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.

A Seasonal Effect

fall

September was always my favorite time of year. School always started on the 1st. There would be new clothes, new books at school, new pens. New teachers and new friends. Crisp autumn mornings and flaming leaves ushered it all in.

Fall meant change for me and always has. Even after I graduated from college, I would still sniff the change in the air one morning and feel hopeful suddenly. It’s become a time to begin new projects (most of which I never finish)–new blankets to crochet, new story ideas, even a new wardrobe makeover. Even though the leaves turn and float to the ground, I can’t see it as an ending, thought it’s often referred to that way metaphorically. For example, I’m nearly 40–does that mean I’m in the Autumn of my life?

Actually, that’s totally okay. I do want a new beginning. I do want to begin developing new habits. I want to eat healthier, I want to live happier, I want to see life more clearly. Maybe it means we can look at our lives and just let ourselves explode with color, begin the work that will bear fruit in the future.

What seasons affect you the most? I can’t be the only one who takes a cue from their environment. Does summer make you vow to enjoy life more? Does spring make you hopeful? Does winter make you sentimental?

Don’t forget, every comment is entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card from Julie!

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.

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” -Dr. Seuss

normalwvviewI live in the mountains. Actually, I live in a valley surrounded by mountains and when I was a little girl I imagined that living in a bowl would be exactly the same.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that some of the sights I see every day–endless trees bursting with color, gurgling streams where rocks jut out to create the perfect sleepy fishing hole, fluttering snowflakes that settle inches thick to blanket my part of the world–are things people spend money to vacation to see.

Of course, most of us don’t appreciate what we have and long for that which is far away and exotic. I have found those places in books all my life.

The bustle of a New York city street, munching croissants in a street cafe in Paris, sloshing through the constant rain on a busy London sidewalk. I’ve been all these places and more. An Irish pub, an Italian villa, a Bahamian beach bungalow.

The thing is, it didn’t quench my desire to see these places. It only made me want more. I set the first novel I wrote in a city, a big one, and struggled to write it because I knew nothing about living in a big city. I did throw in a visit to a small town, which I think is one of the highlights of the story. I’ve since realized to write what I know; I can tell you everything about small town life. I suppose there are people out there that long to read about the simplicity and connection that comes with living in a small town.

I have hopes of being able to take some “research” trips one day. Tell me about your favorite books where the setting stood out as much as the characters.

(My first recommendation? Anything by Nora Roberts set in Ireland. Seriously, wow.)

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.

Summer Lovin’

dirtydancingI’m not exactly what you’d call the outdoors type. Let’s be honest–I’m a nerd. I’m far more likely to be stretched out in the A/C reading a book or watching a movie than engaging in any sort of physical activity.

So, when I tried to think of summer, it went something like this: Hot. Sweaty. Humid. Ugh. Wait… summer romance!

My favorite summer romance movie? Dirty Dancing! I love to watch the transformation of Baby from dork to sensual goddess. the angsty attraction she feels for Johnny turn into angsty devotion on his part as he realizes she’s out of his league (I’m sorry, I know that’s a cliche–but… it’s in the song!).

But my favorite part–the favorite part of everyone in the free world, I think–is when Johnny storms into the end-of-summer show to find Baby relegated back to the metaphorical and literal shadows where her family is most comfortable placing her. Then he stands up for her, the way she stood up for him, and says that line. The line that can turn every woman from my generation to instant jelly.

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Damn right, they don’t!

What’s your favorite summer romance story (book or movie)? (Don’t forget, every comment this month is entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card AND a FREE digital copy of Nina Croft‘s July release from Entangled, Losing Control.)

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.

Say No to the (Cookie-Cutter) Wedding

cookiecutterMy wedding was disastrous, mostly because I just wanted to be married. And we were very broke. My dress was horrifically ugly, my husband drank a six-pack of beer before (I told him then this was not grounds for taking it back), the decorations and cake were a wedding gift from friends who knew we’d never pull it off otherwise. But, I didn’t choose any of it. As the years go by, I realize how not me (or him) it was. I threaten often to renew our vows in an Elvis impersonator ceremony, in Vegas. Maybe this explains my passion for great weddings.

My cousin recently remarried the love of her life. It’s a long story (and not mine, so I won’t tell it), but romance novel worthy. Here’s the thing: it was nothing like a wedding. Nothing. At least not the fairy tale our society and commercial industries spend billions perpetuating.

I hate that we’re raised, as girls, dreaming of this cookie-cutter experience. Every wedding should be individual. That’s my single voice in a chorus of millions saying different.

I’m leaving you with my favorite wedding video. It never fails to make me smile. Because weddings should speak of who the couple is, what their lives have been, and what they hope it will be.


Jill & Kevin’s Wedding Entrance Dance

Don’t forget that every comment this month will be entered to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card from the talented Jennifer Shirk! What’s your great wedding story? I really, really want to know. Feed my wedding story addiction.

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.

Storytelling to Take Your Breath Away

storytellingAs I’m sure you know by now, this month our theme is “firsts”. I wanted to write about the first romance novel that made me say, “I want to do that!”

Naturally, there have been many novels since. Many, many. I often think about a book I loved after I read it to examine what about it touched me. Because those are the things I want to do.

That first book, though. It wasn’t a thoughtful examination. I didn’t know a thing about craft. I knew when I couldn’t put a book down. This particular book–Faking It by Jennifer Crusie–not only touched me, it also made me excited about storytelling.

There are spoilers from here on out, so fair warning.

Throughout the book, Matilda has difficulty achieving a climactic moment when she and Davy get intimate. (Don’t you love the classy way I phrased that? Don’t get used to it.) But, also throughout the book, Matilda is struggling very much to not be herself. She’s not comfortable in her own skin, she’s not comfortable with what her father convinced her to do (that was illegal, fraudulent, and,to her, immoral). And because she did this thing, she has to hide the thing she is most passionate about: her painting.

So, in the end, when Davy (who is a former con artist) sees the real Matilda (who did a bad thing) he likes it. And Matilda likes being Matilda. And bad. And not hiding what she is most passionate about.

When this happens, Matilda is able to become quite passionate. And finish up in an explosively hot way. (I told you not to get used to it.)

When I read that, after I finished fanning myself, I could see what Jennifer Crusie had done. She’d given us a physical, concrete way to see how deeply Matilda’s feelings were affecting her. And when Matilda resolved those issues? Wow, did we know.

Have any stories touched you in a memorable way?

EDIT: My mistake is your gain! I published this post with the wrong title and character names (but right plot, lol). To apologize for my error, I’m giving away a copy of Faking It on Kindle. I’ll chose from comments up until midnight tonight and post the winner in the comments tomorrow.

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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