Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lost Vegas for Kindle, Nooks, and iPads

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Merry Christmas to everyone. Were you a good boy/girl and did Santa hook you up with a new Kindle, Nook, or iPad? If so, you're in luck because the e-book version of Lost Vegas is only a few clicks away!

Click here to buy Lost Vegas for Kindle and iPads

Click here to buy Lost Vegas for the Nook

For print copies, you can always head directly to page for Lost Vegas, or if you want to save a few bucks, right now through December 31st, you can get 10% off of print copy of Lost Vegas via Lulu using coupon code: PEARTREE.

Thanks for your support.

The Annual Re-Telling of "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story"

By Pauly
New York City

One of my favorite NYC authors, Paul Auster, published something many moons ago titled "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story." I re-read it every Christmas. So should you.

Click here to read Auggie Wren's Christmas Story.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Mini-Cooper

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I'm pressed for time, but I'm doing that "ten minute" blogging routine that I often tell my friends they need to do when they get into a blogging rut. So, now... I'm on the clock.

I live in a semi-religious neighborhood. It's a mixture of hipsters, Orthodox Jews, and a few Kabbalahists dressed in while. So it's not unusual for me to see cars driving around with oversized menorah's on the roofs. I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx and got used to see that around Christmas time. Since it's so sunny outside, I think that the locals go out of their way to display their holiday cheer because it's easy to forget you're in the middle of a holiday season when it doesn't feel like Christmas (or Hanukkah).

The one thing that freaks me out are the hipsters who dress up their cars in Christmas decorations -- specifically Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. One of those tards lives on my block. They also drive a Mini Cooper that is decked out with antlers on the roof and a big red nose on the front grill of the car. I saw at least two other cars dressed very similar while running errands the last two days. I guess that's better than gaudy Christmas light displays. I haven't seen any on my block, but the folks across the way have an elaborate display of blue-themed Hanukkah lights.

I really wouldn't know it's Christmas in Los Angeles, because I avoid most retail outlets and the malls, so I don't get bombarded with all of that consumer-driven holiday cheer disguised as cheesy decorations. I get random reminders when I'm at the coffeeshop and a Christmas song comes on the radio. This morning, it was Bing Crosby singing Silent Night as I devoured a plate of chocolate chip pancakes. I wore my sunglasses while all of this went down. I know, sounds like a douchey thing to do, but when I sit at the table in front of the big window, there's too much light for me to deal with especially early in the mornings when my vampire self is struggling to adjust to the radiant California sun.

Yes, I can't get into the holiday spirit in SoCal. This is a blessing in disguise because the holiday that was supposed to celebrate the birth of Jesus has been hijacked by corporations -- all of whom properly brainwashed our citizens into acting like barbarians especially on the even of Black Friday when people line up in the middle of the night to buy stuff, and then they bum rush the doors and trample anyone in their way. A religious holidays has been turned into a consumer frenzy. Much how St. Patrick's Day used to be a holy day in the Catholic Church, it had been hijacked by beer and booze companies to promote binge drinking.

Oh, well. The Catholic church used to be one of the most powerful entities on the planet. Their power has since waned and priests have become fodder for late night talk show comics, who toss out the occasional altar boy/pedophile joke. I know one or two, but I'll save that for another post.

For now, the sun is breaking through the curtains in my office and I'm shocked that it's December. My allotted time has now run, so now it's time for me to be on my way and finish up a shit ton of errands and writing before I head to Vegas this week to spend time with my brother and some other close friends.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Lost Vegas - Christmas Shipping

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

FYI... right now through December 15th, you can get 15% off of a print copy of Lost Vegas via Lulu using coupon code: STOCKING305. Books are print-on-demand, so I suggest you order in the next few days to guarantee a Christmas delivery of Lost Vegas.

Click here to buy a copy at Lulu. Use coupon code STOCKING305 at checkout to get 15% off all orders.

If you're going the Amazon route, you can procrastinate a little longer. Here's the page for Lost Vegas.

Oh, and some stunning news... the e-book has been on Amazon for almost two weeks and Lost Vegas cracked the Top 10 in a few categories.

Thanks for your support.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I read books in phases and clusters. Most recently, it's either been non-stop book reading or nothing at all. When I'm devouring books in LA, that often coincides with positive writing streaks. It's no secret that I find inspiration in books, and at the same time, I often write better when I'm reading well written material. I suppose my brain is a sponge that adheres to the "you are what you eat" school of thought, but in this case, "you write what you read."

Sometimes, the internet gets most of my reading time, which I often compare to fast food reading mainly because my diet is blogs and some media outlets (mostly meta-sites with lots of link dumps). Even the most long-form pieces of journalism on the net clock in at a few thousand words, which is hardly a hearty meal compared to what you can devour when you pick up a book.

When I'm on the road and traveling (especially spending lots of down time in airports), I might be able to knock off a couple of books a week, but because I'm mobile, I'm not writing as much. But the road is also where I pick up new books or discuss books with people I meet along the way. I always write down book recommendations. I don't always act upon those, but that list comes in handy when I'm in search of new material. About once a month, I create a pile and stack four or five books on top of each other on the desk in my office. Those will be the "books of the month" and my reading list. On average, I'll finish three out of the five. I'll lose interest in one very quickly, and the last one is often one of those books that I pick up, put down pick up again, and put down again -- but for some reason -- I don't go back to it because when the new month comes around, I have a new pile of books.

Once a year, I'll create a pile of start-stop books -- books that I started to read and stopped, but I really want to finish. Sometimes, it takes effort to plug through to the end of the book that has been slowing you down. Otherwise,, you have to be an expert skimmer.

Christmas is always a good time of year for me because I'm the recipient of a lot of books along with giftcards to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. My reading pile every January includes a dozen titles, and nothing is a better start to the new year, then delving into a stack of new books.

Nicky has been voraciously reading the last two months -- exclusively on her iPad. The Kindle app is good, but it bothers her eyes, and now she's looking into picking up a real Kindle. I'm not that jazzed about e-books. I've warmed up to them after I realized that e-copies of Lost Vegas were in high demand. I was sorta surprised when e-book sales eclipsed print copies shortly before Thanksgiving. But once Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit -- print sales took a healthy bounce upward and regained the top spot.

I'm a luddite when it comes to books. I want to read a physical copy. I want to turn the pages. I want to have a proper book mark. I want to be able to flip back and forth if I want.

I also get off on buying used books. I'm not a bargain hunter mainly because I don't buy too much stuff. Most of my disposable income goes toward traveling, music/entertainment, and funding my own art. However, I'm an avid book hunter. I'm partial to the smell of mildew from books stashed away in someone's basement. I think that stems from parts of my childhood when my mother was an avid flea market attendee at Yonker's Raceway, so while she browsed for different items, I found myself digging through splintery wooden crates filled with used books for as little as a penny (presumably those books were found in an attic somewhere or inherited from a dead relative).

When I lived in NYC, I used to stop at street vendors and inspect every book in their collection. I've bought a few gems on the street for $5 and $6 over the years. When I was completely broke, I used to spend a full day inside Strand bookstore off Union Square and find a secluded aisle and read books that I was too cheap to buy. When I really got into poker and wanted to improve my game, I devoured different poker and strategy books (with aided my poker education -- for free) at different Barnes & Noble throughout the city.

Late nights, I get a rush hunting for bargains online for less than $2 through Amazon's used book sellers. The big scam involves shipping. Well, not much a scam, but how those sellers really make money is over-charging anywhere from $3 to $4 for shipping and then go the cheap route at the post office and send it media mail. So a $2 book is really $5 plus -- but the only downside is that it might take up to two weeks for the book to arrive, but I don't care too much about that because I'm excited to get any book for under $5. I recently picked up Scandals of '51, a book about the 1951 college basketball point shaving scandals for $1.38. I read the first four chapters and already got my money's worth.

In May of 2010, I became a member of's Prime Shipping club, which offers up their members free two-day shipping for an annual flat fee of $79. My buddy Ryan said that it was the best deal on the interwebs if I devoured books and DVDs as much as he did. I decided to give it a whirl and I definitely made out in that deal by the beginning of the summer. I also found myself shopping for non-book items (like household items such as fly traps and plumbing tape) on Amazon because I got free shipping.

But, maybe I'm not the one who is taking advantage of Amazon? For one, they get discounted shipping from the big boys, so what they would normally charge me is an inflated price to begin with. At the same time, I noticed one slight problem -- the Prime shipping affected the amount of used books that I buy because Amazon offers up new copies of books at super-deep discounts.

For example, I wanted Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a collection of essays from David Foster Wallace. Used copies were going for like $6. I don't get free shipping on third-party sellers, so that book would cost me around $9. For an extra $1.25, I can get a brand spanking new copy on Amazon (and get it delivered in two days).

Maybe that's the catch? I found myself opting for the upsale on more than one instance. I need to do a better job at tracking those transactions in 2011, because I'd really like to see how much extra money Amazon got out of me over the long run.

But for now, I'm more than satisfied with their Prime service, especially with Christmas three weeks or so away.