Source: May I Help You?
I am having a serious literary debate with my editor regarding Point of View (POV). Rhonda is the focus and Protagonist in my trilogy and therefore should receive a lioness’ share of the attention. I also believe there are places along the storyline where the guys can add some valuable insight and male perspective. I have written Liberating Rhonda as an Adult Romance and included some raciness and sensuality along the way. When Rhonda meets Marc the sparks fly on both sides. The flow of attraction and sensuality goes back and forth, from her to him and return.
I wrote it that way because I believe its how it happens in real life. He touches her…or gives her a compliment, which she receives, considers mentally or emotionally or both, and responds. Her response is the catalyst for his reaction, consideration, and corresponding reaction, back and forth. To me its better to change the POV back and forth at the same time in order to give an immediate view inside both of their heads. The intriguing concept to me is the difference between how she sees and feels about a tender word…a kiss…a smile, and how he perceives it, because the two views are frequently different.
If I document what Rhonda does and how she feels about him while they are making out for ten minutes from her perspective, then shift to his point of view either his responses during those ten minutes before are not addressed and lost, or he is going over old news reviewing activities out of sync from the prior time and don’t flow with the scene. I have not figured out a way to make it flow naturally, doing it ten minutes or a page or two earlier. I don’t know if there IS a way at this point.
I’ve learned that when the action is going hot and heavy too many thoughts and feelings can get in the way. I have changed a lot of internal thoughts into narration but now I believe there’s too much narrative and not enough dialog so I’m going to shift some narrative into dialog wherever possible. I like dialog in general and believe it makes the characters come alive and POP ! There’s a Lot of work to be done before the new version is ready. I am learning and its a slow process.
Transgressions is such a deeply unsettling novel, it has completely revised my opinion of the author. I discovered Sarah Dunant’s novels with Mapping the Edge,( 1999) when it was first published, and I went on to read her historical novels and reviewed them on this blog: The Birth of Venus, (2003); In the Company of […]
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DESIRE I like to see desire in his eyes. Desire for me. Only me. _ I love it when he gives me that look. Yeah, that look. And I know tonight will be different. _ Tonight will be special. One I will remember for a long time. Playing on loop for many nights to come. […]
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Liberating Rhonda, Beau Johnson, Author, Kindle
Rhonda Bell lived next door to Gwen O’Rourke from first grade through high school. Over the years, they became best friends.
The two girls spent all their time at each other’s houses and a weekend seldom went by when one of the girls didn’t sleep over at the other’s house.
They jumped rope, played jacks, tag, house, and tea party for hours. Hide-and-go-seek and dodge ball were actively enjoyed in their yards with the kids in the neighborhood. Each girl had a sister two years younger.
Their parents became good friends through the years, and the two families frequently celebrated birthdays and holidays together. Both mothers liked the other woman’s daughters and over time concluded they were nice girls and good influences on each other.
Gwen and her little sister Alice were serious and studious. Rhonda, on the other hand, turned out more outgoing, fun-loving, and adventuresome like her dad, Wesley.
Mr. Bell traveled as a mechanical engineer for a growing national company and traveled all over the six surrounding Midwestern states at least four or five days a month. To compensate for his absences, he took his family on frequent summer vacations that usually incorporated his favorite activities, including fishing, hiking, and camping.
The girls were taught to swim when they were four and six and to snorkel in the Bahamas two years later. Scuba lessons were promised when they got old enough. Rhonda related to her father’s fearless and fun attitude so well she became a “daddy’s girl.”
Teresa Bell was a former kindergarten teacher and took a much more protective approach to child-rearing than her husband. She lived in fear for her daughters’ safety, especially during trips camping in the Rocky Mountains and hiking along the Appalachian Trail.
Mrs. Bell preferred they visit New Orleans for the French Quarter and Canal Street and Miami to immerse themselves in the Latin culture. Outings to the beach were more to her liking. Local family fishing excursions were tolerated, even though her husband would often spring one on her and the girls at the last minute: “Let’s go fishing at the lake tomorrow, okay? Who’s in?”
Wesley taught his wife and daughters to fish from the shore in a local freshwater lake, Lake Lilly. They learned to bait their own hooks despite Teresa’s barely-concealed distaste for slippery worms and slimy fish.
Even after the girls learned to swim, their mom would not allow them to fish from a boat on the lake. In her eyes, danger lurked everywhere.
Wesley taunted and teased her sometimes just to see her freak out:
“I’m going skydiving tomorrow. Who wants to go with me?”
Mr. Bell was informed by his wife in no uncertain terms that if he wanted to kill himself diving out of perfectly good plane that was fine, he’s a grown man, but their girls would not be joining him- ever! He’d also damn sure better be fully insured!
Turning ten, Teresa reluctantly allowed Rhonda to take short, slow rides around the block on the back of her husband’s motorcycle.
“Slowly, Wes. She’s only ten, remember? Slowly.”
Rhonda’s excited squeals made it clear she loved riding behind him and hugging him tight around the waist in the warm sun.
“Riding behind dad on a real motorcycle is so exciting Mom. I was a little afraid at first, but soon I became real excited! I felt so close to him. It was so much fun,” exhilaration in her voice. “He’s the best dad ever.”
When Rhonda hit twelve, however, Teresa put a stop to the motorcycle rides. “You’re a young lady now, and it doesn’t look ladylike to be riding on the back of loud and dangerous machines!”
Mostly she didn’t want Rhonda to take a liking to motorcycles and the bikers who rode them.
“She cuts in front of me in the lunch line and shoves me when we are playing outside dad! I tell her to stop but she just laughs.”
After Rhonda complained to her dad about being bullied by Berta, a bigger girl, in the fourth grade, he enrolled her in judo classes and took three years of evening lessons with her.
Rhonda backed Berta off some months later when the larger girl watched her wrestling with one of the smaller guys before gymnastics class. Circling right and left in a semi-circle, fingers head-high and entwined like TV wrestlers, Rhonda wound up throwing him hard to the mats with a full-body hip throw. The stiff landing on his back knocked the wind out of him.
She knew Berta saw the contest and glared at her afterward, the message clear: I can do the same thing to you, bitch!
When Rhonda sprained her ankle in a tournament Teresa’s unspoken fear became a reality. The relatively minor injury provided her mom an excuse to put a stop to any more judo training for her eldest daughter.
“That’s it! No more judo for you, Rhonda. I knew you would get hurt, and you did. Enough rough-housing! It’s time to learn to be a young lady. You can take ballet with Patricia if you want.”
Even so, the five firsts, three seconds and a third place out of the eighteen judo tournaments entered bolstered her confidence considerably.
Rhonda’s little sister, Patricia, excelled at academics – straight A’s, honor roll, and inherently studious- and hung out with similarly focused Alice, Gwen’s little sister, most of the time. Like Gwen and Alice, Patricia took ballet instead of judo, much to Teresa’s relief.
The older girls shared few common interests with their little sisters and spent little time with them. The two-year developmental gaps were significant.
Gwen and Rhonda shared hundreds of major and minor secrets during those early years and grew quite close and trusting of each other, even before adolescence arrived.
Reaching puberty, they painted each other’s nails, washed each other’s hair and even showered together. Leafing through fashion magazines to see the latest trends, they debated about cute guys, skin care and makeup, movie stars and their relationships, mean girls and bullies, and who liked who. Marathon discussions about hair care, hormonal problems, parental conflicts, music and general gossip could last hours.
Almost eight months younger chronologically than Rhonda, Gwen looked her age. The younger one’s curiosities and hormonal interest in boys, sex, romance, and the intersection of all those three main teen interests matched up closely however.
“You won’t believe what just happened, Gwen. Come over quick,” Rhonda whispered furtively into the phone one afternoon.
The menstrual milestone initiated hours of excited discussion. Now I’m even closer to being a woman, she thought to herself.
Lengthy discussions regarding all the anatomical and hormonal changes they were going through were the rule, not the exception.
Their sleepovers and discussions became rehearsals for dating guys. The girls didn’t know it then, but puberty prepared them for adult romantic and sexual relationships, and eventual childbearing and raising their own families.
Monthly Friday night school dances began, bringing with them excitement and anticipation.
“What if a guy asks us to dance, Gwen? We’ll be so embarrassed. We don’t know how to dance!” Rhonda commented, alarm evident in her voice.
To remedy that potential social disaster the girls taught themselves to slow and fast dance together. They watched themselves in the full-length mirror in their bedrooms until they didn’t look so awkward, just in case some boy asked them to dance.
They also learned how to kiss by practicing on each other, just in case some boy wanted to kiss them sometime.
Rhonda heard that a girl in their class, Eva, had played spin-the-bottle at a party with three guys. Because she puckered up in the back room just before being kissed, one of the boys later made fun of her to the other guys, saying she looked like a fish feeding. Her nickname became “Fish Lips.”
Boys can be so cruel. Both girls could imagine Eva’s humiliation.
Horrified after hearing about that experience, Gwen and Rhonda decided to make sure that was not going to happen to them.
“Where do your hands go when kissing, and how do you know which side to tilt your head on so you don’t bump noses?” Rhonda asked with a giggle. “Do you press your lips firmly or softly? Lips open? What about tongue? When is tongue okay?”
“At what point do you close your eyes?” Gwen wanted to know. “Do you always close your eyes? Do you hold your breath? Breathe through your nose? How long should a kiss last?”
They rehearsed and answered their own questions over time during their sleepovers by carefully watching how couples kissed in movies and on TV to see how it was done. They were romantic honor roll students.
The more they practiced kissing, the better they got at it, and the more fun and exciting it became. Gwen and Rhonda truly cared about each other and were such close friends that it turned into a more normal expression of their mutual natural affection.
“Kissing is so nice! You’re my favorite smooching partner, Gwen, but don’t tell anyone.” Rhonda confessed, following many giggles and groans.
French kissing became an important step in their romantic educational process and where they learned about the passion associated with kissing.
“I admit kissing is great fun, but French kissing you is even better. I could kiss you for hours! It makes me feel so warm inside, “Rhonda admitted with some embarrassment, “and excited.”
Slowly but surely, step by step, kissing on the mouth led to soft lips on the face, the eyes, then the ear; followed by a tongue sliding into the ear and sensual and strategic kisses on sensitive neck and shoulder areas.
“Oh, baby! When you kiss me right there on my neck it sends shivers thru me. I love it! Try kissing my shoulders gently. Mmhm yeah! Right…” sliding her moist lips to the nape of her neck, “…there Gwen.”
“It tickles when you put your tongue in my ear, but it feels so good. Let me put my tongue in your ear to see if you like it. Do you like this, too, Rhonda? What about,” gliding her kiss two inches down her chest, “here?”
“Ummm yeah baby, my turn…”
Giggles led to groans and a temporary pulling away when things started to feel too good. After a lot of smiles and laughter, eventually they would start again. The following explorations would evolve a shade more conservatively.
It wasn’t uncommon for either one to spend several hours exploring any one area, drift off to sleep for a while, and pick up where they left off for another ten minutes or so.
After months, the girls slowly explored every sensitive inch of their respective faces, lips, and necks. They took turns, giggling and laughing, then moaning. Hands roamed free above the waist for a long time, eventually leading to gradual light, long leg explorations all the way south to the toes.
“When you stroke me all the way down my legs, Gwen, it makes me tingle all over.” Rhonda murmured.
Manual bush exploration was off limits by an unspoken, mutual agreement. Instead, Rhonda slid her legs up and down Gwen’s moist, warm crevice until the action evolved into at least one of their usual grunting, groaning, and amazingly satisfying finales. They never admitted it or talked about these mutual orgasms, as it seemed to them to be just one of the private benefits of sleeping together.
Even after they accomplished their original goal of confident kissing, the sensual sleepovers continued.
Practice makes perfect.
Liberating Rhonda, Beau Johnson, Author, Kindle