Flash Fiction Friday – The Blame Game

August 22, 2022, prompt: Write a story exploring shame as an emotion or theme in 99 words (no more, no less). Consider how to use shame to drive a cause-and-effect story. How does it impact a character? Is there a change? Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


The Blame Game – by Hugh W. Roberts

“What are these cuts and bruises?

I got them when I fell over.

How did I get my black eye?

I walked into a door.

Am I sure this is how I got these injuries?

Yes.

But I’m sorry for the tears. If I told you the truth, I’d bring shame on myself.

The truth is that I’m a victim of domestic abuse.

Why does that bring shame to me?

Because I’m male, and men don’t admit to being victims of domestic abuse when being beaten by their wives, do they? Can you imagine the shame if people knew?”

***

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

UK Domestic Abuse Helpline For Men – Freephone: 0808 8010327

UK Domestic Abuse Website – Women’s Aid

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

The Timekeeper’s House #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of an old mustard coloured building with a large clock
Do you know the timekeeper?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Linking To The Sunday Stills Photography Challenge hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt. Theme: Mustard

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will visit it and leave you a comment (providing it is Wordless). I will also share the post on Twitter, providing you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

79 Ways To Kill Your Blog

Have you ever killed your blog?

Did you know that a blog can be killed other than by just deleting it?

While not all of the items on the following list will kill your blog instantly, some are what some call slow burners, where the killing of your blog will take much longer.

Banner for the blog post '79 Ways To Kill Your Blog'
Are you thinking of killing your blog?

Are you responsible for doing any of these to your blog?

  1. Don’t have an ‘about me’ page on your blog.
  2. The ‘about me’ page takes visitors more than a minute to find.
  3. The ‘about me’ page starts with these words – ‘this is an example of an about me page…’
  4. The number of followers is more important to you than what you write and publish.
  5. Publishing too many poor-quality posts due to rushing them.
  6. Believe you have to publish content several times daily; otherwise, nobody will visit your blog.
  7. Have links on your blog that you have no idea are broken or can not be bothered to fix.
  8. You do not respond to comments.
  9. You do not respond to questions or queries.
  10. Don’t allow anyone to leave comments on your blog.
  11. Ignore your readers.
  12. Do not treat visitors to your blog as guests.
  13. Don’t give yourself a name by which you can be addressed in the comments section.
  14. Do not read other blogs.
  15. Do not leave comments on other blogs.
  16. Believe that blogging is going to make you rich.
  17. Believe your blog will make money within the first year.
  18. Leave links with no relevance (usually to your own posts) on the posts of other bloggers when not invited to do so.
  19. Don’t believe you need to promote your blog.
  20. Refuse to use social media to boost your blog posts.
  21. Refuse to keep up to date with blogging technology and changes.
  22. Think readers will find you rather than you find your readers.
  23. Do not use enough ‘white space’ between the paragraphs in your blog posts.
  24. The paragraphs on your posts are too long and blocky (more than 5 sentences long).
  25. Have no way readers can contact you on your blog other than by leaving a comment. (No ‘contact me’ page).
  26. Do not thank people for sharing your posts on their blogs.
  27. Do not use images and/or photos in any posts.
  28. Use images, photos and words (including lyrics) on your blog which are copyrighted and not free to use.
  29. Do not ask permission to use photos and/or images owned by other bloggers before using them.
  30. Ignore all copyright advice.
  31. Respond to constructive, negative comments in an unprofessional and unfriendly manner.
  32. Allow other bloggers to spam your blog with links that have nothing to do with the post’s content.
  33. Keep begging other bloggers to reblog your posts, visit, or follow your blog.
  34. Leave worthless comments on other blogs.
  35. Leave worthless comments on other blogs which clearly show you’ve not read the post.
  36. Do not take time to edit posts before publishing them.
  37. Do not preview your posts before publishing them.
  38. Inundate followers with too many posts in a short space of time instead of scheduling them out.
  39. Respond to comments left by trolls in the comments section of your blog, where all can read them.
  40. Allow trolls to leave comments on your blog.
  41. Allow trolls to attack other bloggers who have left comments.
  42. Personally attack other bloggers in the comments section on your own or different blogs.
  43. Steal the ideas of other bloggers and publish them on your blog as if the content is original and has been written by you.
  44. Fail to maintain and house-keep your blog regularly.
  45. Keep reblogging or rescheduling your own posts which are less than a few months old.
  46. Do not have a ‘landing’ page that will keep visitors returning.
  47. Ignore advice and feedback from other bloggers.
  48. Believe that blogging will only take up a few minutes of your time every week.
  49. Wake up and dread opening up your blog because of all the comments you will need to reply to.
  50. Keep telling your readers that you are giving blogging up, and keep coming back.
  51. Allow blogging to stress you out.
  52. Allow blogging to make you feel guilty.
  53. Your blog and/or blog posts are poorly laid out.
  54. Choose a font and background combination that makes it hard for visitors to read your posts.
  55. Fail to categorise all your blog posts (including reblogs).
  56. Fail to add ‘tags’ to your blog posts.
  57. Don’t understand ‘pingbacks’ and how to use them.
  58. Have no ‘search’ bar on your blog.
  59. Have a menu that is too top-heavy, making it overwhelming to readers.
  60. Fail to add your blog details to your gravatar.
  61. Fail to connect your social media accounts to your blog.
  62. Have pop-up boxes on your blog that can not be removed unless somebody subscribes to your mailing list.
  63. Have pop-up boxes on your blog which keeps popping up every time someone visits or until they have subscribed to your mailing list.
  64. Keep suffering from blog envy when you read a post you’d wish you’d written.
  65. Regularly publish posts that tell your readers to buy your book(s) or other products and services you offer rather than allow them to decide if they want to buy them.
  66. You believe that blogging is all about the number of blog posts you can publish daily rather than what you are writing about.
  67. You think you have the power to read and comment on every new blog post on all the blogs you follow.
  68. Fail to update your readers that you are about to take a blogging break and how long it will last.
  69. Lose motivation and a desire to continue blogging when your blog stats take a nosedive.
  70. Believe that everyone will enjoy reading every post you write and publish.
  71. Believe that all your followers will read and comment on all your posts.
  72. Get upset when your blog loses followers.
  73. Argue with bloggers and readers for failing to read and comment on all your blog posts.
  74. Follow other blogs in the hope that they will follow back before unfollowing them again.
  75. Believe all your readers will agree with everything you say in your blog posts.
  76. Think nobody will dare to disagree with what you have to say by leaving a constructive comment telling you why they disagree.
  77. Criticise other bloggers behind their backs (in the comments section of your own blog or on other blogs) for wanting to help other bloggers.
  78. Maintain too many blogs, thus spreading yourself too thinly.
  79. Fail to take some time away from blogging (knowing that you need to) because you believe the blogging world can not survive without you.

What about you? What would you add to the list? How would you kill your blog other than by deleting it?

This is an updated version of a post I wrote and published in 2017.

You can find the answers to solving many of the above issues by clicking on ‘blogging tips’ in the menu at the top of my blog, but feel free to leave any questions in the comments section. I’m always happy to help.

Whatever you do, keep Blogging Fun!

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – Floppy Problems

August 15, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the idea or phrase “floppy as puppy ears.” You can be explicit or implicit with your response. What is floppy and why? It doesn’t have to be about dogs at all. Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


Floppy Problems – by Hugh W. Roberts

Ben’s whole day had been as floppy as puppy ears.

His job was floppy; his life was floppy, but at least he wasn’t dying or had any significant problems to solve.

A notification on his phone gave Ben the chance to stop all the floppiness.

‘You have a match – Janet wants to meet you.’

Later that evening, nothing was floppy while he and Janet talked on Skype. They had the time of their lives.

It wasn’t until a few days later that Ben had wished everything had remained floppy.

‘Pay now, or I’ll publish the video,’ demanded Janet.

***

Image of a puppy with floppy ears
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

The Waiting Game #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of the back of a dog sat waiting
The Waiting Game

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will visit it and leave you a comment (providing it is Wordless). I will also share the post on Twitter, providing you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Help Prevent Somebody From Stealing Your Blog Posts And Photos

Have you ever had any of your blog posts stolen? What I mean by that is literally copied word for word to another blog.

It’s happened to me a few times, and it’s also happened recently to James, who blogs at Perfect Manifesto. Read his post here.

Reading James’s post prompted me to update and republish this post from 2019.

Banner for the blog post 'How To Help Prevent Somebody Stealing Your Blog Posts And Photos'
Are you protecting your blog posts and photos from being stolen and used without your permission?

Some of my blog posts have been copied and published on other blogs. The thieves gave full credit for the work to themselves. When it first happened to me, I was utterly shocked and angry.

Unfortunately, with the internet being such a vast, open space used by billions of people worldwide, the chance of having your blog posts or work stolen is high.

Don’t think your blog is too small to have its contents stolen. As you’ll see in the comment image below, James felt his blog was too small for anyone to want to steal his blog posts, but he was wrong.

Screenshot showing comments about stolen blog posts
Never assume that nobody will steal your blog posts, images or photos

Whether it’s photos, fiction, reviews, poetry, recipes or gardening tips, everything faces the chance of being copied and somebody else taking full credit for your hard work.

What should you do if you discover one of your blog posts or photos have been stolen?

Contact the blogger concerned and ask them to remove what they have stolen.

If that fails, contact the blogging platform hosting the blog and file a copyright claim against the blogger. Whenever I have filed a claim. I’ve been lucky that the offending blogs and their contents were deleted.

Click here to find out what to do if a WordPress.Com user has infringed your Copyright.

What Can I Do To Protect My Blog Posts And Photos Being Stolen?

What I am about to advise you to do may not stop somebody else from copying your work, but it acts as a warning to anyone thinking of copying or duplicating your work without your permission that they could face the possibility of prosecution, a fine, both, or having their blog deleted by their host.

1. Display a copyright and disclaimer notice

I recommend that anybody with their own blog or web page clearly display a ‘Copyright and/or Disclaimer’ notice.

Some websites offer ‘Copyright and Disclaimer’ notices free of charge and give instructions on how to copy and paste one of these notices to your blog or webpage.

WordPress offers excellent advice and instructions on displaying a ‘Copyright and/or Disclaimer’ notice. Click here to view it.

Click here to use the free copyright notice I use on my blog. Instructions on copying and pasting the warning onto your blog are included.

2. Widgets and menus

If you use a theme on your blog which displays widgets, I recommend you display your Copyright and/or disclaimer notice as one of your widgets. I use the Toujours theme on my blog, and the widgets I use are displayed on the sidebar to the right of my blog posts.

My ‘Copyright’ notice is the last widget at the bottom of my sidebar, while my disclaimer notice (Disclaimer & GDPR) can be found on the menu at the top of my blog. Take a look at them.

You are welcome to use them as your blog’s copyright and disclaimer notices. All you need to do is copy and paste them to your own blog and, where necessary, change some of the wording to reflect your own name and the name of your blog.

If you’re unsure what ‘widgets’ are or how to add them to your WordPress blog, click here for full details.

3. Copyright every blog post

I always add a copyright mark at the end of all my blog posts. All my posts finish with Copyright © (Year) hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved. Doing this also helps as a deterrent against copying my posts. Remember to change the year when a new year begins.

You’ll see I’ve placed a copyright notice at the base of this post.

When a bot or spambot copies one of your posts, it won’t remove the copyright mark. Therefore, anyone reading the post may become suspicious and realise the post has been stolen. It also acts as a warning not to follow the blog that has stolen the post.

4. Protect your photos and images

Many bloggers also include photos and pictures in their posts.

While you may display a Copyright and/or disclaimer notice on your blog, I recommend you also watermark your photos and images.

Most computers come with software that helps edit photos you have loaded onto your hard drive, but there are other ways to watermark them.

I use an app called ‘Photobulk’ to watermark all my photos. It’s easy to use and costs around $9.99, but it can often be found on offer or free to download from the developer’s website. Click here to visit the website. (The link is not an affiliated link, so I do not receive any payment from it.)

I simply drag any photos I want to watermark to Photobulk, type in the text for the watermark I use (in my case, I use © hughsviewsandnews.com), and press ‘start.’ My photos are then watermarked with my details.

There are free watermarking apps for Apple products, too many to mention here, so check the Apple App Store for more details.

What about Android users?

Click here for a free photo watermarking app for android. As an Apple user, I’ve never used the app, but the reviews for this particular app are excellent.

Don’t forget you can also add copyright notices as a photo caption. Your copyright details will then show under the photo, but it is best to watermark the photos, making stealing them more difficult.

5. Remove the reblog button from your blog

If you don’t want your blog posts stolen or shared by other bloggers, consider removing the reblog button from your blog. My post, Is Reblogging Dead? Why I Have Removed The Reblog Button From My Blog, details why you should remove the reblog button and how to remove it.

If you have a reblog button on your blog, readers will assume you’re happy for them to reblog your posts. So, remove the reblog button if you don’t want any of your posts reblogged.

6. Remember to update

Finally, always ensure you download the latest updates for any apps or software you use; otherwise, they may not work correctly. This includes antivirus software for your computer and the latest updates for the blogging platform you use.

Of course, if you’re not worried about your blog posts, work, photos or images being copied or used without your permission, you can ignore all the above advice. However, I’d be surprised if any bloggers are not concerned about their posts, work and photos being stolen.

Remember what I said earlier? James thought his blog was a low target for thieves to steal his blog posts, but it happened.

If you have any questions about displaying copyright and/or disclaimer notices on your blog, please leave a comment.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Don’t assume your blog is too small to have anything stolen from it. It can happen to anyone.
  • Display a copyright and disclaimer notice on your blog.
  • Copyright every blog post by adding a copyright mark at the end of every post.
  • Watermark photos and images with the name of your blog before inserting them into posts.
  • If you don’t want other bloggers reblogging your posts, remove the reblog button from your blog.
  • Remember to update apps, antivirus software and any updates your blogging host releases.

Have you ever had your blog posts and/or photos/images copied and used without your permission? What do you do to help stop your blog posts, photos and images from being used illegally?

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – The Ghost In The Dress

August 8, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the one who left the dress.” A 1940s-era dress still hangs in an abandoned house. Who left it and why? You can take any perspective and write in any genre. It can be a ghost story. Or not. Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


The Ghost In The Dress – by Hugh W. Roberts

The ghost always returned on the night of February 14th. Dressed in World War II uniform, we’d watch as it undressed and put on the dress we’d found behind the wood panelling in the main bedroom.

Our mother didn’t want to keep the dress in the house. She referred to it as an evil piece of cloth, but we couldn’t allow her to dispose of this piece of 1940s history.

“Does it still fit me?” the ghost always asked.

We’d nod our heads, smile and reply with the same answer.

“Yes. And you look so pretty in it, David.”

***

Image of a 1940s dress hanging up in an abandoned house
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a flash of light at the end of a tunnel
Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will visit your post and leave you a comment (providing it is Wordless). I will also share the post on Twitter, providing you have connected your Twitter account to your blog.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – From Darkness To Light

August 1, 2022, prompt: Write a story that features someplace remote in 99 words (no more, no less). It can be a wild sort of terrain or the distance between people. What is the impact of a remote place? Go where the prompt leads! Click here for details.


From Darkness To Light – by Hugh W. Roberts

Although Fatima knew this remote, off-the-radar place had existed for many years, she’d never plucked up the courage to visit it.

But instead of the darkness, isolation and dread she’d heard existed inside; she found her true self when stepping through the door.

Throwing off the shackles of a life lived as a lie, she swapped it for one she knew she wanted. Gliding toward the lights, she danced while being watched by rainbow-coloured faces.

As happiness finally filled her life and laughter filled her lungs, she decided she would tell her husband she was gay in the morning.

***

Image of a map showing a remote location
Image Credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Sea View #WordlessWednesday #Photography

Wordless Wednesday – No words, just pictures. Allow your photo(s) to tell the story.

Photo of a wall containing a window overlooking the sea.
How many sea views can you see?

Not sure what Wordless Wednesday is or how to participate? Click here for full details.

Are you participating in Wordless Wednesday? Leave a link to your post in the comments section, and I will visit your post and leave you a comment.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Did You Miss Any Of These? Monthly Round-Up – July 2022

These 10 blog posts got people talking. Were you one of them? If not, join the conversations and share your thoughts.

  • Does anyone know what happened to Pauline?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Duvet, The Thread And The Wardrobe

  • Death or sex? Which one do you feel most comfortable discussing?

Shall We Talk About Death Or Sex?

  • Is it farewell to the yellow brick road?

Elton #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Would he reach the other side of the day he had planned? Or would something or someone get in his way?

Flash Fiction Friday – The Other-side Of A Day

  • Is there any point in having a reblog button on your blog? Why and how you should consider removing it.

Is Reblogging Dead? Why I Have Removed The Reblog Button From My Blog

  • What do you see on the horizon?

On The Horizon #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Vikki is about to discover that floating on cloud nine isn’t always what it’s supposed to be.

Flash Fiction Friday – Circle Of Love

  • Do you struggle with reading and writing because of dyslexia? Read my recent guest post, hosted by Sally Cronin, about growing up with dyslexia and join the discussion.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Dyslexia #Blogging Hugh Roberts | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine @sgc58

  • Where do you waste most of your time?

Lost Time #WordlessWednesday #Photography

  • Vinnie’s sweet cravings are driving him crazy. Is there anything that will help?

Flash Fiction Friday – Cravings

Comments are closed here. Please leave any new comments on the original posts.

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Banner for the blog post Monthly Round-Up - July 2022
Monthly Round-Up – July 2022

Follow Hugh On Social Media.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Flash Fiction Friday – Cravings

July 25, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story sweet as cherries. It can be about the fruit or something cherries represent. Why is it sweet? Can you use contrast to draw out the beauty? Go where the prompt leads!


Cravings – by Hugh W. Roberts

Life was a bowl of cherries for Vinnie.

Despite what was happening, he still had ample food.

Life was fun, and had given Vinnie a sweet tooth. When he saw Mrs Longacre running past his kitchen window holding a cherry pie and screaming, he knew life was about to get sweeter.

Within seconds, Vinnie was out of the house and sinking his teeth, not into a cherry pie, but into Mrs Longacre’s neck. The sweetness of flesh helped his sweet cravings.

Having been a Zombie for an hour, Vinnie hoped the sweetness of this new life would last forever.

***

Image of a bowl of red cherries
Image credit: Charli Mills

Written for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

***


Enjoyed this piece of flash fiction? Then you’ll love ‘More Glimpses.’

***

32 short stories and flash fiction pieces take the reader to the edge of their imagination.

More Glimpses

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Follow Hugh on his social media platforms by clicking the buttons below.

Copyright © 2022 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.