Lucky and The Tom Jones Club

When Lucky arrives in Las Vegas to score her last business deal before starting a new life, the last thing she expects is to be pulled into the web of a woman with claims on the past.

Until that flight to Vegas, I was the girl who looked like a million bucks on the outside, but felt like the poor starving girl on the inside. 

Until that flight to Vegas, I was the girl who had no trouble attracting men, but who went home alone. 

Until that flight to Vegas, I was the girl who never had a “best friend forever”–never trusting women–or men for that matter. But all of that changed when I met Mona and The Tom Jones Club.

When old Vegas meets new Vegas and the past meets the present, Lady Luck brings together the women of the Tom Jones Club. Believing that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” they discover a secret too big to be contained in Las Vegas, and their lives are changed forever.

Available now at Bookstrand, Mobipocket, and Amazon.com for the Kindle. Coming Soon to amazon.com in print (Feb-April, 2011).

The Tom Jones Club Excerpt

THE TOM JONES CLUB

CHAPTER ONE 

Italian: Sexy (40 percent) and stylish (37 percent)

“Viva Las Vegas” reverberated through Lucky Stryker’s head as she buckled her First Class seat belt on the Paris to Las Vegas flight with a brief stop in Orlando.

An attractive, but boring-looking, off-the-rack, three-piece-suited businessman approached the aisle she was sitting in.

His path was blocked by the nerdy looking man one row behind her on the opposite side, taking all day stashing an over-flowing carry-on, a computer, and a backpack. The businessman was forced to lean into her.

“Excuse me,” he apologized, “I’ll be out of your way in just a moment… I hope.”

Lucky laughed. “No problem.” She couldn’t help but notice the way his ordinary suit pants outlined his perfect butt perfectly—even if butts weren’t her thing. As he turned toward her, he flashed that Cheshire-cat smile without saying a word. She was intrigued, noticing his sky-blue eyes crinkle as he did so. She was a sucker for a great smile on a man. There was a lot of talk these days about the butt, but for her, it was all about the smile and the eyes. She looked up to study his eyes, but when she turned her head to get a closer look, he swung into the seat behind her.

Small talk, small, talk, quick, think of some small talk. But then she was relieved of the pressure to initiate something witty when she felt his mouth brush against her ear. And then he said, “Going for business or pleasure?”

“Oh, a little bit of both.” She felt weak in the knees, even though she was sitting down.

“You gamble?” He asked it as if he was talking about something other than slot machines, craps or roulette.

The flight attendant took that moment to offer Lucky a glass of champagne. She accepted, but overheard him decline and ask for a glass of Sangiovese instead.

“Now where were we?” He was not to be deterred. She liked that in a man.

But before she had a chance to answer, a sultry brunette wearing a short, sparkly white dress approached his aisle, and muttered something about needing to squeeze in next to him. After all, his attention shifted to her—no wonder—he was drinking a glass of Sangiovese. Italian wine drinkers tended to be sexy and stylish. In this case, it seemed to say more about the kind of woman he was interested in than about any style he might possess.

In comparison, she felt dowdy in her black leather skirt. Somehow it couldn’t compete with sparkly in Las Vegas. She’d have to keep this in mind when dressing for tomorrow’s business meeting.

Lucky settled back into her seat, relieved to have his attention elsewhere. She reached into her bag, and pulled out a novel she had picked up in the gift shop in Paris.

“My dear, excuse me, but can I ask you a question?”

She looked up to see an older, well-preserved woman dressed in all black—expensive capris with a sleeveless sweater revealing a substantial amount of cleavage. Lucky couldn’t help but notice her tanned legs leading to well-manicured toes surrounded by a pair of black rhinestone slides.

Now she didn’t usually notice these details on another woman unless she was her competition, so she was surprised by her reaction. But there this woman was, standing right next to her in the aisle, and she felt compelled to invite her to sit down.

“Is this your seat?” Without hesitation, she scooted right past Lucky and settled into the seat.

The flight attendant was mixing a drink in the row in front of them, so she turned to the woman and said, “How about a drink?” After so many years playing the hostess in the wine industry, she automatically put people at ease by offering them food or drink.

“Sure. I’ll have a pink gin fizz,” she said.

Lucky made eye contact with the attendant, indicating I’ll have another glass of champagne. The first leg of the flight—Paris to New York—had been long, but that was only the beginning. The next leg stopped in Orlando, where it seemed everybody who got on the plane had been at Disney World and had Mickey Mouse balloons, stuffed toys, and bags.

This woman was welcome company compared to who could have sat next to her.

Their drinks arrived, and the woman took a slow sip, put down her glass, and turned toward Lucky, which was a bit uncomfortable in the closeness of two airline seats, even if they were in First Class.

“What’s your question?” Directness was her specialty, a trait that wasn’t always received well. But while she was waiting for the woman to answer in the few seconds that passed, her mind raced back to the families she saw board the plane. There was something sweet and comforting about the way they were connected, the toys, the fun written all over their faces. It was something so basic and real, and she felt disturbed that she was responding this way.

“I heard you mention the Desert Sands. Are you by any means attending the Tom Jones Convention?”

“The what?”

“For the Tom Jones Club. You know who Tom Jones is, don’t you?” Oh, sure, she’d heard of Tom Jones, but a club and a convention?

“I’m assuming you mean the performer and not a fictional character, although when it comes to sexual escapades, it might be a toss-up between the two.”

“Yes, I see, you do know the man. Well,” she said in that throaty way last seen in Hollywood B movies of older women who smoke and drink and sleep around too much, “this is the Tom Jones Convention.”

PURCHASE your digital copy at Bookstrand, Mobipocket, Nook Book (BN.com), and amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle.

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Release Day

Today is release day for The Tom Jones Club – woo hoo! It’s time to party!!

The Tom Jones Club is now available at Bookstrand.com – a digital first publisher. That means it’s available in these formats: Mobipocket, HTML, Microsoft Reader, Adobe Acrobat, EPUB exclusively at Bookstrand first. Later, it will become available for Kindle, and in print and at the usual online retailers.

I’m excited about this book and I hope that you will be, too! Lucky wouldn’t leave me alone until I found a publisher for her story. Every time I tried to put her away and start another book, she’d whisper in my ear, rather loudly, I might add, and say, “Tell my story first!”

There’s a lot going on in this story – from the romance between Lucky and Eric, to Vegas, to a Tom Jones Club convention, Elvis impersonators, cowboys, ranches, wine selling, casino hopping, singing, dancing, performing, road trip, and a hint of Rat Pack with a peek into the old Vegas.

Welcome – so glad you could make it!

“Can I make you a drink? What’ll you have?”

Okay, Lucky, that’s enough for now!


Lucky Stryker’s Map of Vegas

Q. Which Vegas casino is a fake?

  • Sands
  • Dunes
  • Desert Sands
  • Desert Inn

The answer is at the end of this post.

Las Vegas is the setting for my romance novel The Tom Jones Club starring International Wine Sales Rep Lucky Stryker. On the day before Release Date, I thought I’d tell you something about how Vegas works so you’ll have a little insight into the book.

Having visited Las Vegas from the time I was seven-years-old on family trips from our home in southern California, I eventually moved there. And I’ve seen a lot of changes to Vegas during my lifetime. And this lifelong Vegas experience led to telling the story of Lucky, Eric, Johnny, Copper, Mona, Syd, Matt, Red, and the Tom Jones Club.

Las Vegas is a city that continues to reinvent itself. This often includes throwing out old icons to the neon barnyard, imploding old properties to make way for the new, or giving a facelift to an older property and keeping the name or creating a new one.

Other Vegas facts: 
  • In the old days, the properties on the Strip were so spread out, you would drive from casino to casino – not walk 
  • The Aladdin, where Elvis married Priscilla, is now Planet Hollywood
  • The Stratosphere replaced the old Vegas World.
  • Mandalay Bay is where the Hacienda used to be
  • The Desert Inn is where the old Dan Tanna TV show took place
  • Ann-Margret’s character, Rusty, gave swimming lessons at the Flamingo in the Elvis movie Viva Las Vegas, which is now the Flamingo Hilton
  • The Montecito, as shown on the TV show Vegas, never existed
  • The Desert Sands, the locale in The Tom Jones Club, is a composite of several properties, replacing an older property made new, much like what happens in Vegas

Viva Las Vegas: The Short Story

cover_TJC_180Inspiration for my romance novel The Tom Jones Club was the Elvis and Ann Margret movie Viva Las Vegas. This is the Las Vegas I knew growing up in Southern California. Back then it was touted as “America’s Fun City” instead of “Sin City” – lol!

In the movie, Elvis’ character is race car driver Lucky Jackson. My heroine is also named Lucky – Lucky Stryker, international wine sales rep. (I later discovered there is a Stryker Winery in Sonoma, California.) I described the hero and heroine as Elvis and Ann-Margret to the artist (Jinger Heaston) and I think she did a great job capturing their look.

BTW, speaking of Vegas, look for my short story Viva Las Vegas as part of the A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas anthology, from Mozark Press, late 201.

Pre-Order the Tom Jones Club

I’m so excited – pre-orders are now available for the first release of my new romance novel The Tom Jones Club.

I say first release because my publisher releases the book first on their web site – http://www.bookstrand.com – in the following formats: Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Mobipocket, EPUB. The second release will be for Kindle. And the third release is for print.

I’ll announce the exact dates as I get them. But the first release is next Tuesday, September 28, and pre-orders are available now. You can also read an excerpt on their web site.

THE TOM JONES CLUB

AVAILABLE: Tuesday, September 28th
Back Cover

International wine director Lucky Stryker, the “Lucky Lady,” is lucky in the boardroom, but unlucky in love. But the last thing she expects is to land in the arms of a cowboy during the Tom Jones Club convention. A hot week with a cowboy in Las Vegas is one thing—eternity is another.


Fearing that any woman he gets involved with will leave him–the way his mother left his father–Eric Blake chooses women who are guaranteed to fulfill that prophecy. And Lucky Stryker is no exception.


When Lady Luck throws the red hot dice, Lucky and Eric cash in on a red hot sizzling romance. So when their pasts catch up to them, and neither is who they appear to be, they are forced to answer these questions, “Can their hearts keep the promises their bodies have been making?” and “Will they finally get lucky in love?”

PRE-ORDER now.

Cover and New Release Date for The Tom Jones Club

Just got the cover for “The Tom Jones Club” and I think the artist did a fabulous job of capturing the story/setting. I was also surprised with the news that the release date has been pushed up from November to end of Sepember. Yikes! I’ve got a lot of promotional work to do, including publisher bio, interview, photo, and final approval.

It’s all so exciting and addicting. I’m definitely going to be motivated to get to work on the next book, once this one is out. In the meantime, I’d better get busy. So much to do, so little time. Will let you know the exact dates of digital, Kindle, and print availability as they unfold, but the first publisher date is September 26 – woo hoo!

And a big thanks to all who have been so supportive of me and my writing!