Guest Blogger: Charlotte Howard (@shy_tiger)
I used to work in a telesales office, and I think I managed to last two weeks before I was shipped off to customer services because I couldn’t sell chocolate to children. And that is something I’ve struggled with since having my books published.
Once upon a time, I thought that being a writer meant putting a few words on a piece of paper and letting agents, editors, publishers and publicists do the rest. How wrong I was! Being a writer means having to sell yourself as well as your work. Now don’t get me wrong – I love to talk. I could win medals for yakkety-yak-yaking. I talk about absolutely everything and anything to anyone, whether they are listening or not. But ask me to talk about how great my books are and I am lost for words.
I don’t like being the centre of attention. My worst nightmare came true when I went to Smut by the Sea in Scarborough a few months ago. I had to stand on stage and read a scene from one of my books out. Bravely, I chose a light sex scene. I wasn’t on my own. I was surrounded by other writers, and I wasn’t first so I could enjoy listening to them. Only I didn’t. I spent the entire time feeling like I wanted to run off the stage and either cry or throw up. I don’t do well in front of an audience, which doesn’t help when it comes to selling myself.
I don’t want to come across as big-headed or egotistical. I don’t want to sit here and tell you how great The Black Door is because, well, would you believe me? I wrote it, so of course I think it’s a five-star novel and worthy of being on the best sellers list, but that doesn’t mean that readers will agree with me. And what if you do hate it? What if I sit here and tell you how amazing it is, and then you buy it and think “what the hell was she going on about?”… PANIC!!
I’ve been told that I shouldn’t worry about reviews, only the sales. But I do worry about reviews. I write because I enjoy it, but I send them to publishers because I want other people to enjoy what I’ve written as well.
Perhaps I should stop worrying. Perhaps I should write about how The Black Door is a fantastic contemporary / erotic romance with hot sex, and realistic characters. I should tell you how you will be able to empathise with Imogen as she is not your stereotypical young, skinny, rich heroine. She’s flawed, she’s older, and she’s far from virginal.
I could compare it to best selling titles and say “if you liked blah, then you’ll love The Black Door” – I’ve seen other authors do that. But I’m not convinced. All I will say is that I wrote this because I listened to my readers. I was asked to write about a woman who was real and struggled, so I did. I wanted her to develop and discover herself, and I wanted readers to realise that we are all sexy and attractive. I only hope that I live up to that expectation.
Men. All the bloody same.
My mind traced back to the day I had given up on one-sided monogamous relationships.
The children were at school or work, and the sun was beating down. It was a glorious day, and I had decided to go home for lunch, rather than spend it in a stuffy office.
I pulled up outside the house and a fleeting thought passed through my mind when I saw Connor’s car sitting in the driveway. My husband of eighteen years had had the same idea.
I crept into the house, hoping to surprise him. But, it turned out that his idea had involved a slutty bottle-blonde.
I wanted to blame the events that followed on a red mist descending over me. The truth is that in the time it took for my mind to register that some tart was riding my husband in what I later found out was known as reverse cowgirl, my mind had calculated the necessary response.
The skank lost a good handful of bleached hair, roots and all. I allowed her to gather her clothes and watched as she tugged her pants on whilst running out of the house. If nothing else, the neighbours got a good show.
Connor yelled at me. But his words were drowned out by the blood pumping in my ears. I marched back up the stairs and into his little study. Opening the window, I saw Miss Slut stood in the middle of the road, screeching obscenities at me. I looked at the Ferrari in our driveway and smiled.
I think his Xbox enjoyed its first and final flying lesson as it sailed out of the window. The fact that it landed in the bonnet of his prized mid-life crisis proved that Karma does exist.
I made a mental note of the two names at the top of my imaginary hit list.
I blinked and I was back in the boardroom.
Imogen Pearce is a single mum of four children and fast approaching 40, she works at Ryedale Incorporated where she has to battle a younger and smarter generation to get to where she wants to go. If that means taking on the account of Cherry and Sean Rubin’s adult shop, then she will. But what happens when Imogen discovers the private club that they run at the back? And what happens when she realizes she knows quite a few members?
Author bio and links
British author Charlotte Howard, was born in Oman and spent much of the first part of her life flitting between Oman, Scotland, and England. Now settled in Somerset, Charlotte lives with her husband, two children, and growing menagerie of pets.
Her career as a writer began at an early age, with a poem being featured in an anthology for the East Midlands. Since then Charlotte has written many short stories and poems, and finally wrote her first full-length piece of fiction in 2010.
During what little spare time she has, Charlotte enjoys reading and writing (of course), spending time with her family, and watching action movies whilst eating curry and drinking tea.
Charlotte is an active member of Yeovil Creative Writers.