Monday, 11 August 2014

where I say, please welcome Charlotte Howard


I'm honored to be part of Charlotte's tour for her book The Black Door




Thank you for hosting me! When it came to thinking up a guest blog, I came a bit stuck for something to say – which is impressive for me. Most people I know will tell you that I never shut up. So I thought I’d tell you about how I overcame a case of writer’s block in order to write The Black Door.



I love to write. If I haven’t got a work-in-progress, well you may as well have taken my right arm away. I had a great idea in my head for one piece. It was going to be about a woman who comes out of a bad relationship and rediscovers herself when she becomes involved with this private adult club.
  Then a reader of my previous novels emailed me and said how they loved the books but would like to read about a woman who wasn’t young, rich, and beautiful. So my main character was created – Imogen Pearce. She’s fast approaching 40, recently divorced, and mum to four kids with everything heading south and the spaghetti junction of stretch marks across her stomach, thighs and bums.
  I started writing. It was in third person and started with an office scene – Cal Ryedale was sat in a boardroom and he was being nasty to everyone who spoke (here’s an exclusive!):
  The first time Imogen met him, he struck her as authoritarian. Dressed in a charcoal suit that had been designed by an expensive Italian tailor, he sat at the head of the table. The strict frown didn’t change as he annihilated every piece of work passed to him. Then it was her turn.”
I read it out loud and it didn’t work, so I hit delete. I tried to re-write it, but nothing came.
  So what did I do? I started trawling through my To-Be-Read list. Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Jodi Ellen Malpas’ This Man series, a few short stories… Anything and everything that was lying somewhere between contemporary and erotic romance really. I downloaded a whole load of freebie books onto my Kindle and found some interesting gems, and some downright awful ones.
  Switching on my laptop I realised that the book wasn’t working because I was trying to write it in third person, so I changed it to first. It was beginning to work at long last! But there was still something that wasn’t quite right.
  I took what I had to my local writer’s group and read it out. They liked what I had, but picked up on the many adverbs, clich├ęs, and telling not showing. They also thought that what I had wasn’t first chapter material, or certainly not an opening scene.
  I sat down and… URGH!! Nothing. I couldn’t even concentrate long enough to read, my mind was all over the place. This time, I grabbed the dog’s lead and took her for a long walk through the fields that surround the village. By the time I got home, I had my opening scene.
  I’ve come to realise that writer’s block, whether it exists or not, is more my brain telling me that it’s time to take a break. So now, when I’m feeling stuck, I do that. I switch off the laptop and walk away from whatever it is that I’m stuck on and do something, anything, to force my mind off of writing. Then suddenly – BAM! A book is born.
  So now you know how The Black Door’s opening chapter was written, I only hope that it lives up to expectations.




Excerpt

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.
Connor. Holly.
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.

Blurb and buy links

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?
Buy Links:
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.


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