Halfway Through the Busiest Five Days of My Blogging Life

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Elevengeddon – Front to back – Brian McClellan, Brian Staveley, Stephen Blackmoore, Cherie Priest, Rickard Kadrey, Michael J Martinez, Myke Cole (standing), Beth Cato, Chuck Wendig – and there’s more hiding in there.

I’ve survived two days, but the worst is still coming. I’ve managed to see no panels, see no TV stars and barely seen the exhibit hall.

And I’ve had the time of my life.

Con unofficially started for me on Wednesday night with Kevin Hearne’s Elevengeddon party, where I got two bagfuls of books signed and met a whole helluva lot of wonderful people, authors and otherwise. Thanks to Brian Staveley, Myke Cole and Jason Hough for taking time out from meeting their fans to chat for this humble blog. Thanks to Kevin for organizing the shindig and thanks to the Poisoned Pen for putting it on. Especially fun was chatting about my favorite rock band, Marillion, with Jason. He is also a longtime fan, and it turns out we’ve seen many the same shows over the past 20 years (they don’t tour the states too often!)

Thursday the Con kicked off properly with a whole lot of running around and attempting to get everything organized. I’m wearing two hats – working as a volunteer for the author track and as press for the blog here. So I’ve spent my time juggling between organizing line queues for signing sessions and scheduling interviews with the various guests. There’s been a bit of running back and forth from the convention center to the hotel.

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Bad Selfie with Viola Carr.

Before everything got underway I sat down with Viola Carr and Alex Gordon for a chat about their respective books. Viola wrote the entertaining steampunk/horror mashup, The Diabolical Miss Hyde, while Gordon recently released her debut (under that name) Gideon, a dark historical fantasy that I am currently enjoying immensely.

From then it was all signings, all the time. Since it was Thursday there weren’t any crowds for the most part, so it  was mostly watching authors banter in their natural environment. Gini Koch invited M.L. Brennan to join her evening erotica program and they both had strong words about online piracy.

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Bennett Coles, James A. Owen, Delilah S. Dawson, Andrea Phillips, Scott Sigler (L-R).

Next was a big group, with Scott Sigler, Bennett Coles, James A. Owen, Delilah S. Dawson and Andrea Phillips. Sigler was the star, giving away ARCs of his upcoming novel Alive to all of his fans. And I finally got to thank Owen for his Starchild comic, a longtime favorite that I discovered at my first comic-con 25 years ago.

The evening wrapped up with Carr, Staveley and Michael J. Martinez, another low-key panel that included one of my favorite moments — a little girl went up to Carr and timidly asked her if she was English. Carr, who’s Australian, was delightful.

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Brian Staveley, Michael Martinez, Viola Carr (L-R).

The panel wrapped up early early, as Taco Guild was calling. Kevin Hearne had organized a goat roast at the local restaurant and the bulk of the authors (and any fans who got the word) convened for the Holy Taco Church’s sacramental goat sacrifice, complete with Boston cream-filled churros y chocolate.

I wanted to join them, but by that point I was wiped, and I didn’t have a hotel room to recuperate in, so I called it a night, sans tacos.

dragon coastToday started early again. A planned interview with Naomi Novik fell through,so I sneaked in some breakfast before meeting Greg Van Eekhout to chat about his wonderful cannibalism in California novels, California Bones and Pacific Fire. I got my ARC of Dragon Coast signed, to which Greg remarked he hadn’t seen it yet.

Where’s the Scalzi quote?” he asked. “How can you not put the Scalzi quote on the cover?”


IMG_0405From there I had some free time, but wanted to drop my packs off, so I headed back to the autograph room. The first crowds were forming for a massive signing featuring Hearne, Hough, Novik, Sigler, Peter V. Brett and Pierce Brown. Serious heavy hitters, with a line spanning the length of the hallway. I picked up a copy of Golden Son for Pierce to sign. He and Hearne were certainly the favorites, followed by Brett. I grabbed Kevin for a horrible selfie, because I’m all about the horrible selfies, and made arrangements to meet Pierce and Naomi to chat on Saturday.IMG_0416

Next came another low-key group signing featuring Joseph Nassise, Cherie Priest, Django Wexler, Martinez and Carr. Priest had signed my Maplecroft at Elevengeddon, so I was already set. And again it was mostly banter and one-on-one fan interaction.

IMG_0418Nathan, a fan from Salt Lake has become a sort-of mascot for the author track – he’s been at many of the events, buying books and hanging out with the authors. He is exactly why PhxCC’s author track is so wonderful — he’s had the time of his life met some of his idols and will share their work and his experiences with his friends back home.

Another slow panel followed featuring Gordon, Wendig, van Eekhout and Phillips. Wendig and Phillips are old friends and they chatted extensively, with Wendig regaling fans with stories of how he got to write the next Star Wars novel. A few other authors stopped by while we were starting to get ready for the big signing of the day, paranormal romance author Sherrilyn Kenyon. Fortunately, after some logistical organization I got to duck out of that one, although by all reports it went swimmingly, even if we did have to cap the line.

IMG_0424Instead I ducked down to the Exhibit Hall for another signing with Wexler, Staveley and Brett. Mostly just chatted with Staveley and Wexler about their writing process, world-building in The Hunger Games, and learned that Staveley is the only person in the world who hasn’t read Harry Potter or even seen the movies. And Django rocked the best shirt of the day…

I was done for the night, so I headed back up to check back in and maybe catch a couple panels. But no. Ann Leckie, Hough, Cole, Brown and Jay Posey were signing and I just had to get my Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword signed by Ann. And chat some more with Myke. And watch the trailer for his girlfriend’s puppet movie, Yamasong. And chat about the Hugo Awards and Myke’s powerful open letter to one of the Sad Puppies.

And more bad selfies with Ann Leckie and Myke Cole!

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IMG_0452That was pretty much it for me. I finally caught a panel before heading home — Ann’s author spotlight which, while sparsely populated, had some great discussion about her wonderful novels. Gave me some more insight into the novels which I think will get a reread soon.

So with that I think it’s time for some rest. Tomorrow will be a zoo, with three interviews and lots of work before relaxing at Drinks with Authors. I’ll sadly miss Sam Sykes’ Batsu Game, but I’m hoping it ends up on YouTube again.

About Michael Senft

I am a freelance writer and critic from Phoenix Arizona. I spent 10 years covering music, the arts and pop culture for the “Arizona Republic” before life circumstances took me away from newspaper. But I never lost my joy at writing. Or reading.
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3 Responses to Halfway Through the Busiest Five Days of My Blogging Life

  1. S. C. Flynn says:

    Wow! That is hectic, but sounds great.

    Like

  2. Tammy says:

    Wow, so jealous! I wish I could be there. My jam is San Diego Comic Con, because I live in CA, but I know a lot of the authors I really want to meet, like Wendig and many others, probably won’t be coming. So cool that you’re actually helping out with the Con!

    Like

  3. Pingback: Happy Anniversary! | Relentless Reading (And Writing About It!)

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