PNBA was quite a lot of fun, for something that’s supposed to be a more-or-less “professional” event devoid of DragonCon-style merry-making. I was asked to bring dress-up clothes that might be reflective of steampunk couture (oh, twist my arm … twist … twist … twist … aw, all right I guess); so I spent Thursday evening in a purple shirt, the green/black corset, black petticoats, a navy blue skirt, and a charcoal pin-stripe bustle (plus all accouterments). Fun clothes can go a long way toward making a fun time — and likewise, many curious book-buyers and sellers who are super-nice and eager to learn more about this “steampunk thing” can really put a shine on an evening.
By my best guestimate, I gave my Steampunk 101 speech about 25-30 times. I’d have cheerfully given it another few dozen times if required.
Best of all, I was not alone in my fondness for all things riveted, mechanical, frilly, retro-futuristic and scrambled alt-history. No, for indeed I encountered the authors of Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel. Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett were also dressed up in full steamy glory, and somewhere out there can be found pictures of the three of us mugging it up. (Alas, I didn’t take any of my own; had left purse/camera/phone up in the hotel room.)
Paul and Anina were also kind enough to swap publications with me — even though I only had an ARC of Boneshaker and they had fully completed, ready-to-ship editions of Boilerplate immediately at hand. They were very nice, very cool — and lots of fun, and if the vibe appeals to you, you should totally check out that website and consider picking up the book.
Despite my own lack of fully completed, ready-to-ship editions of Boneshaker, buzz was hot enough that we gave away all three boxes of the ARCs — and were turning folks away by yesterday morning.* By breakfast, people were pointing me out as “That blue-haired girl with the crazy clothes last night, the one with the steampunk adventure book … ooh, do you have any more? I didn’t manage to pick one up at the night-capper.” Repeatedly. And although I hate to disappoint people, it’s still good for the ego.
At that very same breakfast, I caught up with the inimitably cheerful Ken Scholes and the persistently pleasant Brenda Cooper. Together we nibbled at plates full of bacon, scrambled eggs, and sausage, while simultaneously listening to Johnathan Safran Foer explain to us rather convincingly why we should not eat meat, or should at least consider our meat consumption more responsibly (which I think is a valuable and important message, but also an ironic one considering what was being served to us right as he was discoursing on the problems of factory farming).
For what it’s worth, I was familiar with Foer’s books but had never read any of them; but now I think I might pick one up. Listening to him speak/read for a bit was frankly riveting. Likewise, and although I did not get to meet Libba Bray either, her talk about her latest book — Going Bovine — made me want to run out into the street and buy the nearest copy.
I left the event shortly after lunch on the trade show floor, and in my wake I’d like to leave many thanks to Tor publicist Patty Garcia for her marvelous shepherding, constant readiness, and general willingness to hand-hold and answer questions while I got my act together.
But as you know if you follow my Twtter feed, the train ride home was not half so much fun as the either the train ride to Portland or the conference itself. Less than an hour into the jaunt back north, the train came to a dead stop and the conductor announced that he had no earthly idea what was going on — that he’d just been given a red light and told to stop. So we stopped. And we waited for nearly two hours, mostly wondering what the hell was going on.
Eventually he got on the horn and told us there was some kind of “police activity” up ahead, and no one would tell him squat, but he’d try to keep us posted.
As it turns out, this is what the police activity was about. Oddly enough, it would seem that this tweet of mine pretty much called it. Of course, now I feel monstrously insensitive, but oh well. Nothing to be done about it.
Anyway, that’s all the excitement that was exciting enough to relay. Now I have to take this weekend to recalibrate myself, catch up on some day-job work, sort out my writing deadline work, and perhaps decompress just a smidge from all this travel.
Have a good one, folks.
I’m going to go throw some clothes on and start thinking about brunch …
* To be clear, I’m not crapping on Tor for not having them – we’ve still got another few weeks before they drop and it was only finger-crossing over-eager optimism on my part that hoped we might have the real thing on hand.