Vegas Valley Book Festival

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It seems like not too long ago that I sat in an audience of more than 1,000 people at the Green Valley Ranch Station and listened to author Tom Robbins, looking cool and mysterious in his Wayfarer shades, as he valiantly tried to explain how he catches lightning in a bottle. He couldn’t do it,…
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Books on Writing

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I haven’t taken many formal writing courses. (This may come as no surprise to people who don’t like my stuff.) As a journalism minor in college, I learned how to write concisely and get to the point fast. I also enrolled in a few extension screenwriting classes and a comedy writing class. That’s about it.…
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Living the Dream

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When I allow myself to dream about my ideal life, I envision a funky two-story house on the beach, an upstairs book-lined office and a large picture window. I get up every morning and go for a run (okay, more like a slow jog) with my dog (I’m between dogs at the moment, but I’m…
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Catching Some Z’s

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In keeping with my recent predilection for end-of-the-world stories, I visited “Zombieland” Friday night. It was a fun trip, the best time I’ve had at the movies this year (although “Star Trek” and “Inglourious Basterds” would give it a run for its money).   The movie stars Jesse Eisenberg (who could be Michael Cera’s brother)…
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Apocalypse Now and Then

Lately, I’ve been drawn to end-of-the-world stories. “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy and “Swan Song” by Robert McCammen are the most recent entries. “The Road” is the more literary of the two; spare, poetic, unrelenting. It stayed with me long after I finished the last page. “Swan Song” is typical McCammen (a good thing), almost…
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But It’s the Truth

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People continue to send me manuscripts. (My wife accuses me of being too nice a guy. She says I need to practice looking and sounding meaner.)   Typically, curiosity gets the better of me and I’ll read anywhere from one to fifty pages. Every now and then, I’ll get a good one and I’ll read…
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Fantasy Football, Writing, and Life

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I’ve been a fantasy football geek since 1994. That’s the year the Los Angeles Rams hightailed it out of L.A. for St. Louis. My buddies and I, huge Rams fans all, were traumatized. I guess we felt a little like Brooklynites when the original Dodgers pulled the same stunt. (If you were to tell me…
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Lessons from American Idol

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When reality TV first reared its ugly head a number of years back, I sampled all the shows. “Survivor,” “Amazing Race,” “Big Brother,” and “American Idol.” While I actually enjoyed some (Dr. Will on “Big Brother” is the greatest pathological liar in the history of television), the only one I’ve stuck with is Idol.  …
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Those Agents

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My friend Gretchen, the best unpublished author I know, just got unceremoniously dumped by her longtime agent. Agents are some of the worst people in the world. (To paraphrase Albert Brooks, “That’s not my opinion. It’s a medical fact.”) Their reputations are well- deserved. They make lawyers look like Mother Theresa. To help Gretchen (and…
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Quentin and Brad

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My wife and I agree on most things. But not movies. She leans toward chick flicks and sensitive dramas. (Her all-time favorites are “Ghost” and “Officer and a Gentleman.”) I’m drawn to mindless entertainment. We’ve even been known to go to the same multiplex to watch different films. Years ago, she checked out some love…
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