My Random List of Rockin’ Beats

I NEED MUSIC! I write with it, I work out with it, I design with it, I shower with it. Music makes me feel happy and productive. It sparks creativity, which I’m desperate for these days! I’ve got two books to finish before we leave for vacay, so bring on the tunes!

I grabbed a few of my current faves – some old, some new, all flipping awesome! Hope you guys enjoy! <3

https://widgets.itunes.apple.com/widget.html?c=us&brc=FFFFFF&blc=FFFFFF&trc=FFFFFF&tlc=FFFFFF&d=This%20is%20my%20random%20list%20of%20current%20fave%20tunes!&t=My%20Random%20List%20of%20Faves!&m=song&e=song&w=250&h=300&ids=712747605,1027529840,1056418404,1089260137,976353585,894102341,714550693&wt=playlist&partnerId=&affiliate_id=&at=1000logH&ct=

I Want A New Drug

Some people say you should write what you know. It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, you can deliver a more compelling story if you’re familiar with the subject.

My editor told me from day one to expand out of my comfort zone and do just the opposite.

When I wrote Unlikely Venture, I had a storyline in my head. Okay, that’s not exactly true. I had about a HUNDRED stories in my head before landing on the ONE, and even then I flip-flopped around until I landed on the right resolution. I decided to take a few risks when developing the story but I was always anchored to my original ideas. Two books later, I’ve sufficiently escaped the confines of that comfort zone. I went in directions that I’d have never considered before and I love the result. Hopefully, you all will as well…

Creating…is an addiction.  One I can’t fight.

Now I sit at my laptop scratching my head. Heightened drama, more intrigue, more plot twists…yes, The Venture Series in totality exceeded my expectations. But now what? I’ve written my first contemporary romance series, and though I am completely invested in my characters, it’s…over. Time to say goodbye. Sigh.

Courtesy of www.mikefook.com

Courtesy of www.mikefook.com

I liken it to a breakup. You spend years with someone and eventually part ways because you both want different things out of life. All the time you invested is lost and you need to refocus that energy on developing a new relationship. It’s nerve wracking. How are you going to find someone you think is just as perfect as the former Ms. or Mr. Right? There’s a whole lot of effort involved and you might need to expand your horizons and level set your expectations. You also have to open yourself to the possibility that there may be more heartbreak on the horizon before you find THE ONE.

But then one night, the stars align and you run into the person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with. The initial fear and apprehension may linger…after all, if something is too good to be true…well, you know how that saying goes.

As time goes on, you realize your life would be meaningless without this person and if you hadn’t opened your eyes wide enough to make a change, you would have missed out on meeting your true soul mate. You took a risk and it paid off.

I came to this realization after receiving some sound advice from a fellow author. She opened my eyes to a world where I need to challenge myself and embrace new ideas and direction. It makes perfect sense!

I need to disrupt my writing process, to dig deep and continue mastering my craft. It will take time, dedication and patience (which is always in short-supply). But I’m committed to my end goal…and diversification will be a key driver.

Courtesy of www.rlsbb.com

Courtesy of www.rlsbb.com

Who says authors aren’t entrepreneurs???

Resounding success is not found overnight, nor is it the result of “playing it safe.” It’s about the journey, not necessarily the destination (unless the destination is the NYT Bestseller list!). And it’s always the biggest risks that pay off the most.

Recipe For A Startup Romance

If you saw my last post “Wanna Learn How To Start A Startup?” you know that running a startup is pretty much a 24 x 7 gig, which begs the question, are there any slivers of time in a given day dedicated to dating and romance? I mean, even entrepreneurs need love, right?

Interesting and intriguing questions, considering I’m a romance author and I basically create love stories out of circumstances that wouldn’t ever materialize in reality.  I can make anything happen…to anyone…and find the perfect resolution for all to end happily.

Courtesy of Entrepreneur

Courtesy of Entrepreneur

But in the real world, things aren’t so simple. They can’t be handled with a few clicks on a keyboard and a couple of glasses of wine.

The Truth About Entrepreneurship And Dating

I read about a company called Underground Attached, a unique dating experience that brings together 40 (20 men and 20 women) prescreened, like-soul and like-minded people for an evening of play (no, get your minds out of the gutter) and hopefully, a few love connections. Put a roomful of driven, ambitious professionals together and hopefully, sparks will fly…as long as they can stay off their iPhones, Galaxies and CrackBerries long enough to exchange business cards.

39 Signs You’re Dating An Entrepreneur

Sounds good in theory.  Of course, if all else fails, they could also find solace in using my brilliant app idea to build their own virtual reality porn star and their own…well, read the post if you can’t figure it out.

Maybe entrepreneurs should look at potential mates as prospective “investors.” You want someone who will support your goals and help drive you to achieve, someone who understands what it takes to be a success and will be patient waiting for the big returns.

Wanna Learn How To Start A Startup?

Lucky Stanford students get all the perks.

They get to learn how to start a startup in a class taught by some of the most successful tech founders in Silicon Valley. Sam Altman, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and president of Y Combinator, and Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook and Asana, delivered the first lecture.

Courtesy of Sam Altman via Twitter

Courtesy of Sam Altman via Twitter

I picked up a lot of great sound bytes in the video that are helpful to anyone trying to launch a startup.  And remember, this is not all about technology. These words of wisdom apply to ALL.

The big question of the session is why start a start-up?  Altman and Moskovitz don’t romanticize entrepreneurship. They urge the students to go into their endeavors eyes wide open and realize that the uphill climb will be much harder than they ever anticipated.  Starting a startup isn’t a great way to get rich quick.  The media does a great job of making it look so cool.  In reality, it’s not nearly as glamorous. It’s not The Social Network.

You need 4 things to be successful: a great idea, a great product, a great team and great execution.

Be passionate about your idea because you’ll be living, eating, breathing and sleeping it for the foreseeable future.  The dew will be off the rose pretty quickly if you’re not as invested in your idea as you expect your customers to be.  One of the best pieces of advice in the video is to find a small market, create a monopoly and expand quickly. And keep the concept simple!  You should be able to tweet the idea!!!! 140 characters or less!

Spend all your time on building the best, most effective product possible.  Get feedback from a variety of users and OFTEN.  Always refine the product so it meets the needs of your target audience.  The less complex it is, the easier it will be to enhance later.  Focus on building something a small number of users LOVE and not something a large group of users LIKE.

And once you have the product, take it to the audience.  One cool anecdote shared was about how the founder of Pinterest gathered feedback and raised awareness of the site. He’d go into the Apple store in Palo Alto and bring Pinterest up on every device in the store so it was the first thing Apple fans would see.  Brilliant, eh? It worked for a while too…until the geek squad (and I say that with affection) caught on and kicked him out.

Check out the video.  It’s very illuminating. =)

It Can’t Just Be Smart…It Needs To Be Vogue

It can’t just be a “smart” watch.

Because Apple would effectively eliminate and alienate every style-and-label-conscious consumer in its target audience.

Common objection to an iDevice gracing my wrist – Why do I need a smart watch?  I’d rather sport a Chanel J-12 or my Cartier Balloon Bleu.  I have an iPhone…with a super blingy case…I’m good.

Well, I guess Apple got the memo because the company recently added some big designer names to its payroll – Burberry Chief Executive Angela Ahrendts, Yves Saint Laurent’s Paul Deneve, Nike’s Ben Shaffer and now Marc Newson.

And the designs?

Let’s just say Apple should definitely see a positive ROI under the direction of their recent hires.

Courtest of www.bostonglobe.com

Courtest of www.bostonglobe.com

The watch designs combine fashion and function.  A selection of elements – from bands to faces to color, textures and metals – will certainly satisfy varied tastes of the masses.  Your watch can emulate your personal style – and still deliver on the smart part.

Check out Apple’s website for all of the combinations.  You can go as high-end as you want and select leather complimented with an 18 karat gold finish.  Or maybe you’d prefer something more sporty – go for the space gray aluminum and a more modular face.  The customizable possibilities are extensive.  There really is a style for everyone.

2015 should be a pretty lucrative year for Apple.   =)

Caffeinating Sand Hill Road

Having a business on Sand Hill Road just opens up all sorts of possibilities to fledgling entrepreneurs.

Close proximity to a boatload of venture capital means that your brick-and-mortar may actually qualify for some of it, IF you can prove you have the right vision and strategy.

Case in point?  Blue Bottle Coffee.

The minimalist décor of a Blue Bottle café in Oakland, Calif. Courtesy of Clay McLachlan/Claypix.com

The minimalist décor of a Blue Bottle café in Oakland, Calif.
Courtesy of Clay McLachlan/Claypix.com

If you roast it, will they come?

Evidently.  In droves.

Venture capitalists love the next big thing. And hordes of caffeine-starved fans spell lots of $$$. But note that this isn’t a tech company.  There’s no app. It’s an EXPERIENCE. No ambiance to speak of…the cafes are very minimalist and bare, there is not a large assortment of supplemental products offered to customers (e.g. CDs, travel mugs, Kind Bars or cake pops)…no, it’s the consistency and quality that have raised millions of dollars in seed funding to bring a unique coffee experience to aficionados.

Like Apple, Blue Bottle assumes that the best customer experience is one in which all of the hard decisions have been made—correctly—in advance. (Genius Barista by Will Oremus, Slate).

You won’t find a Blue Bottle café on the corner of every metropolitan street or avenue.  The name is not ubiquitous.  Each café has its own look, nonconformist in layout but still comfortable and down to earth.  The exterior doesn’t scream GET YOUR COFFEE, HERE!!!  It’s quietly cool…muted.

But investors are taking notice.  It’ll be interesting to see how much the Blue Bottle vision changes over time as more and more money gets thrown at the venture.  Will they go mainstream?  Time will tell.

“Kent Says There Are Fifty Ways To Win In Denver”

Silly me.

Did I REALLY think that once George turned three he was going to magically be potty-bound for life?

Um, yes, of course I did.

I will pause here for a moment so you can enjoy a few snickers at my expense.

It was a nice thought.  So far, we’re three for three.  I constructed George his very own bathroom out of an Amazon box to get him to sit still.  Yep, right in the middle of the kitchen.  He requested that we furnish his little space with Winnie the Pooh, an iPad, some Marvel figures and a remote control.  I was certain he’d never come out of that box…EVER.

Photo Credit - S.K. Mayhew, Kid Lit Writer skmayhew.blogspot.com

Photo Credit – S.K. Mayhew, Kid Lit Writer
skmayhew.blogspot.com

I was proven wrong, yet again.  The allure of our brightly colored sled coupled with mounds and mounds of snow drew him from his cardboard commode.  Hot on the heels of his brother and sister, George couldn’t get suited up fast enough.  And for a blissful hour, they climbed up and sailed down the slopes alongside our house.

I spent that hour watching reruns of Veep and drinking mango martinis.

“Kent says there are fifty ways to win in Denver.”

Photo Credit - http://www.yelp.com

Photo Credit – http://www.yelp.com

Daughter Of The Digital Revolution…And Her AG Cronies

The Crew

The Crew

Who knew that AGSM would open my eyes to how very inspirational my daughter Lulu could be?

AGSM = American Girl Stop Motion = YouTube craze = Lulu’s new favorite pastime

Stop motion videos are super cool, if you’ve never had the pleasure of watching one.  Lulu stumbled upon the YouTube channel and has been obsessed ever since.  An endless stream of hours with Mia, Rebecca, Caroline; sitting, standing, waving, climbing, dancing, and chatting.  But Lulu can’t figure out how to get herself out of the video and with stop motion, that’s a no-no.  The dolls come to life in these videos.  No human intervention is permitted.

Lulu watched and dissected the videos, almost as if to solve the mystery of a magic trick.  I was no help.  I’m not a videophile.  Some may say I’m a bit technologically challenged.  I can’t even figure out how to use our XBOX360.

She tried and failed, over and over.  Finally, she resorted to Google and was so excited to find instructional videos about how to make stop motion videos because, of course, videos about how to make videos are ubiquitous on the Internet.

Once Lulu had the camera app for the bargain price of $9.99, she was ready to flex her moviemaker muscles.  Except she quickly found out that stop motion is tedious as hell to produce.  But that only slightly deterred her.  She only threatened to throw her iPad out the window once.  I would have been so done long before that.

Lulu persevered like a champ.  And guess what?  She produced her own stop motion video.  It makes me a little dizzy to watch because she’s showing way too many frames per second, but we can fix that.

What happens when you have a kid who succumbs to frustration and shies away from a challenging endeavor?  Luckily I don’t need to worry about that.  Lulu’s dedication to achieving the final objective inspires me.  She won’t give up until she finds success.  At the tender age of eight, she already has the game of life down pat.

How can I ever be tempted to throw in the towel with such a source of inspiration surrounding me on a daily basis?

%d bloggers like this: