The Evolution of a Heroine by Meg Benjamin – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Meg Benjamin will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Evolution of a Heroine
I always knew I wanted Ronnie Ventura to be a heroine. Even when she was being sort of an idiot.

In 2015 I published the first book in my Salt Box Trilogy, which revolved around the clash between a Colorado mountain town and a reality show. Book 1, Finding Mr. Right Now, was about a Bachelorette-style show featuring a lovely but clueless bachelorette—Ronnie Ventura. In Finding Mr. Right Now, Ronnie was sweet but naïve. I’ve always felt that the women on the Bachelorette had to be either naïve or extremely cynical, so I went with choice number 1. The first version of Ronnie (Ronnie 1) believed in love, even if it was the commercialized variety. Other characters regarded her with a mixture of affection and exasperation, trying unsuccessfully to get her to understand the reality behind her reality show. At the end of Finding Mr. Right Now, Ronnie decided to stay in Colorado rather than going back to reality show central, having begun to realize just how naïve she’d been in the past.

In Book 2, Love In the Morning, Ronnie was working as a barmaid in a favorite local hangout, the Blarney Stone. This version of Ronnie (Ronnie 2) was still sweet, but considerably less naïve. She’d become part of the gang of local characters, and ultimately her understanding of the way reality shows work helped the heroine of the book, Lizzy Apodaca, hold her own with a Real Housewives-style group of harpies. In fact, Ronnie’s smarts were what ultimately allowed Lizzy to triumph over the women who’d originally done her wrong.

So now we have Book 3, Running On Empty, which is Ronnie’s book, or rather it’s Ronnie 3. She’s changed a lot from Ronnie 1. She’s no longer naïve, and her sweetness now has an edge. She’s not afraid to show her slightly less charming side. She’s also fallen for her boss, Ted Saltzman, owner of the Blarney Stone, who’s fallen right along with her. Into this paradise comes a snake—Ronnie’s old nemesis, Fairstein Productions, with a new reality show they want her to star in. Ronnie knows she shouldn’t go along with them, but she’s still haunted by Ronnie 1. Ronnie 3 wants to show the world she’s changed: she’s smarter, stronger, and better able to match Fairstein toe-to-toe. None of her friends can understand why she wants to do this. Even Ted thinks she’s making a big mistake. But Ronnie knows what she has to do.

And she does it.

Ronnie’s a very different kind of character for me. My heroines tend to be smart and cynical, with their feet planted firmly in reality. Even as she wises up, Ronnie still maintains a bit of her basic sweetness. She’s never a total cynic even when she’s fighting off all of Fairstein’s machinations. I love a heroine who learns as she goes, and that’s definitely true of Ronnie. She takes on a situation where no one expects her to triumph and she wins her own victory. Is it any wonder that Ted finally overcomes his serious doubts about Fairstein and goes with his girl?

I hope you’ll check out Ronnie 1, 2, and especially 3. She’s dear to my heart—a heroine who grows into her potential.

mediakit_bookcover_runningonemptyRonnie Ventura has every reason to distrust Fairstein Productions: she’s had run-ins with their shows before. But Fairstein’s newest reality show offers Ronnie a chance to redeem herself from looking like a blonde bimbo. All she has to do is win a modified triathlon. Simple, right? Except this is Fairstein, and nothing is ever simple with them.

Ronnie’s boss at the Blarney Stone bar and café, owner Ted Saltzman, is a lot less convinced that another Fairstein show is just what Ronnie needs, particularly when he’s head over heels about Ronnie himself. But she’s determined, and he’s a man in love.

Ted becomes her running coach, which fans their budding romance to a fever. But can Ronnie’s newfound confidence stand up to the usual Fairstein plots? And can Ted find a way to keep his true love in Salt Box if Hollywood tries to steal her away again?

Enjoy an Excerpt:

Ted watched Ronnie circle the high school track. It was always a bit easier to train here since the track had quarter-mile markers and he could time her more accurately. Saturdays were the only time they could use it, though, until school was out.

They’d switched to two minutes of running followed by a minute of jogging for the warm-up, rather than the one-minute run, two-minute walk that he’d started with. Ronnie’s stride was really developing.

As he’d watched her over the past few weeks, he’d come to a surprising conclusion. Dick was right—Ronnie was a natural athlete. She loved to run, just like she loved to bike and swim.

He was a little embarrassed about how long it had taken him to realize the extent of her abilities. He was willing to bet that he would have wised up a lot sooner if she hadn’t been, well, Ronnie in all her Ronnieness. He wasn’t sure why the idea that a gorgeous woman could also be an athlete seemed so revolutionary. Probably more evidence of his troglodyte side.

Now she was sprinting down the stretch, knees pumping, arms swinging at her sides. She seemed to be enjoying herself, but lately she always seemed to be enjoying herself. The sight of Ronnie running full-out in shorts and T-shirt did predictable things to his libido.

Of course, the sight of Ronnie doing just about anything did predictable things to his libido these days. Even when he caught a glimpse of her bent over her bike, which was about as unsexy as you could get, he still found himself watching her long legs spin the pedals, her blonde hair steaming behind her helmet.

God she was lovely. And God he was a horny, lust-filled idiot around her.

About the Author: mediakit_authorphoto_runningonemptyMeg Benjamin is an award-winning author of contemporary romance. Her Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing is set in the Texas Hill Country and her Ramos Family Trilogy is set in San Antonio’s King William District. Her Salt Box trilogy takes place in her new home the Colorado Rockies. She’s also the author of Going Up In Flames, part of the Sapphire Falls Kindle World series. Meg’s books have won numerous awards, including an EPIC Award, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Holt Medallion from Virginia Romance Writers, the Beanpot Award from the New England Romance Writers and the Award of Excellence from Colorado Romance Writers.

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To purchase Meg’s books, you can visit her author page at Samhain,

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, or All Romance Ebooks.


Meg’s books are also available through iBooks and other venues.


Meg’s Books:


Konigsburg, TX

Venus In Blue Jeans ISBN 9781605043692

Wedding Bell Blues ISBN 9781605046303

Be My Baby ISBN 9781605048437

Long Time Gone ISBN 9781609281083

Brand New Me ISBN 9781609283070

Don’t Forget Me ISBN 9781609288259

Fearless Love ISBN 9781619212404

Hungry Heart ISBN 9781619222274


Salt Box Trilogy

Finding Mr. Right Now ISBN 9781619229570

Love in the Morning ISBN 9781619230729


Promise Harbor Wedding

Bolted ISBN 9781619214293


Ramos Family Trilogy

Medium Well ISBN 9781101599648

Medium Rare ISBN 9781101622575

Happy Medium ISBN 9781101622568


Sapphire Falls Kindle World

Going Up In Flames ASIN B01FV7OAYI


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  1. Thanks for hosting!

  2. James Robert says:

    Thank you for both the excerpt and giveaway,

  3. Jo Ann Patterson says:

    Thank you

  4. Who are some of your favorite authors; what strikes you about their work?

  5. Thanks for hosting me! I have a lot of favorite authors, Peggy, but I love the classics: Loretta Chase, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and Jennifer Crusie. They’re all great reads.

  6. Thanks for the giveaway. If we looked on your nightstand, what books would we find there?

  7. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

  8. Enjoyed the excerpt.

  9. Joanne, right now I’m reading Charlaine Harris’s Night Shift. I really enjoy it–it combines a couple of her earlier series.

  10. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. 🙂

  11. Great post – thanks for sharing the excerpt 🙂

  12. Where do you find the inspiration for your stories?

  13. Thanks everybody. Mai, I guess I get inspiration from things going on around me. I’m working on a trilogy about craft beer right now and I’m living in craft beer central, aka Colorado, so that’s probably what got the subject going in my mind.

  14. James Robert says:

    Happy Friday! Hope it’s a good one for you and thank you for the opportunity at winning this giveaway

  15. James Robert says:

    Hope your Saturday is terrific and fun! Thanks for all you do and for bringing us such great giveaways.

  16. James Robert says:

    Hello! Back again to thanks for all the amazing giveaways given to us and I certainly appreciate all the work you put into this to bring us these giveaway. Y’all are amazing!

  17. James Robert says:

    I missed yesterday, too many things going on but glad to be back again today. Thanks once again for the opportunity to win your great giveaways.

  18. James Robert says:

    You’re awesome and I sure appreciate all the work you do daily to bring us these great giveaways. Thanks so much!

  19. James Robert says:

    Sure hope your not tired of hearing from me again but want you to know I appreciate the opportunity to win. Thank you!

  20. This sounds great

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