Poetry, hated

As many of you know, I’m currently taking my BA (Hons) Arts & Humanities through the Open University. As part of the Creative Writing module, I had to write 40 lines of poetry. My previous tutor (I’ve now changed groups) absolutely hated what I wrote. It’s cliched, uninspired, unimaginative, and all tell, no show. Apparently. So here it is for everyone to hate:

Gin & Tonic

 

The sharp silver blade slices through the jaundiced flesh,

making no meal of cutting through the corpse.

Sour blood drips from the wound, the bitterness infects all that surrounds it,

as insipid flesh is peeled from the pitted skin.

Hung throughout life.

Drawn and quartered in death.

Laid on the icy slab.

Drowned.

 

Heavy hands throttle. Twisting, turning at the wretched neck,

braced for the inevitable spill of pretty thoughts.

Innards, cool and light, trickle down, splish-splashing as they hit the bottom,

of the clear well, meant as a means of containment.

Fused and joined.

Sweet scents meld together.

Laid on the icy slab.

Drunk.

 

 

Writing Poetry

 

Begin with a word, now choose another,

be the word’s mistress, don’t be its lover.

Bend it and twist it, do what you will,

out of your fingertips, let the words spill.

Find the words meaning and find it again,

snap it and crush it, and kill it and when,

you’ve found the right word that you want to use,

scratch it. Start again. Adore the abuse.

 

Find your beginning, a middle and end,

find some nouns and verbs and let them all blend.

Mix them all into a witch-worthy brew,

just leave them to be, and let the words stew.

Abandon your ink blots, start a new page,

unleash your dragons, your love, and your rage.

Once you are finished, you’re done and you’re through,

kill all of your darlings, then start anew.

 

Let the ink flow, until your pen’s run dry,

there’s nowhere to go, no tears left to cry.

Have you revealed yourself, hidden away,

seen the bleak night turn into a bleak day?

Family forgot you even existed.

Are all those scrounged words, humbled and twisted?

And have you chewed off less than was bitten?

The answer’s yes. It’s poetry written.

Here, there, everywhere…

To say that I started 2017 with the plan of not planning, it’s certainly been a busy couple of months. A Different Kind of Therapy is out and doing well (whaddya mean you haven’t bought a copy? Click here, buy it.) Seven Dirty Words has been dropped to 99p / 99c for Tirgearr Publishing’s fifth birthday. (Lots of prizes to be won. Click here for that!) And I’m still writing, writing, writing! So blogging has taken a backseat while I work on my resolution of being more organised. I realise the irony in this.

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I have some new aims for 2017. It’s the year I turn 35. I always promised myself that this would be the year that I hit the best seller’s list, and while I’m not doing badly when it comes to sales, that coveted title is still out of reach. So despite not having plans, I do have lots of work to do! Market, market, market.

I’m pretty determined to make that dream come true. At 29, I promised myself that I would have a book published before I turned 30. And I did. Seven Dirty Words was originally published five years ago by Rocking Horse Publishing before being taken over by Tirgearr, two years later. So there is no reason why I shouldn’t see my name listed in the Sunday Times or similar, within the next six months. Here’s hoping anyway! If you’re reading this, you’re reading it for a reason – hopefully because you enjoy my work. I would be ever so grateful if you would help me reach my goal, and share links to my books. Which sort of brings me around to my other not-planned-in-any-way plan for 2017. A street team.

I’ve heard good and bad things about having a street team, but I’ve decided that it’s probably about time that I set one up. What is a street team? It’s essentially a group of readers who plug the work of the author. I’m currently working on creating team kits, including bookmarks, business cards, flyers, magnets, and other bits & pieces, including a bag to carry it all in that will be sent out to members who sign up to join me. Have an idea for popular SWAG? Want to sign up? Email me: charlotte@charlottehowardauthor.co.uk

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As I said, Seven Dirty Words is currently on sale as well, to support Tirgearr Publishing’s fifth birthday. This won’t be the last sale of the year for my books, however I won’t be reducing the prices as frequently as I have in the past. To combat this, I will be running more giveaways though! The first giveaway will be held once my Facebook page reaches 1,000 likes. So get sharing if you want to be in with a chance to win a copy of one of my books!

I’ve been asked if I’m writing a third part to the Words series. In short, no. I’m sorry, but Paige’s story is finished. However, I am working on several more novels – one of which will definitely be part one of a lengthy series.

So, for a not planned, relaxed 2017, I seem to be very busy! Hopefully I will, at some point, find the chance to finish a novel and maybe get some reading in myself.

Back online!

Oh my goodness. This past month has been hard. I know it’s a “First World Problem”, but living a month without any landline, limited internet access (what I could get on my crappy iPhone 5s) and freeview TV has been an absolute nightmare. Freeing, but a nightmare all the same.

Why a nightmare? I am enslaved by technology. My whole business is online. From my alter-ego “Miss Lottie” to my writing and blogging, everything is online. I had a new book come out on the 29th December, and I was completely unable to do anything when it came to promotions and marketing. (PLEASE, visit Evernight Publishing and check out my latest novella!) I have been unable to promote or market any of my other books, other than a few hit and miss Facebook posts. And uni work… Oh. My. God. Uni work. I do a course through the Open University and the majority of it is online, so writing up assignments without access to the forums and tutorial notes has been beyond difficult.

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The new book

But, I’m back online now, and desperate to catch up. If you include the fact that I had Christmas off, I have two months worth of crap to catch up on, including fan mail, general emails, marketing, promoting, sales, writing, assignments, editing, transcriptions, and so much more.

Thank you everyone for your patience while I endeavour to pull myself back into the 21st Century!

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?!

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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.)

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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…