Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Story Ideas

If you read my post yesterday, you know I'm in sunny (not) Tampa. Well, it was probably sunny before I arrived. I have ultimately decided that I am the bad weather bringer. No sooner had the plane landed that it clouded up. I got to the hotel, checked email, unpacked, etc and it was still rumbling. I checked my watch and decided I might run out and grab an early supper and try to beat the rain - ha. I was about a mile from the hotel when the bottom dropped out. And where was my umbrella, you ask - back at the hotel. This, is very typical of my luck lately.

Which led me to thinking about story ideas. Sure, everyone says there is no relation to people they know, blah, blah, blah, but is that really true? Let's face it, for a book to have any depth, writers are playing every character in the story. So in a way, everyone is based on us. My book due out in October is even more so than basic resemblance and I thought I'd share the story with you.

Back in 2000, my husband and I made plans to get married in Las Vegas. I was working contract at the time, and had the flexibility to take a couple of months off work. I am sort of a math geek (dad is engineer + mom is accountant = really good math dna) so I decided to try to break the house on blackjack. I got software, read books, and generally studied and practiced for over a month. I knew every combination of cards between me and the dealer and what the best statistical play was. I could utilize a simple card-counting method on up to six decks of cards.

But I couldn't win.

If I had 19, the dealer had 20. If I had 20, the dealer had 21 - and on and on. To make matters worse, if I sit down at a table, everyone loses. I'm not even allowed to stand next to my husband (who is silly lucky at blackjack), when he is playing.

So when RWA conference was in Reno, I was meeting with my agent and she asked if I'd been gambling. I told her not really and relayed my Vegas story. She laughed and said "you know, there's a book in there somewhere." And so after much thought, UNLUCKY was born.

The funny thing is, at the time I wrote the proposal, I hadn't even heard of the word "cooler" much less seen the movie. My good friend, Diana Peterfreund, told me to work the word into my proposal and I (not wanting to look like an idiot), googled it to find out what the heck she was talking about. Low and behold, I found that if things don't pan out with this corporate training gig, I could have a covert career as a card cooler.

I have yet to actually get a casino employee to admit that cooler exist, but then why would they? All I know, is I switched to poker shortly thereafter. I'd like to say it went fine, but well, let's just say I'm back on slots. :)


Jaye Wells said...

That is such a cool story, no pun intended.

Tori Lennox said...

I've never heard of card coolers before. BUt it's a great story!

Most of my ideas come from weird dreams I've had over the years. :)

Jana DeLeon said...

jaye - thanks. I kinda wish it weren't true as I really love a great poker game, but what are you going to do?

tori - I don't remember my dreams like I used to. I know that's supposed to mean something, but I don't remember that either. :)

An Austin DesignWorks Production