First Chapter Friday – Four Letter Words

fourletterwordsbycharlottehoward-500

ISBN: 9781311701978
ASIN: B01F82U040

Laying my head back against the black leather seats of the Jag and gazing ahead, I lifted a finger and touched my lips that were swollen from his kiss. The weariness of the past few weeks was beginning to take over, weighing on my eyelids as they began to droop. I should have been reassured by the man sitting next to me.

I shifted in my seat so I could watch him as he drove on. He was a force that even nature had no hold over. There was an urge to reach out and cling to his broad bicep, a need to feel the security of his physical strength, aching somewhere deep inside of me.

We didn’t speak as he pressed all his weight onto the accelerator, urging the car until it was over the speed limit. I half expected the shine of blue lights to fill the inside of the car, with sirens blaring around us. But they didn’t. Of course they didn’t. Even if a marked car was to pass, I doubted Vance Ellery would slow down, and I had even less that the police would attempt to pull him over. I suspected that the personal phone number of every single high-ranking officer in the country, was tucked away in a neat Rolodex on Vance’s desk or even stored in the memory bank of his mobile phone for easy access.

The silence should have been soothing. I should have been able to let my lashes flutter against my cheeks, and slip into a relaxing slumber. Instead the lack of conversation added to the tension that built behind my eyes. I closed them, hoping that soon I would drift off into a deep sleep, where I would be surrounded by falling flowers, rainbows, and sunlight. Ha! If only I was deserving of such luck. There were no pleasant dreams awaiting me after the sandman visited. Only nightmares wanted to be part of my night. They tormented me, bringing memories that I’d tried to bury and forget. They hounded the darkness, giving me nothing but misery and pain and suffering. It was as though all my sins from a previous life had been rolled over into this one.

If the visions of his face, the sound of his voice had been the only elements of my slumber, then I might have been willing to slip away and let the desperation of rest take me to the shadowed places I dreaded. My soul was destined for torture though. I was to be punished for his crime.

The mere suggestion of sleep forced my blood to pulsate until it was the only thing I could hear, throbbing in my temples. The searing pain of anxiety and panic stabbed at my chest, pins pricking my skin, as I let my eyelids fall. A shudder fell down my spine, waking me from the light doze I’d stumbled into.

Breathe in, breathe out. In with the good, out with the bad. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in, breathe out. A mantra, taught to me by a yoga instructor years before hell had entered my life, repeated over and over in my mind. I inhaled the cool air through my nasal passages, allowing it to slip down into my painfilled lungs, exhaling all the bad out of my mouth in a gigantic whoosh.

Ahead, the roads were empty, weaving out of the village and headed towards Richart Courts, the hotel that was to be my sanctuary for the next couple of days before I had to face the next challenge. New York City.

How anyone could expect me to go back there was beyond belief. The only logical explanation for their plans for my future was that facing New York was the lesser of the two evils that haunted me, threatening to rip away the seams that had begun to fray around my already tattered edges.

I reached above my head, flipping the visor down and peering at my reflection in

the tiny mirror. My God, I looked a mess. I’d always strived for perfection. I worked and played in a male-dominated world, living with two fully-grown boys, spending my free time being rugby tackled or defending myself against a martial arts master, and until recently, acting as a secretary-cum-personal-assistant-cum-receptionist at a local car body shop. My appearance had been an escape, showing off my femininity and sexuality. I wore my brunette mane long, although it spent most of its time restricted by a piece of elastic. I made sure that my wardrobe was bursting with dresses, fitted jeans, and heels of a ridiculous height. My makeup was always immaculate.

Not now though. I stared at the ghost in the mirror. Ashen skin in desperate need of a deep cleansing facial, lank hair that could have been anywhere between dark blonde and light brown, but the grease on it made it difficult to tell, and puffy, naked eyes, ringed by a distinct lack of rest.

I made a mental note to book myself into the spa once we arrived at the hotel. I was long overdue for some pampering. A Swedish massage wouldn’t go amiss either. The idea of a good-looking man, pressing down into the aching sinew of my shoulders and neck brought a small smile to my lips. Perhaps I would take a long-needed trip to the hairdressers as well, maybe even treat myself to a makeover…

Flipping the visor back into place, I glanced towards the man driving and wondered if he’d oblige on the massage request. It was doubtful. Vance Ellery paid for masseuses, he didn’t act as one. Not unless it was leading somewhere that would pleasure him as well. I clucked my tongue against the roof my mouth and shifted back into my seat, keeping my eyes on him.

A smirk flickered across his lips as though he could read my sordid thoughts.

Chewing on my bottom lip, I stared straight-ahead as Richart Courts came into view. Illustrious and grand were the only words I could think of to describe the hotel, with its rolling grounds that spread over at least a hundred acres, if not more. I knew that behind the building was a state-of-the-art eighteen-hole golf course Vance played on when conducting business with local councillors and MPs.

Inside was as palatial, with gold-leaf filigree, marble flooring, and impressive Colonial columns supporting an expansive ceiling. And that was just the hotel lobby.

The rooms were even more decadent.

The Jag rolled to a stop at the bottom of the steps. Vance stepped out, and I waited as one of the young boys, dressed in a fine combination of cream trouser, wine-red coat with gold buttons, and gleaming white gloves, standing by the front of the hotel skipped down the stairs and opened my door for me. Words were exchanged along with keys, but no tip was given. Why would he hand a few notes over to the lad when he already paid his wages? It still hadn’t sunk in that my lover not only owned Richart Courts, but hotels around the world, including in New York, as well as several other affluent businesses.

We walked past the front desk without saying a word. There was no need to inform reception of our arrival, sign ledgers, or accept key-cards when the entire top floor was ready for him at all times. I followed in his shadow, side-stepping into the lift, and watched as he pressed the button marked ‘Private’. I’d never noticed that before…

I glanced up at him. Dark indigo eyes stared straight ahead. The muscles in his cheeks twitched. I could watch him all day, with those hooded eyes, always looking beyond my skin, and that straight nose leading to lips that urged me to kiss them.

I opened my mouth to say something to break the silence, but nothing came to mind. What would I say? Sorry? He wouldn’t want to hear it. Thank you? Again, a pointless remark that would garner me nothing but an astute glare and perhaps a kiss to shut me up. The thought of a kiss was almost tempting. I could… No. I was powerless beneath him, even when we didn’t touch. He was a formidable man, one that most feared to anger. Yet somehow, it was the one thing I was good at, infuriating him.

Shifting my stance, I felt the cold glass behind me press into my back and shoulders. It was almost as soothing as a hot bath would have been at that moment.

I opened my mouth and let out a sigh of relief. He looked down and smirked. Goddamn his smirkiness. It was a trait I’d noticed ran in his family, finding its way to his son’s lips as readily as it did his. A snarl rumbled in the base of my throat as I thought about him and his son.

That was it. My mind sprang towards Matthew Jackson, the other man in my life. I hated myself for the way I’d left things with him. But it was for the best, or so I kept trying to convince myself. The best for whom? Certainly not me. He’d confessed his undying love to me. Well… Perhaps not undying… But he had said that four letter word most women long to hear. It only hurt that it had come from the wrong person.

Still, looking up at the man beside me, I knew that he loved me. He didn’t have to say it. He showed it on a regular basis. The way he held me, the way he would do anything to protect me… I didn’t need to hear it slip from between his lips.

The bell of the lift dinged, the sound reverberating off the reflective walls, indicating our arrival. We stepped out and headed towards the door that separated the hallway from our privacy. I took a deep breath before stepping over that threshold, preparing myself for the future I was about to bring upon myself.

I had to face up to my past. But I was unsure. Was I ready for the fight that lay before me? Only time would tell. Time, and Vance Ellery.

 

fourletterwordsbycharlottehoward-fbbanner

Four Letter Words – an extract #romance #erotic #tirgearrtuesday

Today’s Tirgearr Tuesday extract comes from Four Letter Words.

fourletterwordsbycharlottehoward-500

ISBN: 9781311701978
ASIN: B01F82U040

Blurb:

Paige Holmes has made her choice. But as she begins to get her life back on track, she also starts to question her decision.

Then, the letters arrive. When Paige finds herself in trouble once again, she must decide who she can trust.

Will she go back to the one she denied, or will she stand by her choice?

Love and lust are, after all, both Four Letter Words.

Excerpt:

Laying my head back against the black leather seats of the Jag and gazing ahead, I lifted a finger and touched my lips that were swollen from his kiss. The weariness of the past few weeks was beginning to take over, weighing on my eyelids as they began to droop. I should have been reassured by the man sitting next to me.I shifted in my seat so I could watch him as he drove on. He was a force that even nature had no hold over. There was an urge to reach out and cling to his broad bicep, a need to feel the security of his physical strength, aching somewhere deep inside of me.

We didn’t speak as he pressed all his weight onto the accelerator, urging the car until it was over the speed limit. I half expected the shine of blue lights to fill the inside of the car, with sirens blaring around us. But they didn’t. Of course they didn’t. Even if a marked car was to pass, I doubted Vance Ellery would slow down, and I had even less that the police would attempt to pull him over. I suspected that the personal phone number of every single high-ranking officer in the country, was tucked away in a neat Rolodex on Vance’s desk or even stored in the memory bank of his mobile phone for easy access.

The silence should have been soothing. I should have been able to let my lashes flutter against my cheeks, and slip into a relaxing slumber. Instead the lack of conversation added to the tension that built behind my eyes. I closed them, hoping that soon I would drift off into a deep sleep, where I would be surrounded by falling flowers, rainbows, and sunlight. Ha! If only I was deserving of such luck. There were no pleasant dreams awaiting me after the sandman visited. Only nightmares wanted to be part of my night. They tormented me, bringing memories that I’d tried to bury and forget. They hounded the darkness, giving me nothing but misery and pain and suffering. It was as though all my sins from a previous life had been rolled over into this one.

If the visions of his face, the sound of his voice had been the only elements of my slumber, then I might have been willing to slip away and let the desperation of rest take me to the shadowed places I dreaded. My soul was destined for torture though. I was to be punished for his crime.

The mere suggestion of sleep forced my blood to pulsate until it was the only thing I could hear, throbbing in my temples. The searing pain of anxiety and panic stabbed at my chest, pins pricking my skin, as I let my eyelids fall. A shudder fell down my spine, waking me from the light doze I’d stumbled into.

Breathe in, breathe out. In with the good, out with the bad. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in, breathe out. A mantra, taught to me by a yoga instructor years before hell had entered my life, repeated over and over in my mind. I inhaled the cool air through my nasal passages, allowing it to slip down into my pain-filled lungs, exhaling all the bad out of my mouth in a gigantic whoosh.

Ahead, the roads were empty, weaving out of the village and headed towards Richart Courts, the hotel that was to be my sanctuary for the next couple of days before I had to face the next challenge. New York City.

How anyone could expect me to go back there was beyond belief. The only logical explanation for their plans for my future was that facing New York was the lesser of the two evils that haunted me, threatening to rip away the seams that had begun to fray around my already tattered edges.

 

Next time…

 

harcourtsmountainbyelainedodge1800hrmedallion-1

If you don’t like Alpha men, don’t read my books…

I’ve written ten books now, and they all have one thing in common: Hot Alpha Men. What do I mean by the term ‘Alpha’? The dictionary will tell you that it means an assertive and dominant male, the head of a group, someone who is powerful. Wait… ‘Dominant’? Doesn’t that mean… BDSM? No. No, it doesn’t.

Being dominant and the natural-born leader doesn’t always mean that he’s a Dominant. Strangely enough, not everything is about BDSM in the world of erotic romance. Yes, two of my books touch upon the world of BDSM: Taking Care of Leah and A Different Kind of Therapy. But, the rest of my books are very main-stream when it comes to sex, and the men are still considered Alpha Males. They take charge. They are protective. They are in a powerful position. And according to some, that is wrong.

“Don’t leave me.” She tightened her hold on him, her face firm against his chest,tears soaking his T-shirt. “I thought he loved me. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you.”“It’s okay,” he soothed. “I will look after you..png

I’ve read numerous social media posts just recently, complaining about the amount of Alpha men in romance novels, in particular the rich ones that wear sharp suits. The problem is, I quite like writing them. I even like reading about them. I enjoy reading romance stories about women being swept off their feet, I enjoy creating characters that are loosely based on my ideal man. (Sorry Hubby…) For me, romance is about escapism. It’s about losing myself in the fictional world.

In the literary world, we writers are never going to please everyone. There is always going to be someone who is offended by something, there is always going to be someone who is triggered by a particular scene. I can’t help that, and I can’t stop it from happening. I don’t break the taboos of romance – you will never find rape for gratification, age-play etc. in my books. My characters come with a past, but are all legal and consenting adults. But, even then, I have still had readers tell me how one scene brought back memories that they’d rather forget. I am sorry for that, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop including those types of scene.

He pressed his lips against mine, and any irritation was drowned out by pure lust. “Take the job,” he said against me. “Fuck Tremaine. It’s not him I want.”.png

Creating the perfect character is a challenge. One thing I hate is perfection, so I always try to include some kind of flaw. The characters in Seven Dirty Words & Four Letter Words are completely flawed. Poor Paige doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going, torn between Vance Ellery and Matthew Jackson. And I seriously enjoyed creating them. I quite often consider going back to them, maybe write a spin-off book, a prequel, or even a third book. But, their stories are over and I’m not sure I could do the characters justice.

Love-triangles are another aspect of romance that gets complained about a lot. And, yes, I write about those too. The Words series, The Final Straight, and to a certain extent, One Night in Aberdeen, all involve having to choose one person over another – not that the decision is a particularly hard one. I love a triangle, because there is so much that can be done with it, so many paths that characters can be taken down. One of the reasons that Seven Dirty Word and Four Letter Words was split into two books is because even I didn’t know how it was going to end!

He inhaled deeply and cupped her face with his palms. She wrapped her fingers around his knuckles, holding on to him as their mouths moved together. He swept his tongue over hers and tasted the sea they had nearly .png

I write because I enjoy it. I write erotic romance because it’s fun. I write about awkward women because I am one. I write about women over the age of 30, because we’re not incapable of having relationships and hot sex just because we’ve left our twenties. I write about people who have their hearts stomped on, because it happens. I write about men who are complete ass-holes and get their comeuppance, because I have an ex who seriously needs to get his. I write about the sexy boss, and falling in love with someone who is beyond their reach, because I’ve been there. I write about Alpha Men in suits because I find them sexy. I’d like to think that all of my books are based on fantasies coming true.

In short, if you don’t want to read a book about an Alpha Male in a suit, with money in the bank… Don’t read my books. 

Who Would You Choose_.png

 

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.

ADifferentKindof-Therapy-evernightpublishing-2016-finalimage.jpg

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

seven_dirty_words_by_charlotte_howard_500
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.

Two books, one month

Yup. Two books released in the space of two weeks, and a third coming out towards the end of July. At some point this year I may do some housework, feed the family, or even sleep!

FourLetterWordsbyCharlotteHoward-1800HR

Released: 1st June 2016
ISBN: 9781311701978
ASIN: B01F82U040

Paige Holmes has made her choice. But as she begins to get her life back on track, she also starts to question her decision.

Then, the letters arrive. When Paige finds herself in trouble once again, she must decide who she can trust.

Will she go back to the one she denied, or will she stand by her choice?

Love and lust are, after all, both Four Letter Words.

Four Letter Words is Part Two of the Words series, continuing Paige’s story from Seven Dirty Words (found here). Both books are reduced to 99p / 99c on Amazon Kindle until 6th June.

takingcareofleah_800

                                                                    Released: 14th June 2016

                                                                         ISBN:978-1-78651-035-8

                                                                           Amazon UK, Amazon US,

                                                                               Totally Bound

After escaping a bad relationship, Leah Beauchamp moves in with her pregnant sister and brother-in-law. Working as an English teacher, she spends her time lusting after the hot caretaker Ty Sinclair. But it’s not until a drunken encounter at the end of the school year that she realizes it might be so much more.

They decide to embark on a new relationship over the summer holidays. Then Ty’s preferences for BDSM come to the surface. Intrigued, Leah allows herself to be educated by her new lover. But after a house party goes horribly wrong, more secrets are revealed and Leah is left questioning how she truly feels.

Can Leah accept who Ty really is? Can she ignore his past? What about her own? Can she overcome her fears and concerns and relinquish control, or will their hot summer romance fizzle out once autumn arrives?

AND COMING IN JULY…

OneNightinAberdeenbyCharlotteHoward-1800HR.jpg

Released: July 2016
ISBN: 9781311644947
ASIN: B01G984FA2

Ross McKinley and his personal assistant, Lee Bradshaw, have been invited to Aberdeen by Ross’s ex-wife, Anna, to participate in a charity ‘slave auction.’ He finds the whole thing embarrassing, and not wanting to be ‘won’ on the auction block, he asks Lee to bid on him, and win whatever the cost. After a bidding war between Lee and Anna, Lee wins. Being the spoilsport, Anna begins subtly threatening Lee.

Ross finally takes Lee away from the event . . . and back to his hotel room where things quickly change from the boss-employee role to lovers. The following day when Ross is showing Lee around the city, it becomes obvious she’s not enjoying the adventure. She tells him about Anna’s threatening texts—she’s to quit her job and never see Ross again, or Anna will ruin his business.

When Lee refuses to let Anna manipulate her into quitting, will she be strong enough to fight beside Ross for his company? Or will Anna get the upper hand?
One Night in Aberdeen will be Book 24 of Tirgearr Publishing’s City Night series (found here). It is reduced to 99p / 99c on Kindle until it’s release on 27th July.

Re-release: Four Letter Words #Erotica #Contemporary #Romance

FourLetterWordsbyCharlotteHoward-smbanner

Four Letter Words Blurb:

Paige Holmes has made her choice. But as she begins to get her life back on track, she also starts to question her decision.

Then, the letters arrive. When Paige finds herself in trouble once again, she must decide who she can trust.

Will she go back to the one she denied, or will she stand by her choice?

Love and lust are, after all, both Four Letter Words.

FourLetterWordsbyCharlotteHoward-1800HR

Excerpt from Chapter One:

Laying my head back against the black leather seats of the Jag and gazing ahead, I lifted a finger and touched my lips that were swollen from his kiss. The weariness of the past few weeks was beginning to take over, weighing on my eyelids as they began to droop. I should have been reassured by the man sitting next to me.

I shifted in my seat so I could watch him as he drove on. He was a force that even nature had no hold over. There was an urge to reach out and cling to his broad bicep, a need to feel the security of his physical strength, aching somewhere deep inside of me.

We didn’t speak as he pressed all his weight onto the accelerator, urging the car until it was over the speed limit. I half expected the shine of blue lights to fill the inside of the car, with sirens blaring around us. But they didn’t. Of course they didn’t. Even if a marked car was to pass, I doubted Vance Ellery would slow down, and I had even less that the police would attempt to pull him over. I suspected that the personal phone number of every single high-ranking officer in the country, was tucked away in a neat Rolodex on Vance’s desk or even stored in the memory bank of his mobile phone for easy access.

The silence should have been soothing. I should have been able to let my lashes flutter against my cheeks, and slip into a relaxing slumber. Instead the lack of conversation added to the tension that built behind my eyes. I closed them, hoping that soon I would drift off into a deep sleep, where I would be surrounded by falling flowers, rainbows, and sunlight. Ha! If only I was deserving of such luck. There were no pleasant dreams awaiting me after the sandman visited. Only nightmares wanted to be part of my night. They tormented me, bringing memories that I’d tried to bury and forget. They hounded the darkness, giving me nothing but misery and pain and suffering. It was as though all my sins from a previous life had been rolled over into this one.

If the visions of his face, the sound of his voice had been the only elements of my slumber, then I might have been willing to slip away and let the desperation of rest take me to the shadowed places I dreaded. My soul was destined for torture though. I was to be punished for his crime.

The mere suggestion of sleep forced my blood to pulsate until it was the only thing I could hear, throbbing in my temples. The searing pain of anxiety and panic stabbed at my chest, pins pricking my skin, as I let my eyelids fall. A shudder fell down my spine, waking me from the light doze I’d stumbled into.

Breathe in, breathe out. In with the good, out with the bad. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in, breathe out. A mantra, taught to me by a yoga instructor years before hell had entered my life, repeated over and over in my mind. I inhaled the cool air through my nasal passages, allowing it to slip down into my pain-filled lungs, exhaling all the bad out of my mouth in a gigantic whoosh.

Ahead, the roads were empty, weaving out of the village and headed towards Richart Courts, the hotel that was to be my sanctuary for the next couple of days before I had to face the next challenge. New York City.

How anyone could expect me to go back there was beyond belief. The only logical explanation for their plans for my future was that facing New York was the lesser of the two evils that haunted me, threatening to rip away the seams that had begun to fray around my already tattered edges.

Pre-Order on Kindle (UK & US), Apple, Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords: Tirgearr Publishing

Four Letter Words is the second, and final, part to Paige’s story. The first part, Seven Dirty Words can be bought here.

Why I don’t use a pen name (but might one day)

Not long ago I was asked why I don’t use a pen name, especially as many contemporary / erotic writers do. It took me a while to come up with an answer, but I’ve finally thought of one and here it is. I don’t use a pen name, because I don’t have to. It really is as simple as that.

I know a lot of writers who choose to use one for a variety of reasons: They write to different genres, they don’t want the public to know who they really are (they don’t want “celebrity” status), and they don’t think their real name is suitable for their genre are among the most popular. And I completely support their choice to use a pen name. Heck, there are “writer acquaintances” that I have, and I don’t even know their real names!! It’s whatever is right for you. For me, I have no reason to use one.

Currently I only write to one genre – romance. Although the lines between contemporary and erotic are a bit blurry, it is still romance. So I don’t need readers to be able to differentiate between titles. If you pick up a book by me, you know it’s going to be a basic love story with plenty of sex. However, if I ever get this paranormal / fantasy idea onto paper, then I will choose a pen name.

I don’t care if the public know who I am. I’m not afraid of publicity. I don’t particularly want to be the centre of attention, and I don’t like crowds or being up on stage in front of an audience (an audience of 12 was enough to make me feel sick a few weeks ago), but I want to be able to hold my own interviews. I want my readers to put a face to my name. I’m not famous, I’m not a celebrity, I’m an average woman who has written a few books. I don’t have to worry about paparazzi hounding me, so why not let everyone see who I am? If my books go viral and I start earning a reputation or status, then I’ll hire a bodyguard.

Finally, my name is fine for romance. Charlotte Howard is a good name (or at least I think so). Slightly pretentious perhaps, but I didn’t choose it – my parents chose my first name, and being a traditional person, I took my husband’s name when we got married. I’m proud of who I am, and why shouldn’t I slap it on my work? I don’t want someone else taking the credit for the weeks / months / years of slogging my guts out!

Another question I get asked it about my children. I have two young children, and I often get asked if I’m worried about what they’ll think when they’re older, or what if one of them pick up my book and start reading it.

Firstly, I’m not worried what they’ll think. Yes, they might be slightly embarrassed when it comes to telling their friends “My Mum writes sex books”, but we’re an open-minded family and I don’t think it is something to be ashamed of. However, they will not be reading it until they are legally old enough – 35 in the mind of my husband.

My son (who is 5) knows I write books for grown-ups, and that’s all he needs to know. Not being a big reader, he’s simply not interested. My daughter, a little bookworm at nearly 7, knows the titles and is proud to tell her teachers and any other adult she meets that I’ve written SEVEN DIRTY WORDS and FOUR LETTER WORDS. She knows that they are books for grown ups because they have naughty words in them, and that she’s not allowed to read them, and she accepts that. So I don’t worry about her picking them up and reading any of them, because I know she won’t. Not yet.

So that is why I use my real name when I’m writing. I’m proud of who I am, and what I’ve accomplished, and I don’t feel the need to hide behind a pseudonym. One day, when it’s needed I will use a pen name. I have several ideas floating about my head, but for now, I like my name and plan on using it.