July 9, 2017

A Rare Side of Nevada and Las Vegas with Author, Kay Phoenix



Tony Bennett serenaded me as a child.  I saw Siegfried and Roy before they were mega-famous, and now I see them at the gas station because they live nearby.  I know people that dance in and work on Cirque Du Soliel shows.  And, if I happen to see someone dressed like an Avenger cross the street in front of me, I don’t even blink an eye.  The first time I went to California on vacation, I remember asking the nice lady at the check-in desk what show their hotel featured (we were probably at a Travelodge or something).  
 
That’s Vegas for ya.  And, it’s my hometown.  Nevada is my home state, and although I admit to hating the summers when it’s 115 degrees outside, I kinda like it here.  Where else could I live that has so many world class restaurants and entertainment nearby, and such gorgeous National parks and recreation areas just as close? Plus, the only harsh weather we have to worry about is the sun. 

When I grew up I ended up working in the gaming industry.  I was a graphic designer and I worked for a casino supply company designing signage, slot machine graphics, and anything else that was flashy and would make the tourists want to drop their hard earned money on the slight chance they might walk away rich. 

Honestly though, Vegas is so much more than the Strip of casinos that line the center of the valley.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on planes coming home from vacation to hear someone talk about all the “inside information” they have on how to win the slots (hint: there aren’t any magic formulas).  Or, where the best buffets are (arguable).  I usually prefer to keep my mouth shut because if I mention I’m from here, inevitably they will talk my leg off the rest of the flight.  

If you’ve been here, I hope that you’ve spent some time away from the Strip, and have taken in some of the beauty the Nevada desert has to offer.  Red Rock Canyon is a favorite, and it’s the closest spot to the city, and the one that most of the tourists visit. Then, there’s Lake Mead Conservation Area, which, interestingly enough, is actually patrolled by the coast guard because of Hoover Dam.  Valley of Fire is near, as well as Death Valley national Park.  Further north is Great Basin National Park.  There’s also a little place called Area 51 nearby, if you’ve heard of it (or even if you haven’t- hehe).  Side note on Area 51:  if you’ve lived in Vegas for any amount of time you will undoubtedly come across at least one and maybe a bunch of people that have worked there.  Funny for a place that doesn’t exist. 

Northern Nevada is full of wide open spaces, many ranches and the beauty of the true west.  Lake Tahoe, Reno and Carson City are vastly different than Las Vegas not only in climate but also in population and culture.  

Last year, some local writers formed a group called The Sin City Romance Writers.  We have published an anthology “Decades of Love” basing each novella on a different decade in Vegas’ history.  We plan on having several more anthologies out soon, each one providing Vegas as a backdrop to the tales.  

I mostly write contemporary and paranormal romances.  I enjoy keeping things real as I’ve found that reality is often stranger than fiction (and especially true if you live in Vegas!).  My book, “Steele and Stone”, from The Wild Rose Press was recently a finalist in the Holt Medallion contest.  By the time this blog comes out, I’ll know whether or not I was a winner.  

I hope that if you ever venture to Vegas for the first or fiftieth time, you’ll plan to take a few days to visit everything else you can find outside of the strip and toward the state lines in all directions.  You’ll fall in love with my home state, just as I have.  It’s rugged, solid and beautiful, just like the wild mustangs that still run free in its lonely mountains.  

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.

Please visit her website at www.KayPhoenix.com.

Comment and I’ll pick TWO winners.  Yes, TWO.  I’ll send you a book and some Vegas swag. Good Luck! 
(all info provided by author)

23 comments:

Sherri Moorer said...

A wonderful posts. Glad you ventured outside of Vegas at it to show us some of the beauty of the parks and desert! Being surrounded by trees, the desert amazes me. I'll have to check out your suggestions when the day that I venture out west comes again.

Maria VanderMolen said...

Feel the same way about Vegas. Even though I've only 12 years here, it feels like it has always been home. All that snow stuff was just a bad dream. Love your writing ♡.

Robin Bayne said...

Thanks for sharing, shows a new side to Vegas. We hope to get back there someday.

Linda Thorne said...

You did a great job describing Nevada (and Las Vegas). I spent the first 35 years of my life in Phoenix, Arizona, so I've been to Vegas many times when I lived there and then later on when I lived in other states. There's always so much to do there.

Tanya Hanson said...

Great post! We visit Reno a lot as our niece lives there. Yes, she sends me pix of the wild horses that wander through their neighborhood. I love the Carson Valley--wow, is Genoa neat! And I find my soul at Laje Tahoe.

Renaissance Women said...

I've been to Vegas, but since I was there for a conference (screenwriting), I didn't get to do much else. Still and all, I've heard so many wonderful things about the area around Vegas and the rest of the state, it is on my bucket list. (Now, more than ever, thanks to your post.) Doris

Radine Trees Nehring said...

Gee, I sure learned alot I didn't know though have been to Las Vegas for business conventions. No opportunity to visit other places you mention or even knowledge of them. Too bad! Thanks for the very interesting blog. Radine Trees Nehring

Linda Swift said...

Kaye, I enjoyed your descriptions of your beloved state. I've lived in Vegas for short periods several times due to my husband's work and loved it. And yes, we did venture outside the city and I agree with you about Nevada's other wonderful attractions. I love the area's dry air, and almost constant sunshine. And the immensity and silence of the place. It gives me a feeling of peace and tranquility. Thank you for the reminder of my happy times there. My husband is retired but I hope to visit again. Linda Swift LSwiftR@aol.com

Kelley Heckart said...

Hi Kay, I love going to Vegas. It's only a couple of hours drive from where we live in Arizona. I love the Strip, but I also like to enjoy the other things Vegas has to offer. It's a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing.

Mark R Hunter said...

I never dreamed that the Coast Guard did any patrolling in Nevada!

Kay Phoenix said...

Trees amaze me, having lived in the desert. :-)

Kay Phoenix said...

Hi Maria. Thanks.

Kay Phoenix said...

Seems we're constantly changing. There's always something new to see and do.

Kay Phoenix said...

I agree. I also love the Phoenix area. Both deserts, but so different.

Kay Phoenix said...

Yes, Northern Nevada is wild and gorgeous. I forgot to mention Virginia City, which is the touristy mining town near there. So neat.

Kay Phoenix said...

I know how tight time is worth conferences, for sure. I hope you get to visit for a getaway sometime.

Kay Phoenix said...

If you ever find yourself heading back for another convention, perhaps you can escape to Red Rock for a couple hours.

Kay Phoenix said...

Immensity and silence. Yes, Nevada is huge and there are many wide open spaces where you can find tranquility.

Kay Phoenix said...

That's great. So glad you like to visit.

Kay Phoenix said...

I know, isn't that crazy? https://www.reviewjournal.com/uncategorized/coast-guard-looking-to-drop-anchor-in-north-las-vegas/

Roger Lawrence said...

I'd always thought of Vegas as a truly awful place, even though I've never been there. Your post makes it sound lovely. Next time I'm in the US I'll give it a go. Thanks.

Kay Phoenix said...

Oh, believe me, it can be awful sometimes with the incredible heat in summer and the crowds on the strip. But, there are ways to escape all that. :-)

Cara Marsi said...

I enjoyed your blog. My husband and I visit Vegas once a year to see our son who lives in Henderson. We live on the East Coast. Although we stay at one of the hotels on the Strip, we don't gamble. We've explored the surrounding area and have enjoyed the places you mentioned time and again. In the 70's before we married, we visited Reno and Tahoe. I've begun setting my romances in Vegas. Congrats on finaling in the Holt.