Taking It To The Street…Maybe With Some Wine And Cheese

In a world where virtual is no longer the alternate reality, there is still a lot to be said for direct human contact as a driver of prospects and sales.

Let’s face it, we’re all way too dependent on our mobile devices and completely absorbed in email, texting, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube…and on and on. But all the action is online, right??

Ummm, research shows that’s not exactly the case anymore.

Successful selling is rooted in relationships…personal relationships established via in-person meetings and informal, lighthearted conversations. So we need to turn our focus to OFFLINE advertising to differentiate us from the competition. Making yourself accessible to potential customers, giving them a chance to find out who you are and what you’re all about – it goes a very long way and may make them more inclined to patronize your business.

Hitting the pavement may be just the ticket to launch your company to the next level. If you were wandering around a bookstore, wouldn’t you think it was cool to run into an author in your favorite genre hosting a meet and greet? Maybe get a chance to pick their brain about their characters, what drives them to write, where they draw inspiration from? Maybe you might buy one of his/her books because you were just so impressed with their warmth and engaging personality. Maybe you read the book, love it and recommend it to a friend. Maybe that friend is Ellen DeGeneres and the author gets picked up for a segment based on your referral and hits the New York Times bestseller list the next week. Just saying, it could happen. And so the story goes…no pun intended. =)

Don’t discount the importance of face-to-face interaction. A handshake and a smile feel so much better than a private Facebook message, don’t they?? Hosting a cocktail party is a great way to get to know prospective clients!

Red and white wine pouring on wood background

Just make sure you don’t kick back too much.  Remember, you’re working not partying on spring break. =)

Couple having fun in disco night club with body tequila party

I’ll Be Wearing Valentino When I Collect My Oscar

Gillian Flynn is living my dream. Not only is she an A-list New York Times best-selling author, but she’s also headed for the Oscars with the film adaptation of “Gone Girl.”  Red carpet, designer gown, borrowed Harry Winston jewels…yes, she is a freaking rock star in my opinion.

Courtesy of http://gillian-flynn.com

Courtesy of http://gillian-flynn.com

My books take me about three-four months to complete. I don’t outline or plan…I just write. I let the characters take me along for the ride. Sometimes I’m surprised at their decisions, sometimes elated at their realizations, sometimes saddened about events for which they lack control, but I’m always excited to find out what happens next.

During the writing process, I get to know my characters.  For example, I wrote a nine-page character sketch on the hero in my latest novel (which is about four scenes away from being in completed draft mode – YAY!). I needed to get inside his head so I could convince my readers who and what he is and why.  I crafted a picture in my mind. I hear his voice in my head as I read his exchanges with other characters. I know his expressions and his mannerisms. He is as real as I am.

So naturally, I can see him on the silver screen.  I’d love the chance to make him as real to the world as he is to me, to create the alternate reality I’ve lived for the past several months.  Gillian Flynn had her chance…and it’s paid off royally….to the point of $77.9 million (as of press time for the 10/24 issue of Entertainment Weekly).

Ahhh…like I said…THE DREAM.

But first things first…gotta hit the lists before I can collect my own Oscar…in Valentino.  =)

The Lady Devil With A Passion For Jamba Juice

As I write this post, I am actively fighting the urge to devour the remaining Russell Stover chocolate marshmallow eggs in the pantry.

Just saying.  I really need to get rid of this leftover Easter candy.  Sugar comas = lost productivity!  I get way too fidgety to write compelling dialogue when I’m all amped up on sugar.  Caffeine is another story.  I can drown in coffee and it only makes my stuff more compelling.  LOL!

Today, I finished the first draft of Nothing Ventured.  I love it.  If you’ve been on my Facebook page or seen my recent tweets, you already know this.  We’ve established that it’s narcissistic but, whatever.

The plot twists didn’t come easy…I drew a lot of inspiration from Fuel’s greatest hits, but it worked.  =)

I’m hoping my beta readers enjoy it just as much as I did, three times over.  Of course, there are certain scenes I might have read more than three times, but we’ll just leave it at that…

I love the characters that really evolve the most throughout a novel.  The more they change, the more invested I become.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m totally crushing on my latest hero, Chris Camden, who bears a striking resemblance to this young gentleman below.

liam-hemsworth-in-cannes

And here is my heroine, Mia Bradshaw.  They look so good together, don’t they?  =)

Ashley Greene

So now I pretty much have two-thirds of The Venture Series written.  And it feels awesome.  I’ve still got editing to do (hopefully not as much as I did for Unlikely Venture!), but I’m excited!

I can’t wait to share them with you!  Bear with me as I prepare to navigate this whole publishing universe!

I Do Love Being The Master Of Someone Else’s Destiny

I wouldn’t exactly label myself a control freak.  True, I like things done a certain way (fine, MY way) and in my time.  But it’s not like I fall apart if they don’t go according to my set schedule.  I may get a little crabby, but I’m not completely unreasonable or unyielding.  I’m just…regimented.  =)

Sometimes, though, it would be nice to set the stage for a scene in my life and then dictate exactly how I want it to play out.  And then…the scene actually unfolds the way I’ve imagined it.

This secret desire to exercise control over a situation – could this be why I enjoy writing so much?  Ah, to be the master of someone ELSE’S destiny, since it’s abundantly clear that there is so much in my life that’s outside the scope of my influence.  Maybe it’s therapeutic for me to seek refuge with my laptop after a particularly grueling episode of the nighttime bathing ritual, where nobody listens, the bathroom is soaked, sopping wet towels are strewn about and the counter and sink are trimmed in peppermint-flavored Crest.  Yelling doesn’t help, threats are futile.

Perhaps I found a way to channel all of that pent-up frustration into something constructive.  During those long dark moments, I remember that even though things don’t always play out according to my plans, I still have the power to dictate what’s going to happen next in the lives of my characters.  And that’s definitely worth something.

It doesn’t completely make up for my lack of sanity, but it makes the constant struggle a little easier to bear.  At the very least, the angst feeds my creativity.

I Need A Hero! Wait…No I Don’t!

Image

I hate a weak heroine.  Really, the whole “damsel in distress” thing is so irritating.  I don’t have a lot of free time on my hands.  With three children, a full-time job and aspirations to become a bestselling author, my plate is pretty full.  If I’m going to give up a few hours of my action-packed existence to delve into a novel, I have some pretty strict requirements.

I don’t want weak, needy or overbearing characters.  My idea heroine is strong, snarky, self-confident, quick-witted and engaging.  If she’s bitchy, even better.  I need to be able to relate immediately or I’m out.  And once that happens, I’m not coming back for seconds.

I want a heroine who is independent, a woman who doesn’t need a hero.  She’s just fine on her own, but the hero would enhance her existence.  She needs to have a flaw (or several) but they can’t be clichéd.

And then comes the challenge of making her likeable.  She can be a complete witch with a venomous tongue but I still need to love her otherwise I’m not going to make it.  There should be no buildup to that love either.  I have to click with her immediately.  A heroine with depth and personality and realistic baggage can evoke feelings and establish an emotional connection with a reader.  That’s a goal we should shoot for as romance authors.

As for the hero…

I don’t want him to be over the top.  He needs to maintain some control of himself and be able to carry on an entertaining banter with the heroine.  I want him to be smart but driven by emotion to some degree.  That’s how I connect.  I need him to react, to show me that he’s invested.  There also has to be a chemistry between him and the heroine that sparks at their very first encounter and carries the reader to their happily ever after.

I don’t want perfection, perfection is BORING!!!!!   I need some semblance of reality to keep me hooked, otherwise it is just borderline ridiculous, e.g. my feelings about Christian Grey.

I came across a review on Amazon by for Fifty Shades of Grey that is the exact opposite of what I want in a hero.  For the record, I don’t know if I’m allowed to paste this into my post but I am crediting the person (meymoon).

 “The main male character is a billionaire (not a millionaire but a billionaire) who speaks fluent French, is basically a concert level pianist, is a fully trained pilot, is athletic, drop dead gorgeous, tall, built perfectly with an enormous penis, and the best lover on the planet. In addition, he’s not only self-made but is using his money to combat world hunger. Oh yeah, and all of this at the ripe old age of 26! And on top of that, he’s never working. Every second is spent having sex or texting and emailing the female character. His billions seem to have just come about by magic.”

LOL.

I don’t ever want a reviewer to have that assessment of one of my heroes.  That is the antithesis of what I want to create.  There’s got to be at least a little room for improvement.  =)

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