Author Interview – A. C. Thomas

Here’s my fifth installment of author interviews, and this one we’re doing things a little differently; we’re interviewing a LGBT+ author! I’m super excited about this one!

Continue reading to find more about A. C. Thomas and two of her books and an interesting interview with my first LGBT+ author.

About A. C. Thomas

A.C. Thomas left the glamorous world of teaching preschool for the even more glamorous world of staying home with her toddler. Between the diaper changes and tea parties, she escapes into fantastical worlds, reading every romance available and even writing a few herself.

She devours books of every flavour – science fiction, historical, fantasy – but always with a touch of romance because she believes there is nothing more fantastical than the transformative power of love.

Restricted

Space, LGBT+, Romance, even a space-cowboy, this book seems to have everything!

Here’s the Synopsis:

Dr. Aristotle Campbell is a desperate man. His twin brother has been abducted, and Ari will do anything to find him. Forced out of the comfortable solitude of his laboratory, Ari must leave their home world of Britannia and search the farthest reaches of space for his other half. He hastily equips himself with a flawlessly tied cravat, a handful of clues, and his small science vessel. Now, all he needs is a pilot to get him across the Verge, a barrier separating the civilized world from ungoverned space.

Pilot Orin Stone is a desperate man. No ship, no pay, no prospects. He spends his days barely scraping by in the rough colonies lining the Verge interior. When he gets an offer from a frantic, upper-crust professor in need of a pilot, he has no choice but to take the job. He just can’t believe it when the professor turns out to be the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen and that his offer includes a ship of Orin’s own. If Orin can keep his heart (and other portions of his anatomy) from leaping every time sweet, innocent Dr. Campbell looks at him, this should be his easiest job yet.

Rugged Orin and aristocratic Ari work together to navigate the lawless areas of space beyond the Verge, soon discovering that they work well together in all areas. Their immediate and intense attraction to one another is an obstacle to their plans that neither saw coming. More than sparks will fly when they break through the force field and enter restricted space, all alone together for the perilous journey, leaving barriers to their growing attachment far behind.

In their search across the stars, can two desperate men find their home in one another?

Buy the book here!

Burying The Hatchet (Coming soon!)

Currently pre-orders are available, with this sweet Christmas themed story ready to be released just in time for Christmas! Put your thick socks on, your favourite blanket and sit by a warm crackling fire with this one!

Synopsis:

Home for the holidays for the first time in five years, Clayton Osborne steps off the plane with a chip on his shoulder and a suitcase full of grief…only to come face to flannel-covered chest with his worst nightmare. It’s Jake Carver, his high school nemesis and guilty crush. Clayton never expected Jake to still be working on his family tree farm. Of course, now that he’s older and wiser, it will be no problem to ignore Jake’s axe-swinging, barb-slinging, larger-than-life presence. Right?

Jake Carver loves his work, running NorthStar Tree Farm like it was his own. He’s let other things in his life fall by the wayside as he poured everything he had into his job. Until Clayton Osborne, star of his teenage dreams and his greatest regret returns home as beautiful and feisty as ever. If Jake just keeps his head down and focuses on his work, he can make it through the holidays without revealing his lingering feelings for Clayton. Right?

The mountains of North Carolina ring with more than Christmas bells when boyhood enemies collide as men. Long-buried feelings blossom and grow while the pair work side by side to save the farm, until Clayton must confront his obligation to return to his job in Chicago. He’s going to have to choose. Does he want his big-city life, or love in the mountains? All of this hinges on whether he and Jake can finally bury the hatchet. Can love overcome the years of conflict in their past?

With the help of a good old-fashioned Christmas miracle, it just might.

Pre-order it here!

Interview

Now that I have you interested in her books, here’s a little interview I did with her!

What got you into writing?

I’ve always been writing, always telling stories. I won my first little creative writing award at age seven and I was hooked. I’ve just always loved it. Even when I wasn’t writing for others, I still wrote for myself.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, always. There was never a time that I didn’t want to be a writer. There were plenty of times that I thought it wasn’t possible, but I always wanted it.

Do you play music while you writer – and if so, what’s your favourite?

I don’t. I know that’s a little odd, but I can’t concentrate on writing when there are lyrics in the background. I think it’s the same quirk that makes it difficult for me to hear when people are speaking while I’m reading. I can handle instrumental music while I’m writing, but I just prefer silence.

What’s your favourite under-appreciated novel?

That’s a tough question. Persuassion is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and I feel as though it gets overshadowed by the flashier romances in Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. The mutual pining in Persuasion just hits so deeply and the ending is so satisfying that it’s one of my favorite books of all time.

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

The first and more important thing to me is writing good characters. You can quibble over technique and style forever, but if your characters are solid and relatable, they you really have something. Look at fanction. Endless stories based on well-written, compelling characters. Exposition and setting can be perfectly and beautifully written, but it will never stick with the reader like an excellent character.

How many unpublished or half-finished books do you have?

Right now I’m working on the second book in my Verge series, Captivated. It follows Theo, the missing twin from book one, Restricted.

I also have portions of the third book written. I’ve recently written a paranormal romance short story that I am considering reworking into a novel and I’m keeping another series on my back burner. That one is a regency romance series with heavy doses of humor. I have nearly finished the first in that series and have written portions of the other two. So, I have six partially written books going at the moment.

I’m one of those authors who works through writers block by switching to another project, so they tend to stack up.

Do you prefer to read the book first, or watch the movie first?

I read the book first, absolutely. There is no effects budget that could possibly rival the imagination. I’ve enjoyed some movie adaptations, but I always prefer the book.

What is your favourite word, and why?

Meerscheweinchen. It’s German for Guinea pig. I just think it’s fun to say and sounds so cute!

Was writing your dream job as a child, or was it something else?

Yes, always. It took me a while to realize and accept that what I really wanted to write was romance novels, and that most of them would be LGBTQ+. Once I had that epiphany, the rest fell into place as natural as breathing.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love baking. Creating elabroate pastries and cake decorating. I make multi-tiered decorated cakes for special occasions and even considered opening a wedding cake business for a while.

Can you tell me a little about your book ‘Restricted’?

Restricted is the first book in my sci-fi steampunk Verge series. Restricted is definitely heavy on the romance, light on the sci-fi, just the way I like it. I enjoy placing characters against the sweeping backdrop of space and then focusing in tightly upon their developing relationship.

The first book follows Dr. Aristotle Campbell, aka Ari, along his journey across space to find his missing twin. His first task is to hire a pilot to get him across the dangerous barrier of the Verge, and he soon finds Orin Stone, ace pilot and rugged heartthrob, to serve in that capacity. When Orin offers to serve in other, more person, capacities as well, Ari doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. Orin’s gentle guidance leads Ari past the Verge as well as into his own sexuality in an adventurous leap into the unknown. Developing feelings never factored into either of their plans. What will they do when those feelings interfere with their goals? In an ocean of stars, two heats collide.

Now, tell me a little about the main character(s)?

Ari comes from a neo-Victorian planet, Britannia, and has led a very sheltered, privileged, and repressed life up until the moment of his twin Theo’s disappearance. He is a shy, virginal scientist with very little experience in life beyond academia. Ari has always been the more timid, sensible twin and must scrape up every last bit of courage to embark upon his journey across the stars.

Orin Stone comes from a Wild-West style Verge colony, with rough manners and an even rougher past. He’s been stranded with no ship, no money, and no prospects when Ari offers to hire him as a pilot and guide in exchange for his small ship at the end of the quest to find his brother.

Aristocratic Ari and rugged Orin clash on the surface, but soon find deeper connection. Their attraction to one another is immediate and irresistible, and neither of them could have predicted how it would affect their journey.

Do you think the LGBT+ community in literature is unrepresented?

Very much so. I think we’re starting to see changes made, but progress is slow and remains a daily struggle for the community.

Growing up, and I’m sure this is true for a lot of people, the only queer content available to me was fanfiction. Published LGBTQ+ content was difficult to acquire. This is getting better, but it’s still true today.

I am a cisgendered white bisexual woman, and I realize that while I am a member of the community, I still need to step back and listen when underrepresented voices speak up. I think we need to amplify voices of LGBTQ+ authors until their creative works are given the same space and respect as the work of heterosexual authors.

I think we’re seeing important strides in publishing, but it still isn’t enough. We’re not there, yet.

Do you have a LGBT+ book you’d recommend everyone read?

I highly recommend Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. It’s a paranormal YA romance featuring trans Latinx characters written by a trans Latinx author. It’s gripping and funny and has the emotional heft that I enjoy in a book.

What is your upcoming book about?

Burying The Hatchet is set a little closer to home, in the American South, the mountains of North Carolina.

Clayton Osborne left the family farm years ago and never looked back, not until a family emergency brings him home just in time for Christmas. To his dismay, Jake Carver, his teenage nemesis and star of Clayton’s guilty adolescent fantasies, still works on the farm. Looking even more like a pornographic Paul Bunyan that Clayton remembers.

The two must work together to save North Star tree farm, discovering that they have more in common than they ever thought possible. Long-buried feelings break through the ice over Clayton’s heart as he finds that there is far more to Jake than flannel and a swinging axe.

Will the boyhood enemies be able to bury the hatchet and find love in the least likely of places? With the help of a good old-fashioned Christmas miracle, they just might.

If you’d like to check her out, here are some links:

acthomasbooks.com
Twitter: acthomas_books
Facebook: acthomaswrites
Tumblr: acthomasbooks

~~~

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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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facebook.com/TheGirlWhoWhispered
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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.

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Don’t forget to check out my new book trailer on my website!

~Penny.

 

P.s. 20 days until I Fell in Love with a Psychopath is out in e-book and paperback! Have you ordered your ecopy yet?

Coming 29th September!

Coming 29th September!

It’s true! I Fell in Love with a Psychopath is coming out on the 29th of September!

Coming 29th September!

If you’re an e-book fan, you can pre-order your e-copy here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893044

Otherwise, watch this space for the paperback version!

Don’t forget to check out my new Teaser Trailer for Rose Garden Sanatorium here!

I have a book trailer… and it’s amazing!

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about the issues I’ve had with marketing my book, and he has not only given me a lot of ideas to help get more exposure, but he’s even kindly made me a teaser trailer for my book.

Look how amazing it is!

He’s even off to make another one, a slightly longer one with a bit more information. Nothing too long though!

I can’t wait to bring it out now! I hope everyone loves it as much as I do!

Pushing Rose Garden Sanatorium!

For us (indie) writers – well, me at least – it’s really difficult to market your work. Yeah, you might be really good at writing, might even be writing the next ‘best seller’… but most of us are introverts. We write because we are that introverted person where we like to read and escape reality, but have gone that one step further and decided to write our own realities… but actually trying to push ourselves to get our work out there… isn’t easy!

It’s also a full-time job in itself! But doesn’t pay the bills! (At least not in the beginning!) So, finding the time to do it, let alone learning new skills… is also difficult!

So, I’ve been trying to learn a few ‘marketing’ tips to get my work out there, and although a few of my ideas have been ‘reasonably’ good but very slow progress (using Twitter, WattPad, for example) others I’m terrible with.

Alongside my lack of marketing skills, I also will be (and am in some points of my time in the past) very busy! I will be starting a Masters in October and will be moving! Alongside my Masters I will be looking at being a volunteer with the Student Association they have and will be finding part-time employment in order to survive! Eek!

So, my writing adventures (both real and written) will be put on the down-low over the next year!

On the up-side, I did create this quick aesthetic image for my book Rose Garden Sanatorium. It’s not my best, but I was in pain while doing it. But someone suggested I do something like this. I may also have a book trailer video coming…

Rose-Garden-Aesthetics.jpg

My apologies if this post seems scattered… currently possessing a headache!

I also have some news to share very soon! So watch this space! 🙂

~Penny.

Celebrating my #WritingFail!

I recently was heartbroken to find out that I hadn’t even gotten through the short-list on the Watty Awards 2018 on WattPad and a friend of mine told me to celebrate the fail, it was a sign of true success… Not entirely sure how failing to even get through the first stages of an award is a success… but it was nice of her to say!

But, in light of this little failure, I decided to push through it!

So, I converted my recent book, which is to be published in paperback (hopefully) very soon, into an electronic copy version and it’s been put up on Smashwords!

It will be available to buy and download on the 29th of September!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893044

(Scroll down to the end of the post for the synopsis!)

Also, in other news, sent an email to another literary agent about Rose Garden Sanatorium – the one that didn’t get through on the Watty Awards, fingers and toes firmly crossed. But worst case, I’ll publish it myself… so it’ll still be available to buy!

Here’s the Synopsis for I fell in Love with a Psychopath:

What would you do if you realised the man you fell in love with had a psychopathic personality disorder?

After getting her degree in history, Jo took the plunge and moved to Chicago. But one day a guy changes her life completely. And not necessarily in a good way.

When she first moved to the city, Jo met Liam. She had a small crush on him from day one. Along with his good looks, he was funny and charming. Maybe a little immature, but he never failed to make her laugh. Finally, one day Liam asks Jo out on a date and she is stupidly nervous and surprised he even likes her!

Jo meets Xander in a bar. He is handsome and confident. He holds himself tall and constantly watches her reactions with mild curiosity. She keeps bumping into him, sometimes deliberately. He seems to say all the right things and do all the right things and she finds herself craving more of him.

The problem was, however, one of them is a psychopath and he now has an obsession with Jo…

I-Fell-in-love-with-a-psychopath-full

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 3

Note: If you’re new to the story please read from the beginning here.

Chapter 3

Officer Jennifer Finley

“Sir, what’s going on?” asked a young woman with brown short cropped hair underneath a black army helmet that was strapped uncomfortably under her slightly pointy chin.

The young woman had rushed out of an official looking yet plain office-style building and out into the fresh morning air along with the rest of her team. She not only left the building behind her, but also the feeling of safety, as she hurried to keep up with her superior. Although the sense of dread didn’t stay behind, it was clearly following her and growing with every rushed step she took.

She dodged around her colleagues, as they were marching towards a large black van that was parked in the courtyard of the building, a few trees and bushes hiding it from the overlooking buildings in the vicinity.

She, and her team, were dressed in what could only be described as an official black tactical uniform, unlike the usual multi-terrain pattern combat clothing that the British Army wore. This uniform was specially designed for a different type of situation.

The trousers were modelled from the Viper Tactical Elite trousers but with a few adjustments, including the pure black colour specifically designed to be kept hidden in darker environments. Finley had once found it amusing to find out that even the colour had been tested to find the right shade of black. Like the Viper trousers they were modelled from, they sported eight different pockets; two deep hand pockets, two standard pockets at the back, two cargo pockets on the side and two thigh pockets on the front, with elastic adjuster cords for the knee pads hidden inside. However, the replaceable knee pads were specially reinforced with titanium and an aramid layer was added on the inside of the trousers for flame resistance.

The trousers were being held up by a black rapid-release belt which was supporting a utility pouch with a swiss-army knife, an air-tight box of ear-plugs, aramid rope, compass, and other items useful for surviving in extreme situations. Also on the belt was a 3W black aluminium LED torch and a magazine pouch with spare, full magazines for both the handgun and P90.

Around her right leg was a black adjustable holster holding her specially adapted Double-Action self-loading 9mm Glock 45-S. The S stood for ‘special’, which does not officially exist since it was adapted within the walls of building behind Finley. It had a specially adapted grip to not only hold a 31-round double-stack magazine, but a better designed grip for all weathers and situations and a specially designed UV light attachment underneath the barrel. The barrel of the gun, as well as the other necessary parts, had been tested to withstand larger forces, due to the specially adapted ammunition that had also been designed within the walls behind Finley, which not only had a specially adapted propellant but were expanding ammunition with a secret ingredient hidden inside. It also sported the usual 6-Goove right-twist rifling but with a higher twist rate for better accuracy.

The jacket was also designed off the British Army MTP Combat Waterproof smock, with two large chest pockets, two large fleece lined side pockets, a heavy duty two-way front zip with Velcro fastenings, Velcro adjustable cuffs, large external hood with adjustable elastic to shape and included the zips underneath the armpits to adjust airflow. However, the tab on the front for the rank slide has been removed, the large Velcro squares on the arms removed, an additional removable fleece lining for the changing seasons was included and it was sporting the same black colour design as the trousers. Also, unaware to the civilian were the reinforced pads stitched into sections of the smock, from the four chest pads, back supports and arms in multiple sections for greater flexibility and protection and an aramid layer much like the trousers.

Hidden under the smock was also a specially-designed reinforced body armour, both lightweight and slightly more flexible than the typical Osprey Assault Body Armour worn by the British Army, which is also designed in black with the rubber mouldings on the shoulders, but each body armour is specifically moulded and designed for the individual wearer rather than a single production-line fit. Underneath the armour is a simple black thermal and sweat-wicking t-shirt for greatest comfort.

The helmet protecting Finley’s head was also designed around the Virtus Helmet worn by the British Army, with under-chin supports that are easily adjustable, sculpted rear for neck protection, a layer of aramid throughout, fixed shroud for mounting night-vision goggles and can be fitted with a mandible guard and visor. The visor, however, was specially designed with abrasion resistance, anti-fog and mirror coating, photochromic and UV400 protected lenses, complete with a small hidden high-definition 1080p video camera capable of capturing infra-red and high-quality sound, and recently designed with on-display augmented reality with specially adapted data to help the wearer in particular sticky situations. The helmet also by default had a fully adjustable Personal Role Radio so teams could communicate more effectively.

Even the boots were specially designed, modelled off the All Leather Patrol Combat boots with Thinsulate lining, full leather with padded collar, removable EVA inner sole, PU sole and nylon laces. However, the steel shank and eyelets were replaced with titanium, there was an added titanium heel stiffener and toe cap, better grip on the sole with embedded cleats, and addition aramid sole and aramid stitched into the underside of the leather for flame resistance.

The gloves were also specially designed, with the same black used with the trousers and smock, with Sharktec FR palm, reinforced patches on the knuckles and fingertips, thermal insulation with sweat-wicking, highly durable aramid material making them abrasion resistant, blade cut resistant, tear resistant, puncture resistant and with overall flame resistance.

Accompanying her trousers, smock, armour, pouches, multiple pockets, belt, helmet and Glock, she also held her favourite item protectively tight to her chest with the use of a sling; the personal defence weapon; a FN P90-S. The submachine gun was also specially equipped with a customised infrared scope installed on top of it to give the agent a slight advantage in dark environments. It, like the Glock 45-S, had also been adapted to withstand the specially designed ammunition; a typical 5.7x28mm design, but expanding with a secret ingredient inside.

Finley rolled her shoulders up slightly to adjust the weight pressing down, while regretting skipping a few days in the gym. The tactical uniform looked odd on the young woman’s small and skinny frame, which gave her a few annoying sexist comments from her male colleagues, but she knew she was just as capable as them. She, like her comrades, were carefully selected from British Armed Forces and Intelligence Agencies.

Finley herself had served in the Royal Air Force, originally applying as an Intelligence Analyst straight after completing her A-Levels at college at the age of 18. She completed her basic training at RAF Cranwell, went on to complete a language course at the UK’s Defence Academy, becoming almost fluent in Arabic, and was moved to the Intelligence Analyst Linguist division, before being quickly promoted to an Intelligence Officer. She moved around a lot, having been stationed at many different RAF bases, including her favourite, RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus for a few months but she was unfortunately relocated back to England with no prospect of returning.

But aside from the appealing changes in locations, she was getting quickly bored of the work after a few years and began entertaining the idea of moving into a role within one of the Intelligence Agencies. She was adamant it was this that led to being approached by a man who was so shrouded in secrecy that it sent shivers down her spine. She wouldn’t admit it, but she wasn’t completely sure she knew what she was agreeing to. She was extremely excited to join the most secret service there was; so secret, only a very select few in the world even knew it existed. She scored just above average on almost all of her gruelling tests and training, and average on her physical fitness test.

She never in her wildest dreams would have imagined she’d end up where she was. She only recently, possibly in the last few minutes after hearing the dreaded alarm go off in the building and having a sneaky suspicion that it wasn’t one of Captain Stroud’s early morning drills, started to regret accepting that mysterious man’s offer. She wouldn’t admit this, not to her superiors; Captain Stroud, nor the Director General and most certainly not to her comrades. Nor would she admit how nervous she was. Especially since the Director General himself was leading this mission. It was one thing going through the rigorous training, thousands of different drills, learning about a rather unforgiving and almost unbelievable enemy, but another facing the real thing.

“What you are trained to do, agent,” replied a tall, handsome and greying man, also in the specially adapted tactical uniform and another P90 held to his chest, the Director General, Duncan Ryan. There were no markings on his uniform to suggest he was the Director General, even Captain Stroud had no markings. It was a safety thing; the enemies they faced were generally extremely intelligent, so they weren’t allowed any advantage. They even practiced T42 frequently; another member pretending to be the leader, just in case.

“Does this mean…” the woman started, but the man stopped his stride abruptly and turned around to look at her, giving her a stern look. The young Officer stopped herself and instantly fell quiet as her superior’s eyes searched her own.

After a few seconds, he spoke, “I suggest you leave the questions to me, is that clear?”

“Yes, sir.” She nodded, suddenly holding her posture authoritatively.

“Good, you will all find out soon enough what is going on,” the man said, and waved the woman and the rest of his team into the van. The door had been opened by Captain Stroud at the front of the group, who had a large black yet neatly trimmed beard to match his large dark sideburns underneath his own tactical helmet. “Briefing in the van.”

The woman climbed into the back of the van after the rest of her comrades, settling into a custom-made seat next to a man with bright red hair and a nervously worried face that could compete with her own. The Director General was the last to get in, shutting the van door behind him, plummeting the vehicle in eerie silent darkness and before her eyes were able to adjust to the sudden change, the van lurched forwards to take them to their destination.

The woman’s eyes fell on the outline of the man right by the door, clearly seeing he held his posture authoritatively himself, as he stared out into space. The woman wondered if he, the Director General, was just as scared as the rest of them, because she had a horrible feeling this wasn’t a drill.

Click here to read the next chapter!


If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

My Proof copy arrived!

I got a lovely surprise this morning, the proof copy of my soon-to-be published book ‘It’s My Mistake’ arrived this morning! 😀

I’m so glad it has, because that means that I can now review it properly and finally put it up for sale!

Before I opened it though, I set up my camera and decided to film myself opening it. 😀

You can watch the video here:

Opening my first published book!

Will post a link to where you can buy it from once it’s live, so watch this space! Let me know if you’d like a signed copy. 🙂

Also, feel free to check out my other works here on WattPad:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16

Making slow progress…

I’m going to make this blog post short, as I appear to have acquired a rather large headache after my hospital appointment…

But I just wanted to update everyone on my progress with my books…

So, I have finished editing my book ‘It’s My Mistake’ and it is going live on Amazon! I have a proof copy heading my way, which I will need to check before commiting it to going live.

I know it hasn’t been professionally edited, and believe me, as a perfectionist, it’s something that is really bugging me! But I just want to get something tangible and real. Something that I can put on my book case and push me to continue writing more…

It’s my first book, I’m not expecting it to be perfect (although I did try!)

But now that that has been finished, I can focus on my next project; my book ‘I fell in love with a psychopath’.

Which is a story that I’ve really enjoyed writing and I had to put aside, not only due to lack of time because of all my commitments, but I wanted to focus on getting ‘It’s My Mistake’ done first.

But my main project, the one that I have been developing for well over a year now, that one I will be going back to very soon too! And I’m itching to get into it!! But I’m trying to give enough time between the last time I looked at it and when I get back to it, because I want to read through it with fresh eyes. It’s my main one, the one that I want to be perfect, because the idea is just too good to mess up.

And that’s right, I’m talking about my Rose Garden Sanatorium Series! 😉

So, that’s all for now.

My apologies for my lack of posts, I’ve been extremely busy with university work and trying to get a job for after I graduate this year. Been having a few issues with uni (there was a strike last month and my tutor has been a little ‘difficult’ to work with lately).

Now I’m off to update WattPad with a few edited chapters of ‘I fell in love with a Psychopath’.

Feel free to check out my work here: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16