We’ve been partying all week, celebrating the release of Misty Evans’ Carina Press release Soul Survivor in the ReadMistyEvans yahoo group. What a fun group of writers! We’ve all been sharing excerpts from our own books – thank you, Misty, for your generosity! And I’m totally loving Soul Survivor on my Kindle for iPad.
And like any great party, when it’s over, you want everybody to be singing “Take Me Back to the Party” – the song Tom Jones ends his shows with. I’m still singing it from the show from last August. It was extra fun, for me, because I’d just sold The Tom Jones Club, my romance novel set in Las Vegas.
The fun thing about writing this novel is that people shared their Tom Jones’ stories with me. In fact, the “Tom Jones” scene was inspired by my dad’s story. An ex-worker from Silicon Valley wrote about how he had flown to Vegas to see Tom Jones 10 different times. My BFFs from junior high also have a story, which I’ll share again here:
Carol’s parents drove their Buick Riviera through the desert from southern California to Las Vegas every August and would stay at the Tropicana. And when Carol reached a certain age – 13 or 14 – she was allowed to invite a friend along. The first friend to go was our friend, Beverly. And I still remember my excitement over the postcard they sent me with a picture of the Folies Bergere on it (Folies girls pictured above).
Carol invited me to go to Vegas with her the next year to see Elvis at the International, but I had to turn her down because my family moved to Oregon. This is one of those things I’m still sad about missing out on. But Beverly got to take my place and I eventually saw Elvis in Portland. And, later, as an adult, I stayed at the Tropicana several times and saw the Folies Bergere several times as well. I also saw Tom Jones a couple of times, too. And, ironically, I’m the one living in Vegas now.
Anyway, here is the Tom Jones story Beverly shared with me.
I think it was at the Desert Inn and we saw it two years in a row. It was Pizazz. It was like a Broadway review. Lots of dancing and singing. I don’t remember it being a story, more like different acts somehow put together. Probably a typical Las Vegas show at that time, very flashy. We always sat in a booth (Carol’s Dad tipped big) and of course those were in the back. Tom Jones was in the booth next to us. Carol says she doesn’t remember much but she does remember putting a hole in her dress with her thumb trying to rearrange herself to get a better look at Tom. She remembers her dress was the one she wore to the Willard graduation.
Oh, Carol, I can just see you doing that right now. I so remember us squealing over Tom Jones when he first came out. And how my mother, more of an Elvis fan, said, “He walks like a horse.” lol! Her comment didn’t stop us from thinking he was pretty exciting.
If things had turned out differently, I probably wouldn’t have written The Tom Jones Club the way I did because the first time I saw Tom Jones in Vegas, I was struck by the women sitting in the first two rows of the showroom. And the second time, years later, it wasn’t just the first two rows, it was the entire showroom dancing in the aisles. Tom Jones’ popularity had grown in his later years and continues to grow today.
Unfortunately, Tom Jones isn’t performing in Vegas this year – he’s too busy touring elsewhere, promoting his new Praise & Blame album, which we were among the first to hear last year.
So let’s imagine we’re in Vegas with the Tom Jones Club and it’s the last song of the show. The writers from the ReadMistyEvans yahoo group are all on stage with Tom, holding up our book covers. And the crowd is dancing in the aisles, singing “Take Me Back to the Party.”