Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Beyond the Screen

by Janis Patterson/Janis Susan May
Sometimes our lives get so tied up with words and writing and editing and publishing and publicity that we forget there is a world out there beyond the confines of our computer screens, so today I’m not going to talk (at least very much!) about business.

This past week was my birthday – exactly which one we won’t mention – and to mark the occasion The Husband took me on a four day trip to Las Vegas. I have been so occupied with my June-October publishing blitz that he complains he never sees me anymore because I’m always locked away in my office. I wasn’t even allowed to take a computer on our trip, just my phone to check emails.

The trip was wonderful. We spent an entire day at and in Hoover Dam. I never thought of that as particularly fascinating (I had seen it before) but the trip inside was incredible. Do not go if you are in the least bit claustrophobic. The tiny little tunnels, well-lit but dank as cave passages, made me feel as if we were in the bowels of the earth – until we got to peek out a ventilation shaft halfway down the face of the dam and our perception changed immediately. 400 feet down from the dam top is still a verrrrry long way from the bottom! It did not make me feel secure when we found out that the second half our group was stuck in the elevator we had just exited, either! That made us have to climb approximately four floors to the next part of the tour, and I had morbid fantasies of having to spend hours and hours climbing out of the dam’s innards. The problem was fixed by the time of our next elevator ride, however, and we rode up with no troubles at all.

One day we spent most of the day at the Atomic Energy Museum, where you can learn EVERYTHING there is to know about the history and uses of atomic energy in stultifying minutiae. The Husband loved it. I… Personally I enjoyed the exhibit on Area 51 much more, even though the lighting was so ‘atmospheric’ and the exhibit cards print so light that reading the information was sometimes difficult. When I pulled out my pocket flash (never leave home without one!) The Husband pretended he didn’t know me.

We had planned to see a show or two, but by the evenings we were so tired out we just said ‘next time’ and left it at that. We did gamble – a little. We work too hard for our money to enjoy gaming deeply, but we did give ourselves a $25 budget for an afternoon of the penny slots. We won a little bit, which we then lost again, but had a lot of fun – a lot more than some of the players at the big $$ machines and tables seemed to be. We saw a couple of the more fantastic casinos (the Egyptian statuary at the Luxor is really quite good for commercial replicas) and walked the Fremont Experience. We also ate ourselves into a stupor – never saw so much fabulous food at such reasonable prices.

One of the high points was a visit to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop (the one from the TV series Pawn Stars). It’s smaller than I had expected, and the four stars of the show weren’t there, but as an added and completely unexpected gift I got a beautiful white gold and kunzite ring studded with teeny-tiny little chips of emerald, ruby, diamond and sapphire in a floriform design. Beats meeting TV personalities any day!

As much as I love writing and creating my own worlds, the real world has it beat.


My August 15 release SHADOWED LEGACY marks the tipping point of my 30 June – 30 October publishing blitz. It’s a gothic romance set in Louisiana of the 1870s. The story is about an orphaned young woman who has survived by singing in the saloons of the Western silver camps only to be ordered by her unknown and autocratic grandfather to come to his plantation. She wants to be part of a family, he has other ideas and an unknown villain has more sinister plans. It was a fun book to write.


Sandy Cody said...

Nice post, Janis. The real world can be daunting sometimes, but it does have the fictional world beat (never thought I'd say that). Thanks for the reminder. Good luck with Shadowed Legacy and all your other books.

Anonymous said...

Inside Hoover Dam? That's impressive. I'm claustrophobic. Seeing it from the outside was enough for me.

I'm going to have to read your book. I need to know what the grandfather has in mind. The question will nag at me until I have an answer.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Janis,

We've been to LV a number of times and really enjoyed it. Nothing like getting away for a while to give a writer fresh perspective.

Jana Richards said...

I've never been to LV but I think it would be a fun place to go for a long weekend. Glad you got out of your office for a bit of R & R.

Linda Andrews said...

Thanks for the heads up about the Hoover dam. I am very claustrophobic and will skip that part. Glad you enjoyed the trip and want to know if there'll be a book about it:D

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I did Hoover dam years ago with my husband. My sister lives in Vegas and we go there to see her and attend the PSWA conference. I never gamble, doesn't seem fun to me. I have done the touring around and seen most of the sights, stayed at the Paris and the Rio before. Seen a few shows, but none of the new ones--and don't really care if I ever do.

However, it's great to get away from the computer once in awhile and see something new.

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