“Nothing Ventured” Is Live! It’s Giveaway Time!

It’s LAUNCH day!!!!!! Let’s CELEBRATE!!!! How about a giveaway, in honor of our delicious hero, Chris Camden?????

Glasses of champagne and sparklers on bright background with sparklers

Here’s to Chris, the Adonis and certifiable charmer with more lines than a supermarket before a snowstorm. With a panty-melting smile, ridiculous body that oozes pheromones, and a hot car, he’ll have your knees weak within minutes. I promise. <3

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed copy of ‘Unlikely Venture,” Book One of the Venture Series.

The contest closes on 9/22/2015 and the winner will be notified by email. GOOD LUCK!

Buy Nothing Ventured:

Amazon  Barnes & Noble  iBooks  Smashwords

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Spreading The Seed

I love spinning tales of romance in the Silicon Valley setting. I’m told I seriously over-glamorize the lifestyles of my heroes and heroines but whatever. I write FICTION so isn’t that kind of a requirement? I mean, I have to keep things interesting. right? WINK, WINK

As an entrepreneur, I am fascinated with goings-on in the Valley. There’s such an aura over Sand Hill Road; it’s just bubbling over with innovation, creativity and energy. Being part of that atmosphere, collaborating with fellow creatives and networking with famed venture capitalists must be so charging to a budding startup CEO. And coupled with the drive to build the next big thing? Well, the possibilities seem endless. Sounds like a dream (this is where my romanticizing comes into play)…but what companies really get to LIVE it?

funny silicon valley welcome sign

Enter Y-Combinator.

Y-Combinator provides seed money to a certain number of startups deemed worthy to relocate to Silicon Valley for a three-month period. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding for a company and it helps pay expenses, allowing startups to focus on development with no added stresses.

If selected for the program, startups have access to proven innovators who will help shape and bring early ideas to fruition. They will learn how to deliver a polished pitch to investors and how to close a deal and acquire more funding, if needed. It all culminates in a Demo Day, where the elite group is granted an opportunity to present their work to carefully selected audiences.

All this in exchange for a small financial stake in each company. Sounds like small potatoes, considering most startups would never get this opportunity on their own. Networking is so key…sometimes you need to give a little to get a lot.

Just as an aside, Hubby has already advised me not to get any bright ideas about applying. LOL.

Desperately Seeking Smokin’ Hot SEXpert For The Bargain Price Of $250K

It is very rare that I pick up a book (or rather, my Kindle) and lap up the words on the page (or screen) like a parched dog at a water bowl in hundred-degree weather.  VERY rare.

But last night, I sprinted through Taint by SL Jennings like a woman possessed…or more appropriately, obsessed.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

had to finish it.  Raw is the first word that comes to mind when I’m describing it.  It’s told from the point of view of the hero and the author’s ability to spin the story through the eyes of an emotionally tortured 29-year old guy whose life pretty much revolves around sex followed by self-imposed solitude is impressive, to say the least.  While I can’t say for certain that she hit the nail on the head with the way a guy would think, speak and react to precarious situations, in my humble opinion she did a pretty damn good job.

As an aside, guy-speak is always the thing I struggle with the most when writing.  I run a lot of stuff past Hubby for validation.  He likes to remind me that guys have their own dialect and that they aren’t extensions of my female characters.  LOL.

Taint is not a typical contemporary romance.  It had edge and depth and intense passion, much more so than most.  Surprisingly, I liked the heroine, also not typical (at least for me).  So often the heroines fall short; they’re weak and pathetic or just single-dimensional and boring.  But not Ally.  I felt her emotional struggles and while she was constructed to be completely opposite the typical object of desire for the hero, that made it all the more understandable why he’d fall for her and vice versa.

I don’t typically review books here but I just had to share.  Also the cover art…YUM.  It’s what initially sold me.  Check it out at Amazon.

Maybe one day when my books are published (hopefully in the not so distant future) SL Jennings might return the favor.  =)

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!

Maybe “Nice” Isn’t Such A Great Compliment After All??

So, where did I leave off with Unlikely Venture…?  Oh YES.  Seeking beta readers.  Edits are complete, I need to do my own final run through, and then it goes to beta so I can see if there are any major holes to fill.  God I hope not…what are the odds that they will love it as much as I do???

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I’ve been trying to watch last week’s episode of Nashville for a week now, but abc.com just started doing this annoying thing where it asks me to verify my cable provider before providing me with viewing access.  Aha!  Thought you got me ABC?  Think again!  I’ll just wait until Thursday to watch!!!!  Would be helpful if I had the account information but that’s hubby’s department and he was off the grid.  Sigh.

Nashville is one of my favorite shows.  And one of the scenes in last week’s episode struck a chord with me.  No pun intended, folks.  I know there’s a lot of honky-tonk songwriting and singing, but I wasn’t intentionally trying to be funny right there.  It just kind of happened.  LOL.

Anyway, in a nutshell, (bear with me, non-fans) Scarlett needs Liam to help her produce an album.  Liam is frustrated because Scarlett is singing songs that don’t accurately portray who and what she is.  Since Liam’s an artist, he likes to dig deep…and do drugs…and drink.  But he’s also brilliant and introspective.

She tries to defend her music and he presses her to see if there’s more to her than meets the eye.  And golly gee, there IS.  Which is great because she’s kind of annoying…they definitely need to spice her up a little bit.  She needs a dark shadow.

So one of the key things Liam says is (and I’m paraphrasing here) inside every nice person is some damaged alter ego looking to claw its way out.  Hmm.

I don’t think another soul has ever used the word “nice” to describe me.  But you know what, I’m okay with that.  I’m not running from demons, I don’t have any deep dark secrets, I’m not a tortured soul.  It’s all out there in the open.  You can take me or leave me.  I’m colorful.  =)

So long story short, please don’t be disappointed when none of my heroines turn out to be that sweet-as-pie, boring, baggage-less little Miss Perfect.  I can only write what I know.  =)

It’s All About The Cover…And The Eye Candy On Display

Regardless of the publishing method I ultimately choose for Unlikely Venture, one thing is certain.  I need a cover.  But not just “a cover” – the right cover, the one that will stop potential readers and cause them to click into my virtual world so they can determine if my story is worth their time and money.

So many romance novels have covers graced with half-naked swarthy tanned males with pecs that seem to ripple as you stare at them.  Sometimes, they include the half-naked female counterpart as well, whose very perky boobs are usually popping out of her dress, ready to wave hello.  Just as an interesting aside, very rarely, if at all, do you see a heroine by herself on a romance cover…?

Every book and article I’ve read on the subject stresses the fact that the cover is equally as important as “the blurb,” especially if a potential reader is purchasing an e-book.  Of course, you can always sneak in some free sample content to gently nudge them toward a purchase.  But really, readers need to be sold on the eye candy.

I don’t want to go against the grain here, but I’ve always preferred a different type of cover, one full of innuendo.  I want to create the images of the characters as I read; I don’t want to be told what they look like.  I prefer the use of inanimate objects over flesh to convey the mystery of what lays within the pages of a romance novel.  I don’t need heaving breasts to tell me that there will be intimacy laced into the story.  It’s a romance novel so I expect it!

I Need A Hero! Wait…No I Don’t!

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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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