Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guest Post: Research by Deborah Coonts, Author of Wanna Get Lucky?

I bet I am the only taxpayer who used a night at a male strip club as a business deduction. Well, okay, me and several politicians, but mine was legit. This writer gig has its upside, I can tell you that. Who knew research could be this much fun? I wish I could tell you that I based my novels in Las Vegas because I wanted Uncle Sam to cover some of the cost of great nights out, but I wasn't that smart. And to be honest, while digging around Sin City can be wildly amusing, it does have its downside:

As with most of life's lessons, this one was learned the hard way. And here is what I've learned: USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM!

Right out of the gate, for novel number one, WANNA GET LUCKY? I needed to experience a sex toy trade show. As with most things, I didn't really think it through. I mean, people go to these all the time, don't they? It was a trade show, for chrissake! With vendors and everything. So, picturing the Home and Garden Show I attended at some point in the past (I know! What was I thinking? Apparently I must have been channeling Donna Reed -- that's the only excuse I can come up with.) I launched off, blissfully clueless.

My head started to swim after the fourth or fifth row of battery-operated boyfriend exhibits. I'm from the South, please, we don't even discuss sex, much less have it thrust in our faces -- I thought I was made of sterner stuff, but apparently not. So, even though as a Texas girl I can ride bareback, shoot dinner on the wing, gut a deer, converse fluently in china patterns and silver place settings, identify this season's Prada from last's, and break the nose of any guy who calls me "Honey," I found myself totally out of my element. When Oprah admonishes us to challenge ourselves everyday, I don't think this is what she means. I started to hyperventilate. I needed help, and a change of plan.
After two glasses of liquid fortification at the bar, I headed into the movie theatre. Big mistake. You see, when I'm nervous, I laugh uncontrollably -- doubled-over, tears-rolling-down-my-face, gulping-lungfuls-of-air kind of laughing. And I really hadn't recovered my composure.

I discovered two things that day: porn stars take themselves very seriously, and I can outrun over-siliconed twenty-somethings . . . if they are wearing six-inch heels. As a woman of a certain age, I already knew I could outrun any guy preoccupied with his wanker, so that was no biggie.

Now, when I go off on a research expedition, I gather the posse. There is safety in numbers. At least that's what my mother used to say, but I don't think she ever envisioned the places I have to see, the sacrifices I'm called upon to make for my art. Once the girls gather, we fortify ourselves with liquid courage, check to make sure the EMTs are on speed-dial and we have the names of several reputable bail bondsmen (assuming that isn't an oxymoron), then we're off.

Our first foray into the dangerous world of research as a group was a night out at one of the few, if not the only, remaining true male strip clubs. The club occupied the second floor of a ramshackle old building in a part of town that had lost even then the faintest memory of respectability. Emaciated, disinterested young women writhed around poles on the lower floor. Like ants following a trail of pheromones, a single file of women snaked through the bar to the back staircase. We fell in as I meticulously tucked my receipt into my wallet -- business expense, you know. At the top of the stairs we were assaulted by a coven of naked young men wearing only a tiny sack over their privates. One brazen, doe-eyed, long-haired kid, started running his hands over me. "Don't." I snapped. I was in no mood to play -- as I said, this was business . . . and he was . . . not appealing. He reared back as if I'd hit him with a Tazer. "I can't touch you?" he asked, clearly incredulous. I narrowed my eyes at him and he slunk off. Smart boy.

One of my friends, who had decided to "dress slutty" in honor of our outing, attracted the most attention, as I skooched into a booth enjoying the show. And what a show it was. The music started. A guy dressed as a Marine strutted out and started doing his thing. As I watched, all I could think of was "What ever happened to the Village People?" I was clearly having trouble going with the flow.

Women beat their open palms on the stage, stuffed the Marine's tiny sack with dollar bills, while one Adonis straddled my "slutty" friend and began grinding into her chest. She looked around his perfect set of cheeks that were aimed in my direction, and raised her glass while gracing me with a huge grin. I flagged the waiter down and ordered a double.

That's about all I think I can tell you. I know truth is an absolute defense to libel, but discretion is the glue that binds female friendships. However, to this day, I wake up in a cold sweat that somewhere there is a grainy photo, hastily taken with a camera phone . . .

But, if it’s all the same to you, I'd rather take in a male strip show.

© 2011 Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff

WANNA GET LUCKY? By Deborah Coonts

A young woman plunges from a Las Vegas sightseeing helicopter, landing in the Pirate’s lagoon in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in the middle of the 8:30 Pirate Show. Almost everyone writes her off as another Vegas victim.

But Lucky O’Toole smells a rat. She’s head of Customer Relations at The Babylon, the newest, most opulent mega-casino and resort on the Strip, so she’s got a lot on her plate: the Adult Film industry’s annual awards banquet, a spouse-swapping convention, sex toy purveyors preying on the pocket-protector crowd attending ElectroniCon…. Still, Lucky can’t resist turning over a few stones.

When a former flame is one of the snakes she uncovers, Lucky’s certain she’s no longer dealing with an anonymous Sin City suicide. To top it all off, Lucky’s best friend Teddie—Las Vegas’ finest female impersonator—presses to take their relationship to the next level. Leave it to Lucky to attract a man who looks better in a dress than she does.

Lucky must manage the Babylon’s onslaught of outrageous festivities, solve a murder, and struggle to keep her life and libido from spinning out of control… not to mention keep her balance in six inch heels.

Author Bio

Deborah Coonts, author of Lucky Stiff, says her mother tells her she was born in Texas a very long time ago, though she's not totally sure -- her mother can't be trusted. But she was definitely raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. She currently resides in Las Vegas, where family and friends tell her she can't get into too much trouble. Silly people. Coonts has built her own business, practiced law, flown airplanes, written a humor column for a national magazine, and survived a teenager. She is the author of the Lucky O'Toole Las Vegas adventure series.

Her first book, Wanna Get Lucky?, was released in 2010.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Much thanks and appreciation to FSB Media for providing copies of both Wanna Get Lucky? and Lucky Stiff and this original article, all by author Deborah Coonts.

1 comment:

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