Flash Fiction: Meet Charlotte Price- Smith #amwriting #character #preview #thriller #novel

It’s late on a Saturday night and if you’re indoors keeping warm like me, here is a little introduction to the main heroine in the current thriller novel I’m writing. I won’t say too much about her, I’ll let her introduce herself. It’s New Years Eve, and she’s on a mission to prove she is not guilty of murder. So who is?

 

Part One

 

CHAPTER ONE: CHARLOTTE—2014

 

  31st December 2014, 11:00p.m.

     I stare blankly at the familiar scenes on TV I’ve seen year after year.  It’s a chilly New Year’s Eve. Despite the minus degree temperature and threat of snow Westminster Bridge, and central London are packed with party goers, old and young, from near and far.  Happy faces of all races smiling for the camera, holding up their banners with Happy New Year! They’re all there to see out the old and welcome in the new. Something I’ve longed to do, clear out the old bitter twisted thoughts in my mind and welcome something new. 

  I tear my eyes from the TV and take in the surroundings of my small shabby room. It’s dimly lit with a bedside lamp and no bigger than a prison cell. Within the four walls house a single bed, a cheap plastic table with two chairs in the corner, a built-in wardrobe and a sink with a leaky tap. The walls were once a shade of magnolia—I remember, with all the years of chain smoking the shade has shifted to a drab shade of yellow.

     My room faces the main road opposite Kings College Hospital, London’s largest teaching hospital in south London, Camberwell. Peckham is to the west of the hospital and Brixton to the south of the hospital. Camberwell has never been a pretty place to hang around in, drugs, gangs, drunks and prostitutes are all part of the furniture in this part of town.  From what I’ve read in the paper Brixton is now up and coming, it recently opened a Costa Coffee shop and now has quant little cafes by Marks and Spencer. The new so called up and coming young working professionals over the years have invested mummy and daddy’s cash in the area. This has somehow lifted Brixton’s shackles of drugs, gangs, drunks and prostitutes— by day time at least.

      I’ve been rooted here in this same spot, a mental institute since the age of thirty. I’m now thirty -five. For the last five years, I’ve been confined within the four walls of a tiny hospital room in Mausely Hospital, ever since that day. The day my whole life changed, when I met Joseph and her.

      “Criminally insane” the prosecution labelled me as I stood on the dock at the Old Baily Crown Court, central London five years ago. I laughed at their accusation and refused to believe that I’m the insane one. As the years passed by, I often wonder, am I? Insane? Maybe, for falling in love with Joseph Andrew. Does that make me insane because five years ago I was a woman in love?

“Right then Miss Charlotte let’s get you sorted for the night, shall we?”

 The voice of my favourite nurse Patience breaks my thoughts, as she enters my room.  She’s a short heavy set lady in her early fifties with skin the colour of mahogany, her hair is always braided neatly and piled up on the top of her head. As usual she looks like she’s about the bust out of her uniform. Nurse Patience is the sister in charge of Rainbow Ward where I’ve spent the last five years.  I stare and blink at Nurse Patience’s thickly painted on eyebrows and bright gold lipstick with dark liner, I’m happy to see her. Over the years, I’ve grown fond of her, she treats me like a human being which was more than what the other nurses do.

 “Ah— ah Charlotte when was the last time you took a bath, and changed out of that ragged cardigan? Look at this room, cigarette ash is everywhere.”

 Nurse Patience opens her thick arms and gestures around the room for me to take note.

“Tomorrow we will start a new regime, being the New Year and all. Let’s start as we mean to go on OK?’’

     I look down at my ragged black leggings with a hole in the knee and my pink cardigan. Nurse Patience is right, I’ve not had a bath for days or even left my tiny prison cell room to socialise with the other patients. What is the point in a bath anyway? Over the last five years every time I look in the mirror I see less and less of my former self. I give nurse Patience a faint smile to acknowledge her comments about my appearance and living state.

“Cheer up girly.’’

Nurse Patience says as she leaves the door open, for safety reasons and approaches me slowly. She sits down on my narrow bed. Its springs give way under her heavy behind. Nurse Patience hands me my nightly medicine. Two Olanzapine tablets and a glass of water and watches me with enthusiasm.

“What is this, Lemonade? Patience I’ve not had this is a long time!’’

I giggle as I swallow the content of the plastic cup. Nurse Patience smiles at me with a warm motherly smile.

“Happy New Year Charlotte, and may this year be a better one for you.”

Nurse Patience smiles again and gives me a small wink, she lifts her heavy behind off the bed and makes her way to the door and calls over her shoulder.

“And Charlotte, tomorrow we are taking a bath ah— ha ok!’’

   I can’t help but feel a mutual warmth for her as she closes the door quietly behind her. Again I’m in solitude, alone on my stiff single bed sitting upright, I turn back to the TV it’s 11:30p.m. already.  I watch a pretty blonde female presenter on the TV wrapped up in a black hat, scarf and gloves walk along Westminster Bridge, she stops random members of the public to ask what brings them to Westminster Bridge this year.  I zone out of the TV conversation and roll a cigarette then head over to the mirror. In the dirty plastic mirror above the leaking sink I look at my reflection.  I’m greeted with a pale porcelain colour face, sunken in cheeks, greasy dirty blonde hair to my shoulders and dim green eyes.  I look every one of my thirty –five years and then some. At five— foot— ten now all I am is a tall thin and frail skeleton of a woman, I lost all my curves years ago.

I pull on my cigarette, as the nicotine hits the back of my throat I think back to my former self and my curves. I remember that’s what attracted him to me. My curves plenty of them for a white English girl he’d always say. A man likes a little booty to hold onto at night! He’d say with a cheeky grin and his gold tooth flashing. I’m less than half the woman I used to be.  Depressed at the reflection staring back at me in a bright pink cardigan from the local Scope charity shop along Camberwell New Road, I turn away and go over to the window. I stare out at Kings College Hospital and the main road. The main road is buzzing even more than usual with people. In my mind, I imagine they’re on their way to house parties, to see family and friends and of course central London to visit London’s famous Westminster Bridge fireworks display put on especially for tonight. I spot a group of girls in sky scraper high heels running past the hospital opposite me, to the bus stop to catch the number 176 bus, making its way down Denmark Hill. I smile as I watch them laughing and joking in their skirts and heels.

      I tear my eyes away from the group of girls and spot a couple walking up past the hospital toward Denmark Hill station. A black male and a white female are holding hands and well dressed for the cold weather in hats, scarfs and gloves. As he holds her hand he walks along with the natural confidence of a man with everything, his swag in his walk shows he’s full of confidence with his girl on one arm and their Nandos take-away bag on the other. She’s carrying a blue plastic bag a tell tell sign of a trip to the local off licence for cheap Lambrini wine and beers. The sight of them makes my heart stop. My mind races back to a place I’ve not been mentally for a long time. I move away from the window and glance at the clock 11:45p.m.

     I finish smoking on my bed, careful not to drop any ash this time in fear of what nurse Patience will say in the morning. I lay down facing the TV, my mind  races  as I  hear the celebrations, well wishes and the pretty presenter on the TV all in good spirits. The crowd around the bridge eagerly await London’s pretty firework display to bring in the New Year.

     The Olanzapine starts to kick in and relax my racing mind. I close my eyes and reflect on life and the events that brought me to this drab mental institution in south London.

 I’m Charlotte Price-Smith or was, should I say. I had a career and happy go lucky attitude. I was a nurse myself, a paediatric nurse at Lewisham Hospital south London. I loved my job, the kids, caring for others, no two days were ever the same. University and training were hard, throughout my nurse training days the one thing I hid well at the time was my mental instability. I was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic at the age of eighteen.  Even then, I hid it well until my best friend Tamara noticed the slashes on my arm and strange behaviour.

     My job had been stressful to say the least, back then I’d become reliant on mood stabilisers and sleeping pills. A heavy work load and up and down shift patterns  left me burnt out at times. I got through it with the support of colleagues and Tamara. Tamara had been my rock at times. I wish that she’d never moved south from London, to the south West coast of England to Cornwell, to practice medicine after qualifying as a doctor. Over the years our contact has reduced, every now and then I receive a letter with the familiar handwriting on the envelop, and my heart always skips a beat. Someone has remembered my birthday, or just wants to say hi would run through my mind, when an envelope arrived. Over the years, that someone has normally been Tamara. This is more than what my own family has ever done in the last five years I’ve been locked up in an institution. My family were in complete denial about my mental state prior to my life spiralling out of control, and are even more in denial now. Ashamed probably, that their only child  turned into a nut job, risked her life in some of the more rough areas of south London to make friends, just to be accepted and decided to date outside her race. The latter was a hard pill for dear old daddy to swallow. He imagined I’d end up with some stuffy upper classed white male from the medical field, and live a nice quiet life in the suburbs of Bromley. Mixing with “those people” in our neighbouring areas of Lewisham and Catford  will get me into trouble he’d say … it did.

    Five whole years have passed, and not one birthday or Christmas card arrived from my parents, not even a letter to see how I’m doing, cooped up in a mental institution. The ladies on Rainbow Ward as crazy as they are have become my family as well as nurse Patience of course. They accept me, love me and make me feel part of a family. It all stared back in 2008, when Joseph Andrew I and crossed paths at a club, I was on a girl’s night out with Tamara.  Tamara and I both know him from college. Back then Joseph and I were from two different backgrounds completely in our college days. I was the middle classed white girl and he the inner city black boy. 

All those years later when we met that night at the club, not much changed we were still from two different worlds—but I was drawn to him. Tamara warned me off.  The bad boys were trouble—especially Joseph Andrew she said. I couldn’t help myself back then.  We exchanged numbers that night at the club and met up for coffee the following Saturday morning. One thing led to another, I fell in love.

  I refocus on the TV and watch the crowd along Westminster Bridge cheer, when the ten second countdown begins, I bring my mind back to the present from my old life.  I stare at the TV in a zoned-out state. My stabilisers take full effect. I focus on the clock hands on Big Ben on the TV, as the crowd count down.

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 2015 flashes across the scene. I roll over to face the wall away from the TV. This is the year, I’ll do it, make everyone pay, I’m crazy yes but I’m not a murderer and the whole world will see why.

 

Oh wow! What will happen next?? Charlotte obviously has a score to settle with someone. But who? Find out in the next flash fiction preview!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Word Writing Prompt: Exposure

Exposure

One day late, yesterday’s WordPress writing prompt, this word sparked off a poem about exposing the truth. I wonder what the big secret is?

 

Eventually the truth will come out, it always does. I know your secret. So it should be no surprise when I  expose how the story really goes.

marks the spot, I know what happened there. And for the truth you all must 

Prepare. X marks the spot.

Over there, where the grass is now almost bare.

Sunken in. The x marks a spot of sin.

Under the tree, 

Reveals the spot in which he met his fate. I watched it all, one evening while sat quietly on the wall. The time has come, I know what you’ve done. I think I’ll make that phone call and be prepared to reveal all. 

Exposure, also means closure. I’m re-writing the end of the story, or should I say his story. So  you better get prepared because the truth I’m about to bare. You don’t know that I know, so for me  your dirty little secret will be my pleasure to expose. Then watch you run and hide, then rack your brain wondering how and why  the truth you could not hide.

Write 16 Chapters in 8 Weeks Can I do It?- Meeting Publisher’s Deadlines #amwriting #romance #thriller #2017

Clock

 

By now you all know about the romantic thriller I’ve had in mind for the last year, well I’m working on it full time now.  I have agreed to submit the full manuscript to a new publisher for January 2017! They have seen the first three chapters and want more :). Silly me, I’ve not got very far  as I’ve been too busy working on the final for Not Just for Christmas (done),and my short story for the charity book Code Red (done).

When I sent out my work on query to two publishers, I never expected to hear back so soon from either of them. Now, I need to write write write! It’s a good thing the month of November is the month of Nanowrimo – writers try to pen 50,000 words- in a month. Personally I’ve never tried but here goes. I’m on it now I am free to focus on it. The goal for Nanowrimo for me  is two chapters per week, from next week for the next eight weeks. That will leave the month of January, for editing and proof reading and submission. I’m so looking forward to writing this story  to share with you all, if all goes well once the publisher has seen the full story. 

Wish me luck! And have a great week.

100 +Short Story Writing Prompts- Release The Writer in You. #amwriting

As the autumn days draw in I’ll spend less time outside, and more time inside writing. It’s a chilly day today in London, I will not be at the pool for our usual Sunday swimming fun. We’ll spend the day in pyjamas instead.

Are you looking for inspiration to write? I  just stumbled across these great little websites, with  writing prompts! I have books with writing prompts, but I feel like trying something new. A little research and hey presto. Here are a few sites I found, what you’ll find are a mixture of situations or the start of a story (prompt) to continue writing :

100 short story ideas

More short story ideas

Twenty-Five creative writing ideas

This one generates random one line prompts click here.

 Release the writer in you-I look forward to reading some of your short stories in my news feed.

 

NEW YEAR, NEW CHAPTER_ 20 Quotes About Life, Creativity and Travel ___

Writing Prompt: Unfinished Business…

Unfinished

Write a post for today’s WordPress one word writing prompt unfinished.

By nature I’m a little bit of a perfectionist, I like to do things just so if it means a lot to me, I feel a sense of satisfaction when I have completed something  I’m not a fan of  unfinished business. The most recent thing I’ve left unfinished for much longer than I would have liked, is a story I’ve had rolling around in between my ears since October 2015. One full year! But what I’ve learned is that sometimes it is best to have unfinished business, as when you go back to finish up – things can be a lot more better.

Since I completed all writing and edits for A Stranger in France, and finally got to release day   in between that and  waiting for my second book to come back from the editor, I’ve gone back to the drawing board on this unfinished story. Six things happened when I read what I wrote a year ago through….

  1. Shock, it was terrible! All over the place in terms of presentation, layout, and I was not a fan of how the characters/ story came across. My (tiny) experience  from writing two other books kicked in.
  2. I re- drafted on paper the story ,about four times before I settled with what I have now!
  3. I re-wrote the first 4 chapters ( not from scratch) but I removed a good chunk 
  4. I managed to take the story in a new suspenseful/mystery  direction then I originally had done.
  5. I wrote and edited the first three chapters, once happy I sent it off ( last weekend ) to my publisher for feedback, with the full book synopsis.
  6. I feel now much more happier.

So I guess unfinished business in some cases can be a blessing if you’re a writer or  hope to have some of your work published some day, you can go off learn something from another project, then come back stronger,  and finish up in a more happier place. 

I hope I do get some positive feedback, even if I don’t I will still write the story for my own satisfaction  to not have unfinished business! 

What unfinished business have you got? WHY have you not finished it? What is your plan to have it complete?

 

Day #17: When Creativity Goes Side Ways!

Sidewalk
Sidewalk

idea

Today’s WordPress word writing prompt is sidewalk. You can interpret this word as sidewalk = the street the more American term for what we English  call a pavement. Or you can (if you’re a bit nuts like me)  have another take on this word.  Meaning to literally go or walk sideways, to make a sideways move as opposed to forwards or backwards.

Is it Ok in life to sometimes not walk forward but side ways? And do a ‘‘sidewalk?” I sure hope so! I just did, well my creative side of my brain did and I didn’t even call on the creative side I was trying to have a break from it. So it’s day #17 of my count down until the ” big day” , yesterday I wrote about my long to do list and that today I have the whole day to sit and write my heart out, which I have done. I’ve working on my romance-thriller story. I’ve been writing and editing my work since around 11:00a.m it’s now 4: 30p.m London time. I’ve  now drafted the first 4 chapters to a completeish stage and I’m happy -great news right.I took a five minute break  to make a cup of tea, and just have a break from the screen but my creativity didn’t switch off, even though I was trying to switch off just for a moment. My creativity  walked sideways ….instead of progressing my story forwards, it shifted it side ways in a new direction.

 While waiting for the kettle to boil, I thought about my dilemma  over whether it’s OK for a writer to write in two very different genres after publishing two books in one, panic set in again, and the back and fourth started again over whether to even finish this story idea, even though a few weeks back I had clearly made up my mind that I was ganna do it! Complete my love story which has an element of crime and it would sit in the romance- thriller/crime genre . Read all about that word writing prompt and dilemma here.  Guess what happened this afternoon while  waiting for the kettle to boil? Yep into my head popped a different version of the ending or second half of my original story. I grabbed my note book and jot it down quickly before it escaped me, and a smile crept across my face. Randomly, my creativity made a sideways move without me even really trying or thinking about it and now  book #3 I’m working on is more refocused on romance( if I change the second half slightly).Looks like I’m back to square one and back in my original genre writing a romance-suspense, there is a crime yes I won’t change that, but with this new second half that randomly popped into my head the  focus  is on romance if I write it in that direction, one that I never thought just by switching around a few things. I feel happier with this re-vamped mental draft of the second half and ending. 

Have you ever had a situation in life where you have made a side ways move? Rather than going forwards? I guess it’s OK to go sideways in life as it can surprisingly actually move you forward in a way you never thought of.

 

Kim’s on WattPad

Hey,  

Just a short note from me to say I’ve  finally got around to checking out Wattpad. I’ve signed up as a writer on here also. Via Wattpad  you’ll  will find the free chapter preview I placed up on my author site for A Stranger in France. (Note that next month the chapter preview will come down, as my book  is officially published). I will also post on Wattpad all the short stories that I write for challenges, and any I write that are not part of a challenge….. The ones I write just ‘cos I feel like writin’

If anyone knows how to embed  a ”follow me on Wattpad” button in a  Wordpress widget please do give me a shout, I’ve been sitting here for well over an hour racking my brain. Nothing seems to work.

Here’s the link to my Wattpadd account 

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

Kim

Daily Prompt: Complications of an Author’s Genre Specialism

idea

 

via Daily Prompt: Complicated

  1. Difficult to understand, analyse or explain ( dictionary definition)

What a word! Today’s WordPress writing prompt word describes exactly my  situation today. I’M  23 /28 chapters into editing my final draft of A Stranger in France good news is I’ll make my publisher’s due date for next month’s release. Bad news, or the downside is  today started to think about my current book I’m working on; if you’ve been following a while you’ll know it’s a story with crime/murder  (and love) involved, and was originally the first ever book I started to write before A Stranger in France and certainly way before my creative idea came for my #2 novel due for release after A Stranger in France – later this year at Christmas.

The my dilemma  or complication is, as a writer /author do I pigeon hole myself to just one genre romance-suspense writing or do I do what I love, and what I feel I’m also good at writing crime also. From research I’ve done I’ve read so many conflicting views. Some say YES!  You must just stick and specialise in one genre it is suicide to gain readers and then write in another genre and build up a readership from the ground again, some say go for it, do what you love to do, your brand is not your genre it’s your own unique story telling voice and ability to engage others in a story – your readers (or potential readers) will follow you regardless of genre. Hummm  a complicated and  hard choice for a new or even established author.

Personally, I have some authors I love to the bones I wait impatiently for the next book to be released, and I buy their new release the day it is released, without even reading the blub or questing what it’s about. Just because I love their writing style and stories  in general. From this personal view as a reader, I’m tempted with this story I’m writing with an element of crime/murder to just do what I love and write in both genres. My professional head who wishes to build a nice readership and allow some form of consistency for my potential readers says Kim – don’t be a fool girlfriend stick within the genre you will be published in first…. romance suspense. It’s so complicated!

 I thought about the story I’ve been working on and I did some further research  there is in fact  thriller sub genre under romance I read about. No, not suspense, thrillers are  a lot more darker think of the book ” Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn an excellent book and example of a thriller. When I read  about this the creative side of my brain ticked, that’s it! Re-craft the story a little so that the crime and romance blend so it does not  come across as essentially  a crime friction story that just so happens to have 2 people that (once) loved each other… surely I can do that right? …. but what about the ” brand” I keep reading about? Would I confuse potential readers with writing a romance story with an element of crime- especially as by the time it’s ( hopefully) published, I will have  1. romance suspense book published and 1. romance story published, can I really throw MURDER or crime in with it too? … Like I said it’s complicated. I also changed my tag line on the blog from romance-suspense & crime fiction writer to romance-suspense and thriller writer to keep it broader in genre and creative outlet.

I never realised that writers who end up published are faced with such hard decisions that may impact their future career. I honestly (maybe naively) thought you write what you want, go where  ever your creative juices take you, after all it’s not ( for me) about the money or fame  that’s lovely but firstly it’s  the fact that the story is out of my head, on paper, in print and I achieved something great that I’m proud of.  And secondly, I’m just writing, as that’s what I do and what I enjoy it’s part of me.

So my questions are

 Readers: Would you abandon an author you liked because they wrote in a genre that is not your first choice. For example you found a great author read a few books or a book and then they wrote something else  or throw in a red herring in a genre? Or would you still read along?

Authors: Are you brave enough? Have you done it? Have you committed ” suicide” and wrote in more than one genre. Who has big balls out there?? Is it wise  in your experience?

At the end of the day, as a reader I love both genres I write, as a writer I really enjoy as well as love to write in both genres I have chosen . So I think I will grow some balls rework book #3 slightly and now ”pigeon hole” myself as Kim the romance-suspense and THRILLER writer rather than crime. This way  I (think) I can get away with romance &  a bit of murder  *wink.

Man that decision was COMPLICATED! 
Complicated

 

                                        

The Ending 

https://miraclegirlblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/01/the-ending/
Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: The Ending 

I LOVED! Reading the start of this story and had to participate in this #Miraclechallenge  writing prompt to create your own ending using 400 odd words. I did not read the original post before I wrote my own ending so I have no idea what the story is really about. But I’ve turned it into some kind of crime fiction/drug story line that’s what came to mind when I read what was going on at the start. I look forward to reading the original full post to see what the story is actually about. Thanks for posting.

Really need to get home, I’ve been up all night using cocaine to keep me awake, he had me working the street corners of every street. I wish I could say no, stop, tell him that’s it this life is over for me I don’t want to spend my years as your drug runner and personal sex slave. But I can’t, I owe him, I owe him my life not only is he my pimp he was once my loan shark, my mum was in a lot of debt after she lost her job we were going to be evicted I had no choice but to do what I could to help out.

I’m only 16 but I got caught up with the wrong crowd, dabbled in drugs, drinking, dating boys I should not have been and he was one of them. With all the drama and stress at home as a way to forget he introduced me to cocaine, just to numb the pain he’d say. Everyday I say to myself I will leave this life behind, clean my habit up stop sex working to make money and go back to school.

He says it’s better to have a girl involved in his ‘’dealings’’ that way no one will be suspious the cops won’t question anything when they see a guy and a girl together the last thing they will think is  we’re a bunch of drug lords.

So here I am walking down Camden high street north London, after working the corners of some of the most mean streets in London, dying to take a shower and lay down.

Mum, bless her heart she knows what’s going on and has threatened to go to the police, but she won’t because of him he has complete control over everyone he comes in contact with.

Connor, Connor Reeves north London’s most notorious drug lord. At just 28 years old he rules the whole of north London.

I glance at my watch it’s 4.45am I walk down the dimly lit road and turn into the estate of flats, I stare up at the 6th floor the lights are out mum’s asleep. I hope I can enter without waking her.

As I approach the block of flats as usual the intercom is not working a sharp tug on the door and I’m in, the smell of urine and cheap beer greet my nostrils.

Great, the lift is out of action, I take the stairs 2 at a time up to the 6th floor. I need to get out of this place, turn my back on this life this is not for me. I’ll be dead by the time I’m 18.