Meet The Best Selling Thriller / Mystery Author- Kristina Stanley!! #amreading #thriller #mystery

 

 

Kristina Stanley Author Photo.jpgIt’s the 25th of the month, taking centre stage we have another great author, a best selling one at that all the way from Canada! I’m thrilled to have her here let’s not waste anytime, let’s get into it and learn Kristina’s style….

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hi Kim,

Thanks for having me.  I currently live in British Colombia, Canada and am avid skier and sailor, but writing is my passion.

I write the Stone Mountain Mystery series. DESCENT, BLAZE, and AVALANCHE are published by Imajin Books. LOOK THE OTHER WAY, my latest novel, was released August 1st.

Kim: Nice to have you here ma’am.

How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?

Late one night in Unteruhldingen, Germany I was reading MOONLIGHT BECOMES YOU by Mary Higgins Clark. The opening—a woman trapped in a grave. Darkness and silence surround her, and she doesn’t know where she is. I can still see her fingers clawing at the edges of the coffin.

Tucked in my bed, I knew a driver would arrive at 4 a.m. to carry me to the Zurich airport for a flight to London, England. The sensible thing to do was sleep. But I couldn’t. I turned pages until the car arrived. I was exhausted, bleary eyed and excited. At that moment I knew I wanted to write something that forced a person to read and to forget about life for a while.

When I finally started my first novel, I’d been living in a ski resort for five years. Skiing is one of my passions and seemed the obvious topic.

Kim: wow, it’s so great when you find a writer that does that to you. I had  the same experience, the first romantic suspense I ever read was by Jackie Collins. Them pages turned, and Lord knows I was way too young to be reading about that kind of stuff... here I am over ten years later writing that genre. This is great to hear.

What genre do you enjoy reading?

I’m addicted to mysteries. I read one or two a week.

Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?

I am so a “panster.” I spent years developing spread sheets to help me rewrite my drafts so they were structurally sound. Finally I got so fed up with the cumbersome process that I created a company, Fictionary.co, and developed Fictionary to help me. It’s recently been released, so other writers can benefit. The goal is to help writers turn a first draft into a story readers love.

Fictionary is a game-changing online tool for fiction writers with a first draft. Fictionary guides writers through an automated, big-picture edit with a deep focus on story structure, not on the words. Think characters, plot, and settings.

Kim: yes you told me about this I remember I must go and take a look. Thanks for reminding me.

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

I’m rewriting the first draft of EVOLUTION. I’m using Fictionary to do that.  As soon as I finish, I’ll start work on the sequel. I plan to join Nanowrimo in November to get 50,000 words written.

Kim: Good luck, my Nanowrimo was a no no this time, third time lucky I hope. I’ll be joining you in November.

So… where can we get your books?

All my books are available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I

What does “success” look like to you? When would you say “damn, I’ve made it baby!”

I try for little successes rather than big ones. If I wrote 1,000 words before breakfast, that’s success. If I ran 5 kilometres after I wrote, that’s success. Did I make my husband laugh? Another success. I believe it’s the little things that make a lifetime of happiness instead of trying for that big one.

Kim: very grounded. I’d love to know how you felt the day you woke up a best selling author, honestly?

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book

You know the saying, write what you know? I believe it should be write what you love. I write about skiing, so imagine how fun it is to research that? For AVALANCHE, I spent hours with the avalanche forecaster at a ski resort.  For LOOK THE OTHER WAY, I lived on a sailboat in the Bahamas. That novel takes place – yup you guessed it – in the Bahamas on a sailboat.

Kim: Bahamas?? … Nice. I like location stories * opens up Amazon to take a look.*

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Sometimes. I’d rather take feedback from beta readers when I still have a chance to make changes. Once the book is published, there’s not much I can to. I’ll admit I read the 5 starts reviews just to make myself feel good. Who doesn’t like a little ego boost once in a while?

Kim: Guilty, in all areas. For me I guess not so much ego but knowing you did a good job.

Do you Google yourself?

I have Google alerts set up for my name.  I found out my novel, DESENT, had been released in Germany. The German version, ABWEARTS, was out on Amazon before my publisher told me it had been released. That was a fun moment.

Kim: Okay, seems like this Google alert is a winner then? Another author this month mentioned they too have an alert. *Pouts in deep thought.*

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Having other authors as friends is tremendously important. I’ve developed friendships with authors who write in same genre as I do, so they are great people to trade beta-reading services with.

Kim: agreed, or even writing buddies.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I can write a first draft in about three months if I write six days a week. Then it takes me another few months to rewrite and edit, and that’s before any proofreading is done. This month I’m using Fictionary for my big-picture edit of EVOLUTION. This will speed up my editing and rewriting process.

Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?

My favourite character is always the protagonist I’m currently writing.

Pick one a one time “Bestselling author” or an author with longevity what would you rather?

Longevity!  Writing makes me happy, so I want a lifetime of it!

Kim: Good answer! Same here.

And that’s a wrap people. Great to have so many authors from different parts of the world here. A real diverse month too in terms of genre. I hope you all enjoyed meeting Kristina. Connect with her below.

Author site  www.KristinaStanley.com

Twitter:         

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/KristinaStanley.Author/

 

LTOW Front Cover.png

SUBMERGED BENEATH THE DEPTHS IS A SEA OF SECRETS…

A year after her Uncle Bobby mysteriously disappears in the turquoise waters surrounding the Bahamas, Shannon Payne joins her grieving aunt to trace Bobby’s last voyage. Shannon hopes the serenity of the sea might help her recover from a devastating breakup with her fiancé.

Sailing the 38-foot catamaran, A Dog’s Cat, is Captain Jake Hunter, a disillusioned cop who has sworn off women. While Shannon tries to resist her growing attraction to the rugged captain, she uncovers dark truths about her uncle’s death that might send them all to the depths.

If you’re an author and you’d like a feature contact me here.

 

meet-the-author

monthly features

Advertisements

Wait.. Wait, What Day Is It Again?? It’s Release Day!! + $25.00 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway #newrelease #amreading #kdsuspense

It’s release day!!! Well in the UK it is, according to Amazon The Suspenseful Collection Volume One is on sale now! I have the pleasure (and satisfaction he he), of saying this seven hours before my partner in crime. Hold onto your e-readers people… There are some excellent thrilling stories. I had a ball, picking up where Didi left off as author two, and writing the start as author one in our first anthology. No matter what I wrote, I loved every moment and I’m so proud of us both.

Don’t forget, we have a giveaway too $25.00 Amazon gift card up for grabs. At present all our books are on sale for .99p / .99$, if you grab a copy of any book on sale, before the 31st July, be sure to enter to win the gift card by clicking here.

 

 

£2.69 UK for e-book or $3.50 international

 

Blurb

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”

I’m Just Teasing… #amreading #kdsuspense

Of all the stories I wrote with this suspenseful chick across the pound Didi, this has to be up there as one of my favourite! Never seen before, bonus story #1 Guilty As Charged, In Self Defence…. Our Catherine is quite a character, and the ending will leave you with your mouth open. 🙂

Teaser:

Monday June 1st, 2016, California Supreme Court.

In the lady’s room, I look myself over. I feel good. I take in all the minor details. The sharp fringe of my blunt bob, minimal make-up, my best well-tailored black Chanel skirt suit, sky high red bottom Christian Louboutin heels. Perfect. I feel confident I’ve got this in the bag. I was raised a strict catholic by my mom, I bow my head in prayer before I walk out. Today as confident as I feel I’ll need God on my side. The prosecution lined up a good case. Naturally they have played on her as a money grabbing whore. She was a Las Vegas showgirl, doing what she had to do before she met that bastard. That does not give her a motive for murder… I hope.

***

“All rise please. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we’re here to hear the case of Mrs. Dennessa Chevelle. On trial for the murder of Ronald Chevelle.”

I watch an officer move over to Mrs. Chevelle, and hand her a bible to place her hand on. She gives her plea of not guilty and the show begins. The prosecution swim around her like sharks. A jumped up over confident suit, with way too much hair gel takes the center stage. He tries to break her down. I clinch my jaw, as my eyes watch him prance around the court room.

“Mrs. Chevelle, is it true you were a stripper before you met your late husband?”

“No, well yes but not a stripper I was a performer in Las Vegas. That’s how we met.”

“Right, right.  A performer.

The sarcastic chump uses quotation marks around performer, as he looks over at the jury. My anger rises.

“And how would you describe your financial situation at the time, stable? Or unstable?”

“I… I did not have much that’s true but I got by.”

All eyes rest on Mrs. Chevelle as he pushes her.

“Mrs. Chevelle, if you could please answer the question.”

A low voice leaves Mrs. Chevelle, she lowers her lashes to the ground.

“Unstable.”

“Unstable you say? Is it fair to say a man like Mr. Chevelle was desirable due to his financial status, maybe?”

The fuckin’ douche, he’s wasting no time. I get to my feet and call out to the judge.

“Objection!”

“Ms. O’Neil, please remain seated. As you were Mr. D’Costa.”

I look over at Mrs. Chevelle and hope she doesn’t fall for the trap.

“No, certainly not. How dare you assume such a thing. He was my husband, not a meal ticket!”

That-a-girl Mrs. Chevelle. I take a seat and breathe a sigh of relief. I look over at the jury. Predominantly female, excellent. I’ll let this shark paint whatever picture he wants of Mrs. Chevelle, in my defence case I’ll hit ‘em with the abused woman story and give them some shit the female jury members never got to read in Hello magazine.

***

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as you can see the prosecution has tried to paint a picture of a money grabber, a whore and a stripper.”

I move closer to the jury, and slowly walk past the stand with confidence as I talk.

“The woman you see over there in that stand, is none of these things.”

I stop for a beat in front of a female juror around Mrs. Chevelle’s age.

“You see that lady over there, she was an abused woman, mentally, physically and emotionally.”

The female juror moves her eyes over to Mrs. Chevelle, she takes a closer look at her on the stand. Right on cue, Mrs. Chevelle blows her nose into her tissue and wipes her eyes. Perfect. I watch the women in the jury stand some more. Their faces move from pinched up discomfort to shock. Beautiful. I walk back across the room to center stage, and command their attention. ….. TO BE CONTINUED!!

 

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”

 

Updated-Telling-Tales-Weekly-Challenege-Kim-&-Didi

Book Review: Aggravated Momentum by Didi Oviatt 5*

Aggravated Momentum by [Oviatt, Didi]

A very enjoyable read! First let me start by saying, this author has a certain style of writing, it’s not just fast paced and gripping, it’s moving and will place you in the same room as the characters. Each character is portrayed via a first person POV, my personal favourite in the thriller genre. Didi Oviatt did not fail me! I was convinced by every character’s POV. Especially  our prime suspect and killer.

The Plot:

Markie finds her self surrounded by death, her nearest and dearest are dropping like flies, and no one can understand why.  Her sister Kam is also unnerved by the random killings taking place. Early on in the book we learn who the suspect is, I won’t give spoilers as I hate these myself. As I was reading I thought to myself why did the author do this, why has she given away the who-dun-it so soon?  Well, there’s a good reason, the plot thickens the murderer is connected not just to Markie, but her sister Kam and  their mother in a major way. And the suspect’s  motive is a sick one, as a reader you know more than the killer does about the past ,as the author shows you it.  There’s more than what meets the eye. Once we learn who our suspect is we take a walk in their shoes for the remaining chapters, Readers experience their sick mind and spiteful ways. We also walk in Markie, Kam and their mother’s shoes.

Each of these characters have their own issues, Markie is grieving the loss of her best friend who was murdered, Kam is in constant conflict with her role as a younger sister and how important she is to Markie, Brock Kam’s boyfriend… hummm don’t let that soft feminine exterior fool you, Evelyn Kam and Markie’s mother is a drama queen, with a LOT  of secrets and a LOT to answer for.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot, as I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but what I will say is the plot is good, unpredictable and surprising. The ending is left open for a good chance of a part #2,I really hope that there is! I finished the last page feeling like I need more, more answers and more knowledge on what happens to Kam and Markie next.

The last time I read a thriller and felt like I was there, with the murderer in the same room was when I read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. This is the second time. Aggravated Momentum really made me feel as though I was part of the crime scenes, and right next to the killer as they planned and plotted the next move. Just brilliant.

I’ve given this book five stars not just for the unpredictable and surprising plot, but for the writing style and flare in how the story is told, it works well, and how the author was able to write different POV’s consistently, and really well. As readers you are pulled into each character’s POV and issues. It takes a lot of talent to get this right, Didi has done it. Five well deserved stars! I will for sure read part #2… I hear on the grapevine there just might be one landing soon!

Novel #3: “In The Name of Love” Preview…. #amwriting #preview

 

This week, I shared with you a little flash fiction, it was a snip-it from the current novel I’m writing. The genre is thriller! ( Yeah baby!), I introduced you to Charlotte Price- Smith the main female lead in my story. Here’s a little background on the story itself. I have named the story ” In the Name of Love.”

Charlotte, (thirty- five in the present day) has been convicted for the murder of her ex- lover’s wife five years ago. Both she and her ex-lover were on trial for the murder at the time. They both had a motive for murder. Her ex- lover   Joseph, is actually an old school friend.  She met him years later  when the affair started, he has a shady background also. He is actually one of London’s notorious drug dealers, trying to make his money and leave that life behind. He spends a lot of time between London and Amsterdam. The two go on trial.

Due to some incriminating evidence the jury leaned toward Charlotte as the guilty party. That and the fact that she is sadly, mentally ill she was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic at the age of eighteen, but hid it well from her lover and everyone else who did not know her well, when she was in the free world.

At thirty, she’s trialled for murder, and sentenced to time in a mental institution as apposed to prison due to her mental ill health. The Judge thought she was at the time criminally insane.  Charlotte has pleaded not guilty from day one, and in fact feels she was framed by her lover.   Five years later, aged thirty -five she has a score to settle and wants to clear her name. While  fighting to have her case reopened and heard in court again,which she does manage to achieve due to advances in DNA matching five years later, she falls in love again… I won’t give away all the details. 

Readers will learn who the real murderer is….And have a some what shocking surprise!

I won’t say too much! But I will say, this is not a predictable story, the  “who-done-it” will surprise you, the character line up is diverse, and you will be transported between London, Amsterdam’s Red Light district and the Caribbean as a reader. You know me I like to keep it suspenseful, modern and engaging so I hope it will be an enjoyable story.

I’ll do another flash fiction snip-it soon so stay tuned! But for now here is the one I did earlier this week. Click here.

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!