I’ve been listening to audiobooks because my daughter was going to an out-of-district school. It was 20 minutes from my house, then 30 minutes back past my house to work. 50 minutes a day and I thought… I could be reading. Sort of. In a way that doesn’t take my eyes off the road.

My first foray into romance in audiobooks: The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones. Spoiler Alert: It ends on a cliffhanger. I figured out pretty early what the big bad secret revolved around, and I waited and waited for it to be revealed. For the non-romantic plot to move along.

And I waited some more. Here’s what actually happened: the secret is revealed directly prior to The End. And the plot… doesn’t. Moving on…

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: The Bastard

  1. If you feel lust for a man, and I mean once-in-a-lifetime lust, you act on it. Even if he treats you like shit, like a possession, or you’re just stroking his ego, or making a point–you take that. Lust is what really matters here.
  2. Don’t chase after what you want, in the beginning. But, after six years of no communication whatsoever, have sex with him like he’s got the only dick in the entire world. And by “have sex,” I mean fuck. Because this book says that word at least every three lines. So if you’re not comfortable with hearing that word repeatedly, this is not the book for you.
  3. If you have a capital-B-big secret that you know will cause a riff between this man you realize you love, and everyone else in the story knows but him, don’t just tell him like a responsible, intelligent adult. Keep it locked up. Wait for the right moment. Especially if no one wants you together. And they hate him. They’re not going to whip that secret out to hurt him. Or you. Or both of you.
  4. Don’t be interested in his money, but make sure you bring it up a lot to prove you’re not interested in his money.
  5. Men: if your asshole brother tells you this big-ass secret and he’s clearly trying to not only hurt you but drive a wedge, you make the worst assumption possible, ghost the woman you “love”, and leave her in a situation you have already deemed is physically dangerous to her. Don’t put up with that shit. I mean, yeah, she should’ve told you–fair point. But, um… why ask her about her motivations at the time? Or act like you didn’t just leave six years ago and not speak to her the entire time.

So, if you didn’t notice, this was not my favorite book. I’ve only ever done a DAfRN from a book I didn’t enjoy once before so it’s not something I do lightly. But… I think I’ve pretty much laid out what put me off.

The characters are compelling and the heat is a 7.8 out of 5. There’s that.

I read once that if you haven’t posted for a while, you should not talk about it, because no one cares. Which is probably true. (Sorry, I’m battling a little depression this year.)

Anyway, I wanted to accomplish something besides work and dealing with the wreck that has wreaked havoc in our lives for months. I’m not the best at making covers (that is an understatement), but I’m happy with how these turned out. The black and white gives them a vintage feel and conveys the somewhat darker themes.

Check them out!

Every year about this time, my critique partner and I start asking one another this question. We take a few weeks to think about it and then we discuss it. 

Are our goals realistic and measurable? How will we know when we’ve reached our goals? Are they goals we can reach (e.g. finish a manuscript) as opposed to goals that someone else has to take an active role in completing (e.g. nab an agent)?

We’ve been doing this for a few years now, so we’ve gotten pretty good at setting goals that work. But this year? My life blew up–not in a bad way. Things just…changed. I went back to work full-time, for one. That will wreak havoc on a writing schedule like you wouldn’t believe.

But, more importantly, something else happened. Halfway through the year, I realized my goals that I’d put so much thought and planning into were no longer a good fit for me.

For one thing, they weren’t realistic anymore. No more writing for three to four hours a day for me. I’m lucky to get an hour. I have to make each second count. Maybe, instead of counting words, I needed to go back to counting time. A half hour here, fifteen minutes there–it adds up.

I was working on the third Infamous book (and I was a good ways into it) when it occurred to me I was pushing myself–and it was a push, not a stroll–down a road I no longer wanted to go down.  Maybe I will in the future, but for now? It’s not right for me.

So when I make my goals this year, I’m trying to be more cognizant of what I need to be successful, to meet the goals I set. Obviously, they’re not going to be as extravagant as they were in years past–when I could devote all of my energy to writing all day.

Please don’t misunderstand me–I don’t regret giving up my full time writing life. There’s been a lot of good to come from my going back to work. I could even argue that it helps me refill the creative well, to stay connected to people so I can populate my stories.

Just know that I’m going to try to accomplish a lot in the coming years. I’m playing the long game now. It’s no longer about getting my books out–no matter what. It’s about quality and it’s about making sure I am who I want to be, as a writer.

Regardless, I encourage you–writer or no–to think about your own 2019. What do you want to accomplish? What will you do to make it a banner year?

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.