Meet Vivienne: A smart,sexy, boss babe heroine

I loved Bridget Jones’s Diary. It was a cheeky nod to the ups and downs of being a modern single woman but throughout the story I kept wanting Bridget to be just a little less bumbling, a little sharper, and a lot less interested in her boss, who did not deserve her attention. I wanted her to represent the best that women can be while also being real, having struggles, and overcoming them.

My frustration with that story was just one of the catalysts for my latest series, The Vivienne Series. I wanted to read more books about modern, career women, but I wanted the woman to represent the new breed of boss babes and girl bosses–sharp women who, while not perfect, generally have their shit together. These are women who know their skills and their value. They work hard and reap the rewards.

The heroine of my seven-book series is that woman. She’s uber-organized, knows what she wants and has no fear about going after it. But if that was the whole story it would be, well, dull at best. She wins, knew she would from page one…yawn.

So just like in real life, it’s those exact traits that make Vivienne’s love life and sometimes her work life, chaos. Knowing all the answers isn’t always easy when others don’t want your help and advice. And to this that our girl, Viv, is an introvert. She’s quiet (because she’s thinking) but that makes her easy to overlook in a world full of center-of-attention extroverts. When  opportunity comes knocking this heroine has to fight her fears and figure out a way to make life in the fast lane work for someone who prefers quiet, steady and predictable.

Book one is titled Fearless Flying. (It’s a nod to Fear of Flying, Erica Jong’s 1973 groundbreaking novel that featured a blatantly sexual woman.) The title also refers to Vivienne’s job, a secretary at a private jet manufacturer. It’s a high pressure job at an exciting company that she handles with grace and ease. I love this industry as a setting because it’s generally male dominated and it puts her in touch with the rich and famous.

I’ll be releasing Fearless Flying this July but you can sign up to get a FREE copy before the official publication date. Follow this link and let me know what email address you would like me to send it to. I’ll also keep you updated on my progress on the series, give you some behind the scenes info, as well as information about what I’ll be working on next.

So, let’s talk about chick lit, women’s fiction, whatever you want to call it. What’s your favorite and why? Share in the comments below.

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Rocking Sales As An Introvert Entrepreneur

Would you hire an introvert to sell your eighty million dollar airplanes? Aren’t introverts too shy and quiet to be in sales? Is it possible for introverts to succeed as entrepreneurs if they have to go out and sell their ideas?

I love these questions because they lead to myth-busting. As an introvert, entrepreneur and writer I get to create a character who shows that the exact traits that some see as a detriment to selling are what can make introverts rock stars in sales.

I’m currently writing book five in this seven book series which features Vivienne Ramsey, a quiet, hard-working, super-organized young woman who climbs to the top of the private jet sales industry by using her introvert traits. It wasn’t hard to image how it could happen. Her transition from a secretary to jet sales might surprise her and some others but I knew she could do it from the beginning. (It helps when you’re the writer ;-)).

The idea for the story came from my  own business experiences. I’ve failed at a few sales jobs. I was hired to work commission sales in a boutique dress shop and was run over by all the more outgoing sales staff. I tried opening a home-party based business where I had to call on all my friends and family and their friends and family and so on, and so on. A year after starting my manager was still trying to explain to me how easy it is to approach women in the grocery store to discuss their make-up and set them up for a party. I thought there was something wrong with me because I felt so uncomfortable doing it. It took me a long time to figure out that it wasn’t that I couldn’t sell, it was that those particular types of sales were not where I could shine.

Cold calling isn’t an introverts best skill but there are a lot of business that require no cold calling and rely on strong, long-term relationships to make sales. This is where introverts shine. This is how my character, Vivienne, is selling the hell out of those jets (at 1% commission on eighty million–you do the math). Vivienne is quiet, not because she has nothing to say, but because she loves to study people. She learns a lot about her clients by keeping her mouth shut and letting them do the talking. She has no problem keeping the spotlight on them because introverts naturally don’t like to be the center of attention. Once she knows what they need she follows through on every detail, often giving them more information than they even asked for. Finally jet sales in particular lets her shine because she is a female in a very male-dominated field. Introverts are used to being the odd man out and Vivienne knows how to work this to her advantage. She brings all the traits that her male, extroverted competition doesn’t have.

As the story progresses Vivienne is learning more about herself and about the skills she’s naturally great at and those she will always struggle with. In the scene I wrote yesterday she is attending her first business lunch as a female entrepreneur. The pre-lunch social hour is a struggle, but once she is in a smaller group, during the meal, she listens and learns that all the women at her table struggle with some aspect of their business. No entrepreneur can be good at all parts of running a business and these women remind her that its smarter to  hire someone to do the things you can’t.

Ironically (or maybe not because introverts are intuitive) I got a perfect infographic this week about introverts in sales from the lovely and charming Emily Parker. I’m sharing it with you because it’s a concise visual that explains exactly why Vivienne is a quiet honey who is makin the money.

Introverts in Sales
Source: CollegeMatchup.net

Introvert entrepreneurs, share your sales stories. Have you found a way to make your introversion work for you? Reply in comments below and help others see all the ways being the quiet one can be a benefit.

And keep an eye out for Vivienne. I’ll be publishing the first book in the series, “Fearless Flying” in a few months. I’m working on some covers and writing all the way to the end of her fantastic journey so I can release the rest of the series quickly.

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an Introvert

I had a light-bulb moment when I found the above post on Pintrest.  The more I read it, and continue to reread it, the more I saw myself in it.  I’m not sure if I am becoming more introverted with time or if I am just becoming more OK with being an introvert.  Either way, I am embracing my introversion and, ironically, wanting to share a little of it with you.

First I want to note that introversion is on a continuum.  Most people have a little introvert and extrovert in their personality.  Some lean more toward one end or the other, or they might veer toward one side or the other at different times in their life.  

For me the biggest difference between me and my extroverted friends (and I tend to love extroverts) is that they get a spark out of being around lots of people.  After a night out with a group of friends they feel like their batteries have been recharged.  An introvert, like me, will feel the opposite.  It is actually exhausting to be with a bunch of people or in a loud place.  However, that does not mean introverts don’t want go out with a group of friends.  We just need time afterwards to recharge our batteries, which is usually accomplished with quiet and calm. 

This is due to the fact that introverts are tuned in to more of the things going on around us.  We have a hard time tuning out background sounds, flashing lights, strong smells, etc.  My day at Disney World is a perfect example.  I love the place.  It’s a blast.  But, I was the only one out of our group of six to notice that there was literally no place you could go in the park where there was not overly-perky music playing (even in the bathrooms!).  It is playing all day, every where, so most people tune it out.  I can’t, so by the end of the day I crave complete silence.  I would never avoid Disney World for this reason, but I know I can take about one day of it at a time.  

Taking in more information is both a curse and a blessing.  People watching is incredibly fun for me, so I actually like being stuck in an airport sometimes.  I go all Sherlock Holmes and take time to observe the minor details about people around me.  I can tell so much about how they are dressed, what they do with their waiting-for-the-plane time, how they interact (or try not to) with those around them, what they have brought with them, etc.  For me, these are fascinating character studies.  (Although its really embarrassing when I am caught staring.)  

Which brings up the other idea in the post.  Introverts love to interact with other people, we just prefer a one-on-one conversation.  I love to learn about other people’s lives; really learn about them.  I have no problem with the chatty person next to me on a plane, as long as they are OK with my probing questions.  I not only want to know where they are from, I also want to know what it is like there.  What are the primary ethnic groups, what is the weather like, how long have they lived there, and how do all those things effect their day to day lives.  

Maybe being an introvert is synonymous with being a writer.  I observe a lot.  I remember a lot (sometimes things my friends and family wish I would forget!)  But when I started writing, all those character studies, all those memories, helped me create a rich make-believe world for my story.  

So, I’m sharing my story, my introversion with you today, because I have learned that it is important to open up and share with other too.  That is part two (the sequel) of being a writer.  You can’t live alone in the world you created (well, you can, but it’s not nearly as fun).  When you share your story you get the most amazing battery-charging feeling of all, connecting with others.