Why engagement is the key to being a better blogger

Greetings oh blogging world. I am back this week with a piece I wrote for the wonderful Belong Magazine…

We all love our little blogger back and forths, and this month I have been exploring just why. Check out the piece on the Belong Magazine blog… here, and if you have any more blogging tips, feel free to share! x

Reading the world away

There is something about reading. Lots of us do it here on wordpress, it’s what has brought us together, and I tried to put into words exactly what it is that I love for Perdiz Magazine last week.

Here’s an excerpt from my piece, but head to the beautiful Perdiz (HERE) to read the full article.

“I was sat on my bed reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I discovered my mum was moving us in with some strange man that wasn’t my dad. I stared at the fading bobbled butterflies on my duvet cover for a few seconds, and then I turned back to Violet Beauregarde ballooning into a giant blueberry. Her plight in this chocolate fantasy land made more sense to me than anything the real world could offer in that moment.

That’s the thing about books, and certainly about great books, they make sense. They are written to make sense. As for the world around us, that’s anybody’s guess.”

Well, I’m back!

Hello lovely ones. I have been on a little blogging adventure.

To cut a long story short… I always said once I reached 1k followers I’d move from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. And so I did at the beginning of the year, but I very promptly got lost from the WP reader, so all you lovely followers could no longer see my posts.

I have been struggling through, trying to connect with you all without much success, and because of this I have today moved back to wordpress.com… because (and don’t say I don’t ever do anything nice) I miss you.😉

I still have my blog over at ismithwords.com, which will eventually be my new home, so if you’d like to follow the action there please do visit and sign up to the mailing list, which I send out every few weeks with the details of the latest challenges, stories and general musings.

For now I am coming back to you with the most recent Literary Lion post from my other site, which I am opening up for another month, as so many of you missed out on it before. Please do bear with me if you did manage to see this one, and feel free to have another go if so!

So to this month’s challenge. The word is ‘Boys’. It puts me in mind of Britney Spears circa early noughties. She will forever be the reason I do stomach crunches…

So you now have a month and 100 words to pen your tale. Or more than one tale. There is no limit if you prefer to write more frequently than the challenge as it is now monthly.

Remember to include the tag ‘literary lion’ in your piece. Pingback to this post so I can see your story. Say hello on twitter, and come and visit me on Instagram… I’ve started a separate collective of writers here under the hashtag #literarylion, so come and say hello if you’d like to join the private message group there for some shorter tales.

Good luck, looking forward to reading your pieces. Here is my little boyish tale…

Restroom.

It said Lola 4 Charlie 4 eva. Toilets didn’t require accurate spelling.

Or grammar.

I wondered if Lola was still for Charlie. Or if Lola was now for someone else. And if her ‘someone else’ knew about the declaration on the cubicle door half way up the M40 to Birmingham. And if Lola was for Charlie, then what did Lola get? Was he for her too?

In which case, why didn’t it say so?

Literary Lion. How to swim.

The last Literary Lion was an exercise in the art of brevity, and quite successful it was too… I was so dazzled by your six word stories that I found it impossible to pick a favourite, and so I urge you all to head to the last post (http://ismithwords.com/2016/01/14/literary-lion-six-words/) where you will find the pingback-ed stories in the comments section.

This week the lion has me dreaming of summer, with the prompt ‘Pool’. In keeping with the lion’s new appetite for the unfamiliar, we are asking for stories of 100 words or less. So here’s two weeks to craft your tales, remember to pingback to this post, include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ so we can all read your story in the WP reader, and of course come and say hello on Instagram and twitter.

Or failing that, you can just read my little almost-100 word adventure below…

How to Swim.

His hair clumped in tufts. Jet black and wet from the water. I sat with my feet in the pool, flicking my cigarette ash in the blue aqua, watching the sun shimmering across the delicate droplets on his back. His skin glowed golden under the sunlight, but as the day started to fade it turned a hue of cool blue. I threw my cigarette in and thanked the stars that he was floating downwards. I didn’t want to see the horrified look that was now etched on his face for eternity.

The Beast.

I once tried to write a book when I was twelve. It remains unfinished, banished to the depths of my parent’s garage for the mice to contend with, so I have decided to try again.

Today I have entered the research phase of my newest project, which at the moment I shall call The Beast. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the storyline, but more the general presence of such a venture, as I am sure it’ll prove to be a troublesome little fellow indeed…

I shall be posting every now and again about the nature of The Beast, in the hope that in doing so I create some sort of webasphere pressure, and the words actually get written.

Wish me luck, come and join me if you’re a writer without a cause, or just send me your good vibes, I am going to need them.

Fingers crossed you can even read it one day.

P.S I hope you like my awesome notebook.

P.P.S – I do believe this must qualify for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, as it’s a post filled with optimism… or stupidity, I can’t decide.

Literary Lion. Six words.

The literary lion is in mourning, and so this fortnight’s challenge is Bowie inspired… and rather scarily, the chosen word – Star – seems so very apt.

It was F Scott Fitzgerald that dared to tell the great Hemingway that he couldn’t write a story in six words. Hemingway delivered a literary KO with “For sale, baby shoes: Never worn.”

For the first Literary Lion challenge of this year, I am going to ask you all to create a story with this in mind, in just six words.

As always, remember to pingback to this post, include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ so we can all read your story in the WP reader, and of course come and say hello on Instagram and twitter.

Here is my six word tale…
Starman.

Thought you were here to stay.

The Monday Muse. New year, same old fear.

I wish I could make a new year’s resolution to ditch the arachnophobia and start 2016 as a spider lover. Unfortunately it is not that simple. Here’s a little tale of how my Saturday morning was spent, with a spider. Happy new year.

Five cm.

It was the first time the boy had left the house without me since Christmas. It was no less than ten minutes after his departure – while I was sat indulging in some festive telly – that the eight legged brute creeped across the hallway like it owned the place.

To be fair, it now did.

I mustered up all strength to flatten it with a shoebox. It did a vanishing act. Distressed phone calls were made. I sat for two hours. Staring at the vacant space.

I was bound to my bedroom, all five feet two of my coward body disarmed whilst that five centimetres of audacity paraded around my house at will.

I’d admire their chutzpah, if only I didn’t hate them so much.

Literary Lion. Fa La La La La.

 

Our glamorous little feline friend has had his nose in the sherry, and so he will be back for more prompts and short stories in 2016.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in the challenge so far, we shall be back and ‘roaring’ to go with some exciting collaborations and guest posts in the new year.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night. Until next year…

 

Literary Lion. Red.

Every literary lion needs an extended cat nap once in a while… I am sorry mine was so extended, but I am back in the country and ready to reveal some exciting Literary Lion challenges.

The last challenge was very impressively met by this lovely piece of writing Ellespeth at balconyviewz… head over there now for a little chuckle and a great example of form.

The ferocious feline sent me all the way to Vegas (baby) with this one… the word of the week is ‘gamble‘. As always you have 400 words or less to tell your stories, please do remember to include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ in your post, pingback to this piece, and feel free to share with me on Instagram and Twitter.. Happy penning.

Here is my gambling tale…

 

Red

It was all too familiar. The smoke lingering in the air, the enveloping cacophony of high pitched rings and chimes, the flickers of neon lights that winked from every corner. They had told me never to return here. The clerk gave me a knowing smile when he slowly slid the token across the counter.

So familiar it was between my fingers.

I stood, watching. Them, the happy, the sad, the hopeful, the hopeless, the inebriated.

I flicked the chip over and over again with my fingertips. A habitual trait.

One more chance.

One more.

Just. One. more.

With a burst of courage I cantered over to the table, sat down at the stall and tapped on the table with my one and only chip. The woman beside me gasped as she looked at the number. I pushed it forward with my scarlet lacquered finger tips.

“Red”.

 

Literary Lion. Ice Ice Baby.

The past two weeks have delivered some interesting edgy tales, including this lovely piece of descriptive micro-fiction from a Literary Lion regular, Nortina.

But to this fortnight’s challenge, and the lucky lion is on his travels yet again, this time in the fabulous US of A, in La La Land itself.

The word of the moment is ‘Ice’.

You have two weeks to tell your tales of 400 words or less. Remember to pingback to this post, include the tag ‘Literary Lion’ so we can all read your story in the WP reader, and of course come and say hello on Instagram and twitter.

Here is my own little icy tale…

 

Frozen.

I’d never found courage enough to do it before.

I sat with my back against the window for the first time. The subtle sound of stepping feet came first. Then the silhouette in my peripheral. Then followed the slow tingling whisper of breath on the back of my neck.

As the sensation shot through the hairs on my skin, into each vertebrae of my spine and through the very bones holding me there, I turned to ice.