It’s My Mistake – Chapter 2

If you’re new to the story, please read chapter 1 here.

~~~

“Alice!” my startlingly beautiful, long blonde haired friend gasped in shock. Her gorgeous blue eyes twinkled at me, her mouth slightly ajar in surprised after I told her the train-wreck of an interivew I had yesterday. “You did what?”

“I know! After all that, I told the woman outside to fuck off too,” I said, before burying my face in my hands and groaned.

Olivia and I were sat in a café round the corner to where she worked. I decided to meet up with her before her shift started and I had explained what had happened with the interview from start to end in surprising vivid detail. Well, leaving out a few details; like the handsome man that was behind the table. That was something Olivia would have wanted to know more about rather than the interview itself. She had a bit of an obsession with men.

I liked Olivia, she was the closest thing I had to a best friend. She was originally my roommate for a few months after I moved to the city. She had a small spare room for rent, and luckily she had it up for quite cheap too. We hit it off quite quickly, which I was extremely surprised about. She was a beautiful blonde girl, only a year younger than I was, and was extremely outgoing. I was the complete opposite, but she was surprisingly easy to get along with. Our little arrangement only lasted a few months though, I had found out she was actually renting the apartment herself and wasn’t actually allowed to rent out the other bedroom. The landlord had kicked us both out and we had to go our separate ways. But our strange friendship lasted.

“That’s amazing! At least you fucked it up in style!” she giggle hysterically.

“It’s useless! I’m never going to get a job in a hotel! Maybe I am better off going back to care?”

“Don’t be silly, there are still loads of hotels out there, or maybe you’re better off starting somewhere smaller? Like a hostel or something?” she said, touching my hand in sympathy. “Just don’t yell at the interview panel and tell people to fuck off!” she suddenly smiled.

I groaned again. I realised after having a good long think about what I had done—the whole Miss/Mrs mistake—there was still chance to salvage the interview; just laugh it off as an administration error. But no, instead I decided to yell at people and storm out like a spoilt brat.

Plus, to make matters worse; I really wanted that particular job. Yeah, the role was just entry level, probably only filing and paper pushing. But the company was supposed to be a really good company to work for. I heard rumours that people who started at the company would be well looked after and they really helped you progress. I had dreams of going far in the company. I needed to go far in the company. I needed to prove myself. It was also a social enterprise too, so it helps the community, something that had caught my attention in particular. Global Elite, the company was called. That hotel was just one of two in London, and one of, probably lots around the world. I had done a bit of research, hoping my knowledge of the company and its history might have won me some brownie points. Not that I even got that far.

Olivia open her mouth—probably about to comfort me in her usual sarcastic way—but closed it when my mobile phone rang loudly next to me. I stared at the caller ID but I didn’t recognise the number. It wasn’t a saved contact, so I didn’t rush to answer it. Besides, I had a feeling I knew who it was.

“Aren’t you going to answer it?” Olivia asked, her well-manicured eyebrow rose at my curiously.

“No, it’s probably Simon,” I replied, still staring at the mobile as it danced and sang at me.

“I thought you like Simon?”

Simon was my ex. Well, he was and he wasn’t. We didn’t officially break up. I just walked out on him a while back and stopped talking to him. I guess that consitutes as an ex. We weren’t together for long anyway. Either way I didn’t tell Olivia the whole story. In fact, I didn’t really tell her anything. She didn’t even know I had stopped seeing him. She didn’t exactly ask.

“I did.”

She watched me silently for a few seconds as if trying to digest a hidden meaning in those two words. “Then what’s the problem?”

I sighed. “I’ve stopped seeing him,” I explained, and Olivia’s eyebrows rose together this time. “He came across… desperate,” I continued, when Olivia didn’t say anything.

Olivia burst out laughing. “Maybe he was just horny and wanted to get in your knickers?”

I gave her a look, which was supposed to be a don’t-be-so-gross look, but she clearly read it wrong. I hated the word ‘horny’ and Olivia knew it.

“Wait!” She gasped. “Did you two—”

“No!” I snapped. “I didn’t sleep with him!”

I had told Olivia that I wanted to wait, at least until I knew that he and I would go far in a relationship. Plus, I was a little shy in that department. Unlike Olivia, I wasn’t so confident. But I guess it was a while since I last spoke to Olivia about Simon. Knowing Olivia, she probably thought I did sleep with him and that was why I dumped him.

Olivia just held her hands up in defence. “Can’t blame me for asking, he is fairly attractive. I would. Even if it was just for a quick shag.”

“Olivia!” I gasped in shock at my friend. Although I wasn’t sure why I was still so shocked, she was always like this. But Olivia was a young, beautiful blonde woman, and she always had men after her. I was just lucky that I met Simon on my own and not when I was with her. I had visions of him going off with her instead. “You know I’m not like that!”

She shrugged. “Nothing wrong with it.”

“The guy wanted a serious relationship, not just a quick shag,” I said, lowering my voice slightly so the couple on the table next to us wouldn’t hear me. Which was pointless, they had clearly overheard Oliva. She was so embarrassing sometimes.

“I know, I know!” She nodded. “But you should at least consider it, you never know, you might enjoy it!” She winked.

But I ignored her, my mobile rang again.

“Hey, if it is Simon, wouldn’t it come up on your phone as Simon’s number?” she asked, pointing at the phone.

“No, I deleted it,” I said.

“You deleted his number from your phone?” she asked, her eyebrows rose again.

“I know, it was a mistake. I forgot I did it and he tried ringing me. I accidentally answered it, not realising it was him, until I heard his voice wheezing down the earpiece—”

“Wheezing?” Olivia asked, looking confused.

I shrugged. “Sounded like he was wheezing, maybe he’s asthmatic?”

“Or he was—”

“Don’t!” I said, stopping her saying something crude that I really didn’t want to hear. I knew she was about to say something crude, it was the look on her face that gave it away. She just laughed. “The point is, I ended up having to block his number in the end because he kept rining and kept for—” I stopped. I had Simon’s number blocked. He couldn’t ring me! I looked at the mobile which was still ringing.

“What?” Olivia asked, clearly not getting why I stopped.

“I have Simon’s number blocked!” I said. “He can’t ring me!”

“Then answer it!” she said quickly. “It might be another hunky desperate man wanting a shag!”

I ignored her and picked my phone up from the table, but just before I was about to answer it, it stopped ringing. I groaned.

“Well, I guess he’s got fed up and found someone else!” Olivia chimed, and took a sip of her coffee.

I ignored her and continued to look at my phone. I was quietly trying to decide what to do. Maybe if I sat and waited for a bit, the caller would ring me back, or maybe leave a voicemail. I liked the idea of someone leaving me a voicemail, if they gave me a hint of who they were, I could decide whether I wanted to ring back.

But after a few minutes ticked by on my phone, no one rang back and no voicemail was left. So instead I decided to ring the number back. Olivia’s attention was on something else—or shall I say, someone else.

“Hello, this is Daniel’s phone. Jason speaking,” someone with a rather lovely deep voice said on the other end of the phone. I didn’t recognise any of the names; I didn’t know a Daniel or a Jason, nor did I recognise the voice.

“Err, hi, I just got a miss call on this number?”

“Ah, yes. Dan did look a little flustered while trying to ring you. Let me find him,” the deep male voice said. I said a qiuck thank you but I got interrupted when I heard the same deep male voice yell in the background; “Oi, you cunt, you have one of your bimbos on the phone asking for you!”

My face dropped and I hung up quickly. Clearly not someone I wanted to know anyway. I silently hoped neither of them rang me again. Annoyingly, Olivia hadn’t even noticed what had happened.

~~~

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I also recently had my hair cut off for charity! Read about it here!

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Happy Birthday! But why do we celebrate?

Hello my little demons!

For those of you who know, it was recently my 31st birthday!

I remember for a friend’s birthday one year, in true Penny tradition, we had the discussion of where birthday cakes came from (although I cannot remember the details), and wondering over other birthday traditions.

Since my birthday was recently and I was deliberating options of a blog post, I thought it fitting to talk about where the celebration of birthdays came from

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So I did a little bit of research.

Birthday celebrations isn’t Christian!

… In fact, the Church considered celebrating birthdays evil!

Forgive me if this is inaccurate, as I am by no means well versed when it comes to the bible. But I happened across an interesting article [1].

In the bible there are a few mentions of celebrating birthdays. In the book of Genesis, the Old Testament, the first mention was of a Pharaoh, the Egyptian king. It is said that God told Joseph in a dream, that the Pharaoh’s butler and baker would lose his life. Three days later, on the Pharaoh’s own birthday party, the Pharaoh hanged his baker at the party.

The second account, this time in the New Testament, Herod the tetrarch made a promise at his birthday party which he did not want to keep, this resulted John the Baptist loosing his life.

The third and final account is found in the book of Job. Job’s seven sons “went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and drink with them”. During the birthday party of Job’s oldest son, God allowed Satan to kill all ten of Job’s children with a tornado.

The article then continues to discuss that Job spent his time cursing his birth, the author says “his words make plain that there is nothing good about the day of a man’s birth”.

What is interesting is that these were interpreted by the writer in the article from the bible, s/he continued to explain “the central lesson of each of these accounts” and that those familiar with the accounts “ignore Job’s comments”.

Of course, this is just a single article, writen by a single human person on a website, a clearly religious and devote Christian and is just his/her interpretation of what is in the bible.

In fact, another website [2] explains that there is no hint that it was wrong for the Pharaoh or Herod to celebrate their birthdays, not does Scripture discourage Christians from celebrating birthdays.

But it is said that birthday’s weren’t celebrated by Christians until the 4th century. This was because birthdays were tied to “pagan” gods, and due to the belif that humans were born with “original sin”. [3]

Of course, it’s possible Christians changed their minds about celebration and began celebrating the birth of Jesus (hello, Christmas!) and let’s not even get into the idea that the Church may have done this to cover up the Pagan celebration of Saturnalia.

So, when did celebrating a birthday first start?

Actually, I’ve technically already answered that question.

The first mention of a celebration of a birthday was in the bible! The Pharaoh’s birthday! Around 3,000 B.C.E (before common era).

But, it’s interesting to note here, that this birthday was not the birth of a man, but birth of a god. In Egypt, when a man was made Pharaoh, it was believed that he was reborn a god. And of course, what is more important than a man’s birthday but a god’s birthday? It’s therefore possible this reference to the Pharaoh’s birthday was actually his coronation.

Where did birthday cake come from?

Celebrating birthdays with cake was first found in Germany in the 15th century. Typically single layer cakes and typically for first birthdays, called Kinderfesten.

The birthday cake would have a candle for each year they’d been alive, and an extra one (usually in the centre of the cake) to symbolize the hope of living for at least one more year. A wish would also be made upon blowing the candles out.

Using candles on cakes, however, didn’t begin in Germany, this tradition dates back to ancient Greece, where they represented the goddess of the moon, the hunt and chastity; Artemis. The round cakes were a symbol of the moon with the candles a symbol of light.

The first birthday gift

Much like the first birthday celebration, the tradition of gift giving on a birthday is hard to trace back, and there are a few theories on where it originated from.

Of course, us humans have been avid gift givers for many many years, you could probably go back as far as the cavemen! But since there was no calendar back then, you couldn’t say this was for birthdays!

One theory is that the first birthday gift exchanges were seen in the first century AD with the Romans, “showering the emperor with gifts”.

Another theory is that birthday gift giving originated in Europe (although I’m unsure what time period). People believed evil spirits haunt a person on their birthday, and the way to ward them off was to present them with gifts (gifts were symbolic tools).

And of course, many Christians believed birthday gift giving began with Jesus Christ, the three wise men offering frankincense, gold and myrrh to Jesus when he was born (which can also be linked to celebrating and gift-giving at Christmas!)

Birthday Traditions across the globe

One thing that has interested me, as I know many people across the globe, including my brother’s girlfriend who is Thai, is that birthday celebrations are different in many different countries.

My brother’s girlfriend, for example, doesn’t typically receive gifts for her birthday (although she got a little something from Scotland from myself and my parents!) but she does celebrate the day.

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Typical birthday here in the UK

Here in the UK – at least from my own experience – children are given gifts of toys, books, chocolates, sweets, sometimes clothes and other foods as birthday presents. They might have a day out to celebrate their birthdays or a birthday party at home or at a venue with family and/or friends.

As we get older, not much changes, although many people aren’t so bothered about celebrating lavishingly. Usually the 16th, 18ths, 21st are big birthdays. Including any new decades such as 30th, 40th, etc.

Smashing cakes and sweet sixteens in the US

In the United States, it’s similar to the UK, although they do a few things differently. One such difference is the sweet sixteen birthday party, originally a party to celebrate a girl’s coming of age. Although sometimes a young boy can celebrate. These birthday parties can range from the smaller quieter ones to the large one with DJs, make-up, expensive gowns and ballrooms.

Smashing cakes is also a typically US tradition, where extra cakes are baked specifically for children to destroy.

Candy filled Pinata in Mexico

Another common one is hitting a pinata (usually a colourful horse shape made out of papier-mache) filled with candy and small toys. Originating from Mexico, the birthday boy or girl hit the pinata blindfolded with a stick. I’ve seen this celebrated in the US at times too.

A country-celebrated birthday in Vietnam

In Vietnam, they do things very differently. Rather than each individual celebrating their birthday on the day they were born, the country has a day called ‘Tet’. This day allows the country to celebrate their birthday on one day, regardless of their actual birth date, they add one year to their age. Children typically get a red envelope containing “lucky money” (li xi) by their parents on the morning of Tet. What’s more, Tet is also Vietnam’s New Year.

Strange scare and pie in Switzerland

I certainly wouldn’t want to visit Switzerland for my birthday, as parents will hire an evil looking clown to scare the birthday boy or girl. After a day of stalking and tormenting, sometimes for a few days, the clown will put a pie in their faces. Supposedly all this is meant to bring health and happiness!

Reverse gift giving and bad luck in Russia

In Russia, rather than the birthday boy or girl getting gifts, it’s a tradition that they instead are the ones to give the gifts. It’s also seen as bad luck to celebrate their birthday before the birth date, it’s thought that you are most weakened and vulnerable on the eve of your birthday.

Long noodles in China

A chinese tradition for a birthday person is to eat a plate of long noodles, they are meant to symbolize longevity; the more you are able to slurp into your mouth before biting the longer you are thought to live.

There are many others, from ambushing celebrators with butter on their noses in Canada, to upside-down birthday bumps in Ireland. Each country certainly celebrates differently!

I know I have a few places I’d like to go to on my birthday now (and a particular day, in the case of Vietnam) and at least the one place to avoid (Sorry Switzerland!)

The Queen has two birthdays!

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Her Majest Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland (and other commonwealth realms), has two birthdays!

One birthday, April the 21st, is the Queens real birthday, usually celebrated by a series of gun salutes around London (Hyde Park, Windsor Great Park and the Tower of London!) but other than this, it is mostly celebrated privately.

Her other birthday, her “official birthday”, usually the first Saturday in June, is also on ‘Trooping the Colour’, this is a large birthday celebration, where the Queen and other members of the Royal Family parade through London on horseback and carriages. The display closes with a fly-past organised by the RAF, watched from the Buckingham Palace balcony.

It’s not just Queen Elizabeth II either, it’s a tradition by many British monarchs, originally started by King George II in 1748, who had the misfortune of being born in November (I feel you King George!). Rather than having his subjects risk getting ill, he combined his birthday celebration with the Trooping the Colour.

How did I celebrate my birthday?

This year I celebrated my birthday with my mother in Edinburgh.

My parents bought a night stay in a hotel for myself and my mother, so on the Friday we travelled into Edinburgh (I actually had a job interview that day in Edinburgh, killing two birds with one stone, as they say) had a lovely meal in a Thai restaurant in the city in the evening, went back to the hotel for a drink in the bar and had something for desert (not many options in a Thai restaurant!). The next day my mother and I were up, went for breakfast, did a little bit of shopping along Princes Street, walked up to the castle along the Royal Mile, back down and found a pub called “The World’s End” and had “The World’s End” bitter, before heading to Marks and Spencers for something for dinner (and to-go lunch) before heading to Waverly station to get the train home.

All photos are my own. Copyrighted to myself, Penny Hooper.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to check out my other blog posts!

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…

Samhain, All Hallows Eve and Ghost Stories – Halloween Special!

Douglas, South Lanarkshire – A Hidden Gem

Living in Australia – Part 1: Breakup from hell and Brisvegas

Best places to visit in South Lanarkshire

The HALO Trust: Safe Steps – Challenge Complete!

I won! I came first in the Earnesty Writer’s Awards 2018 Paranormal Genre!

My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

References:

[1] The Restored Church of God: https://rcg.org/articles/abcc.html

[2] Should Christians Celebrate birthdays: https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-birthdays.html

[3] GoodNews, Celebrating Birthdays: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/history-of-birthdays_n_4227366?ri18n=true

The Connected Traveller, Birthdays around the world: https://www.travelsim.net.au/blog/2016/10/06/top-10-birthday-traditions-from-around-the-world/

Cool Traditions around the globe: https://www.bustle.com/articles/136530-11-cool-birthday-traditions-from-around-the-world

Seven traditions around the world: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/52335/7-birthday-traditions-around-world

The Origins of Birthday Candles: http://www.mebondbooks.com/2017/01/23/the-origins-of-birthday-candles/

Why do we give gifts on birthdays: https://giftsforsomeonespecial.com/why-do-we-give-gifts-on-birthdays/

How do Russians Celebrate birthdays? https://weirdrussia.com/2015/05/17/how-do-russians-celebrate-birthdays/

Birthday celebrations are not special for everyone: http://silverinternational.mbhs.edu/v163/V16.3.04a.birthday.htm

The Queens two Birthdays: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/64887/why-does-queen-have-two-birthdays

Trooping the Colour: https://www.royal.uk/trooping-colour

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 5

Note: If you’re new to the story please read the Prologue here!

Chapter 5

Officer Jennifer Finley

Finley stared into the darkness of the van, trying to concentrate on the noises she could hear. She listened to the hum of the engine, the tires rolling along the tarmac, the occasional squeak from the van’s suspension, the traffic noise outside which she unfortunately couldn’t see and the sound of the pedestrian crossings after the van had come to a stop at a set of lights. It was an attempt to ground herself, to overcome her fears and to slow her beating heart, but it wasn’t really working. There might have been noises outside, even the occasional noise inside from one of her colleagues giving a cough, but they were unsettling her even more. The silence inside the van was eating away at the inside of her head, the world outside was going about its daily business not knowing the potential storm that may eventually hit them.

She had started to consider the option of bolting for the van door to her right, deciding that she wasn’t cut out for the job after all. But she had a feeling Director General Ryan wouldn’t even let her get that far. She wouldn’t put it past him shooting her right in the face to contain her.

“As you may already be aware by now,” started Captain Stroud, his accent a deep Scottish from within the dark confined space of the van. “This is not a drill.”

Finley could feel the ripple of silent panic within the metal cage. The van had come to a stop, possibly at a set of traffic lights, she wasn’t sure. She was glad for Captain Stroud to break the silence but was also dreading what would come.

“This is a Code 139,” he continued. Someone let out a small gasp somewhere in the van, she wasn’t sure who it was, and neither would Captain Stroud and the Director General, but she knew they wouldn’t be happy.

“This is indeed the real thing!” beamed a voice next to her; the Director General had started to take over, a hint of annoyance in his voice. “This is…” he paused as the van lurched forwards again, a rather unfortunate time to move. “This is what you are trained to do!” If it was even humanly possible for it get even more nervously silent in the van, it had. “We are headed to a site of a possible Code 139. We do not know how many we may face or what type. But this is why we have drills! Remember the Rules!”

There was silence in the van again, the silence that Finley now welcomed more than the Director General speaking.

“Is that clear!?” The Director General made Finley and the man sat next to her jump.

“Yes, sir!” everyone spoke in unison.

“Just like every Code 139 drill, the mission is to secure the site,” continued Director General Ryan. “The road has been cordoned off by police, both civilians and the police have been told it’s a gas leak. No one except us are allowed in or out. The shops and flats above have been evacuated. It is my responsibility and my responsibility alone to close it, you all will sweep the area. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir!” everyone said with a little more confidence.

Finley wasn’t sure what she was expecting after that little speech, words of encouragement maybe, but the sudden silence afterwards felt even worse than before. She resisted the urge to speak out or hum to fill the silence. She instead went over the Rules in her head and mentally recalling every item that was on her person.

***

A black unmarked van stopped outside an old building. A building that appeared to have been boarded up and unused for years. The sign that ran the length of the front door read ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’.

The group hidden inside filed out of the back of the van one by one. Director General Duncan Ryan was first out of the van, who looked up at the building while waiting for his team, followed by his Captain. Each of them dug into their utility pouches to dig out a small air-tight plastic box, took out a pair of two specially designed ear-plugs and put them in their ears.

The front of the Sanatorium sported a very Victorian style front; with its large front arched door and large arched windows boarded up, the exterior mainly a red mason brick, the window frames painted white, parts of them were falling apart due to the years of neglect, ivy climbed up the side of the building, right next to where there was a black mesh fence that hid the back garden from the street and snaked its way up until it hit the moss covered slate tiled roof.

Officer Finley had read about this Sanatorium in old secret government files. It was a typical Sanatorium really, but with a bit of a dark history. A dark history that resulted in its early demise. Most derelict buildings gave her the creeps, but this one in particular raised the hairs on the back of her neck. Standing in front of the Rose Garden Sanatorium now, seeing it in person, she felt an unusual disgust for the old abandoned building. It might just look like an ordinary building, with an unfortunate history, but it was the current situation that made her nervous.

She looked back at her superior and noticed he was just standing outside looking like he was composing and preparing himself for what may lie on the other side.

Or did he know something they didn’t?

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!

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November…

…The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason,
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holla boys, Holla boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!

(Rhyme found on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot_in_popular_culture)

This is one of the Rhyme that has accompanied the Guy Fawkes Night festivities over the years.

But who is Guy Fawkes? And why is there a day to remember him?

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(https://www.mildenhall.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/273258/remembering-guy-fawkes-and-the-gunpowder-plot/)

I’ll keep this blog post short, so in order to get it published on the actual day (5th of November), so unfortunately I won’t be delving too deeply into this one. The majority of this, most people will know, at least those from the UK.

In 1605, Guy Fawkes, a member of the English Roman Catholics, and a group of others, conspired to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

The reason for this ‘plot’ was because a few years ago, Queen Elizabeth I, who had recently died, wasn’t very tolerant of the Catholic religion. And it was hoped the new King; King James I, would be.

Apparently not.

So, Guy Fawkes and 12 others, proposed the ‘Gunpowder Plot’.

The plan started with renting lodging close to the Houses of Paliament, in the hope to tunnel through to the buildings. But due to the thick walls (because, of course, the River Thames was so close) this wasn’t possible.

But the men were somehow able to acquire a cellar within the Houses of Parliament and they smuggled, over time, 36 barrels of gunpowder.

The gunpowder was to be ignited by a long fuse, which would be lit by Guy Fawkes.

The plot was discovered by an anonymous letter sent to Lord Montague, a House of Lords at the time. This letter was only meant to save the Lord himself.

However, on the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes was found in the cellar, along with the 36 barrels of gunpowder and equipment to light them and arrested.

Unforutnately for Mr Fawkes, he was tortured and hanged a few years later.

Over 400 years later this little piece of history is still remembered. Many people in the UK, residents and large event organisers let off fireworks to celebrate this day.

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Firework display over London’s River Thames (photo from: https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/attractions/bonfire-night-fireworks-2019-london-best-displays-a4278811.html)

~~~

If you liked this blog post, you may also like:

Samhain, All Hallows Eve and Ghost Stories – Halloween Special!
Douglas, South Lanarkshire – A Hidden Gem
Living in Australia – Part 1: Breakup from hell and Brisvegas
Best places to visit in South Lanarkshire

Also, don’t forget to check out my written works!
New Story idea! – Butterfly House
Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue
Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Happy 3 Year Anniversary – Sorry I’ve been quiet!

Hey guys,

So, I logged into my Word Press account today with the intention of writing a post, seeing as my last post was Halloween, I figured I ought to write another one!

But I logged in and realised it’s my 3 year anniversary on Word Press today! Yay!

I much apologise for the lack of posts, if you have been following me on Word Press and/or on my social media sites, you’ll know I am completing a Master’s Degree and it is extremely demanding. That, and I finally have a social life again… it’s difficult to keep up with anything writing related. Although I have promised myself to get Rose Garden Sanatorium finished this year! Might even do a bit of editing today.

So? What’s new? Other than the string of reports I have to write for this Master’s Degree, I have managed to sell a few copies of my currently published books (in e-book format on Smashwords). Both were ‘accidentally’ put up for free on Smashwords, it was supposed to be a New Year sale, but on Smashwords, they were free… although I think on the other sites Smashwords put them up for sale, they weren’t free, so I did get a bit of money from the sales. I let it run anyway, as it’s nice to get some more readers and hopefully some new reviews!

They’re both currently on sale (e-book). It’s My Mistake is currently at $0.99 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/744287

I Fell in Love with a Psychopath (e-book) is: $1.50: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893044

If you’re more into paperbacks, then you can buy them both here:

It’s My Mistake: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Mistake-Penny-Hooper/dp/1985376709/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I Fell in Love with a Psychopath: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1722710365/

I also got a new review for I Fell in Love with a Psychopath, my first one on Amazon, and it’s a 5 star. Although the reviewer said “A fantastic 1st novel”, which isn’t true, it’s my second. 😛

Oh, and I won another award! This time for my Short Story “My Normal”
https://www.wattpad.com/650286458-%E2%98%80%EF%B8%8Fsolstice-awards-winners-2018%E2%98%80%EF%B8%8F-%E2%98%80%EF%B8%8Fshort-story

Also, click here for a sneak peak of my book Rose Garden Sanatorium

And if you like videos, check this out!

Follow me on WattPad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/penny_bones16
Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PennyRHooper/

I won! I came first in the Earnesty Writer’s Awards 2018 Paranormal Genre!

I know this is a bit of old news, so those of you who follow me on my other platforms might have already known this… but I haven’t had the chance to write a blog post until now! (University has been really challenging the past few weeks, but luckily I have three weeks off now!)

Anyway… so, about a week ago I got a message on WattPad to say I won an award!

I won Number ONE in the Earnesty Writer’s Awards (best in the Paranormal Genre!)

IMG_20181001_081108

(This is the sticker they gave me)

I am super chuffed! They even asked me for an interview! I’m keeping my eyes open for it, but it doesn’t look like it’s been published yet! (Unless I’ve missed it, being so busy… which is more than likely!)

https://www.wattpad.com/637321744-earnesty-writer%27s-awards-2018-round-two-results-v/page/3

Feel free to read part of the story here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/124077410-rose-garden-sanatorium

I’m now off to finish editing it so I can publish it in paperback! 😀

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.

Tired today, the rejection took it out of me…

…I think I need time to recoop and recover.

Yesterday, I got my first rejection letter. If you’ve not seen my previous blog post, read it here.

And although, at the time, it didn’t bother me, as I was expecting rejection, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise… I have however, had a few bad days with my writing now.

First, the fail with the Watty Awards 2018 knocking my confidence, then this rejection letter… and to make matters worse, I don’t have a lovely large support network. To keep it brief; a lot of my friends have drifted away from me since I have moved away (literally moved to the other side of the country!) and as such, I don’t have a large support network of friends and family picking me back up again. So, I have to pick myself up, just takes a bit longer.

Anyway, today, I am exceptionally tired. And, I think it’s because of the last few days of negativity.

Current mood:
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On the plus side, I read through a ‘favourite’ chapter of mine from my book; Rose Garden Sanatorium last night, before I went to bed, to cheer me up a little (as well as watching 2 Guns for a bit!) and I was surprised with myself at how well I had written it. Perked me up a little.

I’m also planning on looking into a few new ideas on marketing myself and my work a bit more. Using Instagram more (if it would work for me, currently not working on my mobile!), blogging more, might even look at submitting a short story.

Or… I might just take a break. When my Master’s Degree starts in October, I don’t think I’m going to have much time for anything other than university work and working part-time!

*Wishes on a miracle*

 

Fighting for Rose Garden Sanatorium!

Yesterday I got some ‘bad’ news. It wasn’t bad in the sense that I was faced with criticism, it’s more that I didn’t get through to the long-list on the Watty Awards 2018… I know it sounds silly, it’s just WattPad… and now that I have had time to evaluate everything, I do find it silly I was so upset, but let me explain…

When I was a young girl, I was very shy. I was so shy, in fact, that I was bullied at school. It affected me so much that I refused to talk. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it was a ‘cry for help’. This issue spread into my life at secondary school and the only way I was able to communicate with people was to talk quietly. I didn’t like to be heard, in case I was bullied.

I began The Girl Who Whispered.

Because of this, I had many issues, and my confidence was one of them. I lacked confidence. Long story short, I am forever trying to improve my confidence… becoming an author is EXTREMELY nerve-racking for me. I’m basically putting myself out there for criticism and when I’m faced with criticism, it is so much harder for me to bare.

Alongside this, I always doubt myself, I always think I’m not good enough, and when I don’t get a lot of ‘support’, I become quite despondent… I can also lash out and seem like I’m having a moan at people, when in reality, it’s not people it’s me. It’s my own insecurities.

Anyway, back to the WattPad Awards. If you don’t know what WattPad is, it’s an online community for writers and readers. You can read book for free, one chapter at a time, and writers can also use it to gain a fan-base for their work. It’s an extremely difficult platform to get recognition, and I’m slowly building up my ‘fan-base’ on at least a few of my works.

WattPad do awards, sometimes they’re little community driven ones from fellow WattPad authors/readers, but there are large awards that are run by WattPad themselves. The Watty Awards is one such large award.

I submitted my BEST work, Rose Garden Sanatorium to the award, I posted new chapters so that it had more chance of winning, I did everything by the book. I had a LOT of faith in it.

Yesterday, WattPad annonced their long-listed authors, those that go through to the next stage. Rose Garden Sanatorium did not make it. I was gutted. My confidence was knocked. I was doubting my abilities as an author. For me, this isn’t just a pin-pick in the side where I brush it off and get over it, my confidence was sorely hit, it felt like someone had slammed a door right in my face.

BUT… since a few people have been very kind, one person even said they’re surprised it DIDN’T get through, and another lady even said she was looking forward to it being published so she can have a copy herself to read… I’ve decided to push forwards and move on. I need to get this series done.

If JK Rowling faced lots of rejections… there’s still hope.

In the mean-time, my thoughts about WattPad aren’t the kindest right now… considering just deleting my account and focusing my attention elsewhere instead.

 

Copy of Rose-Garden-Sanatorium-full

Butterfly House – Chapter 2

Note: If you’d like to read the Prologue and Chapter 1, please find them here:
Prologue
Chapter 1


Chapter 2

The sound of music filled the air as a red Aston Martin Vantage convertible drove down a relatively busy road in the city centre of London, its roof down. The owner of the car, a young pretty woman with long brown hair tied back into pony tail, sunglasses and a large smile on her face, tapped to the beat of the song on her car door as she rested her arm out the window.

The car gave a bit of life to the street for a few minutes, the happy song filling everyone with joy, and the bright beautiful car turning most men’s heads, even a few of the women who either appreciated the car too, or were hoping to see a hot rich guy in the seat instead.

The woman grinned as a set of pedestrian lights turned red, signalling her to stop. She grinned because stopping the car was sometimes the best bit, being able to concentrate on the people around her and not the road, taking in their looks and agape faces as they stared. She winked at a young lad, no older than eighteen, but realised he probably couldn’t see her eyes behind her glasses so gave him a cheeky grin instead.

But just as the lad stumbled across the road, his cheeks going red, the music dulled and her car speakers were filled with a ringing sound instead. She sighed, looked down at her mobile which was on the passenger seat, recognising the caller ID, she pressed the answer button on her steering wheel.

“Hello, beautiful,” she said, making a balding middle-aged man look round in shock as he walked passed the car, and suddenly looking embarrassed when he heard another voice come from the speakers, knowing instantly that that hot woman in the expensive car wasn’t talking to him.

“Al, next Saturday!” said a woman’s voice.

The woman in the car, just as she started to drive off now the lights were green, gasped and said, “Have you realised you love me, so you’re leaving Dillon and running away with me?”

The woman in the speakers laughed. “Lunch, babe.”

“Ah, that’s the next best thing I suppose.”

“Is twelve okay?”

“Midnight?”

Another laugh. “Lunch at midnight?”

“You know me, I like to live life on the edge, thought maybe you were taking a leaf out of my book?”

“I’m in bed by nine these days!”

“That’s usually the same time I get up!”

“At night, babe.”

“Exactly!”

Another laugh. “Then what are you doing up this early?”

The woman in the car looked round at the time on the screen in her car, it read nine-thirty in the morning. “Haven’t gone to bed yet.”

Another laugh. “I can’t tell if you’re joking or not!”

“Sometimes I can’t tell either.” She laughed.

“So, you free next Saturday?”

“Will Dillon be there?”

“No, he’s working, just you and me.”

“That’s a shame, I’d quite like a threesome.”

“Allison!” her friend groaned, and she could almost see her friend going red from embarrassment.

The woman called Allison laughed, just as she saw a disgusted look from an old lady who was walking down the street as she drove past, clearly having overheard Allison. “I’m kidding!” she said, and gave a small pause before saying; “It’s all about foursomes now! Much more fun and no risk of someone missing out.”

Her friend groaned loudly. “I’m regretting booking this place now.”

“Where have you booked?”

“It’s that new place the other side of the city, beautiful willow trees in the gardens.”

“My house?”

“No.” Her friend sighed. “I can’t remember the name of the place.”

“Sounds exciting.”

“So, you free?”

“I’m always free for you, baby,” Allison replied. “I’ll even wear my kinky outfit.”

“I wonder why we’re friends sometimes, you know.”

“I pay you well.”

The woman on the phone laughed again, and then was cut off by sirens as an ambulance drove past.

“Where are you?” her friend asked.

“Victoria Street.”

“Oh god, you’re talking to me on hands free through the speakers with your top down again, aren’t you?”

“Yep,” Allison said, a huge grin on her face, as she stopped by another set of traffic lights. She glanced to her side as another car rolled up next to her. A rather plump looking couple in a beat up Volvo glared at her from within, the passenger; a woman with greying hair and a large mole on her chin, had her window down in the sun. “Oh, toats hot couple right next to me in traffic!” Allison yelled deliberately loud. “Shall I ask them if they want to have a foursome with us?”

“What?” said her friend on the phone, she must have not heard her or was momentarily distracted at work.

“Hot couple, three o’clock, say hi, Kathy!”

Just at the same time as Kathy groaned on the phone, the woman in the passenger seat of the Volvo went red and rolled her window up. Allison just burst out laughing.

“I have to go,” Kathy said, her voice sounding absolutely horrified.

“Don’t worry, you can have the guy, I’ll have the hot chick. Her mole is a strange turn on.”

“Allison,” Kathy groaned. “I have a meeting in five minutes, I’ll ring you later or something to give you the details for next Saturday.”

“Bollox do you have a meeting, you have an awful lot of them when you’re on the phone to me.”

“I was being polite.”

“Don’t be,” Allison said, as she started to drive off again. “Just tell me to fuck off, I don’t mind.”

“Alright, fuck off.”

“Well, I say!”

“Bye, Allison.”

“Love you, sexy.”

There was another groan before the line went dead and the music started to run back up, Allison just drove, singing along without a care in the world, as she drove towards the Wellington Arch.

***

Click here to read the next chapter!


Thanks for reading!
If you like what you read, please check out my other works.

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

I also have a book published, “It’s My Mistake” with 5-star reviews!

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1 – UPDATED

It’s also out in paperback where you can get a physical copy here!