Indie Author Swag Extravaganza Giveaway!!!

Author Navigation is sponsoring an indie author swag extravaganza this week! In honor of the July 4th holiday and the launch of new entrepreneurial ventures (I ALWAYS CELEBRATE THIS!), Ryan Ringbloom and I have collected a fabulous assortment of swag, autographs and signed BOOKS from our fellow indie authors and we’re hosting a giveaway to find one lucky winner for this awesome prize pack!!!

Click here to enter the Indie Author Extravaganza Giveaway!

giveaway

Tons of autographed beach reads await!!! We also have an assortment of lip glosses, magnets, keychains, bracelets, bookmarks and pens AND a shot glass. =)

“Books, Blogs & Reality” by Ryan Ringbloom

“Unlikely Venture” by Kristen Luciani

“Beneath The Layers” by Mia Rivers

“Whole Life Makeover” by Shealy James

“Affliction” by Kelly Mooney

“The Hidden Witch by Eri Nelson

“By My Side” by Theresa Troutman

“Hit or Mistletoe” by HJ Harley

Winners will be announced on July 8. Don’t miss your chance. =)

 

Palm South University – Season One!!!!

I’m so excited to spread the news of this upcoming launch! “Black Number Four” was my first Kandi Steiner novel and it was flipping awesome!!! Naturally, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the details of her big announcement and next highly anticipated cover!! And now I’m sharing it with all of you!! =)

FYI – Kandi does all her own covers and they are SO fabulous.

Title: Palm South University (Season 1)
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: Aug 25, 2015
Find on Goodreads

Drama. Lies. Sex.

Welcome to Palm South University.

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in South Florida. At a school where fraternities and sororities don’t exactly play by the rules, relationships are bound to be tested. Parties and sex are definitely key ingredients in the Palm South recipe, but what happens when family issues, secret lives, and unrequited love get tossed in the mix?

Follow Cassie, Bear, Jess, Skyler, Erin, Ashlei, and Adam as they tackle college at a small, private beach town university. Written in television drama form, each episode of this serial will pull you deeper and deeper into the world of PSU.

Where the sun is hot and the clothes are scarce, anything can happen.

Kandi knows that some of you, especially those who have read Black Number Four, probably have a ton of questions about PSU. That’s why she’s chatting *LIVE* with fans tonight (6/16) on Periscope and Twitter! Tune in at 8PM EST.

Sighing, I take my place in the same barstool as before and Jarrett slides a fifth drink my way.

I hold up my hands. “I should probably say no this time. It’s almost closing time and I need to drive.”

“Not necessarily,” he offers. I eye him curiously and the corner of his mouth pulls up mischievously. He finishes wiping down a glass and hangs it above his head before leaning across the bar, his minty breath tickling my drunken senses. “You’ve been trying all night to get with that douchebag when I could have told you from the beginning that he wasn’t available. And now, you’re left with an ache between your legs that you don’t want to take care of on your own. So yes, you could drive home, get up and go to work tomorrow and just try again another night. Or,” he pauses, licking his bottom lip and dragging his teeth across the top as his eyes fall to my mouth. “You could give me your keys, jump in my truck, and let me take you back to my place so I can cure you of your current situation.”

Oh hell to the fucking yes.

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

 

Passion Alone Can’t Pay The Bills

You can’t crush true entrepreneurial spirit. If you have it, it’s only a matter of time before you find your niche. Each “failed” attempt has to be viewed as a lesson learned. The real failure comes about when you don’t take anything away from the experience, when you don’t apply any of your newfound knowledge to your next endeavor. I knew I was meant to be an entrepreneur. It just took me some time to figure out where my roadmap was headed.

My first attempt as an entrepreneur was in the field of technology consulting. I had the skill set, I had the clients. The one thing I lacked was the passion. Couldn’t even fake it. Money was there but it just wasn’t fulfilling. So I decided to go with a new business, one that I loved.

Handbags. High fashion. It was my obsession. I thought because I had such an intense love of high-fashion handbags that I’d naturally be able to design, market and sell my own collections. However, there were significant barriers to entry I wasn’t aware of because I didn’t take the time to properly research the market and the accessory industry. As a result, quite a bit of debt accumulated over the very short life of my beloved business. Passion, though important, just doesn’t pay the bills.

Promotion concept. Painted staircase with draw in the wall. Business draw.

Promotion concept. Painted staircase with draw in the wall. Business draw.

After that “failed” attempt, I really thought long and hard about my future direction. I let my imagination run wild and decided to write a novel. Being an independently published author is a business just like any other. You develop and perfect a product, market and distribute it to the masses. Again, I was wearing many hats. The difference this time was that I’d done research on the industry and I maintained that critical element of passion.

Along the way (because the entrepreneurial spirit cannot be quelled) I partnered with one of my author friends to build and launch an online directory for authors called Author Navigation – a one-stop shop for all services needed to help polish and perfect a manuscript for the masses. It’s still early days and we’re still trying to gain momentum but we’re slowly making a name for ourselves.

Always strategizing, always planning, always envisioning…ALWAYS.

Do You Need A Great Beach Read????

Summertime is almost here and if you’re in the mood for humorous banter, teenage angst and the trials and tribulations of being young and in love, I’ve just found your first beach read of the season!!!

I am writing this review, not because Ryan Ringbloom is my business partner and co-founder of Author Navigation, not because she may have some incriminating photos of me dancing on a speaker (haha! just kidding! maybe…), but because she’s created a fictional world that I couldn’t escape…and didn’t really want to escape, for that matter.

Regrettably, I bypassed The Fast Series thinking it was going to be way too young for me and jumped right into The Flaw Series (FAB-YOU-LOUS!!!). Then came Books, Blogs and Reality and Fake Boobs and I never looked back, until I realized maybe I’m a bigger fan of YA than I think…

1FASTCOVER

Fast is her very first foray into young adult romance. I downloaded it two days ago and DEVOURED it. Every spare second was spent with my nose in my Kindle. I couldn’t get enough of Ashley, Patrick, Robin and Kent. I also have to say, just as an aside, I love Ryan’s storytelling style. She begins the first section through the eyes of her heroines and then moves into a second part that is driven by the heroes. It is a unique way of capturing the perspectives of each character and she’s definitely established the delivery as her signature style.

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The book greatly exceeded my expectations. Ryan breathed life into her characters, giving them depth and dimension. I knew them, felt their pain as well as their passion.

What else can I say? I just LOVED it. I hope you take the same chance. You won’t be disappointed.

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What Kind Of Mindset Should An Entrepreneur Have??

I love Quora. It’s a really cool knowledge-sharing site. You register and build up your profile with topics of interest. Then you can apply your own experience and answer users’ questions about said topics. As you build up your credibility on the site, people then come to you to answer their questions.

I’ve gotten some cool questions but just answered this one today and thought I’d share. =)

What Kind Of A Mindset Should An Entrepreneur Have?

Passion Is A MUST! – Starting a business and trying to gain traction can be extremely disheartening at times so the more you believe in your offering and your ability to sell, the more effective your pitch (and outlook) will become.

Listen To The Naysayers! – Don’t delude yourself into thinking your offering is the end-all, be-all.  You need a thick skin if you’re going to succeed as an entrepreneur. People will slam your ideas. Get used to it. Graciously accept criticisms and feedback then figure out how to respond to objections. Figure out what your key differentiating points are and highlight those to everyone and anyone.

Never Be Complacent! – You’ll have to work harder than you’ve ever worked before to create momentum and then work even harder to KEEP it. I heard a really cool quote this weekend that totally applies. I was at a writing conference and a number of bestselling authors were presenting on sales strategies. They all said market yourself like you’re nobody EVEN IF you’re somebody. This applies to ALL business endeavors.

Be Restless! – Let your creativity flow! Don’t be complacent and accept the status-quo. Dig deep and figure out to disrupt. It’s okay to incorporate new ideas into your offering. Make it as compelling as possible and if at first you don’t succeed….well, you know the rest. :-)

You Will Never Know Your Limits Unless You Push Yourself To Them

How About A Giveaway To Celebrate Summer??

 

Woman at beautiful beach holding sunglasses

Ahhh…wish this was me right now but in a couple of days it will be!

How about a giveaway to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of SUMMER???  For the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card, click here to enter! There are tons of chances to win and with all that cash from Amazon, you can fill your Kindle with lots of fabulous summer reads…people seem to like this new book UNLIKELY VENTURE. Just something I’ve heard… =)

The giveaway ends on May 30 and the winner will be notified by email.

Why Do Startups Fail?

A multitude of potential pitfalls can negatively impact entrepreneurs as they eagerly try to build their fledgling companies…and basically crush their spirit if allowed. In my experiences, there are four reasons that stand out the most:

  • Lack of Research – Research is imperative. It provides insight about what your competitors are doing so can stay several steps ahead and create innovative ways to develop and market your offering. It also provides you with insight about the costs and components of running a successful business in your target industry. Spending time investigating a specific market will show whether there is a demand for your intended offering. Successful research will help shape your vision and strategy. Without it, you risk the future viability of your business.
  • Poor Planning – There are a lot of moving parts that need to come together before your finished product is ready for sale. You have to coordinate delivery timeframes with vendors and partners who are all part of your launch schedule. In addition, you need to plan for bill payment. Figure out what your accounts receivable schedule looks like so you can continue procuring supplies and services you need in a timely manner.
  • Boiling The Ocean – Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what will be a hit in the market. Hindsight is always 20-20. Sometimes you decide to make six different handbag styles, each available in seven different colors because you don’t know which one will be “the” one until it suddenly appears in an issue of InStyle and you now need to satisfy excessive demand without nearly enough inventory because you spread your resources too thin….ahh, but I digress. Focus groups can help! Talk to your target market and gather feedback. It may push out your delivery timeframes but the insight can help perfect your offering.
  • Nothing Unique – If there is nothing new or different about your product, nobody is going to buy – no matter how much you love it. It’s hard to pull off those rose-colored glasses and embrace the reality staring back at you. Leather handbags? Not otherworldly. Romance novels? Been there, read that. The key is to make your work stand out. Dig deep and find what sets your product apart from the competition and play that up otherwise it’ll get swallowed up into the abyss. Perfect your offering. You care, so figure out a way to make everyone else care. Establish a connection, show how them why they should be invested, convince them why they need your product.

THINK BIG…THEN ACT

Bill Rancic has certainly come a long way from his win on The Apprentice. He was just featured on The Rhode Show to talk about a new campaign he is running with Intuit Quick Books to celebrate the success of small businesses in America, which have accounted for two-third of new jobs created in the United States in the past decade. They’d run a similar campaign a few years back and it was so wildly successful, they’re going to make the deal even sweeter this time around.

Original ‘Apprentice’ Winner Bill Rancic Shares Advice – The Rhode Show

Small business owners will get a chance to compete for a free ad that will be aired during next year’s Super Bowl. Imagine your company being among the ones that paid $4.5 MILLION dollars for their precious 30-second spot. The opportunities that can result from that exposure absolutely boggle my mind.

But they aren’t stopping there. Procuring funding for expansion is always a costly prospect in the form of sky-high interest rates so Intuit is creating a fund to help small businesses finance their longer-term activities as well as bringing together a network of small business experts to share experiences and offer guidance and advice.

There’s MORE!! Bill goes on to share some of his own tips in the video clip below. It’s super-short and worth a watch. He basically has three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Be Agile – You need to adapt and be flexible and respond to changes in market influences.
  • Don’t Go It Alone – Tap trusted subject matter experts, learn from their mistakes, drink in their advice.
  • Work Hard & Live Lean – Don’t expect a paycheck quickly and learn to do without while you grow your business.

All extremely important messages. I have one more to add to the mix:

  • Do Your Research! – Learn about every facet of your target industry, understand all the nuances, dependencies, challenges, pitfalls. Figure out what the competition does well and come up with ways to do it better. Embrace innovation. Soak up knowledge like you’re a sponge and then apply it to your long-term strategy. These activities will save you a lot of money, aggravation and disappointment. Trust me, I know.

Release Blitz – “Deceitfully” By Leighton Riley

Title: Deceitfully (Sinfully #3)
Author: Leighton Riley
Release Date: May 7, 2015
Find on Goodreads

High school reunions are supposed to be joyous times of sharing memories and success…not gunfire and death… 

Tate’s always been the player with a sweet heart. Payton was his “almost” love but things are different now. Tragedy strikes, leaving dozens injured and a handful dead. Now, he wants the girl who cared for him when he needed it most.

With deep-rooted resentment toward each other, twins Stella and Sophia are not on the best of terms. Stella, always inferior to her sister, is blossoming into the beautiful woman Tate sees her as now that they are together. Misunderstandings along with hidden pain and love surround Tate and Stella as they step into a serious relationship.

Will Sophia play nice and be happy for her sister?

Life can change in a second. For Tate and Stella, overcoming their past to live in the moment is easier said than done.

Amazon

Just as I was about to fall asleep, I heard her come back into the room.  She took the tiniest of steps like she was scared to come any closer.  A mix of emotions covered her face, but in the end, it was her smile that got me.  It gave me hope.
I had to ask, I had to hold on to the slightest chance that she was wrong before.  She told me all she knew, and it was final.  I listened to her sweet voice, but all that came to my mind was the fact that he was gone.
Closing my eyes, I wept.  I had the slightest urge to pull her close.  It was crazy, we barely knew each other, but I was holding on by a thread.  Her soft, cold hand lay on top of mine and my heart skipped a beat.  Putting my hand on top of hers, I held on to her, hoping that she’d give me the strength I needed to get through it all.  With my luck, she’d be gone by tomorrow.  For the moment though, she was there for me, and I wasn’t going to give it up.

Texas born and raised, I found my love for dirty books rather recently. I work in real estate for my day job and I write contemporary romance with a twist of suspense and erotica. Sinfully, Regretfully, and Deceitfully can be read in order or as standalones. Sinfully and Regretfully take place around the same time frame and can even be read in reverse order (will give more background on Payton and Ryder’s story). Tate’s story, Deceitfully, will finish off the series and will be out in spring of 2015.

 

Why Employers Should Aspire To Be Like Captain America

It should come as no surprise that I saw The Avengers: Age Of Ultron on opening night. And while I am disappointed to say it was not my favorite installation, I still enjoyed it. Kind of. Well, as much as I could after three Jack and Cokes at ten o’clock at night, sprawled out in a big La-Z-Boy seat. Way past my bedtime. =)

Anyway…

I’m definitely not happy that Tony Stark has lost his swagger. That was one of the most fun parts of these movies. But what was really cool to me was seeing Captain America really take charge and lead his troops, so to speak. There’s so much to respect about a guy who strives to always do what is right and just. But not only that. He knows people. He understands their strengths and weaknesses and aligns them to the tasks where they can best deliver value to an endeavor.

Employers, take note. You can learn a few things from Captain America’s leadership style.

1. Check your emotions at the door – During The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cap realized that what he’d wanted out of life before he’d been frozen was very different from what his life’s mission had become so many decades later. He has a duty to support the greater good and lives to fulfill it. His needs are pushed to the back burner as he strives to conquer evil and protect the lives of the innocent.

2. Stay true to your moral center – Tough decisions aren’t always the popular ones but a strong leader understands the potential negative impact of ambivalence and complacency. Cap always strives to do what’s right even if he knows the decisions will not be embraced wholeheartedly. He never backs down from what he believes is the right thing to do.

3. Be loyal to your brand – Just like Cap is recognized for traits such as individualism, justice and fairness, employers should make sure they are exemplifying the elements of their brand – what sets their company apart from the competition.

4. Take care of your own – Employees are the backbone of any business. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses is critical to ensuring you have the best people making decisions on your behalf. Cap knew which of his counterparts he could count on to deliver results. Hulk, SMASH!!!!!

Courtesy of www.imd.com

Courtesy of http://www.imd.com

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