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 ( 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 KaleidoscopeBradbury 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 ValleyAside 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?

  1. abbyjreed says:

    Thanks for linking to me! Not going to lie–kind of jealous you got to go to the WorldCon 🙂

    • You’re very welcome. It was quite an experience, for sure. Howey was great to hang out with, if briefly, as was Sanderson. It was worth going, certainly, but it was also very expensive. I doubt I’ll make it back until it heads back to the States. I believe it’s London next year and then Spokane after that – so maybe then…

      • abbyjreed says:

        Ooo. London. I wouldn’t mind seeing the TARDIS in London. Yeah, being States-side would make it slightly more affordable. Have you been to it any other time when it was overseas?

        • Sadly, no. San Antonio was my first trip. I’m hoping the next time I go things will be somewhat different, though. Not to put down the organizers for this year, but there were a lot of issues that weren’t dealt with well, or at all. That, combined with the steep price… well, it’s just not going to be at the top of my list. Check out this article for some of those issues I mentioned.

          • abbyjreed says:

            Oh bummer. Thanks for the link- I’ll check it out. I’m hoping to attend the San Diego Comic Con this next year. Its been on my wish list for a while and seeing all the awesome people Who attended this year…Have you been to that one? Would you recommend one over the other?

          • I’ve been to SDCC (back in 2011). The things you need to know about that con are:

            1. You will wait in line for every room – or at least the ones really worth getting into. And I don’t mean a few minutes, I mean HOURS for some panels. They don’t clear rooms between panels, so people will get there at 8am and sit in the same room all day to see a panel at 5pm… which of course means that people who want to see the panels that the squatters could care less about can’t get in. This is my single biggest pet peeve of the con. And I’m not the only one.

            2. There are a LOT of people there. When I say a LOT, I don’t mean it’s crowded. I mean, think of the last packed football/baseball game you went to, triple the number of people there, and then stuff all those folks into one ginormous building. It’s THAT many people. If you don’t like crowds, it will NOT be a fun experience on the floor of the con.

            3. There is always a program you can get at registration – which, in itself, took me FOUR HOURS to get through for my badge – and I’d recommend looking through the middle pages and circling the panels you want to go to. There’s LOTS of panels, so make sure to read through it carefully – the ones that aren’t pop-culture phenoms will likely be little-to-no waiting to see.

            All that said, I did get to see some seriously cool stuff, like promos for shows that only lasted a few episodes, and some great costumes, got a lot of autographed stuff on the floor from webcomics folks I enjoy, got to meet several important zombie folks (like Max Brooks) and even talk to George R. R. Martin for a few. I think it’s worth going once, just so you can join the club, so to speak. But it’ll be awhile before I go back.

          • abbyjreed says:

            Yikes. Great to know! I’ll be sure to being a friend or two or some really great books… Thanks for taking the time to give me all the info!

          • Books/games/something else to do while in line with a like-minded friend is essential. Otherwise you’ll just go quietly – or not so quietly – crazy. I ended up taking a day off and heading out to Coronado Island to hit the beach and see the Hotel Del Coronado. I HIGHLY recommend it.

  2. Hugh Howey turned out to be the type of great guy that you’d want him to be, and sitting next to Brandon Sanderson as fans walked by was a riot, but I think my favorite moments of that night was when author Jason Kristopher had a little too much ‘Happy Juice’ and slipped into Shrek-mode.

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