“Keep It Movin'” (#50/90 Challenge for #MusicMonday Kickoff)

My plan was to wait for October to do a blocktober/vlogtober deal, but I couldn’t wait. So last week I posted a video/blog post for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” for #Writer #WineWednesday and today I’m kicking off my first #MusicMonday with a video highlighting my 50/90 kickoff song, “Keep it Movin.”

I started off 50/90 with that song because the song prompt was about introducing yourself and I think “Keep it Movin” is a great introduction to me because (a) I love a dance club beat and (b) We need to keep moving forward no matter what life throws at you.

Of course it’s accompanied by some biker video from Mount Charleston (one hour from the #LasVegas Strip) and I couldn’t help but mention my two novels that feature a Las Vegas setting, “French Martini” and “Lucky’s Last Chance.”

It’s a lot to take in, but I’m hoping you will find something there that you like.

Have a good Monday!
Keep it Movin’

 

Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon, the Book, the Poem, the Tour, and Now the Song (#FAWM)

You may recall that I’d just finished a publicity tour for my psychological suspense novel, Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon at the end of 2019 before starting FAWM on February 1st. Well, during the tour, I’d written a poem about the book here.

So, naturally, I turned that into a song for FAWM 2020. Check it out. I hope you like it – the song, poem, the tour, and the book. 🙂

Blogmas, Day 24: War of Art (#blogmas)

War of Art by Steven Pressfield was one of the books circling the Writing Community back when I first started writing. For some reason, I recently dug it out (on Kindle) and reread it. And then I downloaded the follow-up book Do the Work. I highly recommend it if you have any desire at all about pursuing art as a profession instead of a hobby or anything in-between.

I’ve been juggling writing and music, unsure about how to pursue which one. Is one my profession and the other hobby or both professions or both hobbies? What do I really want to accomplish with either?

One reason I did the December book tour for Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon and #Blogmas featuring all of my books, was to see if I could get my writing career back moving in the forward direction it had been moving before social media and the new algorithm, before the saturation of other books and writers, before fantasy and vampires and erotica took over the world (or whatever it was that halted that forward momentum), to see how serious readers and the Universe are about me as a writer. But, perhaps, the real reason for the turn was to turn me toward my real calling, which just might be music.

I’ve tried to pursue both, but I really think you need to choose one or the other if you’re going to pursue any as a profession. Besides the tours, as a good-bye salute, I’ve also made sure all of my books are available in paperback as well as Kindle. Some had only been available in digital form. I guess I’m wrapping things up to prepare the way to move on.

Of course, if the world clamors for my books on Amazon, breathing new life into my writing career, okay, then I’ll get that message to keep providing new books. Otherwise, I’m going to assume music is my future calling and 2020 is the time to go all in.

 

Blogmas, Day 23: The Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon Book Tour Wraps Up (#blogmas)

Since the book tour extends beyond Blogmas, I thought I’d list the last 4 stops on this post. And then I can talk about other things to wrap up Blogmas for this year.

Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon Book Tour Final Stops:

Monday, December 23 – All the Ups and Downs

Thursday, December 26- Jazzy Book Reviews

Friday, December 27: Gimme the Scoop

Friday, December 27: All About Books

And that’s a wrap for December’s book tour.

That leaves two more days of Blogmas. Hopefully we can find something fun to talk about. See ya real soon!

Blogmas, Day 18: Two Stops for Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon (#blogmas)

Today I’ve got two stops:

Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon is the book feature at:

  1. T’s Stuff
  2. The Bookworm Lodge

The tour is heating up before the year winds down. At the end of the tour, I’ll talk about some changes I’m considering and why, and my goals for 2020. See ya later!

Blogmas, Day 17: Interview at A Blue Million Books (#blogmas)

As it gets closer to Christmas and the deeper I get into this blog tour, the less I seem to have to say about, well, anything. lol! So I’ll let my interview featuring Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon on “A Blue Million Books” speak for me.

This site is fun and very friendly to Indie Authors. Who knows what you may find over there?

Blogmas, Day 16: Guest on “As The Page Turns” (#blogmas) for Deja Vu Book Tour

We’re back on track with the book tour for Deja Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon and today finds me as a guest on “As the Page Turns.” How fun is that?

I must confess, as this is my first Blogmas, I started to worry that I wasn’t focusing on Christmas exactly the way Blogmas may be intentioned. But I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the anticipation of Christmas than hanging out with other bloggers and book lovers, sharing my love for writing and reading. Of course, I hope that you’ll find one of my books that interests you, maybe for yourself or as a gift for somebody else. I’d love to hear from you to see what you thought.

See you on the next stop!

Blogmas, Day 8: Red Rock to Blue Diamond (#blogmas #lasvegas)

One of my favorite drives here in the Las Vegas Valley is the Red Rock Canyon to Blue Diamond Loop. No wonder the Blue Diamond Saloon lured me into including it in my psychological suspense novel,  Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon, on tour for the month of December. Check back here for a link to the next featured appearance.

On a recent drive, we encountered snow flurries, which only added to the desert beauty. The Red Rock Canyon sign is probably almost as popular as the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign on Las Vegas Blvd. Tourists line up to take selfies at both locations.

The next time you’re in Las Vegas, check out the Red Rock area, and then make your way to Blue Diamond. You might want to pick up a copy of Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon as your guide.

Blogmas, Day #7: Raining Men Now Available in Paperback with Bonus Short Story Collection (#blogmas)

Wrapping up 2019, I’m making all my novels/short stories available in Paperback (in addition to Kindle and other digital formats). The latest is Raining Men, a novella, and I’m including my short story collection featuring two short stories that were first published by Mozark Press as part the A Shaker of Margaritas anthology.

Raining Men

When California girl Brooke Slade, looking for love in all the wrong places, is presented with an opportunity to move to the Pacific Northwest, she turns it down, refusing to leave her life in Sunny California. But when she loses her job, she decides to give the Northwest a chance for thirty days and discovers it’s raining more than the wet stuff – it’s raining men. Wading through so many Mr. Wrongs, can she find Mr. Right?

BUY NOW on Amazon.com for Kindle. Free Short Stories Collection Bonus when you buy the Paperback version.

The publicity tour for  Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon picks up on Monday. I’m pretty sure I’ll be driving past the real Blue Diamond Saloon tomorrow as I drop by our lot where we are building a new house.

 

Blogmas, Day 5: Poem for Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon (#poem #blogmas)

No new stops on the tour today so, for blogmas, I thought I’d write a poem. I’m heartened by all the interest in poetry these days, not only on WordPress but Twitter, too. Come join us in the #WritingCommunity.

Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon

Everything in Vegas looks better at night
Gazing for miles under the desert starlight
Roaming the streets just before daylight
Clickety clank clank breaks the silence of the morning hush
Tucked away in a casino away from the commuter’s rush

Nikki fled from the Blue Diamond Saloon
Away from her assailant unseen by the moon
Taking refuge in a City she once knew
Friendships and lovers too risky to start over
Memories and fears locked in a heart frozen sober

The past leads you where you swore you’d never go
Lessons unlearned like a missile-seeking foe
Next time be careful by what you do choose
This time around with bigger stakes to lose
Too late to escape Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon

Please join us on the Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon publicity tour.

Check out the Book Trailer for a sneak peek.

Buy your copy on Amazon (available for Kindle and Paperback) and other online retailers. Reviews are encouraged.

 

Blogmas, Day 4: Interview on The Writer’s Life (#blogmas)

“Everything in Vegas looks better at night.” – Nikki Durrance, Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon

If you’re keeping up with the December blog tour for Déjà Vu…, you’ll want to to check out my interview over on The Writer’s Life.

Note: In addition to Kindle, it is also now available in Paperback.

Blogmas, Day 3: Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic (#blogmas)

Day 3 of #blogmas, which is actually day 2 of the Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon blog tour, you’ll find me over at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic. Check out my confessions. Check out the entire blog tour for December.

Here’s a bonus confession: Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon is my first published suspense novel. I’m normally known for chick lit or rom com. But those who know me know my natural suspenseful way of expressing myself and keep pushing me to explore that genre. So, there you have it. With another on the way.

Blogmas, Day 2: Blog Tour Kickoff for Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon (#blogmas)

We’re kicking off the December blog tour for Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon over at the PUYB Virtual Book Club. Come along for the tour for everything you ever wanted to know about this psychological suspense novel and the author, who is, well me, of course.

You can peek ahead by checking out the highlights here.

Happy Blogmas, Day 1 (#blogmas)

I was watching a Maxwell Gluck (Mr. Cheezypop) video (one of the few vloggers I watch) and noticed he was doing “Vlogmas” so I thought I’d do “Blogmas” (this thing where you blog/vlog every day until Christmas).

After all, my psychological/suspense novel (Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon) is going on tour for the month of December. You can find out the details of the entire tour here. You can also check out each day’s blog post on my web site (right where you’re at right now) for a link to that day’s tour (if there is one). On the non-tour days, I’ll blog about something (maybe what music and/or writing project I’m working on next). Who knows? I guess that’s the fun of Blogmas.

Hope to see you around!

The Real Blue Diamond Saloon in Las Vegas from “Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon”

The real Blue Diamond Saloon is getting some press from “Gaming Today.” I used to drive past the Blue Diamond Saloon often and the name caught my attention for my psychological suspense novel, Déjà Vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon.

I purposely didn’t go inside, because I didn’t want reality to affect my fictional world. So check it out and then read my version and see which one you like best.

Déjà vu at the Blue Diamond Saloon

dejavu_frontcover

Nikki Durrance escaped the worst nightmare of her life when she fled Las Vegas for San Francisco, leaving her husband behind at the Blue Diamond Saloon. So when the perfect Dr. Mike Fischer proposes, she accepts. But when her new Mr. Right begins to transform into a guy just like her ex-husband, she begins to question everything, including her sanity.

Nikki longs to trust Mike, but with an overwhelming feeling of déjà vu, Nikki’s fear propels her into discoveries of betrayals and underworld connections that will send her running for her life again.

AVAILABLE now on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and other online retailers and on Amazon.com in Paperback.

EXCERPT

“Everything in Las Vegas looks better at night,” I thought as I peeked out the window of my upstairs office.

The dusty, thirsty, lifeless terrain transforms into an Alice in Twinkle land and the neon electrifies the Las Vegas strip. The barren stretches of nothingness surrounding the valley of so-called normal life vanishes from view. But nothing is normal in a place where gambling is invasive—it’s in the grocery stores, it’s in McDonald’s, and it’s in every neighborhood corner where a neon sign flashes “gambling and cocktails.”

Leo the grocer startled me when he appeared at the front door of our Las Vegas house—the one we’d dreamed of when we were squished into a tiny one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. But that house felt like a prison with its tomb-like shades covering the windows to prevent the harsh, desert sun from scorching the inside of the house.

When I ran downstairs to open the front door, he handed me a package of ice. Because this is how Vegas works—when you check out at the grocery store, the clerk asks if you need ice, and if you’re lucky, they’ll deliver it to you on short notice. It would be such a shame if you had the sudden urge to make a martini and be out of ice. Especially if you had a surprise guest like I did that hot August night.

I felt Jeff’s breath on my neck, the belt buckle he wore when he played Texas Hold ‘Em pushing against me, and so I pulled away and asked, “What’s the ice for?”

“Drinks with Gabrielle,” he said.

“Gabrielle?”

“Yes, she’s over there.” I looked in the direction he was pointing, as Leo drove off and a woman wearing a black leather mini-skirt and tank-top stepped out of a taxi. Wearing stilettos, she posed in such a way that time stood still, portraying an air of confidence. Stunned that he knew the half-sister I had never met, I drank in the details of her appearance. She looked nothing like she did in the picture she’d sent me–brunette with medium-length hair. Now she had pure white spiked hair, the exact color Jeff described when he insisted I bleach my almost black hair.

She approached our front door and said, “You’ve lost weight.” I’ve lost weight? What did she know about me? I’d planned on sending her my photo, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

Jeff stepped forward, “Please, come in, make yourself at home.”

I fingered my wind-blown hair and glanced at my unkempt clothes. This was not how I’d imagined I’d be dressed when I met Gabrielle for the first time. My enormous closet in the master bathroom, part of an even larger master suite, full of clothes for every occasion—for golf, tennis, or evening wear at some elegant function on the Strip. Because if there was one thing true about my husband was that he loved to impress others with a well-dressed wife.

Jeff led us into the living room, moved the cat off the couch and said, “Please, sit here” to Gabrielle but then turned to me, “Shouldn’t you be getting dressed?”

I didn’t wait around long enough to see if Gabrielle sat down or not, but I heard soft laughter and ice tinkling from the kitchen. Jeff must be making his special cocktail—what he called a French Martini joking that he named it after me. Pineapple juice, vodka, Chambord, and Vermouth—”What’s so French about that?” I had asked. “Well, you are French, right?” he said, and then he threw his head back and laughed in a maniacal way, as if he knew a secret I did not know.

Uneasiness swept over me leaving Jeff and Gabrielle alone downstairs in my kitchen—the kitchen I took pride in. It was a luxury to finally own such a beautiful, brand-new home and I considered that room to be my private haven. It was where I stood each morning when I gazed at the backyard, lit with the morning desert sun, recalling a similar backyard in my California childhood.

I hurriedly dressed in a pair of black slacks and my favorite black pumps I’d found on sale at the Outlet Mall on Las Vegas Boulevard. I rummaged through the dresser drawers searching for a particular red shirt—because from the way my husband was leering at Gabrielle, I knew it was important I dress my best.

Unable to find it, I put on a black one instead, and grabbed a matching black purse. On my way downstairs I passed my upstairs office where I indulged myself in working on my latest manuscript. The words often failed me then, but when I awoke in the middle of the night to an empty bedroom, I could sit in my office and the lights of South Point Casino calmed me, reassured me. I then wrote until the sun began to peek over the mountains of Henderson in the east in that special hour where the daylight meets the neon. I jumped into bed before Jeff returned from an all-night poker game.

When I’d made my way to the living room, Jeff handed me a drink and the three of us sat down—Jeff in his leather recliner and Gabrielle in the chair next to him—the one I considered my own. I moved our cat, Sam, the name Jeff had insisted on even though he was not a cat lover. I sat down on the couch closest to Jeff as if I was competing with Gabrielle for his attention.

After a quick drink and a brief chat, Jeff suggested we all go to the Blue Diamond Saloon. “They have the best buffet,” Jeff said.

No, it wasn’t the fanciest place, like those casinos on the Strip, but it was a local hangout like so many in Vegas that served food, drinks, and of course, the ubiquitous gambling. The saloon was within walking distance from our home, and Jeff particularly enjoyed the poker games there. Jeff said, “You two go on—I’ll catch up” so Gabrielle and I started walking toward The Blue Diamond Saloon.

Jeff caught up with us, and once we arrived, he sauntered inside as if he owned the place. When I tried to follow him, Gabrielle’s demeanor changed and she gave me a look that said, “You’re so gauche” (after all, according to the emails we’d exchanged, she’d lived in Paris) and she’d indicated she’d expected me to have done the same—with a French name like Nicole and all. But ever since she discovered I hadn’t lived in Paris, she seemed to be slightly disappointed in me. I’d hoped, perhaps, that living in Las Vegas, the “entertainment capital of the world,” would give me some caché, but this was something she dismissed—as if I hadn’t quite mastered being here.

The doorman must have felt the same way, because he refused me admission. This was too weird to even be polite, so I left, and headed for home, stopping by the shop around the front of the club. But all the red shirts cost more than I had on me, and I had left my credit cards in my other purse—the red purse.

When I arrived back home, I noticed the laptop sitting on the white wicker table next to a matching rocking chair in the front entry. When I took a closer look, I saw that the browser was open at Jeff’s poker blog—something he rarely updated. After all, I was the online multi-media professional: writer, blogger, and graphic artist. I read the entry there, with a link to a video he’d posted.

The text said, “Don’t watch unless you have the stomach for it.” So, of course, I clicked on the link. And what I saw filled me with fury, disgust, and hate. It was a video of my husband dressed in my missing red blouse and matching red shorts, with my red purse on his arm, prancing around to some seductive music. And in the background, a neon sign flashed, “The Blue Diamond Saloon.”

Early in our relationship he had revealed how he struggled with his weight when he was younger, and so he took pride in being able to wear my size twelve clothes. In spite of what the fashion industry wanted to believe, I was still below the average size fourteen that most U.S. women wore. I worked hard at keeping my weight down.

But Gabrielle mustn’t be any larger than a size eight, my best guess after viewing Gabrielle wearing nothing but a satin black thong, matching low cut silk black bra, and Jeff’s tie. I recognized it from one of our cruises. She maneuvered a sexy move behind him, danced around him, and smiled into the camera taunting me. A swift kick to my gut told me that today was not the first time they had met.

Then he peered directly into the camera, and snarled, “This is for Sam.” And then right in front of me, in front of the camera, he started making rude fondling movements on Gabrielle’s body while she fondled him in return. I’m a voyeur as much as the next person, but I couldn’t watch anymore. And when I closed the browser window, a message written like a handwritten note said, “RIP, darling,” and then a mock newspaper headline flashed. It said, “Jealous Wife Found Dead at The Blue Diamond Saloon wearing nothing but black pumps.”

Feeling a second swift kick to my gut, I peeked in the closets, the pantry, the cabinets and the rooms upstairs to make sure nobody was in there, waiting for me. Because I was afraid that this time he would make good his idle threats and I’d be dead. Maybe not by his own hands, but I suspected he knew people in low places and somebody someday would murder me. I’d had enough and I knew that it was up to me to remain alive, to get away before tomorrow arrived.

I may appear stupid for hanging around this long, but I wasn’t about to stay any longer, in case my luck had run out. I was afraid the next death threat, the next slap on the face, the next infidelity would mean the end of me.