Small Wins, Books, and Booze

Some days, it’s all about the small wins. By themselves, they don’t seem like much. But when you get a bunch of them done within the few hours you have allotted to work before the afternoon crazy train barrels through the house, you feel like you’ve reached the pinnacle of productivity.

I had that feeling today. It was good.

That’s why I’m drinking wine right now.

What did I do that was so worthy of midweek alcohol?

Well, first (literally, it happened at 6:15 AM), I finished another scene for a Hanukkah romance I’m writing for the holidays. It’s  a rom com, and I’m loving it so far! I also love that I’m over 2K words in, and it’s only June.

Then, I decided to finally try the new formatting software Terry bought me…four months ago. I have a book to format, so I figured now was as good a time as any to give it a shot. Of course, I needed to call on a friend to help me figure out a few things, but guess what? The book is FORMATTED and ready to publish!

Score!

I also figured out a pretty critical scene in the book I’m working on right now, a romantic suspense called Hard Time. SWOONY!!! Wait until you see the cover! I’m actually pretty anxious to see it myself, but I digress… This is the story of Jeff and Ariana, who first made a sweltering appearance in Drunk In Love, the St. Jude’s anthology that I coordinated with Jesey Newman of Schmexy Girl Book Blog. And their book is so fantastic. I know it’s probably bad form to admit that, but I don’t care. It rocks!

All in all? Today was success with a capital S. Laundry? Done! Housecleaning? Done! Researching Instagram analytics? Done!

Okay, time to get back to studying for finals, the other big reason for midweek wine. =)

Juicy Scenes That Don’t Make The Cut

Sometimes when I write, the characters speak to me and the story unfolds exactly as planned. But other times, I’ll readily admit I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, and the story goes in a million different directions before I finally reel it back in.

Case in point…Joint Venture.

Did I finally pull it together? YES! And it turned out to be an Amazon bestseller, so YAY! But it was rough going. Here’s only ONE of the deleted scenes from that story. I have another thirty or so pages sitting in a folder…LOL!

“I heard you did real well today in that meeting.” Danny sauntered into Lisa’s office later that night and shut the door. “Your boss was really impressed.”

Her back stiffened. “How was your trip?”

“It would have been better if you were there with me, baby.” With an appraising leer, he inched closer, his hands stroking her bare shoulders. “I’ve missed you. Come back to my place tonight and let me show you how much.”

Shrugging out of his grip, she stood, arms folded. Her voice dripped with disdain. “Now Danny, how would Kendra feel about you taking me home tonight, especially after your romantic anniversary weekend in New York?” Color drained from his face, and she allowed herself a small smile at the shocked expression. “Yeah. I know all about it. You’re a fucking lying bastard. I wouldn’t go to the end of the street with you.”

“You don’t understand…we, um, I told you….it was just to appease her…”

“Sure it was. And I’ll bet you didn’t have sex with her, either. Come to think of it, she probably didn’t even want the diamond bracelet you bought her.” She shook her head. “You actually got me, Danny. I swallowed all of the bullshit you fed.”

“But it’s not…I mean, I told you things aren’t good, and…the only reason we went to New York was to…to…see my lawyer,” he sputtered. “So you and I can be together.”

Slamming her pen on the desk, she jumped out of the chair. “You told me you were divorced! I never would have touched you with a ten-foot pole if I’d known the truth. You turned me into a home wrecker. Do you have any idea how disgusting I feel? That I allowed myself to play a part in breaking up a family? Because I was too naïve and stupid to see the writing on the wall?”

“Lisa, Kendra and I are through. She booked the trip to try and change my mind, but I don’t want her. I want you.”

 “And what about the kids? Do you give a shit about them? Do you even care that this will destroy them? For the rest of their lives, they’ll carry the knowledge with them that their father abandoned his family for another woman. They will never get over that! I will never get over that!”

“Don’t do this, baby. I love you. I need you.”

“You don’t love me. You love you. Now get the fuck out of here and leave me alone.” Rage bubbled in her veins, her fingernails digging deeply into her palms. How could she have been so careless as to get involved without anything more than blind trust guiding her decision? It was so unlike her. And because of that huge oversight, lives would be ruined at her hand.  

“Lisa, I—“

Her heart thudded against her ribcage. Stupid, stupid, stupid! She’d made plenty of mistakes in the romance department, but Danny was her worst one. “Leave. Now.”

A dark expression shadowed Danny’s face as he backed away from the desk. His head dropped as he slinked out of the office.

She collapsed into her chair. Her head throbbed as she recalled the exchange with his secretary. Weekend in New York. Anniversary. Romance. Flowers. Champagne. The divorce was a total fabrication. Not that she had any serious intentions with him; their affair was strictly physical, at least for her. But the thought of breaking up a family made bile rise in her throat. All those years of struggling to make ends meet, watching her mom pick up the pieces after her dad walked out, hearing her mother cry herself to sleep because there wasn’t enough money to pay the rent…he was a callous, self-centered bastard who only thought about himself, and Danny was no different.

Happy Release Day, Trudy Stiles! Epic Love Is LIVE!

Title: Epic Love
Series: Epic Fail #3
Author: Trudy Stiles
Release Date: Sept 19, 2016

HEATH STRICKLAND, the son of a prominent district attorney, lived his life surrounded by violence and crime. He was an unwilling witness to the corrupt lives his father swore to prosecute and keep behind bars. His escape was his music, which eventually led him to replace the iconic singer of the world famous band, Epic Fail.

NOELLE DURAND lived in luxury, growing up on a sprawling estate, with everything she could ever want or need. Her life, to everyone else, seemed perfect. Perfect house. Perfect things. Perfect family. But nothing at all was perfect. She lived in hell. A hell that nobody on the outside could see.

As a neighbor and childhood friend, Heath would have done anything for Noelle. He would have given up the world to protect her and keep her safe. Their friendship grew into something that neither of them expected. But then she suddenly disappeared, vanishing from his life as if she never existed. He never stopped hoping that one day she would resurface, alive and well. But as time went by, and her family gave up hope, he surrendered his heart to his lost love.

Twelve years later, one phone call changes everything.

EPIC LOVE is the third book in the EPIC FAIL series and can be read as a STANDALONE novel.

This series is a spinoff from the FOREVER FAMILY series.

  
“I’m sorry, Noelle. I’m really sorry.” I don’t know what I’m apologizing for. The fact that I don’t believe her weak lie or because I kissed her. No. I’m not sorry for either.
“It’s okay. Really. Thanks for caring. And thank you for my birthday gift.” She pauses and brushes her pinkie finger against mine. “You made my birthday really special, and I’ll never forget it.”
Without thinking, I loop my pinkie finger around hers, linking them together. Linking us together. We walk to her window like this and I break our connection reluctantly, bringing my hand up to her bruised cheek. “Please be careful,” I beg, and I’m not sure what I’m even begging her to be careful of. I’m just so worried about her.
“I will,” she whispers. “Catch a couple fireflies on the way home.”
“I’d catch a million for you.” Her eyes light up, a smile on her lips. I want to kiss her again. So bad. But all I do is stare into her eyes and back away. I push the window open as quietly as I can and slide out onto the grass.
“Happy Birthday, Noelle.”
She smiles as we both slide the window gently along the track, closing it.
She leaves her hand pressed against the window and I immediately do the same, covering hers, only the glass pane separating us.
Her smile is weak and full of pain.
A pain that I would take away from her in an instant if I could.
Trudy Stiles is a New Adult Romance author, mom to two beautiful children, and married to the love of her life. She’s the author of the bestselling Forever Family series including “Dear Emily,” “Dear Tabitha,” and “Dear Juliet.” “Epic Sins” is the first book in the Epic Fail series and will continue with at least three more standalone novels. “Epic Lies” is scheduled to release in the Spring of 2016 with “Epic Love” and “Epic Holiday” to follow in the Fall and Winter of 2016. She plans to write many more stories about some of the characters you’ve already met, and maybe a few new ones.
Trudy is a music junkie and you’ll know that she’s writing when you see her plugged into her laptop with her earbuds in. Her playlist is unique and is a must for her writing sprints.
When she’s not writing, she’s carting her children to their various activities while avoiding any kind of laundry or housework. She also loves to run along the boardwalk of the beautiful New Jersey shore.
She celebrates Wine Wednesday almost every day.
   

 

A.J. Morgan Is FINALLY Here…With A Giveaway!!!

JointVent_ebook_Hires

Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Photo Credit: Josh Edmonds
Models: Sam Anderton & Savannah Kaitlyn Jefferson
Release Date: August 29, 2016

~Purchase Links~

~Synopsis~

Notorious celebrity playboy A.J. Morgan has more emotional baggage than notches on his well-used bedpost, but bleached blonde three-ways and excess of whiskey are all the therapy he needs.

Live to indulge, indulge to fill the voids.

Those are his rules…. until he meets cunning financial analyst-slash-sexy club singer Lisa Embry, a woman whose heart is surrounded by more barbed wire than a high-security prison.

Rules? What rules?

One lust-filled romp with his female alter-ego turns A.J. into an addict in need of his next fix and he’ll pay any price for another hit.

But Lisa has her own rules… ones that can never be broken.

Goodreads

JointVenture_Teaser3_PB

~Giveaway~

Signed paperback & One of Five Amazon eBooks for Joint Venture

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

JointVenture_Teaser5_PB

~Also Available~

Unlikely Venture (Book 1) Purchase Links – FREE
Nothing Ventured (Book 2) Purchase Links
Venture Forward (Book 3) Purchase Links

 

JointVent_Print_Web

~Connect with Me!~

Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/1C27Kbh

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b0vIHB

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2aPbs0N

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b9EztR

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2b2dqbg

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2b2dmIq

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2blb620

 

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Happy Cover Reveal To Me, Plus A GIVEAWAY!!!

JointVent_ebook_Hires

Cover Design: Jena Brignola
Models: Sam Anderton & Savannah Kaitlyn Jefferson
Release Date: August 29, 2016

Synopsis

Notorious celebrity playboy A.J. Morgan has more emotional baggage than notches on his well-used bedpost, but bleached blonde three-ways and excess of whiskey are all the therapy he needs.

Live to indulge, indulge to fill the voids.

Those are his rules…. until he meets cunning financial analyst-slash-sexy club singer Lisa Embry, a woman whose heart is surrounded by more barbed wire than a high-security prison.

Rules? What rules?

One lust-filled romp with his female alter-ego turns A.J. into an addict in need of his next fix and he’ll pay any price for another hit.

But Lisa has her own rules… ones that can never be broken.

 

Goodreads

Pre-Order Link

iBooks Exclusive: http://apple.co/2aMOHuK

 

JointVenture_Teaser7_PB

 

Giveaway

One of Five ARC’s for Joint Venture

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0cba4250293/?

 

JointVenture_Teaser6_PB

 

Also Available

Unlikely Venture (Book 1) Purchase Links – FREE
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2aNlysY
Nothing Ventured (Book 2) Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2bbva6x
Venture Forward (Book 3) Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2blfbmM

 

JointVent_Print_Web

 

 

Connect with Me!

Newsletter Link: http://bit.ly/1C27Kbh

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b0vIHB

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2aPbs0N

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2b9EztR

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2b2dqbg

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2b2dmIq

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2blb620

 

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Good Vs. Evil – Who Will You Choose?

Let’s talk HEROES! I think most of my fellow females will agree the hero is a focal point of the story. We’re all on a perpetual hunt for new book boyfriends, right ladies???

That said, what kind of guy do you want to read about? The perpetually good guy who always does the right thing, no matter what the cost? Or the inherently bad boy… the one beyond redemption, the one whose evil core always rears its ugly head and prevents him from attaining his happily ever after?

Check out my video and comment below! Tell me what kind of guy makes you want to flip pages!

Oh and by the way…the Captain America I’m referring to in this video is PRE-CIVIL WAR! LOL!

 

Happy Release Day! Palm South University, Episode 1 by Kandi Steiner

Title: Palm South University: Episode One
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.

Amazon

After I finish my first drink and order another, I wander up to the group of guys at the pool table. We play for a little over an hour, drawing an even larger crowd because – clearly – we’re the most fun this joint has seen in a while. I’m cozied up and working on one of the hottest guys in the group when he informs me he has a fiancé.
Wow.
Buzz Killington, ladies and gentlemen.
I hang out with the group a little longer, hoping to move on to a new prospect, but they all head out before I have a chance to seal the deal with any of Mr. I’m-Engaged-But-You-Don’t-Need-To-Know-That-Until-It’s-Clear-You-Expect-To-Sleep-With-Me’s friends. 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

 

Spreading The Seed

I love spinning tales of romance in the Silicon Valley setting. I’m told I seriously over-glamorize the lifestyles of my heroes and heroines but whatever. I write FICTION so isn’t that kind of a requirement? I mean, I have to keep things interesting. right? WINK, WINK

As an entrepreneur, I am fascinated with goings-on in the Valley. There’s such an aura over Sand Hill Road; it’s just bubbling over with innovation, creativity and energy. Being part of that atmosphere, collaborating with fellow creatives and networking with famed venture capitalists must be so charging to a budding startup CEO. And coupled with the drive to build the next big thing? Well, the possibilities seem endless. Sounds like a dream (this is where my romanticizing comes into play)…but what companies really get to LIVE it?

funny silicon valley welcome sign

Enter Y-Combinator.

Y-Combinator provides seed money to a certain number of startups deemed worthy to relocate to Silicon Valley for a three-month period. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding for a company and it helps pay expenses, allowing startups to focus on development with no added stresses.

If selected for the program, startups have access to proven innovators who will help shape and bring early ideas to fruition. They will learn how to deliver a polished pitch to investors and how to close a deal and acquire more funding, if needed. It all culminates in a Demo Day, where the elite group is granted an opportunity to present their work to carefully selected audiences.

All this in exchange for a small financial stake in each company. Sounds like small potatoes, considering most startups would never get this opportunity on their own. Networking is so key…sometimes you need to give a little to get a lot.

Just as an aside, Hubby has already advised me not to get any bright ideas about applying. LOL.

You Have Five Seconds To Impress Me…GO!

I’m long-winded by nature. If something can be stated in five words, it will take me thirty to get there. Luckily, I’ve tempered this in my writing.  But speaking…yeah, takes me a while to get to the point.

So it’s no surprise that I hate the words “elevator speech.”

Courtesy of www.eagleonline.com

Courtesy of www.eagleonline.com

This is the golden opportunity to pitch your idea/product or service.  Here’s the set up.  A prospective customer steps into an elevator. The doors close. You have about a five-second window to score a sale. What the heck do you say???

Back in my handbag designing days, when women would ask me what’s so special about Krina bags…well, let’s just say when my back was to the wall and I needed to impress, I fell short.  Exquisite Italian leathers…eh.  Vivid colors…boring.   Made in the U.S.A…makes them more expensive and potentially cost-prohibitive.  Um, Katherine Heigl has one?  Try again.

Same concept applies to writing. People find out I’m a writer and they’re curious about my novels.  Oh, you have a new book coming out? What’s it about? While it’s a simple question, one which I should be able to answer easily, how do I convince them they absolutely NEED to read it?

Well, there are a couple of parts to a successful elevator pitch. And as luck would have it, the setup really applies to any type of sale.

1. Set The Stage – Choose your first few words carefully. They need to hook your audience immediately and heighten interest in your overall message.

2. Reel Them In – Identify the conflict. Provide a scenario that identifies a challenge or obstacle.

3. Establish The Need – Provide differentiation. Show your audience why your product or service is something they need to buy. How is it going to make their life better? In other words, WHY SHOULD THEY CARE?

Check it out…it even works with books!!! This is my elevator pitch for “Unlikely Venture.”

After devastating news threatens her livelihood, Jessica Latham swears off men…until she meets Silicon Valley rising star James Callahan. But when a vindictive frenemy exposes Jessica’s scandalous secret, James is forced to choose – the future of his company or his heart?

It’s hard to stand out in only a few seconds. But when people ask, you need to hook them in otherwise they’ll shut down and anything you say will just be white noise.

You have one chance to make a first impression. So make it COUNT!!

The $25 Thumbnail…Pretty Cheap For Soft-Core

I’m OBSESSED with creating images for Unlikely Venture.  Gotta love the digital age!  One of my fabulous author friends (who is on the best-seller list for New Adult Contemporary on Amazon UK!!) sent me something she put together for one of her books and I decided I needed to create one for mine.  So the search began.  Here’s what I found out.  Images are ridiculously PRICEY!!!  I bought what is basically a THUMBNAIL for $25!  

So many sites have cheesy images that I wouldn’t doctor and post if someone paid ME.  Then there are others that are borderline porn…need to steer clear of THAT as it’s not exactly my genre.

I think I struck a happy balance with this one, although Hubby doesn’t understand why I’m so impressed with my efforts.  “You put some text on a PICTURE for crying out loud!”

Yeah, but I did it MYSELF…and it’s for MY BOOK.  =)

Image

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