Ender’s Love – Chapter 3

Click here to read Chapter 1 if you haven’t read it already

Note: May contain strong language!

~~~

Chapter 3

“Alex!” said a loud voice next to me, making me jump. It was my work colleague, Stella, as she sidled next to me in her office chair. “Drinks after work?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” I replied, unable to control the frown that had involuntarily creeped on my face.

Stella and I weren’t really friends, she was just some girl I worked with. I hadn’t been working at the company for long, but I was conscious that I should make a bit of an effort to be a little friendlier with people. I didn’t have many friends in Scotland, it was always something I struggled with. Although, I wasn’t entirely sure about Stella. She seemed nice. Well, nice to me. But she had a habit of being a little bitchy about the other girls and I worried she was like that with me, behind my back.

It was only a day after the incident at Da Vinci’s, and I knew I shouldn’t, but I couldn’t help but think constantly about that guy I had met. I realised I didn’t even catch his name nor did I even introduce myself properly. It was terribly rude of me. I was too flustered though. But I was proud of myself for actually approaching him, even though I’d never see him again. There were plenty of fish in the sea, as they say. Maybe I would find someone, one day, who was just as handsome, kind, caring and I could settle down and live happily ever after? A best friend who I loved, and he loved me. I had images of waking up in the morning to him cooking breakfast for me, cuddling up on the sofa while watching a scary film, going on little trips away at the weekends somewhere fun, getting a cat and maybe even one day having kids.

“Oh, please come! Not many people are coming now. It’s just going to be me and that girl with the big nose. What’s her name? Julie or something? We’re going to that cocktail bar. It’s two for one on Thursdays,” she said, fluttering her eyelashes like that was going to flatter ,e. It might work on every guy she met, but she seemed to have a habit of doing it the girls too. I groaned.

“Okay, but I can’t stay out for long, I have university work to do,” I said, trying desperately not to get annoyed with her lack of remorse over the kind girl that had started around the same time as me. I had noticed she had a bit of a big nose, but she was actually a lovely girl and her name was Judith. But I had no energy to correct Stella.

“University work?” she asked, frowning at me like I had just sprouted another head.

“Yes, I go to unveristy.” I sighed in annoyance. I had told her this before, I had told everyone at work. I had to constantly remind them. Especially when I would get my supervisor asking me to gin for extra shifts to help out with a backlog of work and I had to constantly remind her that I couldn’t because I had classes. She would always look at me like I was lying to her to avoid going into work, but the truth was, I actually needed the money. I studied part-time and worked part-time around my classes and although I was working in Administration, which was mostly just boring data entry in a small team, it wasn’t a well-paid job when you lived on your own in Glasgow.

“Which one?” she asked.

“Strathclyde.”

“You go to Strathclyde?”

“Yes,” I said, trying not to groan again. Although, I couldn’t be bothered to muster a fake smile. I was too tired.

“Oh, that’s cool! What do you do? You doing a degree or something?”

“A master’s degree,” I corrected. I could have told her what subject it was, but I doubted she would remember anyway.

“Oh, that’s right!” She nodded as if she had just remembered, but I doubted she did. “So, you coming?”

“Sure.” I shrugged, having a feeling that if I didn’t say yes, she wouldn’t leave me alone. Besides, maybe a drink was what I needed? I had already decided to have a night off doing any university work. I was going to work on my book, but I realised that maybe I needed a night off from that too?

***

Later that day, after my shift at work was done, I found myself sat in a loud pub. It was one of those chain pubs; with the same drink menu, served the same cheap food, and had the same two-for-one deals. Drinks were usually served in cheap, plastic pitches rather than nice fancy glasses. It was a pub popular with those who wanted a cheap night out to get drunk, or a cheap pub meal with the kids.

There was a large TV on a wall at the back, which was playing the highlights of some big game that was on earlier in the day. Huddled around it was a load of loud Scottish men either laughing at their mates in a drunken state or yelling at the TV screen. In the centre of the pub on the left, was a large bar with loads of people milling about trying to grab the attenion of the bar staff and get another round of drinks. The rest of the pub was littered with cheap wooden tables and chairs for those who were finishing up their late dinners of cheap steak and chips or a bland chicken tikka masala.

I wasn’t particularly happy with my predicament; it was too loud, the tables were sticky and I was constantly getting eyed up by guys who looked like they were fresh out of school and barely legal to drink. This also wasn’t the place Stella had promised.

Stella had decided to go to a different place to the one she had first suggested, although I wasn’t sure why. But if I had to guess, it was the guys that were there as she kept looking around at them like a lioness stalking prey.

“So, what’s your bachelor’s degree in?” Stella shouted acorss the table at me, huffing at something that clearly upset her. Either that or I was too boring for her. Judith never showed up, so it was just me and her, and I was starting to feel a little awkward with it being just the two of us. I had even contemplated finding an excuse to leave.

“The one I’ve completed?”

“What?” she asked across the table, clearly not being able to hear me properly above the noise.

“The degree I’m doing at university?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied. “What’s it in? I did a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism,” she whittled on, and I realised she wasn’t really interested in knowing what I was doing or had done at all, she just wanted to find something to talk about herself. Plus, she had already forgotten I was doing a master’s degree, not a bachelor’s. “Passed it last year, but I found it so hard! I actually had to learn Spanish too, which was stupid! I didn’t want to learn another language! I just wanted to go into Tourism. I love going on holiday, figured I’d do it as a career, you know.”

I nodded politely as I drank my glass of white wine. Although, it tasted a little like oak and I wasn’t too keen on it. Regardless, I persevered; the alcohol would help me cope with the girl better.

“All that work too; eassays upon essays!” she continued to moan. “So, don’t feel bad if you have to quit, you know, it’s really hard work!”

“I’ve done a bachelor’s degree already,” I said before I realised what I was doing. Her comment annoyed me and I took it personally.

“What?” she called across the table. Clearly, I didn’t speak loud enough. Truth was, I hated shouting; the idea of shouting across a table just to be heard was frustrating.

I opened my mouth to repeat what I said when I caught sight of someone in the bar. I gasped. Luckily no one could hear me—not that I really cared what Stella thought. But, standing at the bar, I caught a glimpse of that handsome guy from Da Vinchi’s again. My stomach did a summersault when I saw him. He was even more handsome than I remembered. He wasn’t in a suit this time, he was in a black t-shirt, leather jacket and dark blue jeans. He looked dark and mysterious and I think I fell in love with him right there on the spot… I was a sucker for a handsome guy in black, especially leather. I noticed he looked a little annoyed or tired maybe, as a blonde girl was holding onto his arm and trying to speak something in his ear.

I smiled as he bought a glass up to his lips and took a sip. It looked like it was whisky again. I wondered if it was Dalwhinnie.

“He’s gorgeous,” said a voice next to me.

I jumped and looked round to notice Stella had moved to sit next to me, she had obviously noticed I hadn’t replied to her and had instead been watching the guy at the bar. She was staring holes into him as well, which made me feel a little annoyed. I had no idea who the guy was, he might have been as ass for all I knew, but I hated both men and women staring at the opposite sex like they were pieces of meat in a butcher’s shop. Stella might be a lot prettier than I was, with her long blonde hair and her long fluttering eyelashes, but she wasn’t pretty on the inside, as I recently found out.

“Way out of your league, honey,” she said in my ear.

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at her, mostly because she was right; he was.

“I wouldn’t drool either, that girl looks like she’s his date for the night, I bet she’d happily scratch your eyes out for him.”

I looked round at Stella, giving her an annoyed yet confused look. What a weird thing to say. But as soon as I did, Stella’s eyes went wide.

“What’s wrong?”

“He just looked round at me and gave me a horrible look,” Stella said, looking away from him and taking a large swig of her alco-pop she had bought.

I looked round at him again to see what she was referring to, although having already missed the look, I was still curious. He was now frowning heavily at the girl next to him and saying something to her which I wished I could hear. Her hand had fallen from his arm and they were instead crossed. I couldn’t see her face, she had her back to me, but I could his and he looked pissed about something.

Suddenly the girl snatched up her purse from the bar table and swung round, looking upset about something as she wandered out of the bar, a hand up to her face as she looked like she was wiping tears away from her eyes. I watched her curiously as she stormed right for the bar door and disappeared out into the street beyond. I felt like running after her and making sure she was okay, but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave.

“Fuck,” Stella suddenly muttered next to me and I sensed her straighten up. I looked round at her as she was staring wide-eyed at the bar, at someone. Rather than asking her what was up, I followed her gaze just at the same time a tall figure came into focus beside me.

~~~

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thegirlwhowhispered.com

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Here are some links to my other works:

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper
Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue
No one likes you! – A short story.

Paying for Reviews – BEWARE!

Since becoming a self-published author, I have come across a wide range of new challenges. And I don’t mean just the usual publishing and marketing challenges. I mean, what happens afterwards.

I’m not going to pretend that my published book; ‘It’s My Mistake’ is a working masterpiece. I have had a few good reviews, but I’m not letting them get to my head. I’m too much of a perfectionist to believe it. I wrote the book quickly, and I know there are mistakes (no pun intended) in it.

But aside from that, since actually committing to publishing the book, I have had a string of emails through my website, private messages and tweets through twitter from people claiming to want to help you.

Yes, it’s lovely to know I’m being head-hunted (although, I know it’s got nothing to do with my writing, it’s all about them making money) and it’s nice to know there is a wealth of help out there. But I have to admit, it’s a little annoying!

For the time-being, I am not in a position to be able to pay anyone anything, I can barely get my own hair cut lately. I am not in full-time employment, I am a student. I write on the side as a hobby, for now. I am not pushing sales on my book, I am not approaching newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc, to try to market my book, I am just a woman sat at her computer tweeting and posting blogs every now and then.

Once I finish my degree, I will be taking a year out (at least) to relax, move again (as I had to move in with my parents for a while) and take a holiday that I desperately need (I’m thinking for my 30th birthday this year). Then, and only then, can I really start thinking about making my writing career (if I can call it that) professional.

But while I’ve been just dabbing into the world of an author life, I have noticed that there is an awful lot of people / companies out there that pray on people like myself who are new to the game.

One in particular I will mention, because I want to expose them, is a ‘company’ on Twitter calling themselves ‘Booktasters Authors’ (I think they have a few names on Twitter, this is the one that contacted me though). They approached me back in November with a simple question, “Hi Penny, Do you like to get your book reviewed?” (see pictures at the end of this blog post)

Now, firstly, am I the only one that can see that that question is grammatically incorrect? Or are they asking me if I like the actual act of getting reviews?

Normally I don’t tend to reply to DM messages on Twitter, I get annoyed with the automated messages. Tweets, however, I do try to reply to. But I figured I’d see what these guys wanted. So I responded.

It turns out, this ‘company’ is offering ‘free reviews’ for your book if you sign up your book to their community. The catch is… you have to PAY to sign up.

So… you PAY for REVIEWS!

Apparently not, apparently the community of reviewers aren’t paid themselves, they are reading your book for free, unpaid, and in return are giving you an honest review.

But I was trying to make a point that I am still out of pocket, and then getting reviews in return.

Now, even if I HAD the money to fork out and get my book reviewed and help it’s sales, and that’s if I wanted to do that (as I am in the process of re-writing It’s My Mistake) I wouldn’t do it unmorally. I do not want my name tainted. I don’t want people to see my name, see my books and think ‘she buys her reviews, I don’t want anything to do with her or her books’.

I know, there is a very big possibility that if I get more reviews on Goodreads and/or Amazon, more people will want to buy and read my book. But I do not want to get there by paying a company to give me those reviews. It’s not honest.

Anyway, at first, I figured I’d just ignore the message. I wasn’t going to continue in a conversation and waste mine and their time. So I just ignored it.

Apparently they weren’t taking my silence as a no. A few days later they emailed me again. I knew right away something dodgy was going on when they wrote “We are very passioned to take…” Wait… ‘Passioned’? I’m not entirely convinced this is even a word. Microsoft Word doesn’t register it as a word, but I did find it online. But either way, what was wrong with writing ‘passionate’?

I just figured, if I didn’t reply again, they’d get the message.

Apparently not. If you see in the pictures below, they very unprofessionally sent me two emoticons. Ha!

I figured I needed to shut this down quickly before I got anymore emoticons… who knew what ones they’d send next!

So I replied, rather politely if I say so myself; “Thank you, but I don’t pay for reviews.”

Ooo… they are sneaky buggars. The next message (oh yes, they replied, persistent I’ll give them that) was sent the same day and they were trying to explain that I don’t pay for reviews, the fee is for offering the book to their community, some ‘managing process’ and guaranteeing a posted review on Amazon and Goodreads.

I just laughed when I read that. The way I see it… I pay them > they give me reviews back. Doesn’t matter how fancy you try and make it sound, what I’m getting in exchange of my money is reviews. I’m PAYING for REVIEWS.

So, not only am I out of pocket, but the readers are getting my book for free!

The thing that started to really annoy me though, was their persistence. Bearing in mind that this last message I sent them was the 3rd of December (2017) and their reply was almost instant. I ignored them and they didn’t take the hint… again.

Seven days later, I get another message. Another unprofessional one with one of those emoticons again.

I ignored it and made sure I wasn’t following them. (It turned out I was! I quickly rectified that!)

I got another message on the 13th of January. Clearly they didn’t get the hint when I not only ignored them, but I unfollowed them too.

It was at this point that I realised I wasn’t going to get rid of them politely. So I had to block them.

Now, the reason why I am writing this post is because I am not only annoyed that I was getting harassed by them, but that they are probably harassing other people too. There are a lot of new authors out there that are probably thinking that doing something like this is a good way to make a name for themselves.

DON’T! I am fed up with seeing people who are not genuine. I know it’s a harsh world out there, but do not fall prey to these people. Do not pay for reviews. You worked long and hard on that book, people should be paying YOU not the other way around.

And do not contribute to a world of con!

Here are the screenshots of the messages I received:

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Earn money being a Smashwords affiliate!

Any book lovers, bloggers, reviewers, authors, writers (or anyone for that matter) want to earn money being a Smashwords affiliate?

All you need is a Smashwords account and a PayPal account!

I just came across an article today that explains how you can earn money by just promoting books! I thought it was a brilliant way to help authors get their work out there, by offering promoters a small cut of the profits!

Imgur

So, for example, promote my own book and you could get 11% (going up to 15% soon!) of each sale you helped get!
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287
(for advice on how to do this, keep reading! You need to set up an account with Smashwords and give out a special link for it to work!)
(P.S. My book is now currently on sale, 50% off! Was $1.99 now only $1.00 for a short time. Ends 16th October!)

So, that means, if you share a link and someone buys that book from that link, not only does the author get a cut of the sales but so do you!

All you need; a Smashwords accound and a PayPal account!

How do you do set up and earn?

First, sign up to Smashwords!
Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/signup

  1. Sign up for a FREE Smashwords membership!
  2. Click on the hyperlink to activate your Smashwords membership
  3. Go to your ‘Account Page’
  4. Follow the ‘Affiliate System Management’ link
  5. Click on the ‘Affiliate Marketers’ sign-up button
  6. Read the Terms of Service agreement and click to join the program

It’s that easy to set up!
Next, you want to promote some books to start earning. Read on, to learn how to do this.

Promote and earn!

Once you’re Smashwords account has been created, all you have to do is copy and paste the special link on the webpage!

For example, my own referral link is: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287?ref=PennyRose88

Your own link will be similar, but instead of ‘PennyRose88’ it will have your own username. E.g. if you’re user name is ‘JohnSmith’ then the referral link will be: ‘[…]books/view/744287?ref=JohnSmith’

This can be found at the bottom of the book page, like this:
Imgur

I have suggested you get a PayPal account and link that, only reason is, you do not have to wait for a certain amount to be in your account before you get paid. So, there is no waiting until you’ve got $50 in your Smashwords account before you get paid. If you use a PayPal, payment gets to you every month, minimum is $0.01!
(This information is true as an author, this information MIGHT be different for an affiliate, so please check terms and conditions first!)

I’m forever grateful for those who promote/support my books! Marketing it the hardest part of being a self-published author. But what better way doing it, by getting paid to do it!

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Also:

Earn money blogging! Love photography? Maybe you have a story to share? Click here to read how you can earn money on Steemit to blog about the things you love!


Feel free to check out my work:

My Normal: A short story, By Penny Hooper

Rose Garden Sanatorium: Prologue

It’s My Mistake: Chapter One