Thursday, April 30, 2015

Disco is UNdead! by Belle Scarlett

I’m getting jazzed for my story, "How to Blackmail a Vampire," to debut in The Naughty Literati's upcoming boxed set, NAUGHTY FLINGS, releasing May 15th! 

The BF was playing "I Love the Night Life" (performed by Alicia Bridges) randomly on his iPhone tonight. I love synchronicity and this fits so perfectly with my literary vamp mood that I have this fun dance sequence on loop right now from "Love at First Bite," my very favorite vampire romantic comedy film of all time (probably because it's the ONLY vampire romantic comedy film ever made):

Susan St. James & George Hamilton trip the undead fantastic in MGM's 1979 vampire rom-com, LOVE AT FIRST BITE

Holy Dancing with the Stars, Batman! (#DWTS #Batman)... it just doesn't get better than George Hamilton in all his tan glory (in full opera dress, no less) and Susan St. James as they boogie romantically in '79.

Fun Fact: I've told the BF if we ever get married the "Love at first Bite" video is going to be our wedding dance! He says we better enroll in tango lessons STAT (grin).

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vampires SUCK! (Or They Wouldn’t Be Vampires, Now Would They?) by Belle Scarlett

My boyfriend doesn’t get it. 

"What’s up with women and vampires?” He genuinely wants to know while I peck away at my laptop long past our bedtime (again). I’m writing my current WIP, “Blood Mates: How to Blackmail a Vampire.” It’s my latest story for The Naughty Literati’s upcoming spring boxed-set, “Naughty Flings," releasing May 15th.

The story is also the first installment in my planned “Blood Mates” vampire series. Because he’s pretty smart, the BF guesses correctly that a “vampire series” probably means I’m going to be writing about vampires quite a lot in the foreseeable future.

"What’s so hot about these cold, pulseless, fang-happy blood-suckers that makes you go all weak in the neck?” He tilts his head, honestly mystified. “Vampires suck.”

“Well, yes,” I say, deciding to take him literally. “That’s the whole point, or they wouldn’t be vampires, now would they?”

Fan(g)girls, don’t be too hard on him just yet. The BF is an ex-Marine and deeply romantic in a tough, Alpha, “I can build you a split-level hut and keep you fed on roasted wild game if we’re ever lost in a jungle” kind of way. In short, he’s the sort of guy who wants to feed me. Not feed on me. See the difference?

So, naturally, the BF questions vampires as a smart woman’s choice of dating material. Statistically speaking, most men are just plain in-the-dark about why women feel an allure for an undead lover who “vants to suck your blooood" for all eternity.

I have to own some responsibility for the BF’s consternation in this matter. It probably doesn’t help that I have been running an eclectic, random array of vampire films and TV shows in deep background as subliminal fang-genre inspiration in a non-stop loop for the past week on our big screen.  

Here’s just a small sampling of what my man has endured seeing parade across our TV since I commenced writing this story: Night Gallery, Moonlight, Dark Shadows (the classic TV series and the Johnny Depp film re-boot), Love At First Bite, Night Stalker, Lost Boys. Fright Night (the 80s original film, not the re-make), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the original film), Angel (but only the first season, because they killed off Doyle and I’m still mad about it), From Dusk Till Dawn, Underworld, Dracula (the quintessential Frank Langella version), Bram Stoker’s (by way of Francis Ford Coppola’s) Dracula (sorry, but Wynona Ryder, Gary Oldman, and Sir Anthony Hopkins put together couldn’t rescue that didactic script in spite of the scenic eye candy), Interview with the Vampire (Anne Rice was right, totally miscast), the Twilight trilogy (somehow crammed into four films instead of three books so they can call it a “saga”), The Vampire Diaries, and seasons 1- 7 of True Blood (Team Eric not Team Bill).

Since the BF has to live up close and personal with my literary career decisions for weeks or months on end, I guess I really can’t blame him for being concerned that I plan to write a whole series about vampires and their human “Blood Mates.”

“Okay, you don’t get vampires,” I say. “Fair enough. I don’t get that you want a six jillion dollar Apple watch when our iPhones already tell us the time just fine.” My attempt at tech-levity slash misdirection falls on deaf ears.

The BF points to the screen. “I mean, how can you possibly want to make that your hero?”

I glance up at the screen. He’s pointing with disgust at this:

Not exactly man-candy...

Nosferatu (1922) is currently on my vamp-loop. Oops.

“No, no, no,” I object hastily. “See, that’s an early incarnation of a cinematic vampire. Back when they were monsters of yore with angry, torch carrying, pitchfork-wielding mobs forcing them to skulk around dark castles while hypnotizing women into volunteering their necks like so much veal de jourHollywood vampires today have much better personal hygiene and manicures than did, say, Bella Lugosi or Christopher Lee.” I sound lame even to my own ears. 

“Vampires are so much better groomed today. I mean they're really buff,” I promise. “Virtually indestructible alpha males, in fact. The very top of the alpha food chain, so to speak,” I finish impressively. “Women and the public at large love them today thanks to a massive image makeover they've had ever since the 80s.”
Much better!

“Why?” He wants to know.

“Not sure. Maybe they have better publicists nowadays.” I shrug.

“Uh-huh. Admit it, you’re a sucker for vampires. Sure, they are into a lot of necking,” he quips, slaying me with that anatomical and metaphorical double entendre. “But what makes vampires romantic in a woman’s eyes when they just see you a juicy piece of filet mignon?”

I go back to proofreading the last section of my story on the computer screen. “Aside from the fact that now I really want you to take me to Morton’s Steakhouse for filet mignon, let me point out that vampires are immune from disease or death. They live for eternity with rock hard abs, perfect hair, and large estates filled with lovely antiques. They are virtually indestructible, unless a nasty patch of sunlight takes them unawares." I sigh dreamily. “They are basically lonely and tortured, wealthy hunks who are searching for their eternal partners. That’s pretty hot to a whole lot of women, honey.”

“Eternity can seem like forever if you’re with the wrong vampire,” he warns.

I close my laptop and pause the film on the screen in order to give him my full attention. The BF reads all my stories. He gives me the male perspective on what a real guy would and would not actually say, do, or think in a given scenario with a woman with whom he wants a sexual relationship. This comes in mighty handy considering, no matter the sub-genre, I write romances about men and woman inside of hot sexual, HEA-style relationships. So the BFF is research gold. He’s also one of my biggest fans (just one of many reasons I love him). He’s never taken issue with any of my heroes. Until now.

“Come on. Are you telling me that if a hot female vamp wanted to neck with you, you’d turn her down?” I raise a dubious eyebrow.

“Yeah, if she was only dating me to get close to my jugular vein. Why would a woman be cool with that?”

“Well, not to go all Freudian on you but… Oral fixations. Dangerous primal lust that both thrills and terrifies due to the inherent threat. The Beauty and the Beast syndrome. Longevity of a passion that never wanes. Biting as sexual penetration and shedding of virginal blood. Food orgy as carnality and sex as a literal la petite mort.” I pause to draw in breath. “I mean, seriously, all of that could turn a woman’s head.”
He waits for a bit. “That’s it? That’s the best you’ve got? That's silly."

I shrug. "Zombies."

He cutely wrinkles his brow at me in that way I love. “What about them?”

“You like zombies the way I like vampires,” I point out. “And I kind of get it, even though, ugh, rotting, stinking, shambling zombies with body parts falling off. Ugh.”

“Uh, hi, I don’t fantasize about making out with zombies,” he defends.

I wipe pretend sweat of my brow. “Thank goodness for that. But you have to admit you like zombie stories because you’re a guy and you like to fantasize about being all manly while saving your tribe with a few well-placed head-shots during a Z-pocalypse that throws civilization back to a pandemic, epidemic stone age. In that fantasy world, the Fortune 500 CEO is suddenly a disadvantaged loser compared to the Everyman Hero who can wield a mean crowbar straight into lots of soft zombie brains. Thus ensuring any human babe that said Z-slayer fantasizes about would want to be with him because he has the prowess to mow down the zombie hordes. That's not a burning fantasy of mine, per se, but I sort of get why a guy would be into zombies. Admit it. My reasons for liking vampires are every bit as valid as your reasons for liking zombies.”

He folds his arms across his chest and tilts his head in thought. 

There is some silence.

“Okay... You may have a point,” he admitted slowly, “about the Apple watch.”

Enjoy an excerpt of “Blood Mate: How to Blackmail a Vampire” here 

Get your new Apple watch here

Get your Zombie Apocalypse toolkit here 

Today’s the LAST DAY to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card by signing up for our Naughty Newsletter!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Changing Tastes

When I first found romance books, the shortest novels I read were Harlequins. I could go to the library, pick up several from the different lines, and have them all read by the time I returned the next week. I preferred my books to be longer—novel length versus category—but I didn’t want to deplete my library’s selection each week. So, I picked up a few novels, several Harlequin categories, and I was set with reading material for another week.

I did that for quite a while until my life got busier and I got an ereader. All of a sudden, there was a whole new world available to me. I found out about the world of ebooks—especially those books that are only available as ebooks and not available as print books.

It was even easier to fit reading into my life because I could make sure my ereader was with me at all times. I found out about new authors by going to the websites and blogs of authors I’d already found out about and getting their recommendations. I had new authors to try out, tons of new books to read, and new genres to check out.

Eventually, though, I added new clients through my consulting business, and it competed for time with my primary training business. Luckily, I’m the boss for both jobs which meant I could plan out my time as needed—maybe cut back on one of them one week while increasing hours on the other.

But then I also had this nagging dream that began burning hotter and hotter inside me: to become a writer.

Now, I knew all that needed to happen to become a writer was to write, so I began doing that. I began writing stories, and rewrote the beginnings of stories, and rewrote the beginnings again, and wrote new stories, and rewrote those beginnings…you get the picture. The thing was, I knew my writing wasn’t good enough yet because I’d spent so much time reading. I’d read so many well-written, excellent books by so many different authors, that I knew my writing wasn’t up to par yet.

But I kept trying.

And only when I finally felt as if I was telling the story I wanted to tell, the way I wanted to tell it—in other words, the way I saw the story play out in my brain—only then was I willing to submit something to a publisher.

But what I’d noticed in both my writing and my reading was that the busier I’d gotten, the more I’d wanted short little quickies to read, to escape into when I did have the time to read anymore. My reading tastes had changed. No longer did I have the time to invest in long novels. I wanted short stories to read in the middle of the day to give my brain a break. Or maybe something quick to read right before bed. I was too tired and too swamped with work to have the emotional energy to invest in a long novel.

At the time, there weren’t a whole lot of novellas or quickies being written. So that’s what I worked on writing. I wrote what I wanted to read—short little stories that allowed the reader to take a brief brain vacation before having to return to the real world.

Now, there are a lot of short stories, quickie novellas, and boxed sets put together with a slew of stories coming in at different lengths. Authors who normally only write novels are now writing novellas to introduce new series or are releasing ebook-only novellas that fit in between their novel releases.

I’m a very happy reader chick these days. I can find any type of story I want to read, from any romance genre, and allow my mind to escape the busyness of the real world for at least a little while.

So you tell me: do you like mixing it up by adding in quickies between novels you read? Do you have time to read novels anymore? Or, like me, do you only have time to invest in the shorter stories during this time of your life?

If you get the chance, I’d love for you to come say “Hi” to me. You can find me on:
Twitter: (@laineyjocharles)


Thursday, April 23, 2015


I was first published in 2007, co-writing with my husband. We always discussed it, and one day started a “what if” based upon an absolutely nightmare series of delays. That turned in to a short story about a couple and another man who are stranded at the airport over Valentine’s Day. We sent it off, never truly expecting to be published.

To our shock and complete astonishment, we were accepted for publication with that very book, and went on to write three other shorts, and were contracted for two more. It was a wonderfully creative time. Then…we stopped. Writers’ block set in, performance anxiety—yes, it does exist for writers, too—and we didn’t write a word of original fiction, for years.

A lot of life changes hit, and my husband decided he didn’t really want to write any more. He loved the plotting aspect, but the actual getting words on paper and editing them was a problem for him.

While I deeply missed writing, my job as an editor, some serious life challenges, and just life in general kept me away from most of my hobbies. Last summer, I was laid off from my job of over a decade and had a little spare time. I had never expected to feel the fire again, but soon words were flying from my fingertips.

And then something even more wonderful happened. I was invited into the Naughty Literati, and had things like deadlines to meet. I had no idea what to write for Naughty List, but I had the fire to reinvent myself as Alexa Silver, rather than half of Alexa & Patrick Silver. I looked in my WIPs folder and found an idea I’d jotted down possibly ten years ago. It was very simple “dying rock star saves woman. Paranormal please.”

And I started writing it. That story became Holdin’ On, which you can find in Naughty List. My next story for the Naughty Literati was something I’d had in mind for ages, but hadn’t actually ever done more than think about. Love Potion #69 is a friends-to-lovers story with a tiny paranormal kick, which you can find in Naughty Hearts. And Stay the Night is another friends-to-lovers story about a bookseller and her favorite customer, who also happens to be her new favorite author. You can find this one in Naughty Flings, which is coming out on May 15.

My writing this year has been epic (160,000 words written thus far and counting) and I have several other releases coming out, plus a few books that were previously published and will be expanded. That is a scary prospect in and of itself and probably warrants my next blog post!

I never really thought I could reinvent myself. Back in 2009-ish, I was certain the writing career was over, and I’m so thrilled to be a part of the NL, as well as writing like the wind!

Happy reading!

Want to chat?  I’d love to hear from you! You can find me here:
Twitter: @alexasilverauth