What Does Success Look Like???

Let’s face it – the unknown is daunting.  Even extensive planning can’t always prepare you for challenges you may face in your entrepreneurial endeavors – whether you’re a startup CEO, a handbag designer or an aspiring indie author. Sometimes you just need to trust in yourself and be confident in your abilities. Obstacles may seem insurmountable at first glance but if you are dedicated to your efforts and you do the proper research, you WILL work through them.

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.

My advice is simple. Embrace the unfamiliar and power through. You’ll never know the full extent of your capabilities if you don’t navigate outside your comfort zone. We can’t always be the best at everything but we should always strive to be. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Sure, you may accumulate a mound of debt in the process (something your husband won’t ever let you forget) but you will have taken control of your future.

Clear strategy concept as a straight road going over confused paths for achieving success in the future as a symbol of business vision and planning to solve the maze.

Be passionate! If you aren’t, find a new goal. You’re not cut out to be an entrepreneur. It takes too much time and effort to launch a new business and if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll never get it off the ground. If you’re not willing to work harder than you’ve ever worked before, preserve your sanity and come up with a new game plan.

Take a risk. You’ll never have all the answers or the insight you need to feel comfortable in EVERY situation.  But that’s okay, because you have faith, drive and ideas to propel you toward your goal.  Sometimes, that’s all you need to achieve success.

Believe in yourself and what you can do. SEE yourself creating, developing, designing, writing, and selling. The powers of the subconscious mind are astounding. Envisioning success is just more positive reinforcement you can apply to your effort. Never let negative thoughts permeate your mind – they will only hamper your efforts. See yourself hitting #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, see a Hollywood A-lister clutching one of your evening bags as she graces the red carpet at the Oscars, see your gadget in the hand of Mark Zuckerberg as he sings its praises to the press. See it, believe it, and make it a reality.

Don’t be afraid to fail.  That only really happens when you give up on your dreams. Outcomes that don’t match your expectations aren’t an indication of defeat. Think of them as lessons learned, pearls of wisdom to draw upon at a later time, things that need to be tweaked as you progress toward meeting your goals.

Try new things. Be creative. Think outside the box. Do something nobody has thought of before. Find the whitespace and clutter it up with your ideas. Don’t try to create demand; figure out what people need and give it to them. Why waste precious resources building something that nobody wants?

Life is all about taking chances. If you play it safe ALL the time, you’ll never uncover your true potential and untapped talents.

LEAP. Nothing worth having ever comes easily. Even if you crash-land, you can still say you tried.

And finally, never give up… on your dreams or on yourself.

Business woman celebrates successful deal at office. Business People

 

Character Interview – Best Friends, Business Partners & Cyber Lords

12272900_911529138917613_566434174_n

Character Interview: Chris Camden and James Callahan, Best Friends, Business Partners and Cyber Lords

I recently caught up with Chris Camden and James Callahan, co-founders of LazerShark, the hottest gaming website in cyberspace. Their pictures have been plastered across the covers of every industry periodical in the country as two of the thirty biggest names in technology under thirty… and it doesn’t hurt that their smiles can melt the panties off any woman in their line of sight. I don’t know any female in her right mind that wouldn’t want to be sandwiched between these heartthrobs. But I digress…

Okay, back to business. I’m focused now.

Me: Guys, thanks so much for taking the time out of your crazy schedules to chat with me. Our readers are extremely anxious to find out more about the dream team that just scored one of the largest buyouts in Silicon Valley history. How does it feel?

James: Incredible, so rewarding. We’ve been working toward this goal for the past three years with the help and guidance of a great team of investors. But we still have a long way to go, and a lot more work to do.

Chris: Yeah, it feels great, kind of like driving my brand-new Bentley. <snickers> Seriously, though, this was a real partnership effort. You can only achieve this kind of success when you set common goals and work together to achieve them. Jay is the geek in this relationship and I’m the salesman. It’s a great mix of skills.

James: That’s right. We work our strengths to the fullest and compensate where each of us may be lacking.

Chris: Dude, speak for yourself. I’m not lacking in any area.

James: My bad. You’re the most modest, humble person I know.

Me: Inquiring minds want to know… now that you’ve taken over as the virtual gaming lords of the universe, what’s next on your agenda?

James: We’re starting a new project. It’s kind of early to discuss details but it’s going to be a winner.

Chris: Think revolution… light sabers, battletoads… and minions.

James: Dude, you’re giving everything away. You’re about as subtle as a hand grenade.

Chris: Oh come on, those hints were brilliant! You’ve got to give the people a little taste, Jay. Don’t be so neurotic.

James: Have we gotten to the question about how I’ve been able to avoid strangling my business partner yet?

Me: <laughs out loud> You guys are too adorable… er, um, I mean, entertaining. And you’ve also been best friends since kindergarten. How do you manage the friendship versus the business partnership?

James: It actually works well for us. We’re pretty much no holds barred. If there’s an issue, we put it out there and talk it out.

Chris: You can’t take things personally. We made a deal when we first started on this path that we’d always separate our work lives from our personal lives.

James: Yeah, I remember that deal. It was nice in theory. Too bad you couldn’t keep your—

Chris: Whoa! I’m talking about us here. Don’t go off-track.

Me: No, please go off-track…this sounds juicy.

James: Let’s just say my business partner made a pretty large error in judgment that could have cost us our future.

Chris: You’re being really dramatic, Jay. It’s all good. LazerShark was never at risk.

James: Your life sure was. Talk about wanting to strangle someone…

Me: How would you each describe one another?

James: Chris is the most loyal guy I know. He’d do anything for the people he cares about… I mean anything. I’ve never met another person so willing to put his own comfort and happiness aside for others.

Chris: I’d go to war for you, man.

James: I know you would. And I love you for it. <playfully punches Chris in the shoulder> He’s also impulsive, outspoken, cocky and can charm the skirt off any girl he meets… admittedly, a pretty impressive skill.

Chris: Aw, I’m blushing. Thanks for stroking my ego.

James: As if you needed it…

Chris: It’s only one of the things that can never be stroked too often…

Me: <fanning myself> Ahem, so Chris, any thoughts on James?

Chris: Smart. Sexy as hell. Socially inept but we’re working on that.

James: I like to think I’m making progress.

Chris: Always striving to improve. Kudos, man.

Me: Ever had your sights set on the same girl?

James: No, I prefer girls that can use more than one-syllable words in conversation. Actually, let me rephrase… I prefer girls that can actually engage in conversation. <snickers>

Chris: <rolls eyes> What can I say, Jay? Sometimes it’s better to have actions drown out the words. Talking’s overrated.

Me: Okay, so speaking of the ladies… here’s the question all the fangirls have been aching to ask two of the most eligible bachelors in the Bay area… what are your relationship statuses?

James: Um yeah, not so eligible anymore.

Chris: Reformed.

James: More like whipped.

Chris: Really? You sure you’re pointing that finger in the right direction? The first gift you ever gave Jess was the family jewels. And it’s been downhill from there. Yes Jess, anything you want Jess, sure I’ll bend over now Jess. <smirks>

James: I’ve always been a fan of monogamy, unlike this guy. His motto has always been ‘the more, the merrier’ at any one time.

Chris: Life is like tearing through a bag of Lays…can never eat just one.

James: A point you’ve proven again and again and again.

Me: But rumor has it you’re off the market…scooped up by none other than your former investment manager, Mia Bradshaw. So monogamy…?

Chris: It’s a new look for me. I’m digging it.

James: So is your fiancé.

Me: She’s a lucky lady. That news is going to be very disappointing to all your fangirls. Okay, last question. Silk or satin?

James: Either.

Chris: Neither. <smirks>

***

Venture Forward Is Live! Let’s Celebrate With A Giveaway!

Title: Venture Forward

Series: Book 3 in The Venture Series
Author: Kristen Luciani

Special release price of only

$0.99 until March 25th.

 

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1LsLGFR

 

Enter the release blitz  GIVEAWAY!!!

Raw. Cold. Detached. Domineering…

Paul Emerson lives life like he f*cks. It’s the only way to survive, to battle the demons forever lurking in his subconscious, to resist succumbing to the darkness that perpetually overshadows his existence. As a ruthless venture capitalist with an insatiable appetite for power and control, he has no tolerance for emotion or any tryst spanning more than a few hours. Feelings equate to weakness and weakness destroys livelihoods.

Driven. Focused. Bitter. Guilty…

Avery Hunter is tormented by what she can’t change, but letting go is never the preferred option. Her successes aren’t nearly enough to fill the gaping void in her heart and soul. No, revenge always begets satisfaction and fulfillment…except when it extinguishes the last source of brightness in her life. Karma is a bitch and irony is her evil twin sister.

Damaged. Rejected. Broken…

The woman who harbors and the man who resists. With so much baggage and even more angst, can their wounded souls finally find solace in one another? Or is their future happiness doomed to be ravaged by the lies and deceit that litter their pasts?

 

Kristen Luciani is a self-proclaimed momtrepreneur with a penchant for Christian Louboutins, Silicon Valley, plunging necklines and grapefruit martinis.  As a deep-rooted romantic who prefers juicy drama to fill the lives of anyone other than her, she tried her hand at creating a world of enchantment, sensuality, and intrigue, finally uncovering her true passion. No pun intended…

Be sure to click the link below to sign up for Kristen Luciani’s newsletter to stay up-to-date with upcoming releases and events!

Enter the release blitz  GIVEAWAY!!!

Unlikely Venture

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1VlTyhW

Nothing Ventured

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1QHzvql

The Venture Series Is On Kindle Unlimited!

Hot Cars, Panty-Dropping Grins & A Giveaway

The trailer for “Nothing Ventured” is LIVE!!! Just so you all know, Liam Hemsworth has jumped straight to the top of my list. Prepare to swoon, ladies! And gentlemen, there’s a bit of eye candy for you as well… =)

ENJOY! I know I have…

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway to help me share the news about Nothing Ventured!

Cover Reveal & Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!!!

Okay… I’ve been waiting for this for soooooo long and I just had to do a giveaway to celebrate the great news!!!

Click Here To Enter The Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!

Drum roll, please…

I give you… the cover for “Nothing Ventured!” Book Two of The Venture Series will be available in early Fall! For more news and fun giveaways leading up to the launch, join my Facebook fan club, The Stiletto Click, and LIKE my Facebook page!!!

Check out the synopsis below… =)

Nothing Ventured_final_high

 

Synopsis

Mia Bradshaw realized long ago that falling in love is a harbinger of pain. As a single mom working for one of the most prestigious venture capital firms in the country, she doesn’t have time for serious emotional entanglements. Her sort-of–friend boy is dependable, respectful and…okay, fine, maybe a little lukewarm but whatever! Who ever said there was anything wrong with being…vanilla? It’s safe, low-risk and not fraught with conflict and heart wrenching disappointment.

Chris Camden is one of the most eligible bachelors in northern California. A successful entrepreneur with a hot car and a panty-dropping grin doesn’t need to do much to keep his bed warm at night. His smoldering hazel-eyed gaze makes women melt at his feet. No strings, no conditions, no questions – just the way he likes it. Why should he settle for just one when there are so many sizzling alternatives begging for a spin?

A coveted opportunity to partner with Chris’s company stirs up emotions that threaten everything Mia’s been so careful to protect and control. The guy with more lines than a crowded supermarket before a snowstorm can singe her insides with the slightest accidental touch, proof that she needs to steer clear.

But reality hurls a very unexpected curve ball that can change Mia’s life in a heartbeat. And sometimes…the perception of safety is relative.

Buy “UNLIKELY VENTURE” – Book One of The Venture Series:

Amazon  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple  Barnes & Noble

 

Stop Hounding Me With Buy Links!!!!

People want to buy but they don’t WANT TO BE SOLD!

I love that quote. It’s so true. How many times do you go into a store, greeted by eager-beaver salespeople asking if they can help you find something to buy?

I could never be in sales…

But alas, I AM.

I’m an indie author. Not only do I write, but I also market and SELL.

Like with most businesses, the market is pretty much saturated with books. You name it, there’s a genre out there. And about a trillion books within each, with more and more being self-published on a DAILY.

Courtesy of 365til30.com

Courtesy of 365til30.com

As an entrepreneurial author, you may find success in publishing a book that embodies a brand-new concept, something new, different and alluring because it is outside the norm.

But that’s risky because people like what they like and most are creatures of habit. So unless you come up with something cutting edge that an influencer finds appealing, you may be SOL with that plan.

But fear not…there are other ways to gain an audience.

The world of indie publishing is very different now than it was a year ago. Isn’t that insane? I Google articles and if they are pre-2013, I rarely bother reading them because they are THAT outdated.

Social media takes the front seat with indie publishing. You need a presence and you need a ridiculously large network to get your name out there. But that’s not even enough…

The challenge is building a network where you form meaningful relationships, not just hey, post my link and I’ll post yours kind of stuff. That doesn’t do anything. It’s all white noise. And like I said, people get annoyed at the constant buy links. They aren’t helping authors move units.

The ideal is to build relationships online that translate to relationships OFFLINE. Grassroots efforts ultimately result in more widespread awareness, although they take time to gain traction. I’ve given plenty of books away…why? Because if you read “Unlikely Venture” and tell ten friends that you loved it, maybe they will buy and love it…and leave a review on Amazon. =)

And when “Nothing Ventured” comes out, they’ll be anxious to get their hands on that story and tell even more people if they enjoy it. By the time “Venture Forward” is released, I will have established a fan base (hopefully) for the rest of my author career.

170469185-300x199

Here’s the key takeaway – Always keep focus on PEOPLE. Create for them, market for them, make them happy and excited because they are the ones who can make or break any of your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Wouldn’t It Be Awesome If I Was A Developer Who Could Program My Own Freaking Ideas??

I’ve been extremely occupied with edits for my second novel, “Nothing Ventured,” this week.  And I thought there was no creativity left in my overworked brain to pour into the old entrepreneurial arsenal.  Thoughts of Mia and Chris incessantly swarm my mind and my sole focus is to finesse their love story to the satisfaction of my editor.  In fact, I think I’ve dreamed in italicized subtitles for the past few nights.

I didn’t think I had anything left.

But then I came up with..ta-da!!!!  An idea.

In my past life, like a waaaaay long time ago, I was responsible for putting together business requirements for system development projects.  Of course there were endless Microsoft Word doc templates available for this exercise, with tables of contents so long they’d rival the length of the actual document.

I’m exaggerating. Kind of.  =)

But then software packages were developed to simplify the process and analysts could input their requirements into a program and answer a whole slew of questions that would translate into a section of the overall deliverable.  The software package would tie all the components together and take the work out of building the narrative.  Analysts input the pertinent information, the software does the rest.

Not that I’m suggesting authors write books with this type of software but think about applying this concept to the editing process.  Developmental edits are a huge pain.  If an author needs to move chunks of a manuscript around, it becomes very tedious to track all the downstream changes.  Plus, sometimes an author may want to “test” a scene out in a different location but wants to see how it might impact the overall story WITHOUT messing everything up.

A software package that could help with this process would be super useful.  Instead, authors (read: ME) end up saving multiple versions of the manuscript, trying to test out various scenarios and often forgetting which one is the gold copy.  To mitigate the risk of THAT, my titles are normally something like this…

NothingVentured v1.12.3.4 ChrisGetsDrunkMiaGoesOverboard.docx

Not confusing at all, right?

 

If You Want Perfection…Well, Good Luck With That!

www.bangsandabun.com

www.bangsandabun.com

Do you have any idea what happens when you change the ending of a novel?

You end up looking like THAT.

Figuring out the alternate ending was STRESSFUL!!!  But at least it got glowing reviews from my beta readers.

So I plopped it over the original ending.  But I wasn’t even CLOSE to done.  I had to open up the rest of the manuscript (previously perfected and edited, by the way to the tune of $850) and retool, revise and restructure.  I liken the process to a doctor sewing up a patient after a successful surgery, then realizing a scalpel was left behind.  Mother eff.  You have to get it out before it does any long-term damage.  And hopefully you can stitch up the patient even better than before.

The good news?  Well I don’t have any to share quite yet.  It’s heading back out to beta.  Hopefully, the changes were for the better.  I know it’s cliché but you only have one chance to make a first impression.  If your first book is a snoozefest, readers won’t give you another shot, no matter how awesome book 2 is.  So here’s to making every word count.

I thought Unlikely Venture was perfect.  Until I finished Nothing Ventured.  Then I understood what I missed the first time around.

I am on a quest to perfect these novels. But as anxious as I am to get them out there, I refuse to rush the process.  As a voracious reader, I know what it takes to capture an audience and I will continue to work tirelessly to meet that goal.  And with any luck, a September release is still in sight.

Vic-tor-ee!!!

So now I look like THIS!

southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com

southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com

The Lady Devil With A Passion For Jamba Juice

As I write this post, I am actively fighting the urge to devour the remaining Russell Stover chocolate marshmallow eggs in the pantry.

Just saying.  I really need to get rid of this leftover Easter candy.  Sugar comas = lost productivity!  I get way too fidgety to write compelling dialogue when I’m all amped up on sugar.  Caffeine is another story.  I can drown in coffee and it only makes my stuff more compelling.  LOL!

Today, I finished the first draft of Nothing Ventured.  I love it.  If you’ve been on my Facebook page or seen my recent tweets, you already know this.  We’ve established that it’s narcissistic but, whatever.

The plot twists didn’t come easy…I drew a lot of inspiration from Fuel’s greatest hits, but it worked.  =)

I’m hoping my beta readers enjoy it just as much as I did, three times over.  Of course, there are certain scenes I might have read more than three times, but we’ll just leave it at that…

I love the characters that really evolve the most throughout a novel.  The more they change, the more invested I become.  That’s one of the reasons why I’m totally crushing on my latest hero, Chris Camden, who bears a striking resemblance to this young gentleman below.

liam-hemsworth-in-cannes

And here is my heroine, Mia Bradshaw.  They look so good together, don’t they?  =)

Ashley Greene

So now I pretty much have two-thirds of The Venture Series written.  And it feels awesome.  I’ve still got editing to do (hopefully not as much as I did for Unlikely Venture!), but I’m excited!

I can’t wait to share them with you!  Bear with me as I prepare to navigate this whole publishing universe!

%d bloggers like this: