Free to download on Kindle today only – Soul Destruction: Unforgivable (a story of drug addiction and prostitution)

Soul Destruction Unforgivable High Res BorderSoul Destruction: Unforgivable is free to download on Kindle today.

Download from Amazon UK here,  Amazon US here and Amazon CA here. Also available worldwide.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free Kindle apps for PCs, tablets and smartphones from Amazon UK here and from Amazon US here.

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In the spring of 1997, Shelley Hansard, a call girl who tries to live by the Golden Rule, finds herself in a suite at The Lanesborough Hotel with a dead client. Her fear of becoming a murder suspect pushes her deeper into addiction. Heroin costs her more than money and crack induces psychosis – seeing and hearing people others can’t.

As an intravenous user, her desirability as a top London call girl is waning and the skills required to keep up her multiple personas are weakening. Among her few friends and what remains of her broken family, she struggles to maintain her wall of lies: Shelley’s Anti-Heroin Front friends, Nicole and Tara, don’t know she has a habit, and her Aunt Elsie and her recluse mother, Rita, believe she works in Foxtons estate agency.

After a cocaine binge over Easter weekend, Shelley meets with Nicole and Tara in Hampstead. During their conversation at The Magdala, Shelley is shocked to learn that one of the clients who raped her also raped them. With her friends, she plots revenge. But when she embroils Len, a heroin addict and small-time criminal who, unknowingly to her, is also taking a shot at something bigger, their attempt to stop the serial rapist is in jeopardy.

“Unforgivable, Unputdownable. Great characters you will walk beside from page one. Great story you will not want to end.”

Sheila Quigley author of The Seahills series and The Holy Island trilogy.

Also available in e-book from Caffeine Nights (£1.95), and in paperback from Caffeine Nights (£6.99), Amazon UK (£8.99) and Amazon US ($12.21).

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Soul Destruction: Unforgivable – Trailer

From the Madness and Hell of Life as a Heroin and Crack Addict with Countless Failed Overdoses, This is My Story on Getting My Life Back on Track

Tough Talk

Published in Tough Talk Magazine – May 2013

My interview in the second edition of Robin Barratt‘s Tough Talk Magazine is the most personal interview I have ever given. The interview can be read and downloaded here.

Update on Voices of Prostitution Survivors Page & Call for New Contributions

Nicole O'Connell - Story of a London Call Girl 88

Do I Have Prostitute Written on My Forehead?” is the latest entry on the Voices of Prostitution Survivors page. There are now eleven stories up there, but I am keen to have as many voices as possible to dispel the ‘happy hooker’ myth and show the reality of working in prostitution at all levels.

If anyone would like to submit a piece to me, I would be very grateful. My email address is ruth@soul-destruction.com or you can use the contact form on here. It could be a few sentences or a few paragraphs. You can use your own name, a pen name, or just ‘anonymous’. If you would like your blog/website and twitter account linked to your piece I can do that for you as well. I also don’t mind if you use a piece you have already published somewhere else, such as your blog or website.

My website has had over 15,000 hits since I launched it just a few months ago. I want not only my fictional work to show the reality of prostitution, but for that to be backed up by firsthand accounts. I have gone some way to doing this with my charity publication, “In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl”, from which all royalties are being donated to a charity called Beyond the Streets, which help women exit prostitution.

With all my work, I want to show the reality of working in prostitution, not the glossy image the media has been feeding society. I want to reach all sections of society so women in prostitution are not judged and seen as fallen women, but are treated with compassion and understanding as they are some of the most vulnerable women in society with 75% having suffered childhood sexual and physical abuse, 70% having been raped multiple times, and 67% meeting the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder. It is correct that 95% of women in prostitution have drug addiction issues but it is often the case that addiction to drugs comes after entering prostitution in order to continue to work in prostitution. Research also shows that 9 out of 10 women would like to exit if they could.

If you can be part of what I am trying to accomplish, changing the stigma society has against women who work in prostitution, dispelling the ‘happy hooker’ myth, deterring young, vulnerable girls and women who are the most likely to enter prostitution from making that decision by showing them the reality then I would be very grateful if you could take part in this endeavour. I also hope it will touch women working in prostitution and give them the strength to seek help from specialist charities to exit when they are ready to do so. I also want my work to reach johns, who will think twice before using the services of a woman in prostitution, knowing that she most likely has been abused as a child, been raped multiple times, has posttraumatic stress disorder, and needs to use drugs in order to have sex with him.

I know I want to accomplish a great deal with my work, and I feel the way forward is to use all mediums possible: my fictional series of Soul Destruction novels, my charity publication, and the Voices of Prostitution Survivors page. In the future, perhaps this can be used as a documentary or my novel turned into a film. In the meantime, I need to work with what I can, and I am asking for your assistance with the Voices of Prostitution Survivors page of my website please.  If you can’t submit a piece, please could I ask that you share this page as widely as possible. Many thanks, Ruth – ruth@soul-destruction.com.

Seeking contributors for “Voices of Prostitution Survivors” new page

Nicole O'Connell - Story of a London Call Girl 88

I have created a new page on my blog called Voices of Prostitution Survivors.  So far, there are nine stories up there.

For anyone who has worked in prostitution and would like to contribute a short piece, anything from a few sentences to a few paragraphs, please email me with your piece to ruth@soul-destruction.com or use the contact form on the website.

If you have a blog and/or Twitter account and would like them linked to your piece, please let me know those details. Alternatively, if you would prefer to use a pen name or be kept anonymous, please let me know that too.

To be clear, I am interested to hear from anyone who has worked in prostitution. There is no judgement on how long you worked in prostitution for, whether it be for one day or decades. Nor does it matter what type of prostitution you were involved in, whether that be streetwalking, working in a brothel, or in a massage parlour, or operating as a call girl/escort. I am just looking for real honesty, the power to speak from your heart, and if you can, disclose how you really feel.

For anyone who doesn’t know me well already, I am an author whose writing dispels the “happy hooker” myth and exposes the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. With my series of novels, Soul Destruction, as well as my charity publication, In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl, I hope to achieve this, and also change the stigma much of society has against women who work in prostitution. I believe this is mainly through lack of knowledge and understanding. I am hoping this new page, Voices of Prostitution Survivors, will go some way to help people who are not involved in prostitution understand women who have worked/are working in prostitution and, with that understanding, be less likely to judge. I am also hoping this page will help women who have exited prostitution, as well as women who are still in prostitution, gain identification with each other. The comments section can be used as a discussion board for all who read the page.

Plan in Action (Part 2 of 2) – 24 December 2000 -12.35AM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

I hobble up the stairs in the Radisson Hotel. Lorna walks behind me. I’m in stilettos as usual. She’s in flats. As we arrive on the second floor, I take the door key from my hobo bag. Once inside my suite, I slip off my Louboutins. I need to say something. I need to get the smack. I have to be the one who prepares the hits tonight.

I’m determined not to hand over the spoon. I know she’ll be asking for it any minute. I need to ask her for the gear first. Should I do that, or should I wait until she asks for the spoon then suggest she gives me the bag at that point? I’m not sure. I need to decide. I have to get this right. If I mess it up, I won’t die.

“Have you got a dead baby?” I was thinking about that this afternoon. I was going to ask her about it, but then I decided I didn’t want to discuss it. I’m not in the mood. Sometimes I have no control over the words that flow from my lips.

“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” Lorna takes her position, lying on my queen-sized bed.

“I didn’t mean… I was just thinking earlier, most of the working girls I know have had stillborns or terminations. I was just thinking and it just came out my mouth. I’m sorry.”

Lorna looks at me with narrow eyes. “Have you got one?” she snaps.

“Yes,” I say. “Three… Three dead babies.” I didn’t want to think about this now. Why can’t I control my thoughts and words like normal people? I might not want to be dead if I could control my thoughts. I try to remember what Dr Fielding says about my babies. They went back to the eyes of God. That’s all good if you believe in God, but I struggle with that. I really fucking do. If there is a God, how could he or she have allowed such devastation to happen in my family?

“I had an abortion when I was seventeen.” Lorna’s voice is calmer now.

I put my hand out in her direction, palm open. “Pass the smack.”

“I still get sad about it now.” Lorna places the bag of heroin in my hand. “I think about my baby every day. He’d be six now. Do you think about your babies often?”

“Yes.” That’s the truth. But right now, I don’t want to think about anything other than my plan. That’s why I want to die. I’ve been thinking too much. I don’t want to think about my dead babies. I don’t want to think about my dead mum. I don’t want to think about my absent dad. I don’t want to think about what the babysitters did to me. I don’t want to think about what happened to Milly. Poor Milly. I should have got myself sorted so I could help her. But I couldn’t do it. I can’t do it. I’m giving up. I’ve managed to get the gear. Now I can do something else. I can end it. I’ve been thinking about this since I arrived in Sydney last week. This needs to be done carefully. I have to make sure Lorna doesn’t clock on to what I’m doing.

I’m half-listening as Lorna tells me about the father of her baby. He was her ex-boyfriend. Did she say he hit her before she was pregnant or while she was pregnant? I didn’t catch that properly. Something about being in hospital to check the baby’s heartbeat.

I sprinkle enough heroin in the spoon for about five of my standard hits. I add the water. How am I going to do this? I need to make up two hits. One has to be far stronger than the other. I need to use less water and make them up one at a time. Lorna always makes them both up together so that’s how much water I’ve added – the usual amount. Now I have too much water in the spoon.

I open the drawer in the bedside table. I take out the syringe I used last night. I place it next to the box of tissues. “Will you pass me my inhaler from the bathroom,” I say to Lorna.

“Where is it?” She gets off the bed and stands up.

“I can’t remember…on a shelf I think. Give me your needle so I can do your hit.”

Lorna hands me her works. I put hers on the bed. I take my used needle and draw up half the hit. I put it back beside the box of tissues. While Lorna is in the bathroom, I balance the bent spoon on the bedside table. I run over to the bureau. I rummage through the drawer. I’m sure I stashed another syringe in there the other night.

“I can’t see it,” Lorna shouts from the bathroom.

“Look inside my toiletry bag…the pink one,” I shout back.

I still can’t find another syringe. I open Lorna’s handbag, looking for clean works. I can’t tell if hers are used or new. What does it matter if I’m going to die anyway? I steal one from her bag. I rush to the other side of the bed. Holding the spoon, I draw up the other half of my lethal hit. I put the second needle in the drawer of the bedside table.

Lorna pops her head out the bathroom door. “It’s not in here.”

I fake a cough. “I really need it. Can you check again.”

With Lorna back in the bathroom, I quickly make up another hit – a milder one this time. I draw it up into her syringe that I left on the bed. I need to be careful not to confuse the syringes. I put mine in my mouth, leaving the stain of pink lipstick on the barrel.

I still don’t know how I’m going to get both injections in my arm without her noticing I’m having two hits. Maybe I’ll need to take mine into the bathroom. I remove the syringe from the drawer in the bedside table. I slip it under my bra, between my breasts. I hope it doesn’t fall out.

“Never mind,” I call to Lorna. “I want this hit more than my inhaler. Come back through.”

Lorna returns to the suite. She lies back down on the bed. “I’m sorry I couldn’t find it.”

She wouldn’t have done. It was, like I’ll soon be, non-existent.

Plan in Action (Part 1 of 2) – 23 December 2000 – 9.25PM

Soul Destruction - Diary of a London Call Girl

I’m in a phone booth in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel. I’m talking to my younger brother, Enda, in London. I’ve been sitting on this red, velvet seat for ages. Before that, I sat on the sofas around the corner for a while. And before that, I was outside smoking a cigarette. This is because I’ve been waiting for Lorna to pitch up for the last two hours. I can’t remember whether we arranged to meet at seven-thirty or eight-thirty. Either way, Lorna is late.

“You are taking proper care of yourself,” Enda says.

“Yes. I said I was.” I try to hide the irritation I feel. He’s my younger brother and he’s acting like my father – not that either of us have personal experience of how one of those should behave.

“You don’t sound good.” Enda sounds even more concerned now.

“I’m just tired,” I lie. I learnt that trick from Shelley. Anyone says you’re out of sorts, acting unusually, not being yourself, not looking well, anything like that, the answer you give is tiredness. If they press you, you say you think you might be coming down with something. That’s usually in person, face-to-face, that you pull the second one out the bag. This is how to behave when on smack. All the times I tried to get Shelley off it, all the times I saw through what she was saying to me, and now here I am doing exactly what she did and saying exactly what she said. According to Shelley, I was a founding member of the AHF – the Anti-Heroin Front. Me and Tara started it apparently. Now look at me. I’ve been converted to the other side.

Through the glass doors at the entrance, I see Lorna standing outside. “I’ve got to go now,” I say to Enda.

“Call me tomorrow,” he says.

“I’ll call in a few days. Take care. Love you.” I quickly put down the phone and step out of the booth.

“You’re late,” I say to Lorna as I walk out of the hotel and into the night.

“You’ll adjust to me soon.” Lorna kisses me on the lips. She takes my hand and we walk towards her car. It’s not actually Lorna’s car. I learned that the other tonight. The old Dolomite belongs to her ex-boyfriend. It’s a perfectly rusty example of an old banger. It doesn’t go quicker than fifty miles an hour. It’s covered in dents. And there’s a hole slightly bigger than the size of a ten-pence piece in the floor, near the gearstick. The air comes through it, but it also functions as an ashtray, so it has a purpose.

Lorna’s contact in Kings Cross is still dry. From Manly, she drives in the direction of Parramatta. She’s not very talkative tonight. Neither am I. When we arrive on the dealer’s street, I wait in the car. Lorna gets out and knocks on his door. It’s a rough area. It’s dark. I’m nervous waiting here alone. Like last time, I lock my door and lean over to the driver’s side to lock that door too.

The young people walking past on the pavement look like gang members. The boys wear baseball hats. They have matching baseball shirts that are overly large and their shorts, made of a shiny material, are nearly as long as trousers. The girls would blend in well in Essex. They wear skimpy dresses or short skirts and low-cut tops. Their make-up is overdone in that way that makes you wonder whether they might be transsexual.

Thinking of transsexuals, I think of Angel. Perhaps I should have returned to Manhattan and stayed with her. I would have had a better chance of staying off heroin. She wouldn’t have kept me if I was taking it. The problem with that idea is that I was too embarrassed for her to see me looking ill. I wanted to get off the smack first, put on some weight and wait for my skin to clear before I saw her. I wanted to look the same as when I’d last seen her, look the same as how she would remember me. She’s one person that I haven’t yet had to lie to – through my avoidance of her only.

“Spider!” I scream, as we’re driving out of the suburb. “Stop the car! Stop the car!”

Lorna pulls over on a grass verge. I leap out of the Dolomite. I’m jumping up and down on the spot. Spiders make me do that.

“What’s wrong?” Lorna steps out of the car.

“There’s a spider. It’s huge.”

Lorna pokes her head through the open window on the driver’s side. “Where is it?”

“It was on the dashboard – on my side. Tell me when you’ve got it.” I’m still jumping. I’m glad this will be the last spider I see.

With her bare hands, Lorna picks up the hairy, brown spider and throws it on the grass. We get back inside the car and continue the journey in silence.

“You’re quiet,” Lorna says without a glance in my direction. I’ve noticed she rarely looks at me when she’s talking, even when we’re not in the car. She’s one of those people who isn’t good at making, let alone maintaining, eye contact. I put it down to the low- or no-self-esteem I imagine she suffers from.

“I’m just tired,” I say. The standard smackhead response. She knows it herself, I’m sure.

“You would tell me if there was something wrong, wouldn’t you?”

“Of course I would,” I reply. But I’m not exactly going to tell her my plan, am I?