No, I didn’t get to hang out with those guys for the whole convention. I’m not sure that I could’ve handled that. At least, not yet. But I did get to meet both of them and hang out for a bit, as did some of the other fellas from Grey Gecko Press.
I did have a fanboy moment during the dinner meetup with Hugh – as did George Padgett – as we both gave him hardcover copies of our first books (dedicated, of course). I realized that I’d missed out on a golden opportunity when I forgot to include my business card. So, figuring what the hell, I walked over and told him I’d forgotten it… at which point he became even cooler when he asked about our company, how we treat authors, and how we’re changing everything about publishing from the ground up.
We also talked briefly about doing an interview for his blog (hughhowey.com) about the changing nature of publishing, especially small press, and how we’re doing this differently (aka the right way). Naturally, I’m excited about that, and not just because of the exposure it would bring to our authors over at GGP, but also because Hugh’s a genuinely nice guy to talk to, and the small press side of things is of vital importance to everyone who’s thinking of joining this crazy race on their own.
I got to meet and speak with Brandon Sanderson at the TOR party, and his editor at TOR, Moshe Feder, and got an insider’s look at the interaction between the two. I also gave Brandon my card, after he asked what kind of stuff we published. I’m sure he threw it in the trash later in his hotel room, but even so, the fact that I got to meet and talk to him in a more casual environment (the whole time going “HolyShitHolyShitHolyShitHolyShitHolyShit” in my head because he did such an amazing job with the final books in The Wheel of Time) was pretty amazing.
Another highlight was meeting Brett Stimely and Eric Tozzi, the actor/producer and director, respectively, of the short film Ray Bradbury’s Kaleidoscope. Bradbury has long been one of my favorite sci-fi authors, and his Martian Chronicles inspired my own work A Drop of Rain - which is still my favorite piece of my own work. Stimely did an excellent job as the principal actor in the film, and Tozzi’s direction was equally superb. Hardly surprising, given that he was the editor for NASA/JPL’s videos from all the Mars Lander projects. He’s also got a sci-fi manuscript in the works with a singularly interesting premise, and I’m trying to read it as I get the time.
Of course, there was also the mandatory eating, sightseeing, and drinking that goes along with cons for all the vendors, and I was fortunate enough to get to spend some time with my good friend Jessica Grundy, whose art is nothing short of captivating. We were very fortunate over at the Gecko to get her for the cover of Greystone Valley. Aside from her talent, she’s just a blast to hang out with, and it was great having dinner and visiting her haunted hotel’s bar.
Though in the end we didn’t sell as many books as I’d hoped we would, I made some good contacts, met some great people, and had some fun. And really, in the end, isn’t that what life is for?