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.

Having my cake and eating it too!

My apologies for the tardiness of the post. It was my mistake and not that of my awesome guest.

Author Landra Graf is writing in my stead today about food in our romances.


Food is a major part of my life.

It engages me for three meals a day.

My day job is all about food. How many samples can you get out of one quart of Moose Tracks Ice Cream? How would you prepare a twelve inch pizza in a small convection oven? Is it possible to make brownie cupcakes with moonshine cherries?

So there’s no wonder that food would infiltrate the romance stories I write. As natural as it is to me, my characters seem to feel the same way. It appears none of them go through an entire book without sharing a meal on the page.

In fact, only two stories I’ve composed don’t contain a scene where food is consumed. The meal adds desire, tension, satisfaction, and provides a good backdrop in which my characters could have a tough conversation, confess the worst of their faults, or simply fall in love.
My joy is getting to figure out what they are eating. Is there wine? A dessert? Are the treats fantastical or simply down-home comfort foods?

Will I use the name of some of my favorite real restaurants or make up a place I’d love to eat at.
I really do get the best of both worlds between concocting a romance story and developing a food menu to go along with it, though I’ve never written a foodie romance… yet.

So my question is: Do you like romances that involve characters partaking in the real-life activity of eating? Do you prefer to keep the food out of sight and out of mind?

How much cake is too much?

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.

Her first release, What You Need, is a BDSM/Erotic Romance and is available now from Decadent Publishing.

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.

Forty

My birthday is this month and forty is just around the corner. I’m not sure I can easily describe what this summer has, already, been about for me. I’ll try: one lost (and found!) pet, poison ivy, am I middle-aged, two-thirds of my children are adults, and discovering the farmer’s market.

I’m feeling pretty aged this summer so I thought I’d make a list of the top five perks to being over forty:

  1. We’re layered. Much like Shrek, at this point, we’ve accomplished things, failed at others, been irresponsible, been so, so freaking responsible, and pretty much watched the age of computers and video games evolve from infancy. Not to mention music videos and the first Real World. (“This is a story about seven strangers..”.). We know things and we’re still young enough to impress with this knowledge.
  2. There was no such thing as social media when we were in high school and college. I breathe a sigh of relief nearly daily for that.
  3. We observe first. As mentioned earlier, we’ve seen so much come and go and come back again, we don’t jump in without checking the water first. It’s a wisdom thing.
  4. imagesWisdom. We haz it.
  5. We’re still fabulous. I think we’re likely the generation who will not go quietly to elderhood. We’ll dye our hair, drink a sangria, and tell you about that great book we just finished. And you will listen. Because it’s rude to interrupt your elders.

I hope your summer has been full of awesome and, more importantly, you’ve read some great books!

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.

Best Movie Mom: Aurora Greenway

20140506-231959.jpgMother’s Day being days away, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to talk moms, daughters, and characters.

I’m not sure how old I was when I watched Terms of Endearment. I think I was somewhere near being a teen and so it didn’t take much to   sympathize with Emma’s frustration about her mom’s ever-present criticism and the feeling that she’s never quite enough. For anyone.

I loved the movie, but I identified with it as a young woman and a daughter. I watched it again shortly after my own daughter was born, and experienced Aurora’s palpable grief at the loss of her daughter. Being powerless to save one’s own child, watching her suffer and praying for, if nothing else, relief for her daughter in death wrenched my heart. And then, realizing how incredibly foolish to believe that knowing her suffering was over would somehow make the loss any less like losing a piece of your own soul… well, boxes of Kleenex. Boxes.

Now, I have two grown daughters starting their own lives. Choosing careers, mates, home decor–regardless, I walk a tightrope to be supportive enough, helpful enough without stifling them or making them feel I don’t think that their choice is the absolute best choice. It is, for them; a distinction I think Aurora missed. I also wonder of she might not have realized that her criticism caused the very thing she feared–that her daughter wouldn’t live up to her potential.

As a mother, I learned from this character how to accept my kids as their own people. And love them so much I can’t breathe. As a writer, Aurora is a complex character that either arcs to late or just in time. I’m not sure which. But, that’s not a slight against the writing; it’s a compliment because Aurora Greenway has kept me thinking all these years later.

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.

Unconditional Love

uncondlove

First off, I want to say thank you to Lori and all the ladies of the Heart Shaped Glasses blog for allowing me to post today.

Since its February, the month of love, I wanted to talk about what I consider to be the ‘big’ love. Love that lasts regardless of belief, words, looks, and endures all storms. I’m talking about unconditional love.

Unconditional simply means that there are no conditions, no stipulations. While I’ve had many people express love for me, not many can say they hold unconditional love for me. Somewhere along the way I make a decision they don’t like, chose to do things in a manner in which they don’t approve, or vote for a person they don’t appreciate. Once you begin imposing stipulations on your love for someone it’s easy to let those stipulations rule your feelings.

I believe in loving people unconditionally. I love my friends for their different beliefs, their different ideas or opinions, and their different styles. Political or religious, black or purple—the differences inspire my love versus stifling it. Now, I admit to be human and not perfect. So finding the way to love unconditionally wasn’t something I immediately grasped. As a grew I realized how much joy can be found to love without expectations. To appreciate every person for whom they are, even when some of the things they do may not be what you do, is rewarding and yields so many experiences.

In my book, What You Need, my characters are seeking acceptance and unconditional love; though they may not admit it at first. It’s not easy to find love without conditions and thankfully they’ve got Madame Eve, owner of the exclusive 1Night Stand dating service, to help them find the person who can love without stipulations.

My Question(s): How would you define unconditional love? And have you experienced such a love? 


1Night Stand Series

What You Need

by Landra Graf

WhatYouNeed200A sexual submissive, Royce wants a woman who’ll make his fantasies come true. The last thing he expects on his 1Night Stand is to be paired with Victoria, his ex-best friend. Haunted by their past, he refuses to deny his newfound attraction or his need for answers. This time, he doesn’t plan to let her go.

Victoria has loved Royce forever, but the sting of his rejection is not so easily forgotten. No longer the naïve girl he knew, she’s matured into a sexual dominant. This domme demands a chance to restart their relationship—on her terms. Knowing that one night will never be enough, she plans a seduction that will last forever.

Amazon | Decadent | All Romance Ebooks

About the Author:

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.

Contact Details:

Website: http://riseoftheslush.blogspot.com
Email: landra.graf7@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/landra.graf
Twitter: @riseoftheslush

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.

Seven Reasons Valentine’s Day is Evil

I’m home with a stomach virus tonight, so my bitterness is your gain.valevil

1. It lets men off the hook 363 days of the year to NOT be romantic.

The other day is your anniversary…if you’re lucky. Why would anyone only want to be treated like a special lady-friend once a year? I mean, men get Super Bowl Sunday. They get to blow things up on Independence Day. And, St. Patrick’s Day? All that green beer makes it clearly a male holiday. And also any other day of the year, when they get lucky for no reason whatsoever except maybe they’re cute in those boxers.

2. It’s a holiday designed specifically to make single people feel like losers.

I’ve been married eighteen years, but every Valentine’s Day prior to meeting my husband? Alone. It’s horrific. All the coupled people, mooning over one another, holding hands, kissing face, and you’re just standing there, wishing that you were lovable. That kind of self-esteem crushing shouldn’t even be legal.

3. Sampler boxes of candy.

Who told men this was a good idea? I have a favorite. You should know it. What am I supposed to do with all the chocolates I bite into, hate, and put back? Donate them to charity?

4. Stuffed animals for grown women who would prefer books.

I have three daughters. Stuffed animals are the space-hogging bane of my existence. If you bring me one, what’s a polite amount of time to wait before I chuck it into the garbage?

5. Seven hundred people, all trying to get into the same restaurant, at the same time.

I live in the country, so there’s like three nice restaurants, and everyone in three counties has to take their sweetie there. I imagine that in cities, while they have more restaurants, more people equals the exact same problem. Can’t we just go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and call it a day?

6. Everyone at work is comparing their flowers to yours. And you just lost in the relationship wars.

I have forbidden my husband to spend $200 on flowers that will cost $50 in a week. But, I’ve seen this go on. The delivery guys come all day. They bring bigger and more elaborate arrangements. You can practically see the women counting the blooms, measuring the height, and then smiling triumphantly. Go, you. Good luck paying your car payment this month.

7. The build up to “the most romantic day of the year” pretty much assures you’ll be disappointed.

I’ve never met a telepathic man. Between dinner, sweets, jewelry, flowers, romantic song choices for later in the evening, or that non-traditional gift you’d rather have, it will not live up to the expectations a thousand commercials have created in your head.

In all fairness to my own husband, I don’t really (obviously) buy into V-Day. He buys my girls something special, which is sweeter to me than a diamond ring ever could be. Still, on February 14th, I’ll just be over in the corner, conscientiously objecting.

Do you love Valentine’s Day or wish is it would fade into obscurity, like (real holidays, seriously) Toothache Day and World Egg Day?

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.

Stop Beating Yourself Up and Get Things Done

 

beatingup

I detest New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I mind self-improvement. I truly believe we should always be moving forward. I suppose that’s part of my issue with them–they tend to mask a lot of self-hate pretending to be good for you.

I prefer to make commitments each year. I’m aware those sound similar, but they’re not. A resolution focuses on the end result: I will lose ten pounds or never smoke again or publish a novel. But, when we want to accomplish something, our goal is meaningless without a plan. It’s like deciding to move to another country without securing a job or visa, a place to live, or even a means of travel. It’s as if we expect to just poof there, and the details can work themselves out.

But details, stubbornly, continue to refuse this responsibility. That’s why I like creating a plan and committing to the steps. Even more importantly, I’ll make a plan to evaluate if I’m any closer to my goal.

Last year, I committed to a plan to stop smoking. On January 23rd, I’ll be one year smoke-free. 2014 is the year of the writer for me. I’ve created a detailed plan, listed my commitments, tried to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles, and created quarterly evaluations on how well it works in my life.

Now that you know the keys to success (a realistic goal, a plan to achieve the goal, and a way to measure if it’s working), you can do anything. Including publish that novel. 2014 is the year of the writer for me. I’ve created a detailed plan, listed my commitments, tried to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles, and created quarterly evaluations on how well it works in my life.

If, like me, you want to commit to progress as a writer, here are some links to help you out:

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.

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