Monday, September 27, 2010

NAIBA & The Baltimore Book Festival

I'm back after a very long week of traveling and promoting and selling books. Wow, it feels like forever since I've been home. I spent three days in Atlantic City with Echelon Press at the NAIBA Conference at the Trump Marina Hotel. There's nothing quite like having a full blown casino in your hotel. We met with Indy Booksellers and industry people and I was part of the "Emerging Leaders Reception" which was a really great time as well. Yes I played a bit of Blackjack... I pretty much came out even but wow it was fun. For you all that know me, I need that kind of recklessness mixed with business... It makes life fun. I was really bad about not taking photos. But here are a few... Casino entrance.

Karen Syed Setting up the Echelon Table

The guys at St. Martin's Press gave me a copy of Brom's Child Thief!

The Baltimore Book Festival
I've only been to Baltimore once and that was only briefly. Being a three day book fest I was pretty excited to get out and sell to a bunch of people. While the Friday and Sunday crowd were a bit sparse, Saturday was amazing. There's just nothing in the world quite like meeting enthusiastic readers and wow did I meet some. The fest is really big. It's like 5 streets and a square covered in tents and vendors of all types. (Mainly books of course.)So when you're working these festivals it gets pretty tough when the day is winding down so I have to compliment a very amazing gentleman that brought beers and openers each night. Really, that was a first for me and he probably doesn't know it but his simple gesture really meant so much and seriously put the cherry on top of the trip. So if you're the good sir that brought the beers... I thank you so much! Your simple generosity was so touching that it's hard to put into words. I realize that sounds a bit like I'm a lush but that's never happened before and even though it was beer, it was the thought (for 2 nights mind you) that was so touching. He gained the nick-name "Book Fest Santa".

Next Up
This weekend I'll be in Memphis, TN signing Thomas Riley at Hastings on Saturday starting at 2:00PM. On Sunday, I'll be at Books-A-Million in Southaven, MS signing at 2:00PM. Come see me, the books at the stores are limited so they will go fast.

In the year 2000
The week after that I'll be in Nashville, TN signing at The Southern Festival of Books which is another huge book fest spanning 3 days in my home town. Besides a brief signing at Divergence II, I've somehow never signed the book in Nashville... Yeah, how lame is that? So we're coming out grandiose style for this one. We'll be at the Echelon Press Booth (Not sure of the number yet, but I'll keep you posted.)

Books, stories and more stories...
Here are links where you can get all the books and stories that I have out to date.
Thomas Riley
Dreams of Steam (Steampunk Anthology, my story is "Engine 316")
Steampunk Tales Issue 8 (My story is "Double Crossed at Gray Raven Mill")
Thomas Riley Kindle Version
Thomas Riley Nook Version

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BOOKMARKS Winston-Salem NC

For me Winston-Salem is a pretty far drive. Seven hours for a one day book festival. I love a good book fest because you meet all the local authors and you get a chance to meet some awesome book lovers that are just having a good day in the sun. Well, the only problem is there wasn't much sun. In fact it was rain. Here's the really great part. A ton of people just didn;t care. The entire day people just trekked out in the rain still buying books and hanging out. I've never seen anything like it. Usually when the rain comes everyone scatters never to return. Not in Winston-Salem. They toughed it out, determined to have a good time no matter the weather.

We had a great crowd the entire day and wow, a lot of people knew what steampunk was! Seriously, at book festivals a lot of people seem to not know about steampunk but here I swear fifty percent of the crowd knew what it was. That's a really good feeling. Click here to see the article I'm in from The Winston-Salem Journal.

So we ended up going to The Foothills Brewing Company and celebrating with a few pints. Good times but the entire trip was relatively short compared to the latest jaunts to Toronto and Atlanta for Dragon Con.

Side trip to Mayberry
No kidding, I'm driving home and notice that I'm on the Andy Griffith Parkway... well, come to find out, Mount Airy, NC is where they based the town of Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show. So naturally, I had to see it. The place was really awesome. It's just a small town with a nifty claim to fame. Sure there is some turisty stuff there but honestly, sometimes it's good to just be a tourist.

Next up
Next week is going to be insane. Tuesday and Wednesday Sept 21-22 I'll be attending the NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) conference in Atlantic City, the I go directly to Baltimore, MD for the Baltimore Book fest (Booth E-29).

Steampunk Tales
I'm so happy to announce that my steampunk short story "Double Crossed at Gray Raven Mill" (Featuring Baron Bon Bar) is in the new Steampunk Tales Magazine (Issue #8). I'm in there with some amazing authors such as G.D. Falksen and Cindy MacLeod. Click here to check it out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

When L. Ron Hubbard Came Down from Outter Space

I'm not sure how to even start this... So much has happened that my head is spinning, quite literally at times. I was home for three days after Toronto and I was back on the road heading to Atlanta for Dragon Con. We arrived around 9:00 on Thursday evening where we went directly to Pre-reg to get our badges... Of course they closed the line so we were out of luck. After a quick recovery pint, we were back at it exploring the calm before the storm in the D*C hotels. You could feel the buzz in the air. The lobbies and halls were full of people ready for 4 days of fandom and general insanity. Friday we woke up super early and got our badges then I bolted back to the room to get ready for the "New Voices In Steampunk" Panel where Kimberly Richardson, Emilie Bush, Clay & Susan Griffith and I talked about Steampunk and read sections from our novels. Despite my general dislike for reading in front of a crowd, I pulled off my section without too much of a hitch. The panel went wonderfully, with everyone chiming in on the different aspects of steampunk and steampunk literature. Good times with amazing people... I really can't ask for much more.

Decatur Book Festival On Saturday I took off from Dragon Con to brave the sun in Decatur, GA for the Decatur Book Festival. Thirty thousand people converge on this book fest for all things literary. I was at the Echelon Press booth and holy cow, it was amazing. And for the first time in this blog's history, you get to see a video of me all giddy as I sign someones Kindle... Under Charlene Harris' autograph by the way.

After the fest I went directly back to Dragon Con where we hit the party scene trying to get pictures of the lunacy and generally people watching. There's nothing that can overwhelm the senses quite like Dragon Con. Despite my lack of energy, it was an amazing time. I got to hang with a lot of friends and met a ton of good people. Can't wait for next year! Speaking of good friends, Bill Harris is an amazing steampunk gun maker with his company, The Venusian Airship Pirate Trading Company. He made 2 guns which he debuted at Dragon Con from Thomas Riley. Here's a picture of Cynthia's yet unfinished revolver from the beginning of the book. Thanks Bill! You rule!

Steampunk Tales #8 Steampunk tales is an online digital short story magazine full of some of the newest steampunk writers. I have a story in the latest issue called "Double Crossed at Gray Raven Mill". This story was born at St. Louis' Steamposium to benefit Cystic Fibrosis research. The good, Baron Bon Bar won that auction and well, 5 months later I'm happy to say, it's out! Check out this issue with my story and other stories from Cindy MacLeod, and G.D. Falksen here:

Next up I'm heading to The Bookmarks Book Festival in Winston-Salem, NC this weekend which should be an absolute blast. I don't know my booth number yet, but it shouldn't be too hard to find me. Come and say hi... I should have the new Sky Pirate Patches available. If you mention this blog I'll give you something for free. There's so much going on it's hard for me to keep up with it. Seriously, things are crazy. In addition to all the writing and traveling I'm doing for Thomas Riley, there are super secret things in the works as well. I'll give you a hint on one of them... My Gencon/Origins/Megacon friends will be super excited about it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fan Expo 2010 Report

Let me just come right out of the gates and say Fan Expo was absolutely amazing. We broke all sales records once again and the great con goers were exactly that. Great!

We arrived in Toronto and our first contact was an insane cab driver. This guy was nuts. I actually tried to video tape him in the dark cab... those tapes may never be released.

The good Ensign and I settled into the hotel and discovered that we were very close to everything. The Convention center was 2 blocks away and we had enough bars to keep me happy. The next moring we hit it hard... setting up at such a big con was awesome and I have to say the staff was really great. We checked in and got on the floor in no time, which is pretty unreal when you consider that there were hundreds of vendors ranging from local jewelry makers to Marvel Comics. Here's a shot of part of Friday's crowd.

Saturday was unreal. The entire convention center was packed and getting outside to get food or anything was a 30 minute ordeal at the least. Trust me, I'm not complaining. We had innumerable people come by the table and pick the books up. We also had a bunch of fun raffles of homemade steampunk weaponry, which everyone seemed to love. Lot's of good costumes too:

I was a panelist in the steampunk 101 panel and people waited 2 hours to get in. There were so many people in the room the entire floor was covered with people sitting all around us. It's such a cool sight as this is the second time this has happened in the last few months. Steampunk is getting so huge. It's unreal to see it grow so quickly.

On our return home day (Monday) we decided to have a "Canada Day". We went to Tim Hortons, got coffee and Dutchies then we were off to The Hockey Hall of Fame. Ok, this place is so awesome. Besides that it's big and has tons of nifty things to look at, they have the best interactive games ever. My favorite was where you put on goalie gloves and stop real hurling pucks that shoot out of holes in a screen. We have video of that as well. If you like hockey and are in Toronto, this is a must see.

So what do I say? This was a truly amazing con. Like I said, we broke all records. I'm already signed up for next year and I can't wait.

Dragon Con
I leave for Dragon Con on Thursday evening. Yes that has not afforded me much sleep or recovery time from busting my ass in Canada but Dragon Con is always such a blast. I'll be on the "New Voices in Steampunk" panel at 11:30AM in the Westin Hotel. GUESTS: Clay & Susan Griffith, Nick Valentino, Emilie Bush, Kimberly Richardson

On Saturday I'll hop skip and jump over to Decatur GA for the Decatur Book Festival all day where I'll be joining my fellow Echelon authors at booth 107. Then right back to Dragon Con for Saturday night's insanity. So I'm a busy boy... These events are especially great because I get to see all my friends in one place. Well, ok two places. See you all soon!