OMG I’m The Female Version Of Steve Jobs!!

Hubby is a crazy fast reader. He can blow through one of my 250-page manuscripts in an hour…less than the amount of time it takes me to drive to the nail salon, get a mani and drive home.

He recently read Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli…in about two hours. 435 pages, by the way. What the WHAT?????

Becoming Steve Jobs

Becoming Steve Jobs

Closing the book, he looked up and said, “I want to show you something but I don’t want to show you something.”

Hmmm. Intrigued? Um, YES!

He reluctantly flipped open the book to a folded down page and pointed to a passage. “I’m not showing this to you to say I condone it or anything but I think you should read it.”

What the heck could it possibly SAY???

Well, allow me to indulge you. I also took the liberty of boldfacing some of the key words.

“Jim Collins, the bestselling author of the management classics Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies and Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, has a wonderful phrase to describe an essential characteristic of great leaders: deep restlessness. Collins applies this phrase to Steve, one of the two great leaders who inspire him the most.”

Whoa…and here I was thinking I was just a little ADD…

“Collins believes this restlessness is far more important and powerful than simple ambition or raw intelligence. It is the foundation of resilience, and self-motivation. It is fueled by curiosity, the ache to build something meaningful, and a sense of purpose to make the most of one’s entire life.” (Page 295)

I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my lips. Finally!! VALIDATION!!!! No wonder he was so torn…

Yes, I constantly get new business ideas. Yes, I like to act on several at once. Yes, I’m sometimes all over the place with my grandiose plans. NO I CANNOT SIT IDLE WHEN I COULD BE EXECUTING ON POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITIES!!! NO I DON”T LET POTENTIAL FAILURE DETER ME…EVER!!!!!

Hell yeah! This is me, embracing the restlessness!!!

Release Blitz! “Not Your Hero” By Anna Brooks

 

Title: Not Your Hero
Author: Anna Brooks
Release Date: April 18, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Sam Monroe is cynical and trusts no one. He lives his life just the way he likes it – no promises and no regrets. All he wants is a willing woman a couple times a week to give him a few moments where there are no painful memories. 

Courtney Gallagher is a single mom doing her best at raising her young son. She longs to feel wanted again, to receive the touch of a loving man. Even though her heart is fragile, she has hope there’s someone out there for her and her son.

Courtney rents a place from Sam, and their relationship becomes complicated. Sam is willing to let her in his bed, but not his heart. Courtney feels a pull towards Sam, but learns that trust is definitely something to be earned.

Can she forgive his mistakes? Does he want to be forgiven?

Amazon

“Is it really gonna be like this?”
“Like what?”
I sit in my chair, back to him, and start twirling pasta. His arms cage me in from behind and his stubble tickles my cheek. “You acting pissed at me. I told you. I fucking told you that I can’t do more. I told you to make me leave, but you didn’t.”
He runs his nose behind my ear, and I clench the arms of the chair, forcing myself to stay still. I don’t want him to see how affected I am. “But you didn’t. So we fucked, Courtney. And we could do it again. In fact, I jack off thinking about doing it again. You know where I live if you want a repeat.”

Anna has always had a passion for writing, and is thrilled to have published her first novel. Along with several other projects, she is currently working on the next book in the It’s Kind Of Personal series. Born in Wisconsin, she’s lived in several Midwestern states. Anna enjoys reading, writing, and spending time outdoors with her husband and two boys.
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Think Twice Before Joining The Style High Club

Hubby recently joined the Five Four Club. For $60 per month, he was promised an entirely new and fashionable wardrobe. Upon registering, he completed a detailed questionnaire so the company could gauge his style and taste and send him items according to his preferences.

Sounds simple enough, right?

The first shipment came the other day. I had to include pics because not only were the styles completely off, but the quality is extremely sub-par. The jacket is some kind of flimsy nylon material and the shirt is just a plain black t-shirt with a couple of buttons. Neither one of us was impressed and Hubby decided to cancel the membership.

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After keeping him on hold for about twenty minutes, Hubby found out he couldn’t return the clothing items for a refund. That’s part of the program, not one they widely publicized, by the way. He was definitely cancelling after hearing that.

But then the customer service rep said if he’d like to continue the membership, they would send him higher quality items the following month. Hmm.

Can you say swindled???

That first month tells this company a lot about their subscribers. If customers let it go without complaining about the crappy items they’d received, the company continues to send them shoddy items, saving themselves wads of cash because they’re able to keep costs down and send the lower quality merchandise.

For the subscribers that may not be happy with the quality, they may not want to sit on hold for eons so they’ll just suck it up, take the clothes and not wear them (at least they won’t if they have wives like yours truly).

Only a few will be disgusted enough to call, sit on hold and complain to customer service. These are the ones who they still have a shot at retaining. Offer them better quality to keep them happy. It’ll cost the company a little more, but they’re already making money hand over fist with the others who are just accepting what was sent.

Then there are the dissenters…the ones whom they can’t convince to stay. These are probably few and far between and not the true target for this company anyway, so better to let them go. Not cost to the company since they don’t give refunds. They still sucker them for $60 a pop (even if it was only ONE pop).

The Five Four team is not really embracing the concept of customer loyalty. Or maybe they just don’t care. Seems like a scam to me. Buyer beware. Big time.

Can You Be Disruptive Enough To Win $50K??

TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 is upon us. It’s time to take the party to NYC, for the bargain price of $2,995. General admission gets you access to ALL – rub elbows with up and coming entrepreneurs, hear from industry superstars, check out all the cutting edge technology…maybe party is an understatement. =)

Courtesy of TechCrunch

Courtesy of TechCrunch

You may recognize the event name from the HBO show Silicon Valley. Season 2 premiered on Sunday night and although I had high hopes of being able to stay up until 10, it wasn’t happening. So Hubby and I watched last night and it was awesome. Long time coming, definitely didn’t disappoint.

Anyway, I digress.

Last season, Pied Piper presented their compression algorithm at Tech Crunch Disrupt in Cali. All I remember thinking was, how flipping cool would it be to actually GO? Answer – SUPER COOL. The Hackathon, a 24-hour event for developers and designers, kicks off the festivities and guess what? It really happens just like in the show. All the companies present their creations but only one takes home the famed Disrupt Cup and $50,000 prize. Hundreds of startups will be in attendance…only one will claim the top prize and instant stardom (okay, maybe not the last part but they’ll at least they’ll be able to keep the lights on until some VC throws some more seed money at them).

It would be AWESOME to hear from people like Ben Rubin and Kayvon Beykpour, CEOs of Meerkat and Periscope respectively, Carly Fiorina, the former boss of HP, and Dennis Crowley who’ll chat about Foursquare and Swarm.

Energy, entrepreneurship and excitement will be exploding out of the Manhattan Center in a few short weeks.

How ironic that I’ll be headed to the Valley at the same time. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Compete At Your Peril?

I just started reading “Zero To One” by Silicon Valley innovator, entrepreneur and prominent venture capitalist, Peter Thiel. He presents a unique way of thinking as a key ingredient for startup success. Startups have to generate new ideas and act on them rapidly to grow and expand their operations. That’s really the only way they can survive. They have to think out of the box and react quickly to take advantage of perceived market trends. Because of their small size, they can be nimble and test/document/respond to their ideas and deliver them in market with tight turnaround timeframes.

But that’s not an easy feat when you have to deal with that pesky little problem called competition. Yes, it fuels the creative flame but sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in the rat race. As a small business owner, you need to make sure your brand stands out from the rest in a positive way otherwise you’ll never get the recognition you need to prosper.

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Competition is healthy to a point. It drives us to excel but it can divert our attention from developing new ways of becoming even better. Think of it this way. You make giglets and compete with three other giglet manufacturers. It’s all-out war between your companies because you are all struggling to be the number one giglet manufacturer in the world, all focused on being more attractive to prospective buyers, using new colors, shapes and sizes to differentiate your offerings from those of your foes, tearing down the competition at every turn, thinking, hoping and praying these methods will advance your sales goals.

But you’re all missing the critical element of innovation. Changing small facets of your product to make it look a little nicer isn’t transformational. It’s imitative and largely ineffective in the grand scheme of things. Focusing all your efforts on competing with others in your space is a waste of time, effort and resources and will only get you marginal results until another giglet manufacturer comes along and figures out how to take the show to the next level. Then POOF! Your giglets are history.

Instead, figure out what your brand brings to the table, what your value proposition is and how you can make your offering more relevant to the lives of your targeted customers. Do something BRAND NEW and go from ZERO to ONE. That type of thinking and execution results in positive impacts to your bottom line. Get out of the way of your competition. Let them spend their precious time battling for that top spot. You focus energy, time and effort on what makes your offering inherently great or how you can GET TO GREAT.

Your path to the top will then be within reach.

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

Put A Little Sex In The Headline

Okay, it may not always work as planned, depending on your audience. But I can tell you it will make your headline click-worthy. It doesn’t have to be graphic either, by the way. Just suggestive. =)

PR is EXPENSIVE so anything you can do on your own to generate buzz will reduce your burn rate. You can pitch editors yourself but if you don’t have a hook, they don’t have a story. The surest way to get a response is to give them the whole setup. If you can’t hook an editor, you won’t have a shot of hooking readers.

Press conference

An attention-grabbing headline is the first step. Think about this blog post. Did you click the link because there was a sexual reference in the title? Don’t be shy, it’s all good. I’ll bet everyone reading this was just as curious as you. If I hadn’t written it, I’d have done the same thing.

Eliminate the mundane. People won’t care. You need to find the angle that will pique their interest and work it into your pitch.

Here’s another little tip. Less is more. Your pitch needs to be short and sweet. Make your point once, quickly, before the editor loses interest otherwise your brilliant story will most assuredly end up in the desktop trash bin.

7 Must-Do Tips For Startups To Generate Good PR – Entrepreneur

Oh yeah, one more thing. Proofread your email and make sure you’re addressing the right editor because it would really suck if you sent your pitch to the wrong person at the wrong publication because that’s your one chance to make a first impression, folks.

Wine and editorial pitches DON’T mix!!!

Happy Release Day! Black Number Four By Kandi Steiner

There are three things I look for in a romance novel – lots of steam, tons of emotion and a strong, sassy heroine. You’re probably asking why I didn’t mention a delicious hero. That’s the one thing I usually DO find. =)

Black Number Four delivered on ALL, including the delicious hero.

I absolutely loved this book. I’m not typically a fan of YA/NA but this was an exception. I fell in love with Kip – everything about him was yummy beyond words, including the way I pictured him in his specs. And Skyler was fantastic – I don’t usually say that about heroines but she had so many qualities I love – smart, strong, spunky, loyal. Both characters had to overcome their insecurities and make tough decisions that would potentially throw kinks in their respective plans, making for a very captivating story. There were a lot of twists and turns weaved into the plot that helped develop both hero and heroine so I really felt like I knew them and felt their struggles. This was the first book I’ve read by Kandi Steiner and I’m so glad I did. It was FABULOUS.

Fan for life! =)

Title: Black Number Four
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: April 4, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Known as one of the youngest and most ambitious poker players in the country, Skyler Thorne has a reputation to uphold in Vegas this year. Her sole focus for spring semester is to perfect her game and get tournament ready – and have some fun with her sorority sisters, of course. Meeting a care-free pledge with incredible arms adds a whole new element of fun to her semester, but when a shocking discovery about his past surfaces, Skyler finds herself stuck in a game she wasn’t prepared to play. 

Kip Jackson is on a mission from his father. His plan was to get in, have a little fun, and then get out – on to bigger and better things. A feisty girl with bright blue eyes wasn’t on his list of things to do, but she quickly moves her way up to the very top. When he realizes completing his dad’s mission means crushing her in the process, he must decide if his dreams are worth the risk – or if he even has the same dreams, at all.

Two secrets. Two hearts. Two hands being played in one twisted game of deceit.

When the cards are on the table, will anyone be left standing?

The perfect poker face can only hide them for so long.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“I want to know your secrets.” I walk to the sink and drop the dishes in, waiting.
Skyler leans against the wall and crosses her arms. “Oh yeah? In poker or in life?”
I tuck my hands in my pockets and shrug, my eyes locked on hers. “Both.”
She stays there for a while, smiling and scrutinizing me at the same time. Suddenly, her face falls, and I feel the same resistance from earlier stretch between us like a tense rubber band. “I should probably go,” she says, lifting from the wall.
I check my watch. “Why don’t we go watch the sunrise? It’ll be up in twenty minutes.”
Skyler chews her cheek, her foot tapping on the floor. “I don’t know, I think this would be a lot easier if I left now.”
I shake my head, walking toward her. “What do you mean by this?”
She goes to back up but hits the wall. “This. Us. I just, I don’t think we should get caught up. I have to focus on poker this semester and you’re pledging. It would just be easier if we didn’t complicate things.”
I keep walking until our chests touch and place my hands on the wall around her head, my face inches from hers. Her breath hitches in her throat, but her bright blue eyes don’t leave mine.
“Baby, you made me lick tequila off you the first night we met. This is nothing if not complicated.”

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer. 

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Launch Day For Author Navigation Is Finally Here!!!!!

I used to think writing a book was the hard part…

But then I did it…once, twice, a third time…until my precious manuscript was finally finished. That’s when the real work began.

Endless amounts of research, trying to find the right editor, formatter, cover artist, promotion company, and on and on. Ugh, not my favorite part of the process at all. I really wanted to keep writing but I had to plow through pages and pages of search results because there just wasn’t a one-stop shop for all the resources I needed to evaluate. Until now… =)

My dear friend and fellow author Ryan Ringbloom and I identified a gap in the market, one which if filled, would enable authors to spend more time honing their craft instead of Googling.  I’m a writer; I want to spend my time messing up the lives of my characters and then figuring out how to fix them while weaving in a few scorching love scenes along the way. =)

The literary world is absolutely saturated now so authors need their work to stand out as much as possible and finding the right “team” is challenging, to say the least. Hence, the birth of Author Navigation, the online directory of vendors who can help authors prep, polish and perfect their manuscripts for the masses.

For a small fee, vendors can submit a request to have their company represented in our brand-new directory, available to the rapidly increasing number of authors who need to assemble their own teams.

A unique promotional opportunity for vendors hoping to score more clients, a greatway to maximize efficiencies for authors seeking experts who can help take their book from good to great…

Author Navigation…Navigate Your Way To Success!!

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Be Loyal To Your Royals

Customer is king…or in my case, queen. =)

But words are cheap. You need to create an experience so a customer truly feels that patronizing your product offering is worth their time and money. You need to make them feel special and valued to inspire loyalty.

I’m going to tell you a little story. A few years ago, I asked Hubby to buy me a wok. As always, he did plenty of research to make sure I had the best and biggest, large enough to stir-fry myself if I so chose. I’m exaggerating a slight bit but my youngest can fit into it comfortably. Yeah, he’s four…and no, I haven’t coated him in soy sauce or anything like that. But it takes up two burners!!!!!

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Anyway, I was so excited when my wok finally arrived. But that’s not all. It came with a set of hand-crafted bamboo cooking tools and a cookbook as well. Everything was wrapped nicely and there were printed instructions about how to prepare my wok for the first use. It was a truly PRICELESS experience.

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Guess what? The Wok Shop in San Francisco made me a fan for life.

Customer loyalty is critical for success in business. You may be intrigued by my experience with The Wok Shop so maybe you’ll go to their website and check out their products. Perhaps you’ll make a purchase and tell a friend about your positive experience. Word of mouth can have an incredible impact on your sales. Conversely, it can really destroy your business if you don’t place the appropriate amount of focus on your customers. That leads to a lot of angry Tweets and you definitely don’t want those floating around in cyberspace.

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