I got back from Reno Sunday afternoon. The newspaper contest went well – CityLife kicked ass! – the book signing not so well. Only a few people showed up. Of course, they included Reno News & Review Editor Brian Burghart, Tucson Weekly Editor Jimmy Boegle (who was in town visiting family) and Huntington Press Editor Deke Castleman. Also, Krystal from the Nevada Sagebrush – UNR’s student newspaper – dropped by , hung out and asked some really informed questions. Indeed, I was impressed.
The main lesson I learned from this book signing is to at least glance at a community events schedule before setting up a signing. It turns out the signing was the same day and time as the UNR/UNLV football game, which was played just down the street and seemed to captivate the interest of the locals. In case you haven’t heard, the Rebels got punked, 27-20.
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.
And now I see that Capozzoli’s Italian restaurant is a pile of ashes. What next? Komol? Lotus of Siam? The Mediterranean Café?
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 And it’s been replaced by a – blush, blush – sports bar.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.
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
The Decatur Book Festival schedule is posted at www.decaturbookfestival.com. From 1:15-2 p.m. Sept. 2 at the City Hall stage (next to Eddie’s Attic), I’ll participate in a panel discussion with Sin in the Second City author and Atlanta resident Karen Abbott. The discussion, titled Chicago and Las Vegas from Below, will be moderated by Southern playwright and novelist Joshilyn Jackson. I’ll sign copies of my book immediately afterward.
I fly into Atlanta the morning of Aug. 29 and leave the night of Sept. 2. A nice long stay, with lots of free time (and very much needed, though the temperatures in Atlanta are rivaling Las Vegas). I’d like to catch up with everyone. So call me at my parents’ house, on my cell phone or drop by the festival and say hello.
See you soon!
Quarterly, Barnes & Noble picks a book to focus on in each sales district. This quarter, which runs into November, the local district picked Beneath the Neon.
What does this mean? I don’t know exactly. But apparently, it means better placement in the four local Barnes & Noble stores and staff recommendations.
It also means if you’re looking for the book, B&N is the place to find it.
Independent American Party patriarch Christopher Hansen, dressed in an American flag shirt, working up a sweat talking about the Communist Manifesto and silver coins. Personal injury attorney Richard Harris telling me about his Ticket Busters business. PRmeister and b-baller George McCabe showing up with his little boy Casey.
Yes, my book signing Aug. 11 at Barnes & Noble had some highlights. There were also lowlights.
Some half-blind woman, mistaking me for a B&N employee, asking me where she could find the calendars. Ten-minute stretches of no one dropping by the table. Rereading my book for the millionth time. (Nice pictures, Danny!)
Indeed, four hours may be a bit long for a book signing. Another lesson learned.
Note to authors: If you want to do a book signing, you should contact Community Relations Manager Tracy Shouse at the West Charleston Barnes & Noble. She’s remarkably professional. Promotional posters and newsletters, great table placement and presentation, attentiveness to the author – Tracy does it all.
The slow moments on Saturday weren’t her or the bookstore’s fault.
Finally, congrats to cop-poet Harry Fagel. He showed up Saturday, flashing a new sergeant’s badge.
Now if we can just get him to run for sheriff.