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!

Note: This post is about Exactly Like You, which is on sale this week until December 1. Here’s a quick buy link from Amazon or hop over to the book’s page for a list of retailers.

Further note: I discuss in this post heroines I’ve written with depression and one who is a former cutter, so trigger warning.

When I wrote my last book, Exactly Like You, I wanted to do something I didn’t often see done–tackle depression in a hero/heroine. I know I’m not the first to write about this, and won’t be the last. And that’s great news because the stigma associated with mental illness needs to be blown away.

Roxie’s life had been decimated by some difficult situations (her sister’s suicide and a traumatic event at her former job as a social worker). She’s not sad or down; she’s lost in the quagmire of clinical depression. And it scares her parents and, eventually, Aidan so much they sort of stop seeing her and only see the disease.

I wanted to accurately portray the illness; no instantly getting better because of true love’s first kiss or anything. And I think I did a good job. The Genre Minx, who reviewed the book, had this to say:

I loved that Ms. Sizemore was able to write a story dealing with a difficult subject and not make it cliche or overly dramatic. Roxie’s struggle is real and she owns her struggle.

Natalie Rowe gave this glowing praise on the topic in her review on Goodreads:

The story tackles an issue of depression, it also portrays it so well! Roxie’s mental battle is so well written, you can really understand her anxieties and irrational thoughts that come with depression. I’ve read a lot of books where somebody is battling with depression and everything is just constant sadness. Which isn’t what depression is. This book portrayed it perfectly.

Falling in love doesn’t solve every problem and it shouldn’t make a character complete. What it should do, in fiction and in real life, is make us want to be a better version of who we are, the whole person we can be–if we’re willing to put in the work.

It’s why I love writing romance and why I’ll keep creating messy, real characters to populate my books. Next year, the first book in my Viva Las Vegas series, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, debuts on February 6. The heroine of that book is a former cutter who uses photography as an outlet for the strong urges she still has to bring emotional relief with cutting. I love her, I love the hero and heroine’s journey.

For now, check out Exactly Like You while it’s on sale and get ready to Vegas it up next year, fifties style.

I have some news: I recently signed a contract with After Glows Publishing to publish my three novellas, all set in Las Vegas, 1958. (Psst: They published my Cupid’s Cafe book, Exactly Like You.)

The stories center around a very dysfunctional Italian-American family, specifically two brothers and their younger sister. We start with Layla (the sister) and she is in a pinch.

I’d tell you more, but those little blurbs of information haven’t seen the editor yet. And I don’t have covers or a release date.

But, YAY! I get to share all three stories with you next year.

Sign up for my newsletter, if you can’t wait to find out more, because they get all the details first. I love them. Not more than you, but why not join them so all the people I love are together? And if you don’t want to sign up for my newsletter, that’s ok. I’ll share updates and information here. There’s so much research involved in writing a story set in a real city sixty years ago.

Until next month, I thank you for your support so. much.

 

Today’s the day these two characters I’ve grown to love so much get set free into the wild (that’s your, the reader’s, hands). Hint: If you make it all the way to the end of this post, there’s a giveaway.

Read a little more about them…

Former social worker Roxie Fisher believes she’s cursed to never find happiness and an invitation to Cupid’s Café isn’t going to change her situation. All the same, against her better judgment, she gives it a try. What else does she have to lose?

After the death of his wife, accountant-turned-firefighter Aidan Craig, can’t stop taking ridiculous risks and never turns down a dare. So an invitation to Cupid’s Café is an offer he can’t refuse. What he doesn’t expect is to meet the social worker who helped him through the darkest days of his life. Now she’s the one struggling, and he’s compelled to help.

The two experience an immediate attraction, but Aidan swore to never become involved in another relationship, and Roxie can’t imagine daredevil Aidan being interested in a boring, cat-rescuer like her.

Can Roxie find the simple joy of taking a risk? Is Aidan willing to risk his heart? Or will they both lose out on a chance at true love?

Buy Links

I’ll update these as I can. For now:

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

A hot little excerpt when you click read more (and giveaway details)…

Read More →

The time I almost died. Featuring: a killer infection, Dr. Ridenhour, and my book, Infamous. Oh, and some sage advice on living.Settle in for a little story. As usual with me, there’s some drama and a little bit of humor.

You guys remember when I told you I’d become sick earlier this year, so sick I almost died? I wanted to tell you a little more about that.

I was getting ready to send in my manuscript from what’s called an “R & R”–revise and resubmit.

Even though I didn’t know they’d accept it, I just had a feeling. This was it, my chance to break into publishing.

First, let me set the stage a little. I’d had surgery in December. And even though it was over a month later (an awfully long time to show symptoms of becoming septic), I knew something was going wrong for well over a week before I ended up in the hospital.

I was sick, and it got worse every day. I called my surgeon; they called me in medicine for the nausea. Not uncommon with the type of surgery I’d had.

I went to see my surgeon. He told me that even though I’d been running a fever well over 102 degrees, I wasn’t running one at that point, and he just assumed I’d had a stomach bug.

Two days later, I was violently ill, my fever was 104 degrees. I would become desperately chilled as it spiked, then sweaty and hot when it broke. Over and over I went through this. Finally, I went to the hospital, no longer able to say I was going to be okay. I was also a little wonky in the head–a serious fever will do that.

I was hospitalized for eight days while they tried to get this raging infection under control. And one doctor saved my life.

I was trying to remember why I had to fight to live (my kids and husband) and this pervasive question kept popping up. Who would edit my book if I died? Who would sign the publishing contract? No one. It would never see the light of day.

In comes the internal medicine doctor I was referred to. I’m laying in the hospital bed, half out of it, half blasé because I was too sick to be scared, even.

I was not too sick to giggle when the doctor introduced himself, because apparently on the inside I am twelve. “Dr. Ridenhour.” Pronounced RIDE-an-hour. It just struck me as perversely funny and I swore right then that if he helped me, I’d put him in a book someday.

Lucky for me, he was not only an attractive man with a cool name, he was brilliant. He pinpointed right away that I had an internal abcess from the surgery and had slowly gone septic. My body was so close to going into septic shock, I still have flashbacks to the smells of that hospital room, the tastes of the saline as it hit my IV. The night before they gave me antibiotics (finally), when my fever had spiked to 105, and I was having trouble breathing. The nurses packed me in ice and stood around my bed watching anxiously. I was in serious trouble. And I was going to die.

I know not everyone is religious, but I know God brought Dr. Ridenhour into that room to save my life. Not just, obviously, for my manuscript (that is publishing next month–yay!), but for my kids and husband. My husband had lost his mother and best friend only seven months prior to my illness. He couldn’t lose anyone else. My kids had lost a loving great-grandfather and their grandmother just nine months before. And for me. I’m not done living yet.

At the time, I was too sick to be scared for myself. I worried about my family and my book. Now, I get chills when I think how close I came to not having this year, and however many more I have left. My daughter celebrated her twelfth birthday last month and I almost missed that. It hits at times like that.

So, the moral of the story is threefold. One, don’t take even one day for granted. Two, look for Dr. Ridenhour in a book of mine someday. And three, buy my book next month because I almost died and you’d never have seen it. It’s a flipping miracle book.

Click here to find out more about my book and to access pre-order links.

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The Time I Almost Died: A killer infection, hot doctor, miracle book, and advice on living. Click To Tweet

perf5.000x8.000.inddToday, I’m revealing the cover for Infamous, my upcoming novel from The Wild Rose Press. It’ll be available on December 14, 2016.

Go ahead, click the picture so you can see the full image. I’ll wait.

Isn’t it lovely? It was designed by RJ Morris. I’ve been sitting on this thing of beauty since July, waiting for my official release date.

In exactly two months, you can read Infamous. I’ll update with pre-order links when I receive them (and include an excerpt).

Keep reading beyond the blurb and excerpt to enter my Cover Release Giveaway! Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive freebies and other excerpts.

Blurb:

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.

Excerpt

She tangled her fingers through the hair that covered her face and pushed it away. Next thing he knew, she’d wrapped her arms around his waist.

“Justine? Um… what are you doing?”

“I’m hugging you. Taking emotional comfort.”

“Like a leech.”

“Haven’t you ever hugged before?”

“I’ve never hugged anyone I wasn’t going to have sex with.”

“We’re not having sex.” She squeezed him tighter and rested her head on his shoulder. “Hug me back.”

Sawyer lifted his arms and wrapped them around her, his hands cupping her shoulders, pulling her closer. He dropped his head to rest on hers, and parts of him, so deep he couldn’t name them, pulled free and demanded his attention. Her hair smelled like fruit, the kind kids eat in the summer, juice dripping down their chins. “I’m fine with the hugging, but, just saying, I’m not responsible for any physical reaction hugging may induce.”

“Okay.” The word drifted out of her on a sigh.

He wasn’t equipped for this. There hadn’t been a lot of touching growing up, at least not the kind that didn’t end in a busted lip or a cracked rib. As an adult, there’d been lots of touching. But, not like this. The tighter he held her, the closer he wanted to be.

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