Tag Archives: Regency romance

Heroines with problems

Dealy Gamble JPEG
This Las Vegas mystery keeps readers guessing nearly to the end

 All novels are about someone with a problem. No problem = no plot = a very dull book indeed.
    In my years of writing Regency romances, my heroines’ problems reflected the time in which they lived. In my first book, poor, crippled Meg was a servant in fear of being dismissed from her job “without a character.” (Through no fault of her own, of course.) That meant she’d either be out on the streets or headed for the workhouse, a dreadful place where “there were eight or ten beds in each room, retentive of all scents and very productive of vermin.”
    My subsequent Regency heroines had to contend with everything from the all-important search for a husband, to a father who gambled the family fortune away, to a brother sentenced to hang for what today would be considered a minor white-collar crime.
    Fast forward two hundred years. After producing a steady stream of historicals, I got a great idea for a haunted casino mystery/romance. It just popped into my head and wouldn’t go away. So for the first time I plotted a contemporary romance in a setting far removed from the stuffy manners and morals of Regency England. Deadly Gamble is set in glitzy, cutting-edge Las Vegas, Nevada, 2014.
                To say Kristi Andrews, my heroine, faces a different set of problems would be an understatement. Unlike the women of the Regency, her one big goal in life is definitely not to find a husband. When the story begins, she just got out of a bad marriage and plans to focus on her new career at the Parthenon Hotel/Casino. Of course, human nature being what it is, no matter what the century, a new man in her life soon appears in the form of Mike Garvey, famed historian/author (his line of work ties in with the mystery.) As the plot progresses, Kristi’s “problem” reaches momentous proportions. Forgive a bit of a brag here, but I love a story that contains seemingly unrelated threads that all come together in the end. That’s true of Deadly Gamble. I hope I’ve kept the reader guessing almost to the very last.
     History lover that I am, I couldn’t entirely ignore the past. One of the threads in the book involves the history of Las Vegas. It’s hard to envision Sin City before the casinos—the Strip—all the glitz and glamour, but while researching, I did just that. Who knows that beginning around 1821, travelers on the old Santa Fe Trail passed directly through what is now the City of Las Vegas? It was all cactus and sand back then with one exception:  after a hard trek across the desert, pack trains loaded with goods for Los Angeles stopped at a beautiful green oasis, a site just west of what is now downtown. Early Spanish explorers named it “Las Vegas” which means “grassy meadows.” There, amidst cottonwood trees and lush greenery, two pools of clear, cool water greeted the weary travelers. The pools were perfect for swimming. Bubbling waters from Artesian springs beneath kept the swimmers so buoyant they couldn’t drown even if they wanted to.
    It’s all in the book (I couldn’t resist), so for a bit of history, a look into behind-the-scenes Las Vegas, an intriguing romance, and a heroine with a very, very big problem, I hope you’ll take a look at Deadly Gamble.  
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