This has been a hell of a year. And, yeah, I know it’s too early for a year in review thing, so I’ll save that. But, like, for real.

First of all, the publisher for my Vegas books isn’t publishing books anymore. Right in the dang middle. Well, two-thirds of the way through. So, I self-published. Which has been a long learning curve. (I’m totally still learning because there is so freaking much to learn.) For now, they’re all three available in Kindle Unlimited so go read the hell out of those, lovelies.

Second, I went back to the day job. It’s a different day job but it’s at the same place. I work with some of the same wonderful people and some new, really cool people and I pretty much love this decision every day, except when it’s time to get up and get ready and I think… I used to spend every day in my pajamas, writing.

And then I get paid or I think about how good the routine, the socialization, the productivity has been for my personal mental health and it’s okay.

Third, I don’t know if I’ve ever discussed this here (maybe when I talked about creating a character who lives with depression?), but I… live with depression and anxiety.

I’d been on the same antidepressant a long time and the side effects had started to outweigh the benefits. I mean, there are other antidepressants out there. It’s a complicated story I won’t bore you with, but I finally convinced my doctor (who I have a wonderful working relationship with) to try me on something new. 

Before that, between the self-pubbing and the day jobbing and the depressing side effects and the marketing the books I had out/coming out? I’d become blocked. Writer blocked, which is about a million times worse than any other time of blocking.

I was working on the third Infamous. Well, let me rephrase: I was supposed to be working on the third Infamous book. Now, before I got blocked, I’d written nearly 70,000 words on the story. I was well over 2/3 of the way through the story. I had an outline. It should’ve been smooth sailing to the finish line.

It was not. 

Anyway, long story short–well, I never was very good at shortening stories. I got my antidepressant change, and it was like a fog began to clear, creatively. I made some hard decisions that I don’t really want to go into because I don’t want to have to defend them. 

But I made a very easy decision to work on a second Cupid’s Cafe story. The original will be re-released next year by Inkspell Publishing. Some of you may (or may not) remember that Aidan, the hero, had a best friend. He wasn’t the nicest of guys, but readers liked him. Kurt, his name was, and he came to me fully-formed. And, he was a lot of things, but he was funny as well.

And his heroine, Wynona? She came very fully-formed herself. The great thing about Cupid’s Cafe is that these are less-than-conventional romance characters. 

You know what? It’s way too soon to go into this much detail. I’m just in the planning pages, though I think I’ll have it written in the next three months or so. At any rate, I’m writing again, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Viva Las Vegas, Book 3

Today is the big day–the Viva  Las Vegas trilogy is complete. Now you can buy all three books and as a bonus, book one, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, is on sale through the end of August for 99 cents.

Want to know more?

Fine, fine. I’ll gladly give you a little more. 

This is a story of reunion, of two people who have spent the last eight years knowing that they lost the love of their lives and feeling powerless to stop it. Ruby married her manager who became abusive and Anthony just became a playboy, trying to forget Ruby in the arms of woman after woman.

Neither were happy. Finally, Ruby found the strength and courage to leave her abuser, but he’s a powerful man in Las Vegas. No one wants to trifle with him by hiring the woman he refuses to let go of. When Anthony finds Ruby, drowning her misery in a cup of coffee, he goes all in. Oh, he knows she’d never make a suitable wife–she still wants fame, not keeping house and raising babies. And, the thing is, with his sister and brother in love and happy, Anthony wants to find a wife.

But, he just can’t seem to walk away from the only woman he’s ever loved. He entangles himself in her life in every way he can dream up and the explosions that lost love brings could destroy both their lives.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, find chapter one, or see early reviews, click the cover above.

And now you want buy links?

I get it. Maybe you’re ready to buy, right now, on the spot. Here they are:

Goodreads | Amazon | iTunes | B&N/Nook | Kobo

But maybe you still need a little convincing. Okay, the first thing to remember is that book 1, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, is on sale for 99 cents. I don’t know about you, but I can’t start a trilogy out of order (although all three books can be read as a standalone). Click here to find out about that book, see reviews, read an excerpt, the first chapter, and–most importantly–find the buy links.

And just for readers of this blog post, I’m holding a contest. I’ll give three people their choice of one e-book of the three books in the trilogy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Still not convinced? Well, I’m a terrible salesman, so I give. Uncle, dude. Uncle. I wish you happy reading on a book that sweeps you off your feet–even if it isn’t one of mine. That’s what I, as a writer, really want for my readers. And, hey, if you find a book like that, tell me about it. If it’s mine, definitely tell me about it. And, maybe, if you’re feeling good about it, leave an honest review somewhere.

I’m out. (I’m actually at the day job, so… like, don’t tell my boss.) Have a fantastic day and go read something awesome!

By now, my loyal blog readers, you know that My Vegas Comeback (the last book in the Viva Las Vegas trilogy) will be available in just a few short weeks.

What you don’t know is that it’s time to buy the first book. Sort of. You see, it’s going on sale next week to $0.99!

You can read more about My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, but here’s what you need to know:

“This is one you should read for yourself, it is fantastically well written, with amazing attention to details and beautiful descriptions.” —Books Laid Bare

“Little lightness, a little darkness and a whole lot of entertaining reading showcases Lori Sizemore’s talent as an author to its best potential!” —Dianna’s Review.

“Layla and Jace are really quite multi-layered, complex characters, much like this story.” —A British Bookworm

I love Layla and Jace as much as I love Ruby and Anthony (that’s the protagonists in My Vegas Comeback).

Be forewarned: Layla is a former cutter and her family thinks and treats her like she’s crazy. If this story would be triggering for you, then don’t read it.

But, if it’s not, I promise those details are in the past–there’s nothing gory about this book. Layla is a strong-willed, determined, take-no-prisoners heroine.

Her counterpart, Jace, is the son of a wealthy candy company legacy who just wants to make his own way. Unfortunately, his parents despised one another and he doesn’t even believe in love–much less marriage. But, oh–he wants Layla for his own from the beginning.

Their love story is the story of two deeply independent characters with very strongly held beliefs who come together and change one another’s world forever.

I hope you’ll check out the first book in the story and I hope the sale leads you to try books two and three.

PS–If you enjoy them, leave a review or even just contact me and tell me. I love hearing from readers!

Finally, this book is going to be released. If you’ve read the first two, then I know you’re looking forward to the last book in the Viva Las Vegas trilogy. (If you click the cover to the right, you can see it in full-screen glory!)

This book will be available on August 7 and I’ll update you with pre-order links as soon as I can. Here’s the blurb:

In Vegas, everything is a gamble, including love.

Ruby Kendall needs a chance to make a comeback. Her voice made her a legendary singer in Las Vegas, but a scandalous divorce from her scumbag manager has left her unemployable. She’s broke and desperate. But is she ready to take that chance with the man she loved but turned her back on eight long years ago?

Anthony Rosas lost the love of his life when he forced Ruby to choose between their love and her career. Now he’s finally ready to take a gamble on love. This time, he’ll support the very career that took her from him. But he wants to be more than just her manager. He wants back the dreams they lost.

They come together with a heated desire that the years couldn’t extinguish. But the odds are against them. In 1950’s Vegas, a divorced lounge singer is hardly suitable wife material. Not to mention her abusive ex, his disapproving parents, and the fact that Ruby is all out of trust.

Can they beat the seemingly insurmountable odds and let true love win this second time around?

LOVE & LAUGHTER CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE GIVEAWAY

https://bookwrapt.com/love-laughter/

It’s May, winter is over, and the sun is—hopefully—shining. Time for love and laughter to fill the world, and we’re celebrating with a romantic giveaway. Enter May 2-22 for your chance to win. You could be one of 7 lucky readers to take home a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire 7, ebook prize pack, or Amazon gift card.

(Sponsored by the 34 authors listed below)

Allyson Lindt • Amanda Uhl • Chiquita Dennie • Christine d’Abo • Daphne James Huff • Diane Louise • Donna R. Mercer • Eva Winters • Holly Cortelyou • Jacqueline Diamond • Jacquie Biggar • Jennifer Vester • Joanne Dannon • Karina Kantas • Karly Morgan • Kat Drennan • Leigh LaValle • Lori Sizemore • Lucy Lakestone • Marlow Kelly • Michele Barrow-Belisle • Michelle Jo Quinn • Mimi Barbour • Monique McDonell • RM Alexander • Robyn Neeley • S.L. Sterling • Shaniel Watson • Soraya Naomi • Stephanie Queen • Tara Wyatt • Victoria Pinder • Weston Parker • Aileen Harkwood

Plus, shop our book fair where no matter your preferred heat level, sweet, sexy, or steamy, you’ll discover some great reads for 2.99 or less. We even have a bonus giveaway!

https://bookwrapt.com/ll-book-fair/

This month has been a rollercoaster–all exhilarating highs and scary depths, personally and professionally. I’m not even going to list them here, because I’m a somewhat private person and it would be unprofessional in at least one instance.

Needless to say, I’m anxious to move on and hope for a month with some higher ups and less frightening downs.

I do have to share with you that My Vegas Comeback, the last Viva Las Vegas book probably won’t be out in June. I think I can make it happen this summer, but I’m not promising until I get a few more pieces in play.

The important thing is that it will be out and all of you awesome people who have bought the first two (or even one of them), will be able to enjoy the finale.

On a more personal note, I’d appreciate positive thoughts and prayers because my youngest daughter is having surgery to correct her clubfeet. This will hopefully make her not-so-little feet perfect and she can proceed to do anything she sets her mind to without pain.

I’m so grateful to those of you who read my rantings and news. Thank you for sticking with me through this journey.

I’ve got goodies and one of them is the second book in the Via Las Vegas series!

He needs roots.

She needs money.

A whirlwind wedding could solve all their problems…if it doesn’t bring the Vegas mob down on their heads.

Grace Winters needs a miracle in the form of cash. A young widow with a stack of bills and a dead-end job, she’d do anything to save herself, her son, and her mother from the street. Anything but gamble—the Vegas vice that got her husband killed.

Dominic Rosas needs a happy family—or at least the appearance of one—to buy out his father’s shares in the Lucky Star Casino, ousting the vicious man and avenging his sister. When he finds himself wildly attracted to a down-on-her-luck waitress with a stubborn will and a sharp sense of humor, a hasty marriage seems the obvious solution to both of their problems.

To Grace, Dominic seems too good to be true, a kind man with money to burn and an inner strength a world away from her gambling-addicted husband. They share a spark she’s never felt before, giving her hope that maybe this time marriage might work. But when she finds out he’s investing in the Lucky Star, the mob casino where her husband gambled away their future, the dream crashes around her. Dominic swears he can invest in the casino, avenge his sister, and keep her safe, but Grace fears she’s placed her bets on the wrong man—again.

It’s available today at the following retailers:

Amazon | iBooks | Google Play | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Goodreads

On to the other goodies. Available to win is a $25 Amazon gift card and this beautiful bracelet. It’s one of a kind and was designed by hardweardesigns.

Finally, how to enter. There’s a lot of easy ways, some worth more entries than others.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank all of you who are celebrating this book with me today. You’re lovely and I appreciate you so much.

So, I’m a little late to the party. I’ve heard people raving about this book for a long time. So I downloaded the sample. And I couldn’t stop–come on. And so I devoured this book. But, it wasn’t all in one sitting. Like Josh and his chocolate Easter egg, I wanted to savor it.

This book gets about eleven million stars from me, so that translates to: go buy it. NOW. It’s worth all 899 pennies. It’s better than a movie ticket and you can make your popcorn at home. I’m kidding–home popcorn is never as good as movie popcorn. But it’s so good, you won’t even notice.

Beware, spoilers ahead. Come back and read this once you’ve read the book.

DAfRN: The Hating Game

  1. Really smart grown-up lady (who is kind of a pushover): he’s in love with you. If he knows exactly how to push your buttons, knows all about your life, and then hate-kisses you in an elevator until you can’t walk straight, he’s in love with you.
  2. If he covers you in paintball, when that’s not the plan, and steps in front of the pelting you’re about to take… he’s in love with you.
  3. If he spends the weekend at your apartment and calls his brother who is supposedly a “nice guy,” just because you’re sick… if he holds your hair while you throw up… if he’s seen you at your worst and still thinks “you’re always beautiful,” he’s in love with you.
  4. If he is obviously looking for other jobs because he can’t imagine taking away your dream position, and you forced him to say he’d quit if you got it, then, guess what? He’s in love with you.
  5. If he takes you home as his fake date to a wedding, even though no one–including you–is acting like it’s fake, and his family already knows everything about you, well, he’s. in. love. with. you.

Get the picture? <3

P.S. If you haven’t read my new book, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, you’d better hurry. Book two, My Big Fat Vegas Wedding, comes out April 10th. You can read chapter one of book one here.

Today is exactly 30 days before the official release of My Big Fat Vegas Wedding, Book 2 in the Viva Las Vegas series. Coming up in the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be giving away a beautiful, handmade bracelet to commemorate the story (and I’m throwing in a $25 Amazon gift card, too).

Here is the beautiful cover–you can click on it to see it better.

Blurb

He needs roots.

She needs money.

A whirlwind wedding could solve all their problems…if it doesn’t bring the Vegas mob down on their heads.

Grace Winters needs a miracle in the form of cash. A young widow with a stack of bills and a dead-end job, she’d do anything to save herself, her son, and her mother from the street. Anything but gamble—the Vegas vice that got her husband killed.

Dominic Rosas needs a happy family—or at least the appearance of one—to buy out his father’s shares in the Lucky Star casino, ousting the vicious man and avenging his sister. When he finds himself wildly attracted to a down-on-her-luck waitress with a stubborn will and a sharp sense of humor, a hasty marriage seems the obvious solution to both of their problems.

To Grace, Dominic seems too good to be true, a kind man with money to burn and an inner strength a world away from her gambling-addicted husband. They share a spark she’s never felt before, giving her hope that maybe this time marriage might work. But when she finds out he’s investing in the Lucky Star, the very mob casino where her husband gambled away their future, the dream crashes around her. Dominic swears he can invest in the casino, avenge his sister, and keep her safe, but Grace fears she’s placed her bets on the wrong man—again.

Want to Preorder?

I’ve got you covered.

Definitely pre-order–it won’t be the only way to enter the rafflecopter, but you’ll get 10 entries for reviewing the book.

I plot. I spend weeks figuring out characters, locations, and flaws. And then I dig in deep. I plot my story out, by acts and beats, down to each and every scene of my story. And, sometimes, those scenes have beats and entire stretches of dialog in the notes.

Thinking Through Our Fingers: In the Mind of an Outliner – Arcs and Structure.

This is front loading a story with lots of work. I know this. But as a teacher, mom, wife, and all the other things, I realized I was doing more work trying to keep a story in my head than taking the time (several weeks) to really think through where I was going. Having a structured system lets me see the big picture and the small picture.

Like the quote says, I realize it’s a lot of work. I once bemoaned how long my writing process takes me and the wise K.M. Weiland tweeted back to me, to paraphrase, that’s the least important thing in writing I could worry about. And she’s so freaking right. Getting the story right, and layered with resonance, is the most important thing. How we get there are just details.

I have to add that once I start writing, it goes pretty fast. I can do up to 6k a day because everything is already in place, except the actual words. That becomes the easy part, at least in the first draft. I sprint with my friends, the words flying from my fingertips because I know where I’ve been, I know where I’m at, and I know where I’m going. Need to foreshadow–no problem.

I highly recommend that people try plotting, to their own comfort level. There are some things in your story that you will need to work out. Doing that ahead of time prevents writer’s block.

Best resources for plotting

Good luck!

P.S. Don’t forget my new novella, out now, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend. It’s book one of my Viva Las Vegas series set in 1958. Books 2 will be out in early April and book 3 in mid-June. Read chapter one here.