About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Write Your Heart Out

I had the pleasure of reading a young writer’s manuscript recently, and though it wasn’t perfect, every line held a breath of excitement and anticipation. I could feel the enthusiasm for the story. She was writing her heart out.

Sometimes, we get in a rut–as writers–and we forget to write our hearts out. We’re too concerned about right and wrong, political correctness, diversity, or any of a number of thrill killers. We forget the most important element–the story. Without the story, none of those worries matter–even a little.

Don’t you think, sometimes…it would be nice if an editor had a problem with one of your characters. Wouldn’t it be nice if my publisher hated my hero because he was a complete a$$hole, I think to myself.

Because that would mean you had an editor! And a publisher!

We start stories in excitement for the characters, the turning points, the idea of this amazing [or funny or quirky or sad] story, and we have to hold on to that excitement or never get to the end. How do we do this?

  1. Ignore everyone: that simple. Get off social media, find the voice inside of you, and write.
  2. Make time everyday: an hour to sit and just write, to be in the story and get excited.
  3. Talk about your story: tell a friend, writer, spouse…someone! Talking about your project nurtures that excitement and gives you the courage to keep going!
  4. Acknowledge the joy in the process of writing: Whether you love the creativity of imagination or the science of putting words together, enjoy the process, sink into it with all of your author instincts…

and write the book. 

And don’t miss the release of book five, Counter Strike, coming in July!! Sign up for my newsletter to get all the updates!

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Hello 2020

When two worlds Implode at the same Time: A personal and a business story, with one outcome. 

I’m going to tell you a secret. My period was 6 days late, expected on the 25th or 26th of December 2019. So, imagine me…pretty much freaking out the entire week of Christmas. By the 30th, I was imagining not being done with kids. I was imagining a bigger van and diapers… By Monday after Christmas, I’d decided that on Friday, the 3rd, I was going to take a test and just get it over with. I mean…I’m not young, so it could be a tumor, right? However, my new year started a new cycle on January 1st [TMI, I know…oh well. There’s just so much TMI on the internet and this seems tame in comparison].

I might have been freaked out but I wasn’t devastated. If you’d asked me, even two weeks ago, what I’d do if I got pregnant, I probably would have gone pale, laughed in your face, and thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen to me; so much so that adoption might cross my mind. I mean, I’m finally at a point where my youngest is in kindergarten, and I have time to solidly write during the day, to work out without waking at 5am, to even just sit and have coffee. I’ve been consistently making dinner 3-4 times a week. I mean…life is good. Throw a baby in there and more than half of that would disappear, except the parts where I’m “working”, and I do mean making dinner and doing laundry and cleaning shit. However, I was kind of excited. I mean, I’m in the best shape ever, and I was starting to think…I could do this as an experiment. Like, how fit can I stay during a pregnancy. Plus, babies. <3 <3

Here I am with a seriously new perspective. And yes, I have it because I’m not pregnant. And I know that if I’d been pregnant, the internal workings of my psyche would be different, but I can only tell my story, so…

January 1st, I was given a gift. A message in the form of a [not] baby.

STOP F*CKING AROUND. [oh! haha. literally and figuratively]

As my personal life was sending mixed signals, a part of the business life around me was imploding. That’s the word everyone has used for the coming demise of Romance Writers of America. I’ve watched this organization for years. I joined in 2006[ish], shortly after I began writing. For me, I believed its value was in the relationships I’d gained. But as I look back, even that value is far smaller than I give it credit for… I only have 3 close friends from my association with RWA. Most acquaintances have come and gone as I’ve moved.

If you are really interested in what went on in RWA, just Google RWA 2019 Scandal and Courtney Milan. Something will pop up giving you a hint, but maybe nothing unbiased–this is the way of reporting today–so, just read with caution. My blog post here isn’t about the Scandal of RWA in 2019, though. So I’m not going to go on about it.

Instead, I will share how it affected me.

There’s always been an underlying current of politics and social reform within the members of RWA. Years ago, it was the fight for equality between print and digital. The idea that only B-rated porn was being offered as ebooks came from the fact that…yes, lots of porn on the internet. But it just didn’t remain so and really might never have been an accurate assessment because when new things arise, people fear. Change is hard. But digital publication and self-publication fought hard for respect and earned it. RWA fought against it. They fought and feared this uprising of authors who may or may not be approved. They lost the focus of supporting the writer, any writer, and became an entity who drew lines.

And they continued to draw lines for everyone, influencing not just writers but publishers, editors, and agents alike. And every year or few years, in the last fifteen, have been rife with the latest social uprising, which leads to accusations, debates, sides being taken, and discontent. For example, the contests of RWA have gone from having 4 categories to many, too many. Because heaven forbid someone not be represented. There should be 4 categories–contemporary, suspense, historical, paranormal/sci-fi. That’s it. It shouldn’t matter what kind of suspense you write or what kind of historical. Whether your characters are straight, gay, white, hispanic, Christian or Buddhist; whether the writer is they, black, white, Atheist or JW.

There is ONE type in a writing group, a WRITER. Period.

Writers for Writers: On Writing. <– this should be the name of the organization, the WWW.

Not Writers for Conform, or Writers for Reform, or Writers for Readers, or Writers for Equality!  No!!

We are artists, each with our own mission, passions, and goals, taking the issues that drive us and putting them to words. As soon as we start letting other people tell us what to do, we become robots. We become anti-artists.

I follow God. I pray every day. I ask Him to show me what He wants of me. He asks me to use my gifts for His glory. My gift is writing romance, writing stories about love between two people. The joy within me comes from penning stories of redemption and forgiveness and love, sex included!

And in the last two years, I have failed my passions and my gifts. I have struggled to separate the politics from the art. I have let doubt and uncertainty bind me and trap me in this corner. No more.

My RWA membership will expire this year–for good. I’m pulling myself up out of the pool of social norm and conform–in RWA, online, and in real life. It’s too crowded. Jumping on the bandwagon is the most unindividual effort an artist can make. I teach my children to be independent and have a mind of their own. Don’t follow the crowd! If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you?

Sound familiar?

Well, who am I to not follow my own advice?

My advice to you, Writer and Artist. Don’t waste time, it could be gone in an instant. This year, move forward! Get excited! Find joy. Unfollow the people who are killing that joy. Reinvent your support group. Don’t write what is expected, don’t write what other people tell you is romance!

I will not box my creativity in with lines drawn by society and culture. This isn’t the way of the artist.

To me, this is the death of dreams.

So, your entrance might not have been as [melo]dramatic as mine, but WELCOME to 2020!

I wish you freedom of mind and spirit in which to create. I wish you a hope-filled, energetic, and amazing NEW YEAR!

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Merry Christmas

Just two days left.

My family went to Grandma’s this year. The funny thing is that we keep moving, and we’ve yet to move ‘away’ from Grandma. Three years ago, to Georgia we went, over the river and through the woods, and 3.5 hours to Grandma’s. When they told us we would be moving last summer, we warned the family… we’re moving. People need to step up and get down to Grandma’s. We won’t be so close anymore.

Wrong.

Over the river and through the woods and 3 hours to Grandma’s in Mississippi. Actually closer than we’d been. We’ll be moving in 2020 [yay, another move]. But don’t worry, we’ll only be 5.5 hours from Grandma!

I have two thoughts behind this.

How lucky we are! They Italians have such rich traditions in food and faith. Our kids will remember being at Grandma’s. They won’t forget so quickly as military families and families who live far from each other often do. They’ll have crazy stories to tell. Experiences to share as they grow older.

Yet, it makes me apprehensive, as if God knows something we don’t. He wants us close to Grandma’s for a while, until…what? Morbid, but it’s life, too.

There’s only one sure thing in life, right? Are you ready?

I’m working on it.

Don’t miss out on my Christmas story, Letters From Home, available from Entangled Publishing!!

An Army doctor, Lena Rodriguez has always been too busy with school or the Army for romance. But the letters she received during deployment have captured her heart. Back home for the holidays, she awaits Christmas morning to meet the man who has turned her life upside down.

When Zack Benson watched his best friend’s sister, Lena, leave for Afghanistan, he knew he had to tell her he loved her. So he sent her anonymous love letters. Now that she’s home, he realizes he’s made a tactical error. Lena has fallen for the man in those letters but still thinks of him as a brother. He has to convince her otherwise because if he succeeds, he’ll get the best Christmas present ever. But if he fails, he could lose her for good.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

#SaturdaySeven on THSG Blog

This isn’t a writing post or a reading post or even an industry post [but I bet I can make it one]. It’s just a fun way to make fun of the old people in your life. There are probably a gazillion ways to identify with aging. [And here you go…] Maybe this can help you create a secondary character your readers will relate to!

Seven ways you know you’re old.

  1. You get excited when your kids come home.
  2. You’re the one paying for your kids to come home.
  3. Random people call you ma’am.
  4. Gray hair.
  5. 20th wedding anniversary.
  6. You don’t care about stupid studies that tell you not to wear jeans.
  7. Naps are fun.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

New Directions and Slow Starts

Hi, my name is Beth, and I spent 2018 figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life.

And guess what?

I don’t think I’ll ever have an answer. My life is ever-changing. It flows like a river, taking me one way until a boulder or something shifts me the other way. But then, slowly I change the boulder and my direction shifts again. You know what? Life isn’t about getting to the end! Michelle Obama said it in her book. The most useless question is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” as if at some point you become something and that’s the end.

This year, I’m adding editor to my journey. I love writing. I love my stories. I even love the process of publishing. And then once I week, I get to read other people’s work as I critique for the lovely ladies on this blog. The satisfaction in that is more fulfilling. I don’t know why. But, I think it’s time to take that feeling to the next level. So, I opened the doors to Love Junkie Editing. Yes, it’s a cute, goofy name…for a professional.

Don’t let that fool you.

I’m all business when it comes to the written word. Same as I’ve applied my work ethics to my own career in the last 16 years, I’ll apply with my clients’ careers.

It’s going to be a slow start, and I don’t mind that. Mostly because it’s a nervewracking endeavor! I want to do well. I have lots to learn. I need to get some projects under my belt and figure out how different being on the editor side of the desk will be. But I’m also looking forward to it…

The next time you have a manuscript you need copy or line edited, I hope you do your research and check me out. 🙂

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

Stuffed

I began this week, thinking… uh, oh. Diet Sabbatical, here you come. With all the foodie inspiration popping up on Facebook, this holiday week is bound to be filled with every amazing dish known to mankind. And it was true… we had turkey and baked dishes filled with cooked down veggies and creams and sauces. Pies like you just can’t even do more than once a year!

I’m stuffed. My buttons are tight. I’ve run in an effort to balance, but let’s be honest…ain’t no running enough to counteract the Diet Sabbatical!! haha.

You know what else I’m stuffed with?

Good ideas.

I’ve had a great week of pulling back, spending time with family, and just listening. I’m returning home from Florida today, feeling refreshed and ready to go. Excited to end the year on a good note and carry it through to 2019. I hope this Thanksgiving has found you doing the same: eating, enjoying life, relaxing, and filling your soul with the next best selling idea!! Whether that be the burnt fried turkey…the fight Uncle John had with Aunt Maude…Cousin Frankie’s new tattoo…or your sister’s announcement that she is pregnant with number 12 [she does know how that happens, right?].

What’s one thing that happened this week that will definitely end up in a book someday?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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