Silicon Valley.  High-Stakes.  Serious Gamers.

Romantic Tension.  It’s All in a Day’s Work.

International Book Awards Finalist


“Joan Gelfand has written a winner! I could not put Extreme down. It is exciting and sexy with excellent character development. Plus, Gelfand clearly knows Silicon Valley very well. She nails it down to the shoes, shirts, and drinks. Don’t start reading this when you have something else you need to be doing anytime soon!”

Sara B. Hart, PhD, Silicon Valley management consultant, author of “The Upside of Downsizing: Getting to Enough” and former Executive Director of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

“With a poet’s sensibility and a novelist’s instinct for plot, Joan Gelfand has produced a whip-smart page-turner of a book, complete with startup fever, romantic intrigue, and a cast of sympathetic — and not so sympathetic — characters. Read Extreme and you’ll have a better sense of what really goes on in Silicon Valley, far better than TV shows like Silicon Valley could ever provide.”

Katie Hafner, Author, “Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet,” and NYT and WSJ Reporter

“Extreme is a wild romp through the tech industry unlike anything I’ve ever dared to imagine in my wildest dreams. Joan Gelfand gives readers a voyeuristic peek into the subculture that runs our world, of which she is intimately acquainted. Gelfand is a poet and literary magician, with humor, wit, sass and thrills more exciting that jumping out an airplane on skis down the black ice of Kilimanjaro.”

Kelly Sullivan Walden, Author of It’s All in Your Dreams and Hero’s Journey Dream Oracle Cards.

“Joan Gelfand rips the shiny consumerist veneer off of Silicon Valley startup culture like a bandaid from a high tech scab. Extreme is written with the same rhythm as life at a startup: a lot happens and it happens fast. But make no mistake, this book is more than the story of a modern woman negotiating the Si Valley old boy’s club, it’s quirky, it’s cute, it’s packed with geek glitz, and it’s about real life and real people in an unreal culture. Enjoy the ride!”

Ransom Stephens, Bestselling author of “Too Rich to Die.”

In “Extreme”, Gelfand gives us a wild, no holds-barred, insider’s view of the secret underbelly of Silicon Valley where launching a new startup is like jumping out of an airplane and building own your parachute on the way down. Welcome to SV, where greed, betrayal, and cheating on your lover are as common as saketinis, and eighty million dollars can depend on which of your crazy ideas is getting the most ‘Likes.'”

Mary Mackey, New York Times bestselling author of “A Grand Passion”

In EXTREME, Joan Gelfand’s franticly ambitious characters pop off the page, revealed layer by layer until one feels as though they are old friends. Their story, a manic tale that resonated with my own memories of life in the start-up world, enthralled me. EXTREME is a fun, fast-paced romp, at times poetic. For me, it is a poignant revisiting of the muscular, delusional Silicon Valley tech-storm that so many of us fell prey to—and continue to fall prey to, even while sheltering in place. We bring to the battle all our assorted baggage. We know it has to end. But we don’t want it to—unless it’s on our own terms.

Carole Stivers, Author of “The Mother Code”


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Visit the Extreme a novel website to learn more!

Award-winning author Joan Gelfand delivers a fast-paced, fun, and edgy thriller with her debut novel, EXTREME A Novel (July 14, 2020; Blue Light Press/First World Publishing; ISBN: 978-1-4218-3651-5; $21.95, Original Trade Paperback). Set in a high-risk gaming startup peopled with world-class skateboarders and power-hungry executives, worlds collide when a Hollywood producer comes calling. Enter Hope Ellson, a talented, driven woman who has fought her way up in the tech industry.

Written with an insider’s view, EXTREME A Novel follows the journey of a startup—from a pair of skateboarder’s bold idea to building a site that can withstand a global audience and finally to crisis management. Featuring a dynamic pair of quirky founders, coding geniuses, intrepid fans, and hard-nosed deal makers, EXTREME A Novel is complicated by an app built on scrappy code, unresolved love affairs and the tension between authenticity and commercialism.

Written with an insider’s view, EXTREME follows the journey of a startup—from a pair of skateboarder’s bold idea to building a site that can withstand a global audience and finally to crisis management. Featuring a dynamic pair of quirky founders, coding geniuses, intrepid fans, and hard-nosed deal makers, EXTREME is complicated by an app built on scrappy code, unresolved love affairs and the tension between authenticity and commercialism.

When Silicon Valley CEOs and recruiters turn to the topic of “who’s innovating,” one name always comes up: Hope Ellson. What Hope and her partner (and ex-lover) Doug Wiser pulled off at Topia—one of the very first companies to break through from a geeky to a global audience—is the stuff of legend. For the past year, Hope has been heads down at Manuserve, doing banal enterprise software work and collecting a fat paycheck. When Arthur McKnight, corporate raider and startup kingpin recruits her, Hope is sure she’s landed in her dream job. Despite a few red flags, she leaps headfirst into his latest buzzy young company: FearToShred.

Before making a job offer, Arthur tells Hope the backstory. It began when he discovered two rock star boarders—Jeff Price, whose star rose when a YouTube clip of his 18-foot jump between two rooftops went viral, and Julie Tang, who’d won gold at the X Games —working on an app for skateboarders. FearToShred grows fast when Jeff and Julie started sending out quirky challenges on Twitter—execute 360s and ollies under a full moon; catapult over a creek wearing neon ski goggles. Skaters, surfers, and cyclists hop on board, posting videos of themselves shredding cool tricks. Now as CEO, Arthur envisions a future for FearToShred beyond gaming and millions of Twitter and YouTube followers: a reality show on The Action Network, with Jeff, Julie and other extreme sports stars as judges.  When Arthur confides his concerns to Hope that Jeff and Julie don’t have the chops to expand the site to satisfy The Action Network’s viewership, Hope recommends the best engineer for the job: Doug Wiser.

Tracing the rapid transformation of a skater app into a real-time craze and a big-league company, EXTREME offers insight into how a startup grows and how it is vulnerable to dying before its prime. The novel also draws readers into Hope’s battles as a woman in the testosterone-heavy tech world, aggravated by relentless pressure to meet ambitious goals, clashes of titans, and working closely with a man she used to sleep with. Yes, Doug has a wife and Hope has a steady beau. But are their feelings for each other—attraction, passion, and an unsettling sense of loss or, maybe, betrayal—really in the past?

As Arthur moves closer to closing a mega deal with TAN, trouble hits. When a rogue challenge results in a tragic death, the site crashes.  To keep its followers and investors, FearToShred needs to fix its glitches and prove that its quirky challenges can be safely pulled off by anyone—even an average person like Hope, the company’s uber Product Manager. Hope is willing to take one for the team, but is FearToShred worth the risk of losing her life?

EXTREME offers a glimpse inside the world of tech startups and its players in a page turner that’s sharp, quick, entertaining, and hard-hitting—a perfect combination for the perfect Summer beach read!

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