Monday, October 13, 2014

Reflections from the Road: New York Comic Con, Word Bookstore, and Wik'14

Last week, I made a hit and run visit to the New York Comic Con as the latest stop on the Frostborn tour. It was a quick trip, in and out from Wednesday night to Friday night, but packed full of excitement.

I get in late Wednesday night, checked in to my hotel, and then grabbed a cab to my favorite beer bar Rattle n Hum. I was there to meet my friend (and colossal talent) Garth Nix, who was in the US over from Australia on the start of his own tour. I haven't been in the same place at the same time with Garth in some years, so it was really good to catch up with him. Also, I got to introduce him to Goose Island Bourbon Barrel County Stout, which I can't get at home and only drink when I'm at Rattle n Hum. I shouldn't have eaten as much calamari as I did, but it was a great time!

Then Thursday morning I met Mark Smylie (Artesia, The Barrow), who I used to edit but have never met in the flesh, for a quick bite at Gotham West Market. Mark is wonderful, and though I no longer work with him in a professional fashion, I do hope our paths will cross again soon.

Then it was off to the convention. NYCC hit a reported 150,000 attendees this year, which might just make it the largest comic con in the US at this point. I've been to the Javits Center before for Book Expo America, but this was my first New York Comic Con. I got to the Random House booth, and before I'd even set down my backpack, I had to sign a copy of Frostborn for a kid! What an awesome way to start the day.

Then they filmed me talking about my book, the con, Viking helmets, the Thrones and Bones board game etc... (I'll link to that piece when I figure out where it is!), after which my amazing editor Phoebe Yeh and wonderful publicist Lydia Finn arrived, and we were off to the first panel of the day. 

Coffee Talk with Dragons and Monsters was a panel to debate "What makes a monster something to be feared? A force to be reckoned with? Or just misunderstood?" My fellow panelists were R.L Stine (Party Games), Caitlin Kittredge (Black Dog), Barry Lyga (Blood of My Blood), Paul Pope (The Rise of Aurora West), Ethan Reid (The Undying), Ransom Riggs (Hollow City; Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children) and it was moderated by Ali T. Kokmen (Director of Sales, eBooks
Barnes & / NOOK Media). It was a blast, and I really enjoyed it. You can see the whole panel on YouTube here:

Afterwards, we signed books, where I got to spend some time taking with Paul Pope. Back in 2009, I reviewed his Batman: Year One for We corresponded briefly after that, and it was very nice to be able to talk to him in person now (especially since our respective career paths have brought us both around to children's books now.)

After the signing, I got my first taste of Uber, when Phoebe and Lydia whisked me to an event at the Word Jersey City bookstore for a Thrones and Bones "Game Night." We set up card stock versions of the game, which my editor played for the first time (she won "by accident"). I got to play a long session with a very challenging opponent who has designed games himself and was quite knowledgable about the entire history of board games. Thanks to everyone at Word for hosting this even. Also, I should mention that Word previously named Frostborn a staff pick, saying "This is the most fun I’ve had since the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." They have signed and rune-stamped copies on hand now, so please support this awesome store.

Afterward, Phoebe and I went to dinner at Landmarc Restaurant at the Time Warner Center. Then back to the hotel. The next morning we breakfasted with Lydia at The Smith Restaurant and Bar. Then I had a few hours to work out, and back to NYCC. I checked out Weta Workshop's Smaug head, and spent a long time standing and staring up at it absorbing what being in close proximity to such a magnificent creature would actually feel like! Very valuable experience for this fantasy author.

I arrived at the Random House booth to learn they had sold out(!) of Frostborn, but I dumped off another batch of my trading cards (which go like hotcakes), then Phoebe and Lydia escorted me to my second panel.

Geek Geek Revolution is a "no-holds-barred geek culture game show featuring six science-fiction/fantasy Authors competing for the chance to be TOP GEEK." Some of the questions come from the audience. Prizes are given out for stumping the contestants, and the loser has to wear a hat of shame. My fellow panelists were Peter Brett (The Skull Throne), Maureen Johnson (The Name of the Star series), M.D. Payne (Monster Juice), Amber Benson (Witches of Echo Park), and John Scalzi (Lock In). The panel was masterfully moderated by Patrick Rothfuss (The Slow Regard of Silent Things). This was a blast, even if Scalzi's arm is lightning fast (and he is so wrong about "Joey Chill.") You can watch the entire event on YouTube (that's me off camera shouting "With his mother" and "Sleepy", btw).

Afterwards, we signed again, and I got to spend some time talking with fellow Birmingham-raised author Amber Benson, who proved to be as delightful a person as I've always heard. She has a new book out - The Witches of Echo Park - so please check it out!

I got to say only a brief hello to my friend Jen Heddle then my time at NYCC was over, and I was whisked into a car and sent to LaGuardia airport, unfortunately to face a three hour flight delay. The delay did afford me a delightful conversation with Lindsey Brown (PR Pro) and Charlie McLravy (Investigative Producer, The Today Show). I wowed Charlie with my ScripTips theories, and he wowed me with this. Unfortunately, I didn't get home and in bed until close to 2am. Unfortunately because I was up at 7am for another event.

Saturday I taught my ScripTips workshop at the Southern Breeze Writing and Illustrating for Kids 14 Conference. Fortunately, there was a lot of coffee and some very good treats to fuel up with. The workshop was sold out, and I learned at the party that evening that it has been one of the first workshops to do so. I also signed a good number of books that day.

Yesterday, Sunday, this leg of the Frostborn tour officially winds down, and reality came back with a heavy dose as I cleaned all the bathrooms in my house. Thank you to everyone everywhere who has made me feel like a rockstar these past two months. I have a few more appearances slated for the rest of the year, and a few more in the works, but now it's time to knuckle down and finish the revisions of book two! 

1 comment:

Ethan Smith said...
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