Halloween Special – Rose Garden Sanatorium Sneak-Peek

Prologue

*
Sam Chaudhary

A large swarm of pigeons suddenly flew up in a panic, disturbing the long since settled dust. Their wings echoed as they clapped in the vastness as if they were applauding the perpetrator that spooked them. Most vanished out through the large hole in the roof. A few others nestled elsewhere; atop of an old door, or the other side of the room bobbing along the floor in fear.

They were originally hiding safely in a derelict building. A building that many years ago once held many people; doctors once walked around in white coats, holding patient records and stethoscopes hanging around their necks looking important. Nurses would have rushed around with bed pans and other equally rudimentary items, wearing aprons with large red crosses on them and with their hair pinned back into tight buns. Patients would be seen in straitjackets screaming at the top of their lungs when they were due for more sedatives.

The building now, however, was eerily silent—yet if you listened close enough you would swear you could hear a distance ghostly scream. There were scattered red bricks from the broken walls, broken windows boarded up from the outside and graffiti clinging helplessly on the peeling walls. It was obvious the building was no longer in use.

The pigeons made the boy jump as he walked into the open hall, he had accidentally spooked them while he side stepped past a weed, a bit of nature that had decided to reclaim the area, his foot knocked a loose brick which had caused a loud noise to echo. He stopped to regain his breath and slow his beating heart.

The boy was young, his round slightly tanned Asian face still had a hint of baby fat lingering in his cheeks and his short dark hair complimented his dark brown eyes. He stood holding the zipper on his jacket, close to where his beating heart sat pounding in his chest. His jacket was slightly dirty from months of use and not seeing the inside of a washing machine. It was his favourite and deemed lucky jacket, it was dark red with black trim around the collar and cuffs, contrasting with the blue in his jeans, which were slightly too long for his legs, evident from the fraying at the bottom, where his brand new Nike trainers would catch them when he walked.

It’s just an old building, he thought to himself, hoping to calm his nerves as he looked nervously around himself. There are no monsters! he added, sighing deeply.

He remembered what his mother would say to him every night when she would tuck him into bed. That was when he was younger, of course. He was far too big now to be tucked in at night. He was twelve and a half, thank you very much. But his mother’s sweet voice automatically filled his head; ‘Monsters aren’t real, beta,’ she would say. ‘Beta’ being the Hindi word for ‘son’. She would do that occasionally, adding in Hindi words into sentences, she didn’t want him to lose his Hindi roots.

After composing himself a little, feeling a little more confident no monsters were going to jump out and eat him, he decided to continue moving onwards and through the vastness of the open hall.

The quicker I get it, the quicker I can get out, he thought to himself as he climbed over a fallen wall, the broken red bricks threatening to pierce the skin on his legs.

He walked quietly and as quickly as possible to the other side of the hall to another corridor, the smell of urine potent in this part of the building. As he neared a door separating the hall from the corridor ahead, he also noticed another smell lingering in the air, yet he didn’t think much of it; he had a job to do.

The door, mould threatening to consume it from the bottom upwards, was leaning awkwardly against the corridor wall, one hinge still attached, the other not. Although he was sure his friend told him he’d have to open a door at the other end of the hall? Maybe it just fell down since his friend had been there?

The boy looked down the corridor to another door at the far end. The street light that was originally illuminating his way wasn’t reaching this far, but he could see the last door he needed to go through… he was nearly there.

He walked slowly, stepping over some broken glass and side-stepping past an old chair left discarded and lonely in the corridor, while feeling proud of himself for getting this far.

But something made him stop; a sound. He could hear someone muttering, and it was coming from that room beyond the door. He realised that strange smell was stronger here too. He certainly wasn’t imagining it. He couldn’t place what the smell was, but he knew it was some sort of incense, it reminded him of his Aunt Mysha.

He stood still for a few seconds, in panic. He knew if he ran away now, he’d have his friend telling him he was a wimp for not getting the item he was supposed to get; that damn brick. But if he stayed where he was, and whoever was on the other side of the door was a murderer or something, he’d be dead.

The muttering started to get louder as he stood there, the person was talking louder now, and the boy realised it was a woman’s voice. Spiked with curiosity, he couldn’t help but walk towards the door slowly and quietly. Maybe, if he got close enough, he could hear what she was saying.

The closer he got, the louder the voice got, but not just because he was getting nearer, she was getting louder. Now able to hear her, he started to realise that she was repeating something, although he could not work out what she was saying, she was speaking a foreign language. The only word he picked up was ‘mammon’ or something similar.

What is she doing? he thought. And what language is that?

He crept closer to the door, his curiosity getting the better of him. He was now right by the door, if he just peaked through the gap, he’d be able to see into the room. He could already see shadows dancing across the walls and floor, there was some kind of light and a waft of that strange incense smell too.

The boy shifted his weight slightly on one leg, so that he could peer round the corner of the door, the room slowly came into focus. There was indeed a woman; she was dressed in all black, had one hand up in the air as if she was waving to someone and the other held something burning. She was now shouting, which the boy was grateful for as he was worried she would have heard him by now otherwise.

He saw a brick laying in the middle of the room on the floor, it had a very delicate carving of a strange symbol on its side. It was the brick he was tasked to get. It was right next to strange criss-cross of white lines and circles markings on the floor, directly in front of the woman. He knew there was no chance he was going to be able to go in the room and get it without being noticed. But before he could turn around and leave the building empty-handed, a strange cloud like object started to form before the woman.

Transfixed on the sight, he watched as it swirled and swirled, getting bigger and bigger, until suddenly it somehow imploded and vanished. But it didn’t vanish into thin air, it vanished into a crack, a crack that had formed in thin air. The woman stopped shouting now, the room fell eerily silent. The boy found himself going rigid, not just out of terror, but worried about making a sound.

Suddenly, the crack started to open up from the other side, it was as if something was trying to come through, like a rip in fabric. But he could see the other side, where the room was beyond it, there was nothing there. The crack started to get wider and wider and a terrifying clawed red hand reached through. The boy’s eyes went wide and he held his breath as he saw the red hand tear the crack open up in one swift movement and the whole red body attached to the hand climbed through, horns, tail and black leathery wings included.

The boy let out a squeak of terror accidentally and covered his mouth with his hand, but it was too late, the monster and the woman turned round, both staring right at the boy, both with the same horrifying pitch black eyes.

Monsters were real.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you’d like to read some more, here is the link to WattPad: https://www.wattpad.com/…/124077410-rose-garden-sanatorium

P.S. This is the book that won the Earnesty Writer’s Awards Paranormal Genre.

1. Rose Garden Sanatorium NEW (2)

Dealing with low days

With only 4 days left until I pick up my hire car and drive down south to start my Master’s Degree, I had to help my parents put boxing in the loft today.

My parents wanted their spare room back so all my stuff, that I’m not taking with me, had to go into boxes and up into the loft out of the way.

However, one of these boxes, the heavest one, which we had to take a few things out in order to get up the ladder, fell out of my mother’s grasp and hit me in the side/back (right into my rib) and knocked me over.

As a result, and the stress around getting these boxes up into the loft, my mood suddenly plummeted.

I’ve been fine for a while, with my mental health. But for me, it’s vital I DON’T get low, because if I do, it take a lot to get me back on my feet again. I don’t have a huge support network and as such this makes me feel worse. On good days, it doesn’t bother me, I feel independent and don’t care, but it’s not good on low days.

This is also difficult for me as a writer too. How can you pick yourself up to continue on? When you feel like everything is shit, you feel like there’s no point. It’s days like this that you could really do with someone to give you compliments, praise, well wishes, etc.

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[Image Source: https://www.juicylucydesigns.com/products/you-absolutely-did-it-flipping-well-done%5D

As well as the low days, having this mental health issue (I suffer with depression and anxiety), it can affect even every day things. I worry about saying something wrong and upsetting someone, I don’t do well in social situations and putting myself out there can be difficult (not just with my writing, but interacting with people) and as a result of the support network (or lack of), this also affects how I interact with people.

And low days… makes it so much worse!

So, I’m writing this post for awareness, so people out there not only know a little more about me and my stuggles at becoming an author, but anyone who reads this will know… you’re not alone! Please do connect with me if you, like me, need that little bit of encouragement because you suffer with mental health issues or would generally like to know more!

Have a lovely Sunday everyone!

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[Image Source: https://www.soumo.eu/yellow-happy-sunday-flowers/%5D

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*

 

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Awards!

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Awards!

Firstly, I just want to thank Kim (writersideoflife.com) for the nomination! Please do check out her blog! 😀

Secondly, I am new to the Liebster awards, so I’m not 100% sure what it is about, going to do a little bit of research into it now, but wanted to write a blog post first to share my excitement!

From what I can tell, it’s an Award to help bloggers get recognised, which would be brilliant… getting readers is definately something that has been difficult, not just on my blogs, but on my writing works too. There have been times where I have nearly given up… (I think I did at one point, but then came back to it) but I have tried to push, posting snippits of my books, updating people on what I’m doing (like my student life as well as my current adventure on the Isle of Skye – watch out for my next blog post, going to write about my little tour I did Saturday!) in the hope it’ll eventually pay off. I know a lot of people say to engage with others, and every now and then I really do try! It’s just so difficult when you’re extremely busy all the time! I know if I tried a little harder trying to talk to others more (I do suffer with anxiety, so that hinders me) then I’d probably be in a better position by now.

Anyway, the Liebster Awards, check this link out to read more about it: https://theglobalaussie.com/liebster-award-2018/

Here’s a pretty picture of, what I guess, is the official Award Logo… (the flowers look very similar to the ones on my published book cover; ‘It’s My Mistake’! 😀 )More-Flowers

What makes me passionate about blogging?

One of the questions it asks me to write about for this Liebster Awards is ‘”What makes you passionate about blogging?”, and to be honest, this is a really easy question! I know a lot of authors blog mainly to just get more people to see their work, and I don’t like being a typical person trying to follow trends. You don’t see me making up pretty pictures of books to post on instagram (the app doesn’t even work well on my phone!) and I dislike these serial twitter-ers(?) who seem to post and repost similar posts about famous quotes, silly pictures, or – of course – their books and other people’s books (I will admit, I’ve tried this, but I find it doesn’t really help, and I feel kinda ‘fake’ so don’t like doing it).

But why do I blog? What makes me keep blogging? Even though I may not get a lot of views? Even though it takes so much of my time and I could be spending it writing or doing something else (sleeping!) instead?

And the answer to these questions, and the question “what makes me passionate about blogging?” is that I want to get my story out and I want to help people, even if it helps one person!

You may or may not know, but I have a bit of a unique ‘story’ to my life, I was ‘The Girl Who Whispered’ at school. To put it in short… I was bullied (not just by kids at school), I suffered with depression, anxiety (including social anxiety), I had so many bad days (and good days, I cherish them ones now), I was on and off medication, lost friends, fell out with family members, and I want to use my own experiences, by talking about them, to help others.

I also like to write (stories, novels, posts, etc) and include topics that should be talked about, to get people thinking… topics of sexuality, gender, discrimination, meaning of life, metaphysics, psychology, you name it, it’s probably in my books.

So, that’s why I blog. Because even if I don’t reach many people, if I reach one person and that one person takes something away from it, helps them, even if it just lifts up their mood a little, or shows them they are not allowed when they suffer, or just engages them to think about a certain topic, I feel as if I have done well.

Ten Random Facts about Myself:

Here’s another one the Award requires you to do, ten random facts about myself. Let’s see…

  1. I’m from a large town (large enough to be a city) called Swindon in England, born and grew up there.
  2. I don’t have a favourite colour – everyone always has a favourite colour, but I don’t. I don’t like the idea of having to have a ‘favourite anything’. I like most colours… so why do I have to have a favourite one? Although, I’m not keen on pink.
  3.  I don’t like English food… okay, that’s not entirely true, I don’t mind English food, but I much prefer foreign food, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Italian… they’re much more flavouresome!
  4. I’m 30 in November, but I don’t look it. I’m constantly being mistaken for being younger and I hate it!
  5. I have a BTEC National Diploma in Software Development. I quit my Higher National Diploma. I wish I didn’t.
  6. I’m one of those rare people who dislikes strawberries!
  7. I wanted to be a mechanic when I was a teenager, my dad convinced me to do Programming instead.
  8. I grew up with dogs, my mum and dad had a dog (retriever) when I was born and was my guardian while I grew up. They now have two boxer dogs who are mad.
  9. I have green eye envy (I love people who have green eyes and wish mine were green! They’re not, they’re blue!)
  10. Last one… let’s make this good… I owe Noel Edmonds a coffee! 😉

Nominations:

Another thing I need to do is to nominate a few people/blogs for the award too, I think this is going to be a diffiult one as I really don’t know many people very well, so here goes…

Here are my nominations… should you choose to accept it!

  1. First, of course, I want to nominate Kim for just nominating me and giving me the chance to take part in the Liebster Awards. Thank you, Kim!
  2. Second, I want to nominate my good friend Martin. He has some lovely poems that have some really amazing thinking points to them that I think everyone should at least think about the topic he’s trying to convey.
  3. Thirdly, I want to nominate Luke, who I believe deserves more credit! He’s a fellow author like myself and it’s been a pleasure to speak to him. So many authors out there aren’t interested in actually talking, helping you out, or generally encouraging you, but Luke is!
  4. Fourthly, I want to nominate Raymond. He too has been a lovely guy I met from just being an author myself. He’s been a great help, and it’s always a pleasure to talk to him… especially when he seems to have some similar weird interests just like me! 😀
  5. Lastly, I wanted to nominate Darnell. The reason for this is to just say a small thank you for liking a few of my blog posts about my books/writing, it’s so nice to know they are being read and enjoyed, it’s encouraging, so thank you! 🙂

Here are the rules:

What to Do if Nominated for the Liebster Award

Back in 2011 the rules were a simple case of acknowledgement of the nominator and to nominate 5 more. Now in 2018 it is a little more involved and will continue to evolve as blogging becomes more accessible.

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, or you chose to start a blog post about the Liebster award; you should do the following:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) At the bottom of this post, I’ve included a whole lot of images you can use for your 2017 Liebster Award.
  3. For the 2018 Liebster Award, I will be shaking things up! Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (Again this year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award the award.
  6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link to this post.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  7. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or mine if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it! Post a comment in the comments below so I can view your post and check out your blog. I personally visit each and everyone. I visited a few hundred last year!!

If you have been nominated before at any time please share the love. Many people believe the Liebster award is similar to a chain email/letter and sure it shares similarities but the underlining idea is to help promote each others’ blogs.

Here’s a link for you: https://theglobalaussie.com/liebster-award-2018/

Answers to previous Questions:

Here are my answers to the few questions that Kim has asked:

  1. If you could have any job, what would it be?
    Easy, write! It’s a dream of mine to be able to just write, whether it’s writing books, short stories, or blogs. I’d love the freedom to be able to earn money writing and travel at the same time.
  2. Your best book?
    My best book that I wrote? Or best book that I have read? Well, best book that I wrote (although it’s not yet published, I’m waiting to hear back from a publisher!) is my Rose Garden Sanatorium series (book 1 for now, shall we say). I pretty much live it, the books, story, plot line, histories and characters are constantly in my head. I wish they were real and I could actually live it.
    Now, if this question meant “best book I have read?” then that would have to be Harry Potter. I know, cliche much? But they have really helped me out through my teenage years, helped me through a tough time and I have a lot to thank for the escapism in Joanna Rowling’s books! – Although I am now an obsessed Harry Potter fan and I am hoping to collect at least the first book in all the languages!
  3. What is your best blog post?
    I think this one is now! Haha. If that’s not a good enough answer, then I’m not sure. Each and every blog post has a meaning, and like I said, I don’t have favourites! Haha! But I do love my Rose Garden Sanatorium Chapters I have posted in blog format (Chapter 1 is my favourite! 😉 ) mostly because I love the book I wrote, otherwise, if that doesn’t really count, then I have to say “Standing up to Bullying – don’t stop the dreamers!” is the best, because of the message it is trying to tell (feel free to check it out!)
  4. Which one celebrity would you go on a coffee date with?
    Ha, well, I already owe Noel Edmonds a coffee (Ironic that this is a question when I put this as a random fact about me already!) but one person I’d love to have a coffee date with, other than Noel, would be Tom Hiddleston. I’m not one for celebrity crushes, I’ve always found the conversations with girls/women about ‘hot celebrities’ boring and I can never join in (I’ve since come to realise that I may be Demisexual) but there is something about Tom that I adore. He’s not only a brilliant actor, but he’s a lovely guy and well educated (I’m also a Sapioxesual too!). Although I’m not happy that he hasn’t replied to my fan mail, nor did he turn up to my birthday when I invited him and the rest of the Avengers a few years ago (haha!!) Here’s hoping for my 30th birthday this November, might try again. XD
  5. What is your dream holiday?
    I’ve been quite fortunate that I’ve travelled a lot, Egypt, USA, Thailand, Singapore, worked in Australia, currently on the Isle of Skye working and exploring now. I’m a huge travel fan, there are lots of places I’d like to go, and each one really depends on why I am going… is it a break from the winter weather? Is it a break to relax from working? Is it an adventure because you’re bored and want something exiting in life? Right now, I’d like to visit California, I’d like to see what it is like there to live as I’d like to one day move somewhere warm because I get ill when I get cold (Thanks, Fibromyalgia!)
  6. Your top 3 favourite movies?
    Resident Evil, Constantine (which is a huge inspiration for my book ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’) and Law Abiding Citizen.
  7. Do you write to music? Why or why not?
    No, I think I tried it once, as I love singing, but I’m not sure I was any good, so never really tried it again.
  8. What would you prefer ? Going back in time and changing something or going ahead in time and exploring your future?
    Ooo, tough question! I don’t think I’d want to change anything, because who knows if I accidentally make things worse? You’ve all seen the Butterfly Effect, right? And I’m not sure I’d want to explore my future either… what if it’s not what I was hoping for? But seeing as the latter only affects myself and the other is too greater risk to going the wrong way, I’ll rather go ahead and explore my future.
  9. How many languages do you speak?
    Two. English and Bad English. 😛 I did try learning Latin a while ago with Cambridge University, and I know a few Chinese words (Nin hao!), and I would LOVE to be bilingual. Just never had the time to practice (I know it sounds like an excuse, but believe me… I have to force myself not to do too much, I am always overdoing it!)
  10. Why did you start blogging?
    Well, I wanted to get my story out, open up the world to what it was like for me growing up and having to battle my demons… I wanted to inspire and help others!
    (Plus, someone told me it’s a good idea for writers like myself to blog, so I gave it a go!)
  11. Do you prefer poems that rhyme or not?
    Yes, poems that rhyme, in time, along a line… (sorry, not very good writing poems!), I find them more pleasing to read/listen to. Although, I’m not a huge poem fan anyway, I can appreciate them, the thought gone into them and the message (if any) that they are trying to convey.

My questions for my nominees:

  1. Tea or Coffee?
  2. What’s your favourite colour? ( 😛 )
  3. If you won a million pounds, what would you do with it?
  4. What’s your favourite book?
  5. If you could speak to anyone (dead or alive) who would it be?
  6. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
  7. What genre of books do you prefer?
  8. Do you prefer hot summer weather or cold winter weather?
  9. Do you collect anything? If so, what?
  10. What fictional place would you most like to go?
  11. If your life was a book, what would its title be?

Once again, thank you to Kim for the nomination, and good luck to everyone who is entering into the award!

All the best… (going to make something to eat now, been trying to get this blog post finished and my stomach is trying to communicate to me now…)

~Penny. x

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Copyright ©2020 Penny Hooper
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the author.
Penny Hooper has asserted her right under Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This story may contain sensitive themes that some readers may find difficult to read.
These themes include, but are not limited to:
Scenes of a sexual nature
Strong language
Rape / sexual abuse
Alcohol abuse

Chapter 1

“Mrs Mark?” I heard someone call. My head shot up from my mobile phone.

Miss! For the last time, it’s Miss! I thought from within my panic.

I groaned and stood up from the uncomfortable plastic chair that I was sitting on and walked extremely nervously towards the two beady and judging eyes that were staring at me.

The woman who owned the eyes held open the looming door for me to walk through. It was the same door that people before me had walked through and had eventually reappeared looking scared shitless but with a mix of relief that the torture was over. I trudged through it self-consciously and into the room that laid in wait.

I woke up feeling fine this morning. Better than fine, I was excited. I knew I had this meeting, it had been circled on my calendar for weeks. I counted down the days. I deliberated for hours, if not days, over what to wear. I had my hair cut the weekend before. I’d even had my nails painted, not something I was too keen on doing. It was a waste of money in my opinion. But I wanted to look the part. Have every chance of acing the day. I told myself over and over that I would ace the interview and I would finally get a job in a hotel. A job I have wanted for years!

But after watching those worried and upset looking faces pile out of the room I was about to enter, my confidence slowly disappeared. These people looked way smarter and even more confident than I am before they entered. I was way in over my head.

Especially when I had this obnoxious woman finally give me the usual up-and-down look like she had given all the others. Maybe the casual yet slightly formal look wasn’t the best look to go for?

After the hours I had spent in front of the mirror, risking running late for my interview, I had finally decided on this look. I had gone through a number of dresses; from really smart dresses to dresses with those girly plaits in them. I tried a dress with a cardigan, a dress with a blazer. Until I realised it was a little cold and wet today in London, and tights didn’t seem to be working for me. So, I settled on trousers instead. But smart trousers looked too smart, jeans looked too casual. My expensive black shirt I got from a Debenhams sale that was now two years old, also looked too formal—I looked like I was about to go to a funeral. My pink blouse seemed too girly and gave the wrong impression. Even plain t-shirts looked too casual. It took me three hours to finally decide.

I walked in, nearly tripping up as my heel caught the edge of a carpet tile and I stumbled into the room. I felt the palms of my hands go instantly sweaty.

I was being stared at by three faces. Silently judging no doubt. One of the faces was of a woman with pursed lips and glasses with a thick rim hanging onto her thin nose, her hair was short and wiry, as if attempting to look young and hip but failing miserable. Next to her was a slightly younger person, a man this time, but still much older than myself judging by the greying hair on the sides of his head and his thinning hair on top. I would have said he was in his late forties. But the other man had caught my attention; he was handsome. A thick square jaw, cleanly shaven, piercing blue-grey eyes under a small mat of dirt-blonde hair. He also wore a curiously wicked smile on his face as if he was amused by my appearance.

You and me both fella.

I stole a glance at myself in the reflection of the large mirror wall behind them. I looked stupidly under-dressed suddenly. I should have gone for a dress. Or maybe my trouser suit that I had left discarded on my bed. I was wearing black jeans, purple court heels and a plain black t-shirt with a deep purple blazer over the top. My long brown hair looking a mess because I had been sat running my sweaty hands through it nervously.

“H–hi,” I stuttered, when I realised no one was saying anything. Maybe it was up to me to start this interview? Maybe this was part one of the test? Had I failed already?

“Mrs Mark, it says here that—” started the older man with the greying and thinning hair. He looked down at some paperwork in his hands as he spoke.

“Miss,” I corrected confidently, interrupting him speak.

The man looked up from the paperwork and glared at me. I felt my palms getting sweatier. “Excuse me?” he frowned at me.

“I–I’m not Mrs Mark, I—” I started, but got interrupted.

“You’re not Mrs Mark?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at me. “Then, who are you?”

“No, I mean, I am, but I’m not—” I got interrupted again.

“Deborah called for Mrs Mark, why have you come into this room if you are not Mrs Mark?”

“No, wait, you misunderstood!” I panicked. This was going terribly wrong already. “I’m single, I’m not—”

“That’s good to know,” the young handsome man suddenly said. I glanced at him and saw he now had a large grin on his face. I gulped. Was he grinning at me?

Yeah, probably because I am an idiot for even thinking I could get this job.

“Look, whoever you are I suggest you—” the woman started, but she got interrupted. Not by me though.

“What’s your name?” asked the handsome man, sitting forwards on his desk and curiously staring at me as if he was talking to me and ignoring the others in the room. I felt suddenly warmer than usual. His bright grey-blue eyes were gazing right into mine.

“It’s Miss Mark, not Mrs.”

The woman and the older man both sighed in union as the young man gave out a hearty laugh.

“Why didn’t you say that then!” snapped the woman.

“I tried…” I sighed.

“You just assumed she was someone else, Mirren,” said the handsome man, sitting back in his seat, looking casual yet confidently business-like. But his searching eyes had not left my face. “You just assumed that she came in here after someone else’s name was called and didn’t give her enough time to actually explain. In fact it is our mistake for wrongly assuming she was married, it can actually be highly offensive.”

The older woman sat up straight suddenly and looked visibly upset that she had been caught out being rude to someone, even the other man looked a little taken aback, his face even went a little pale.

“But she did just stand there and stutter!” the woman named Mirren started to defend herself. “All she had to do was say that her name was Miss Mark and not try and hit on the men in this room by telling them she’s single!”

“I don’t think—” the older man started, but got interrupted. This time by me.

“Excuse me!” I snapped. I knew this interview was pretty much ruined now anyway, so it was pointless trying to be nice to these people, and I certainly wasn’t going to let them get away with insulting me! “I walked into this room feeling a little self-conscious. I’ve been looking forward to this bloody interview for weeks. I really want this job, so I was a little nervous!”

“Dressed like that?” the woman whispered and snorted a little, after composing herself from being spoken back to like that. I don’t think she intended me to hear her.

“I’ll admit; looking at how overly dressed you lot are, and the other unsuspecting idiots out there, who have dressed in suits, I do feel just a tad underdressed and out of place. But I didn’t want to be one of those in-your-face suit dressed women in high heels trying to show off my tits to get the job”—I realised too late that my voice was getting louder—“but after meeting you, I feel that actually I’m not right for this job, and my full and undivided commitment would be wasted here in this company and I’d rather find another hotel that accept me for my experience and drive and not because I wore a suit that I’d be stupidly uncomfortable in anyway!”

I span round and went to leave the room without another word, but something else got my attention; the carpet tile I nearly tripped on, it was clearly poking up looking frayed and menacing waiting for its next unsuspecting victim to trip on it. I wondered how many people had already nearly tripped over this obvious health and safety risk. “And for fuck sake, sort these damn carpet tiles before someone trips and hurts themselves!” I finally stormed out of the room without another word.

~~~
Updated: 13/09/2020

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

If you’re interested in reading more, it’s now available in e-book and paperback.

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To Blog or Not to Blog, That’s the Question

I’ve been having difficulty actually motivating myself to write a blog, it’s not been easy. I think, personally, the reason why it’s not been easy, is because I don’t get a lot of ‘traffic’ through it. But then, if I don’t blog, I don’t get traffic.

I’ve been using Twitter a lot recently though, and at first, it has been brilliant, I love making new connections, even go as far as new friends, meet new authors, learn a few things along the way. But, in terms of actually marketing my work, it’s not been the ‘best’ place to go.

You may plug and plug at your book, but at the end of the day, most of the people on there, are authors in a similar situation as you are! So, why would any author want to actually buy your book, when they’re trying to sell theirs?

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to buy each and every one of their books, and if I ever get recognised, I probably will, just to help them out! But I can’t right now, I don’t have a job, I haven’t got a lot of money coming in (literally only £300+ a month, which I’ve been saving as much as I can to buy a car!) and I’m not sure I have an awful lot of time reading while I’m doing everything else anyway.

So, I’ve had to put myself aside and give myself a darn good talking to. Right, Penny, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. And, yes, I’ve come up with a few ideas, one of which, is that I have decided to publish ‘It’s My Mistake’ on Smashwords, so that’s currently going through another review. But so far, that’s been a good idea, I’ve already had one sale on there, it only went up yesterday!

But the other idea is to blog more!

Now, I have been blogging already, on this new and upcoming site called Steemit (I will blog about this a bit more later) where you actually can earn writing on it! I gave it a go after a good friend of mine suggested it, and it’s been good so far. In fact, I’ve earnt a little bit of money on it! (How to cash out on that money is another question! Still trying to work that one out, but it is possible! It’s just cryptocurrencies, I’m a noob!) And it’s also given me motivation to blog more.

At first, when I realised I was getting more people interested in that – well, they would, they get a cashout if they like/comment on a post themselves! I realised, hey, I can just use Steemit!

But, it’s still new, so not everyone knows Steemit! So, I have decided to push a bit more on Word Press, maybe even write posts like I have on Steemit and see where it goes.

So watch this space! I may very well blog about Steemit itself, if you are interested in knowing more about how to earn money writing (I think I’ve earnt nearly $400 worth of Steem Dollars, which is about the same as US dollars, but don’t quote me on that!) I will also be blogging about my books! Maybe even a sneaky chapter or two!

Thanks for reading! Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Coming up with Character names…

I’m quite new to being an indie author, so I’m still learning, I do read a few blog posts from others or do a LOT of researching on the internet into best ways to do it, but most of the time I learn along the way.

But one thing I do find that irritates me is coming up with new character names! I wonder how other authors do it, so I figured I’d write about how I personally come up with new character names.

Well, first off, I have a few ‘names’ that are my favourites, don’t ask me why, as some are just random and just stuck with me for no reason, others there are a deeper story that I cannot go into depth about in a simple blog post!

But some names that stuck with me are ‘Alex’ – I love the idea it can be used as either a female character or a male character and I also love the idea of the character being thought of as male and then, whoops, no she’s female! My mistake!
‘Jason’ stuck with me, that’s a long story! But that name probably features a lot in my work – he’s a main character in my book “It’s My Mistake” and he’s also a small character in my upcoming “Rose Garden Sanatorium”. Different people though of course.

Maybe. 😉

Other names that stuck are ‘Taylor’, ‘Hensley’, ‘Morgan’ and ‘Alyssa’.

Don’t ask about the Hensley, I just came across it and it stuck with me.

But of course, stories usually involve a lot more characters and not every book can have the SAME names! So how do I come up with names?

Well, there are four things I do.

  1. I make up a name, think of a name that’s common, or maybe not so common, and as long as I don’t know someone that doesn’t like me, by that name, that they might think ‘hey, she’s used my name!’ – So, some generic ones I’ve used, ‘Dan’ (I know lots of Dan’s, but I figured Dan is too much of a common name so it doesn’t worry me), ‘Sam’, ‘Rebecca’, ‘Olivia’ to name a few.
  2. I research names! My novel ‘It’s My Mistake’ I used names from disney books/films for two of the female characters! Alice being one, I wonder if you can figure out the other?
    Rose Garden Sanatorium has a LOT more research into names, one of the main characters ‘Belphegor’ is a name from Peter Binsfeld who created a list in the 1500s, based on the seven deadly sins, Belphegor is one of the Seven Princes. There are other demons too that I’ve ‘borrowed’ their names and used the information supplied to shape their characters. Even demon species (Legion for example).
  3. I use names that mean something to me, for example, the main character ‘Taylor Brown’, I ‘borrowed’ her last name because I am a big fan of Dan Brown’s books. Another character ‘Mr Cox’ because I am a fan of Prof. Brian Cox (and physics/astronomy of course!), and I’ve also used names from close friends!
  4. Random name generator! They’re ace! Want a common name – no problem. Here’s a list! Want an uncommon name – no problem! Here’s a list! Want a sci-fi name – no problem! Here’s a list! Want a vampire name – I think you get the point!

Regardless of this though, I still find it difficult to come up with names. I feel that I don’t want to be too boring with selecting names (i.e. Dan is such a common name) but I don’t want to go over-board and use such wild and crazy names that the story isn’t believable!

It also depends on the type of story – using common names in a sci-fi book might not be very clever, but using them in a story that is more real-world might be okay.

I also try to use names that aren’t typically British – e.g. Tiffany is more an American name, so I deliberately used that in ‘It’s My Mistake’ to give that character more of an American background. Although I tend to avoid any discriptions that label the character as American other than the name because I don’t like the idea of singling out people based on their background! There is one character in ‘It’s My Mistake’ that is actually African but I’ve not once mentioned they are black. Not because I was worried about discrimination, but because I didn’t see the need.

Anyway! So, that’s how I come up with character names!

It works for me!

And to be honest, sometimes if I haven’t quite figured out what the character should be called, I just add little [name] tags in, continue writing the story and fill in the gaps afterwards! (e.g. [name] walked in to the dank dark bar and was instantly struck by a rancid smell…)

If you’re interested in my books, ‘It’s My Mistake’ is now out on Amazon!
www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0731KDJLZ

Rose Garden Sanatorium to follow soon!

https://www.facebook.com/RoseGardenSanatorium/
https://pennyrosehooper.wixsite.com/pennyhooper
https://twitter.com/penny_hoops
https://www.instagram.com/penny_bones16/

New Indie Author…

So, last night I decided to go through my novel “It’s My Mistake” one last time and I finally committed to posting it up on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing!

I had to go through it a few times (in preview mode) to make sure the formatting was kept. As apparently a few times it didn’t like a page-break or a line-break. But hopefully after a third attempt it should be okay!

It’s now currently in a Review stage, which I was told can take up to 72 hours, so hopefully by Friday evening it should be ready to purchase and download!

It’s currently only in e-book format – so it can be read on a kindle app. But if it does well, I will be looking at putting it on Amazon in paperback format! 🙂

And it’ll currently be sold for £1.99 (or $1.99 for USA/Canada readers). Currently only available in UK, Gernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Australia, USA and Canada.

Onwards to finish my next book Rose Garden Sanatorium! 😀

My new book “It’s My Mistake”

I had some sound advice a while ago, about publishing my book.

If you don’t know what’s been going on with this book I was writing, let me just summarise quickly… since January I have been writing, editing, developing, sleeping, eating, breathing.. this book idea which I named “Rose Garden Sanatorium”. I was so invested in it that I’ve come up with such a plot that it spans 5 books.

BUT, after realising that a story is judged by it’s cover, I approached a British Company that design covers and they recommended that I should start my venture by publishing it online in e-book format first.

The problem is, I’m not sure I’m comfortable doing that just yet with Rose Garden Sanatorium. And because I’ve put so much effort into it, I don’t want to mess it up! So, I’ve started writing another one, although ‘slightly’ different to Rose Garden Sanatorium, I’ve (nearly) written a book called “It’s My Mistake.”

“It’s My Mistake” is about a woman; Alice, (I’ll admit, she’s loosely based on me – but the old Penny when she was naive and slightly vulnerable) who decides she wants a career change. Of course, she would love nothing more than to work in a hotel! She’s not been having much luck of course, since she has no experience, but she ends up getting an interview with a company called ‘Global Elite’. Although, she messes up the interview and rushes out! Deciding that she maybe should just go back to care work, she get’s a mysterious call from someone, and it turns out to be that hot guy on the interview pannel at Global Elite! And what… he actually offers her the job? And… there’s more! Alice, realises that this guy actually has the hots for her! And not only that – he’s the manager not just of the hotel, but of the whole Global Elite Enterprise! She realises that her bad luck has finally stopped and she not only has a new job finally working in a hotel, but she’s now seeing one of the most successful men in London! But… and of course there is a but… things come crashing down for Alice, when she thought they couldn’t get any better… her relationship with this man, Dan, isn’t exactly what it seems and her world turns upside down again! Especially after accidentally bumping into the mysterious and alluring handsome guest at her hotel!