About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Self-Styled Writers Retreats, Part Two

writer retreat 2This is the second part of last month’s post, in which I describe the outcome of our writing get-together. I’m writing this blog post in June because I wanted our “results” to be fresh in my mind.

Please note that while I’m dividing up what we completed, a great deal of it was things we accomplished together.

I:

  • Did a complete read-through of a 96k manuscript without some of the other POV scenes in it for consistency and pacing.
  • Finished plotting a full-length novel from the mid-point to the end.
  • Came up with my catchy new tagline.
  • Edited my manuscripts blurb and tagline.
  • Got through one half of my first-round of big edits on my manuscript.

Our friend:

  • Added over 20k words to a story she was taking from novella-length to full-length.
  • Plotted a series of fantasy novels.
  • Worked on her secret project. I’m not sure of all the details, but I know she was happy with the amount she accomplished.

Landra:

  • Finished the final seven chapters on a full-length contemporary romance she’s been writing.
  • Outlined and plotted not one, but two stories.
  • Edited the entire second 50k novella in her Alternate History series.

Together, we all accomplished far more than we would have alone. Not only were we there to brainstorm with one another, but when you’re the only one in the room not working, you pick up your notebook or your laptop, and you start again.

We went out for dinner, there was an afternoon in the hot tup (with a writing notebook, to be fair), there was happy hour at the hotel (or in our room) every evening–but we still managed to accomplish an amazing amount of work in four days.

I will (and hope to) do it again in a heartbeat.

Have you had a similar experience? What’s your best tip for working in tandem?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Self-Styled Writer Retreats

SELF-STYLEDTwo friends and I are meeting this week for a mini-writers retreat. It’s not at a B&B, scheduled by some entity with time built in for socializing, writing, and critiquing–all on someone else’s schedule. And it’s not a conference.

We have an agenda. I’m personally planning to finish plotting a full-length novel and discuss synopses for my now complete novellas set in 1958 Las Vegas (I mentioned those a couple of months ago).

We’re literally meeting at a hotel nearby to create writing synergy. Synergy is one of those business buzz-words overused so much it’s lost its meaning, but it does have a definition.

Synergy, according to dictionary.com, means:

the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.

What happens, when writers get together to brainstorm and share ideas and energy, is nothing short of amazing. Work gets finished in half the time and it’s of better quality than what one writer could produce alone.

I’m struggling to describe the phenomenon, so instead I promise to tell you next month what the three of us accomplished in our four days together.

See you next month!

If you’ve experienced something similar, please post about it in the comments. And, if not, consider getting together with few writing friends, even for one dedicated day, to see what you can accomplish.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

How I Relieve Stress

hand-labor-1151300x225We writer’s tend to be an anxious lot. Will I be rejected? Will that email come? What should I say when I query this publisher? Do I even have any talent? The unrelenting worries are constant.

I think there’s a lot of writing that involves putting ourselves out of our comfort zone. Anytime you do that, anxiety is a natural byproduct.

What I’d love to know is how everyone manages their stress levels. I write–I’m kidding. When I get into the zone, I can forget about those worries as the story sucks me in, but when I stop for the day, they’re all still in my head.

Personally, I crochet. The repetition and production of an item is very calming for me. And I love that I can create beautiful things out of a single (very long) thread of yarn. I recently made two baby blankets, a teddy bear (this is called amigurumi), and I’m working on a shawl for my daughter’s formal in a couple of weeks.

I’m truly curious… what do you do to relieve stress?

siglori1

If anyone is interested in crochet, Youtube is a fantastic tool for learning! My new favorite stitch is called c2c (corner to corner) and works up in a gorgeous way. I’m including the video that I used to learn c2c.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Sometimes, I’d Rather *Not* Be Writing

“Don’t like to write, but like having written.”

~Frank Norris (or someone)

I’ve heard this quote time and again; I’ve used this quote many times. It’s just so true of every writer I know. We have writing sprints, we reward ourselves after the act, we tweet our word count.

Writing is hard. As writers, we have a deep passion and love for it. We study the craft, respect the process (whatever that is for us individually), but in the end, we want to have a body of work to show for showing up.

I’ve written on this blog about how I make myself produce writing every day (or at least I try to) and my success. I know now what works for me, but lately, writing hasn’t come so easily.

I had surgery in December and, in January, was hospitalized with sepsis. I spent eight days in and out of 105 degree fever, tired and weak, and unsure if I was even going to make it. I pulled through, in no small part because of support and love from my family and support and prayers from my writing friends here. The only reason I’m sharing this story with you is because after, writing got hard.

I didn’t feel good and I didn’t care about what my characters were doing. I was a quarter of the way through my third 1950s novella and progress didn’t trickle down, it came to a full stop. As I got better and stronger, I didn’t have any desire to pick up where I left off. I wanted to read, to watch television, and to crochet. I almost started to believe my illness had broken something inside of me.

Don’t worry about me, I’m getting my writing mojo back. Last month I began to critique and write again, and I’m forgiving myself for low word counts and the I-don’t-wanna attitude. Because, the thing is, I don’t. But, man, I love to have written. So, now I get it out of the way in the morning. I show up, sometimes in 15-minute increments, pound out some words, and get it out of the way.

Have you ever suffered through anything that seemed to steal your desire to write (or do something else that you love)? Tell me how you recovered and if and how you made your way back.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Spicing up Valentine’s Day via Landra Graf

First up, thank you to Lori Sizemore for letting me high jack her posting day to share my new releases here on Heart-Shaped Glasses.

It’s only 7 days until what commercialism has hailed as the most romantic day of the year. As for myself, being aSTG VDay Cover romance author, I know there are 364 other days where romance can blossom as well. Regardless, this month is special for me as I have not one, but two releases for February. Both are short stories, but they continue in the contemporary erotic romance universe I created with my first release, What You Need.  I’ll admit I tend to be drawn to spicy stories and I love that I’ve got offerings perfect for this romantic holiday.

What You Lost, is part of the Sexy To Go anthology series. This story got lucky inclusion in their Valentine’s edition and was incredibly fun to write because I love  the ‘reunited and it feels so good trope’. Here’s the short blurb: After being ditched by her fiancé for another woman, Clementine is done with relationships, but love isn’t done with her. Ready to take a chance at winning the woman he’d thought he lost, Shawn is going to prove to Clem they belong together. Only problem, he’s her brother’s best friend.

Other stories in the anthology cover Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Historical Romance. Sexy to Go Valentine’s Day edition is available at Amazon Universal Link ~ B&N ~ ARe ~ iTunes ~ Kobo for only $0.99 for a limited time.

My second story is set to release mid-February, and has such a delectable cover. No links or anything yet, but I LG_What You Crave_SMcan share the blurb:

Sigmund Bermudez has spent the last year out of the BDSM scene, mourning his father,and rebuilding the family business. When he loses a bet to his bodyguard that Madame Eve won’t locate a woman who’s down with his type of kink, he finds himself committed to a date he’s not sure he’ll enjoy.

Lauren Elser has heard about kinky escapades from one of her more challenging patients, and never taken in part in one. When offered a chance to explore this undiscovered side of herself courtesy of 1Night Stand she jumps at it.

Neither of them are prepared for the emotional roller coaster that comes with their date, and soon shibari bondage play turns into so much more. The only problem is Sig’s not ready to open up and Lauren doesn’t want to be sued again. If they work past the issues there’s a world of wonder in store.

Author Bio: Landra Graf has been crafting stories since the tender age of too-young-to-watch-rated-R. When she finally got old enough for adult material, she believed adult meant anything besides the smexy. Then she discovered erotic romance. Since then it’s been a journey down a rabbit hole. Landra writes erotic romance and historical erotic romance, among other less smexy offerings. Find Landra at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Traveling Through Time ( The 1950s)

Marilyn_Monroe_photo_pose_Seven_Year_ItchIn the last several months, I’ve been writing a trilogy of novellas set in 1950s Vegas. I’ve listened to music to inspire me, researched fashion, and played with gender roles for that time period. Of course, I didn’t go for the stereotype, but heroes can be a lot more alpha when “men were men” (whatever that means).

Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things I’ve discovered.

The book When the Mob Ran Vegas: Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder (by Steven Fischer). The mob is involved in my stories and this was a fun and revealing read.

My Pandora station: Vegas Fifties. There’s the expected Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. But I also discovered new artists like Keely Smith (an inspiration for one of my characters).

So many websites! Time.com has tons, like this article: Vintage Vegas: Scenes From a Desert Boomtown.

I used this site, Beneath It All: ’50s and ’60s Underwear, to research what characters might encounter during sexy times, and this one, 1950s fashion & style, just to explore the fun and glamorous attire of the time period.

This last site saved my butt when it came to how my characters should talk: Slang of the 1950s.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour through some of the information I gathered to help me write these stories that I love. I promise to keep you updated when they become closer to an edited and readable state.

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available.