Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reno book signing

My first book signing in Reno is this weekend: 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Sundance Bookstore. I’m looking forward to it. Sundance is an independent bookstore that has been around for more than 20 years. Just browsing its shelves will be well worth the trip, I imagine.

It’s a quick trip, no doubt. I’m leaving Saturday morning and coming back Sunday morning. (Travel arrangements were made by Stephens Media, as some CityLife folks – myself included – are attending the Nevada Press Association awards banquet Saturday night.) I’ll have just enough time to sign some books, dip my feet in the Truckee River and look longingly at the Sierra Nevada mountains to the west.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

RIP Capozzoli's

And now I see that Capozzoli’s Italian restaurant is a pile of ashes. What next? Komol? Lotus of Siam? The Mediterranean CafĂ©?

RIP Center Stage

The corporate Mob has carried out another hit, this one particularly brutal and personal.

Center Stage was a steak and seafood restaurant on the second floor of the Plaza hotel-casino that featured horseshoe-shaped booths, a glass dome and a shotgun-barrel view of the Fremont Street Experience. (You may remember it from Casino and other movies.) It was dark, dingy and strangely romantic. The food was good. The service was good. The prices were fair.

So it had to go. And it's been replaced by a – blush, blush – sports bar. Christ. A keno lounge would’ve been more merciful. Or even slot machines.

The only good thing about Center Stage closing, as far as I’m concerned, is my last night at the restaurant was a memorable one. After my book-launch party June 1 at the Arts Factory, about 30 friends and family members got together there and drank and ate and talked. My mom and dad were there. My sisters and brother. My sister-in-law. Ingrid. Joey. Mark. And a whole lot of other folks I care about – a lot.

So, it sometimes seems, that’s all you can ask for in Las Vegas: When a person, place or thing leaves you, it leaves you with good memories.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some post-signing thoughts

When signing at a bookstore, an author encounters three kinds of people: those who won’t even look at him, for fear of turning to stone; those who nod or quietly say hello; and those who actually approach the signing table and ask about the book. (This last group includes many fellow authors, who know the naked loneliness of the table.)

I made this observation at some point during my latest book signing, held Sept. 15 at the Henderson Barnes & Noble. It was quite interesting, actually, watching people stream into the store and seeing how they reacted to the author – wide-eyed and hopeful – stationed just off to the side. A lot of people stopped, which means I’m closer to perfecting my I’ll-jump-off-the-Stratosphere-if-you-don’t-buy-my-book look. And no one asked me where the restrooms are, which is also an improvement.

A few familiar faces came beaming through the double-doors: Linda Lera-Randle El, Angela, Jim, Randy Shelden, and Yolanda. (Thanks, y’all.) I made some new friends. And I had to fend off one or two crazies.

It’s all in a day’s work at a Las Vegas book signing.

My next book signing is Sept. 29 at Reno’s Sundance Bookstore. It’ll be interesting to compare a Reno signing to a Vegas signing … and to see who walks through the doors, what their body language is saying and how they react to the author at the table.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Book signing Saturday

If you live in the southeast valley, drop by the Henderson Barnes & Noble on Saturday, Sept. 15, and say hello. From 1 p.m. till around 3 p.m., I’ll be signing copies of Beneath the Neon at the bookstore, which is located at 567 N. Stephanie St. (between Sunset and Warm Springs roads). Second-print copies of the book, which are a little cleaner and leaner than the first, should be available.

See you Saturday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Majestic trip

I just returned from the South – Decatur and Atlanta, Ga., specifically – where I walked in the footsteps of my youth. I shopped in Little Five Points, spending some time in A Cappella Books. And I ate an early morning, bad-for-your-heart-but-good-for-your-soul breakfast at the Majestic.

I was in the area for the Decatur Book Festival, which ran from Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The festival was cool. I met a lot of authors, bought a lot of books and drank a lot of beer, which was much needed after several months of near-sobriety. The panel discussion went well, I think. To recap: I rambled about myself and my book; Karen Abbott rambled (most eloquently, I should note) about herself and her book, Sin in the Second City; and then we took questions from the audience.

There were two disappointments: Several people weren’t allowed into the venue, because of limited space; and the bookseller was only able to scrounge up 15 copies of the book, two of which came from my mom. If you weren’t allowed into the venue, I apologize (except to that fool Ned, who would’ve heckled me mercilessly). If you weren’t able to get a signed copy of the book, we can take care of that: Simply e-mail sales@huntingtonpress.com, let them know how many copies you want and the full names of the people you want them signed to. I’ll drop by the office and sign the books. Then they will be mailed to you, with no sales tax or shipping and handling fees.

OK. That’s all for now. Back to reality: work, promoting the book and trying to avoid that mean Mojave sun. He’s out there waiting for me, glaring down like a prison guard in a watchtower, making me miss the soft dew and cloud cover of the South all the more.