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

Today’s the Day!

FOUR LETTER WORDS IS RELEASED TODAY!

It’s been a long year, but the day has arrived. Four Letter Words will be available for sale as soon as America wakes up. You can order it directly from Rocking Horse Publishing, and in print or in e-book format from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, and most other places that sell books. (No doubt it will be on eBay as well at some point!)

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Original Concept

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Final Front Cover

But don’t forget – you can’t read this until you’ve read Seven Dirty Words!!

I only hope that it lives up to expectation. I look forward to hearing and reading your reviews!

Hello 2014!

2013 was a rollercoaster year. I went from being a freelance writer and housewife to a published author. I took part in literary festivals, did my first ever book signing, saw my name listed on the Waterstones’ website, and watched my book hit the top 1% of sales on Amazon Kindle, before plummeting down and then soaring back up. I finished writing the sequel, as well as a third (unrelated)  short novel, and starting a fourth. I was featured on several blogs that are highly sought after by new authors and gave interviews to newspapers and a radio station. Suddenly I was no longer “Rebecca and William’s Mum” in the playground – I was Charlotte Howard, the romance novelist.

But it wasn’t just my professional life that was a whirlwind. My personal life has seen some dramatic changes as well. One of the happiest moments had to be the birth of my nephew in April. I can’t describe how happy we all were to welcome him into the world. Unfortunately, as with everything in this world – balance is needed, and 2013 also saw the death of my grandad, someone I admired and loved with all my heart.

September brought more pride and happiness though, when my son started primary school. With him being my second child, I was prepared for it, and managed to go the whole day without shedding tears. It was a bit odd to begin with, not having him sat on top of me while I tried to write, or clinging to my leg while I did the housework, but seeing how he has blossomed and proved his intelligence makes it all worth while.

For Christmas, we went up to see the Nottingham side of the family. We also discovered that a week is not enough time to travel around the Notts / Lincs / Derby counties to see absolutely everyone. But nevertheless, it is certainly going in the books as one of the best Christmases we’ve had. Despite the empty metaphorical chairs, there were plenty of physical bums on seats. I was able to reminisce with my cousins about times gone by, and watch as my children were spoiled by their aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

It’s definitely been a noisy year, and even seeing in 2014 didn’t go by quietly. Somerset is one of the many counties currently suffering due to the relentless wind and rain. Okay, so it’s nothing compared to the storms that are seen around the world, but we’re a small island and not prepared for floods! (Although we really should be since it happens every year). So as I write this, and plan for 2014, I am also wondering how the heck I am going to get out of the village since the roads are all closed either due to a severe amount of water, fallen trees, or landslips.

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2014 promises to be just as exciting. Starting this month, I will be working tirelessly with my publisher and her amazing team of editors and designers to get the long anticipated Four Letter Words published. Once it is out, the work continues as we do the marketing and advertising – hopefully with more interviews lined up. (Make sure you check out my website: http://www.charlottehowardauthor.co.uk for all updates.)

But Four Letter Words isn’t the only book I wrote last year. I also wrote a shorter novel (currently without a title), which is in need of editing and hopefully publishing. I’m also currently about a third of the way through a fourth novel (currently entitled The Black Door), and have every intention of writing yet more novels. And here’s a small exclusive – I will be adopting the pen name of Lark Dumas and writing a fantasy series. (More on that when it actually happens.)

I will be attending more events as well this year, with Smut  by the Sea already booked. I am also hoping to get a book signing event set up in South Somerset at some point. (email: Charlotte@Charlottehowardauthor.co.uk if you are interested in helping me out there!!)

And what of my personal life? Well, I start working as a midday supervisor for a local school as from Monday. And R W Books has not been forgotten – the business plan is still being created, and the money is still being saved. I also have friends getting married and having babies, so lots of exciting times ahead.

As always, I have made a list of New Years Resolutions. The top one is the same as each year; cut down on the takeaways, eat more healthily, and start exercising. **Scoffs** Yeah, like that will actually happen. But it’s the 2nd of January and we haven’t given in yet, which is further than we get most years. My main resolution though, is to focus more on my family and appreciate what I have.

Following the death of someone I went to school with, only a few weeks before Christmas, I came to realise just how short and fragile life is. For the past 7 years I’ve been saying “We’ll go back to Jersey and grab that drink.” We never did get that drink, and now it’s too late. Yes, we have long-term plans and goals, but we’re also going to live for the moment. No more moaning about things we’re unwilling to change. No more putting things off until tomorrow. 2014 is about living for today.

What does it take to open a bookshop?

I have been self-employed for nearly 5 years as a freelance writer. Unfortunately it doesn’t bring in enough to support a family, and while my husband does work full-time, he would like to pursue a career as a self-employed photographer. Our son is due to start school in September, and so the subject of me going back to work has cropped up a number of times. But, I don’t like the idea of going to work for someone else so have been looking at other options. One of these options includes opening my own bookshop.

Now this is where all my Indie friends decide they hate me. You know that person who only buys books from Amazon, WH Smiths, Waterstones or eBay, charity shops and carboot sales? Yeah… That’s me… Sorry!! However, I do know that Indie bookshops in my area are few and far between, and most of those that are around only sell second-hand, antique, or Christian related books. So getting my brand new contemporary romance in there, well… It ain’t happening. There are a few nearby, but you’re talking 5 miles and a drive to find them. (I know 5 miles doesn’t sound all that far, but when you live in the back end of beyond…) All of this is why I ask the question: “What does it take to open a bookshop in the UK?”

I know the basics of self-employment and running your own business thanks to a college course in business management, and having spent the past 5 years filling in self-employment forms, sorting out tax, and dealing with HMRC. But what about the cost of running a bookshop? That’s where I come unstuck. I have no funds that I am able to risk, which is a big part of starting a new business. Risk. Will it work? Won’t it? And that’s where the next list of questions come from.

I am hopeless at sales. I couldn’t sell toffee to children. There is a reason I only lasted a few days in a sales office before being moved to customer services. I am crap. When it comes to retail sales, I’m fine, but selling myself to the public, or a business idea to a bank manager… Nah. Thankfully I have a husband who is good at sales so I suppose I could use him… I digress.

Time. Do I have time? Yes and no. I’m a busy Mum, with children who do afterschool clubs, and I volunteer for the local Rainbows group as part of the Girl Guiding Association. But during the day I’m free. Almost. Plus, if I was in a bookshop with access to a laptop then at least I can write during the quiet periods. That’s the theory anyway.

Looks like I already know the basics of what is required. So I guess the true question is: “Where do I find the funds from?!”