Extract from Four Letter Words

Read Seven Dirty Words? Continue Paige’s story with…

Four Letter Words

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Nightmares teased and taunted me that night. Great hulking beasts tore away at my skin. Their gnarled fingers with long, scratching talons, tore at my flesh. I tried to scream, but they had stolen my voice. Breathless, I struggled onward, down the twisting path of infinite darkness. Cackles and howls surrounded me, flooding my senses. I tripped over my own confusion. Even on this one road, with no other way to turn, I knew that I was lost. Everything was lost.

  I scrambled on, clawing my way up the path. My body was heavy, forcing me down as though gravity had increased. It was impossible to stand. I dragged myself through the muck, tears streaming down my face, creating a sea beneath me. If I didn’t find my way home, I was going to drown in my own sorrow.

  The beasts continued to harangue me, spitting putrid bile in my way. I felt sick. I could taste the acrid stomach acid building in the back of my mouth. I gagged on my humility. But nothing was freed. I kept heaving, hoping to relieve some of the weight, make myself lighter so that I could stand.

  Then he was there. TDS stood in front of me. He loomed over my pitiful frame, towering as though he were twenty feet tall, a resolute statue of demanding respect. His stare as pitch black as my surroundings. Soulless.

  “Please help,” I tried to say. But my mouth wouldn’t move. “I’m sorry.” Still no words could be heard.

  An unknown force flipped me over. Invisible restraints held my wrists flat against the cold, hard ground. The ocean of tears soaked through what skin remained. Dirt crawled up my body like tiny insects. I struggled. But against what? There was nobody there.

  TDS was gone, and in his place, a callous reminder of my past. 

***

REVIEWS:

If you loved the first one then buy the second you won’t be disappointed!”  

The book pulled me in from the beginning and kept me on my toes throughout.”

A brilliantly written book is a must read…”

BUY LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Waterstones

Rocking Horse Publishing

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A-Z of Romance: U is for Under Pressure (**insert sad face**)

How many of you feel pressured to be romantic? I’d say most of you. If you’re naturally lovey-dovey, an expert at reading body language / minds, or have an ever-increasing bank account, then being romantic probably isn’t such a problem for you. Personally, when it comes to the ‘R’ word, I struggle. I know that sounds daft coming from a romance writer, but let’s face it – neither of my books are exactly mushy with HEAs (Happily Ever After), and before Seven Dirty Words & Four Letter Words, I wrote dark poetry and murder mysteries, so I’m not sure “romance” really covers what I write. Nevertheless, it is what category the books fall into.

If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you it’s like being married to a man with boobs. I’m not sure if this is a compliment or not, but it’s true. Even my two best-friends (who are both female) and I refer to our weekends away / nights out as “lads nights”. I’m rubbish with hints (give it to me straight, or not at all). I’m no good at being ladylike. My housewifery skills leave a lot to be desired. I’m allergic to high-pollinating flowers (although I’ll take the chocolate), and my idea of a romantic night is going to the cinema to see the latest James Bond / Hobbit / anything action-y film, followed by curry. So when it comes to being feminine and romantic, I do feel incredibly  under pressure.

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There’s a lot out there that tells us what romance is, and it all contradicts each other. Just look at the types of book that fall under the romance category: Everything from Mills & Boon to Fifty Shades of Grey. Where do you fit? Nowhere? Everywhere? It’s all so confusing!

Personally, I think romance is what you make it. Do away with the constraints of commercialism, ignore what media says romance is, and just go with it. If you want flowers, chocolates, and being proposed to at the top of the Eiffel Tower – then find someone who will do that for you. If you want to get married whilst bungee jumping – do it! Shrug off the pressure, and to be honest if you’re other half is the one putting the pressure on and you feel uncomfortable then you need to do some serious talking and decide whether you are truly suited to each other.

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Ask Charlotte: “Self-publish versus traditional”

“Dear Charlotte,

I am a struggling writer. Struggling in the sense that I have four finished novels on my computer, and a whole pile of rejection letters sat in my drawer. I just can’t get a break! A friend of mine suggested that I sod the rejections and publish it myself. It looks simple enough with KDP and Smashwords. 

I noticed that you have previously self-published a novel, and have two traditionally printed books as well. Which did you prefer? Would you self-publish again? WHAT SHOULD I DO??

Yours,

Conflicted”

Dear Conflicted,

First off – I completely sympathise. Any traditionally published author who says they haven’t had a rejection letter is either lying, or has serious connections in the industry. I’ve had more than I care to count or remember, although I have kept my very first one as a grounding point. When I’m a big, multi-selling, famous author, I’ll be able to look at the letter and remind myself where my feet belong. So please, don’t take those rejections personally.

I haven’t read anything you’ve written (obviously) so couldn’t say whether those rejections are justified or not. But they probably are – even if it’s only that the agent / publisher was swamped with work and simply didn’t have the time to take on another piece. So my first point would be to re-visit your work before even considering self-publishing.

If you are willing to do the hard work and spend the money, then by all means self-publish. I know a few people who have done it and done really well. But it takes a lot more than blood, sweat, tears, and an ever-decreasing bank account. And that is why I failed at self-publishing. Okay, so I sold quite a few books, but there is a very good reason it is no longer available. In fact, if I could go back four years, I’d tell myself to stop, put it to one side, and try something else.

Traditional publishing, however, comes with heartbreak. You lose control over the final decisions such as editing, book covers, pricing etc. and you still have to do your own marketing and PR. Okay, so you don’t have to pay anything for it, apart from buying copies of your book, but that’s about it. Saying that, I do prefer traditional printing and allowing my publishers to have that control because… well… I’m lazy.

I’m a creative person and enjoy hashing book covers together, but for the rest of it, I just can’t be bothered. Or I’m too tight-fisted. Nobody should ever edit their own book, so if you do decided to self-publish, make sure you hire an independent, unbiased, professional editor; NOT a friend or family member – a complete stranger. Give out a couple of PDFs to independent Beta readers (you can find these for free on social media) and grab their opinions. If you’re creative, attempt to jacket design, but make sure you own the copyright of any pictures you use. But Google “bad book covers” first and get an idea of what to avoid. Then you have advertising, marketing… The list is endless. If you have a good network within the industry, this shouldn’t be a problem. But if (like me, when I self-published) you know nobody except a few freelancers, then I’d suggest you pay for a professional marketing expert. Even as a traditionally published author, I’ve still sought the advice of a publicist.

If this sounds like too much hard work, then I’d stick with traditional publishing, in which case you really do need to take a second look at your work. You can still hire beta-readers and editors to give you their opinion. And don’t just send your submissions to the Big Name agents and publishers. Hit the smaller, independent ones as well – this is where I’ve had success. You can always send to a bigger name at a later date.

Sorry that I’ve not been all that much help, but you need to write a list of pros and cons for both, do your research, and decide how much work you’re realistically willing to put into publishing a book.

Charlotte

xoxoxo

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A-Z of Romance: T is for Time after Time

Romance once in a while is nice, especially when it’s spontaneous and surprising, but romance time after time is better. I’m not talking about smothering your partner in cuddles and kisses, I’m talking about romantic meals out, nights on the sofa, talking openly, and just generally showing each other how much you care.

You don’t have to shower them in expensive gifts, but a cup of tea in bed, a home-cooked meal, and a child-free night can all  be seen as romantic. All you need to do is remind each other of why you got together in the first place, remind each other of why you’re still together, and you’ve hit romance on the metaphorical head.

holding hands

Make once a month “Date Night”. This is quite common amongst couples, although we often forget to put that night aside. How many times have you said to your other half: “Let’s go out on payday?” And then payday comes around, and so does something else. Date Night gets cancelled. Again. Make a point of planning it – okay so there’s nothing spontaneous or exciting about that, but at least then you know you have one day or evening a month when you can do something as a couple.

Make Date Night different every month as well – go to the cinema one month, then out for a meal the next. Go for a walk in the local park, and then change it up to a takeaway in front of the telly. Keep it interesting, keep it fresh, and keep it alive.

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FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME Cover Reveal

Originally posted on Author/ Writer Julie Young:

photo-2       Here it is! At long last I am able to share with everyone the Fifteen Minutes of Fame book cover! I am so excited about this! I chose this picture nearly nine months ago and I still think it ROCKS! In case you haven’t heard about the upcoming book, here is the current press release about it!

INDIANAPOLIS_ After six books on local history including The Famous Faces of WTTV-4, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, Historic Irvington and A Belief in Providence, local author Julie Young has branched into fiction teaming up with St. Louis-based Rocking Horse Publishing to release an exciting YA title Fifteen Minutes of Fame on April 11.

Written as a first-person memoir, Fifteen Minutes of Fame is the story of Megan Taylor, a young girl who was plucked from obscurity at the age of 15 and transformed into the mysterious…

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Book Release: A Taste of Rome by Lucy Felthouse – Over 18s Only

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A Taste of Rome by Lucy Felthouse

Blurb:

Book three of the World of Sin series.

Ryan Stonebridge and his friend Kristian Hurst have travelled to London and Paris on their “gap year” adventure, before starting university. Now it’s on to Rome.

The American girls they met in Paris are along for the ride, providing lots of sexy fun for the boys. But as no one in the foursome is looking for commitment, there’s still plenty of scope for hooking up with the locals. Voyeurism, cougars, risky outdoor sex and threesomes abound in the Italian leg of the boys’ European adventure.

Available from: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/a-taste-of-rome/

Add to your Goodreads shelves: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18399288-a-taste-of-rome

*****

Excerpt:

Ryan came to the conclusion that perhaps this journey wasn’t so horrendous after all. He’d been a little miffed that the American girls, Shanna and Taryn, had wanted to tag along from Paris to Rome with him and Kristian. He’d been keen not to end up with any chicks who wanted more than a one night stand, figuring that any romantic entanglements would screw up their footloose and fancy-free gap year trip. Their last year of freedom, without commitment, before they went to University and had to grow up, buckle down.

In the here and now, however, Ryan decided that Shanna actually wasn’t that bad. It seemed she was determined to spice up the never-ending coach trip from Paris to Rome. Eight hundred and seventy miles, thirteen hours. They’d known when they’d booked it that it would be nigh on intolerable, but it was the cheapest way to travel. And having sat in the increasingly stuffy, tiny coach, Ryan could see why. It made cramped seats in coach class on a flight feel like first class.

Shanna had removed her jacket as the crap air-conditioning was utterly failing to cool down the cabin. It had been draped over her lap for a while before she slid it across so it covered part of his too. Ryan frowned, wondering why she thought it was a good idea to make him warmer. He was already melting in the heat. Then she slipped her hand beneath the jacket and moved it over his crotch. She squeezed his flaccid cock, making her intentions absolutely clear. He realized that if he continued to stare down at their laps it would be painfully obvious to anyone who glanced in their direction what they were up to. So he leaned over and kissed Shanna’s cheek, nuzzling her red hair out of the way to murmur into her ear.

“I’m going to try and act natural.” Then, remembering what had happened to him back in London when he’d ended up with cum-filled boxer shorts, he added, “Can you, uh, catch it in a tissue?”

Grinning, Shanna revealed the flimsy white material in her other hand. It appeared she’d already thought of that. Saucy wench—he liked her. She was a fun girl, gorgeous-looking and a great lay. Had things been different, he might have considered pursuing something long-term with her, but it wasn’t going to happen. He and Kristian had this one chance, this few months to live life to the fullest, do what they wanted, do who they wanted, go where they liked, and he wasn’t going to throw it away for a green-eyed, cute-accented chick. No way.

He wasn’t worried about upsetting her, though. He knew that she and her friend had a similar pact and outlook on their European travels. They too were hooking up, having a good time and moving on.

Ryan grinned out of the window. Life was good. A sexy girl was about to get his cock out on a coach and toss him off, and he was heading to the third destination on his gap year adventure. The Italian capital awaited and he couldn’t wait to see what it had in store.

Before he got there, though, he was going to have another orgasm on public transport. First the toilets on the Eurostar, now beneath a jacket on a coach. God, what was it with women and doing it in cramped, risky places? And Blanche—the French bird on the Eurostar—and Shanna weren’t the only ones he was thinking of. He was beginning to forget what it was like to have sex in a bed. Not that he was complaining—Christ, no. If a sexy woman propositioned him, who was he to refuse?

By now Shanna had undone his belt, button and fly and released his cock from his boxers. It had taken a while as she’d had to keep her movements slow, subtle, so no one realized what was happening. As a result of all the fumbling, his dick was rock hard by the time she got it out, and it sprung eagerly into her hand.

She leaned her head on his shoulder and he slipped his arm around her, pulling her close. Anyone who looked now would just see a couple of young people having a cuddle. Or possibly a hot redhead sleeping on the shoulder of a young man who could either be her boyfriend or a total stranger.

Carefully, she began to stroke him, getting into a rhythm that would drive him to climax without anyone knowing.

Ryan turned back to the window, giving the appearance of looking out at the darkening sky. Shanna’s grip tightened, her movements grew faster and he grew closer to coming. He dug his teeth into his bottom lip in an attempt to regain some kind of control. It didn’t help—his hormones raged and the familiar tingle at the base of his spine was a dead giveaway.

Looking as chilled out, as casual as possible, he turned to Shanna and whispered, “You’d better get that tissue ready—otherwise I’m going to make an awful mess.”

She gave a single nod of understanding and moved her other hand beneath the jacket, slowly, languidly. It probably looked as though she was just changing position, rather than anything naughtier. Ryan, however, was at the stage where he didn’t care. If anyone happened to look across, happened to confront them, he’d hold a hand up to keep them quiet until he finished.

*****

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, and is book editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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Seven Dirty Words by Charlotte Howard

Charlotte Howard:

LOVE the pictures!!

Originally posted on Intellectual Vixens:

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Paige Holmes hides herself in a masculine world in a desperate attempt to remain safe. Just as she is ready to face her fears and her past, she finds herself torn between Matt Jackson and Vance Ellery: handsome, rich, and safe – or handsome, rich, and dangerous? Which will she choose? The one who appears to be the most perfect, or the one who makes her use all Seven Dirty Words?

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Paige holmes isn’t your average girl. She plays Rugby on Saturdays and practice martial arts on Mondays. She also works at a mechanic’s shop and shares a house with her brother and his best friend.

I know that by the description above you might think you have a hold of the plot (falling for the brother’s best friend thing) but… Nope. You’re wrong.

During a game of Rugby, she literally falls at the feet of Vance Ellery or TDS…

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