July 8, 2012

Nevada -- Not All Glitz and Glamour-Mary Jean Kelso

Nevada is more than the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas and the Reno-Sparks-Lake Tahoe areas.  True it abounds in indoor playgrounds, but it also offers wonderful outdoor adventures as well.  It is an area where you can be in the desert one minute and in the mountains hiking, skiing or enjoying any other outdoor sport that you fancy within a short drive.
Nevada is not only an adult playground it is kid-friendly as well.  From Children’s museums to indoor amusement parks with extreme roller coasters and other rides atop buildings in Las Vegas to an orchestrated water show along the strip, there is a lot for children to do here.
The state is a photographer’s paradise. Nature abounds in all its glory with beautiful scenery. Rugged mountains, pristine lakes and pioneer trails through low desert areas offer a variety of scenic images. Historic ghost towns, some with barely visible remains and others blatantly “lively” such as Virginia City greet the history buff’s imagination.  Gold enticed people to settle this area in the 1800s.  Mining still provides a substantial income to the state in 2012.
For me, Nevada made history come alive. Dull, dry and boring names, dates and places in school education were rote items to dredge through.  Here in the physical presence of Virginia City, Fort Churchill, Pony Express stations, and all the other tangible locations, history is brought to life. One can see how immigrants lived and died or survived to establish the state. The Old West comes abundantly to life in what is still Cowboy Country to this day.
You will find many of these locations appear in my children’s illustrated books, young adult and adult novels. They are threaded throughout as settings for many of the books.
One young adult series is set in and around Virginia City, Reno, Carson City and many other outlying small towns still clinging to life or flourishing while they proudly protect and share their history. The first in the series, Goodbye Is Forever, was brought out by Great Basin Press in Reno, NV as Mystery in Virginia City.  Since then it has been reprinted three times. The second in the series, No Time For Goodbye was recently reissued by Wings-Press.com.
My July 2011 release, Cowboy James, is about a little boy in Pee Wee Rodeo.  He refuses to remove his cowboy hat for any reason.  His main competitor, a girl, wears a pair of red cowboy boots about which she feels the same.  I am excited that this is my first hardback. The Christmas Angel came out in hardback, as well, at Christmas 2011. Conversion of previous releases will follow. Readers will have the books available in digital, audio, video and print (in soft cover and hardback).

Mary Jean Kelso is currently writing more books in the Andy and the Albino Horse series in which a special needs boy and a therapy horse are heroes to each other.  Andy and Spirit Meet the Rodeo Queen was nominated for a Global Ebook Award.  Her children’s publisher, Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. of Saint Louis, MO is scheduled to release Andy and Spirit in Search and Rescue and Birds in the Flower Basket soon. Wings Epress will release Annabel’s Story July 1, 2012.  Kelso recently received The Nevada Press Association Award and The National Press Association Award. She is a multi-genre' author who has written for many newspapers and magazines. She worked as an Editor and as a Customer Services Representative for a Raytheon Company.

 Visit her site: http://www.authorsden.com/maryjeankelso to discover more about her work and how storytelling runs in her blood.

(Pictures provided by author and travelnevada.com)


  1. Dear Mary Jean,

    I too am from Nevada...a small town nestled in a canyon, almost equidistant from both Reno and Vegas. You make me a bit homesick with your descriptions of the valleys, deserts, the vistas and even the closeup wonders of a wonderful state. It's hard for people to relate to the desert areas--but those are my favorites. I grew up literally on the treeline of Mt. Whitney in White Pine County, and my early youth certainly shaped a lot of my writing...as it has yours, obviously.

    I really enjoyed your post. All the best, Erin O'Quinn

  2. We discovered some of Nevada's beauty when we got tired of the glitz. One glance at Boulder Dam and my Engineering husband was in second heaven. Loved your post.

  3. Terrific post! It was fun to hear about Mary Jean's goings on as well.

    Thanks, Ladies!

  4. Great Post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So fun to find you here, Mary Jean. The wonder of the Web. We've been friends so long, and it's the Web that keeps us connected.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    Excited about the new edition (expanded! updated! even more helpful for writers!) of The Frugal Book Promoter, now a USA Book News award-winner in its own right (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo)

  6. Thanks you for that great overview of Nevada and the pics. I've driven from Arizona to Lake Tahoe, with a stop overnight in LV. The state is definitely a contrast in scenery and living styles. I, too write 'tween and teen books. Good luck with your writing.

  7. Thanks, Annette, for featuring Mary Jean Kelso. We have a disabled young man in our family, too. It's great to have stories of these special needs kids succeeding in life. Blessings, Penelope

  8. Nevada does sound like a dichotomy, great grist for writers.

    Morgan Mandel

  9. AnonymousJuly 08, 2012

    Thanks, everyone, for all the great comments! I'm happy to see so many people reading the blog.

    Mary Jean

  10. Nevada is a great state! Similar to Montana, my home state, in a lot of ways. Montana has a Virginia City too. Your books sound great. Congrats on your first hardback!

  11. My family loves the hiking in Nevada. Las Vegas is a good central place to stay cheap.
    Enjoyed the interview and the pictures, too.

  12. AnonymousJuly 19, 2012

    Having driven Highway 50, "The Loneliest Road in America" and visited local museums whenever we got our books stamped, having been to Elko during a motorcycle weekend, and having stayed at the Hotel Nevada ($1 blackjack when you check in) where Stephen King writes, I agree Nevada is more than Vegas!


Follow 50 Authors from 50 States blog for the latest