Release Day: My Vegas Comeback

This month, my blog post just happens to coincide with my release day for the final Viva Las Vegas book: My Vegas Comeback.

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?

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.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Come sing for me,” he said.

“Before we eat? I need to warm up.”

Shutting the door behind her, he took the bag and placed it on the table by the door where he kept his keys and wallet.

She shook her head. “What about our food?”

With a flustered sigh, Anthony took her by the arm and led her to the piano. He sat, ran through the keys quickly, then handed her the paper with the lyrics. He centered the staff sheet on his piano. “Sing that.”

“You wrote the music.” Her voice was breathless. If she were another woman, jewelry might elicit such a powerful response. But not Ruby—her heart lay with the melody. Settling on the bench beside him, she said, “Scoot over.”

He did, the two of them just fitting together on the seat. He began to play, and she opened her mouth, letting loose with the lyrics on longing for a man she could never have that she’d written days ago. The expected way to go would’ve been something fast, up-tempo, but Anthony knew slowing things down would make the song hit all the right marks.

When she finished she turned to him. Tears welled in her eyes before one plump teardrop coursed down her cheek. “You wrote me a song.”

“We wrote the song, Red. It was your words that made it beautiful. And your voice. I could listen to you sing all day.”

She tangled her hands together in her lap with a shake of her head. “Do you have any idea how much this means to me?”

So many things he could say. Something flippant, like, It’s no big deal. But it was a big deal. He didn’t share his songwriting with anyone, not anymore. “There’s nowhere for you to sing it, not yet. But I promise I won’t let you down. You’ll be playing your own songs in a packed nightclub before I’m finished.”

She lifted her head and gazed into his eyes. Her hand reached out to brush his cheek, and he went very still. “I believe you. More than that … I trust you. I always have.”

Saving him from having to come up with a response, she leaned into him and brushed her lips against his own. Her soft lips like a feather fluttered against his mouth, his cheek, his neck.

“Ruby, I didn’t … I wasn’t trying …”

“Don’t say anything.” She pulled back but took his hand. “You wrote me a song.” She said it again, as if the words held the secret to all the things between them, the things that had kept him from touching her like he’d wanted to since the first day at her apartment.

And because the song meant so much, she offered him everything, anything. Twining her fingers through his own, he took her mouth in a kiss. Passion flared between them like lighting a match, making him hard. God, how he wanted her.

Before he could think of anything, of the reasons this might be wrong, he pulled her onto his lap and trailed kisses down her swanlike neck. Her hair, when he pushed it over her shoulder, fell like a curtain to reveal the back of her neck. He placed kisses there with reverence. He could spend days worshipping her, and it wouldn’t be enough. As he brushed his fingers over her shoulders, he couldn’t be more grateful she’d bared them today.

Her eyes fluttered open, and she held his gaze. “Make love to me. Please, make love to me now.”

In a second, he was up, lifting her from his lap, an arm under her knees and one around her waist. He’d promised himself he wouldn’t touch her, wouldn’t push her unless it was her idea. Now, finally, it was, and all he wanted to do was stop time.

You can buy this book today online:

Amazon | iTunes | B&N/Nook | Kobo

Don’t forget: Book 1 is on sale now for only 99 cents!

My Fake Vegas Boyfriend can be found here, on sale, through the month of August:

Amazon | iTunes | B&N/Nook | Kobo

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading this far. I hope you find a book you love (even if it’s not mine) and have a wonderful time reading it. That’s what it’s all about.

 

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.

Rolling With The Punches

Lori here today to talk about feeling overwhelmed. And then doing the thing anyway.

Last month, it seemed like the hits just couldn’t stop coming. My daughter had to have surgery that put her in casts on both legs, up to her knees. My dad was in the hospital twice for almost two weeks. And… there was a small glitch with my publisher. Without going into details, my trilogy (which only had 2 of 3 books edited and released) was suddenly mine again.

Long story short, I had to pay a good chunk of change to have the final book edited and copy-edited. I was able to design new covers (below) and the first two are widely available for purchase.

I’m in love with the new covers and can’t wait to reveal the final cover and release date later this month on my blog. (Hint: It’s this summer!)

Instead of just pimping out my books, though, what worked for me is really what this is about. I still love the stories, it was relatively painless to self-publish them, I enjoyed making the covers and I’ve gotten positive feedback on them. My daughter is doing great–she has these shoes that fit over her casts and, as long as there are no stairs involved, she can go anywhere. She always was one to roll with it. And my dad is out of the hospital and doing very well.

Life sometimes hands us a big bowl of lemons. It’s a cliche, but we’re often given more than we believe we can handle. But, do what you do to get through. I, personally, make lists and schedules. I figure a thing out from all the angles. Then I leap. That’s the fun part–okay, it’s all the fun part.

And I happen to like lemons. They smell nice and with just a smidge of sugar… lemonade.

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.

Choosing Your Destiny

It’s the 7th and that means your monthly dose of Lori. 🙂 Hi, y’all.

I’ve had a lot going on the last two weeks. My father was in the hospital for several days (he’s doing much better) and my youngest daughter had an extensive surgery that has left her in a wheelchair for the next 6 weeks. I’m overwhelmed.

And then I checked my email and I have content edits (that I’m paying for, by the way, so I’m on a tight deadline) and a galley to proof for a whole other book. On the plus side, this means the last Viva Las Vegas book, My Vegas Comeback, will be out in late summer and the second Infamous book, Ambitious, will be out later this year.

I know those things are going to happen because even though I have so much stress right now (seriously, I’m just a big ball of it), I choose to continue my journey. I choose to be a writer. I choose to focus on what matters to me. I choose.

And you can choose, too. Because there’s never a convenient time to chase our dreams (unless, like, you win the lottery–maybe? I think most of us would still find excuses.). You either choose this day to be a part of your success, your destiny or you choose to put it off one more day. And the problem with that, of course, is that we run out of one-more-days.

Anyway, I’ve got to get back to work. Remember that the first two stories in my Viva Las Vegas Series are fresh and available now!

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.

Then vs. Now: 1950s version

Writing three stories set in 1958 was as much a challenge in many ways as it was fun and different. There was so much research to do, despite the fact that I’ve always loved the fifties’ movies and music. I had to learn the slang, the fashions, and all about old-school Las Vegas. I drew on books, websites, and people’s recollections. I thought I’d share a little then vs. now with you today because the second book in my Viva Las Vegas trilogy, My Big Fat Vegas Wedding, is on pre-order and releases Tuesday.

Cool It, Daddio

The way of speaking was very different. People spoke a little more formally in most instances and their slang was very different. We know words like dude, lit, and on fleek. We all know what these words mean–by definition, slang is a shorthand way of speaking that changes the original meaning of the word(s).

Back in the 50s, people didn’t say someone was crazy–they said loony. A depressing person was “bad news,” a cool person was “hip,” and a clock was a “face.” I looked at some of those words and the meanings have changed today (“deuce” was a 1932 Ford) and some have remained the same, like when someone is being a “drag.”

Be a Man

Gender roles. Wow, as much as we bemoan how women haven’t come nearly far enough in equality (and we haven’t), the 1950s were an entirely different beast.

Back then, women went to college mainly to land a husband (if they hadn’t already done so in high school). Their studies weren’t important because they weren’t really expected to work and, if they did, it was usually only until they were married. A woman’s place was in the home, making sure her husband had a hot meal and his slippers. (I’m sorry, but gag me–his slippers!? Okay, back to the post.) Check out Housekeeping Monthly’s “Good Wife’s Guide.”

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking.

Conversely, men were required to be masculine at all times. There was no place for crying or sentimentality in a man’s world. If someone stepped over the line, they were more likely to use violence to settle their differences. I’m definitely glad things have changed since then (albeit, again, not enough).

My Big Fat Vegas Wedding: Viva Las Vegas, Book 2

So, now, let’s talk about the book. It was fun to write alphas who could go a little farther into alpha territory without being a jerk because times were different. People had different expectations and ideas about what was acceptable. In this book, especially, my heroine is very much a woman of her time. Grace is classy, despite being poor, and has ideas about how to behave properly (which Dominic is constantly pushing her beyond). Here’s the 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 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.

Find it on Goodreads.

Want to pre-order?

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

An Exclusive Excerpt

The house was small and old. The steps up to the porch were crumbling away. Dominic tried to get his pitch ready in his head, like he would for work, but the words all jumbled together. Odd, because he never got nervous before a big pitch.

Grace came back with two glasses. He took one and sipped because his throat had suddenly gone dry. Water with a faint taste of lemon did nothing for his parched throat. Somehow, he still pushed forward.

“I need roots,” he said.

“I don’t know what that means.” She shook her head. Of course she did, because that didn’t make any sense. He was starting at the end instead of the beginning.

He paused, trying to decide where, exactly, to begin. “Let me sum up what I know about you. Please, Grace.”

With a slow breath, she glanced inside the quiet house, then gave him a terse nod.

Okay, he could do this. “You’re a widow, trying to care for your son and mother. Your son is a handful, probably because he doesn’t have a father around.”

Her eyes flashed. He’d made her angry, but he was too far in to stop now. He went on. “You can’t seem to make ends meet, no matter how hard you try. And you always look fragile and exhausted. Am I wrong?”

“I’m not fragile. If I were fragile, I would’ve broken by now. But other than that…no. You’re not wrong. What is this?”

“Please, listen. Let me tell you about me. I have more capital—money—than I’ll ever use because my grandfather was brilliant at investing it.”

“How lovely for you.”

And, I’m trying to buy into the company my father uses for income because he tried to steal from my sister. Worse than that. He tried to have her put away.”

“I remember.” Her voice was soft as she picked up her untouched lemonade, then took a drink.

“They turned me down. They want me, but only if I’m married—a family man.” He took a deep breath. This was it. “I want yours. I want you.”

She stood, stumbling a little on the table legs. “That’s crazy. You should go.”

“No, it’s perfect.” He rose and took a step closer. “We each need what the other has. I can take care of all of you. I’ll buy you a nice house. You can pick it out. You said you didn’t want eventful, but I don’t believe you. You need eventful or you won’t make it.”

Still Not Sure?

You can read the first chapter here. Until next month, I’m wishing you all a happy and proper Spring (with maybe a little less snow?)

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.

Diversity in Romance #change #readingnewauthors

Greetings Readers

Welcome to spring. It’s officially the end of the first quarter of the year — where does the time go? Too many books and not enough time. Speaking of books, that’s what I want to talk about today, diverse books.

First, before I get started this is not a post on a soapbox, just a post about personal change. Over the last four years I’ve started joining in on the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I say how many books I’ll read and then through the course of 12 months I record via Goodreads what I read and what I didn’t.  One thing I noticed, I was reading the same authors. Now, don’t get me wrong, once I find an author I’ll mine their backlist or buy whatever they put out. But I realized most of the books I was picking up were by white authors.  Is this bad? I don’t necessarily think so, but in today’s climate, political and social I kept experiencing the same messages:

“Be the change you wish to see in the word.” – Gandhi

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. No message could’ve been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.” – Michael Jackson

Those words, they mean a lot and they come from a place of purity. That being said, one of my personal reading goals for 2018 is to read more books by authors of color. So, far I’m batting about 50/50 and I’ll admit it’s changing how I view other books. I’m looking for diversity in my stories now, looking for the melting pot we live in. I’m trying to be mindful of how I plot my own stories and educating myself in the process.

But back to the books, I’ve found some fun gems and new author’s to read.

Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory about a STEM heroine who falls for a Prince.

Mia Sosa’s Pretending He’s Mine with super hunky, sexy Julian a Hollywood agent and the best friend’s little sister trope. Too bad little sister Ashley is harboring a serious crush.

Alisha Rai’s last book in her Forbidden Hearts series, Hurts to Love You. It’s like diverse Dynasty and I ate it up.

Books on my radar:

  • Vanessa Riley’s first book in the Blackamoor Brides series, The Bittersweet Bride
  • Courtney Milan’s upcoming release, After The Wedding.
  • Hold Me by Courtney Milan
  • The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
  • FIT series by Rebekah Witherspoon
  • The Lawyer’s Luck by Piper Huguley

Now that I’ve regaled you with my list. What’s on your TBR? Any diverse authors or stories I need to check out?

 

 

 

 

About Landra Graf

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.

Novel Settings

At the moment, I am plotting a book. If you’ve read my books, you know I don’t get excited about the typical setting for historical romance, the London ballroom. I love the lesser known places, the slightly wild and occasionally remote–Durham, Northumberland, the Lake District, Yorkshire, the northern coast of Maine. That’s where my heart lies.

The first book in my new series is set in the 1850s in Kendal, Cumbria, the southernmost gateway to what is now Lake District National Park.

Kendal Castle, which I visited in October. (HSG’s very own Nina Croft used to play in these ruins when she was a child.)

So when plotting the second book, it’s been fun to peruse maps and the web for an even wilder and more remote spot, isolated, in a crumbling castle within which is hidden treasure beyond price. These are my contenders:

The Isle of Skye (off the west coast of Scotland):

Isle of Skye. By John Allan [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

An as-yet-undetermined location near Hadrian’s Wall:

Hadrian’s Wall between Housesteads and Once Brewed (fabulous name!). By Michael Hanselmann (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 County Powys, Wales:

Looking through one of the remaining walls of Castell Dinas Brân towards the north east. Source: Wikipedia.

Lundy Island, off the coast of Devon:

Four Celtic inscribed stones from Beacon Hill cemetery, Lundy. By Grantus4504 [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0, from Wikimedia Commons.

The Yorkshire Dales:

Swaledale. By Kreuzschnabel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0, GFDL or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons.

I might come up with something entirely different in the end–it’s often more fun (and okay, easier) to look for settings than to actually write the book. 🙂

Writers: how do you come up with your settings?

Readers: What kinds of settings do you like the most? Civilized cities, or natural places? Glittery ballrooms or spooky castles?

And which one do you think I should choose? I’ll give away an ecopy of one of my books–your choice–to a randomly selected commenter!

 

About Marin McGinnis

A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She's spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She's been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete. While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press. Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

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