One day, I was driving around my hometown of Las Vegas, taking in the sights. I’d been away for a bit, so I was looking through fresh eyes. So, when I passed the local watering hole with a huge banner on the side of the building that read, “Enter Our Giveaway. Grand Prize—New Boobs!” I did a double take. (Yes, I had to stop in. It was for real.) And then, as I was inching my way up the Strip, I stopped at a light to let a gaggle of showgirls in their G-strings, beaded bras, and feathers cross the street.
That’s when it really hit me—Deborah you are so not in Texas anymore.
And I remembered exactly what inspired me to set a series in Las Vegas.
Heck, most people can’t imagine living here. And everyone has an opinion—Vegas is a love-it or hate-it kind of place.
Or, it was.
Vegas has grown up.
When I first started my Lucky O’Toole series, Vegas still had that Wild West, naughty vibe. Trust me, I was trying to raise a then fifteen-year-old male there, so I was hyper-aware. The billboards often featured perfect female backsides and the kids’ idea of hanging at the mall was touring the Forum shops at Caesar’s wondering what trouble Michael Jackson was getting into.
Thank God my son LOVED golf.
I was breathing easy until my son decided he’d like to go workout on the way to high school—not a thought that would normally strike. I smelled a rat—but he really was going to the gym, so I let it ride. Later I got the real story—the strippers all work out when they get off work. Great.
One day I guess my son got too close and one of the ladies barked at him and that was the end of that little fantasyJ
Yes, Vegas is a different experience.
And, I fell in love with the silliness and the mischief. So, I wrote a romantic mystery with a bunch of snark that captured what I saw in this quintessential American creation.
A book targeted toward women… set in a city that everyone other than me thought was strictly for men. No, I didn’t know that going in. Totally clueless.
As if trying to launch a writing career wasn’t a large enough challenge. Marilyn Stassio chose Wanna Get Lucky? , the first in the series, as a NYT Notable crime Novel and it also garnered a double-Ritaä finalist nod, so thankfully not everyone was put off by Vegas.
And through the series I’ve tried to bring people along on my love affair with a city that doesn’t take itself seriously and just wants visitors to have fun and a bit of an escape. Vegas is now a HUGE foodie mecca with virtually all of the top-tier celebrity chefs well-represented with eateries of their own. The shows are spectacular. And A-list singers regularly cycle through town—some even stay for longer-term, in-residence gigs. We even have the Broadway touring shows.
Yes, it is possible to “Do Vegas” and never gamble or hit a “Gentlemen’s Club”—If THAT’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is—or perhaps, more correctly, a HUGE misnomer. But, I digress.
Vegas is so important to my series that it really is a character. I mean where else can you be sitting in a restaurant and watch the young women in their terribly short skirts try to sit on the stools at the bar, only to find the leather rather chilly. The minute their choochillalas hit the leather they popped up like a human version of Whack-A Mole.
Or where else could you take a posse of girlfriends to a true male strip club and be very glad you have the protection of a group? Who knew male stripping was a contact sport?
And there was the couple who come to Vegas every year, take different names, stay in separate rooms, only to pick each other up at the bar to have a torrid “affair.” And the lady who packed her cats…
Anyway, as you can see, setting is integral to my stories.
What about you? Does setting influence your reading decisions? Turn you off? Or turn you on?
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The Sixth Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure
On Sale November 20, 2015
With Christmas a few days away, Lucky O’Toole, Vice President of Customer Relations for the Babylon, Las Vegas’s premier Strip casino resort, is in a festive mood. The upcoming wedding of her assistant to the Beautiful Jeremy Whitlock and her own engagement to her delish French Chef, Jean-Charles Bouclet have Lucky in full holiday cheer.
And even bigger celebrations are afoot. The national media is focused on the grand opening of Jean-Charles’s restaurant atop Lucky’s very own slice-of-heaven hotel. The opening gets a boost when Holt Box, a retired country-western singing legend lends a hand in the kitchen, adding mega-watt celebrity buzz.
Lucky’s life is humming.
The only sour note is her former lover, Teddie.
Teddie claims Lucky’s father, the Big Boss, has put an end to his return to the Las Vegas stage by handing that stage to Holt Box. Box is returning from retirement, a comeback of epic magnitude that will give the Babylon—and Lucky’s career—an incredible boost.
Taken by surprise, Lucky takes the high road. Or rather, she does what she always does when life overwhelms… She ignores it.
Until she finds Teddie and her father, bloodied and angry, standing over the lifeless body of Holt Box, a dagger in Teddie’s fist.
The media sharks are circling. A Macau heavy-hitter in town, flying under the radar but making his presence felt. An old nemesis of Lucky’s is out of prison and salivating for revenge. Lucky’s mother is ramping up her political campaign while juggling her new twins, who still don’t have names. And Christmas is racing toward a crescendo.
Time is short as Lucky must discover whether Teddie is a killer.
And why she still cares.
About the Author
My mother tells me I was born a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. These things I do know: I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. I am the author of WANNA GET LUCKY? (A NY Times Notable Crime Novel and double RITA™ Finalist), its five sequels, LUCKY CATCH, being the latest, and four between-the-books novellas. Currently I’m stretching my writer muscles working on a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series set in Napa, a dark thriller, as well as the next Lucky adventure, LUCKY BREAK, due out November 20, 2015—all very different projects. So, if you see me with a glass of Champagne in hand, you’ll understand. I can usually be found at the bar, but also at www.deborahcoonts.com.