Last Chance in Vegas

cover_TJC_180Behind the Scenes of The Tom Jones Club – I thought I’d post this earlier post about visualizing scenes while working on the book – at the time hoping and praying it would sell and so fun to revisit this now that it has sold.

The book stars Lucky and her last chance to find love in Vegas, of all places.  It may be called “The Tom Jones Club” but you really can’t talk about Vegas without mentioning Elvis, too. Anyway, this was first posted back in January. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on this book.

January 18, 2010

Working on my manuscript-in-progress set in Las Vegas, I need to visualize some of the details in the scenes. So, like many writers, I collect pictures. Some writers find their characters by looking at people on the web or pics of celebrities. I find them in my head. But for the setting, the surroundings, the details, I need visual stimulation.

Today I’m writing a scene set in a Las Vegas Steakhouse and have chosen TJ’s Steakhouse at the Las Vegas Hilton:

Classic-Restaurant-Interior-Design-of-TJs-Steakhouse-Las-Vegas-Softlight

Isn’t that pic fabulous? Check out the celebrity photos on the wall, although you may have to squint to do so. This is what I love about the Las Vegas Hilton – it retains some of the old Vegas charm that’s missing today with the newest and swankiest casinos. It’s also located off-Strip, and I find it more relaxing. I also recall dining at a Prime Rib restaurant that’s no longer there and walking past Mr. T’s table – remember him? He was all decked out in his gold jewelry, as you’d expect.

When Elvis first came to Vegas, he was a big flop. Back then, mostly older folks came to Vegas and they were not Elvis fans. I remember a friend’s much older parents traveling to Vegas every August from their home in southern California and staying at the Tropicana. The glittering chandelier is still there, but the Trop has lost its charm and any class it once had.

So, check out this video of Elvis’ big return to Las Vegas at the International, now known as the Las Vegas Hilton, back in ’69.

Myths of the Fatherless Interview

Carine Nadel interviewed me for her article in the Orange County Register – also picked up on MSNBC – about my search for my father and book about this subject, Myths of the Fatherless.

MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS

Every little girl loves her daddy. But what happens when that daddy is missing? Or another man steps into his place? Society has accepted many myths about what that means to a child.

MYTHS OF THE FATHERLESS attempts to dispel those myths by sharing the author’s story of her search for her father and eventual reunion with him. Throughout her journey, she discovered she was not alone, and despite her denial, fathers are very important to a woman. And whatever the reason the father is missing, not knowing him affects a woman’s relationships with men and her entire life.

Available in Print, E-Book, Smashwords, and on Kindle.

The Book Review Club: Caught in a Trap

The April meeting of “The Book Review Club” has me reminiscing about our time living and writing in Florida and talking about Caught in a Trap by my husband and technical writer, screenwriter, and novel writer, Rich Eckardt.

Part humorous mystery, part romantic comedy, Caught in a Trap introduces Sonny Lanai, wacky Florida detective. When Sonny meets his client, a doll named Barbie, he’s consumed by a case that changes him forever. And everyone in his path is left gasping for breath after they live through the antics that Sonny and his cohorts wreak on Tampa Bay.

Barbie has a problem: She’s afraid someone is after her. And, that’s easy to believe because she’s recently widowed from the Tampa Tycoon (or Pookie Pants, as she called him), and she’s now a rich woman. What looks like a simple case is anything but when Sonny Lanai gets involved, turning every situation on its ear.

Sonny faces some tough questions: Was Barbie’s husband’s death really an accident? Who dog-napped Barbie’s precious dog? How can I look cool with my untied shoelace wrapped around the wheel of my chair? But, despite some setbacks, Sonny prevails over the bad guys and finds that, unbelievable as it might be, true love can smile on Sonny Lanai, Private Eye.

Florida is the home of several wacky mystery writers – or I should say the characters in the novels are wacky – lol! There’s just something about the state that inspires writing about humorous people and situations.

My Jersey Shore hubby (Rich) and I, both Silicon Valley technical writers by day, began writing fiction before we moved to Florida. But no place inspired us to write like Florida did. The character Sonny Lanai was born when we looked out at the back patio (called “lanai” in Florida and Hawaii) and said, “Look at that sunny lanai.” Florida wacky humor, for sure, and Caught in a Trap was the result of that.

Moving back to Florida has been on our minds for some time, and Caught in a Trap offers a fun peek into that place. I wanted to share that with you for this month’s book review.

Available on Kindle and in Print.

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book review blogs

@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

The Book Review Club: Caught in a Trap

Reposted from KathyHolmes.Net

The April meeting of “The Book Review Club” has me reminiscing about our time living and writing in Florida and talking about Caught in a Trap by my husband and technical writer, screenwriter, and novel writer, Rich Eckardt.

Part humorous mystery, part romantic comedy, Caught in a Trap introduces Sonny Lanai, wacky Florida detective. When Sonny meets his client, a doll named Barbie, he’s consumed by a case that changes him forever. And everyone in his path is left gasping for breath after they live through the antics that Sonny and his cohorts wreak on Tampa Bay.

Barbie has a problem: She’s afraid someone is after her. And, that’s easy to believe because she’s recently widowed from the Tampa Tycoon (or Pookie Pants, as she called him), and she’s now a rich woman. What looks like a simple case is anything but when Sonny Lanai gets involved, turning every situation on its ear.

Sonny faces some tough questions: Was Barbie’s husband’s death really an accident? Who dog-napped Barbie’s precious dog? How can I look cool with my untied shoelace wrapped around the wheel of my chair? But, despite some setbacks, Sonny prevails over the bad guys and finds that, unbelievable as it might be, true love can smile on Sonny Lanai, Private Eye.

Florida is the home of several wacky mystery writers – or I should say the characters in the novels are wacky – lol! There’s just something about the state that inspires writing about humorous people and situations.

My Jersey Shore hubby (Rich) and I, both Silicon Valley technical writers by day, began writing fiction before we moved to Florida. But no place inspired us to write like Florida did. The character Sonny Lanai was born when we looked out at the back patio (called “lanai” in Florida and Hawaii) and said, “Look at that sunny lanai.” Florida wacky humor, for sure, and Caught in a Trap was the result of that.

Moving back to Florida has been on our minds for some time, and Caught in a Trap offers a fun peek into that place. I wanted to share that with you for this month’s book review.

Available on Kindle.

Click icon for more
book review blogs
@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered. In this case, I’m married to the author. 🙂

A Pirate Looks at 40

Florida keeps calling to me – Tampa Bay, in particular. I can’t listen to Jimmy Buffett without longing for Florida. And if I could ever overcome my emotional ties to the west, I’d move right back. I guess this is what happens when you move around or travel a lot – special places you’ve lived or visited won’t let you go. I took a class from a gentleman who said he was always torn between “traveling to some place new or returning to a favorite place.”

The fun part about blogging is I can change my design as often as the feeling strikes – it’s kinda like rearranging the living room furniture. But our living room is pretty set these days, so I’ll just have to rearrange the furniture on my blog.

One of the things I noticed when we moved back west (Las Vegas with frequent trips to southern California for Disneyland and the beach) is how dry it all is and I’m talking about my home state of California. I had become used to water everywhere in Florida – love the beach and the intracoastal and the causeways. It’s easy to long for that living in Las Vegas especially.

But this latest Tampa Bay longing began when we visited WDW in January and took a day trip back to our old stomping grounds in Tampa. DH picked up a Tampa Bay Buccaneers sweatshirt (a couple of cooler days in January) and wore it to WDW. When we got in line for Pirates, the CM said, “Arggh….,” adding a bit of fun to our day.

Then yesterday – the updated “Insider’s Guide to Tampa Bay” arrived  – even though we’d lived there, we just had to have a copy of it. The final straw was when Dad’s Dish posted a video of Jimmy Buffett and the Zac Brown Band on FB, and I started playing my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs. Such as:

A Pirate Looks at 40

It’s 5:00 Somewhere with Alan Jackson:

And a link to Margaritaville with Jimmy Buffett and the Zac Brown Band:

Also featured on Pop Culture Divas.

The Book Review Club: The Lost Recipe for Happiness

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I know I need to start writing my book review for the March meeting, which is just a few hours away. I grab an Atkins Chocolate Peanut Butter bar and start writing, leaving me to wonder, “How many of you eat while you’re reading and/or writing?” I eat when I read because it’s fun. I eat when I write because it’s a necessity.

If you haven’t started eating before you start reading Barbara O’Neal’s The Lost Recipe for Happiness, you’ll be raiding the fridge soon. But if you’re like me and you don’t have the fixings for tamales on hand, you may be seeking out the closest upscale Mexican restaurant. Here in Vegas, we have several, but one of my favorite local Mexican restaurants is Lindo Michoacan – they do have tamales on the menu. But when you read the heavenly description of the duck tamales in The Lost Recipe for Happiness, your mouth will be watering for something a little more exotic than the usual beef, pork, or chicken.

Food shows on television are extremely popular and any lover of the Food Network will definitely enjoy this book. If you’ve ever seen Iron Chef or Restaurant Wars on Top Chef, you’ll feel like you’re on the set – this book will make all of that come alive. Barbara O’Neal’s web site says this

In this sumptuous new novel, Barbara O’Neal offers readers a celebration of food, family, and love as a woman searches for the elusive ingredient we’re all hoping to find… “The Lost Recipe for Happiness.” 

It’s the opportunity Elena Alvarez has been waiting for–the challenge of running her own kitchen in a world-class restaurant. Haunted by an accident of which she was the lone survivor, Elena knows better than anyone how to defy the odds. With her faithful dog Alvin and her grandmother’s recipes, Elena arrives in Colorado to fine a restaurant in as desperate need of a fresh start as she is–and a man whose passionate approach to food and life rivals her own. Owner Julian Liswood is a name many people know, but a man few do. He’s come to Aspen with a troubled teenage daughter and a dream of the kind of stability and love only a family can provide. But for Elena, ghosts don’t die quietly, yet a chance to find happiness at last is worth the risk.

It’s romantic women’s fiction at its best – nobody writes it better than Barbara. When I started reading it, I had just learned that my uncle was going into hospice. This book offered me an escape into somebody else’s troubles and somehow that comforted me. I say this because, in spite of its light, breezy cover, it’s a bit darker than I normally read. But now I’m looking forward to reading her next book, The Secret of Everything, another book about food, life, love, and mountains – all things Barbara O’Neal must love. In fact, I’m going to start reading it right now.

For more information, see Barbara O’Neal’s (aka Barbara Samuel) web site.

For more book reviews of this month’s The Book Review Club, click on the icon:

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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

Life is a Cabaret

Lucky – part Ann-Margret/part Liza Minnelli – auditions by singing “Cabaret” in a Vegas casino in my latest manuscript, where Broadway meets Las Vegas and the past meets the present. Just sent off a requested partial today – let’s all wish Lucky well by saying, “Break a leg, Lucky.”

And “Maybe This Time” will be the right time.