Hot Summer Nights

Everyone likes to do something different in the summer. For many years race tracks were my thing. I know, how smart do you have to be to drive around in circles, eh? Most people would tell you, not very. But it’s not the driving that gets me. Sure, that’s part of it, but it’s the challenge of racing. Taking a bare chassis and building something piece by piece until you have a car. Directed primarily by a loose set of rules, each part thought about, calculated into the whole, saved for and pushed to the limit.

At the track, it’s dark, it’s loud, and it’s endless. There are so many tasks to perform before a race, during a race, after a race and during the week. And that doesn’t count what you have to do if you manage to wreck the car. Primarily it’s the mental challenge that drew me. The math, the calculations all done at every instance just to make sure your machine goes faster than someone else’s. I realize competition is a dirty word these days, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.

I know how far I can push myself, physically and mentally, and it’s much further than I ever dreamed. Those hot summer nights are something I’ll never forget. The winning, and the blood, sweat, and tears. The losing, the sweet smell of fuel additive and best of all, dinner with friends at three in the morning.RTW 250x400 11.17

When it came time for me to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and write my first book, I wrote what I knew. Literally. If I had a question, I knew the right people to ask. I’ve been able to use many of my experiences as a basis for incidents in my books.

This left me able to concentrate on the writing. Exciting beginnings, no sagging middles, and the prerequisite HEA. It’s with a grateful heart that I post about my latest release, Running Three Wide. It wouldn’t be finished without the help and encouragement of the Passionate Critters. Thanks, Ladies!

Here’s the blurb:

Drive hard. Turn left. Find love…and danger.

Sarah Miller has finally become crew chief for a racing team, but her dream job comes with a hitch—dirt late model driving sensation and the man she swore she’d never see again, her old flame, Damon Blade.

Damon has too many women trying to run his life: his mother, his sister and his boss. Getting stuck with a female crew chief is the last straw…until he discovers its Sarah. And that someone else from his past is holding a grudge and determined to kill them both.

Balancing dirt track racing and staying away from a murderer has them running three wide. Headed full speed into the turn, will there be room for romance?

If you’re interested you can buy it here.

Here’s wishing each of you a great season. What do you love to do in the summertime?

 

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.

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.

Lucky Charms

2014-03-17 07.08.12March hasn’t been good to me.

This month at my house my oil burner went on the fritz TWICE, my cesspool backed up and my son lost his brakes while driving a few miles from home (he’s fine!).

I guess you could say we lost our lucky charms somewhere along the way…maybe the Easter Bunny will drop a few off when he makes his rounds next month?

Then I started thinking about those lucky charms and realized I don’t really have anything I’d consider “lucky” at all. Sure, my hubby has his lucky flaming boxer shorts he wears when we go to the casino (Not that we’ve ever won big while he was wearing them, but I guess since we’ve never lost big either there’s something to be said for keeping them around. LOL) But, I don’t keep a rabbit’s foot in my bag, or have a lucky talisman sitting on my desk guiding my words.

Do you?

As I count down the last few days of March, I’m thinking about heading out to find myself a four-leaf clover. Now what to do with it if I’m lucky enough to find one, that’s the question.

May the luck of the Irish smile on you, whether you have a lucky charm or not!

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

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.

Learning Never Stops

We don’t have back to school in our house. We have an empty nest. But with so much of our lives lived online these days, it’s almost impossible to not be affected by your friends or family getting the kids ready for another year. Personally I love September.Young Girl Does Her Math Homework

It’s a time for review, a reminder if you will, about tasks that need to be completed before years end. The weather is cooling a bit, so it’s time to dig out all the wonderful recipes you don’t make in the summer because they require using the oven. It’s the holiday train at station 3 ¾ picking up steam headed straight into, dare I say it? I can’t bear it. Let’s just say some sort of holiday or reason to shop for something from here on out.

It’s also a time I use to assess my writing, what I’ve accomplished through the year, and what I still want to learn.  Yes, learn. Advertisements are starting to show up for next spring’s writer’s conferences, along with requests for leading workshops, and teaching online classes. I don’t know many writers who aren’t either attending some sort of class about something do to with writing, or teaching the same.

But I don’t always take classes about writing. Let’s not forget all the jokes people make about romance writers and research. Certainly some of them are true. I’m just not at liberty to say which parts. In order to suspend disbelief for the reader we need to understand the settings we’ve placed our stories in, as well as the jobs our characters have, and many other things. In short we need to give our readers something to identify with. It’s true that we’re not born knowing everything. If only that were the case!!

If I weren’t a writer I’d probably be a professional student. I love learning new things. I’ve taken classes on weaponry, witchcraft, serial killers, army infantry, knitting, calligraphy, and many other things. As writers we are always working to perfect our craft. And that’s at best an elusive goal. But the journey is one I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I think my favorite class was the one I took at a community college to learn calligraphy. I didn’t realize just how much there is to the alphabet.

Is there a class you’ve taken that you absolutely loved?

 

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.

A Lovely Wedding, A Beautiful You

One of the many hats I wore before becoming a mostly full time writer was that of a licensed esthetician. I managed a full service salon and spa for about ten years. It was one of the most fun jobs I’ve had. As you can see from my hair, it still hasn’t worn off.

Wedding parties were always a challenge. Managing to do hair, make-up and nails for a group of anywhere from three to ten girls, along with the mother of the bride, and sometimes the MIL to be, in a short amount of time left one feeling frazzled. In a good way.

So I thought I’d give you some tips on how to manage those pesky details that may not be mentioned in the How to Look Your Best on the Special Day wedding guide.

—Do get the groom and groomsmen haircuts the week before the wedding. Not the week of.

For the bride:

The best thing you can do is to think about the look YOU want. Spend some time looking at brides online, in magazines, etc. Pick a few looks for hair, make-up and nails. Bring pictures to the salon with you for discussion.

If you are getting hair, make-up and nails done professionally choose a group of stylists that you trust or find a group that’s highly recommended.

Hair: If you want to change your haircut or color start six months before the wedding. You need time to make sure you’re happy with your new look and also to make corrections if you’re not.

Do schedule a trial run about four to six weeks before the wedding. Make sure when you set your appointment you tell them you want a wedding up-do. These things take extra time. Be fair to yourself and give your stylist time to give you what you want. If you will be wearing a veil or putting flowers or something in your hair, bring it with you this time so you can be sure everything works with your hair.

The day of:  Do wear a button down shirt to the salon. You won’t have to take it off later, over your hair or make-up.

Make-Up: If you’re having it professionally done, do schedule a practice run so you can be sure the look you want looks good on you. The day of, is NOT the day to make adjustments. You’ll be nervous enough.

Remember, you are the star! You’ll be having photos taken of you the entire time, from every angle. You’ll need great make-up. If you’re not comfortable wearing a lot of make-up, practice. You’re not comfortable wearing a gown and heels all day either. The last thing you want is to look washed out.

If you’re doing your own, there are tons of how-to wedding make-up vids on YouTube. Make the time and practice in advance. You’ll be glad you did.

And the very last helpful hint I have, because this happened more often than not, is this – If you’re part of the wedding party, the bride asked you to be in her wedding because she cares for you. Don’t say bad things about her to the professionals who are working hard to make you look your best for her big day.

Now go out there and be beautiful!

*And don’t forget, don’t forget all commenters this month have a chance of winning our $5 Amazon GC Giveaway!

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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