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.

Character Driven Stories

The topic came up in our forum recently, and then I was thinking about it as a started reading a new book because there was a certain disconnect as I read through the first chapter.

So, as I thought about it, I noted two things.

One from my reading:

The conflict created unnatural reactions in the characters. When it came right down to it, I disliked the heroine for her bitchiness in the first scene…but mostly, it seemed that her thoughts [as the author tried to ‘show’ the story] and her actions weren’t realistic. She was stuck in a Russian blizzard, needing rescue! Why is she thinking she should try to bring up a past and resolve anything? Why is she thinking at all beyond, ‘Thank God. You rescued me. Please don’t hate me too much to save my life.’ So there were a few other instances where the author was trying to maintain sexual tension by NOT having the couple hook up too soon, and created conflict. But again, it just felt off, especially since the characters were both young, healthy, attractive, sexually active, and ‘hot for each other’. As an author, reading this book, the conflict felt too contrived.

This is where characterization can play a huge part! Because if even one of those characters wasn’t the horny, sex-impulsive type, then…I could have believed they were holding back as a natural occurence!

Two, from my own writing:

Last week I finished revisions on Book Three of my Hawk Elite Security series, and it’s the first full-length novel that has no sex in it. Before I started revisions, this book had the expected 2-3 love scenes. As I went through on the revisions, the sex kept NOT happening. Believe me, I wanted it to happen! I understand the satisfaction of seeing a couple through even this very private part of their relationship. It’s what romance readers are looking for… emotional connections. But no, I had a character. And do you know what my character’s nickname on the teams is?

Fr. John. Because he’s conservative in his dating life, because no one is quite certain if he’s had sex or not… is he a virgin? Does he even date anymore? He hasn’t–in a long time–and that’s what made his story. So, wouldn’t it be odd to have him suddenly be a lady’s man? a Don Juan? I think it would. It wouldn’t be in character.

I had a heroine who was ready to go, and she did her own pondering on why this guy wasn’t going to have sex with her. But even my heroine had been living alone for a few years, sort of in hiding from herself and the world. So, even for her to jump right in would have been a little off-reality.

I write romance, and I know the possibility of disappointing readers with a book that has no sex in it. But, I just couldn’t get beyond my characters. John was raised a certain way. He’s not perfect. He’s NOT a virgin [cuz, hello, college is a bed of sowing wild oats and living a little rebelliously], but he’s celibate, and has been for a few years. Because he knows, he wants the whole thing. All of it, and he isn’t going to settle for less, or cheat the next woman he’s attracted to by leading her on.

If you get a chance to read Strike Zone, please come back and tell me what you think. Part of me loves this story, because the sexual tension is so darn high. Part of me wishes I’d left the sex in there because it’s satisfying…

But in the end, I left the tone of the book up to the characters.

And if you like things a little hotter, stay tuned for book 4, Strike Force. Oh boy. That’s a different story completely!

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.

March Madness

My March Madness is made up of deadlines. No. One deadline. Which is coming up in 8 days.

I often hear authors speak about how it’s hard to write to the end, as if something in their subconscious holds them back. Because they know–as soon as they write the end–they have to leave that story. Sometimes it’s hard to leave a story! As a reader… and as an author.

Strike Force tells the story of my most broken characters to date. My hero swears like a soldier–and let me tell you–swearing is catharctic. I don’t care what people say about the use of swear words indicating a lack of imagination. I don’t care. This guy keeps swearing. And he loves the F-word. I’m working on curbing it as the story moves forward, but when your heroine is subject to the hands of the evil villain, it’s very hard to remain cool–don’t you agree?

The truth is, I will be very sad to write the end of this story. I’ve waited 3 years to write this story. It has worked it’s way through my veins and into my heart and it’s got [fucking] talons, I tell you. [excuse my french] As I get to the end, I just keep praying that I haven’t failed it.

And maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time finishing…

Will it be enough??

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.

High Stakes Birthday Bash

On Saturday, my daughter went to a birthday party and, with her friends, she played a game where all the kids with straws and plates and cups, sucked M&Ms onto the straw and dropped them into the cup. And wow, the pressure. The speed, the competition. And my daughter, like me, has a decent sense of the competitive. She’s number 5 of 6, so there’s a lot to live up to. So much beat in her little world. That when the game ended with her as a front runner,  and the girl next to her said, “You have two on your plate.” She sorta lost it.

Yes, mine is the one who cried at the birthday party.

I smoothed things over with her, talked her out of the tension, and life went on. What she doesn’t know is she’ll always be the one who cried over a stupid game at that birthday party. Maybe a few parents completely understood…or maybe they didn’t and they were thinking, WTH kind of spoiled brat cried over a game?

But I think we all have these kind of moments where we have to put our worst behind us and move on. We can’t worry about what other people are thinking, what they thought, or how they’ll think in the future.

I’ve done this before–professionally and personally–lost my cool or cried over nothing, or something that I should have had the balls to handle. Other times, I just need to put it behind me, promise to do better, and keep going. Because we’re all human, and we all make mistakes. Anyone who says differently is lying or extremely conceited.

So, it’s a new year and a new day…

Go out and do something kind today. And good for you.

 

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.

Life…one weird to the next!

So, as the year begins to wind down [yes, I just said that], it’s been in my face how life seems to be a long journey from one frickin’ mishap to the next. And lately, it’s a weekly occurrence. Today was my phone. Just died…not like blue-screen death, but a funny happenstance which included the words “no service” in the top left corner…when I do have service. Auto-pay every month on a darn go-phone and that doesn’t renew until December, so it’s not an issue with the service. Apple takes the phone…nothing wrong with the software…must be hardware. GREAT! For almost $300, they can fix it, but the authorized retailer suggested that might be dumb, because the iPhone SE is only $399. [insert crazy laugh]  So, it’s off to ebay I go…. to see if I can find a decent replacement for way less than either of those options.

Last week it was the laptop. More hardware. A loose wire.

And so on and so on…

….what was the point?

Oh! Right. Life. It can really kick us in the butt, right? Kids, spouses, cars, phones, homes,…always something, you know? And always when you least expect it, or least can afford it.

So, I’m sitting here, thinking about Thanksgiving and how tomorrow starts with pie making day. And I’m thankful that my phone is broken and has ‘no service’ because there isn’t a soul who doesn’t have an iphone who will be able to reach me!! I’ll open my wine early and peel apples and slice them up with my daughter who has been looking forward to this day for forever!!

And maybe…in the grander scheme of things, not having that phone working will be a blessing.

So, thanks Murphy.

With Love,

Beth

P.S. If you missed my new release this past week, make a sharp left to Amazon and get it now! <3

strikeback-200x300-1He would let her go if it would keep her safe…

Strong, self-reliant Nathan Hawkins—owner of Hawk Elite Security—can’t fathom a world in which he can’t protect the ones he loves. But the ticking time bomb of scar tissue in his head threatens to end his career and his marriage, even his life. But the scar tissue is nothing compared to the twisted enemy from Nathan’s past who returns, wanting Nathan to pay for his transgressions, pay with his wife.

As the bonds of her once rock-solid marriage disintegrate, Stacy Hawkins is ready to strangle her distant husband if that’s what it takes to break down the barriers. Then she meets a man who makes her feel special again, one who makes her long for what she’s lost with Nathan.

…she would give anything to reach him.

A vacation to their favorite spot in Belize isn’t enough to draw Hawk away from the team, especially when it seems that each mission in the past six months is rife with misfortune. And when Stacy becomes the target of a deranged killer out to punish Nathan, they must confront their own personal demons before they can triumph over the evil intent on leaving them dead.

 

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.

Rich in History

I’m sitting here, watching a documentary on the Kennedy family–The Kennedy’s Irish Mafia. And it makes me realize just how much we have today in regards to resources. I can just sit here and watch video after video, read article after article on any subject I want. The night before this was a movie called The Monuments Men.

People are fascinating!

The scope of lives affected by one family, like the Kennedys, one name, like Hitler, is astounding.

Because I’m not a technical writer or an historian, I like to use my imagination. Hearing real stories like this always makes me think of new characters. The stories make me ask myself questions…

What would it be like to work for someone with such strong convictions and desires for power?

How would it change a person?

What would a hero do to make things right?

Is it possible to stay true to yourself during trials?

Maybe. I think we have to believe it. Because, we learn these bits of history, of life… As writers we have to ask the questions that will bring the stories to life.

They don’t have to be real. They just have to have real emotions.

 

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.

Guest Post: Caroline — Tech Tools

Tech Tools Every Writer Should Invest In

caroline_tech-blog

Any good writer needs a little bit of help sometimes, and in today’s digital age, there are plenty of useful online tools and mobile apps that are available to help you find inspiration, stay organized and improve the quality of your writing. Here are some of our favorites.

Brainsparker
Every author knows how frustrating writer’s block can be, but there are plenty of tools that can encourage you to stop thinking and start writing. One of our favorites is Brainsparker, which provides users with thousands of potential writing prompts. It’s a great way to get your brain working, as all you have to do is shuffle the cards and pick a random prompt. You can use it to dream up topics for your next short story or simply do a quick exercise that gets you in the right frame of mind to write creatively.

Dragon
Many authors use voice dictation to help write their content. Some writers such as Jason Womack use voice dictation and recognition to write entire books while others use this technology to take down notes and inspiration quickly. Dragon is a useful voice dictation app that has great reviews, as many users note that it transcribes speech almost perfectly.

Evernote
Inspiration can strike at any time, and it is important for writers to be able to jot them down quickly and easily. Evernote is a note-taking app that allows you to do just that. It is available on various platforms, and it can be synced across several devices, so you’ll always have access to the notes you’ve made.

Grammarly
Grammarly is an online editing app that corrects spelling and grammar errors. While any good word processor has a spell-check facility, these built-in tools don’t always catch every mistake. Grammarly conducts in-depth checks to ensure your content is perfect for publication. It even offers up synonym suggestions to improve the readability of your writing.

Google Drive
It is important you back up all of your writing so you never lose any of your work if anything happens to your computer. Google Drive is one of the best online storage options, as users are provided with 15 gigabytes of free storage when they sign up for a Google account. Every document you upload is stored online, and your Google Drive can be synced across all of your devices.

To keep these online documents safe, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This adds an extra layer of protection when uploading your files online so unauthorized users cannot access your personal work. To find out which VPN best suits your needs, take a look at this VPN review from Secure Thoughts.

These tools are sure to help improve the quality of your writing as well as your overall productivity. Try them out and leave us a comment to let us know how they helped change the way you write!

*~*~*

Author Bio: Caroline is a tech blogger with a passion for creative writing. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, plays and short stories. You can find her on Twitter at @CultureCovC.

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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