Small Business Saturday #ShopSmall

Did you know that the day following Black Friday is Small Business Saturday?  It’s a day to support the local economy by shopping at small, independently owned businesses.  Instead of heading to the mall in search of holiday gifts, maybe hit up a small funky boutique for something cool and unique.

And, as long as we’re talking about it, let me just point out the fact that Indie Authors are small business owners.  We’re one-man-bands, so to speak, writing, editing, and marketing our own product.  Buying your next read from an Indie Author directly supports that writer’s work rather than padding the bottom line of a big box publishing house.

So where do you start in your search for your new favorite Indie Author?  Search your go-to genre on Amazon or iBooks.  Read the reviews.  We’re all over social media, too.  Ask people what they’re reading–you’ll probably get some great recommendations.

Remember to #ShopSmall this Saturday!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #7

Summer road trip, anyone?  Mr. R and I headed over to Tampa last weekend for an Indie author book convention.  The event featured Indie authors from all over the world, and was held at a party space called Chic Venue.

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It was pretty inside (okay, Mr. R called it gaudy) and as soon as we arrived, we set about putting our half of the table in order.

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I shared the table with a lovely author named Harmony Stalter.  She was super nice, and displayed two books, one of which she called a ‘second-chance romance’, and the other a murder mystery.  Which probably explains the jar with the (fake) heart and the other one filled with eyeballs.

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She later apologized for the gruesome display, but I replied that her jars probably accounted for most of the people who stopped by our table.  The event ran from noon to 6:00, and traffic was slow.  Even so, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of great writers.  I’m even making plans to return next year.

As Mr. R and I headed home, we stopped in Ybor City, my favorite part of Tampa.  It’s the historic Cuban district, and probably where we should have had the author event.  I’ll push for that for next year.

Anyway, we found street parking and strolled toward the loud live music coming from down the street.  It emanated from Gaspar’s Grotto, a place we know well.  It’s where you go when you want the absolute best Cuban sandwich you’ll find anywhere.  So with cocktails on the table and  sandwiches ordered, we relaxed to live music and reflected on our day.

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It was our summer road trip.  Which brings me to tonight’s serenade, Love Shack, the ultimate road trip song.  And it makes me wonder…  We told you about our trip.  Where have you traveled this summer?  I’d love to hear all about it.

In the meantime, hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

 

 

Meet Me in Tampa!

Looking for your next great read?  Love to have fun in the sun?  Join me this Sunday, July 16, in Tampa for the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention!

I understand that about 40 Indie authors will be there, chatting with readers and signing books.  I’ll have copies of RESISTING RISK, LUKE & BELLA, and LOST & BOUND.  I’ll also have some free swag.

Admission to the event is FREE, and you can buy tickets to the VIP after party where there will be food and an OPEN BAR.  Just imagine, sipping cocktails and chatting with your favorite Indie authors.  Sounds amazing, right?

Check out the official Facebook page of the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention.  And if you’re going to be anywhere close, please stop by and say hello!

4 Stars Out of 5

I hate working out, y’all.  Not a fan of sweat.  But I’ve been doing it.

Back in the fall, I registered to attend the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention which is happening July 16.  I’ll tell you more about that later.   Right now, my point is that I realized that by July, I wanted to look more like a svelte, sexy romance writer, and less like Jabba the Hutt.

To that end, in January I started being careful about carbs, eating lots of salad and veggies, and walking away from bread and pasta.  And I’ve lost over 20 lbs so far.

Most days, Coach Kozak from HasFit on YouTube kicks my ass, but today I wanted to do something different.  A little investigation led me to a bunch of virtual treadmill videos.  They make it seem like you’re running someplace magical rather than in your living room.  And yes, I could just run outside in the neighborhood.  But it’s summer, y’all, and it’s HOT.

So today I took a run along the beach in Queensland, Australia.  It was beautiful, and I nearly forgot I was running.  The half hour passed quickly.  I would give the video 4 out of 5 stars.

Why did I dock it a star?  We passed a bar TWICE and the fucker refused to stop.

The Next Adventure

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I’ve been counting down the days and it’s finally here.  I am no longer employed by the School District of Palm Beach County.  I finished up my duties, cleaned out my room, brought WAY too much stuff home, and said goodbye to folks who’ve been my colleagues for the last thirteen years.  Okay, maybe not ‘goodbye’, we’ll be getting together over adult beverages on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.  But we won’t be working together.

Lots of people have asked the question, “What are you going to do now?”  Having left the District, I’m finally free to answer.

Two years ago, June 7, I (accidentally) published my first novel.  How I did that accidentally is a long story.  Suffice it to say, there has been a steep learning curve. And had I understood the depth of my ignorance about marketing, promotion, SEO, graphic design, formatting, etc., I would never have had the courage to try.  Ignorance can be a huge asset, it turns out.

Let me put in a plug for self publishing.  Indie publishing is a growing industry.  In the past, the large publishing houses have been the “gatekeepers,” determining what literature the reading public has access to.  That meant little variety–they’re only interested in a return on their investment.  But like iTunes and YouTube did for Indie music, and Sundance did for Indie films, Kindle Direct Publishing and Draft2Digital are allowing authors to get their work out in front of the reading public.  Buying an Indie book is the literary equivalent of ‘buying local.’

A few years ago, under the pen name Pandora Spocks, I started writing literary steamy romance just as a hobby, really, a creative outlet.  After a while, I began publishing chapters online, and I discovered that people liked what they read.  Eventually, I published the entire book, chapter by chapter, on a blog.  Along the way, I met other writers who independently publish their work and I began to wonder about doing it myself.

My books are spicy, y’all.  I promote them as ‘Smart, Sexy Romance’.  They’re heartfelt, deeply character-driven stories punctuated by the occasional steamy love scene.  Think of them as the thinking-girl’s romance.  Like Fifty Shades, but more literary.

Today, I have seven books available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, and several other outlets you probably never heard of.  My goal by the end of August is to publish my next steamy novel, and to write a nonfiction book about classroom management, to be published under my own name.

I mentioned marketing.  I’m active on social media every day as Pandora.  You can find me in these places:

Website: PandoraSpocksAuthor.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2rwR5Lv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PandoraSpocksAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PandoraSpocksWP
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PandoraSpocksAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14080322.Pandora_Spocks
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pandora.spocks.author/

Steamy romance isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  But if you enjoy a nice hot love story, I hope you’ll check it out.

Shameless Book Promotion–LOST & BOUND Is Out Today!

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LOST & BOUND is out today!

It’s the second book in the Dream Dominant Collection, a series of stand-alone novels featuring sexy, Dominant men, and the strong, red-haired submissives who find them irresistible.  It is a contemporary erotic romance novel with a light BDSM theme, and features a DD/lg relationship, and is intended for mature audiences.

What is LOST & BOUND all about?

Blake Walker is no stranger to tragedy.  Immediately following a horrific event years earlier, he was lost for a while until he embraced his Dominant nature and found his true calling.  But things change and now he’s back where he started, helping to run his family’s secluded lake lodge.

When pampered Hollywood starlet Shasta Pyke gets into trouble with the law, she’s sent to the wilderness of northern Ontario to cool her heels for a few weeks.  There she meets sexy bush pilot Blake, who is tasked with seeing to her needs as the sole guest at the lodge.

Initially, Blake isn’t impressed with the spoiled actress, but he’s happy that her visit allows for his sister Jackie and her kids to go on a much-needed vacation.  Try as he might, he can’t figure out what the hell Shasta Pyke is doing so far out of her element.

Shasta’s attracted to Blake’s obvious good looks, but there’s more to him than that.  He sees through her armor to the vulnerable little girl she hides from the world.  The Daddy Dominant in him craves to shelter her, to make her his own.

Is there any way Shasta will agree to submit to Blake’s Dominance?

Intrigued?  How about an exclusive new sample from LOST & BOUND?

By the time the kitchen timer went off, she’d finally stopped shaking.  Shasta pulled the chain, dislodging the rubber plug and the water began to drain from the tub.  She used the towel to dry herself and quickly slipped into the flannel shirt Blake had left for her.  It was miles too big and deliciously soft as she wrapped it around her bare flesh.  In the bathroom mirror, her eyes were haunted.  She had no idea of the time, and she was tired.  He’d told her to sit on the bed and wait for him.

Carefully, she picked up the oil lamp and carried it into the bedroom.  The full-sized bed was neatly made with a steel-grey duvet.  She’d half-expected a camouflage bedspread for the rugged mountain man.

The thought would have amused her if she hadn’t been so upset.  Blake was angry with her, really angry.  He’d called her Shasta, and that had broken her heart.  She’d thought that they had a special understanding between them, a budding friendship that was possibly romantic.  She loved that he called her Amy.  But she’d ruined that, like she ruined everything, it seemed.

She put the lamp on the bedside table and sank onto the edge of the bed.  Although she felt warm from the bath, her feet were cold, so she folded her legs under her to keep them warm.  She wondered where Blake had gone.

Outside, the storm continued to rage.  It was quieter here than in her cabin, but it made her uneasy nevertheless.  She wanted him back with her.  When he’d picked her up, held her against his chest, she’d felt the safety she’d sought.  She wanted to be in his arms until the storm passed.  It was the safest place she’d ever known.

The outside door opened and closed, and her heart jumped into her throat.  She heard him speak to the dog but she couldn’t make out his words.  Her eyes were glued to the closed bedroom door, and she watched as the knob turned.

Blake’s eyes went straight to her.  “Good.  Just like I asked.  Come with me.”

Shasta followed him into the living room where he stood leaning his right hip on the breakfast bar separating that room from the kitchen.  Not knowing what else to do, she simply stopped and anxiously twisted her hands in front of her.

When he didn’t say anything, she jumped in.  “I’m so sorry.  I didn’t mean to cause trouble, I was just so scared, and I don’t think I really even knew what I was doing, just…the next thing I knew, I was halfway across the lake.  I know it was stupid.  I’m so sorry, please don’t be mad at me.”

Blake sighed deeply, his mouth a hard line.  “What you did was beyond dangerous and irresponsible.  If anything had happened to you, Amy, I don’t know how I would be able to live with myself.”

Pleased that he’d returned to her real name, she took a step closer.  “I know.  And again, I’m so sorry.  Please forgive me.”

He stood straight and crossed his arms.  “I can forgive you.  The trouble is, you need discipline.  You’re out of control, and you need someone to help you rein yourself in.”

Shasta frowned, uncertain of what he meant.

“Tonight, you need to make a decision.  Option one, you can stay here.  Or option two, I’ll take you back to the island.”  At that moment, a deafening thunderclap rattled the cabin’s windows.

She furrowed her brow.  “Why would I want to go back there?”

“Because if you stay here, you go by my rules.  Without exception.”  He arched an eyebrow menacingly.

Chills ran up her arms.  His rules?  She thought of the way he’d taken over, putting her in the tub, his explicit instructions.

“Remember, there’s your other choice.  I grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of jeans from Jackie’s closet.  You can get dressed, and I’ll take you back.  I’ll see about fixing the window in the morning and we can go on our merry way.”

His expression was impassive, as if either option was fine by him.  Shasta fidgeted with the buttons on the flannel shirt.  “I want to stay.”  Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“You should know that if you stay, you will be receiving a spanking.”

Shasta’s eyes bugged out.  “What?”

“You’re out of control,” he repeated gently.  “You need discipline to help you remember that your safety always comes first.”

She turned from him, crossing to the window where she looked out over the lake.  A bolt of lightning illuminated the lake, revealing whitecaps as large as they’d been when she’d been out there, and the thunder crashed immediately afterward.

She knew the window over her bed was shattered, the wind and rain would be howling through the cabin.  There was no telling when the storm would let up.  Blake offered to take her back there, which would mean he’d have to risk himself, to the island and back.  No, that wouldn’t do.

Turning back to him, she answered softly.  “I’ll stay.”  She met his eyes briefly before moving her gaze to the floor.

LOST & BOUND is out now, and available at this Universal link:

books2read.com/LostandBound