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.

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Book Blitz! “First Comes Love” By Z.B. Heller

Title: First Comes Love: A Chronicles of Moxie novel
Author: Z.B. Heller
Release Date: Jan 22, 2015
Find on Goodreads

So I met this guy. He has the trifecta of awesomeness; hot, built, and amazing in bed. But the best part of it all is that he loves me. Did I mention that I puked all over him when we first met? No? Well, that’s a different story. Now the whole world wants to barf on us because we are disgustingly in love and let’s face it, the cutest couple on earth. But what happens when our love for each other may not be enough to face the road ahead? As the saying goes, first comes love, then maybe if your lucky he’ll put a ring on it, then comes…oh, the crap in diapers. So far I’ve faced a malicious girl scout, and jealous hoochie and a skunk that I may or may not have turned into a fur stole. Now Miles and I are facing our great challenge as a couple. As I’ve found out, sometimes life isn’t all daises and unicorn farts.

Amazon

A soft knock came from the door and one of the staff went to open it. In came what I could only describe as dollar store rendition of Mickey’s best dog pal, Pluto. This person was wearing yellow sweatpants, a matching sweatshirt, yellow gloves, tennis shoes, and a black felt string attach to the ass with duct tape. To make the situation worse, they were wearing a plastic Pluto head that looked like it was purchased at a Halloween store. It reminded me of those stupid unicorn heads that guys wore at frat parties because they thought they were the coolest ones there.

Dysfunctional Pluto came over to our table and waved at everyone without saying a word. I looked at Renee and Ryan, who were sitting opposite of Dillion and I at the table. Both of them were trying hard to suppress their laughter. Renee waved back at him, and I just looked at Dysfunctional Pluto like he had the plague. Dillion jumped out of his seat and ran over to hug Pluto, and I wanted to pull him back because I thought for sure this person was hiding a weapon somewhere and was about to massacre us. Maybe Miles couldn’t pay the upgrade charge to bring in a real Pluto so they had to substitute with Pluto’s mentally disturbed cousin, Sudo.

Sudo surrounded Dillion in a king-sized hug. He then gave Ryan a handshake and patted Renee on the head. When he came to me, he pulled me out of my chair. He took the long tongue that hung disturbingly out of his mask and made a huge slurping sound as he drew his plastic tongue up from my chin to the top of my head.

“Wow. Thanks, Pluto. That was sweet.” I patted him on the shoulder, but he wasn’t finished. He took his gloved paws and engulfed me in a hug and hooked one of his legs around mine.

He finally released me and signaled to Renee to take our picture. He stood behind me and once again wrapped his giant paws around my waist. His large plastic head rested on my shoulder.

“Pluto, I know you’re a horny dog, but this is the last time I’m warning you to keep your paws to yourself.”

Then Sudo quickly grabbed my butt and gave a tight squeeze.

“That’s it!” I said through my teeth. I turned around and kneed him right in his big doggie balls.

Renee and Ryan gasped as Sudo fell to his knees, grabbed his puppy pals, and let out a moan.

“Jesus Christ, Moxie!” Sudo said, still on his knees.

“What the fuck!” I covered my mouth with both hands. “Miles?”

 “Is it always your reaction to knee Disney characters in the crotch?” Miles stood, still wincing.

“You we’re groping me! What are you doing here dressed up as sudo Pluto?” My hands were in my hair and my eyes went wide. “I thought you were stuck at home working?”

“It’s supposed to be a surprise. It was all planned,” Miles said, his voice sounding less strained.

I turned around to look at Ryan and Renee. “You knew?”

They both nodded, biting their lips to try to contain their laughter.

“What about you?” I eyed Dillion.

“I was told that if I said anything to you, Daddy would cancel my subscription to National Geographic.”

“I still might cancel your subscription. Hasn’t anyone taught you it’s not nice to lie?” I admonished, but Dillion kept smiling because he knew I was the one lying.

“This is so sweet, Miles. But you didn’t have to do all of this. You could have just come with us on the plane like a normal human being.”

“Then it wouldn’t have been as memorable.” He put his gloved dog paws on his hips.

“Why does it have to be memorable? It’s just a… Oh, shit!” It hit me like a lightning bolt.

Miles dropped down to one knee and took my hand in his fake dog paw. “Moxie, from the moment I met you, you surprised me at every turn. I love how honest you are, caring, and even how outspoken you are. You make Dillion and I complete with your love, and I want you to make our family complete. I love you, sweetness. Will you marry me?”

Ryan handed Miles a black box, and Miles, having some issues using his gloved hands, opened it to reveal and large solitaire princess cut diamond. Everything I wanted and dreamed about were at my fingertips. I wanted a future with Miles and Dillion more then I wanted my next breath. Tears rolled down my cheeks, and I clutched my stomach with my hands.

“Moxie, this is the most quiet I’ve ever seen you. Can you please say something so I know that you’re still breathing?” Miles held the ring in front of him.

I looked at the ring and then back to Miles, his eyes filled with tears. This was the moment of fight or flight. “Miles, I’m pregnant.”

 

As a little girl, it was always a dream for Z.B. Heller to become She-Ra Princess of Power. Since this dream was unobtainable, she spent what was probably way too long in college trying to “find herself.” Becoming an artist scratched the creative itch until the stories in her head got to be too loud for her to get anything else accomplished. She lives in St. Louis with her husband, son, and Flemish Giant rabbit, Chloe. In her spare time she likes to read, stalk celebrities on Twitter, and create the type of art people scratch their heads about.

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Obsessing About Mr. Wonderful

I’m giggling because I’m mildly obsessed with Mr. Wonderful these days. Anyone who’s read my blog recently can attest to that.

Could it be because he kinda reminds me of Paul Emerson, ruthless and calculating CEO of Blue Coat Capital?

Check out my novel Unlikely Venture if you’re curious!!!

I found this video on YouTube…first of a four-part series…The Best of Kevin O’Leary. It’s kind of spot-on…I can totally hear Paul saying some of this stuff.

Happy Cover Reveal Day!! “Losing Her” By Mariah Dietz

I’m happy to announce the cover reveal for “Losing Her” by Mariah Dietz!

Title: Losing Her (His #2)

Author: Mariah Dietz

Release Date: March 1

Find on Goodreads

Synopsis:

“I loved her and she left. Maybe I wasn’t enough. Maybe I’ll never be enough.” I’ve been thinking these words since before we even got together.

Everything is new. The old no longer has a place here. Physical items are easy to replace. I’m constantly battling the ones that aren’t.

Every thought and memory I have is stained.

By you.

You weren’t even there for half of them.

How is she still present even though she left?

I can do this. I’m going to survive losing her.

*** This is the second book of the His Series, and it DOES end with a cliffhanger. The final book of the His Series, Finding Me, will release June 1, 2015***

 LH Cover

Excerpt:

“Dude, you’ve got to get up.” Jameson sighs as I pull the pillow back over my head. I don’t even know what day it is anymore. I don’t care.

What adds salt to my wounds is the fact that the world keeps turning. People continue waking up and going about their day. The sun rises and sets. I hear kids laugh and play, neighbors greet one another, and birds sing, and all the while I wonder how? How does the entire world appear to be surviving this nightmare of losing her?

****

Hank comes to visit in June. I still haven’t heard from Ace, and yet I’m still staying at my mom’s. I can’t leave. I can’t go back to that house. I’d moved rooms shortly after she left, and now reside in the guest room on the main floor. It’s better this way. There aren’t any pictures of her in here or random memories, like the one of her sitting on my bean bag chair when I was sick last summer. I also don’t have to face the window that looks out onto hers.

Hank knows that I know mom sent for him, hoping that he’d be able to “help” me. She of all people should know that having Hank around isn’t going to help me. He’s fucking married to the love of his life; he doesn’t have a fucking clue about the shit that I’m going through.

Of all things, Hank wants to go camping. I’m sure he thinks that getting away will help. He doesn’t understand that moving rooms has helped me realize I could go to Antarctica, and things wouldn’t change; the distance isn’t going to make the pain any less.

When we get camp set up, Hank opens a cooler and passes me a beer with a giant, shit-eating grin, like we’ve just overcome a huge hurdle. Deciding that I shouldn’t rain on his little douchebag tea party quite yet, I accept the beer with merely a grimace before taking a long swig. Before long, that single swig becomes a chug, and then a guzzle as I consume more alcohol than what three people probably should.

I sit by the fire and close my eyes. My mind automatically reaches back into that locked and forbidden drawer to pull out the image of Ace, striving to recall the sound of her laugh, the feel of her touch. It brings me back to our camping trip last September, when Jameson announced that was what he wanted to do for his birthday.

Couple on beach.

LH Banner

Author Info:

Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world.

Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon, where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created.

She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.

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Author

The $50 Giveaway!

Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s giveaway time!!!! How would you like a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card????

Soooo easy to enter…just like my Facebook fan page, follow me on Twitter and/or tweet a message about “Unlikely Venture!” It’s already pre-populated so you don’t even have to make one up!!!!  =)

Click Here To Enter The Rafflecopter Giveaway!

5

I Want A New Drug

Some people say you should write what you know. It makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, you can deliver a more compelling story if you’re familiar with the subject.

My editor told me from day one to expand out of my comfort zone and do just the opposite.

When I wrote Unlikely Venture, I had a storyline in my head. Okay, that’s not exactly true. I had about a HUNDRED stories in my head before landing on the ONE, and even then I flip-flopped around until I landed on the right resolution. I decided to take a few risks when developing the story but I was always anchored to my original ideas. Two books later, I’ve sufficiently escaped the confines of that comfort zone. I went in directions that I’d have never considered before and I love the result. Hopefully, you all will as well…

Creating…is an addiction.  One I can’t fight.

Now I sit at my laptop scratching my head. Heightened drama, more intrigue, more plot twists…yes, The Venture Series in totality exceeded my expectations. But now what? I’ve written my first contemporary romance series, and though I am completely invested in my characters, it’s…over. Time to say goodbye. Sigh.

I liken it to a breakup. You spend years with someone and eventually part ways because you both want different things out of life. All the time you invested is lost and you need to refocus that energy on developing a new relationship. It’s nerve wracking. How are you going to find someone you think is just as perfect as the former Ms. or Mr. Right? There’s a whole lot of effort involved and you might need to expand your horizons and level set your expectations. You also have to open yourself to the possibility that there may be more heartbreak on the horizon before you find THE ONE.

But then one night, the stars align and you run into the person you were meant to spend the rest of your life with. The initial fear and apprehension may linger…after all, if something is too good to be true…well, you know how that saying goes.

As time goes on, you realize your life would be meaningless without this person and if you hadn’t opened your eyes wide enough to make a change, you would have missed out on meeting your true soul mate. You took a risk and it paid off.

I came to this realization after receiving some sound advice from a fellow author. She opened my eyes to a world where I need to challenge myself and embrace new ideas and direction. It makes perfect sense!

I need to disrupt my writing process, to dig deep and continue mastering my craft. It will take time, dedication and patience (which is always in short-supply). But I’m committed to my end goal…and diversification will be a key driver.

Who says authors aren’t entrepreneurs???

Resounding success is not found overnight, nor is it the result of “playing it safe.” It’s about the journey, not necessarily the destination (unless the destination is the NYT Bestseller list!). And it’s always the biggest risks that pay off the most.

How To Make The Lust Last

Kevin Hale, partner of Y Combinator and founder of Wufoo, recently gave a fab presentation at Stanford as part of the “How To Start a Startup” course. I LOVE these sessions. It’s so great to gain perspective from those who’ve been successful putting their lessons into practice.  You know the saying “those who can’t do, teach?” Not the case with this series of guest lectures.

Aside from the fact that Hale is an entertaining and colorful presenter, he uses dating and marriage analogies when discussing how to build a product with the goal of being embraced by a target audience.  How apropos…totally appeals to my romance author side.

Some key points he hits on are as follows:

  • Build a passionate user base
  • Give them something that will make them successful in some recognizable way
  • Focus on the value used to get your first dollar or customer…if you figure that out, it will help guide you along the path to your first million (with a little luck and a lot of capital – those are my two cents)
  • Build a product you want people to love and form a relationship with

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz_LgBAGYyo

Hale likens attracting a new user to dating and keeping existing users to marriage.  Very clever.

Think about it…when you’re dating, everything is new, exciting, intriguing. First impressions are absolutely key. Little romantic gestures make you melt, butterflies are constantly fluttering about in your belly when you think about the person. It’s pure bliss, right???

Value is established.  But how do you make those feelings last? Because anyone who is in a long-term relationship knows the excitement dies down after a while and it’s only a matter of time before the “dew is off the rose.”

So how do you maintain that value?

You need to keep things fresh and different…always looking for opportunities to enhance.  You can’t sustain a meaningful relationship unless you take your partners’ wants and needs into account and these WILL evolve over time. Trust me. =)

Cater to your faithful customers. Don’t take them for granted. Talk to them, LISTEN to their feedback and incorporate it into your product base to the best offerings possible.  If you want to maintain a healthy rapport with your users, you need to be flexible, communicative and willing to compromise.

 

Recipe For A Startup Romance

If you saw my last post “Wanna Learn How To Start A Startup?” you know that running a startup is pretty much a 24 x 7 gig, which begs the question, are there any slivers of time in a given day dedicated to dating and romance? I mean, even entrepreneurs need love, right?

Interesting and intriguing questions, considering I’m a romance author and I basically create love stories out of circumstances that wouldn’t ever materialize in reality.  I can make anything happen…to anyone…and find the perfect resolution for all to end happily.

Courtesy of Entrepreneur

Courtesy of Entrepreneur

But in the real world, things aren’t so simple. They can’t be handled with a few clicks on a keyboard and a couple of glasses of wine.

The Truth About Entrepreneurship And Dating

I read about a company called Underground Attached, a unique dating experience that brings together 40 (20 men and 20 women) prescreened, like-soul and like-minded people for an evening of play (no, get your minds out of the gutter) and hopefully, a few love connections. Put a roomful of driven, ambitious professionals together and hopefully, sparks will fly…as long as they can stay off their iPhones, Galaxies and CrackBerries long enough to exchange business cards.

39 Signs You’re Dating An Entrepreneur

Sounds good in theory.  Of course, if all else fails, they could also find solace in using my brilliant app idea to build their own virtual reality porn star and their own…well, read the post if you can’t figure it out.

Maybe entrepreneurs should look at potential mates as prospective “investors.” You want someone who will support your goals and help drive you to achieve, someone who understands what it takes to be a success and will be patient waiting for the big returns.

How Can I Find Key Influencers In My Niche?

Start-ups are typically cash-poor, at least in their very early days. So how the heck are CEOs supposed to get the word out about their fabulous offerings? Marketing firms, publicists, advertisers…everything costs MONEY! CEOs need boku bucks in order to develop their ideas into something saleable but then they need even MORE money to reach customers.

But not if they can appeal to key influencers in their market segments.

Influencers are people who have a respected voice in a specific niche area. They have an avid group of followers that holds their opinions in high regard. They are a trusted source of information and opinions about a given area.

They trick is to figure out WHO the influencers are in your niche.  There are tools you can use to find them.  I’ve used Klout and Kred but i found another one I like better called Followerwonk. You look up keywords and search results are presented with a ranking.  Pick out 10-20 influencers and then the fun really begins because you’ll need to incent them to endorse your product or service. They may accept payment, although this is not as effective as getting editorial review for your company. Positive affirmation from an unpaid source is always preferable, just not always possible.

instyle

Sometimes incentives come in the form of some type of gift, like product, tickets to an exclusive company-hosted event, or swag of some sort.  But what happens if what you have to offer isn’t really enticing enough?  This is the issue for most of us, if you were wondering.  =)

That’s when you have to get creative.  And believe me, it isn’t easy.  I’ve tried a few different things as an indie author to raise interest in my books.  Most times, it doesn’t work.  On rare occasions, my efforts pay off.  It’s those few and far between wins that I choose to focus on, because maybe it’ll be one of those influencers that will ultimately help me spread the word.  Too bad I don’t have any more Krina handbags to send out.  What romance aficionado wouldn’t love to tote around a luxurious leather handbag for an e-reader and some assorted favorite novels?  And maybe a bag of Starburst jelly beans.

Oh To Be Young And In Love….But When Is It Ever That Simple?

I love stumbling upon a great book, one that draws me in immediately, one that I cannot put down, one that elicits both tears and laughter.  As authors, we strive to bring this experience to readers.  Ryan Ringbloom seems to have it down to a science.

I read Panic on the heels of Flaw, my very first encounter with New Adult author, Ryan Ringbloom. And while I loved everything about Flaw, Panic is on an entirely different plane. I haven’t been held captive to a book like this in a very long time. I laughed, I cried, I empathized, I cried some more – I was completely engrossed in the characters, their experiences and interactions. They were so real, relatable and endearing. My heart broke for them in times of despair and I felt uplifted by their happiness and excitement.

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Courtesy of Amazon.com

The book is broken into two parts and is told from the points of views of four characters whose lives intertwine in quite an unexpected way.  At least, it was unexpected for me.  When I finally realized the final direction, I was on line at GameStop.  My audible gasp resulted in more than a few curious stares from the geeky gamer crew (I say this with affection since I write about the geeky gamer crew).  I had to fight back tears while the incredibly concerned cashier tried to comfort me.

I really enjoyed the way this story unfolds, how the relationships develop between these couples. Ryan has a real talent for delivering a riveting tale through the eyes of multiple storytellers. She gives us as readers eyes into the souls of the fictional characters that she’s worked so carefully to craft.

No words I can write will do this book justice. Panic is an excellent read, one that I’m so grateful to have found. Ryan, you really have a wonderful gift. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

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