I Don’t Care What You Think

Yes, I do. Really.RTW 250x400 11.17

For a lot of writers, myself included, nothing could be further from the truth. We worry way too much about what the people closest to us might think of our work. Although I’ve heard many reasons why people won’t write a certain way, or in a certain genre, I can only speak for myself.

When I started seriously writing my first book in 2006, I worried. I worried about the language, the settings, the details, the SEX! Whether the door is closed or thrown wide open with invitations included we all know romance has a physical aspect. But what would my ex-MIL think? What about my teacher from high school? Better yet, I wasted countless hours being concerned about how my family and my partner’s family might perceive my work. What would the people in my office think if they found out? I didn’t write for a long time because I struggled with this.

For the sake of argument, I’ll give you the office one. If you’re in particular fields and you write erotica it’s probably best that some people don’t know. But for the rest, looking back on it, the only thing I really did was waste my own time and resources worrying about it. It only mattered to me. Not them.

Over the years when family members ask, ‘So how are your books doing?’ I’ve come to realize they are doing it to be polite. For us introverts, it’s a conversation starter. Nothing more. And the other big one I get from family and friends a lot is, ‘I’m going to read your book, but I haven’t yet because…(insert any reason here, I’ve heard some doozies). Then they go on to talk about the latest book they have read.

Time has given me a little perspective. As a writer, our creative talents are best served when we are true to ourselves. Even writing to the market there are aspects of our stories that come from deep inside us as artists. We should honor that creative energy, not stifle it because someone else may not approve. That’s just sad.

Even if people don’t approve, I’ve come to understand I need to write my story the way I need to write it. Not alter it based on fear. Fear of disapproval, fear of success, or just plain old what if nobody likes it?

What about you? Have you ever worried about this? Did you get over it, or do you still struggle with it?

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.

Are You Ready to Get Lucky?

March is a fun month. I mean really. What other time of the year are you not considered crazy for talking about four-leaf clovers, good luck and drinking green beer? Okay, I don’t drink green beer but I do admit to enjoying a pint of Guinness from time to time. It’s as close as I can afford to get to Ireland at the moment.

Fairy Dust Small

See how easily I get distracted? What I really want to talk about today is luck. I confess to being firmly in the camp of luck is when hard work meets opportunity. Doesn’t that sound easy? Just keep working hard and an opportunity will just fall into your lap. Hmmmm, I don’t think so. I believe there are a couple tricks to that statement.

First off, do you absolutely have to work hard? Yes, I believe you do. But you can’t work hard at a bunch of things, constantly shifting your expectations and goals like sand in the desert and expect spectacular results. You need to stay focused on what your ultimate goal is. It’s easy to get sidetracked by doing writing things, like editing, social media, reading, so we feel like we’re making progress, when in reality we’re just kidding ourselves because we’re not actually producing pages and doing the writing itself.

The other trick is being able to recognize opportunity when it presents itself. Usually we have an idea of what our perfect opportunity will look like. But what about those times when things happen that aren’t according to our plan? And maybe they don’t quite look like what we thought our opportunity should appear to be? What if we get rejected? How can that be lucky? And what about the opportunity of self-publishing? That’s a big one.

So in a sense flexibility is also a key to being lucky. I do believe in luck, but you have to be ready for it. I don’t believe it ‘just happens’ to very many people. Having been involved in the writing industry for nearly ten years now, I can tell you from experience and observation that some of the writers that I know that are having large success today may have had some luck with their timing. Although to some it appears that someone just sprinkled lucky fairy dust all over them.

But that being said, every one, without fail, has single-mindedly stuck to her goals, stayed the course, been writing and putting out work when others were bemoaning the ups and downs of the industry and ‘taking breaks’ from writing. Or in some cases had illnesses or other personal issues beyond their control that took them away from writing.

It’s the people who haven’t given up, who’ve kept at it year after year, stayed focused on their goal, refining their craft, managing their networking, and building a body of work who have become successful. And that to me is the best luck of all.

Have you gotten lucky lately?

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.

Everyday Romance

Didn’t you think Misty’s post was fabulous? I just loved it, and it’s going to be a hard act to follow, but I’ll give it shot.SmallHeartCloud

We don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s Day at our house. For the past several years we’ve been stuck on very difficult job sites where after a twelve hour day, we’ve looked at each other, wished each other a happy day and then went to get Chinese take-out, headed back to the hotel and gone to sleep. Isn’t that romantic? And there you have it. The secret to a happy relationship. Take-out food and a good hotel.

But on a serious note, we both agree Valentine’s Day is simply a retail venture. Love is constant and something you live every day. Especially for your mate. That person deserves your best because they’ve seen you at your worst, and they still love you and stand by you.

Now that’s romance!

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.

Reflections of Grandma

First off, man I feel old when I think of myself in terms of being a ‘grandma’. Then I just smile. Secondly I’m not that old. And third and most important, I can bribe somebody with fun and games and feel totally guilt free. And I only realized it today.

Our grandson is coming to visit and by the time you read this, he will have arrived. I’ve been shopping, cleaning, and well, every time I’m in the store I run across just one more little thing I’ve just got to buy him. Why? Because I want to. And it’s fun. I’m totally off the hook of parental responsibility.

http://www.suttonfox.com

As he grows when he thinks about Ya-Ya, that’s me, I want him to get excited and think about fun things. How being with Grandma relates to all things good in the world. So in that vein since we don’t get to spend actual Christmas with him, I’ve wrapped the presents so he gets to open one every day. They aren’t big things; they’re games we can play, activity books, and stuffed animals. Just so he’ll have something to look forward to every day. We’ll bake cookies, and play fetch with Lucy.

Some of my friends and family have the greatest stories about how wonderful their grandmothers were. And when he grows into adulthood and looks back on his life, I want him to think about me that way. So I guess my reflections have turned into aspirations. But that’s okay. If I’ve got to be grandma, I want to be at the top of Santa’s and my grandson’s nice list.

Do you have a favorite grandparent memory to share?

Don’t forget to comment so you can win a free ecopy of one of our holiday stories!

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.

Make Your Own Traditions with Love

Without getting maudlin or delving too deep, let’s just say my family holiday traditions as a child ran more along the lines of a good Hank Williams, Jr. song. Holidays were just heartbreak all dressed up.

When you meet the right person to share your life with, they make you want to be a better person. Once it happened to me, I realized I could keep blaming the past for the fact that I didn’t like holidays, or I could put on my big girl panties and change it. So every year I forced myself to take the steps to make it better. Reach out. Take a risk. Offer to host a holiday meal. Have a holiday party. Invite everyone to my home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Together we’ve begun to make new traditions and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. And I’ve learned it’s okay if they don’t. Those that work will continue.SONY DSC

Between us we have lots of adult kids and a couple grandkids, and due to divorces they’ve had more holidays like mine than happy ones like my partners. So this is the tradition we’ve created. We’ve been doing it for the past several years and now the kids plan for it, look forward to it and best of all pay their own way to come to it. So we kind of figure it must mean something to them too.

We choose a weekend sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That way the actual holidays are free for the other parent/families and we don’t put the kids in the position of going to multiple houses or having to choose. At least one of every person’s favorite foods shows up on the menu at some point during the weekend. We have a reverse scavenger hunt for charity, and while we do get gifts for the little ones, the only gifts we buy adults are small gag gifts for our white elephant gift exchange, which always seems to engender much laughter and mayhem. All of us are in agreement that spending the cash to be together for the weekend is gift enough since we’re spread all over the country.

Honestly, these days I look forward to the holidays. I can’t wait to see everyone. And I’ve finally figured out the whole feed-you-to-death thing. It’s because cooking the food, serving it, enjoying it together is a labor of love. I’ve learned it’s not about the getting, it’s about the giving. About the love you share freely, whether it’s returned or not. I’m still learning. But, I do know it makes my heart happy to share. And if there’s one thing a romance writer knows about, its love, in all its many forms.

So do you love holiday traditions or would you be just fine without them?

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.

Thrill Me, Kill Me

Since we’re talking about scary things this month it’s a great tie in to reading and writing for me. While I love reading contemporary romance, I think my very favorite reads are either romantic suspense or paranormal romance.

First and foremost, there’s got to be a romance. It’s about the relationship. If it weren’t we’d have nothing but police procedurals and straight up thrillers. They have their place, and there are some good ones out there, but again, there must be romance along with the rest. As a reader, it’s not optional.

Broken MirrorA real page turner for me is a book where there’s an out-and-out villain of some sort and a victim. In some stories the victim has a much of a part as the criminal. Someone who’s causing mayhem or committing murder, or well, being murdered. See what I mean? Creepy, huh?

Through the course of my writing, I’ve also discovered I like killing people off in books. Perhaps because in fiction, it’s so opposite of real my life and it’s a way to explore some of the darker sides of our humanity. While I do plot to some degree, the actual manner of death is an organic process. It shows itself as I write and the story unfolds. Which about scared the pants off me when I realized it, but what’s a girl to do? Write it down, of course.

My partner and I have had many conversations over dinner in restaurants about how this or that character could or should die, and it’s turned a few heads. And gave us and our wait staff a few laughs along the way.

Ultimately I think it’s that edge of your seat feeling that comes from good suspense. What’s going to happen next and who’s going to cause it? How is it going to turn out? With a romance involved we know how it’s going to end, but the journey is as individual as every writer out there. And that’s the fun part. I love reading it, and it’s even more of a thrill to write it.

This post wouldn’t be complete without telling you that my favorite romantic suspense author is the ever-talented J.D. Robb. Nora has done such an amazing job with not only the procedural part of the stories but with the ongoing arch between Eve and Roarke. I look forward to reading every one. And I’m a huge fan of J.R. Ward, and LKH’s early Anita Blake novels.

Who is your favorite romantic suspense or paranormal author?

Do tell us in the comments section and you’ll be entered in the drawing for this month’s swag!

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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