Sun, sea, sand and hot, hot stories! #BeachHolidays #EroticRomance #eBooks #Mallorca

sunset

I’ve just returned from a fabulous family holiday in Mallorca (or Majorca, however you want to spell it), and feel so relaxed it’s ridiculous. Not only did I get some quality time with Hubby and the two sproglings, but I also conquered a fear or two, and read FIVE book – count ’em, FIVE. Okay, so four of them were more novellas than full-on books, but they still count!

When we arrived at Iberostar Club Cala Barca, it was early evening and after we’d unpacked and eaten, we headed for the beach. The hotel is set in it’s own private Cala, and at sunset is so quiet and peaceful, and beautiful. While the kids paddled, I sat back on the sand and soaked it all in. For months I’d been planning this holiday, packing, ensuring passports and insurances were all up-to-date, having panic attacks about all sorts of possible scenarios (the kids drowning or being kidnapped being the two most common), and we were finally there. So far, no incidents.

beach

Before we left, I asked for recommendations to download onto my Kindle, and was inundated with suggestions. Kindle loaded with a range of books from erotica to paranormal, I settled myself into the holiday.

I have a fear of the sea – well not the sea per se, but being out of my depth with things touching my legs. It comes after a few incidents at the beach stemming back to my childhood, when holidaying in Wales I was playing in the sea and a big wave crashed over me, leaving me with worm-like eels in my hair. Follow that with a honeymoon in Mexico, snorkelling three miles off-shore, with heatstroke and nearly drowning, and my fear was set in. So while Hubby took the kids out to look at the pretty silver fish swimming over the rocks, I unfolded a towel and started working on my tan. I was soon joined by a shark (originally named Sharky by Boy-Child).

Over the period of three days I managed to read four books in Tirgearr Publishing’s City Nights Series, a series I have two books in myself. I read Rome, New Orleans, San Francisco and Amsterdam, and for a while Hubby thought he was married to my Kindle.

In between reading books, we moved around the hotel and tried various pools. But while the children swam and played, I read and drank. Club Cala Barca is an all-inclusive hotel and so plenty of cocktails were consumed, including a Caipirinha de Fresa and many, many Pina Coladas! Of course the children stuck to raspberry and cola slushies. Food was plentiful as well, and I think I may have consumed my weight in paella.

food

During one day by the beach though, I was all on my own, reading my Kindle, when a ball came screaming through the air and landed by my side, narrowly missing my whiter-than-white stomach. The gorgeous dad who’d been playing with his son, apologised profusely, and inspiration struck! WIP5 is currently being worked on… This did not go down well with the family, who now not only believe they’ve lost me to my books, but also to my notepad. Well of course I always carry one with me, I am a writer after all!

writing

To apologise to the small-people, I decided to bite the bullet and get in the water. The pool was first. We found one close to the bars and restaurants, with a shallow end for me to dip my toe in. Bloody hell it was cold! But soon, I was splashing and playing with the children, book forgotten. We needed to dry off though, so I sent hubby into the pool, switched the Kindle back on and read book number 5 – a paranormal romance ‘Shadows of Jane’ by Amy Hale.

pool

And then came the conquering of fears. I really should try my hand at snorkelling. And I did! Complete with lilo to keep me afloat, and mask, I went out of my depth, stuck my head in the water and swam with the fishes. GO ME!

But the week is over now, and we’re back home. It took getting up at 4.30am, a 2 hour bus-journey, queuing at Palma, a 2 hour flight (delayed by an hour), and a 2 hour drive from Cardiff to Somerset, but we are home. I’m less white than I was – although unlike Girl-Child who goes brown just looking at the sun, I’m a red-head and it’s more a case of freckles joining together.

freckles

And so begins work on WIP5, and planning next year’s holiday…

All reviews can be read on my latest blog: heartthrobs.wordpress.com 

The hotel review will be available on my TripAdvisor account shortly.

Signing off until 2015

I am admitting defeat.

There is one week to go until Christmas, and by now I have usually done all my baking, shopping, wrapping, and prepping. This year though, I am a total failure. It could be because I have a daytime job as well as my writing, or the fact that both my children have been / are poorly, or that I am currently studying for my BA Hons English Lit & Creative Writing, or maybe it’s because I’ve had three books published this year and have another coming out in early spring 2015. Whatever the reason, I am very behind. I haven’t even written out Christmas cards this year, and have now told people that since I’m late now, I will donate to the British Heart Foundation instead.

I’ve written my shopping list and wrapped one side of the family’s presents (only to discover that I’ve missed one person out completely, and while my son has stocking fillers and bits and pieces, I still haven’t got him his “BIG” present), but the baking and prepping is still waaaay late.

ONE batch, ONE batch of mince pies have been made and eaten. I’m normally on my third or fourth by now. And I’m surprised that my husband hasn’t divorced me since I haven’t made any cheesestraws or jam and lemon curd tarts! I even burned the lemon drizzle cake the other day because I was so distracted.

So with all this in mind, I am bidding you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I will see you in 2015, because I am exhausted and need to put my family first.

You Know You’re A Mum When…

It’s been a while since I did a personal blog post, so thought I’d do one today. I was struggling to think of what I could tell you about – one of the hundreds of business plans going around my head, or perhaps the novel I’m writing… Then I finally got to sit down with a cup of tea and all I heard was “Mummy, he’s hitting me.” “Mummy, she’s growling.” “Mummy he threw my toy.” “Mummy she drew on my piece of paper.” After cursing profusely on Skype to my husband (I **try** not to swear in front of the kids, and I certainly **try** not to lose my temper), I realised that this is what being a mum is. I am a verbal punching bag. If my abuser was 6″4, weighing **ehem** kilos, and 4 years older than me, it would be classed as domestic abuse. Unfortunately mine are under 4 foot (but growing like weeds), weigh next to nothing, and are aged 5 and 6 years old. This is called, Being A Parent.

Okay so today has been a particularly bad day, mainly because of the terrible weather, and that my daughter thinks that at her next birthday, she’ll be 17. But generally speaking, there are ways to tell that you are a Mum without physically seeing your children.

 

 

1. Lego & Barbie shoes

This is ninja-style ammunition. You don’t see it until you’re walking around with bare feet, and a piece becomes embedded into your sole / soul (yes, both). And it doesn’t matter how many times you tell them to pick it all up, how many times you go around on your hands and knees, scraping your fingers through the carpet. There will always be one piece that goes up the vacuum cleaner – which just happens to be the piece that they absolutely need to finish Darth Vader’s Death Star, or Barbie’s Rock Star Outfit.

2. Your kitchen is an art gallery

This is kinda cute. From their first scribbles to their genius masterpieces, kitchen cupboards will become display boards for their varying pieces of art. Not just paintings and pictures either, no… You’ll find yourself sticking scrappy bits of cut up paper, because it’s a collage of your face, or bits of cotton wool because it’s a sheep from the Nativity scene.

3. Phone calls don’t last more than 5 minutes

In fact you’re lucky if you get past 1 minute. As soon as you pick up that receiver you will hear cries of “Mummy, I need a drink” or “Mummy I need you to wipe my bum”, anything and everything suddenly requires your undivided attention, simply because you wanted some adult conversation. Before children, you hated cold callers. Now, you pray for them to ring when the children are at school / nursery, because it’s adult conversation that you can have for longer than 5 minutes.

4. The bathroom is no longer peaceful

Remember those times when you could lock the bathroom door, fill the bath with hot soapy bubbles, listen to relaxing music, light the candles, and disappear with a glass of wine for over 2 hours? Yeah… Forget those. They are loooong gone. Bathtime now consists of screams and nightmares and the need for a drink, or my personal favourite, a poo. It doesn’t matter that there is a separate toilet downstairs. As soon as I’ve stepped into that tub, the downstairs loo is now a dark and dangerous room, and the only place that will do is the toilet next to my head.

5. Me-Time is food shopping time

Yup. That most hated of chores, food shopping, becomes Me-Time. You actually fight with your other half as to who gets to tackle the supermarket, because both of you want an hour on your own without screaming kids. But you win, because he’s lucky and gets to go to work for 8 hours a day, 8 hours of freedom!!! It’s so unfair.

So that, is how you know you’re a Mum.

Bye for now, it’s time to go and drain one of my many bottles of much needed wine…

Guest blog from Rebecca Howard, aged 6

Rather than an “Ask Charlotte” blog (I will do one next week), today is a guest blog from my six-year-old daughter Rebecca. At school, the children are currently learning the building blocks of story-telling, after reading Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl. This is the one she wrote using puppets to guide her:

puppets

Once upon a time, there lived a furry, mummy fox. One day she went to a special party, but unfortunately she lost her special lipstick. At night, at seven o’clock, she had enough time to find it because the party started at nine o’clock. So, she found it and put it in a magic cider jug to wash it up. She put on the magic lipstick. She dug and dug and dug, until she got to the party, because it was in Beans Cider Cellar.

At the party, she saw her family and she danced with them. Then she saw her mum and dad so, she danced with them as well. Then she saw her aunty and uncle, so she danced with them as well. Then she saw her great-aunty and uncle! Now, she saw her great-great-aunty and uncle, and grandma and grandad, so she danced with all of them! And then, she saw her grandaughter and grandson, so she danced with them too.

THE END

A break before a break!

I use Grammarly’s grammar check because bad grammar is like an ex-boyfriend and with hindsight they could both have been avoided!

Talking of ex-boyfriends, love lost, and romance – it’s the Festival of Romance 2013 in a couple of weeks. I shall be there, in Bedford, signing and selling books so make sure you get down there. I have 50 books that need a new home!

But before mother and I hit the road and head for a comfy hotel, I shall be taking the kids up to Nottingham to see the “Northern Bunch”. I am well aware that Nottingham isn’t technically in the North, it’s East Midlands, but down here in Somerset anything north of the Watford Gap is considered “Northern”.

I’m looking forward to getting a break, although I will miss the hubby (he has to work – boo!!) and I’m 99.9999% sure the kids will too. With grandparents, aunties, and a (fairly) new cousin I doubt I’ll see much of them. I am wondering if I should warn Grandad that William is bringing his Nerf gun and fully intends to play war games with him. Oh, and Rebecca has written a lovely song that she’s going to play on the recorder for both Grandma and Grandad… Nah… It’ll be a wonderful surprise for them both!

With the kids sending the grandparents up the wall and around the bend, I’m hoping that I will get some precious laptop-time and get some more of my latest novel, The Black Door, written. Yet another smutty romance about a 37 year-old single Mum, it’s a step away from the spoiled poor little rich girl books I’m used to writing.

We shouldn’t forget that November (yes, that’s only a week away folks) is also home of NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). Yet again I have challenged myself to write 50,000 words in the space of 30 days. I didn’t complete it last year due to having major surgery, but I have no excuses this year.

It’s also the month of my son’s birthday. So, NANOWRIMO, Festival of Romance, my son’s birthday party, Bonfire Night, several more birthdays, and a desperate need to prepare for Christmas… November is going to be a busy month. I’m going to need this break before I break!!