Cats need a home

We’re trying to help one of the guys I met in the drains, Billy, get into housing. Problem is, he’s taking care of six or seven cats and doesn’t want to abandon them. The three-legged momma cat, a 10-month-old and four or five kittens need a home. If you want a cat or know someone who does, please let me know. Also, if you know of a no-kill shelter or someplace we can take them, let me know. The social workers aren’t sure what to do with the cats.

Thanks.

Quick update

It’s been three weeks since my last day at CityLife, and things are going pretty well. I’ve written an essay for a photo book on Las Vegas (more details later), I’ve finished five stories of a 10-to-12-story collection set in Vegas and I’ve done some freelance writing and editing. I’ve also traveled. (Lake Tahoe is gorgeous this time of year.)

But the coolest thing I’ve done is ride around on my mountain bike. I’ve been riding it (somewhat clumsily) to the gym and coffee shop, and marveling at the simplicity of it. Two sprockets, two pedals, and a chain – da Vinci (if he really did design it) was brilliant! I’ve convinced myself the bike is one of the greatest inventions ever.

Anyway, I should have some news to report in the next two or three weeks. Please check back occasionally.

New chapter

I recently submitted my resignation at CityLife. My last day will be Jan. 2. There are a lot of reasons I’m resigning, after nearly eight years full time at the paper, but basically it comes down to this: I want to challenge myself more as a “creative” writer. I want to write more books, screenplays, essays, commentaries, book reviews, etc., and less news stories and news briefs. While I really like reporting, I want to use my own voice more. It’s time for new challenges.

I’m leaving with more than a month’s notice, and I plan to continue to write for CityLife. I also plan to freelance for other local and regional publications. But mainly I want to work on a second book, a screenplay based on my first book, Beneath the Neon, and other “creative” projects. I also plan to work out more – I know; I’ve been saying that for years, but this time I’m for real! – travel more and, in general, enjoy life more.

I’m a bit apprehensive, but mostly excited.

My 10 years at CityLife (I freelanced for the paper for two years before I came on staff) have been, by far, the best experience of my life. I’ve learned so much about Las Vegas. I’ve met so many smart and interesting people. I’ve grown a lot as a person and a writer.

Hopefully, I can use the experience to my benefit over the next few years. Thanks for your support!

Mall rats and soccer moms

Saturday’s signing provided yet another weird publishing-world moment. I arrived at B. Dalton to discover two tables in front of the store: one for me and one for another author, who was already there. Store management had double-booked, to borrow a music-industry term. Oh well. No biggie. Except that the other author was a hard-seller, soliciting every mall rat and soccer mom who slinked by the store. His voice is still echoing in my head.

While I cringed at his aggressiveness, I also had to admire his tenacity. And yes, he probably sold more books than I did in that two-hour span. How could he not? Dude was P.T. Fucking Barnum.

Luckily, a few friends dropped by and kept me company at the table: J.P., Mosher, Cathy Scott (who’s already promoting her yet-to-published Katrina pet book), Jim Buckley and others. My new friend Tiffany took some cool pics, which I haven’t quite figured out how to post on this blog.

Anyway, not much going on book-wise through the end of the year. But if anything pops up, I’ll let you all know.

Last signing of the year!

Finally! My last scheduled event of the year. A book signing from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Galleria Mall’s B. Dalton. If you haven’t bought the book or gotten it signed, this will be the most convenient time and place to do it.

Hope to see you there!

I survived another book festival

The Vegas Valley Book Festival went well, I thought. Interesting authors. Compelling readings and panel discussions. Good crowds. And yes, free food and drinks. Also, the volunteers were extremely helpful.

Geoff Schumacher, Kurt Borchard and I drew a nice crowd to our panel discussion on homelessness in Las Vegas. Brian “Paco” Alvarez, Gail Sacco, Amanda Haymond, Deanna Rilling, Josh Ellis, Elizabeth, Jonathan (sp?) from the Coffee Bean and a lot of people I didn’t recognize showed up … on a Friday morning … at the El Cortez. Thanks, y’all!

The book signing at First Friday also went well, I thought.

As of today, I only have one book signing left this year: 1 p.m.- 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at B. Dalton (in the Galleria Mall). I’ll post more about that as the date approaches.

Panel discussion on homelessness

If you’ve been waiting for something from me other than a book signing, it’s finally here. “Down and Out in Las Vegas: The Struggle to Survive in Sin City” is a panel discussion about homelessness, moderated by author and journalist Geoff Schumacher. Kurt Borchard (The Word on the Street) and I will read from and discuss our books and what we discovered roaming the city’s streets and exploring the storm drains. We will also talk about the unique challenges the homeless face amid the glitz, glamour and high-rolling of Las Vegas.

The panel discussion – which has been funded, in part, by an Artist Fellowship award from the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency – will run from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, at the El Cortez Hotel (600 E. Fremont St.). I’ll sign books after the discussion and from 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at First Friday (near the Funk House).

The panel discussion is part of the two-day Vegas Valley Book Festival. For more info on the festival, visit www.vegasvalleybookfest.org.

Book fair post-mortem

Thanks to Yolanda and her friend Tammy, Elizabeth and her brother Matthew, Shelley, Jim Palombo and others who stopped by the Local Authors Book Fair yesterday. It was nice to have some friends show up, because otherwise it was slow. The festival was held in a remote area of the Clark County Library, and didn’t seem to attract many of the patrons. Oh well. Bethany Coffey and I had a good time at the Huntington Press table, despite being blinded by the sun shining through the windows.

The next event is a panel discussion and reading at 11:45 a.m. Nov. 2 at the El Cortez (for the Vegas Valley Book Festival). I’ll write more about the discussion later this week.

Local Authors Book Fair

I’m taking part in the inaugural Local Authors Book Fair Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road). I’ll be signing copies of Beneath the Neon from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., but there’s stuff – signings, workshops, discussions – going on from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. A lot of authors, publishing houses, book clubs and writers groups are expected to attend.

Best of all: It’s open to the public and free!

Reading Room signing

I just got back from the book signing. Nice early rush, then things slowed down. Overall, though, it was a good night.

Thanks to Nick, Daria, Bob Massi, Angela, Kate and others for dropping by. Also, thanks to Debra at the Reading Room. She and her staff really know how to put on a good event.