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Friday, May 29, 2015

Whipped by WIPs: One Writer’s 6 Step Approach to Binge Writing by Belle Scarlett #writingtips


My proverbial writer's drawing board is, at any given time, populated by six (6) to ten (count ‘em 10) Works in Progress (WIPs) across multiple genres.  They often exist as disconnected mosaic pieces via various colored Post-It notes stuck to the broken coffee maker, the bathroom mirror, in the black hole that is my oversized purse, on the Cat… You get the picture.

I’ve accepted long ago that my writing process has an ordered messiness to it. (And I’ve just accepted that I tend use parentheticals and oxymorons when describing my writing process.)

Sometimes, a story idea springs forth from my imagination fully formed like Athena from Zeus’ forehead.  When that lightning bolt happens, I turn into a world champion, marathon typist.  It feels like I’m merely taking dictation for a story that is already fully fleshed from characters that are living, breathing people sitting next to me and tipping me off as to what they’ll say and do next.

I love it when that happens. I love it the way I love smelling the flowers before I see them. Or the way easing into a hot bubble bath with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio makes me feel blissful.




















For a writer, it’s pretty cool not to mention super convenient when a story cooperates in such a way that I’m just the hand scratching the magic quill across the parchment, channeling a work that’s already been created and dropped down from the ether for me to ink.

That’s happened to me maybe once.  When I blog, even less than that.

The rest of the time, I’m being whipped 24/7 by six (6) to ten (10) WIPs at a time. The only way I can finish them is one at a time and by binge writing them.

Here’s how it goes down:

1) TITLE

Without warning, a title with a connected theme rudely slaps me like swatter on a fly. That can be really inconvenient when I’m driving in tricky L.A. traffic or trapped in the dentist’s chair with a drill buzzing in my mouth.


For example, the title for my most recent Naughty Literati story for our summer release, Naughty Escapes, literally hit me while I was flying to Miami. The plane I was in encountered some of the worst chop I've ever experienced. The overhead compartment popped open, vomiting a couple of laptop bags on my head. The laptops inside them were fine. My head, not so much. But that was insignificant next to the concern we were gonna crash.

Once we leveled out and the stewardess brought me my free Bloody Mary painkiller-slash-bribe not to sue anyone, it occurred to me that the Bermuda Triangle is off the coast of Florida, and wouldn't it be fun to crash my threesome M/F/M characters' plane there so they'd be forced to work out their relationship issues while castaway on a tropical island paradise? Maybe it was the Bloody Mary talking, but I felt that my new romance concept for The Bermuda (Love) Triangle was born thanks to getting a lump on my head. 

Moral of the story: Just like a free lunch, brain-storming titles always comes with a price. It's is a dangerous business; not for the faint of heart. 

2) GENRE

It becomes clear to me very quickly from the title and the theme if the project wants to be born as a romance novel, a mainstream novel, a feature film, a short film, a children’s book, a blog, or a bubble gum wrapper.  In this case,Whipped by WIPsjust wouldn’t cut it as a Pulitzer Prize-winning erotica novel. So, blog it is.














3) FIRST AND LAST SCENES WRITE THEMSELVES


I know instantly how the story begins and how it ends. But, just like Jon Snow, I know nothing about what happens in between writing the opening scene and, “They all lived sexily ever after.”  The most difficult, 
time-consuming work happens after the twenty seconds it takes for steps 1-3 to occur to me.

4) DEVELOPMENT HELL

When a WIP is acting like a high-riding bitch, it’s hard to make myself sit down and stare at the dreaded Evil Blinking Cursor (a.k.a. EBC) until my forehead bleeds.  Luckily, there are all kinds of productive ways to avoid confronting bratty characters and reluctant plot arcs.  I clean the house from top to bottom. Then from bottom to top. Organize drawers and closets.  Re-grout the tub. Paint the kitchen. Hey, I’ll come over and re-grout your tub and paint your kitchen.  

Friends who stop by gape at my sparkling clean home and have to sit down in all astonishment.  “I bet Development Hell starts tomorrow,” they guess out loud.

I go shopping for healthy writing provisions like apples, oranges, and peaches. Lots of sparkling water. As back up I add to the shopping cart a bottle of brandy and put the pizza joint down the street on my speed-dial.  

Next, I go through the house, collecting a rainbow cache of Post-It notes crammed with ideas or bits of dialogue scribbled in my Southpaw clawmanship. I clear my social calendar for the next fourteen to sixteen days and call my family.  “Talk to you in a couple of weeks,” I say. 




By now they know this is code for, “If I don’t return your call, I’m binge writing.  No need to put my face on a milk carton or send in the National Guard.”








Finally, there is nothing else left to do, unless you count eternally Facebooking pictures of The Cat to avoid getting started on a new story.  I have this wild hunch my editors would disagree that “Catbooking” is an acceptable use of writing time.  I also wish Tweeting counted towards my WIP daily word count goal, but alas.

I’m finally forced to snuggle up with my laptop on the lounger on my patio with provisions and power cord at my elbow so that there are no excuses to get out of said lounger until I write the final scene.

After a TBD length of time in a stare down with the eternally blinking cursor, I make myself type a sentence. And the next.  If it’s crap, I give myself permission to write crap until the good stuff flows.  It always does, but it usually happens at last rather than at once.  As for the crap I wrote before that, that’s what the comforting delete button is for.

Toilet Humor
Once I’m in the writing groove, my characters stop acting like shy strangers passing notes in gym class and suddenly begin to talk to one another. In fact, I can’t shut them up much less predict what they’ll say and do next.  Plot snarls stop snarling at me. I suddenly know the mid-point plot twist and it’s bullet proof.  I know for sure I’m deep into my literary process when I get really mad that I have to get up to use the bathroom.

Cut to three days later.  I’m still surfing the writing jag pretty much in the same position and clothing as on day one. A periodic shot of brandy.  A couple of fitful snoozes in the lounger where my characters are now insistent guest stars in my dreams with confidential no quote deals all demanding the biggest dressing room. Then I wake from my fitful doze and start writing again.  

Eventually, I realize I’m out of necessary provisions like pizza and Fancy Feast and have been for about twelve hours. The pizza joint stops delivering after midnight and The Cat won't shop for himself.  Slackers.  

Throwing on a trench coat over my candy-stripped PJs and fuzzy slippers, I drive to the “Rock and Roll” Ralph’s.  I vaguely note curious looks from the rock stars who grocery shop there after House of Blues closes at 2 a.m.



Once in a while a kindly musician type finds me wandering in the diary aisle trying to remember what milk is.

“Hey, you okay?” Mickey Dolenz or Bret Michaels asks. 

I de-frag my story-drunk brain long enough to reply, “Yeah… I’m a writer.” 

Instant realization dawns on Mickey or Bret’s face. “Ah.” 


They grab a carton of almond milk or whatever and drift off toward the produce aisle.

5) BE CONSISTENT

Lather, rinse, and repeat the writing jag section for fourteen to sixteen days.
















6) WRITING IS REWRITING

I re-surface in the real world and have to look at the calendar to see what day it is. The WIP is no longer a Work in Progress meting out to me forty proverbial lashes per day.  It’s now a fully fleshed story, with a cohesive beginning, middle, and HEA.  My initially shy, reclusive, and sometimes rebellious characters have become old friends I’d want to hang out with in real life.

I’m breathing the rarified air of a writer who just whipped a WIP into shape.  It’s way better than a hot bubble bath with a chilled Pinot Grigio in hand, or smelling the flowers before I see them.

I make myself step away from the story for a bit.  Getting out of my writing lounger is just as hard for me as getting into it.  I actually have to make myself not re-re-re-read it right then and there.  My favorite part of the writing process is in the polishing, finding the exact better word, quip, turn of phrase, or description to tighten and refine the novel, novella, feature film, short, blog, or bubble gum wrapper that I’ve just wrestled to the mat.  But revisions and tweaks will have to wait for a couple of days.  I have to let the first draft dust settle a bit.  And recover my eyesight.

I check my messages and emails.  I’m told by any number of family and friends that I will shower and change my clothes today.  I do, but only after sleeping for thirteen hours straight and updating The Cat’s Facebook status.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Enter to win a #Kindle #Paperwhite loaded with @naughtyliterati books,including Naughty Flings http://tinyurl.com/mzqpo6l


The Naughty Literati celebrates our NEW release, NAUGHTY FLINGS




...including HOW TO BLACKMAIL A VAMPIRE by Belle Scarlett






...by giving away a Kindle Paperwhite LOADED with Naughty Literati authors' books. But there's not much time left to enter, so don't delay. Enter now at !





Good luck to all who enter and... HAPPY READING! 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Naughty #ReleaseDay for Naughty Flings and How to Blackmail a Vampire #99cents + #giveaway






I love, love, LOVE release days! I don't know an author or a reader who doesn't. For authors, a deep and abiding love of release days is a no-brainer. Weeks and months of plotting, character wrestling, drafting, and revising are finally over - at least for that particular story. A release day signifies a big transition in the life of an author's story. 

For example, today I release my Naughty Flings contribution, Blood Mates: How to Blackmail a Vampire  into the world, making it no longer "my" story, but "your" story, too. Serena and Caden's love story is one I'm eager to share with you all. When a woman tries to blackmail her sexy vampire boss, things don't go as she planned when he winds up taking her out on the most unusual date of her life to discuss terms. Here's a tasty bite of the story:

Excerpt from Blood Mates: How to Blackmail a Vampire by Belle Scarlett

Copyright © Belle Scarlett, 2015
“I know you’re a vampire.”
Caden Chase blinked. It was rare for anyone or anything to surprise him, but the slim woman in the yellow blouse and tailored slacks sitting in the chair on the other side of his office desk had managed to do just that. If nothing else, the past three months should have taught him to expect the unexpected where Serena Bliss was concerned.
“Do you mind repeating that?” Caden drawled his words, playing for time to assess the seriousness of this sudden crisis. He kept his tone low and controlled, striving for a cross between puzzlement and amusement, neither of which he felt at the moment.
His gaze ran over Serena’s form, searching the telltale pulse points at her throat and wrists with his heightened senses, trying to detect whether or not she was telling the truth or merely making a wild guess. As usual his attraction for this human female was distracting him. His jaw clenched. Damn, she looked good. Like a joyful drop of sunlight splashed on the coarse fabric of his dark world too full of midnight blacks and blood reds. But she was the last human he should be thinking of for a casual fling. And the more he got to know her, the more he wanted her for more than that.
Serena arched an eyebrow in blatant challenge. The action showed admirable bravado for one who believed she was at that moment in the presence of a bloodthirsty monster. One who could drain her in less time than it took for her next heartbeat to sound.
“I’m pretty sure you heard me, Mr. Chase. I understand that a vampire’s hearing is quite keen.”
It was true. Her throaty, melodic voice, for example, could arrest his attention from three floors away even in the middle of a busy workday.
“I think you’ve been reading too much Twilight, Ms. Bliss.” He didn’t like this new formality she was imposing like a barrier between them. Last week they had called one another by their first names, sometimes even with flirty smiles that made him look forward to each workday with her all the more. He was determined to find out the cause of her distinctly guarded shift in tone with him.
She tossed her caramel colored hair over her shoulders in clear impatience. Hellfire. She had sexy hair. Thick, shiny, and long enough to wrap around his knuckles while he held her still for his kiss…or his penetration. Or a love bite on her elegant neck. Hey, a vampire could dream, right?
“Don’t patronize me, Mr. Chase.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it, Ms. Bliss. So tell me. ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’?”
She bit the corner of her soft lower lip in chagrin. Damnation. Don’t get him started on her pink, bow-shaped mouth that always looked as though it had just been thoroughly kissed. Ever since she’d started working for him, he couldn’t stop fantasizing that he was the lucky male who made her lips look so tender and lush.
Until she had called him out as a vampire just now he’d hoped finally to get the opportunity to taste those lips. At some point, anyway, after inviting her out to dinner on her last day of her independent contract with Chase Industries, Inc. Which was today, in fact. So much for that brilliant plan. She’d probably run screaming from the building if he suggested the two of them go out for a bite now. He would have to find another way to get close enough to sample that mouth.
“I don’t enjoy being toyed with, Mr. Chase.” She frowned at him severely.
He bit back a smile. Bambi trying to stare down Godzilla. Adorable.
He yanked his thoughts back to the more pressing matter at hand. What did she know, and when did she know it?
“Sorry. I can be a real pain in the neck sometimes, I know,” he quipped with a grin, deliberately showing far too many teeth. She shot him a wary glance. He felt her pulse throb in the air between them a bit harder in mild alarm. Good. She should be a little worried at this point. That showed at least a modicum of common sense. But he didn’t want to scare her away completely.
“I should warn you that if anything happens to me, I’ve taken steps that will automatically release the information I have about you to the proper authorities.”
“If you believe you’re threatening a vampire, I should certainly hope you took some common sense precautions,” he muttered. “But under the new Vampire Immersion Act, a citizen can’t go around accusing another of being a vampire without evidence of some kind. It would be like yelling ‘vampire!’ in a crowded blood blank. You could start a serious public panic. So tell me, why would you imagine I’m one?”
“Not just you. Your whole staff is chock full of vampires. As you well know.” She lifted her chin, daring him to contradict her.
“Oh, really? What tipped you off? Our black capes, red eyes, penchant for bats, and widow’s peaks?” He kept a scoffing tone but the utter certainty in her assertion gave him pause for real concern. He hoped she hadn’t voiced her accusations to anyone else. It would be a lot safer for Serena Bliss if she didn’t mention her suspicions to anyone but him.
In answer to his questions, she gestured to the glass wall partition that separated his office from the room beyond, where various Chase Industry, Inc. employees worked in cubicles.
“Gee. I wonder,” she mused in a mocking tone he didn’t like one bit. “For one thing, Henrick types about a thousand words per minute more than he claims on his resume.” Caden’s gaze followed the direction of her strawberry-polished fingernail and saw Henrick, one of his administrative assistants, typing on his computer with preternatural speed. His long fingers were a blur on the keyboard.
Serena didn’t wait for Caden to think of a rational explanation. Not that there was one.
“And by the way, have you ever noticed that Bryan always seems to have something other than java in his coffee mug?” She pointed at another pale man sitting at a cube desk. He took a sip from his mug that read, “Accountants Do It By The Numbers” and lowered it to reveal a thick, blood mustache on his upper lip.
“And then there is Vanessa.”
Caden wearily glanced over to where an impossibly beautiful brunette in a figure-hugging black tank top, pencil skirt, and stilettos was standing by the office water cooler. She applied deep red lipstick while looking into a compact mirror.
He gave a silent sigh of relief. “She’s looking into a mirror. Hardly something a vampire could do, right?”
Serena smiled sweetly in a way that was decidedly not. “Wait for it.”
They watched as Vanessa smacked her ruby lips together and then grinned into the compact to check her teeth. There was a smudge of red gloss on one of her incisors. Suddenly, the tooth elongated, pointy and sharp. She used her thumb to wipe off the excess lipstick from her fang.
Caden winced. His team had gotten sloppy with a nice, sweet human like Serena around the office for the past three months. They had grown to like and trust her enough so as to accept her into their midst. But they had clearly gotten too comfortable in her presence, letting their guard down to a dangerous degree. He’d have to have a serious talk with them about that.
He eyed Serena, reaching out with his extrasensory awareness to assess her feelings about what she had just shown him. She wasn’t as calm as she tried to appear according to her raised pulse rate, but she didn’t seem terrified. Yet. He stole what small comfort he could from that.
“And me? What makes you think I’m a vampire?” He sounded more nonchalant than he felt.
“You’re kidding, right?” She waved airily at the floor to ceiling window of his office.
Caden glanced out the window where dusk was falling on a panoramic view of the Los Angeles skyline. In the glow of his desk lamp he saw everything in his office reflected in the glass, including Serena’s lovely body in the chair across from him. Where his reflection ought to have been, however, there was only an empty chair.
“Kind of an undead giveaway right there. Wouldn’t you say so, Vlad?”

I know you'll also enjoy all the other stories by all The Naughty Literati inside Naughty Flings! Get Naughty Flings today and dive in over the weekend! Cheers!

Please do take a moment after you've enjoyed Naughty Flings or any new book to write an Amazon review. It's one of the most thoughtful and effective ways true book lovers like you can support indie authors and literature in general.


Oh, and to celebrate Naughty Flings release day, The Naughty Literati is giving away a Kindle Paperwhite loaded with our naughty books! Enter now to win!



xo, 
Belle

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Get Naughty For #Free - NAUGHTY HEARTS flash sale NOW! http://tinyurl.com/kt34p8l


For a limited time only get the NAUGHTY HEARTS boxed-set for FREE!
Say what?
Yes, you read that right. The NAUGHTY HEARTS boxed-set is FREE for a short time. Don't delay. Get your copy today and spend none of your hard earned cash!

Check out Excerpt & Reviews for NAUGHTY HEARTS!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Excerpt from How to Blackmail a Vampire by Belle Scarlett

Part of the Naughty Flings boxed set - Available May 15th

Copyright © Belle Scarlett, 2015

“I know you’re a vampire.”

Caden Chase blinked. It was rare for anyone or anything to surprise him, but the slim woman in the yellow blouse and tailored slacks sitting in the chair on the other side of his office desk had managed to do just that. If nothing else, the past three months should have taught him to expect the unexpected where Serena Bliss was concerned.

“Do you mind repeating that?” Caden drawled his words, playing for time to assess the seriousness of this sudden crisis. He kept his tone low and controlled, striving for a cross between puzzlement and amusement, neither of which he felt at the moment.

His gaze ran over Serena’s form, searching the telltale pulse points at her throat and wrists with his heightened senses, trying to detect whether or not she was telling the truth or merely making a wild guess. As usual his attraction for this human female was distracting him. His jaw clenched. Damn, she looked good. Like a joyful drop of sunlight splashed on the coarse fabric of his dark world too full of midnight blacks and blood reds. But she was the last human he should be thinking of for a casual fling. And the more he got to know her, the more he wanted her for more than that.

Serena arched an eyebrow in blatant challenge. The action showed admirable bravado for one who believed she was at that moment in the presence of a bloodthirsty monster. One who could drain her in less time than it took for her next heartbeat to sound.

“I’m pretty sure you heard me, Mr. Chase. I understand that a vampire’s hearing is quite keen.” It was true. Her throaty, melodic voice, for example, could arrest his attention from three floors away even in the middle of a busy workday.

“I think you’ve been reading too much Twilight, Ms. Bliss.” He didn’t like this new formality she was imposing like a barrier between them. Last week they had called one another by their first names, sometimes even with flirty smiles that made him look forward to each workday with her all the more. He was determined to find out the cause of her distinctly guarded shift in tone with him.

She tossed her caramel colored hair over her shoulders in clear impatience. Hellfire. She had sexy hair. Thick, shiny, and long enough to wrap around his knuckles while he held her still for his kiss…or his penetration. Or a love bite on her elegant neck. Hey, a vampire could dream, right?

“Don’t patronize me, Mr. Chase.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Ms. Bliss. So tell me. ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’?”

She bit the corner of her soft lower lip in chagrin. Damnation. Don’t get him started on her pink, bow-shaped mouth that always looked as though it had just been thoroughly kissed. Ever since she’d started working for him, he couldn’t stop fantasizing that he was the lucky male who made her lips look so tender and lush.

Until she had called him out as a vampire just now he’d hoped finally to get the opportunity to taste those lips. At some point, anyway, after inviting her out to dinner on her last day of her independent contract with Chase Industries, Inc. Which was today, in fact. So much for that brilliant plan. She’d probably run screaming from the building if he suggested the two of them go out for a bite now. He would have to find another way to get close enough to sample that mouth.

“I don’t enjoy being toyed with, Mr. Chase.” She frowned at him severely.

He bit back a smile. Bambi trying to stare down Godzilla. Adorable. He yanked his thoughts back to the more pressing matter at hand. What did she know, and when did she know it?

“Sorry. I can be a real pain in the neck sometimes, I know,” he quipped with a grin, deliberately showing far too many teeth. She shot him a wary glance. He felt her pulse throb in the air between them a bit harder in mild alarm. Good. She should be a little worried at this point. That showed at least a modicum of common sense. But he didn’t want to scare her away completely.

“I should warn you that if anything happens to me, I’ve taken steps that will automatically release the information I have about you to the proper authorities.”

“If you believe you’re threatening a vampire, I should certainly hope you took some common sense precautions,” he muttered. “But under the new Vampire Immersion Act, a citizen can’t go around accusing another of being a vampire without evidence of some kind. It would be like yelling ‘vampire!’ in a crowded blood blank. You could start a serious public panic. So tell me, why would you imagine I’mone?”

“Not just you. Your whole staff is chock full of vampires. As you well know.” She lifted her chin, daring him to contradict her.

 “Oh, really? What tipped you off? Our black capes, red eyes, penchant for bats, and widow’s peaks?” He kept a scoffing tone but the utter certainty in her assertion gave him pause for real concern. He hoped she hadn’t voiced her accusations to anyone else. It would be a lot safer for Serena Bliss if she didn’t mention her suspicions to anyone but him.

In answer to his questions, she gestured to the glass wall partition that separated his office from the room beyond, where various Chase Industry, Inc. employees worked in cubicles.
“Gee. I wonder,” she mused in a mocking tone he didn’t like one bit. “For one thing, Henrick types about a thousand words per minute more than he claims on his resume.” Caden’s gaze followed the direction of her strawberry-polished fingernail and saw Henrick, one of his administrative assistants, typing on his computer with preternatural speed. His long fingers were a blur on the keyboard.

Serena didn’t wait for Caden to think of a rational explanation. Not that there was one.
“And by the way, have you ever noticed that Bryan always seems to have something other than java in his coffee mug?” She pointed at another pale man sitting at a cube desk. He took a sip from his mug that read, “Accountants Do It By The Numbers” and lowered it to reveal a thick, blood mustache on his upper lip.

“And then there is Vanessa.”

Caden wearily glanced over to where an impossibly beautiful brunette in a figure-hugging black tank top, pencil skirt, and stilettos was standing by the office water cooler. She applied deep red lipstick while looking into a compact mirror.

He gave a silent sigh of relief. “She’s looking into a mirror. Hardly something a vampire could do, right?”

Serena smiled sweetly in a way that was decidedly not. “Wait for it.”

They watched as Vanessa smacked her ruby lips together and then grinned into the compact to check her teeth. There was a smudge of red gloss on one of her incisors. Suddenly, the tooth elongated, pointy and sharp. She used her thumb to wipe off the excess lipstick from her fang.

Caden winced. His team had gotten sloppy with a nice, sweet human like Serena around the office for the past three months. They had grown to like and trust her enough so as to accept her into their midst. But they had clearly gotten too comfortable in her presence, letting their guard down to a dangerous degree. He’d have to have a serious talk with them about that.

He eyed Serena, reaching out with his extrasensory awareness to assess her feelings about what she had just shown him. She wasn’t as calm as she tried to appear according to her raised pulse rate, but she didn’t seem terrified. Yet. He stole what small comfort he could from that.

“And me? What makes you think I’m a vampire?” He sounded more nonchalant than he felt.

“You’re kidding, right?” She waved airily at the floor to ceiling window of his office.

Caden glanced out the window where dusk was falling on a panoramic view of the Los Angeles skyline. In the glow of his desk lamp he saw everything in his office reflected in the glass, including Serena’s lovely body in the chair across from him. Where his reflection ought to have been, however, there was only an empty chair.

“Kind of an undead giveaway right there. Wouldn’t you say so, Vlad? 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Disco is UNdead! (NAUGHTY FLINGS COVER REVEAL!)

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 LOVE AT FIRST BITE (1979)

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 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).