The Voice in Her Head

by Iris Carden

"You're doing it wrong and you're taking too long."
The voice in her head, it sang its old song.
"Your sister is smarter, your sister is bright,
If you were like her then you'd be all right."

"You're clumsy. You're lazy," the voice carried on.
Any hopes that I had for you are all gone.
I wish that your sister was the only one.
You're dull and you're boring. You're not even fun."

But this was unlike all of the times before.
This time she picked herself up off the floor.
She just didn't listen to all the voice said,
This time she answered the voice in her head.

"Mother you're gone, your time is not now
You just don't belong in my head anyhow,
You don't get to question, you don't get to judge,
You don't get to push, nor even to nudge."

"This life that I have, it's now all my own
And my sister 's got hers, now that she's grown
And neither of these is yours to control
So be quiet now and let loose your hold."

The voice was now quiet, the first time in her life.
She felt the freedom, the absence of strife.
She thankfully prayed to the heavens above,
And then called her sister, and sent her some love.

Have you ever envisioned yourself as a patron of the arts, but don't have the money of a Medici? Patreon is the 21st century way of sponsoring artists of all types. You can be a patron of my writing for as little as $1 a month.  Patrons will receive electronic copies of each new book I write. 


You've probably noticed the Patreon link appearing on the end of each post.  If you haven't
encountered it before, Patreon is a system for people to support writers and other artists.  It's kind of like a continuing kickstarter or gofundme.

Patrons pay creators of blogs, art, music, etc, a set amount per post or per month.

So why would you become a patron of my writing? Here's a few reasons:
  • You love to read one or more of my blogs, and you think $1 or even more per month is good value for the information or entertainment you get out of them.
  • You want the rewards: for $1 per month, you will receive a copy of the electronic version of each new novel I write.  
  • More rewards: for $10 per month, you can be a Beta reader - you can read early drafts, and have the opportunity to give feedback and comments, as well as the $1 reward.  
  • Even more rewards: For $100 per month, you get to be a Gold Star Patron, and will be acknowledged on my blogs, and in future novels (as well as the $1 and $10 rewards).
  • You just think it would be cool to be able to call yourself a patron of the arts.
  • You can spare $1 or so a month, and think my writing is as good as anything to spend it on.
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Sneak Peek: Hollywood Lied

I know I'm pathetic, but I still find it
exciting to see my books on the shelves
at my local library.
This is a sneak peek at the book I'm currently writing. "Hollywood Lied" is the working title, and here is the first draft of the first chapter.

Hollywood Lied - Chapter 1
by Iris Carden

It began with Mary Elizabeth Marsdensen.  That was a name the whole world came to know, but only after she was dead.

She went to the emergency Department at Brisbane General Hospital on a busy Friday night.  When the triage nurse, Adrian Hughes, asked what she was there for, Ms Marsdensen simply said: “I’m dead.  What’s supposed to happen now? Do I go to the morgue or something?” She coughed, and looked pleadingly at the nurse.

Nurse Hughes took the obvious action. He called for the people in the white coats. Pink scrubs to be more accurate. That was the uniform of the nursing staff in the Mental Health Emergency Clinic at the time.

In MHEC there was some excitement about Ms Marsdensen’s arrival, after all Cotard’s Syndrome is very rare.  The psychiatric registrar tried to explain to the new patient that she only believed she was dead. In reality she was quite alive.  She very carefully explained that Ms Marsden had a neurological condition, and that she most likely had lesions in her frontal lobe. It could be treated with antidepressants and other mood modulating drugs.  If the drugs didn’t work, there was always the option to use electro shock therapy, or to operate on the lesions when they were located. There was no need to worry.  A few days in the psych unit, and Ms Marsdensen would be well on the way to recovery.

It was some hours before Ms Marsdensen persuaded a nurse to do what would have been done automatically if she’d been admitted for a physical, rather than mental, illness: to take her pulse and temperature.  The nurse complied, thinking it would help prove the truth – that the patient was really and truly alive.

It proved she was not.

Instantly, Mary Elizabeth Marsdensen became a prized scientific specimen, and the world’s most famous woman.  She had no pulse, no blood pressure, her temperature varied with the temperature of whatever room she was in.

An EEG, MRI, CT and numerous other members of the medical alphabet confirmed that she had some brain activity, but it was vastly different to normal human brain activity, and that there was, indeed, a lesion, the size of a grape, in her brain.  She had no blood circulation, and no other normal bodily functions, except movement, and mysteriously speech even though she wasn’t breathing.

Non-scientists, reading the news the next morning, failed to understand the full import of what was explained, or what it would mean for the future.

Most scientists also missed the importance of the event. Others, like microbiologist Dr Martin Pryce, realised  it was of ultimate importance.  Dr Pryce contacted the hospital to ask for blood and other samples from Ms Marsdensen, and results of all tests.  Then he called his long-time friend and recently-retired colleague Dr Robert Beare to come out of retirement for this major project.

The Pryce-Beare study would be the first of many into the mysterious condition Ms Marsdensen presented at the hospital with that night.  It would be a long time before anyone knew just how significant this particular study would be.

At 7am, Nurse Hughes clocked off from his shift. He had a headache. Headache was an understatement.  At home he told his wife it felt like fireworks going off in his frontal lobe.  And he felt tired, more tired than he ever remembered being.  He felt as if every single part of his body was tired. Even his bones felt tired, and he could feel every single tired bone.  He had just started to develop an annoying cough.

“Must be the flu that’s going around,” his wife, Marianne, said practically.  She kissed him good-bye and left for work at a nearby primary school.  By lunchtime, she would start to get a killer headache, too…

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Not on the Menu

By Iris Carden

Elsie saw them through the cafĂ© window.  “Oh not them again,” she groaned.

“Not who?” asked Margaret.

“Those three, with the excess Brylcreem and the loud ties.” Elsie explained, “They haven’t been in since you started, have they?”

“No. What’s wrong with them?”

“They think the waitresses are on the menu.”

Margaret smiled a little and winked at her friend.  “Leave them to me,” she said.

“Be careful,” Elsie warned.  “They’ve got big hands and small minds. I tried telling them I have a boyfriend, but it didn’t bother them at all.”

Margaret picked up a menu and met the customers as they came in the door.  “Good morning gentlemen. Where would you like to sit?” She asked brightly.

They chose a table near the window, and two of them walked ahead of her, while the other followed behind – very close behind. He reached around her waist.

Margaret stepped down hard on his instep and twisted her heel.  “Oops,” she said. “Sorry I stepped on your foot. I didn’t realise you were so close.”

“You’re new here, cutie,” one of them said.

“My name’s not Cutie,” Margaret replied. “I’ll answer to Waitress. Would you like to order now, or do you want some time to peruse the menu?”

They ordered their coffees and sandwiches, and Margaret dropped their order on the bench for Algie and went back to Elsie.

“I just loved that foot stomp.  You’ll have to teach me,” Elsie said.

“Of course,” Margaret answered, “I’ve got a few other tricks I can teach you as well.”

A few minutes later, as Margaret was delivering the coffees, the biggest of the men pinched her behind.  Margaret screamed, and dropped the hot coffee in the offender’s lap.

The man jumped up and yelled.

“Oh sorry,” said Margaret, “I’m not used to being attacked while I’m working.”

“I want to see the owner,” the irate customer yelled.  “You’re going to get fired for this!”

“Hmmm, I don’t think I will,” Margaret answered.

“Where’s the owner? Is he out the back?” the man demanded.

Hearing the kerfuffle, Algie came out from the kitchen.

The man addressed himself to Algie: “I want this waitress fired. She just about broke my friend’s toes, and she poured hot coffee in my lap.”

“I really can’t help you,” Algie answered. “I’m not the boss.”

“Well who is?” the man demanded.

“Miss Jackson is,” Algie replied quietly, nodding his head towards Margaret. “She bought the place last week.”

“Yes, I own the place,” Margaret replied, “and in future you can keep your hands to yourselves, or eat elsewhere.”

The three Brylcreemed customers walked out, accompanied by applause from customers and laughter from Elsie and Algie.

A Note to Other Indie Authors

I do reviews of books by indie authors.

Usually these are books I have bought, but if you would particularly like to have me review your book, please email me a copy at . Please note, I can't guarantee a favourable review.

I'm also interested in expanding to publishing other authors' work on this blog - if you have a short story, or a chapter of an upcoming book you would like to promote, that you'd like published here, please email it to me for consideration. At the moment, I can't afford to pay for submissions, but hopefully, that will change over time.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Settle in for story time.

This is me reading "Spring Cleaning" one of the short stories in my new book Patchwork.

Patchwork Available Now

My new book, an anthology of short stories and poetry is available now, direct from the publisher here:  Over the next couple of weeks it will appear in all your favourite on-line bookshops as well. (The paperback has one bonus story you won't find in the eBook version.)