I want to preface this by saying that I was contacted by Aleksandra Lechwar, who runs a great Etsy shop called Just 1 More Chapter. Apparently, my Christmas post of great reader gifts was sending Aleksandra some traffic (yay, right?) and he wanted to thank me. He offered to let me pick out a couple of pieces for free, which I gladly did because they looked so cool.

I chose two pairs of earrings. One, Wicked, because I adore Elpheba and her story. It’s one of my favorite books. The second set, The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, was because that was a book my English major grandmother gave me when I was a teenager. If you read my blog, you know she passed away in January after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, I miss her, but I’d missed her a long time–that will make sense to anyone who has had to live with a family member slowly descending into this horrible disease.

The earrings came quickly and they’re so cool. They not only have the book cover, they have the spine, back cover, and even little “pages” along the side. They’re very true to life.

Here are a couple of pictures of me wearing one pair and a detailed picture of the other. I also want to add that I’m allergic to nickel and most earrings make me itch, even some that claim to be nickel-free. I wore these earrings all day and didn’t feel even a twitch of itchiness in my ears.

All of this is to say that now that I’ve tried out the products, I can’t recommend Just 1 More Chapter’s products highly enough.

PS. I was in no way asked to leave a positive review of the product and have received nothing in compensation for doing so. I just really wanted to share these super-cute and well-made products.

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The book 11/22/63, by Stephen King, is about a fellow from modern day who is shown a portal back in time by a sick friend. Literally sick, not crazy sick.

The friend, who has the portal in the back of his diner and has been using it to go back to get really cheap hamburger, wants Jake to make better use of it than he did. I guess maybe because he’s dying of cancer and there’s that whole personal gain issue? I dunno. He explains to Jake that if someone went back, hung around for several years, tracked down Lee Harvey Oswald, and stopped the Kennedy assination, the world would be all sunshine and rainbows. There’s much more to it, and this is a phenomenal book.

It also, for me, was a love story at its very core. Because Jake meets Sadie. And she’s fragile (because of one whackadoo ex and parents who are very victim-blamey), very tall, and smart. Actually, I think I may kind of love her. Anyway, in honor of Halloween, horror, and a writer I love…

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: 11/22/63

  1. Don’t time travel. Bad shit will happen and you will be sad. Very, very sad.
  2. It is adorable and sexy to say “Oh, sugar,” the first time you really enjoy sex. I’m not being facetious for a change.
  3. Be honest. Just be honest because if she (or he) loves you, they will believe whatever crazy, delusional-sounding thing you say. But they will leave your ass if you keep secrets.
  4. True love doesn’t care about scars or weird age differentials caused by time-traveling.
  5. A person who loves you doesn’t try to change you, but they do help you become the very best you that you can be.

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“Dating Advice from Romance Novels: Halloween Edition!” @lorisizemore http://bit.ly/1pxGtkV ~ Click to Tweet

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So, last week, I finished not one but two (the only currently released, or it would’ve been more) books in the Nodaway Falls stories by Lucy March. March also writes (and has been recommended on this site) as Lani Diane Rich. I read two because I adored the first one. And then, I bought the second and realized that I was ready to settle down and have babies with it–that’s how much more I loved it. (Links to both books can be found at the end of this post.)

Dating Advice from Romance Novels: That Touch of Magic (Nodaway Falls #2)

  1. Always, always, always choose the slightly dorky but sweet and sensitive guy. Bad boys have their place, but only a good guy can crack a bad girl’s impenetrable exo-skeleton. That metaphor may have gotten out of hand. Dorks and bugs. Wow.
  2. Just because the love of your life cheats on you then leaves, for ten years, to join THE PRIESTHOOD doesn’t mean you’re not meant to be together. Yes, that really happens.
  3. Avoiding your feelings can have serious consequences. For example, you may not notice spontaneous magical mayhem erupting all over your town.
  4. If you literally catch fire when you kiss your love, be extra careful not to burn him (or her).
  5. It might be useful to deal with the verbal abuse you received at the hands of your wretched mother before you attempt to work out any relationship issues. (See number three).

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“Dating Advice from Romance Novels; now with magic! @lorisizemore http://wp.me/p1pusj-1en ” ~ Click to Tweet

cover1 copyToday, I’m interviewing Landra Graf, whose new historical erotica, With This Kilt, I Thee Bed, hit e-shelves everywhere this week. As I mentioned when I hosted her cover reveal, I love Landra’s stories because she can take unexpected protagonists or situations and make them into great stories. I was excited to share more about her characters, her stories, and what’s coming up next. Oh, and she’s giving away a $25 Amazon or iTunes gift card and a copy of her e-book!

Each of the three brothers in your book is hot and offers something uniquely special. Which brother is your favorite hero?

Such a hard question to answer. If I had to choose it’d be Hamish. He’s rough, but caring too. I loved writing his story the most because he challenged me when finding his heroine.

Which is your favorite heroine?

Athdara, of course. All my heroines are definitely strong women who take charge of their sexuality and don’t believe in letting men save the day. Athdara, she appealed to the tough girl in me. The one who wanted to run through the woods, fish, hunt and so much more.

What makes Scottish men sexier than other men of that time-period?

These men are some of the sturdiest and rugged men. They live in such a cold country and leave their legs bare. Those accents don’t hurt them a bit either. Whenever I think of a Scottish man I think of a tough, brawler who can hold his drink and loves his woman with such a fierce devotion you wouldn’t want to come between them. Wow! I didn’t know how school-girlish those last few sentences sounded until I re-read them, but yeah.

Where did you get the idea for these stories?

The first one came from a submission call for an anthology, which luckily got passed over. Only a few days after submitting the story I came up with the second one, and from there the idea spiraled out into three stories. All steamy, and more steamy then anything I’ve ever written. I really covered the gauntlet, IMO, with this book.

How did you come up with this clever title?

Ha! Funny question because for the longest time I didn’t know what I’d call  the darn thing. My brain likes to marinate on things, my term and it may sound silly, but it’s true. I’ll put a thought it my head and my subconsciousness rolls around with it and then spits out an answer when it’s ready. The title came to me while sitting at my computer working on edits. I’d just finished with edits on the first two stories and boom the thought came. I then polled Facebook, like all good authors do. *snickers* The votes were all in favor, thankfully.

What do you want your readers to come away with when they close your book?

I want them to remember the characters and be inspired by them in some way. Whether by owning their sexuality, being a support for someone, or loving a person they way they are and not asking them to change– those are some of things I try to write in my books and I can only hope readers see them too.

We have talked about what a steep learning curve there was to self-publish. Do you have any advice for writers who want to self-publish?

There’s more to self-publishing then the cover and editing. So. Much. More. Besides a solid marketing plan, there’s a lot of administrative work required, along with some unavoidable expenses. So I encourage others seeking to self-publish to research, research, and ask questions. Give yourself plenty of time to not only get the book in the best shape, but to learn about formatting, the different online marketplaces and the time it will take to get all your work loaded, etc.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a fairy-tale re-telling of a Grimm story called, The Seven Ravens. My version is going to be diesalpunk romance with an assassin  and a bounty hunter. If there’s one thing I like to do it’s push boundaries and of course, go against the mold.

Thank you Lori for hosting me and my lovely highlanders on your blog today!

I bet you want to know where you can buy Landra’s new book, which is chock full of highlander goodness– three stories, one price.

 Amazon Amazon UKSmashwordsBarnes & Noble

Google Play – All Romance – Goodreads

Did someone say giveaway? Here you go!

Prize: 1 $25 Amazon or iTunes gift card and the With This Kilt, I Thee Bed  e-book 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

siglori

2014-09-26_01_56_29So, I was thinking in the car today about what sort of advice I’m totally NOT qualified to give (conclusion: all the advice). However, I then decided, okay, fine… what advice am I really not qualified to give?

Dating advice. Oh, so many reasons why.

Exhibit A: I’ve been married so long, I’m not entirely sure of the number, but I believe I’m between years 18 and 19 of my life sentence. Exhibit B: I had very few real dates in high school. Like count on one hand. I had boyfriends come “courting” at my house (which should be Exhibit C, so let’s go ahead and call it), but only a few go-out-dates. Exhibit D: I got married at 21. As in, I became old enough to drink and then I got married and became a mother 13 months later (because that’s how efficient people get family done).

And then I had a brilliant idea…

What if I offered dating advice? Not from me; from whatever book I’m currently reading (usually romance, but not always!).

For example, here’s a little A Song of Ice and Fire advice: never insist that the witch whose village your buddies just burned, raped, and pillaged treat the tiny cut on your husband’s chest. Seriously. Neosporin that bitch and go on.

Dating Advice: Sweet Nothings

I recently finished reading Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan (from whom I. freaking. auto-buy. everything). Here are some quick dating tips:

  1. Have an adorable name so your darling rogue can use it in double entendre as often as possible.
  2. If a chick shows up at your door, in like 5 feet of snow, because her sister is having a baby, the doctor is a racist asshole, and she doesn’t know what to do because someone is going to die… she probably loves you and wants to make Sweet-ly love to you. (See what I did there? Double. Entendre.)
  3. Bigotry is no reason not to get married and have lots and lots of babies. (I did know that one already, but I’m pretty impressed I found it in an historical novel.)

I’m halfway through another book and already taking notes for you guys! See you soon.

siglori

 

 

Tweet: “Dating Advice from Romance Novels: Sweet Nothings” @lorisizemore http://ctt.ec/jat7r+

I am so excited to share my wonderful critique partner’s upcoming release cover. It’s gorgeous; the stories are great. And I’m going to tell you a secret that I hope the world realizes very soon: Landra writes unique stories. Oh, that sounds so unimportant, but listen… she can take characters and situations that you wouldn’t expect to see in your typical romance and she writes the hell out of it. I strongly suggest you check her out.

L.

With This Kilt, I Thee Bed: Tales of the Brothers Gordon by Landra Graf

14110714754971They’re not your traditional highlanders.

Rafe Gordon, Laird of Nairn, is searching for release from the nightmare of his wife’s passing. When Elsie, his daughter’s new governess, brings with her the temptation of passion and a less-than-perfect-past, Rafe must decide if love truly can conquer all.

Innes Gordon is looking for a good time. When that good time turns out to be the childhood-friend-turned-kept-woman Catriona, he finds himself torn between claiming her ‘til death do us part’ or simply sharing her with his twin.

Hamish Gordon is seeking a woman all his own. While his family’s home is invaded with nuptial ceremonies, Hamish is sent to patrol his older brother’s hunting grounds in search of a thief. Discovering his prey yields the biggest surprise — and Athdara needs his help as much as he needs hers.

Author Bio:

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.
Author Website: riseoftheslush.blogspot.com
Facebook: facebook.com/landra.graf
Twitter: @LandraGraf
Goodreads: Landra_Graf

P.S. Click on the cover if you want an even better view.

We all know (or should) that I love me some Lani Diane Rich (@lanidianerich on Twitter). I read her book, Ex and the Single Girl, a couple of years ago, and mentioned how much I loved it in another A Glance At post. Personally, I admire her, I’d love to take one of her Storywonk classes, I listen to Storywonk podcasts on the way to work. Kinda. Love. Her.

But, whatever. It doesn’t negate the very awesomeness of this book. So, like the other glances (which,  you know, isn’t an in-depth look), I’m just going to go into what I loved about this book. But, first! The blurb:

 When Tucson Today segment producer Carly McKay visits the quirky artist’s community of Bilby, Arizona, to do a story on a psychic quiltmaker, she receives an odd reading… and her life falls apart in eerie harmony with what the quilt foretold. Her best friend professes his undying love; her show gets canceled; and the mother who disappeared seventeen years ago appears on their doorstep, getting instant forgiveness from the entire family… except Carly.

Carly rushes off to Bilby to return the cursed quilt, and then surprises herself; she stays. She rents a cabin, gets a job, and meets an artist who shows her new ways to look at life, and love. Can she run away and start a new life, or should she go back and stitch her old one back together?

And why is it so hard to get a straight answer from a psychic, anyway?

The best thing about this book (and this book has a lot going for it) are the characters. You’ve got a psychic quiltmaker. And her ex-husband, who is now the owner of the art supply shop in town. And a woman. An adorable beta artist as love interest. Sisters who are all so individual. A mom who disappeared 17 years ago and suddenly comes home. There is a big cast. And they all contribute. And they’re all real, complex, fully-formed. And yet, they don’t overpower the story.

And, at it’s core, it feels good. There are messages about accepting oneself and forgiveness that are very personal and moving (mostly because you come to care so much for these people. Um, characters.).

It’s one of those books you’re satisfied in a deep way when you put it down and yet a little sad to leave that world. And that, my friends, is kinda the point of storytelling.

Buy it: The Fortune Quilt

The husband and I, we decided to go see a movie. Something we haven’t done since the first Transformers came out. You can thank my aunt, who bought us gift cards. “Now, you really use that!” As opposed to whatever else I was going to do with it, I suppose.

Not a lot out right now. Rango and Hop were ruled out because I wanted to see a grown up movie. Because it was just us. The grown ups.

I checked the site and tossed out my only two considerations: Limitless or Red Riding Hood. Now, Limitless has Robert De Niro in it. I should note, my husband has never in the history of ever taken me to see a chick flick. I figured De Niro had a better shot at upholding our “guy movie” trend. But he chose Red Riding Hood.

I love Amanda Seyfried. She was Lily on Veronica Mars. I quote her often, to my kids (Lily, I mean): “Whoop-de-freaking-do, Veronica!” They totally know what this means. I will always remember the end of season 1, when dead/flashback Lily is saying goodbye and she tells Veronica to never forget her. And Veronica says, “I could never.” That’s kind of how I felt.

Okay, so fast forward and Amanda is all gorgeous, as always, and kind of innocently bad, and sexy as Red Riding Hood.

Read More →

I’m almost finished with this book, and I’ll probably update this post when I do, but I just wanted to jot down some observations about the book.  I’m not a reviewer, and there’s a good reason for that.  I’d have a hard time slamming a book even if it really deserved it (not that this one does–I usually take the ‘if you don’t have something good to say’ road) and as strange as it sounds from a writer, I don’t think I have the words.  Despite my attempts to prove otherwise, you really can only say awesome so many times (I do try to limit it to one per post).

Having said all of that, I’ll tell you what I liked about this book.  First, I didn’t know it was novelized non-fiction until I received it and read the flap copy.  I’d watched the movie, and my general rule of thumb is if I like the movie, I’ll love the book.  There’s just more to a book, and it’s usually more of what you loved about the movie in the first place (if the moviemakers did a good job).  So, that was my sole basis for ordering it.  I was not disappointed.

It may be because I did see the movie, and the actors done an amazing job, but the characters are all just so real and yet, at the same time, so eccentric and out there.  (My fave? Chablis.  The Lady Chablis, to you!)  How hard can it be to make real people interesting?  My guess: plenty hard.  We’re boring!  Think of all the hoops you have to jump through to make a fake person seem real enough and yet elicit some emotion or connection to the reader.  And you get to create them made-to-order!

I also loved the setting.  This is a perfect example of a setting being a character in the book.  Savannah.  It’s beautiful, and secluded, and dark, and crazy.  A lot like most of the characters in the book, actually.

I also found this out: Kevin Spacey looks a LOT like Jim Williams.  Or he did in the movie.  But then I love Kevin Spacey–but that’s another blog.

What I didn’t love? The book is a bit of a slow starter.  I don’t mind that, I read Stephen King, but in the world of romance writing this is one of those Rules-with-a-capital-R: start your story when the action starts.  Or something to that effect.  Look up the Rules, you’ll see what I mean.  It’s also said that there are a lot of romance novels released (true) and you’ve got to get the reader’s attention right away.

Either way, I’d highly recommend the book.

This book, by Kelly St. John*, broke several big rules. There was no clear antagonist. The majority of the book, the heroine and hero’s relationship doesn’t immediately progress to HEA simply because of verbal misunderstanding and some insecurity and doubt on both parts. And the end? The black moment is based on a huge misunderstanding that the heroine won’t give the hero a chance to explain. It breaks all the rules I’ve read, and yet… it’s a really good book.

I love the characters, I enjoyed watching as they fell harder for one another (since they both basically start with major crushes). Despite the misunderstanding premise, they didn’t spend the whole book fighting to create conflict. Conflict was generated by the two of them falling harder and worrying about the other wanting more than just the five days of sex they agreed to. Oh. And there’s a LOT of sex. Let me put it this way: the heroine has a list of all the wild sexcapades she’s never tried and wants to fulfill with Mr. Right. And they do them all. Graphically.

So, good book, great author who can break the Rules and still give a good read.

*Kelly’s web site no longer seems to be active; instead, I’ve linked to her Goodreads author page.