An interview with Ellen Hopkins on the inaugural Great Carson City Lit Fest

Popular author Ellen Hopkins is planning a new literary event for Northern Nevada: the Great Carson City Lit Fest, which will be held in Carson City June 6-8. Ellen agreed to answer questions about the event by email.

TL: The Great Carson City Lit Fest is a new event for Northern Nevada. What is it?

EH: It’s a family-friendly celebration of the arts, with the focus on books, authors and literacy. There will be more than fifty authors participating, from debut to National Book Award finalists. This is our inaugural year, but we want to grow this into one of the finest book festivals in the country. Plans are already underway for 2015, and we’ve got some great surprises in store.

TL: I understand, while most events are free, there are three ticketed events, with the proceeds benefitting Ventana Sierra. Why did you found this nonprofit? Whom does it help and how?

EH: In my travels as a young adult author, I have come across highly motivated young people who have career goals, but not the resources to accomplish them. These are often aged-out foster kids, or young adults whose caregivers have turned them out for whatever reasons. Our goal is to help them into safe housing and college. We are currently serving five young men and five young women.

There are three ticketed events at the lit fest, with all proceeds directly benefiting Ventana Sierra–the Great Slam (world class performance poetry), June 6 at 8 p.m.; and two performances of FLIRTING WITH THE MONSTER, the stage adaptation of my bestselling novel, CRANK, June 7 at 7 p.m. and June 8 at 2 p.m. VIP tickets include signed books, and Saturday VIP tix include the VIP reception where you can meet the cast and author, plus many lit fest authors. Tickets at the door or here:

TL: Are there any spaces left in the writing workshop? If so, what does it offer? Do participants have to go through a screening process? What are the dates, times, and costs? How can writers register?

EH: The Ventana Sierra Advanced Writing Workshop also directly benefits our nonprofit programming. It offers deep craft breakouts in three tracks (fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction), taught by editors, authors, poets and writing coaches; group critique; and access to four literary agents, including an agent speed dating session where writers can pitch projects. The two-day workshop is June 7-8, from 9 until 5. There are also optional Friday, June 6, intensives, guaranteed to elevate your writing. The cost for the two-day workshop is $350, but if you use the code LMW, there is a $50 discount. The intensive sessions are $100. Learn more and register at

TL: What kinds of things are available free to the public? What kinds of vendors are signing up? How can the public learn more details?

EH: Free events are author readings, panels and book signings; an unplugged battle of the bands; storytelling; kids’ crafts, games and other activities; cooking with internationally renowned Kid Chef Eliana; a media swap meet where you can buy, sell or swap used books, movies and music. And some Friday afternoon sessions focused toward writers–a librarian panel–What’s Hot at the Library; a publisher’s panel–Publishing Models and Trends; literary agent Laurie McLean on Publishing Today and in the Future; and an open mic. These begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 6. And on Saturday, everyone who stops by the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators) booth will get a free book, courtesy of EyeCBooks. All details, including a schedule, author bios, tickets, etc., are available here:

TL: What Northern Nevada and Northern California authors are participating? I hope there are too many to list all, but please mention as many as possible!

Ellen Hopkins, Terri Farley, Suzanne Morgan Williams, Tracy Clark, Naomi Canale, Kim Harnes, Cindie Geddes, Kathleen Berry, Shaunta Grimes, Sally Mooney, Larry Messina, Robert Reid, Laura Newman, Grant Korgan, Ramsey Hootman, Barry Eisler, Ann Marie Frohoff, Jim Averbeck, Kristin Elizabeth Clark, Veronica Rossi, Patricia Newman, Linda Boyden, Eric Elfman, Yvette Schneider

TL: Do you need any volunteers for the event? If so, what kind of help will you need?  How can people volunteer?

EH: Absolutely. We can use volunteers to help direct festival-goers, check hand-stamps, work the kids’ craft and game booth, etc. To volunteer, email or call 775-384-2290.

TL: Two weeks out–how is it looking? Everything falling into place or controlled chaos?

EH: Controlled chaos, but everything will be in place before show time!

Official commemorative book published for Nevada’s 150th

From a University of Nevada Press news release

203Oct. 31, 2014, will mark the 150th anniversary of Nevada’s statehood. The official commemorative volume of the Nevada Sesquicentennial, Nevada: 150 Years in the Silver State, is a compelling historical, visual and cultural portrait of the “Battle Born” state.

This ambitious book profiles each of Nevada’s 17 counties and the metropolises of Las Vegas and Reno. The state’s diverse cultural treasures as well as its natural landmarks from Lake Tahoe to Red Rock Canyon are lavishly illustrated in an oversize format. Photographic essays cover the most important facets of the state, from mining and ranching to gaming and entertainment.

Although history is an important component, it is only one element of the rich texture of this volume, which also looks at the state’s present and future and Nevada’s place in the West, in America and in the world.

Editor Geoff Schumacher, a well-known Nevada journalist and author, has brought together in this book contributions from over 70 of the state’s finest writers. Schumacher is director of content development at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. Previously he has worked as a reporter, editor, columnist and newspaper executive in Las Vegas for over two decades. A University of Nevada, Reno, graduate, he is the author of several books including Sun, Sin, and Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas and Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia and Palace Intrigue.


$29.95 / cloth / 256 pages / over 250 photographs, 2 maps
ISBN: 978-1-935043-77-5

Northern Nevada reporter writes fiction to process trauma

From a news release

Scott Neuffer, a Gardnerville freelance writer and former reporter, is the author of the new short story collection Scars of the New Order. He wrote the stories as a way of processing the trauma he covered as a beat reporter during the Great Recession as well as trauma in his own family.

He also wanted to “explore a historical period shaped by millennial youth and aspirations, terrorism and perpetual warfare, economic and political dysfunction, and pervasive feelings of loss and disillusionment.”

The book will be available on and starting May 21. Neuffer will be signing books from 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 4 at Sundance Books and Music. He’ll also host a book reading and signing at 6 p.m. June 6 at Shelby’s Book Shoppe in Minden.

Neuffer is a former Nevada Press Association Journalist of Merit. Scars of the New Order is his first book.

It is being published by Underground Voices, which is based in Los Angeles and described as “an independent publisher of raw, hard-hitting literary fiction and poetry.”

For more information, visit the Scars of the New Order Facebook page.

Looking for Sierra Nevada stories you haven’t already heard?

From a Sierra College news release

GaryNoyHistorian and author Gary Noy will present a lecture about his newest book at 6:30 tonight at the Incline Village Library.

A Sierra Nevada native, Gary Noy has taught history at Sierra Community College in Rocklin, California, from 1987 to the present.

Entitled Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues, Noy’s 235-page book examines 64 true stories, all occurring within California’s Range of Light. Some stories are adventurous, some are horrifying, some are inventive and all are fascinating.

SierraStoriesBookCover - 300 dpiThis compilation describes the experiences of artists, entertainers, explorers, courageous adventurers, quirky individualists, innovators and visionaries from throughout the 430-mile long Sierra. Highlighted are historical oddities and curious events along with some of the darkest episodes in mountain history. The tales are illustrated with 65 historic images and photographs, many of which have not been published previously.

Noy is a Sierra native and long-time history instructor at Sierra College. He is also the author of the best-selling Distant Horizon: Documents from the 19th Century American West (University of Nebraska, 1999) and co-editor, with Rick Heide, of The Illuminated Landscape: A Sierra Nevada Anthology (Heyday Books and Sierra College Press, 2010).

Sierra Stories is co-published with Heyday Books of Berkeley and is the most recent trade book to bear the Sierra College Press imprint. Others include The Illuminated Landscape: A Sierra Nevada Anthology (2010), Tahoe Beneath the Surface (2011) and California Glaciers (2012).