way home, you would think we had known each other all our lives!

The next morning, we met Geoffle and Hugh slightly ahead of everyone else so we could get everything straight. Again, it was like meeting old friends. And then, onto the statue of Newton outside the British Library, where a circle of Bloggers had already assembled… this was it!

We stood nervously around for about two minutes, but by the time we had introduced ourselves, posed for pictures, and horror of horrors! said our piece on video at Hugh’s request, we had already begun to relax and form little knots of like-minded bloggers.

As the day passed (way too quickly!), I realised a few things;

Bloggers are shy. There’s no getting away from it. That’s why we blog, rather than star on the stage, radio, or in movies. We don’t like being the centre of attention. This was nowhere more apparent than when winning bloggers stood to accept their award.

What you see is what you get. Every blogger I met was exactly as they portrayed themselves to be on their blog. No airs and graces, no hard frontage, no act. Just genuine.

Bloggers have something to say. They may not choose to get on a soapbox to say it, or wish to debate and argue, but you would do well to listen, because it took a lot of thought before it went up on their blog. It’s why they started a blog in the first place. And it comes from personal experience.

Blogs are addictive. Bloggers love blogging. Once they start, they just can’t stop. Why? Because they get instant feedback on whatever they post; because by blogging they have entered into a unique community of like-minded people; because it is such freedom to be able to say exactly what you want, without interruptions, to other people who ‘get’ you.

Blogs are not a selling tool. Which is contrary to everything we have ever been told. Experience shows us this. Other bloggers confirm it. Who cares? That’s not what it’s about any more, anyway. Besides, it’s such FUN!

Bloggers are not anti-social. This is what non-bloggers think, because we are often up blogging in the middle of the night, spending our time with ‘virtual’ friends from all around the world, rather than with our local flesh and blood friends. It’s not true. Bloggers like eating, drinking, going to pubs and parties, etc, and chatting just as much as anyone, and Saturday was proof of this.

Bloggers are easy to talk to. Yes, we are. Bloggers are not aloof, hiding behind the specialised knowledge on their blogs. They are open, honest, and welcoming. They share information, experiences and expertise. And feedback will generally be constructive at the very least.

Bloggers look like their bio pics! They really do… except for Sue, who has ditched the beautiful red locks to return to her softer, natural colour, and very lovely she looked too! Personally, I have acquired a few more lines since my bio pic was taken, but generally, it was easy to identify each other.

Blogging takes up too much time. Blog posts take research, and header images, before you even start writing. It all takes time. Time you should be spending on finishing that novel, editing, cooking dinner, playing with the kids, going on dates with your partner, walking the dog, doing your day job. It has to be managed and scheduled, but that’s easier said than done. Whatever you do, you feel guilty about what you’re not doing.

Blogging unites people around the world. It makes the world a smaller place, a global community. Bringing people together like this can have quite a positive impact. Think of 1000 voices speak for compassionor helping a fellow blogger going through difficult times, or aiding a courageous individual in his support of a worthy cause.

I could go on, but luckily for you, I won’t, as midnight has already been and gone. As Sacha says, bloggers ‘burn the candle at both ends, and in the middle’. Suffice it to say that it is looking very likely that there will be another #BloggersBash with associated ABBA’s next year, and that it is going to be bigger and better than ever! Hope to see you there.