This month marks the one-year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. She passed less than two years after her husband, my grandfather. They’ve been on my mind a lot lately. I catch my thoughts slipping into memories, like a bittersweet treat. I saw a typewriter today and thought I’d share one of the many reasons I love them so much.

When I was 15, I wanted a typewriter. I am a techie–always have been–and a writer. I take my wording quite seriously and always have.

This typewriter had a small word-processing feature on it. Not to give away my age, but this would’ve been summer of 1989. Believe me, when I tell you, this was cutting edge.

The typewriter would store one line in its memory and on the small screen. You could go back and edit that line or hit enter at the end and the line would be dashed off by the super-quick typewriting mechanism. I know it wasn’t the kind with keys that popped up for each letter. It was a grandfather to the computers that would come later and so it held the single line in memory then printed it off. There was also–and this was amazing–erasing tape. You could backspace and it would overwrite what had been written with a clear or white square.

I guess I saw this in the Sears catalog that my other grandmother would receive. (I’ve written about her before, too.) I’m not sure how much it cost. More than a hundred–less than three, I suppose. Which was exorbitant. My parents could never have afforded that.  I knew I would never get it, but it was so pretty, and technologically edgy, and perfect for someone who loved words. I knew I wanted to write, though nothing so specific as being a writer had formed. I think I was too scared of how much I wanted it to give it voice.

It was my birthday in July and my grandfather showed up. Now, with my children, he was very hands on. Went to all their school functions–that sort of thing. But with me… he was the big gun. I knew he loved me fiercely and would do anything within his power for me. That was more than enough.

He brought with him a box from Sears that held my beautiful Brother typewriter/word processor. My grandmother was with him, of course. He would’ve never known I wanted it if she hadn’t told him. I remembered wistfully telling her about all the features, how I was going to teach myself to type, how I could use it for school projects. I was… overwhelmed and grateful. I’m still grateful.

I did use it for school. I did teach myself to type, retyping magazine articles over and over until I could type at 90 wpm. I also wrote a few short stories on it. I kept it and used it in college, at least the first couple of years. Then computers took over the world and I managed to get myself one of those.

But, what a gift that was for a budding writer. The ability to write as many words as I wanted, neatly, cohesively. My heart says that maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today if they hadn’t been so generous and thoughtful.

I’m lucky enough to have my parents and a very special Aunt who has been like a combo second-mom/best friend to me over the years. I think the lesson for me is to enjoy each moment with them. Live in it. Feel the gratitude, be overwhelmed. Put the phone down and just be. I hope you’ll do the same this year, because we’re not promised any tomorrows. Let’s enjoy our todays to the fullest.

Here at the Sizemore home, we’re getting ready to celebrate Christmas. To those of you who celebrate differing holidays, like, say, Festivus (a holiday for the rest of us), I wish you lovely celebrations, decadent food, and happiness in the upcoming year.

It’s been a hard year, 2017. I lost my grandmother, I got a 3 book contract. I’ve watched my kids succeed and struggle. I got an Alienware computer (OMGYAY) and a new Nintendo 3DSXL. Not that I’m all about the things… I’m just looking for the stuff I can appreciate. It’s my way of coping. Don’t even get me started on the state of government. I’m kind of happy to see the backside of 2017.

I was hoping to have a cover reveal this week, but, alas, I have no pretties to show you. Yet. I do have a blurb for My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, the first in the Viva Las Vegas trilogy. It will be released on February 6–if you haven’t seen that yet.

1958 Las Vegas. She can ruin his career. He can save her freedom. What’s a little blackmail between strangers?

 

Layla Rosas has been burned too many times—by her cheating ex, her narcissist mother, and now her father who’ll put her in an asylum, for good this time, if she can’t settle down and be a good girl. She needs a quality boyfriend—now—to convince her dad she’s back on the straight and narrow.

 

Jace Russell is good at his job: keeping the wealthy elite who visit his casino safe and happy. When a photographer snaps a career-ending shot of a client, it’s Jace’s duty to do whatever it takes to stop that photo from hitting the press.

 

Layla didn’t intend to take a compromising shot, but that doesn’t mean she won’t use it. When Jace realizes a few fake dates are all she wants in exchange for the negatives, he’s all in—with the added agenda of getting the crazy but beautiful woman between his sheets. But Layla refuses to gamble her heart on the toe-curling kisses of a fake boyfriend. It’s just a few dates. How hard can it be?

Doesn’t that sound like delicious fun? The answer is yes, lovelies. And it is.

For now, from me to you, happy holidays!

I had this great topic (for other writers) dreamed up this month (actually last month, but I digress), but it’s been one of those months.

via GIPHY

I finally finished the second book I had to revise and submitted it to my publisher. Edits for the first (which is being published June 20!) should arrive any day. We had an Open House and Formal Dance here this week with the kids and my daughter’s last day of Cosmetology school was Wednesday.

And I wasn’t there because my husband had to have surgery WAY out of town. And, so of course, we took her out Monday to celebrate. A surprise party with cake then sushi.

It’s been a hell of a month. In just ten days, my daughter and I will be making our way to Arkansas, by way of Nashville (where we will spend the night, going and coming, because I can’t drive that long in one go), to spend a week. She’s meeting up with a friend and I’m spending several days holed up with my critique partner, where I will be slaving away at the third Infamous novel.

No, you didn’t miss the second one. I just submitted it. Cross your fingers, please, that the publisher likes it.

So, here’s a gif of Princess Leia because she’s my hero.

via GIPHY

I’m going to take a deep breath and remind myself that things will eventually settle down.

Welcome to my stop on the Highway Cafe Spring Tour!

Spring is hands down my favorite time of year. I live in rural West Virginia, in the US, and Spring is incredibly, blissfully green. Even the sunlight seems to reflect the greenness of the grass and budding leaves giving the air a refreshing quality.

I wanted to share a picture of typical West Virginia beauty. We get a bad rep in the media, but I won’t go into that. What we do have in spades is mountains, trees, flowers, creeks, and rivers.

This isn’t my view but it’s pretty damn close to what I see driving from my house to town on any given day. (Click either the picture above or the one to the left to get a full size view.)

I love my mountain home, but never more than in the Spring.

More about my novel, Infamous

Justine Montgomery, daughter of a divorced beauty queen and TV magnate, is a tabloid disaster after her infamous sex tape. She’s so desperate to help save her family’s home she turns to her deal-making dad. Can she prove to him she’s cut out for a career in television or will she lose it all?

Sawyer has his own past and a successful career is his only goal. Seeing Justine fail would mean the promotion of a lifetime, but things get complicated when he develops feelings for her. Suddenly, the lines between work, life, sex, and love are blurry.

They will have to overcome the bitterness of a rejected ex, the controlling actions of her father, and the half-truths they’re telling one another to forge a lasting partnership both on the job and off the clock.

Buy from Amazon right now!

Win a copy, plus many more books!

You can check out the home page of the Spring Tour here. My book, Infamous, along with several others can be won by visiting that page. Mention that you spotted the Easter eggs on my site (you’ll have to look for them) in the comments there.

Win a ton of great books in the Highway Cafe Spring Tour and find out why I adore Spring in WV. Click To Tweet

I said you’d have to look for them. I never said you’d have to look hard. ;-)

 

Remember the year I forgot to get my husband a chocolate bunny and he was devastated? Which was like three years ago, so go me for remembering. Sort of. As Meatloaf said, “Two outta three ain’t bad.”

So, anyway, I really stepped up my Easter game this year. Got to make a basket for my granddaughter (which I filled with books because Nana Lori is going to make a reader out of that girl). And my daughters got things they were dying for but had no idea they were getting. It was great. Part of the reason I indulged so much is because my husband helped me do the shopping this year (first time ever). He completely negates the better judgment side of me by saying, “Get it if you want.” I can’t argue with that.

Naturally, he was there so I couldn’t surprise-buy him a chocolate bunny.

And then… well, I forgot. I had Easter in the bag. A literal bag, hidden in my closet, all finished. I remember thinking about it once, but then I was in a hurry.

Come Easter, I had to tell him I’d forgotten. He wasn’t really as emotionally bereft as the first time so I kind of wonder if he didn’t buy himself one, to be honest. But, that’s not the point.

The worst part is, the man bought me a Twix Easter egg. He got me candy and I had forgotten his favorite thing. Well, his favorite thing about Easter. I’m pretty sure his favorite things are his Harley, the kids, and me–in that order.

So, basically, I just lost at marriage. Beat at my own game. It’s a good thing I have a Twix Easter egg to drown my shame in.

I forgot to buy one damn thing and I lost at marriage--Easter Edition! Click To Tweet

I had this in-depth post planned for this month, but January has not been great for the family. We lost my grandmother on January 4 following a long battle with dementia, my mom has been in the hospital off and on (mostly on, as she is now) since before Christmas, and my oldest daughter (the pregnant one) is in the hospital with pre-eclampsia.

It’s not all bad news. We think the doctors have found the issue with my mom and surgery should correct it. All her tests for bugs and cancer, the scary stuff, have come back clear. And if my oldest can stand the boredom of an 11-day hospital stay, the baby will arrive by the end of the month, albeit about 6 weeks early.

All this is to say, I just don’t have it in me to do a blog post or newsletter this month. I’ve been writing (a lot) so I’m too busy to worry, but some things my brain just turns up its figurative nose and says, “Nope.”

I appreciate healing thoughts, positive vibes, and prayers. Our family is going to come out the other side of this and we’ll be fine.

 

Writers are readers first, so I’m always looking for awesome gifts (for myself). This year, I thought I’d share some of my finds with you. Click on the thumbnails to see a full-size picture; click the title to go buy these items.

Find a unique, special gift for the reader in your life. Just in time for the holidays! Click To Tweet

Who doesn’t love Alice’s story? It’s a wacky, weird, metaphor-laced journey of self-discovery for us all. For me, it says, “Embrace your own brand of crazy.” I love that.

I can’t even say how much I love these earrings. You must click the link to see them in full-size glory. Sherlock is hot (thank you, Benedict Cumberbatch) and a fun read.

In the Dewey decimal system, that stands for fairy tales. It’s sort of an homage to those dark and twisty stories we loved as kids as well as libraries in general. I really want this one, if my husband happens to be reading this.

This is another one I hope my husband is looking at. As both a reader and writer, I can appreciate these. They say, “I love stories!” loud and clear.

This is from one of my favorite books and one we should all be proud to wear. “Obstinate headstrong girl.” Yep, that’s me. And you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little virtual shopping trip and maybe found something for you or the reader in your life.

 

I’m so excited! Today is the day my book goes out into the wild, into readers hands, to (hopefully) be enjoyed and give readers a respite from their stressful lives.

I received a glowing review from The Genre Minx. Here are some quotes:

“Believable, charismatic and entertaining!”

“The pages just sizzled with smoldering desire between Justine and Sawyer.”

“If you are looking for a book that will engage you from beginning to end, then I recommend this book to you!”

You can find the full review here.

I’d also like to share the full options of buy links with you because not everyone wants to buy from Amazon. For what it’s worth, new releases are 50% off on release day at The Wild Rose Press, so if you’ve been unsure and decide to buy today, I’d suggest you go there.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
All Romance | BookStrand | Goodreads

Thank you for all your support through the years. If you do decide to try Infamous, I truly hope you enjoy it!

these-are-a-few-of-my-favorite-thingsSo, it’s December and even the hardest hearts can’t deny the pull of the holidays. For me and my family, we celebrate Christmas.

Today, I’m going to share three of my favorite things about the holiday season.

Christmas Music

I like all the Christmas music. I can happily tune my Sirius Radio to Channel 17 after Halloween and rock out to whatever they choose to play.

(Note, the links above will open in Spotify.) 

Share your favorite holiday songs in the comments to make me love you forever.

Hand-crafted Gifts

catbuttI think once you’re an adult the joy of Christmas becomes giving. In that vein, I’m busy crocheting gifts. For instance, my aunt asked for 2 sets of cat butt coasters. Those do exist and here is the pattern, if you’re interested. Alternatively, you can buy them on Etsy if you’re dying for a set.

Charity

I know it’s kind of hard to make the jump here from cat-behinds, but let’s do it anyway.

One of my most favorite things about the holidays is charity. The spirit of it, sure, but the act as well. On this one, I won’t out myself, because I believe giving should be private. It doesn’t mean as much if you want a pat on the back later.

I will, however, share a few charities dear to my heart. In West Virginia, where I live, drugs are an epidemic. That leaves many children unfed and without Christmas presents (among other more terrible things). The Family Resource Network not only tirelessly works to meet every need, there’s a toy drive you can donate to. They often have to take used toys just to come close to having enough. Your donation would mean a lot.

On a bigger scale, there’s always Toys for Tots. It’s the Marines collecting toys for needy kids–doesn’t get more awesome than that.

Finally, my favorite charity is St. Judes. No child should be denied treatment that could save their lives.

Comments are open for you to list your favorite charities, as well.

I wish you all happy holidays, whichever holidays you and your loved ones celebrate.

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I’m joining with several (and I mean several) new-to-you writers to put out a newsletter every other month. This doesn’t replace my newsletter, which you should totally sign up for right now.

Each newsletter will highlight four different authors. You’ll find new excerpts, books on sale, book boyfriends (<3), and author spotlights. Each newsletter will also feature contests (plural) that you’ll automatically be entered to win by virtue of just being a subscriber.

We’re having a Sign-Up Contest now. Every subscriber will be entered to win one of three (3!) prizes: a $50 Amazon Gift Card, a $35 Amazon Gift Card, and a $20 Amazon Gift Card. In addition, we have a Facebook page which will be teeming with info about us all and you should go like it after you sign up for the newsletter below.

The winners for the prizes will be drawn on December 31. They will be announced on the Facebook page and emailed.

Sign up below to discover new stories and win contests. It’s literally win/win.

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