Well, the CM-TD-IC critique trio is back from our whirlwind tour of Las Vegas, which was anchored in our lovely suite at the Venetian. We ate, we drank, we gambled away all of $20. (No high roller upgrades for our party, sadly.) We saw Phantom – squee! We toasted Courtney Milan’s Golden Heart final at a very, very fine restaurant that serves yuzu cocktails and expertly stroked beef (you’ll have to ask CM about that one).

And we fixed some books. On Saturday, we sat down with a bunch of sticky notes and hashed out Amy’s scare-a-minute plot of her sexy thriller, Black Box Warning. Let me tell you, I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about that book. It’s so awesome. It has bestseller written all over it. I can’t wait until all of you can read it, too.

Then on Sunday, we did some work on refocusing on my current book, A Lady of Persuasion. I’ve actually written about 34,000 words on it. And about 20,000 of those are now going to have to change. But it’s good. It’s all good. (Can you hear me trying not to stress?)

Vegas – like any tourist destination – is a great place for people-watching. You really see all kinds, from the rich-and-famous to the cheap-and-tawdry. I love the spectacle, the excess of it all – but I really get itchy in the casinos. Part of that is from all the smoke. And part of it is because gambling just makes me really, really nervous. Like I’m almost afraid to participate in it. I’m irrationally convinced that I’ll throw two twenty-dollar bills onto the felt and somehow a matter of seconds later, my house, car, and kids’ college fund will belong to the casino. The slot machines feel safer, but they get boring real quick. I wonder if I’ll ever write a scene in a gaming hell. Doubt it.

How about you? Do you get a thrill out of gambling, or does it bore you? Do you play the penny slots or blackjack or Texas hold-em or something else entirely? Do your characters gamble?

Discuss. But remember, what happens on Tessa’s blog…stays on the Internet forever.

16 comments to “What Happens in Vegas…Goes in my book.”

  1. Maggie Robinson
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 3:56 am · Link

    I confess to loving every tacky square inch of Las Vegas. We usually go once a year. Mr. R plays poker (how he worked his way through college) and I bake by the pool with rum drinks and romance books that fall apart in the heat. I play the slots, which are for foolish idiots, so I qualify. I have won several biggish jackpots though. We go to shows and out to dinner.

    Then we go back to Maine and I put the sequinned shirt away. We will not be going this year, however, so maybe I’ll have to write about it instead.

  2. Tiffany Kenzie
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 5:20 am · Link

    I hate gambling. My characters do it in the books though. What gentleman wouldn’t? well many, I’m sure. IT gives me the heebie jeebies… me no likey.
    I’ve never been to vegas, but would love to go.

    And phantom–I love phantom, it played for so many years here in TO. I think the first time I saw it I was seven! LOL And that chandelier part–wow is all I can say when you see it first hand.

  3. Gillian Layne
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 5:37 am · Link

    I’ve never done Vegas, but my best friend loves it. Glad you all had a good time. Amy’s book has certainly caught my interest! 🙂

  4. terrio
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 7:03 am · Link

    Ooh, I’ve never been to Vegas. Sounds like you had a blast. IC’s book does sound great and congrats again to CM. Got my fingers crossed for this weekend.

    I have done the casinos in Tupelo and I stick to the slots. I play Texas Hold’em online but only for play money and I’d never play in person. I’m one of those people whose every thought crosses my face so I’d be the easiest person to read. LOL!

  5. Alice Audrey
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 7:24 am · Link

    Seems like I’m always driving through Vegas with barely a stop for a slot machine or two. When I think of Vegas, I visualize gas stations.
    I can kind of see the allure of gambling, but because I know I’m not good at it and unlikely to become good at it, I get bored fairly quickly. I have a lot of gambling in my Historicals but none in my Romantic Suspense.

  6. Lisa
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 9:10 am · Link

    I love Vegas, but not for the gambling. I enjoy people watching, and that is definately the town to watch to your heart’s content. It’s an exciting place that gets the adrenaline pumping no matter why you’re there. I also admit to being a shopping addict, and food lover. You can find it all and do it all in Vegas, and it stays there:)

    Congrads on getting an idea on how to get your book just right. I imagine it is a wonderful feeling:)

  7. Jackie Barbosa
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 9:14 am · Link

    Gambling doesn’t interest me (I don’t even buy lottery tickets), and the only times I’ve been to Vegas have been either to go to an automobile race with my family or visit my cousin, who lives in Henderson. Oh, and once we drove through on our way to a kayaking trip from Hoover Dam on the Colorado River (which was very cool).

    Sounds like you had a GREAT CP retreat, though, and I’m envious of that. Right now, I could use a good CP retreat to kick my butt in gear. 81 working days to my contract delivery date and counting…

  8. irisheyes
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 10:17 am · Link

    Sounds like you had lots of fun and got a little something accomplished too. I’m sure that’s more than most people who were in Vegas last weekend can say!

    I’ve been there a couple of times and like the glitz, glamour and excess. It’s kind of fun to watch. I’m also a big spa person. Last time I was there I stayed at Mandalay Bay and took advantage of their awesome spa. Very cool. The DH loves to gamble, but Vegas is moving out of the “cheap place to have a little fun” category and into the “too rich for my blood” category lately.

    I’m like you when it comes to gambling, Tessa. I always picture myself as the wild eyed Julie Hagerty at the roulette wheel from “Lost In America.” I just know I’d blow our whole nest egg!

  9. Elyssa Papa
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 2:26 pm · Link

    It sounds like you had a great time. Did Phantom live up to your expectations?

  10. La Belle Americaine
    · April 22nd, 2008 at 7:41 pm · Link

    I never thought I was a gambling sort of person (been to Vegas and Reno *yawn*) until I went to the horse races with my mother this past Sunday. I had a really great time! And as a bonus, I finally understand the turf slang referenced in Regency, Victorian and Edwardian books I’ve read–and how easy it was to win and lose a fortune at Ascot or Newmarket. *g*

  11. CM
    · April 23rd, 2008 at 10:41 am · Link

    For those of you who are wondering about the expertly stroked beef:

    “Kobe beef refers to beef from the black Tajima-ushi breed of Wagyu cattle, raised according to strict tradition in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. These practices may include a diet of saké and beer, and daily massages to relieve muscle stiffness, presumably resulting in tender meat.”


    It sounds like an awesome life, if you weren’t cut up and eaten at the end of it. It is basically the opposite of being a foie gras goose.

  12. Santa
    · April 24th, 2008 at 4:54 am · Link

    Kobe beef is fantastic! YUM!

    I’m not a big gambler. Cards and such bore me to tears. I’d rather people watch, eat great food and take in a couple of shows or just tour the other casinos. I understand the Wynn is outstanding, to say nothing of the Venetian.

    Glad to hear you had a productive weekend. I am sure CM is getting in gear for Chicago and San Fran.

  13. J Perry Stone
    · April 24th, 2008 at 11:46 am · Link

    CM, I have nightmares about those geese, ever since I saw that Anthony Bourdain Canada episode and that hose.

    Tessa, when I was little, we were pretty poor. I cannot, not for the life of me, get a charge out of gambling. I think if you spend money, you should have something other than adrenaline (is that what gamblers feel?) to show for it. Shoes I get. Books I get. Travel I get. Poverty I don’t get. It’s like buying poverty. ??

    I did, however, once go to Atlantic City. For a minute, I got a kick out of the tacky neon, but later felt like I was in an adult Chuck E Cheese. Sense over stimulation makes me a little psycho. I guess that’s why they ply you with free drinks.

    You guys went for the right reasons.

  14. Renee
    · April 25th, 2008 at 5:50 pm · Link

    I’m excited to hear you all mixed work with pleasure. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

    Me, I’ve only gambled once, and I lost all $40.00, my friend on the other hand won something like a hundred, can’t remember. It was one of those things you do just to say you’ve done it once.


  15. India Carolina
    · April 25th, 2008 at 7:28 pm · Link

    Making an appearance after a short internet break to say Las Vegas rocks and I have the two bestest CPs in the universe!

  16. lacey kaye
    · April 29th, 2008 at 2:41 pm · Link

    Oh, man! Vegas is the coolest EVA!

    I went last year an plan to go again this year. It was impossible for me to imagine it could be as cool as people say it is, but it really does feel like an adult theme park.

    I gambled $1 and lost it when the machine ate my money (or maybe I just had no idea what to do after it took the dollar). That was plenty for me. Show me the cheap booze and sunshine!