Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Author Kay Phoenix

I happen to be lucky enough to call Las Vegas my hometown.  In my many years here, I’ve watched the town grow and morph. In my younger days, school field trips involved trips to Caesars Palace to watch a film on the Omnimax (back when there was no Forum Shoppes, and the parking lot was adjacent to LV Blvd. – big changes now!).   I was in high school when the Excalibur opened, and it was the largest hotel in the world at the time.  My friends and I ditched school once to go there and play in the arcade – shhh, don’t tell my mom.  Good times!

I remember when the Hacienda sat on the soil that the Luxor and Mandalay Bay sit on now.  It was a nice little place, and held the restaurant where I first ate crab legs.  I was also in a friend’s wedding there, wearing an awful fluorescent pink bridesmaid dress.

Now, so many years later, the gorgeous Mandalay Bay grew out of that soil (I was in a wedding there too, and the bridesmaids dress was much, much more tolerable).  It’s my second favorite hotel here, with Caesars being my first for nostalgia reasons, and because I used to work there.  When you walk into Mandalay Bay, it smells like suntan lotion and reminds you of lazy beach vacations. The restaurants are superb, and I’ve seen many an event inside the House of Blues.

After the horrid events on October 1, I read an article that employees kept being sent home and were losing tips that they rely on because the hotel was literally empty. Upon hearing this, I felt it necessary to bring my son down to go to the Shark Reef, as we had many times before, to help “fill the space”.  The suntan lotion scented halls were near empty, and we had the sharks almost entirely to ourselves.  It was surreal, and heartbreaking.  

If you’re looking for somewhere to come for your next “Midweek Escape”, consider Vegas.  We’ve long been known as “Sin City”, but we locals know that is a tongue-in-cheek expression.  We want our tourists to enjoy themselves, and from the Cirque artists to the weirdos who dress up like Transformers in front of the Bellagio fountains,  to little ole me who lives in a suburb and ventures to the Strip only on occasion, we are Vegas.  

Back side of Mandalay Bay from the top of the parking garage.

Where's all the people?

Normally, people are lining both sides of this tunnel.

You know that face - the "I'll smile because I have to and I'm annoyed" face.


Title: Love for the Holidays (my story, “Time for Christmas”)
Author/pen name: Kay Phoenix

Genre:  Romance

Publisher: Sin City Romance Writers

Date of Publication:  Nov. 3, 2017

·         ISBN-10: 0998672157
·         ISBN-13: 978-0998672151


 (for Book)
 Love is always in the cards with Love for the Holidays. Las Vegas temperatures are cold in December, but the heat from these seductive holiday tales will keep you warm. Whether the hero is a casino owner, executive, playboy, or rancher, they’re no match for the ladies of Vegas, when Christmas magic is in the air

(for my story) 
Sparks flew when Andrew and Regina met the first time, but the discovery that he was her new boss snuffed out their budding romance.

Now, a job transfer makes their remaining time together much too short.

Can a hefty sprinkle of Christmas magic finally set them both on the right path? Will they realize that time, like love is a gift not to be wasted?

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Regina inhaled in a deep breath and tried to calm her nerves. What did he want to see her about? Hadn’t he just seen her? Good grief on Earth this was nerve racking and right before five o’clock.

Each step up seemed to take a week. Finally, she rounded the corner to his secretary’s desk. Pam glanced up at her over dark-rimmed glasses. She motioned over her shoulder. “He said for you to go on in.”


He was in his chair with his back to her, looking out the window. “Shut the door,” he said, and turned to face her, “and have a seat.”

Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. It wasn’t like she hadn’t been in his office before. She had, but never alone. Always for a team project. She glanced at the clock on the wall above his desk. Only ten minutes until quitting time. Did she do something wrong? Or, was this about starting a new, tedious project.

“So, Regina, I went over everything you did on the Clough account. Good job. But, I have a couple questions for you about the ATI account.”

She nodded. “Okay, what are they?”

“Great. Come over here. I want to show you what I’m looking at.” He motioned with his hand for her to stand beside him as if he wanted to show her something on his screen.

She joined him behind the desk, and was immediately aware of his close proximity. His fresh, woodsy scent was intoxicating. On his computer screen was a photo of the Tower of London.

Author bio:

Ms. Phoenix is a rare bird herself...a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. She belongs to Las Vegas Romance Writers and has served on the board for several years. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America with PAN status.

Prior to writing, Kay was a Graphic Artist for fifteen years in the casino industry and holds degrees in both Graphic Arts and Psychology. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling and photography. She is also involved in several Las Vegas non-profits, and is the current Chairman of a popular, long-running, local art show.

Kay has been blessed to be able to travel many places, which inspired her to host a weekly author spotlight called “Midweek Escapes” on her blog. It features guest author’s favorite vacation destinations, their travel tips, and, of course, information about their book releases and occasional giveaways.

Friday, October 13, 2017

FREE Event in Las Vegas

Hi all, 

I will be hosting a table at this free event next Saturday. Although seating will be randomly assigned, I'd still love to see you there. All authors will be signing books afterwards. ♡

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Author Tami Cowden

I love to visit England. 

                I have been three times so far, and will undoubtedly visit again.  In my first trip to England, we stayed in a condo the Midlands over Christmas, and ventured out in a different direction every day.   We visited Lincoln, Nottingham, Leicester, Stratford, and Warwick, along with a day trip to London. In the other two trips, we were stayed in London, taking in the many sights there.

                I love England because I have always been an English history buff.  In fact, I can recite the Kings and Queens going all the back to Edward the Confessor. So, on our travels, we tend to take in a lot of the historical sites.  But that doesn’t mean we only visit castles and cathedrals.

                One of my favorite stops was at the race course at Towcester.  Seeing the steeplechase races was very exciting, and I won  £17 on a bet.   But, since it was England, there was also a good dose of history.  Towcester is located where a Roman garrison town called Lactodurum was situated, so  we were able to see the old Roman wall, still standing nearly two thousand years after it was built. There are many Roman  sites in England, and the London Museum has an excellent exhibit.

                On our most recent trip, aside from Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, and the Tower, we visited a Cartoon Museum, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the British Library.  The latter had a genuine copy of the Magna Carta, which was pretty cool.  We also took a boat trip on the Thames, a barge trip on the canal, and visited the London Zoo, the world’s oldest scientific zoo. 

                You can’t visit London without trying the theater.  I fulfilled my lifelong dream of seeing the Mousetrap, which has been continuously running in London’s West End for 65 years.  We also took in a couple of comedies, which had us rolling in the aisles.  And we learned of an English tradition – ice cream during intermission!

                Despite having packed in a lot during my three visits, there are still tons of places to visit and experience in this lovely country.  I am sure I will be visiting again in the near future.

the marquee for the Mousetrap

the obligatory shot of Big Ben

Sitting on a throne in Kensington Palace

the moat garden at Windsor Castle


Title: Love for the Holidays (my story, “Christmas Time in Las Vegas”)
Author/pen name: Tami Cowden

Genre:  Romance

Publisher: Sin City Romance Writers

Date of Publication:  Nov. 3, 2017

·         ISBN-10: 0998672157
·         ISBN-13: 978-0998672151

Number of pages:  350 pages
Word Count:  65,000


(for Book) Love is always in the cards with Love for the Holidays. Las Vegas temperatures are cold in December, but the heat from these seductive holiday tales will keep you warm. Whether the hero is a casino owner, executive, playboy, or rancher, they’re no match for the ladies of Vegas, when Christmas magic is in the air

(For my story)  Caterer Bree left her partnership years ago, unable to overcome her forbidden attraction to her best friend’s husband. But now Liam has come to Las Vegas, single again, and with a little girl in tow. Bree knows she should stay away. But she’ll risk heartbreak to show this little girl that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Vegas.  

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“Oh, Miss Jessica, you are quite the brat, aren’t you?” Bree muttered.
“What did you say?”
Startled, Bree turned to the direction from which the deeply voiced yet icy question had come. Finding herself staring straight into the neatly tied knot of a very charming tie sporting a pattern of candy canes, she lifted her gaze up several inches. A pair of glacial blue eyes seared her. Yet, despite the anger emanating from his glare, she could not help but notice the rest of his face.
His very gorgeous face.
His familiar face?
For a moment, she reveled in the sight of the man standing before her, amazed that he was actually there, in the flesh. For so long, she’d had only memories to keep her company. He’d gained a few creases in the corners of his eyes, and that neatly trimmed beard was new. But otherwise, he looked just as she had remembered. Just as he appeared in her fantasies every night.
She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, drinking in the pure joy of seeing him.
“Liam Morgan?” The name of the man for whom she had harbored a secret, forbidden passion for more than eight years slipped from her lips.

Author bio:

Tami Cowden lives and writes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her first novel, Cruising for Love, won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America, and was published initially by Avalon. It is now available from Montlake Romance.

Tami is also the coauthor of The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes, a guide to characterization for writers. Tami has presented writing programs on characterization, plotting and scene building at more than 100 writing conferences and retreats, as well as online. Due to popular demand, she also authored a follow up book, Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Villain Archetypes.

A lawyer by day, she is now working on a mystery series about a divorce lawyer who inherits a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Tami lives in Las Vegas with her husband, two basset hounds, and four cats.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Author L.A. McGinnis

I have been visiting Sanibel Island, Florida since I was about five years old, which would be since 1968.  I can remember when the island was still pretty uninhabited, and we’d drive down a washboard road to get to Bowman’s Beach (my dad would drive as fast as he could while we rattled around in the back of the station wagon), or the sandy road to old marina where they dumped the shrimp straight out into the dock and then scooped them, alive, into paper bags for you to take home and boil for dinner.

Nowadays the island is a little more urbane, but it has lost none of its charm.  We still find a way to get down there at least once a year, and it still feels like home every time I drive across that (brand new) bridge, eye to eye with the pelicans. 

We’re beach people, so the majority of our time is spent on the beaches.  I write every day (or at least until my battery runs out), once my laptop goes dead, I read.  Over the years, we’ve visited every beach, and they each have their particular charm.  Bowman’s has the tidal pools and long sand bars and is wonderful for shelling, the Lighthouse beach is long and shallow, with great views of Fort Myers beach across the bay, and Blind Pass beach, since they dredged the sand out of the pass , has a great current in the channel for both fishing and swimming.  

Back when visitors began pouring in, and the residents feared over development, a large portion of the island was set aside as a refuge, limitations were set for development, and the result is a mix of largely unspoiled, natural island vegetation and pristine beaches.  Our favorite places to eat are Doc Ford’s Rum Bar (great mojito’s and Yucatan shrimp), the Mucky Duck (since 1976- their grouper sandwich is the best), Matzaluna (Italian), Traders and the Over Easy CafĂ© for breakfast.  Shelling is best at low tide, and the island has retained the slow, relaxing vibe of island life, but if you like the night life, it’s just over the bridge in Fort Myers.

We’re actually leaving tomorrow, and I can’t wait to go back!


Title: Shadows of Ghosts
Series and Book #: Shadows Series Book I
Author/pen name: L. A. McGinnis

Genre:  paranormal romance

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Date of Publication:  October 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5092-1623-9

Number of pages: 294
Word Count:  78,000

Driving to South Carolina to claim an inheritance from a total stranger didn’t figure into Logan Dean’s long term plans. But she'd be a fool to pass up an opportunity, and her mother didn’t raise any fools. Now she's a pawn in a vampire war and fighting to stay alive. Thankfully, she’s discovered an ally in mysterious Ian Grant. As her feelings for Ian grow, Logan comes to realize if she wants the love she deserves, she's going to have to fight the demons of her past.

For over a hundred years, cynical Ian Grant swore to never love another woman. But from the first time he saw Logan, he knew an ancient part of his history had come back to haunt him, and the one thing he doesn't want becomes the one thing he has to have.

Two irreconcilable lives, five hundred years of history, and all they have to do to live happily ever after is defeat the evil that threatens to tear them apart.

Buy links:


“Why were you talking about me?” Logan countered. Ian walked towards her, but she didn’t back away, fueled in part by curiosity, but mostly because nobody pushed her around. When his golden eyes locked on hers, a strange, sweet feeling swept through her.
The man simply…dazzled. With his fallen angel beauty framed by hair the color of copper and a body that flowed as gracefully as smoke. But it was those eyes, she decided, eyes as gold as Midas that did it for her, slanted above a smile as dangerous as a predator’s.

A wondrous feeling blew through her, like she’d missed him, like her heart had been broken a thousand times and now was finally whole. He was how home smells when you don’t even know how much you’ve missed it until you come through the front door and there it is. Waiting for you.
“Who the hell are you, Grant?” She managed, as he stopped a few inches away. The fierceness of his gaze set off another sensation, and as need curled through her, she reeled. It was as if she knew. Knew what his mouth tasted like. Knew his weight on her body. Because she’d felt them before. Staggering forward, Logan found herself caught by capable hands. “Oh God, what’s happening to me?”
Warm breath feathered her ear. “You’re curious, aren’t you? You feel it, don’t you?” Logan stood helpless, held in place not by him but by something inside her that made it impossible to leave. And when he reached out and tucked a stray hair behind her ear, a gesture so tender, yet so achingly familiar, she couldn’t breathe. “You always had the most beautiful hair.”
“What kind of games are you playing, Grant?” Logan managed.
“Unfortunately for us, Miss Dean, this is not a game.” Clouds covered the sun, cutting off the nimbuses that fractured the gloom, plunging the room into shadow. It was a sign, she thought, of something momentous. Or at least, she was going to take it as a sign, which meant pretty much the same thing. Right about then she realized they weren’t alone.
“What the hell is going on here, Ian?” Face burning, she stepped away from him immediately. Busted. Robert carefully looked between the two of them, a growing awareness on his face.
Grant smoothly took over. “I just drove out to see Bart’s old place. I’d hoped Miss Dean might be interested in selling.” Just like that, he became completely detached. Gone was any trace of whatever had happened between them. The moment felt stolen, instead of real. He didn’t want Robert to know. Know what, she wasn’t sure, but she did remember Robert’s final words yesterday…get the hell out of here, Ian… Her legs were still a little shaky, but as the distance opened between them, her bearings came back. Fine, she thought, two can play at that game.

“Mr. Grant was explaining to me his plans for Aviemore.” She felt Grant’s jolt of surprise behind her. “I’m afraid I’ve…” she went on sweetly, “…fallen in love with the old place, too. So, of course I can’t sell.”
It was a small victory to see that coolness crack for a second. “Then I believe I won’t waste any more of your time.” Footsteps echoed down the empty hall.
Logan held up a hand to Robert. “Give us just a sec, will you?” She waited on the porch until Ian opened his car door before calling out. “Why did you come out here, Grant?”
“You don’t want the kind of answers I’ll give you, Miss Dean. Trust me.”
She bit back a laugh.  “Yeah? Well, sometimes those are the only kind you get.”

Author bio:

From the first time she picked up a book, L.A. was hooked. By the time she left elementary school, she’d read every volume in the C. H. Campbell library, forcing the poor librarian to order more Norse mythology books. When she wasn’t running through the woods or rescuing animals, she could be found curled up in the backyard with a book, escaping to even greater adventures. But Laura always dreamed of the day when she’d tell the really, really big story, the tale of growing up in the American twentieth century. But between riding horses and driving fast cars, somehow her teenage years flashed by. Realizing that everyone has to grow up, she walked into a classroom at KSU and began studying Chaucer and Shakespeare and Old English, and once again fell in love with storytelling. Eventually, her creativity came full circle, and as she changed from artist to mother, the dream of the Great American Novel was put on hold by all the other things that big life demands. Then one day, in between rolling her eyes and ordering her son to complete the ten page report that was, of course, due the very next day, she had to stop for a moment when he challenged her, “Well, when was the last time you wrote ten pages?”

So she wrote, badly at first, and then, to her delight, discovered that she loved it, perhaps even more than she had before. After pecking out a longer-than-life YA novel and a somewhat convoluted apocalyptic horror manuscript, she finally found a genre that she adored. And once the first draft was done, she thought, well, this really isn’t too bad. Not as bad as say…the convoluted apocalyptic horror story. After more edits than she can even count, she hopes you enjoy Shadows of Ghosts, the story of Logan and Ian. Laura is a graduate of Kent State University, and has been writing since 2007. She belongs to both the RWA and the NEORWA and has attended the annual Sanibel Island Writer’s Conferences, as well as the NEORWA Writer’s Conferences, and participates in their yearly writing retreat.

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