Today on the blog I am delighted to welcome my friend and critique partner, Beth Rhodes. Beth’s newest book, Outside the Lines, is a wonderful contemporary romance which releases December 8. Thanks for joining me today, Beth!
Tell us a bit about you. Where do you live, and how long have you been writing?
I grew up in Michigan, where my sixth grade English teacher gave us a writing assignment. I wrote a story…and was rightfully admonished when I ended the story with, “…and then he woke up.” I dabbled in writing, but mostly read through my teens and twenties. And then in 2004, while pregnant with number 4, I had crazy insomnia. So, I wrote a book. …and the rest is history. I’ve been married to my husband for 16 years and we have 6 kids. Right now, we’re taking up space in Colorado but will soon be headed back to Georgia.
What inspired you to write Outside the Lines?
If I go way back to the very beginning, I would say this story came straight from my own life—minus the riches! I come from a Catholic family so when I was pregnant six months before getting married, there was some conflict involved. But after lots of years, I realized that it’s not really the start or finish that matter, but the journey. Love. I feel this story lots, but will say [for the sake of anyone who knows me]…it’s not mine.
What does your writing process look like? (Plotter, pantser, story boards, etc.)
I’m a plotter!! And I love it. Any time I try to start a story without doing some plotting, I fail miserably, getting to the end.
Me too. I wish I could fly by the seat of my pants, but it always ends badly. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I raise my 6 kids, for the most part, and love up on a good man. But I also like to read and hike and run and camp and watch television or movies.
I can see how raising six kids would take a lot of time! I only have one and I can barely manage. What are you working on now?
This question is complicated. I’ve been on the fence for a month or so and have started three different projects!! >:( All “nexts” in the series I have started. But, you’ll be happy to know, I settled on Book Three, Juan Rodriguez’s story. Which, btw, is going to be a little different. 1) it has an element of romantic suspense, and 2) the main characters have never met. When I started writing it, I realized that most of my MCs are familiar with each other already and that makes the transition to sensuous writing so much easier. LOL Anyhoo, look for it next year.
Many authors do detailed character sketches before writing, even if some of the details never appear in the book. Name one thing about either your hero, heroine (or both) that didn’t make it into your book, but is important to who s/he is.
My hero struggled a lot growing up [known!], and one time, he got into a fight with another kid at school who called his mom a dyke. Writing that scene was unbelievably emotional for me! Especially because he didn’t even know what that meant and had to ask his grandpa. David seems confident, but deep inside, he’s always been a little unsure about life.
Neat freak or not so much?
Not so much! My husband is the neat one. Which make his homecomings a little tricky.
LOL. I knew we were kindred spirits! Other than “butt in chair,” what piece of advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Keep writing and get into a [good] critique group!
Excellent advice! Thank goodness you guys let me into your critique group–you’ve all been lifesavers. 🙂
Thanks so much for joining me today, Beth, and best of luck with your new release!
Outside the Lines
by Beth Rhodes
For the first time in her life, good-girl Maria Rodriguez throws aside caution for an all-consuming desire. She wants freedom from rules and her family looking over her shoulder. She wants the love she’s only ever dreamed of. But then that love walks away. Jaded bachelor David March doesn’t believe in love. His fling with the pretty Hispanic woman from California is as close to feeling as he wants to get. Now, he’s back home, burying himself in work and trying to forget.
Shortly after he leaves, Maria finds out she’s pregnant. Her first leap into freedom results in a life-changing consequence. She knows she has to find him. But what she finds is not what she expects. David is not the down-to-earth man he portrayed. And the love she remembers has been replaced by cold calculation and contracts. He lied to her once. Can she trust that a marriage agreement will bring back the love they once shared?
He stopped short in the doorway.
Maria and Mrs. Kraus danced across the hardwood floor in front of him. Maria’s dress revealed well-toned calves with each turn. Her feet moved quick and sure under her, and the older woman’s barely kept up. The ache in his neck eased when he laughed. “Not bad, Mrs. Kraus.”
“It’s the salsa,” she answered as the two women did a little turn. Maria’s hips—holy mother, don’t even think about sex right now—moved to the rhythm and then her shoulders dipped and shook as she lead Mrs. Kraus into another twirly turny thing.
He rubbed a hand at the back of his neck with a smile.
Sex. Sex. Sex.
Stop thinking about sex!
“You try it!” Mrs. Kraus let go of Maria who did another twirl and landed in his arms.
“I’m not much of a dancer.”
Maria kissed him lightly, laughing. “Everyone can dance,” she said, taking both his hands and moving him over the floor.
He watched her feet, which happened to be bare. Toes painted a dark red.
Sex. Sex. Sex.
I’m not thinking about sex.
Liar. He lifted his gaze to her face, her pretty brown eyes, and found her grinning at him and wagging those eye brows. Like she knew what he was thinking—the little devil.
Fabulous excerpt! The book is available now from Kindle Direct, or for preorder at Amazon.
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