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?

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.

Today my book, My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, was released. (Did you know you can read Chapter 1 right here, on my site? Check it out.)

This is book one in my Viva Las Vegas series and the other two will be released in April and June. There’s so much I love about this series–the characters, the setting, the clothes, but today? The music.

There were 3 songs that inspired this book (and then, in turn, it became a series because I wasn’t ready to leave that world). The songs may not have been out in 1958 (when the stories take place), they may be older or may not have been out yet. But when the bud of an idea for this story first began, it was about evoking a feeling for the time and the people who occupied it.

The first song was Sway by Rosemary Clooney. That beat, the passion in the lyrics, the back-and-forth of two people falling in love was my foundation for the story ideas.

In writing this story, and after listening to Sway, I knew there would be a dance scene. I’ve never written one of those before, and the logistics of how to write that without it becoming, “He twirled her. She spun,” was intimidating indeed. I think I pulled it off. In fact, it was one of those things like dancing, where I just let myself access the moment and went with it and when I was done, I thought, “Damn. That’s actually good.”

But then to pick the song they would’ve been able to dance to. It had to be something I connected to, something that spoke to where they were emotionally in the story at that point, and something released before or in 1958. I chose Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Frankie Valli and, seriously, if you listen to the song and read that scene… it works well.

Finally, a song that helped me access the core conflict for Layla. It’s not an exact replica of her feelings, but it speaks to the situation she finds herself in. I don’t want to say anything spoilery, so I’m just going to leave the song here and hope you enjoy it– Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles.

I’ve very much enjoyed this walk down memory lane with you. These stories came about when I was in a dark place emotionally and I literally wrote myself out of a depression. They’re magical, I’m very proud of them, and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

My Fake Vegas Boyfriend

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

Google Play | Kobo

I’ve got a lot of books coming out this year. For now, let’s focus on the Viva Las Vegas series. The first book, the aforementioned My Fake Vegas Boyfriend, will be available February 6. Based on my understanding with the publisher, the second book (My Big Fat Vegas Wedding) will debut in April and the final book (My Vegas Comeback) in June.

These stories center around the Rosas siblings–two older brothers and their baby sister. Layla gets to tell her story first. I’m so pumped for you guys to read this story. It’s like nothing I’ve written before and (disclaimer) it takes place in Las Vegas, 1958. I had to do so much research! At one point, in the third book, I had my heroine making coffee with the hero’s fancy coffee machine and then my brain shot out a, “Double check that,” and in 1958 one would’ve used a percolator to make coffee. Mr. Coffee and his progeny didn’t make their debut for a few more years.

On the fun side, researching the clothing, the hairstyles, the fashion and beauty icons of the time. All of that is included in the story to help you immerse yourself in a time you might never have lived through (I didn’t!).

Learn more about My Fake Vegas Boyfriend on the book page or just go now and read chapter one.

One final note: don’t forget that today is the last day to buy Infamous for $0.99 and that the audiobook is now available through audible and amazon. Just go to the book page, find your vendor, and click to buy the book.

Much love for you all,

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.