Okay folks, convention season approaches, and I’ve got a lot of stuff coming up this year.
So I’m going to list my current schedule here for those of you who might be unaware of the fact that I actually post my Tour Schedule up online. Or for the people that are unaware that I post my upcoming events on my facebook fan page.
Or for those of you who are… y’know… just kind of lazy.
A lot of the events I’m going to are conventions where you can see me on panels, get your books signed, and maybe see me do to a reading.
Generally speaking when I go somewhere, especially somewhere new, I try my hardest to schedule an out-of-con signing so that folks who don’t want to go to the con (or who can’t afford it) can still catch me when I’m in town.
But this weekend, March 9-10, I’ll be in Tucson for the Tucson Festival of Books. And this time I *won’t* be doing a signing outside the event because the festival is 100% free and open to the public. So if you’ve ever wanted to hear me talk about writing or get your book signed, this is a great opportunity to do so.
If you’re interested, here’s my full schedule (which is also available on the Facebook event).
Saturday March 9
11 AM – Signing for Mostly Books – Booths 127-130
12:30 PM – Signing for Mysterious Galaxy – Booth #301
2:30 PM – Panel: Beauty with a Bow and Arrow – UA Mall tent
4: 00 PM – Signing at University of Arizona Bookstore’s tent
Sunday May 10
11:30am – Panel: Worldbuilding - Koffler 218
2:00 PM – Signing at Poisoned Pen – Booth #230-231
4:00 PM – Panel: Epic Fiction – Koffler 204
Note: There will be half-hour signings after all of my panels, too.
(Yes. I still give hugs.)
I’m regularly sent messages that say “WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO MY CITY!” when I was there just two weeks earlier. So I’d like to remind all of you now: I have a Tour Page here on the website, and I also have Facebook Events for pretty much everything I do.
Did I mention that already? Yes. Yes I did. But it bears repeating because people constantly ask me what my tour schedule is.
But y’know, because I’m from the Midwest, I was raised to be extra accommodating, so I’ll list my upcoming events here anyway, for those of you who happen to be click-phobic or something.
March 28, 2013
Reading, Q&A, and Signing
Barnes & Noble Orange
791 South Main Street, Suite 100
Orange, CA 92868 Facebook Event
Yes, I will be at WonderCon. I don’t have any panels scheduled as I’m mostly just going to hang out.
And that’s everything we have firmly scheduled right now. As I’ve said, I’ll probably be scheduling non-convention events in Indianapolis, Columbus, and Kansas City. And more in England, too. Since I don’t get over the water very often. Those will be showing up… you guessed it. On my tour schedule.
Last, I have a request.
Can we *please* not have a hundred comments down below saying things like, “but when ru comign to Scranton?!?!!!”
Here’s what you should consider before you post a comment like this:
1. Generally speaking, I do these events out of the goodness of my heart.
I like to meet my readers, sign books, and talk about writing. I like hanging out with geeks and being part of the community.
2. I try to go new places every year so I can be available to people in different parts of the country. (And the World).
That’s why I’m hitting Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma this year. They’re all states I haven’t been to yet.
3. These events take a lot of time and energy.
The events I’ve listed up above are an expenditure of eight weekends of my life. Long weekends, most of them. Probably close to 35 days.
4. My time and energy are not infinite resources.
When I post something like this, what I’m doing is saying, “Hey guys. I’m willing to offer up 10% of my year making myself available to you. Let’s get together and have fun.”
Can you see how it might be disheartening for me to post that up and have the response be dozens of comments effectively saying, “I’m upset! I’m unhappy! I want more! I want more!”
Similarly disheartening comments include things like: “I have to work Friday night, can you do a second event on Saturday afternoon?” or “Columbus is 50 miles away! Can you come to Sulfur Lick instead?”
I know it comes from a place of love. I really know that.
And I know sometimes enthusiasm leads us to do silly things. I vaguely remember my mom telling me a story about how she once wrote a letter to the Beatles, sending them some song lyrics and asking them to record the song and send a copy back to her.
And I’m *very* aware that this is some serious first-world-problem shit I’m talking about here. I’m very lucky to have a readership as enthusiastic as y’all.
But I’m just being honest here. Comments like this make me weary. They make me think dark thoughts like, “Why do I fucking bother going to these lengths when all people do is bitch and moan and ask for more?”
Should you feel bad if you’ve made a comment like this in the past? No. Not at all. That’s not what this is about. There’s no reason you could know comments like that started rubbing me raw years ago.
That’s why I’m mentioning it here. So you know. Time and again, my readers have proven themselves to be gracious, lovely people. Especially the ones who take the time to read the blog. So I’m guessing if I let you know this bugs me, you won’t do it any more.
Oh sure, I’ll still have to deal with it on facebook and twitter (whenever I finally decide to join) but hopefully I won’t have to deal with it here in my own blog.
Okay, ramble over. I’ll see some of you soon in Tuscon, assuming my gimping, crutchy self makes it there despite the incoming storm.
Just so you know, I’m going to be doing a couple signings in the next month. So if you happen to live near Toronto or San Francisco, you might want to catch me while I’m there, because who knows how long it will be before I’m back…
I know you just did some touring around. You hit a bunch of conventions in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Seattle…
Why don’t you tell us about your trips? Not a lot of us can make it to your events, but we’d love to hear some cool stories from the road…
What was you’re favorite part of your travels?
* * *
The truth is, I always mean to write about my conventions/readings/adventures when I get back from them. Because honestly, something interesting always happens.
(What happens in Austin, stays in Austin.)
The problem is, when I get back from these things, I’m exhausted. Plus the travel has usually put me behind on a bunch of other projects. So I spend a couple days answering e-mail and trying to get caught up with things. By the time I *am* caught up, the convention has usually been over for a month. Or two. Or ten.
In fact, when I was at Gencon, someone asked me a question similar to yours. Except they asked about the book tour I did last year. 21 events in 21 days, all over the country.
“You never wrote about it on the blog,” she said.
“Oh sure I did,” I said.
“A little,” she said. “But not much at all. And I should know. I just recently found your blog and read the whole thing.”
I thought about it for a second, and realized that while I had *planned* to write blogs about some of my road adventures, I’d probably never gotten around to it.
Alternately, sometimes I start writing a blog, and never finish it because other things come up. I have a blog titled: “why people kill themselves in hotel rooms” that I’ve been trying to finish for more than a year now….
“So what was your favorite part of the tour?” she asked.”What was cool?”
I thought about it for a bit. Then told her the truth: There were a lot of cool things that happened. I met a lot of lovely readers. I got hugs and cookies and whiskey and knives…
And a plush unicorn Pegasus kitten.
I did a midnight reading in San Fransisco for the people that couldn’t fit into my earlier reading. Much to everyone’s surprise, more than 300 people showed up despite the ridiculously late hour.
My first signing was over 600 people. So many that I couldn’t take a picture of them all at once. So many that they filled two levels of the bookstore. I got to read in the Library of Congress. I met people that actually squeed with delight.
I met someone who had my name tattooed on her arm…
…which is a level of devotion that is equal parts flattering and terrifying. Especially given that book two wasn’t even out yet.
I got to do a reading at the Library of Congress. People dressed up in costumes….
But honestly? My favorite part came right at the end of the tour, when I met up with Sarah and Oot right at the end of the tour in Boston. I hadn’t seen them in a long while, and I missed Oot terribly.
Oot was barely a year an a half old at that point, so me being away for three weeks was a big deal. I got to see him at various points in the tour, but it was only for an hour or an evening at a time. And as I’ve made clear on the blog, when I’m away from him for a long period of time, I start to lose my shit. Around day five I become a wretched weepy thing, unable to go out in public without embarrassing myself.
It was even worse back then. He was so young. I was worried he wouldn’t remember me. Worried that he’d be shy of me….
So the first morning after the tour was over, we hung out in the hotel. We cuddled a little, and when he got bored with that, I asked him if he wanted to make a pillow fort.
He did. So we made a fort using the ridiculous number of pillows that those posh hotels feel obliged to put on your bed.
To all you parents out there. If you’re not making pillow forts with your kids, you’re really missing out. You don’t need a lot of pillows. Three or four is plenty. In some ways, it can be better without a lot of pillows, because then you can make yourself *part* of the fort. If your kid isn’t a big cuddler, you can get some clandestine snuggling that way.
Sarah and my dad went out for breakfast. Oot and I didn’t. We stayed in the hotel room and continued to made forts.
I told Oot that he better be careful, because there was a creature called the Goonch that would nibble his feet if they were hidden under the pillows. Then I would sneak my hand under the pillow and tickle him.
It has been more than a year since I started that little game, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Not for either of us.
He had a few plush toys with him, and I thought that maybe they would try to break into the fort. Add some drama to the game.
But Oot thought that if they wanted to come in the fort, that was fine by him. That made me unreasonably proud. No pointless antagonism. No warmongering. He just wanted to hang out in his fort with his friends.
So it went for about two hours, until Sarah and my dad got back from breakfast.
That was my favorite part of my book tour….
[Editorial note: I just searched my computer for an hour, looking for the pictures I know I took of little Oot in his pillow fort. I can't find them and it breaks my heart a little.
Instead, please accept this picture of comparable cuteness]
(Click to Embiggen the Cute.)
I know we’re all programmed to think our kids are cute, but seriously. Look at him.
And that hair. I can’t bring myself to cut it. He’s just too pretty. About 80% of the people who meet him think he’s a little girl because of it. But I love it. Plus can’t help but feel that will probably be healthy for him in the long run. Maybe if folks think he’s a girl for another couple years he’ll be slower to absorb some of the gender bullshit that’s constantly fucking up our culture.
* * *
Anyway Joe, I hope that kinda answers your questions. For one, it’s not that I try to keep these stories secret, it’s just that I tend to be busy and forgetful.
For two, generally speaking, my favorite part of these adventures is coming home to my little boy.
This is my fourth year attending San Diego Comic-Con. And every year, something happens immediately before my trip, as if some cruel deific being were trying to prevent me from getting my geek on.
The complication this year? Rabies.
But that, as they say, is a story for another time. Suffice to say that I refuse to be thwarted, and am currently at ComicCon, preparing to lave myself geek culture.
Whenever I go to ComicCon, I prepare a list of things I’d like to do in my head.
Some of these are simple things. Friends I’d like to get together with and chat. Booths I’d like to visit. Presents I’d like to buy for people.
Other things on my list are more…. esoteric. It’s almost like the entire con is a game. Or a safari. And I get points if I see certain things on my trip. Like, say, a 300 pound guy with a beard dressed up as sailor moon. If I put that on my list, then see it at the con, I’d get, like, 35 points. More ordinary things, like spotting Stan Lee would only get me 5 points. (15 if he’s not doing a signing, or some other event.)
Then there’s things I hope to do at the con. The top of the list is, of course, Meet-Joss-Whedon-Then-Become-Best-Friends-and-Totally-Hang-Out-In-A-Tree-Fort-Together. That’s worth so many points that I would actually level up on the spot, perhaps with embarrassing consequences.
So far I’m doing pretty well at 78 points, with the big score being the fact that I got to hear John Scalzi sing “Somebody that I used to know” in the style of Fred Schneider from the B 52s while accompanying himself on the ukulele.
And listen. I know that sounds like some bullshit thing that I made up, but it really isn’t. I swear. It really happened. It’s printed indelibly on my on my heart and mind. Fire could not burn it from me.
Anyway, if you happen to be one of the 120,000 + people here at the con this weekend, here’s some of the stuff I’ll be doing, if you’re hoping to catch me here.
Friday, July 13, 2012 3:30-4:30PM Panel: THE CROWNLESS AGAIN SHALL BE KING:
Comic Con room 6A
Legendary editor Betsy Mitchell gets epic with panelists Brandon Sanderson (Alloy of Law), Raymond E. Feist (A Crown Imperiled),Robin Hobb (City of Dragons), N.K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy), Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance cycle), Rachel Hartman (Seraphina), Patrick Rothfuss(KingKiller Chronicles), Heather Brewer (The Legacy of Tril), and Lynn Flewelling(Casket of Souls).
Friday, July 13, 2012 5:00-6:00pm Signing with the panel from Epic Fantasy War
Autograph booth AA9
Saturday, July 14, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm Geek and Sundry Panel Indigo Ballroom in the Hilton.
(I’m not on this panel, but I’m going to be there. For reasons that must remain secret for now….)
[Edit: One more event! Saturday, July 14, 2012 5:30-6:30pm Spotlight on John Scalzi
Room 7 AB
I'll be moderating this one.]
Other than that, I’m just going to be skulking around the con, looking for trouble. If you can’t get into my panel, then you have a decent chance of running into me in places like the Badali Jewlery booth (#530) or Geek Chic (131-133). I also tend to lurk around the Mysterious Galaxy booth a lot, I can’t remember the exact number of it, it’s somewhere in the 1000′s, but they have signed copies of my books there, and if you happen to catch me while I’m passing through, I’d be happy to personalize one to you.
And, of course, if you see me walking around the con, feel free to say hello.
I mentioned his book on the blog a while back. It’s called Ready Player One. And not only did I like it enough to give it a blurb. I liked it enough to dig up his e-mail address and gush to him directly about how much I loved it.
I think the entire content of my first e-mail was, “Your book is fucking awesome.”
I tried to get them to use that for the blurb on the back, (“This book is fucking awesome.” — Patrick Rothfuss) But their marketing people wouldn’t go for it.
Anyway, Ernest got an invite to Wootstock from Wil Wheaton, who is narrating the audiobook of Ready Player One. Ernest, being a generous human being, asked if I’d like to share some of his stage time.
I said yes. I said it in a firm, manly, baritone. Then I hung up the phone and laughed my most maniacal laugh.
Right. So. We all on the same page here?
7:00 – Backstage.
I walk up to the side door of the Balboa Theater in San Diego. Someone was waiting for me at the door, where they gave me this:
My very first All Access pass. It makes me feel like a rockstar.
I go backstage and down into the secret parts of the theater. It’s a magical sort of place. It’s a secret place that only the performers get to see, and it’s electric in a way that’s hard to describe. Everyone there is getting ready for the show. They’re excited, and a little nervous, and happy to see each other. Plus it’s comic-con, so we’re all a little exhausted. And a few of us are slightly tipsy, too… (Though not me, as I’m not much of a drinker.)
There’s a blur of people all over the place. Some of them I recognize, like Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And the guys from Rifftrax (who used to do MST3K.)
I’m introduced to a few people in a whirlwind fashion. I shake hands and nod at names. But they all run out of me like water. If I say, “someone said” or “someone did” I’m not trying to protect anyone’s identity, or snub them. It’s because a lot of the evening is a blur to me. I suck at meeting people, and I only have space in my head for about 5 new names.
Then I turn around and Wil Wheaton is there.
It’s weird meeting someone you kinda already know. And I kinda know Wil from a bunch of different directions. From his blog, from Star Trek, from his books, and from the Guild.
Plus we e-mailed just a little a day or two before Wootstock. I won’t bullshit you, that made me kinda tingly.
Anyway, we’re introduced, and we shake hands. He thanks me for the nice things I said about his book on my blog. And I’m a little surprised that he’s read it, though I shouldn’t be, I suppose. I tell him that I loved it.
That’s all we have time for. The stage manager is gathering everyone up to make some announcements before the show.
We all jam into a room and Liz is introduced. She is the boss. She tells us how it’s all going to work. She tells us we can watch from backstage, and that we should, so that we don’t miss our cues. She tells us to stick to our allotted time. She tells us where the beer and pizza are.
Everyone else nods attentively. There are a few jokes. But all of this is old hat for most of them.
Me? I’m grinning like an idiot. The show hasn’t even started yet and I’m having the best time….
* * *
I should explain something. I used to do lots of group-performance type things. I used to sing in choirs. I used to do radio comedy. I used to act a little, and did a few plays, a musical or two.
I even used to do a little improv comedy. Which is like a trial by fire. Once you do improv comedy, no other type of performance will ever truly frighten you.
Now I didn’t do a lot of these things seriously. But I did them. I enjoyed them.
And I miss them.
You see, one of the downsides of being a writer is that it’s a very solitary occupation. If everything is going well with my writing, I’ll spend 10-12 hours a day alone, and the rest of my time sleeping. (Also alone, usually.)
When I do get out to do a reading or a convention, I have a lot of fun. I enjoy meeting fans and signing books. I enjoy doing Q&A and reading stuff to an audience. It’s a nice opportunity for me to go out and be social.
But while it’s social, it’s a very solitary type of performance. I’m up in front of 200-600 people talking. There’s just me and the audience.
I’d forgotten what it was like to be part of a group of performers. To be a piece of a WE.
It feels great.
* * *
Liz makes one last announcement. They’ve gone to the worst seat in the house and borrowed the person’s camera. They’re going to pass it around backstage and we’ll all take pictures with it. That way the poor schlub with the worst seat will have a cool memento of the show and, as a bonus, the pictures will go online so everyone can use them.
It’s only because of the photoset that I have a shot of Ernest and me backstage, wherein I am getting my Kawaii on.
The show kicks off, and after cadging a piece of free pizza, I head upstairs we head up onto stage and watch the show from the wings. The theatre is gorgeous. A place with some real style to it.
It’s certainly the biggest house I’ve ever played to, and I’m a little nervous. But despite the fact that I’m anxiously fretting over what exactly I’m going to read, I can’t help but get pulled in by Molly Lewis playing the ukulele.
Her songs crack me up as I watch from backstage, and it helps me relax a bit.
Then, as I’m watching her play, a little motion catches my attention from the corner of my eye. So I look over and see Wil Wheaton dancing.
Before that point, I liked Wil Wheaton. I knew he was cool. I respected him as a writer, enjoyed him as a performer, and admired him as a strong, smart, outspoken member of the geek community.
But backstage in the Balboa theatre, I watched Wil Wheaton do a happy, goofy little dance, and that was when I started to love him.
Soon afterwards, Ernest gets his cue and heads out onto stage. He reads some hardcore geek poetry. Good stuff. He’s a good performer, too. Gets a good reaction from the crowd.
Then he introduces me. I’m a surprise guest of sorts, as I’m not on the program. People cheer when they hear my name, which is kind of a shock. It’s then that I decide what I’m going to read. I’m not going to try to follow Ernest’s poetry with more poetry. I think he’s got me beat in that regard.
I’m not going to read a piece out of my book, either. Too clunky. I even decide against reading a piece of a short story I’m working on.
No. A whole theatre of people cheering and my new man-crush Wil Wheaton watching from the wings means I go straight to my best material. The piece I keep in my back pocket whenever I do a reading. My sure-fire winner. My big gun.
I pull out The Guinea Pig Story.
Those of you who have seen me at a live reading might have heard it. Most of you have not.
It’s one of of the humor pieces I wrote back in college. Theoretically I was writing an advice column, but realistically I was making fun of people and telling incriminating stories about my life.
Here’s the only video I was able to find of the performance. The first little bit of my performance is cut off there, but it’s only about a sentence of the letter someone wrote in, asking for advice about keeping pets in their dormroom.
I got a great reaction from the audience, and left the stage feeling roughly ten thousand feet tall.
8:00 – Random House Party
After hanging around for a while and watching a few more acts, Ernest said he was going over to the Random House party and asked if I’d like to come along.
Though I was loathe to leave, I figured I should go and rub some elbows with some more bookish types. That’s kinda my job in some ways.
So I went to the party, hung out with some folks, and ended up riding a mechanical bull.
Why? No. Why is not the right question. I was at San Diego ComicCon. The proper question is “why the fuck not?”
That party was fun, but after about 45 minutes, I made my excuses and headed back to Wootstock. Because, y’know, Wootstock.
9:00 ish – More Wootstock.
I got back just in time for intermission, where I amused myself by handing out copies of the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons to members of the audience. I hope nobody thought I was serious….
After all my tracts were gone, I used my fancy pass to get backstage, feeling rockstar all over again. I wandered down to the dressing rooms and bumped into Felicia Day, who was also a surprise guest. I got a free hug and we chatted for about forty-five seconds before someone tells her she’s about to miss her entrance cue.
Somehow, someone managed to catch us on film during that brief moment. Proving that I’m not a big fibber.
I hang around and chat with folk, occasionally watching some of the show from backstage. I catch Jeff Lewis (Vork, for you Guildies out there) doing a piece of honest-to-god standup comedy. The man has amazing comic timing and delivery. As you’d already know if you were watching The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour.
11:30 ish – Autographing.
Eventually the show wraps up with a great closing number that I watch from the wings. Then I head downstairs to get my backpack and maybe another slice of pizza before I head out. When I’m gathering up my stuff, someone asks if I want to stick around and sign autographs. I shrug and agree, because I have nowhere else in particular to be.
Now over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of signings. It’s old hat in a lot of ways. Usually I’m all alone. I’m a one-man-show.
But this one was different. A bunch of the performers were sticking around to sign posters and programs.
What’s more, at Wootstock, most of the people could give a damn about me. They’re there to see Wheaton, or Savage, or bask in the radiant glory of Paul and Storm.
And you know what? It was nice doing a signing where most folks didn’t care who I was. It gave me a chance to goof off and get to know the people sitting on either side of me. To my left was the aforementioned Molly Lewis. And to my right was someone I didn’t know at all, but I quickly learned that she was Amy Berg, writer/producer for Eureka (among many other things.)
So we hang out and chat as the line of people slowly trickles past. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. I’ve had a good day. I was on a panel with George Martin, had dinner with Jim Butcher, and got to chat with Wil Wheaton. I went to a party with an actual velvet rope, and the bouncer nodded me through even though I wasn’t on the list. I rode the mechanical bull and didn’t hurt myself. I got a hug from Felicia day and made a thousand people laugh….
It’s been a busy 14 hours, and I’m in that warm, happy place that comes when you know you don’t have to work any more. And, because I’m in a good mood, I start to joke around with the people coming through the line….
And that’s when I *really* start to get to know the people sitting on either side of me. I draw a picture of a duck on someone’s poster, and they mock me for its utter terribleness. They mocked me with a sharp-tongued viciousness I haven’t experienced since most of my best friends moved away from Stevens Point.
So I abandoned drawing and started signing clever things on the posters. Then my neighbors started writing things on their posters that were clever-er. And I feel really put out by this, because normally *I* get to be the witty one, and they were out wittying me without hardly trying. I felt the sudden need to step up my game, to say nothing of wanting to buy some of Molly’s music and catch up on the current season of Eureka….
The signing went on for at least a couple hours, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day. As I left the theater I felt that strange, glowy feeling that comes when you level up. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out where the XP boost had come from:
Best of all, I’d made it through two entire days at the convention without making an ass of myself in front of anyone.
Thursday is my big day at the con, I’m on a panel with a bunch of epic fantasy bigwigs including George Martin and Brandon Sanderson. It’s my only panel at the con this year, and it’s going to be a big one.
So I make a point of getting up extra early so I’ll have time to perform my elaborate grooming rituals, anoint myself with scented oils, and carefully select which of my many stylish tuxedos I will wear to the convention.
My which I mean to say that I wake up at 11:00 and am walking to the con by 11:20.
11:30 – Coffee.
Yeah. If I’m going to try be witty on the panel. I definitely need some. So I get some.
For those of you that are curious, it’s a large white chocolate mocha with hazelnut.
Yeah, yeah. I know it’s not the most macho coffee in the world. But I couldn’t get my usual. They didn’t have blueberry syrup.
11:45 – Satyriasis
While heading up to my panel I get a text from a friend. Pooka is the lovely fan who took me under her wing at my very first ComicCon back in 2009. I was wandering aimlessly, trembling and dewy as a newborn fawn. She took pity on me and, to completely mix the metaphor, showed me the ropes.
Pooka’s message tells me she’s been standing in line for hours and is worried that she won’t be able to get in. I give her a call and let her know that this is the one place in the world that I might actually be able to use my meager crumb of celebrity and get her in the door.
So I get to the room and start to stroll down the line. Pooka isn’t hard to spot because she’s wearing six inch platform boots and… well… this:
Pooka is the one on the right. You can’t see it too well in this picture, but she’s also covered in glitter.
(Also, those aren’t cat ears, they’re horns. I made the mistake of calling her a catgirl and she pointed out my mistake.)
She’s only about 20 people from the front of the line, so I wander over and say hello. Then I pull her out of the line and we head to the door where I’m also going to try and work my mojo to get her and another friend.
I met Gregory Noveck at the con last year, he’s a fan of the books that works in the movie business, and he’s been kind enough to help clue me in to some of the mysteries of how Hollywood works.
I introduce the two of them, and we chat for a moment or two until the panel before mine finishes. Then I show my badge to the door guy and head inside with my two friends and a few of the other speakers and press people. Once I’m in, I can see that there’s actually a ton of seats available. Pooka didn’t need my help after all.
With Pooka and Greg are safely inside, I head out again to get a drink of water and burn a little nervous energy. I’m preoccupied with the upcoming panel, a little nervous because I’m going to be up there with some people who are a Pretty Big Deal.
It’s not until almost 5 minutes later that I start thinking of how this must have looked to the other people standing in line around Pooka.
So for the record, I’d like to officially state that I’m not a pervert.
Well, wait. Depending on your viewpoint, I probably am.
But I’d like to officially state that I’m not the particular flavor of tacky pervert I must have looked like to the casual observer. I didn’t just show up for my panel, troll down the line until I found some random, scantily-clad, hot girl, and pull her inside as some sort honorary arm candy. We know each other. We’re friends.
12:00: The Epic Panel
(Click to Embiggen.)
We talked about epic fantasy.
It was a good panel, but we needed more time or fewer people. Seven is too many in my opinion, especially when you’ve got this many heavy hitters. Especially if you consider that we’re folks who tend to measure our word counts in terms of millions.
For the most part, I tried to keep my answers brief and to the point. And a little funny never hurts, either. I got a few good laughs from the audience and didn’t make an ass of myself, so I consider the experience a success.
After the panel, Martin came up and shook my hand, said he’d really enjoyed my second book. Said it was a good, quick read. A page-turner.
I was caught completely off guard by this. I was stunned and flattered, in all honesty. Luckily, I didn’t have time to make an ass of myself because the people in charge quickly hustle us over to our….
1:30 Epic Signing
Everyone on the panel sits down to sign books for a while. Paolini and Martin were busy as bees. I wasn’t in nearly as big a demand, which was actually really nice as it gave me the chance to hang out and chat with the people that wanted their books signed. That’s something there isn’t time for me to do at some of the bigger events where we get 300+ people.
2:30 – Ronin
I owe allegiance to no man. I wander the exhibit hall, a law unto myself, looking at catgirls and thinking a lot about waveform motion.
4:30 – Christopher Fucking Moore.
I hear that Jim Butcher’s signing is finishing up at 4:30, so I wander over to meet him and see if he’s interested in grabbing an early dinner with Sanderson, Paolini and I.
As an unexpected treat, Amber Benson is there as well. I totally get a hug. Because I’m awesome.
Then I realize one of the other guys there signing books is Christopher Moore. And at first all I can think is, “Fucksocks!”
You see, up until a year ago, I’d never read anything Moore had written. Then I picked up a copy of You Suck to read on a plane and immediately fell in love. The next day I went to my local indi bookstore and bought every book he’d ever written.
I’ve been meaning to write a blog about his books for ages. But for now, let me simply say that he’s brilliant. Double plus brilliant.
I grab a quick handshake and do a brief, “Hello. Your stuff is incredible.” And leave it at that, lest I over-gush.
Then I buy the last two special-edition copies of Lamb they have for sale. (They look like bibles, gold leaf and everything) One is for me, and the other I’m going to use it as a prize for Worldbuilders later on this year.
5:00 – Dinner
So Sanderson, Butcher, Paolini, and Rothfuss walk into a bar….
Or rather, we walk through a bar, and into a restaurant to have dinner. We’re accompanied by Christopher’s sister, Angela, and Jim’s friend, Priscilla Spencer. I know Priscilla from way back (She does Books for Boobs, among other things.) But I never realized that she was the same Priscilla that did Jim’s maps for the Codex Alera.
Yeah. I’m kinda thick sometimes.
We have a lovely time over dinner. We tell stories and engage in the geeky book talk.
Unfortunately, I have a previous engagement, and I have to leave far sooner than I’d like.
I stand up and put my napkin on the table. “I’m really sorry,” I say. “But I’ve got to get going. I’m doing a little cameo appearance at Wootstock.”
I try to say this casually. As if I do this sort thing all the time. But I’m pretty sure I sound smug as hell. Because the truth is, I’m really, really fucking excited about getting to be part of Wootstock.
Also, I am slightly terrified. Slightly completely terrified.
It turns out Jim and Priscilla have tickets for Wootstock, so we share a taxi on the way there….
I’m in a taxi with Jim Butcher, heading to a theater where I’m going to meet with members of the Geek Gliterati. I’m heading to a theater where I’m going to stand onstage, alone, and read something to a crowd of over 1000 people.
My life has become rather strange over the last couple years….
So all the powers of creation have conspired to keep me from attending ComicCon. Last night I got an automated call from Delta telling me, “Hello, your flight is canceled. Yeah. Would you like a later flight? Oh, and by the way would you like a Skymiles Credit Card?”
Then a storm hit Stevens Point like the wrath of an angry god, knocking out all the power in central Wisconsin.
So I used my computer’s battery backup to charge my cell phone. Then I called Delta and cursed them unto their seventh generation. I told them that no, I don’t want their fucking credit card, and when I book a flight for 7:00 in the morning on a particular day, I have certain expectations from them. I expect, for example, a plane to be present. To fucking fly me where I’ve paid money to go. And no, goddammit, I really don’t want a credit card. I want a brick that I will throw through your window late at night.
Then I called my assistant and she graciously agreed to drive me to Minneapolis so I could catch my 9:30 connecting flight. It wasn’t that bad, we only had to start driving at around 3:30 in the morning….
So I packed my bags by candle light, the storm howling angrily outside. I’m not even kidding. It was a real adventure. High drama. Carmina Burana was playing in the background.
Anyway, the result was that I didn’t get to write the blog I really wanted to last night. The blog where I made the big announcement that Badali Jewlery has made some jewelry based on my books.
Specifically, they’ve made talent pipes. And they are awesome.
Unfortunately, I’m writing up this blog on a decrepit hotel computer. I don’t have any of my pictures available to me. I can’t cut and paste. The Control keys don’t seem to work. So all I can do is beg you to click the above link and bask in the glory of the excellent work they’ve done.
They’re also having a sale at comic-con tonight, so if you stop by their booth here at Comic Con on preview night (tonight), you can buy a pair for 30% off….
I’m sorry. I wish I could do this with the fanfare it deserves, but I’m kinda tech-neutered right now.
Lastly, I’d like to point y’all in the direction of Wootstock. They’re doing a show in San Diego this Thursday night. Google it up. It’s going to be a fun time.
I also heard a rumor that this show might have something extra in it…. (he said mysteriously.)