Monday, February 29, 2016

Story Potpourri ~ Writing in Sub-genres #Romance #Craft #Humor

Happy Leap Year day, everyone! While you're enjoying this extra day in our 2016, I want to spend this bonus time giving a shout out to The Naughty Literati... I really do, yes, and a loud shout, at that.

Here's why:

At the end of 2014, while endeavoring to have my story rights returned to me by my former publisher, I was in the same leaky boat as a lot of authors I know - fairly bursting with ideas of all sorts but under contractual agreement to give right of first refusal of the next story to the very publisher from whom I was in the throes of separating. I couldn't see waiting, lingering, standing by, delaying - you get the idea - proceeding with my stories until my contractual release deigned to arrive. There was a real chance it would never come. Then what? 
Dire Wolf at the Door accepts CASH only!

The good news was that the Writer's Block from which I'd been suffering for ages suddenly vanished. The bad news: I was in Writer's Limbo, located just around the corner from Writer's Block and maybe even in a little worse neighborhood. You see, with Writer's Block you WANT to write and are ABLE to publish, but you CAN'T write for the life of you. When you're in the Seventh Circle of Writer's Limbo, you're DYING to write and you CAN write, but you CAN'T show it to anyone you want to. At least not for money. And the mercenary dire wolf that scratches perpetually at my door demands that writing be a cash-on-the-barrelhead kind of endeavor rather than something non-lucrative, like knitting (seriously, you should see the sweater I've been trying to make for the past five years; NO one is going to pay me one thin farthing for that cashmere piece of crap.)

Meantime, while I was dawdling, lollygagging, meandering, and loitering in Writer's Limbo, my pen was practically leaking heroes with bulging, er, muscles, and lurid, hot-as-Dante's-hell sex scenes all over the place. I was scribbling down hawt plot ideas wherever they struck me and on whatever surface I could find. I have an insatiable need to hand write all my stories in their germinal phases, the computer won't do. I'm a tactile writer and I love hearing the soft scratch-scratch-scratch of quill tip on parchment (or Bic to spiral notebook paper, gum wrapper, whatever's handy) and watching my fingers manipulating the bleeding pen to form the letters of each word using my muddled Southpaw clawmanship that rivals a doctor's handwriting. Seriously everyone besides Mom and me needs an Enigma machine to decrypt the eccentric flow of my cursive.

To stop my thumbs from twiddling whilst haunting my inbox for Ye Olde Reversion of Rights Letter to pop up in my email queue, I filled up all my notebooks with outlines and ideas. When I ran out of blank pads of paper, nary a Post-it note or damp cocktail napkin was safe in my proximity. I was sullying the inside leafs of telephone directories with my hero's slaked sexual thirst. I was doodling post-coital dialogue on the insides of both my forearms (I'm ambidextrous in a pinch).

The problem was growing inconvenient. I had to hide my forearms and the telephone directory from my mother when she'd visit. I was running out of random, available writing materials to the point where rolls of toilet paper were on the line. 

Show me the Fancy Feast and no one gets hurt, see?

Evil Feral Cat was not amused by my preoccupation since it often meant I was scribbling on the back of a barroom coaster while plumb forgetting it was Fancy Feast o'clock already. Do we see the issue here? I was getting worried.

I knew I wanted to indie publish in order to have more control over my own intellectual property without anyone telling me what I could and could not write. I wanted to write in any and all genres that I love to read myself. But for the time being back then, I was contractually able to write only stories under 10k words. My publisher didn't care about seeing any of my work under 10k. It's not very lucrative to publish those, so what was the point? My dire wolf at the door howled in agreement.

Remember those other authors in the same leaky boat I made mention of before? Well, this is where they enter stage right and we all decide to start bailing and paddling together. The Naughty Literati was formed in a romance writers' Yahoo Group and suddenly I found myself roosting in a new literary nest where I could write anything I wanted... as long as it was no longer than 9,999 words in length. The plan was we'd all publish our high heat level short stories together in a few bundled box sets per year.  It would keep us writing and keep our fan bases stoked until our other contractual obligations were resolved.

And just like that, I was released from Writer's Limbo. The only thing left to decide was which of the many stories I'd squandered a mountain of Post-its, napkins, and TP on would be first story up.

"Shifter!" The dire wolf at my door howled. Yes, I had a shifter tale outlined but it wasn't really a winter holiday themed story, which was the only loose perimeter for our first boxed set, Naughty List. The title How the Alien Stole Christmas took up residence in my head and refused to be evicted. It was seasonal and featured a sexy-as-hell alien hero who realizes the Earth woman of his dreams with whom he's lustily engaged in cybersex for months is in trouble alone on a deep space station. He's determined to be the intergalactic calvary and, while he's at it, steal her for his own. Before you could say, "Close encounters of the hot kind," I'd written not only my first sci-fi/futuristic romance but my first romance short story, to boot. I created a Naughty List book trailer if you wanna peek!

Next, I always loved Somewhere in Time and The Lakehouse and wanted to write a period time travel romance set around Valentine's Day. Valentime, about a contemporary woman who finds a Valentine addressed to her from over 150 years in the past sealed up inside the antebellum plantation house she's renovating fit the bill for our Valentine's boxed set, Naughty Hearts. Voila! I'd written my first time travel romance.

Since everyone knows in the spring a vampire's fancy turns to finding his blood mate I wrote How to Blackmail a Vampire for Naughty Flings, our spring antho. When your cousin has been brainwashed by a sleaze-bucket vampire, what do you do? You find the richest, most powerful (and drop undead gorgeous!) vampire around who also happens to be your boss, and blackmail his sexy ass into helping you! Before you could say "Vlad the Impaler" I'd written my first vampire romance.

"Shifter!" my dire wolf reminded me. To appease him, I wrote not one but two (2!) sexy twin shifters vying for the passionate love of an amnesiac she-shifter stranded together on a deserted island in The Bermuda Love Triangle for our summer boxed set, Naughty Escapes. This wasn't my first shifter romance, but it won't be my last. There's a follow up to this one coming soon, because my readers tell me in insistent tones that BOTH of these sexy shifter brothers deserve to find the hot she-wolf of their dreams!

And there you have it, how I came to write whatever the hell I wanted in multiple romance sub-genres while lifting myself out of Writer's Block and Writer's Limbo whilst appeasing the grumpy dire wolf at the door. All in a rather large, picturesque nutshell. I have The Naughty Literati to thank for that. Big time.

For my one year anniversary with The Naughty Literati, I compiled all of my NL stories into one handy collection, ABSOLUTELY ALPHA  ~ now .99 on Amazon!

"If you are a paranormal romance lover then this is a must read collection! ...Each story is a masterpiece!" ~ Roxie's Romance Reviews 

Four magical romances from Belle Scarlett's enchanted quill. 

Alien Seductions: How the Alien Stole Christmas EXCERPT
On board a deep space station Capt. Christmas Trent learns her sexy cyber lover, who may not be human, wants to steal her for his own. 

“Our heroine is a willing submissive engaged in cybersex with an alien. Beautiful imagery, fascinating premise. I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more good science fiction romance. This story is good.” ~ Lizabeth S. Tucker, Geneflections 

Timeless Lovers: Valentime EXCERPT
Valerie buys a South Carolina plantation and discovers a Valentine addressed to her from a previous owner who bids her to return to him in 1865. 

“I loved this hot and romantic time slip tale and with not just time but danger threatening I was willing the couple to find their HEA. Super read.” ~ Tina Williams, A Reader’s Review 

Blood Mates: How to Blackmail a Vampire EXCERPT
In the spring, a powerful vampire’s fancy turns to the blood lust mating hunt. A pretty, human blackmailer becomes the object of his thirst, but she’s not into vampires. Yet. 

“Hot and steamy. Couldn't put it down.” ~ Kristi Cisneros, Amazon reader 

Pack Masters: The Bermuda Love Triangle EXCERPT
Castaway in the Bermuda Triangle, Trista finds herself torn between two (2!) sexy shifters. Neither will share her so she must choose between them. Decisions, decisions… 
Note to reader: This story is not a ménage tale. 

“Quite the steamy read.” ~ MAustin, Amazon reader 

Note: All stories were previously published in The Naughty Literati anthologies ~ Naughty ListNaughty HeartsNaughty Flings, and Naughty Escapes


PLUS! I'm thrilled my former publisher did eventually revert my rights back to my very first romance! My dire wolf howled in delight...

Red Riding Hood never had it soooooo good...

Get THE WOODSMAN for only .99!

Watch the book trailer

Ciao, bellas! Please don't forget to leave reviews on Amazon for any book you enjoy ~ it's the nicest thing you can do for any author!

Happy reading, 

Connect with Belle Scarlett:
Belle is also a proud member of The Naughty Literati ~ 

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