A quick update on the NECON fun--I did not repeat in the Hi Lo Jack tournament, being handed a first round defeat. I'll be kicking myself all year for a hand I misplayed.
I did, however, get to appear on a panel called "Selling That First Novel", which was hosted by F. Paul Wilson. Mr. Wilson's newest novel BLOODLINE was published this week and should be purchased by you, today if at all possible. I got to share a table with Sarah Langan, Mary Sangiovanni, Rhodi Hawk and Nate Kenyon (you should buy their books as well), and we all discussed our experiences breaking into the field.
We talked about some of the things we did to get our work "out there", and I got a few laffs when I related a true story about a conversation I had with Paul prior to me selling anything. I attended the first Borderlands workshop where Paul was an instructor, and as an instructor he had to read a section of my work prior to the class. When it came time for Paul to offer me a critique and advice on the work, he looked me square in the eye and said, "I can't help you."
Only later did I realize that it was a compliment.
(Maybe you had to be there...)
The conference was fun, I enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making some new ones. The absolute highlight was when Gahan Wilson drew a portrait of me in a book I asked him to sign. I wonder if Hyperion will let me use the portrait in place of my author photo for Generation Dead? As promised, I ran amok in the dealers room, buying stacks of yellowing paperbacks from the seventies. Other than the Gahan Wilson books (I bought two) my favorite scores were a book called Summer Sketches, by one of my favorite authors, Dan Simmons, and Kiddology, a fascinating book of art and biography from artist guest-of-honor Tom Kidd.
I'll be heading to my first ever World Fantasy Convention in early November, which I'm looking forward to as a number of my literary heroes are scheduled to be in attendence. And I might even have some promotional material for GENERATION DEAD which I can scatter around the conference center. You should go, too. Just don't buy any of the mouldering paperbacks from the sixties and seventies until I get to check them out, okay?