Many things have happened this month. The sheer volume of things defies comprehension, making rude gestures and crude noises at it from the safety of diplomatic immunity. Not all of these things were related to publishing stuff, but enough were that I can justify making a post about them.
First off, I’m working through my lineup of guest posts and interviews for various blogs leading up to my launch date. The first of these is an guest post over at The Qwillery which goes live tomorrow and features a brief discussion on Weird West. They will also play host to an interview on launch day (October 30th aka HOLY SHIT FOUR POINT FIVE WEEKS AWAY). I’ll also be doing interviews with My Bookish Ways and Civilian Reader and more guest blogs at Falcata Times and Book Chick City. A busy lineup for someone who can’t manage to update his own blog with any consistency, but I’m thrilled at the opportunity to be featured on so many fantastic sites.
Next comes the long-awaited arrival of my ARC of The Dead of Winter. The excitement with which I anticipated its coming temporarily rewired my practicality protocols, demanding that I actually do UPS’s job for them and pick it up at the hub instead of waiting for them to fail at delivering it two more times. Opened in the car forthwith, the ARC quickly made its way home with us.
A very large part of me wanted to enshrine it behind glass, never to suffer the passing of time and the hazards of this cruel world. It must stay pristine, trapped in time, kept in this perfect material realization. I imagine new parents feel something similar upon receipt of a child, at least until the thing opts to void its innards all over the couch for the seventh time in a week. Fortunately, I will have no such issues with the lovely item I received. However, much like a child, I could not protect it from the world forever. Before I knew it, the damned thing started following me to work.
Courtesy of the Robot Overlords, those residents of Great Britain and Ireland interested in the book may enter to win a copy of this very same ARC over at Goodreads.
While I was thus engaged in dealing with one unruly offspring, my second-born chose that same week to remind me that it still has some gestating to do. Time split yet again as I began working on the requested revisions while proofing The Dead of Winter and getting a jump on my guests posts. Fortunately, the overall household stress maintained a more-or-less even keel, as Tori successfully defended her gargantuan research project the Friday before my children began squalling for attention.
Lastly, with the arrival of the ARC, my launch party planning has begun. Hosted by the wonderful Old Firehouse Books, the joyous occasion will take place at 6:00 PM on October 30 (OHMYGODTHATISINTHIRTYTHREEDAYS) and will feature a reading, a signing, and a cake. If you don’t come, I can’t promise that I will save you a piece of cake; I expect any leftovers will be voraciously devoured by my postpartum blues. We might be able to work out getting you a signed copy of the book as a consolation prize, though.
So yeah, September has been busy and exciting. It is also the vanguard of the next six months, which will see Tori graduated with her Master’s degree, two of my books published, all of the usual holiday cheer, and possibly the completion of a third manuscript. Oh, and also possibly moving. And I am shit at defending against Zerg rushes.
I arrived at WorldCon 2012 with few goals: meet my fellow Angry Robots, don’t make a statistically significant ass of myself, and learn how to behave like a professional writer by observation. Now that the re-entry dust has settled and the respiratory infection has been shown to the door, I can reasonably believe I accomplished those goals. More importantly, however, I came away with a number of lessons that I will take with me into all future conventions.
1. Alcohol-to-food budget ratio should be at least 1.5:1
The first night of the convention, I informed my colleagues that I was looking to learn and adopt a professional writer’s behavior patterns. They immediately told me to get skilled at drinking. Though imparted with joviality, a few nights in the hotel bar taught me the immense truth behind such lighthearted comments.
Once the realization set in, I quickly became the bane of the hotel wait staff by water-logging myself every night. I’m not a teetotaler by any means, but I simply had not included 3-4 drinks at the…generous hotel prices into my daily budgeting. While there is a certain appeal to being the only sober person in a conversation, temperance doesn’t lend itself to a loosening of the tongue. I’m naturally withdrawn, and a few drinks would have put me more at ease in the many unfamiliar social situations. Henceforth, I will plan for this in calculating trip expenses, or I will buy a bottle of rotgut at the corner store and bring a flask into the bar.
2. A reinforced immune system is one’s greatest ally
Con crud is a well-documented phenomenon. One day, a pandemic apocalypse film will depict the initial infection spreading from San Diego Comic Con instead of a casino or airplane. However, the general consensus seems to be that con crud is something that hits you after the fact: you start languishing at the end of the con, realizing with growing dread and resignation that your first few days back home are going to be miserable.
However, things are entirely different when you’re one of the people responsible for distributing con crud. Both Tori and I came down with head colds early into the convention, leading me to believe that we brought them with us. This made for notably lower energy levels, strained breathing, goofy-sounding voices, and fevered hazes clouding everything. None of these are particularly useful when trying to meet new people and have a good time. Said illness even short-circuited my golden opportunity to interrupt George R.R. Martin for a bit of fanboy gushing. My fever had not yet robbed me of enough sense to figure that infecting the man with a respiratory virus wasn’t the best first impression to make. Next time, adequate immuno-defensive preparations will take place well in advance.
3. Stay in hotels with complimentary wifi
While wandering through the lower halls of the convention, I passed by a group of forlorn-looking temporary walls identified by a single hand-written sign: “Message Board.” This inspired a brief speculation on what correspondence between con-goers must have looked like in years past. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of social coordination at the convention this year happened via social networking. Myself not being in possession of a phone with a “data plan” or “apps”, I intended to rely on my Nook tablet and complimentary hotel wifi to facilitate meet-ups with other members of Team AR. These hopes were quickly dashed by the $13/day price tag attached to the hotel’s wireless service.
Thus stymied by my own fiscal conservativeness, I was at a serious disadvantage when attempting to locate people for meals, panels, signings, readings, and glasses of water. Rustic as I am, the hotels I frequent offer wifi and continental breakfast with the price of admission. Until such time as Tori and I deem it necessary to purchase data plans for our phones, I will be searching out such lowbrow hotels for future convention lodging.
4. Everyone I met was essentially fantastic
Sadly, this is not one lesson I expect to stand the test of time. Repeated exposure, increased sample size, etc. That said, the Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry corps and their affiliates are wonderful, friendly, hilarious people. I felt singularly quiet and dull by comparison, and I unfortunately can’t blame this on my illness and sobriety.
Feeling pressured to make an impression is a singularly horrible feeling that I happen to know quite well. The diverse array of clever, intelligent people around me intimidated me into orbiting their conversations more often than not. The writer’s life is not as solitary as I had hitherto believed, and my social skills will need some serious working out if I am to minimize future instances of awkwardly crunching ice in the midst of fast-flying conversations.
With these lessons in hand, I am eagerly anticipating the next convention that comes my way. Despite the illness, the awkwardness, and the expense, I had an absolutely marvelous time at WorldCon 2012. Thanks to everyone who endured my croaking, my sobriety, and my contagiousness to make it such a memorable experience!