Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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No Time to be Lax in November or is There..?

November 5, 2013

Lax – definition: 1. not strict or severe; careless or negligent; 2. loose or slack; not tense, rigid, or firm

English: "Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave"...

English: “Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave”. Google books edition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of us embarking on the madness that is National Novel Writing Month, we certainly do not have the luxury of being lax. Every moment writing/typing those words is precious.

However, our minds do need to be refreshed from time to time. If we focus too hard we easily become frazzled and ideas or flow can be lost. Take a break of some kind. Focusing on something else can spark a new direction or plot twist so don’t be afraid to leave NaNoWriMo occasionally.

That being said, I am escaping for a couple of hours this evening to enjoy the English tradition of Guy Fawkes. Bonfire, fireworks and good heartwarming food in the company of lots of expats. here in Alberta. Traditions for anyone are a link to ‘home’ no matter where you reside.

Just in case you are curious here is a link to Guy Fawkes: and the rhyme follows:

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I see of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.


Left to right the Conspirators.

Thomas Bates, Robert Wintour, Christopher Wright, John Wright, Thomas Percy, Guy Fawkes, Robert Catesby and Thomas Wintour

Traitor Alley…

October 20, 2013

Traitorous -definition: having the character of a traitor or double-crosser : treacherous

History shows many traitors around the world. Their actions were fueled by love, money or politics, no matter which, their deeds changed the course of history forever. I have noted a few but there are many more.

Do you have one to share? Have you written a traitorous character into a story?

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes plotted with a revolutionary group of Roman Catholics, to blow up numerous members of England’s aristocracy in 1605. Their reason was to loosen Spanish influence on British affairs, which they believed drained English resources. The infamous Gunpowder plot was foiled by authorities before it could be carried out. Fawkes was captured in the corridors beneath the Parliament building. Fawkes’ group were using a cellar under The House of Lords as a base for their plotting. Inside the small space was over 1800 pounds of explosives.

Guy Fawkes believed so fervently in his ideals that even under torture he refused to name his comrades. His punishment was to by hung, drawn, and quartered in 1606, but again he foiled authorities by jumping from the scaffold to his death.

Robert Hanssen

Hanssen grew up suffering abuse at the hands of his father in a dysfunctional home. His career began as a police officer in Chicago, however wanting to pursue employment as an FBI Special Agent he left in 1976. His involvement with FBI counter intelligence began in 1979.

His transfer to the Soviet espionage unit within the FBI in 1983 saw his true nature. With a vast knowledge of wiretapping, electronic surveillance and computers he managed to sell lists of FBI double agents and ‘moles’ to the KGB. For this information he received large amounts of money.

Hanssen’s activities were reported to the FBI by his own brother in law, Mike Hauck.  Hanssen is now serving a life sentence in a supermax facility in Colorado, ADX Florence.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda became a passionate activist despite her privileged upbringing in Hollywood. She involved herself in controversial causes and, in many eyes highly treasonous ones.  Nicknamed “Hanoi” Jane, she sympathized with the North Vietnamese. She actually posed with Vietnamese anti-aircraft guns, and “questioned” American POW’s about the “benevolent” treatment they were receiving from their captors. Even though the soldiers explained to Fonda they were being ill treated, and at times tortured, she would not believe it. Although, many veterans tried to have Jane Fonda charged with treason after the war, she managed to escape any real punishment for supporting the enemy during the Vietnamese conflict. Fonda now says she regrets her acts.


Julius Caesar’s, own nephew, Marcus Junius Brutus, helped a group of conspiring senators assassinate the self-appointed, ‘dictator for life’.  Brutus’ early life was as a lucrative moneylender before he joined the Senate in Rome.

It was rumored that the plot had been discovered on the planned day and many conspirators became wary. Even though his own wife pleaded with him to stay away, Brutus was undaunted. He lay in wait for his uncle, along with a group of senators, who attacked the dictator with their bare hands. Caesar is said to have uttered the famous quote, “Et tu, Brutus?” as he realized the depths of betrayal by his own nephew. The attack was so savage that the conspirators were injured in the melee.

As for Brutus, he committed suicide after losing the Second Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C.

Wang Jingwei

Wang Jingwei was born in 1883 and is considered the greatest traitor in Chinese history. At 21, he went to school in Japan. It was there he met Sun-Yat Sen, a famous Chinese revolutionary. Jingwei began to participate in plots against the government, including an abortive assassination attempt on the Manchu Regent in Beijing, under the influence of Sen.

Sun Yat-Sen’s Guangdong government rose to power in 1920 but it was not a long reign.  In 1925, Sun lay on his deathbed and named Wang his chosen successor. However, Wang could not hold onto power, with Jiang Jieshi’s military faction usurping him the same year.

Wang began his traitorous dealings with the Japanese government when Nanjing fell to the Japanese in 1937.  In a notorious telegram, he detailed his support of Japan’s plans for an armistice. Jingwei was expelled from the Chongquing government.  Wang died before the defeat of the Japanese by Allied forces in WWII.

The Rosenbergs

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were affiliated with the Communist Party quite openly until 1943. Quite suddenly they seemed to retreat from any political activity. In that same year they joined forces with Soviet super spy, Feliksov and Julius became deeply involved in espionage against the American government. He acted as a mule for covert information exchanges with the Russians, and also sought out new recruits to betray and spy for the USSR. He was selling atomic secrets to the Russians during the Cold War

Rosenberg and his wife, Ethel, were executed on June 19, 1953.

Aldrich Ames

Ames traitorous activities were for one reason and one reason only to get money. An alcoholic with a second wife, Rosario, who spent lavishly, he used his position in the CIA to access information. Receiving an estimated 4.6 million dollars for his treachery, Aldrich, gave the Russians the names of American spies and other counterintelligence information, which compromised over 100 United States military operations.

Due to the information he revealed 10 Americans were executed as their covers were “blown”. Aldrich revealed the names of every US agent in operation against the USSR. However, his lavish lifestyle eventually raised red flags for the CIA. After his arrest he was convicted to life in prison and his wife, Rosario, was deported to South America.


A Modern Twist to an Old Plot…

September 15, 2013

Synonymous – definition: equivalent in meaning; expressing the same idea.

V for Vendetta

One of my favorite movies is V for Vendetta – it loosely uses the Guy Fawkes plot to over throw the British government but with a modern twist. The movie is set in England, which has become a fascist state. The hero wears a Guy Fawkes mask due to a terrible disfigurement. He has planned his retribution for decades and a chance meeting helps him free a young woman from her fears. Ultimately, his cause is celebrated by the people of the land.

English people celebrate Guy Fawkes’ failure every 5th November, with an effigy of him set atop a large bonfire and firework displays. Bizarre to some, I dare say, but it is a tradition. If Guy had succeeded in blowing up Parliament  in 1605 and murdering King James 1, the history books would read a very different story. Months later there was the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act, which enforced an annual public day of thanks giving for the failed plot.

Does your state, province, country or region have a curious tradition? 121001_Guy_Fawkes_night

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