Category Archives: Conventions
Here’s the thing about New York Comic Con – it’s BIG. Everyone had told me that before, but it’s hard to really wrap your brain around what 100,000 people all converging on one space really means. That’s about eight times the size of the town I live in – and it’s HUGE. I tried to go to the bathroom at the convention once. Then I saw the line and decided to hold it. Just trying to go up an escalator is a challenge – you’re moving through just a sea of humanity, with different currents all around you. And on top of that, every three steps you see something so amazing that you want to stop and check it out – usually along the lines of some incredible cosplay – so there are constant traffic jams while everyone admires a costume or takes a picture.
That’s just the entryway – then there’s the showroom, which has SO MUCH stuff – every time I went through it, I saw a new booth with incredible stuff. I think my favorite discovery was when Django Wexler and I were trying to find the popcorn booth (om nom) and bumped into the Geek Chic That was some of the most amazing furniture I’d ever seen, and I now sincerely covet one of their customized gaming tables. I also now know what Django’s first purchase will probably be if his Forbidden Library series becomes the next Harry Potter. (which it really ought to, because I love it)
Then there was Artist’s Alley, which was packed with amazing talent, beautiful artwork, and more hordes of people. (I bought one amazing poster from Sara Richard for my home office – guess which one?) There were also the panels, which filled up really fast, so if you wanted to go to one (and these weren’t the TV ones, either) you had to line up about half an hour early. Plus there was the autographing section, which honestly terrified me. So while I really would’ve liked to meet Felicia Day, the line scared me off.
Then there’s the best part of the con – meeting people! I got to meet up with lots of people who I’d already met at other cons, plus lots of new people! It was fantastic. The first thing I got to do was at the Penguin booth, where Myke Cole, Benedict Jacka, and I were signing copies of our books. Now, I thought that this meant that we’d be kind of hand-selling a little, maybe meeting some people who had brought their copies. Oh no – that’s not how Penguin rolls. The first hundred people who lined up at the booth got free copies of each of our books, that we would then sign. It was SO COOL.
It was a lot of fun meeting so many excited readers, and all of whom now had shiny copies of Generation V for me to sign! Hopefully people really enjoyed reading it, and also will then post reviews to Amazon and Goodreads. (hint. hint.)
This is what it looked like to be on the author side of the booth – lots of people, and Myke Cole’s derriere, preserved for posterity.
I was going to lunch with Django right afterwards, so here’s a picture of all of us – and Myke couldn’t resist pretending to write on Benedict’s face. (probably: “For incredible British cheekbones, see above”) You can also see Django making sure that his model Swarmer from The Forbidden Library made it into the photo.
But Benedict ended up going to lunch with us, so all was forgiven. He also did me a huge solid late that night of helping me navigate the subway back to Forest Hills, where I was staying with family. Now, if you’re a New Yorker, you might be saying to yourself – “Manhattan to Forest Hills? That’s stupid-easy – get on either the E or the F and it takes you straight there.” And, valid point. Except for the part where my powers of navigation are so horrendous that I routinely (routinely!) get lost in parking garages. And just to find my car again in parking garages, I usually draw a little pirate map for myself. It takes me a long time to orient myself to areas enough to just find my way along a regular route comfortably, and as for making logical variations on that route? Such as, “Well, if I’ve been getting on the E train at 34th Street, why not just pick it up further down the line?” – yeah, that takes a while. (my navigation was so insanely shitty the second night that Django Wexler actually asked how much I’d had to drink – three sodas. Epic fail.)
The next day was the Geek Geek Revolution panel – very fun! It was me, Django, Myke, Anton Strout, Andrea Cremer aka A. D. Robertson, and Alex London. (Mia Garcia did a fantastic job as moderator, but I unfortunately don’t have a picture of her)
Other highlights include an absolutely delightful author dinner where Diana Rowland made me laugh so hard I nearly fell out of my chair. So a really fun convention! I’m bummed that I won’t be able to attend NYCC next year, but one of my best friends has decided to get married that weekend, and since I’m in the bridal party, I’ll be somewhat busy. This was my last con of 2013, and I really had such an amazing time at all three that I attended. I’m putting together my list of cons that I’m hoping to attend in 2014 – mostly drivable within the New England/Tri-State area, but I’ll probably do one travel con. I’m giving serious consideration to DragonCon, so I’ll post my con schedule when I have it.
In other news – this is the release day of my friend Matthew Quinn Martin’s debut urban fantasy/horror novel, Nightlife! So definitely go check it out! Fun fact, Matthew and I used to teach at the same college, and we shared office space. We got very little actual work done, but we did have a fantastic time talking about writing and constructing monsters. I have it on excellent authority that Matthew’s take on vampires is nightmare-worthy.
On Monday night, I scanned and emailed my corrected page proofs to Roc, so Iron Night is now officially locked off! I’ve made my last changes, hopefully I’ve caught all of the biggest problems, and now it’s out of my hands. I remember being at this place before with Generation V, but it felt different then – at the point when I was finally hands-off with Generation V, I had to move straight back into work on other projects. Right now, just because of where things fell, I actually am getting a bit of a breather. The manuscript of Book 3 is with my editor, and I won’t get notes back on it for probably another month or two. I already have a bit of a list of notes on it from my readers and my agent, so I have a feeling that I’ll probably be doing some more extensive fixes on this one, but I’m happy to take a break from it (just for a little while!) so that when I come back to it later, I can have look at it with fresher eyes.
This is also a bit of a nervous point in the process, because while I’ve spent about a year in total working on Iron Night, and my direct involvement in the writing has now come to an end, it won’t be hitting bookstores until January, and since the ARCs (advanced reader’s copies) haven’t been produced yet, I haven’t gotten any “real” reader feedback yet. I’m really excited about this book, and I’ll definitely be doing more posts and dropping more hints about its content as we get closer to the release date, but mostly I can’t wait to see what people think about where I’m taking Fort and Suzume.
I’m going to be starting to work on publicity for Iron Night soon, so I’ll be getting a chance to talk with all my favorite bloggers again, and hopefully also try and get some bookstore events scheduled as well. Should be exciting, and I’ll get going on that next week.
Also coming up – New York Comic Con! I’m so excited about this! Thanks to support from a local businessman (my uncle in Forest Hills is letting me sleep on his sofa – thanks, Uncle Alan!) I’ll be in town on Friday and Saturday.
Here’s my schedule right now:
Thursday, October 10
Work ends at 6:50pm, head down to New York.
Friday, October 11
11:00am – 12:00pm: “FRIDAY FIRSTS” PENGUIN SIGNING (BOOTH 2129 )
First in series signing with M.L. Brennan (Generation V) and Benedict Jacka (Fated)
If you’ll be anywhere in the area, come and say hello to me! I’d love to sign your book or even just give you one of my cards!
7:45pm-?: Private dinner
Saturday, October 12
12:00-1:00 PM: GEEK GEEK REVOLUTION (ROOM 1A17)
Speakers: Mia Garcia, A.D. Robertson aka Andrea Cremer, Django Wexler, Alex London, Myke Cole, Anton Strout, M.L. Brennan
Description: GEEK REVOLUTION is a no-holds-barred geek culture game show featuring six science fiction/fantasy authors competing for the chance to be TOP GEEK. In addition the audience members will be asked to ‘write-in’ questions in hopes of stumping the authors and winning a prize pack of books. Hold onto your hats, nerf herders, this might get ugly.
This is looking like so much fun, and I’m really looking forward to it! If you are going to be at NYCC, this had better be one of your required stops!
So that’s what’s planned so far – if you have an event or a party that you think I should be attending, tell me about it!
In other news, after working pretty frantically all summer, I actually had some downtime after I submitted the Book 3 manuscript. This meant that I was able to get some reading done! I love writing, and it’s very exciting when I’m in the middle of a project, but it does mean that my reading time gets pretty significantly cut back! Here is a list of the books I read since finishing the Book 3 manuscript:
The Age of Ice – J.M. Sidorova
Redshirts – John Scalzi
Who Gets What: Fair Compensation After Tragedy an Financial Upheaval – Kenneth Feinberg
Throne of the Crescent Moon – Saladin Ahmed
Parable of the Sower – Octavia E. Butler
Dushau – Jacqueline Lichtenberg
House of Zeor – Jacqueline Lichtenberg
Old Man’s War – John Scalzi
Shades of Milk and Honey – Mary Robinette Kowal
Darkborn – Alison Sinclair
Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
(currently reading) The Summer Prince – Alaya Dawn Johnson
Have you read any of these books yourself? If so, what did you think?
That was a very busy weekend! I was lucky enough to meet a number of writers who I admire, several very lovely and kind fans of Generation V, and quite a few interesting and kind-hearted people who listened to my spiel and professed themselves very interested in checking out Generation V.
Now, as fast as I was handing out my cards and info, people were handing great cards and info back to me. Check out my collection!
Pretty nice, right? I know I have two of Taylor Anderson’s cards, but that’s because I ran into him twice – once at a party, and once at breakfast. What a great guy, with an absolutely fascinating skillset!
Definitely take a close look at the flier at the bottom – when I was doing my autographing session (which, actually, went very well – a combination of everyone’s love of free books, plus being seated next to the amazing Cat Rambo) I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah, and they told me about their newest project – it’s a Kickstarter for a story-driven RPG that’s set in their Sime~Gen universe! Gamers, particularly the gamer ladies, this one is definitely one to take note of. You can check it out in more detail at
I’ll talk about the con (so much fun!) and San Antonio (seriously, San Antonio, what the hell is going on with that river? it looked like Chtulhu’s bathwater!) in a bit more detail later, but for now, I’m going to tell you about something important.
A quest that happened when I suggested to my hard sci-fi loving brother that he check out the list of WorldCon attendees to see if there was anyone that he really liked, because I’d be happy to get a book signed for him. Well, it turned out that there were quite a few of my brother’s SF heroes at the con, and we entered into some fairly intense negotiations about exactly how many books I was willing to shlep down for him. (I drew the line at bringing David Brin’s entire Uplift series. Yes, I am heartless)
So my brother managed to narrow it down to his top five picks, which he then mailed to me from San Francisco. Here’s what that stack looked like:
I packed them into my bag, and took them down. Something to keep in mind – first, I made my brother prioritize them, just in case I had only a chance to get one signed and not another. Then he took it a little further and wrote up a post-it note for each one so that I could read it to the author to explain just why this book was beloved.
Okay, so I set myself up to go – firstly, I didn’t get down to WorldCon until Friday afternoon, which means that the first thing that happened was that I completely missed Joe Haldeman and David Brin’s signings. Nuts. Now, they both had programming later in the con, but the problem there was that I’d scheduled myself pretty tightly for most of the con and I actually didn’t get to go to many panels. (‘cuz I was there to, you know, *work*) And then I couldn’t find Greg Bear anywhere on the programming, and was told that he’d had to cancel at the last minute. Whoops. But that still left Gregory Benford, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Alistair Reynolds. And Alistair Reynolds was actually on my panel, so that seemed very doable!
So, the quest began. (impressive music) I flew down to San Antonio, got to the hotel room, and packed my shoulder bag for the day. Off I went to pick up my badge – and guess who was in front of me at the programming table? DAVID BRIN! And I was all, “FUCK, I left the book back in the room!” (which is probably something that David Brin is not un-used to hearing when people meet him) But he was absolutely lovely, and had a stack of fliers for his new book on him, so he personalized one of those for my brother. And then even let me take a photo with him. Awesome!
And then I realized about forty minutes later that I’d actually had the book in my bag at the time, and I screeched obscenities at myself for about five minutes. Good times! (seriously, the moral of this might be – I kind of suck at this thing) And I really tried, but I never saw David Brin again.
Which, in all honesty, isn’t surprising. I mean, somewhere a deity was just shaking Its head, all, “Seriously, ML? I arrange it so that the very first person you bump into at WorldCon is David Brin, who is your brother’s personal SF hero because of the Uplift series, AND that he’s in a good mood, and you completely fumble the moment? Forget any favors in the future.”
But after that I went the solid route – autographing lines. And I learned a few things – firstly, that autographing lines are actually a good way to meet some pretty neat and nice people. Secondly – there are people who are kind of in the business of getting autographs. There were people with *carts* of books! And lists! (at one point I was at the SFWA table, and after I introduced myself to a very nice woman, she pulled out her list to see if I was on it – it turns out that I was, but only sort of. She’d actually put *Marie* Brennan on her list, because she thought we were the same. This actually turned out to be kind of a theme, so I’ve made an adjustment to my FAQ sheet.)
I also learned that it’s usually kind of important to get to the autographing line a little early. That way you can save some time. But on Friday I was able to get two of my brother’s books signed!
Then on Saturday I went to my panel on writing horror. It was very fun, very sharply moderated, and there were some pretty cool questions from the audience. One interesting thing that came out was that all five of the authors sitting on this panel were completely obsessed with non-fiction accounts of Himalayan mountain climbers – particularly when someone loses fingers or a nose to frostbite and then keeps climbing. Make of that what you will, but to those of you who like getting writing advice? Apparently you should be reading Into Thin Air and watching some documentaries.
Anyway, it was lots of fun, and then at the end Alistair Reynolds was very lovely and signed my brother’s book!
That was basically the end to the quest. However, my brother did have one specific desire to make his nerd life complete, and that was a photo of Benson, Brin, and Bear all together. And I completely delivered.
August has been flying by, which means that in just over a week, I will be flying to San Antonio with my long-suffering spouse and will be attending my first WorldCon! *Very* exciting, let me assure you! For anyone attending who is interested, here are my confirmed activities for the weekend! (confirmed but unmentioned include eating, sleeping, and pooping. Because, really – everyone poops)
Right now there’s a lot of blank space on Friday – I have one connection to get to San Antonio, so right now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I arrive in time to get my badge and hit my one scheduled commitment for the day. Oh, and if I make my connection, I wanted a chance to get to walk around and actually see the booths.
Saturday has some really fun stuff scheduled, including my one panel! Please attend my panel, and if you want to pitch me some softball questions about horror, give in to the urge! I also have two autographing sessions, one of which I am delighted to say will be with several very fine writers. But thanks to the good folks at Penguin, I am the proud owner of a full box of copies of Generation V – which I will be handing out for free at those sessions! First come, first served! (also, seriously, I don’t want to have to check this box for the flight home — *please* come take a book from me!)
On Sunday I will be staffing the SFWA table for a little bit, but I’m sure by then I’ll have heard about at least fifty things I’ll want to do before I catch my flight home. Here’s the breakdown:
1:36pm — Flight arrives
8pm – 11pm — Private
10am – 10:45am – Interview with Patrick Hester for The SF Signal Podcast
1pm – 1:45pm – Autographing at the SFWA table (C-13 in the Dealer’s Room) I will have free copies of Generation V with me! Nothing would make me happier than to sign one of them for you!
2pm – 3pm – Panel, How To Scare Your Reader (Moderator- Vylar Kaftan, John Hornor Jacobs, Amanda Downum, Alastair Reynolds)
4pm – 5pm – Autographing Session (with David Hartwell, Kathleen Goonan, and Cat Rambo) I will have free copies of Generation V with me! If you want a copy, please just come over and I will gladly sign one for you!
7:00 PM – (I have no idea) — Drinks With Authors (this will be held at Ernie’s, which Justin from Staffer’s Book Review *swears* is only a block away from the con hotel) There are going to be a lot of awesome writers here, so definitely put this one down on your list!
11am – 1pm — Staffing SFWA Table (C-13 in the Dealer’s Room – come say hi!)
5:14pm – Flight departs
In other news, here’s what some reviewers are saying about Generation V!
Dawn Nikithser at Bookshelf Bombshells says:
Yeah, I am sick of vampires too. But being sick of vampires is kind of like being sick of cupcakes—when someone comes up with a delicious new flavor, you gotta eat it. You’ll devour this one whole.
Matt Gilliard at 52 Reviews says:
Taken as a whole, Generation V is a fresh take on an old saw that benefits from Brennan’s excellent world building and the authenticity of its cast. Fans of urban fantasy who are weary of the same old, same old shouldn’t miss this engaging mix of action, humor, and coming of age tale. I’ll definitely be around for round two.
Oh, and if you’ll be at WorldCon, drop a note in the comments! What are you planning to do at WorldCon? Any good suggestions for things I should add to my itinerary?
Is great! Seriously, I had a good trip to Newport, and an amazing time at ConnectiCon!
I’ll start with Newport – it was low-key, I was able to get some solid outlining work done, and I took some good reference photos for the books. Great ambiance, pleasure to visit there again, and I had a lot of meals at the Newport Creamery.
Oh, and for anyone who has wondered what Madeline’s mansion looks like, here was what I used as a reference:
I got home on Thursday, meeting up with my good friend John, who was nice enough to agree to ride shotgun on my first convention. Let me tell you – ConnectiCon was a shit-ton of fun. For one thing, this happened at the first panel we attended:
I ended up being on three panels over the weekend – Worldbuilding 101, Crossgenre Writing, and The Ten Things You Need To Know About Writing (on that last one, I don’t know what our final tally was before we went to questions, but a few people taking notes said that we were about fifteen-ish – even without counting how often we were expanding on what the person before us had just said). Each one was so much fun – the first two I was lucky to be with Michael J. Sullivan, Leona Wisoker, and the incredible Joseph Bruchac. All so lovely. Big kudos to Michael J. Sullivan, who managed to avoid looking horrified the third time I showed up on a panel with him (seriously, he was not only wonderful, but also graciously served as defacto moderator for two of the panels – Leona Wisoker made a heroic moderator stance in the second panel when the topic completely dried up on us). Last panel included Margaret Killjoy, who was such a pleasure to meet, and who very graciously began peppering his speech with profanity to make me feel less conspicuous after I accidentally broke the curse barrier. I am reading through his thoroughly delightful choose-your-own-adventure book What Lies Beneath The Clock Tower and I’m really enjoying the writing, the goblins, and the presence of absinthe.
I also got to meet wonderful people! Rob Durand and Rachel Sasseen were incredibly nice and cool for the whole weekend, and so much fun to hang out with! We talked, we had dinner, we played games, they introduced me to the fantastic Cam Banks, and then they even did me the *huge* solid of helping me with a very inconvenient and stress-inducing box.
Oh, and the gaming. Seriously, I had so much fun. I got to play 3-person Puerto Rico (fast, too – John and I played with a guy who apparently plays Puerto Rico in tournaments – and, yeah, I totally tied him on points, but he beat me by three coins), I learned Revolution with John and my husband (thanks Steve Jackson game instructor!), Gloom (which Cam very nicely taught me how to play), and Rob and Rachel taught me and John how to play 7 Wonders, which is so good that I’m probably going to have to buy it now.
Also amazing? The artists’ area. Stunning, stunning artwork – if I was single and I didn’t have to compromise on my choices in wall art, I would’ve come home with so much stuff to frame. But I did pick up a few small things – one whimsical print of sheep having a tea party by Anne Hoffer, and a set of the most glorious postcards by Cari Corene. Yeah, I’m not sending those postcards – I’m going to frame them.
I also was able to hand out a lot of my business cards, talked with many aspiring writers, and hopefully some more people will check out Generation V. And, in Generation V news – I’m up to 25 reviews on Amazon.com, so thanks so much to everyone who has done that! If you haven’t written a review for them yet, please do! I was very lucky to get wonderful coverage by two fantastic bloggers – shewolfreads posted a review and an interview, and Civilian Reader also posted a review and an interview. All are well worth checking out – I really enjoyed these ones!
For this week – just working hard and trying to stay cool in the monstrously hot temperatures.