Category: author events

A Report Back on FanX

I got a bit quiet on the blog last week, since I was off gallivanting around Salt Lake at FanX. It’s been so long since I was at a con, I forgot a lot of what I needed to do. For example, I showed up without any copies of my books or any business cards or promos. The lack of book copies was the really egregious error, since I had no copies to put out in front of me when I spoke on my panels, and I had two people come by looking to buy older things. Thankfully, my cousin had bought a copy of my book and lent it to me for the weekend, so it wasn’t too bad. But next time, I have to remember to bring all that stuff. Gotta shake off the rust.

The con itself was much better attended than I anticipated. I thought a lot of people might hang back due to COVID hesitancy. Instead, it seemed like a lot of fans turned up because of COVID exhaustion. They haven’t announced official numbers yet, and I might have just felt like there were a ton of people because it’s been so long since I’ve been around that many people, but I’d guess attendance at least at 80,000, probably more. At one point there was a two hour line just to get in. In the past, the event has drawn over 120,000 people, and the show runners said they expected it to be about the same this year, so I’m likely being overly cautious in my estimate.

Masks were required at the convention, and most people had them on, though a ton had them under their nose or on their chin, making them largely worthless. There was no vaccination requirement. I kept my mask on the whole time, and I didn’t really feel unsafe at any point. I’m vaccinated and have no issues that would put me at greater risk, and I’m not really around anyone who would be at risk. But if I weren’t vaccinated? There’s no way I would have gone.

Other than COVID-related issues and me spacing it about things I was supposed to bring with me, the trip out to Utah couldn’t have gone any better. Highlights included:

  • I was on 5 panels over the course of the three days, and I had 2 signings as well. Overall, I’d guess I presented to 600 people or more. That’s pretty great for exposure, and most of the panels went very well, and none of them were train wrecks. A definite win.
  • I had a chance to catch up with many old friends, both writerly and non-writerly. It turns out publicly posting that you’re going to be at a well-attended event ends up having people who are at said event seek you out. Yay for that.
  • I got to spend time with family.
  • While I was attending the live recording of the podcast Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells run, I was invited up for a cameo appearance, which was fun to do.
  • I got to eat at multiple restaurants that just don’t exist out where I am. Siegfried’s (for delicious German food), Ruby River (a steak house), Costa Vida (TexMex), and a local bakery.
  • I had the chance to watch a movie on an incredible home theater set up. We’re talking a place that’s better equipped than any other real theater I’ve been to (other than the screen not being as huge, since it’s proportional to the size of the theater). I knew several days in advance that I’d be able to watch something there, and I had to somehow decide which movie I wanted to go with. How do you pick just one? I wanted something I never had a chance to see and appreciate on the big screen, but also something that’s been remastered for 4k and Dolby Atmos sound, since I wanted to see what the theater could really do. In the end I went with Back to the Future, and I’m so happy I did. The movie was incredible. The sound, the picture, the experience. It was perfect.
  • I went to a BYU game for the first time in about fifteen years. It was an awesome game to attend: the crowd played a big influence in the outcome, and BYU managed to pull in the win. It was thrilling.
  • For some reason, renting a minivan was about half as expensive as renting a compact. I don’t understand how that works out, but there it was. So when I’m driving around Maine with my family of five, I’m in a Prius, but when I went out to Utah and drove around alone. I was in a car that seats seven with tons of room to spare. (Also, I’m very used to have a gas pedal that has to go down pretty far to get your car to giddy-up. I peeled out in that minivan multiple times over the four days. Maybe I have a future in minivan drag racing.
  • On the way home, I actually made it to Bangor early. Maybe all my sacrificed emoji goats are finally having an effect.

In any case, it was a lot of fun to be back in the swing of things, and I hope to be able to do some more events in the future. Thanks to all of you who came by to say hello. It was great to catch up!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Where to Find Me at FanX

I’m in Utah! (Despite the best efforts of the Salt Lake airport to make me give up and just go home. Seriously. We landed around 10:15 last night. By the time I waited for the bus to take me to the main terminal, then walked the huuuge ramp they dropped us off at to get to the main terminal, then walked through all of terminal B, through the big tunnel, through all of Terminal A, and then out to the rental car place, it was around 11pm. And I was walking fast. Sheesh.)

Anyway. That means I’m going to be scarce online, but if you’d like to find me in real life, here’s what I’ve got going on this weekend. I hope to see some of you there!

Thursday September 16, 2021 

3:00 pm-4:00 pm How to Write a Great Character Arc 255 BC

7:00 pm8:00 pm Defining Your Writer’s Block — and Then Conquering It! 355 B 

Friday September 17, 2021 

12:00 pm-1:00 pm You Don’t Understand Officer, I’m an Author: Questionable Writer Research. 150 G 

1:30 pm-2:30 pm Bryce Moore Signing The Printed Garden – Booth 129 

6:00 pm-7:00 pm The Truth About Publishing 151 A

Saturday September 18, 2021 

10:00 am-11:00 am Writing for YA Today 251 D 

2:00 pm-3:00 pm Bryce Moore Signing The Printed Garden – Booth 129

FanX (Salt Lake Comic Con) Bound

Okay, so technically it’s not called Salt Lake Comic Con, because trademark, but telling people outside of Utah that I’m going to FanX just generally gets me stares of confusion, so I inevitably explain what it is by saying Salt Lake Comic Con. (Maybe they could change the name to “The Convention Formerly Known as Salt Lake Comic Con.)

And I suppose I’ve already let the cat out of the bag during my explanation up in the first paragraph, but . . . I’m going to FanX this year! I’ll be attending as an Author Special Guest, which means I’ll be speaking on panels, having some book signings, and generally just enjoying the con. Look! They’ve got my picture up with lasers even, which makes it very official (and makes me feel very self conscious, because I don’t really feel like I’ve reached the point where I’ve earned those lasers, if you know what I mean.)

I’m either a guest author or starting a cult. Maybe both?

Of course, going anywhere in the time of COVID isn’t a hop, skip, and a jump, and I’ve debated no end about whether or not I wanted to go to a convention while the pandemic is still raging all over the place. In the end, I decided to go forward with it for a few basic reasons. First, I’m vaccinated, and from everything I’ve seen, the pandemic is raging for the unvaccinated. For the vaccinated, it’s much less severe. In Maine, 95% of the cases have been in the unvaccinated population since vaccines were available. So while Maine had 665 cases today (which is right about where we were at Peak COVID, if 95% of those are unvaccinated people, then that means we had only 35 or so cases among the vaccinated. (I realize that’s a very rough estimate, and likely lower than it really is, but it’s for illustration purposes only.)

Take that into account, and add me wearing a mask the whole time and staying socially distant, and the risk level dropped to a point where I feel comfortable enough to go. (Personally, I feel that if you can’t do anything even once you’re vaccinated and masked, then . . . things just get too depressing.)

In any case, I’ll be out in Utah the 16-18th of September. If you’re in the area and want to swing by the con to hear me pontificate on writing, horror, YA, and publishing, come on by! I hope to see some of you there.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking this PERFECT PLACE TO DIE Amazon link. It will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

A Virtual ALA Event

This will be the second ALA in a row that I’ve missed due to the COVID pandemic. It’s a conference I always enjoyed going to: a great fusion of my work as a librarian and my work as an author. I got to catch up with librarians and publishers from across the country, going to presentations, doing author signings, and have a grand time. I’m hopeful next year I can go back with a vengeance, especially since this year, I would have been able to go and promote THE PERFECT PLACE TO DIE.

Thankfully my publisher, Sourcebooks, arranged for a virtual event in an effort to replace at least some of the hobnobbing. Last night I and four other Sourcebook authors got to go to a virtual dessert party with around 50 librarians. We each had a chance to talk about our books, and then we went to a series of breakout rooms, meeting with smaller groups and answering questions. It’s easily the most authorly I’ve felt in years.

There were a lot of compliments on the book’s cover, so huge props to the Sourcebooks folks for putting that together so nicely. All of the librarians in attendance had received an Advanced Reading Copy of the book (as well as some gourmet popcorn and other goodies), and many of them had already read it. I heard good things all around, with people excited about the book’s setting and crossover appeal with The Devil in the White City. Being able to tell them about the starred review in Booklist certainly didn’t hurt, either.

Being an author is often a solitary endeavor, so when there are opportunities like this to actually talk to people who are excited about books (and my book in particular!) is very invigorating. Leading up to it, I realized that I’m woefully out of practice speaking to groups, as I had much more “stage fright” ahead of time than I usually would. You’d think after all the hours and hours (and hours) of Zooming I’ve done over the pandemic, one more Zoom would have felt like nothing, but I did stress about it. Thankfully it all went off without a hitch.

A month and a half to go until the release!

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

A Report on MLA Annual

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days. I was off at the annual Maine Library Association conference at Sunday River. This year we had a pre-conference as well, so it’s been a very busy weekend. Thankfully, it’s also been relatively stress-free, since we’ve got such a great conference committee running things. If you would have asked me six years ago, when I was just getting involved with MLA, if the time would ever come when running a conference for 185 people over three days wouldn’t have felt like that big of a deal, I would have said you were crazy. It was something entirely out of my realm of experience. And yet here we are, at the end of another very successful conference, and I’m now to the point where I’ve actually been going around volunteering to help organize other conferences.

Maybe there’s something wrong with me.

(Although really, it’s not that big of a deal when you break down what you need to do. Find a venue. Figure out how much it’ll cost to rent the rooms and pay for the food. Divide that cost among the number of people you expect will come. Be pessimistic. Figure out programming and keynotes. Promote it to death. No big deal, right?)

As I’ve done in the past, here’s a brief rundown on some of the things I did at this year’s conference:

  • Presented (to one extent or another) on four different panels. I was on one focused on library technology trends, one discussing the New Commons Project, one for Maine authors (as Bryce Moore), and then helped with one about Maine Academic Libraries. All of them went quite well. Good attendance, good exchange of information.
  • Competed in my first ever Battledecks challenge. If you haven’t heard of this before (I hadn’t), it’s essentially free-style powerpoint, done for humor. Someone makes up powerpoint presentations ahead of time (8 slides each), and then you get up and give a presentation around those slides, sight unseen. It ended up being hilarious and a ton of fun. 6 people competed, and they all did a fantastic job. (And apparently my finely honed ability to talk my way through and out of anything came in handy, as I took first place.)
  • Ate far too much food. Apple smoothies, oreo brownies, gourmet donuts, fancy pizza, french toast, pulled pork sandwiches, fruit, ginger carrot soup. The list goes on. As much as I say the event isn’t stressful, my weight says different. (But I’m going back on a diet for the rest of October. Not kidding!)
  • Saw a slew of friends. I’ve been active in the library community of Maine now for long enough that I forget just how many people I know. I really don’t think of myself as an extrovert, but when I know people already, I’m very comfortable going up and talking to them. And actually, as I thought over how the conference went and what all I did at it, I began to wonder if shoehorning myself into “Introvert” category isn’t really valid anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I still came home and wanted to just be by myself someplace quiet for the whole evening, but I can also excel in social situations, and it’s time I start acknowledging it.
  • Rarely breathed outside air. Conferences can also be pretty stifling. I think I got outside for all of . . . ten minutes over the three days? It was great to have a bit of a walk outside as I came into work today.
  • Heard some great keynotes. The first was on the way the press can navigate today’s “Fake News” minefield, and the second was on just how fast the world is changing these days. (If you’re trying to make long term plans based on how life was five or ten years ago, you’re setting yourself up for failure.)

Of course, when I come home from an event like that, I’ve missed a bunch of work by being away, and I’m also exhausted, so coming back into the grind is doubly difficult. But for this, it’s very much worth it. It’s a conference I’ve begun to look forward to more and more each year, and I’m very happy to see so many people feel the same way. (This year was our best attended since I’ve been involved in them!)

In any case, thanks to all who contributed, participated, and showed up. It was a great time, and I’m already excited for next year.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve been posting my book ICHABOD in installments, as well as chapters from UTOPIA. Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

 

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