It’s not surviving, it’s living…

I’ve said before that I think I might be a secret prepper, but from January that might become true.

2016 has been a God-awful year. Yes, we’ve had some joy in the form of books being published, contracts being signed, and the best family holiday that we’ve ever had. But like the rest of the planet, it has not been all happiness and smiles. As well as Brexit, the US elections, and the deaths of numerous celebrities taking over the news, we’ve had  hard time ourselves. My daughter has been in and out of hospital with her on-going issues (although we had the good news that they think it’s only a lactose intolerance as opposed to anything life-threatening / changing), she had problems at school (again, dealt with but still stressful and upsetting), and someone I considered to be a friend sadly passed away only a few weeks ago. All of this, and more has forced us to re-evaluate our lives and we came to one big decision – something needs to change.

Hubby currently works for a computer consumables sales company, supporting his business as a photographer. He’s also fast-approaching 40. Life’s too short to spend it doing nothing but working. So, we’ve given ourselves two years, and then once Hubby has hit the big four-oh, we’re both going self-employed, full-time. No more working for other people. I will have finished my OU degree by then, and we will have the time and energy to push his photography and my writing. Unfortunately, it means a massive pay cut.

Money may not be the ‘be all and end all’, but when you have to pay rent, council tax, utility bills, and feed your family then it has to be considered. We already know that we live beyond our means, something that has to change. But we have 2 years to get ourselves together, save what we can, and essentially prep for a time when we haven’t got a steady income.

The first step is food. Our family is all about food. I even have a (not very well-kept) blog on food, specifically for children with allergies and intolerances. We have a huge fridge and two freezers, so my plan? Batch bake and freeze. For the next two years, I will be filling my freezers with pre-cooked and slow-cooker meals.

At the moment I’m planning and writing lists, something I enjoy doing anyway. It’s going to be a shock to the system when it all gets put into action in January!

If you have any tips, please let me have them…

Review: The Billionaire and The Wild Man by Lucy Felthouse & Victoria Blisse (@cw1985 @victoriablisse)

Heart Throbs

AMAZON UK

BLURB:from Amazon

Flynn Gifford is enjoying a simple existence in a rural Derbyshire village when Caroline Rogers crashes into his life, barefoot and panicked. Their lives could hardly be more different—she owns a successful luxury hotel chain, and he’s a penniless nomad who’s off the grid—yet neither can deny the attraction that burns between them. As Caroline reluctantly starts to open up to him, Flynn finds himself divulging some secrets of his own, secrets he thought he’d take to his grave. But can a billionaire and a wild man ever make a relationship work, or will their secrets keep them apart?

REVIEW:

This is not the first book from either Lucy Felthouse or Victoria Blisse that I have read, but it is the first written by both, and I was not disappointed.

The story revolves around the story of Carrie Rogers, a billionaire businesswoman recovering from a…

View original post 282 more words

That time I tried my hand at domination…

…and found out how bad I am at it.

I guess my fascination with BDSM and domination started after I read a certain infamous trilogy (still haven’t seen the films), and I was introduced to world that I knew about, but had never given much thought. Of course I’ve seen those programmes on the telly about the Dominatrix who looks like a normal housewife until you see the man in her back garden, wearing nothing but a gimp mask as he mows her lawn. But apart from that, I had never really given it much thought.

Then I started writing erotic romance.

At first, it was very “vanilla” romance – nothing much more than a few scenes of oral sex, missionary and the occasional doggy-style. The Black Door stumbled over an adult shop, and the possibility of alternative lifestyles. Then I wrote One Night in Edinburgh, and introduce toys. My internet search history suddenly became more tainted than it already was. I kept writing. Taking Care of Leah was next, and broached the subject of BDSM.

Through networking, I have “met” quite a few Dommes, both lifestyle and pro. (Lifestyle means it’s a way of life, pro means they actually get paid for it and it’s classed as a job. I think.) And I started asking questions – what would be good for a beginner, a flogger or a paddle, sort of thing. Then, my friends suggested we went to Torture Gardens. It was great fun, and I met some really interesting people. My interest peaked, and I started talking to Hubby about the idea of being a Dominatrix. It sounded fun!

I started writing a book (working title “A Different Kind of Therapy), due to be released next year by Evernight Publishing. It required research into domination used as a kind of therapy. I found the website FetLife – which is a bit like Facebook, only for those into a kinkier lifestyle. I created a persona. I didn’t want to show my face, so put up a picture of my feet. And got a lot of attention.

Instagram. OMG. Instagram is a hive of weirdness anyway, but put up a picture of your feet with #footfetish #footworship attached, and I was inundated with private messages asking for more pictures, and they were willing to pay me! Then someone contacted me on FetLife asking if I would be their Domme. They wanted someone they could send Amazon gift cards to in return for some conversation and humiliation. I giggled and showed Hubby.

Now, you have to remember that my marriage is based on trust. Hubby is a photographer and has done a lot of glamour photography. With his support, I decided to set up a Skype account, Twitter account, and have a go at this online Financial Domination. Essentially, men would pay me for conversation and to look at my feet.

£20’s worth of Amazon gift cards arrived in my newly set up email account. And after this “conversation” I felt the need to shower in bleach. Nope. Not happening again. I get regular dick-pics anyway, but being told what someone wanted to do all over my feet, and then lick them clean made me gag.

“You’re not dominating enough,” Hubby said. “You need to remember you’re in control. Abuse them.”

Apparently, I am not very good at being abusive or humiliating. If anything, I felt it was the other way around. For five days I tried to hurl abuse via email and Skype to weird men, and it got me nothing but weird, whiny, needy messages.

I’m not doing this right. I’m not intimidating. I’m fishing in a shallow pool. I am not a dominatrix. Accounts got closed and deleted, and I gave up my life as a Mistress.

I’d like to say it was fun while it lasted, but I’m not convinced that £20 is really worth the dick-pics, the accusations of being a prostitute, the nasty messages claiming I was “too fat to be a whore”. I’m pretty sure (because it’s the internet) that there are still pictures of my feet with an email address that no longer exists attached to it.

It was an experience. That’s for sure. And not one I intend to try again. However, it will make a good base for a possible storyline…

How It All Came About by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985)

Heart Throbs

TheBillionaireandtheWildMan-evernightpublishing-OCt2016-smallpreview.jpg

Hello and thank you so much for stopping by on our blog tour. I hope you’ll follow the whole ten days and find out all there is to know about the book, and of course, enter the giveaway!

Today I’m going to dish the dirt on how it all came about. How me and my mate Victoria Blisse came to write a novel called The Billionaire and the Wild Man.

Well, it all started with the two of us skiving off work one day… (I’d like to point out we’re both self-employed before anyone thinks about grassing us up to our bosses!) We’d been working crazy hard, as usual, so we decided to meet up in the Derbyshire town of Buxton for the day and just… well, do what erotic romance writers do on their days off. We wandered around the town (which is beautiful), we visited bookshops (duh), we…

View original post 1,137 more words

Nanowrimo: Tips and excuses #Nanowrimo #AmWriting

Writers everywhere are counting down the days to November. Why? National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo. It’s when writers get together and challenge each other to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve taken part in previous years, but never completed the task. The projects have gone on to be finished and published, but I have yet to write 50k in a single month, or certainly not in November. However, I did write the first draft of Seven Dirty Words (approx. 90,000 words) in about the same time, just not during Nanowrimo. Am I taking part this year? Probably not, and I have plenty of excuses lined up, but also some tips for budding authors who fancy having a go.

Tip Number One: Start A New Project

Start a new project. Just sit and free-write the first words that come into your head, and keep going. Nanowrimo isn’t about polishing and editing, it’s about getting started and having a rough draft. If you’ve already got one project on the go, leave to one side for November and start a new one. Not only will you have something to continue with once WIP1 is finished, but you might also find some fresh inspiration and drive, stopping that original piece from becoming stale.

Excuse number one: I have twelve WIPs at the moment, I don’t need another one being added to the pile, especially as WIP1 is currently at 42,000 words. And after having taken some of my own advice and having left it alone for a few weeks, I now have the inspiration and a direction of where it is heading.

Tip Number Two: Get Your Sleep

You might be one of these writers who gets hit over the head by your muse at 3am, I know I am, but it’s important to get some decent shut eye. However much sleep you require is down to your body. Personally, I can’t function of less than eight hours, and even then I am fuelled by caffeine to get through the day. But if you don’t get sleep, you could end up burning yourself out, and that’s not a good place to be.

Excuse number two: I am already burned out. It’s been half-term here in the UK, and I’ve had two munchkins spreading their germs at home. I’m not even convinced that girl-child will be going back to school next week since she’s still coughing her guts up. I have a feeling that I’ll be spending the first few days of Nanowrimo playing nurse to sick children, which inevitably means that I will get it next!

Tip Number Three: Plot Now!

Most writers taking part in Nanowrimo have spent all of October plotting and planning. It’s a good idea, even if you’re a panster not a planner, because at least you have a starting point. I’m a panster, well and truly, but even when I’ve taken part in Nanowrimo, I’ve spent a good couple of days beforehand, considering my new project. What genre is it? Who are the characters? (Dig out a baby’s name book and jot down your favourites. You can always change them later.) Grab a notepad and jot down those scribbles. Sentence that come into your head, descriptive phrases you come across, anything really!

Excuse number three: Like I said, I am a panster. I did start plotting a fantasy series, which filled up several notebooks and hasn’t got any further yet. (That’s WIP11 in case you’re interested.) I have an idea where WIP1 is going, but when it comes to writing erotic romance, I struggle to plan. I need to just write and go with the flow, but then when I’ve got a deadline looming (i.e. the end of November), I get struck down by writer’s block – I panic, and then I have no notes to look at. I know, it’s a lame excuse, but it’s mine and I’m sticking with it.

Tip Number Four: Make Friends

Nanowrimo is a great way to make new friends. You can normally find someone in your area through their official website or Facebook groups. You might even be able to encourage your local writer’s group to take part, or find that they already are. Although writers tend to become hermits when actually taking part in the event, every now and then we pop our heads up to brag about how well we’re doing, and it’s always good to chat with like-minded people, and people who understand what we’re going through, and why it’s so important to us.

Excuse Number Four: I’m not great at being social, and I’m really bad at using forums. I’m a member of loads on Goodreads, but can’t keep track of them all. And I get fed up of posts getting lost because of people who use them like Facebook groups, and solely to advertise.

Tip Number Five: Don’t Stop

Okay, this is one I don’t have an excuse for. Once Nanowrimo is over, it is easy to shove that project aside and forget about it, especially if you did start a new WIP simply for Nanowrimo. But it’s important never to forget about it, and definitely DO NOT delete it! All of my Nanowrimo projects, although not completed in the time-frame of thirty days, have gone on to become full on novels. Put it aside if you must, but don’t abandon it. One day, it might become a best-selling novel.

GOOD LUCK!

x

Working in the sex industry, does not a bad person make. #SexSells #LoveMyJob

I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this before, but meh… You’re getting it again.

Last Thursday, I went along to my usual writer’s group meeting. I’m the secretary there. It’s a fun job. Although not nearly as smutty as I thought being a secretary would be. Then again, I’m also the secretary for the local PTA, and that would be wrong. Possibly illegal. But that’s more or less the point of this blog. I can be smutty, and still a good person.

At the meeting, I was told that I wasting my talents as an erotic romance author. I take all the critique and criticism I get there in good faith, and was relatively chuffed that I’d been called “talented”. I came home considering everything that had been said – was I wasting myself in erotica? I’ve already started writing an epic fantasy series, and a Sci-Fi novel, but neither are going anywhere at the moment. I also have several erotica and contemporary romances, which are doing quite well. Should I give up on erotica? I don’t have a pen-name, and my real name has been linked to books about sex, shock, horror! Have I made a mistake? What am I doing with my life?!

Charlotte_bookwork-067

Shocking stuff this!

I discussed it with Hubby.

He works as a photographer, and while he does a lot of advertising, wedding, and family photography, he enjoys glamour. Well hey, he is a heterosexual man. And it struck me that we both work in the sex industry! Now I’ve had this conversation before, with people I once called friends. The response? OMG! Our poor children! Daddy takes photos of boobs, and Mummy writes about them! What horrible parents we must be! Yeah… About that… My children are well-adjusted, semi-normal, and doing pretty well at school. I know this, because I get told on a regular basis how proud I must be of them. I had parents’ evening the other day and was told how lovely, enthusiastic and friendly they both are.

There is an unnecessary stigma attached to working in the sex industry – and to be perfectly honest, I don’t think writing rude books and taking photos of boobs really counts as working in the sex industry – especially when you’re a parent. I know people who truly do work in the industry and are perfectly capable of separating that part of their lives from parenting. You know, like leaving your work at work? Oh, you mean in mainstream jobs you don’t always do that? So… It’s perfectly acceptable for Daddy who works in a bank to come home stressed and complaining about his boss, or Mummy who works for a big corporation to come home with a laptop and head straight for the wine and start ringing clients, whilst child is in earshot, but it’s not okay for a writer or photographer to turn it all off give all their attention to the small-people in their lives, listen to them reading and help them with homework? Okay, so I’m stereotyping here, and I’m not saying that mainstream jobs are awful, but I am saying that you can’t say that someone is a bad parent because of the industry in which they work. And I have said all this before. (But I can’t remember when.)

www.charlottehowardauthor.co.uk (2).png

With all this in mind, I have decided that while I will choose a pen-name eventually, I am going to embrace the erotica and smut. What’s wrong with liking sex? Maybe I’ll expand my career and businesses so that I really do work in the sex industry. Sex does sell after all. I could do with a few slaves, and I do look good in leather…

Uni work, Dad, and The Battle of Hastings #openuni #1066

It’s a busy year. I’m currently taking my BA Hons Arts & Humanities through the Open University, and have just started year two. I took year one part-time, but now that I’m not working full-time (or not in a mainstream job at least), I decided to take both modules of year two at the same time. One of those modules is “Worlds of English”, which explores how the English language evolved and developed. Whilst reading how it derived from Anglo-Saxon, I was reminded of a poem that my dad used to read me, and one that was printed for everyone to read at his funeral almost two years ago. It’s a poem that means a lot to me, because an interest in History is one of the few things Dad and I had in common, and I’d like to share it with you. Even now when I read it, I can hear him saying the words with a broad East Midlands accent.

THE BATTLE OF HASTINGS BY MARRIOTT EDGAR

I’ll tell of the Battle of Hastings,
As happened in days long gone by,
When Duke William became King of England,
And ‘Arold got shot in the eye.

It were this way – one day in October
The Duke, who were always a toff
Having no battles on at the moment,
Had given his lads a day off.

They’d all taken boats to go fishing,
When some chap in t’ Conqueror’s ear
Said ‘Let’s go and put breeze up the Saxons;’
Said Bill – ‘By gum, that’s an idea.’

Then turning around to his soldiers,
He lifted his big Nonnan voice,
Shouting – ‘Hands up who’s coming to England.’
That was swank ‘cos they hadn’t no choice.

They started away about tea-time –
The sea was so calm and so still,
And at quarter to ten the next morning
They arrived at a place called Bexhill.

King ‘Arold came up as they landed –
His face full of venom and ‘ate –
He said ‘lf you’ve come for Regatta
You’ve got here just six weeks too late.’

At this William rose, cool but ‘aughty,
And said ‘Give us none of your cheek;
You’d best have your throne re-upholstered,
I’ll be wanting to use it next week.’

When ‘Arold heard this ‘ere defiance,
With rage he turned purple and blue,
And shouted some rude words in Saxon,
To which William answered – ‘And you.’

‘Twere a beautiful day for a battle;
The Normans set off with a will,
And when both sides was duly assembled,
They tossed for the top of the hill.

King ‘Arold he won the advantage,
On the hill-top he took up his stand,
With his knaves and his cads all around him,
On his ‘orse with his ‘awk in his ‘and.

The Normans had nowt in their favour,
Their chance of a victory seemed small,
For the slope of the field were against them,
And the wind in their faces an’ all.

The kick-off were sharp at two-thirty,
And soon as the whistle had went
Both sides started banging each other
‘Til the swineherds could hear them in Kent.

The Saxons had best line of forwards,
Well armed both with buckler and sword –
But the Normans had best combination,
And when half-time came neither had scored.

So the Duke called his cohorts together
And said – ‘Let’s pretend that we’re beat,
Once we get Saxons down on the level
We’ll cut off their means of retreat.’

So they ran – and the Saxons ran after,
Just exactly as William had planned,
Leaving ‘Arold alone on the hill-top
On his ‘orse with his ‘awk in his ‘and.

When the Conqueror saw what had happened,
A bow and an arrow he drew;
He went right up to ‘Arold and shot him.
He were off-side, but what could they do?

The Normans turned round in a fury,
And gave back both parry and thrust,
Till the fight were all over bar shouting,
And you couldn’t see Saxons for dust.

And after the battle were over
They found ‘Arold so stately and grand,
Sitting there with an eye-full of arrow
On his ‘orse with his ‘awk in his ‘and.