Archive for July, 2011

Lookie what I got Katie Cook to draw!

One of the best parts about Comic-Con this year was getting Katie Cook (who writes and draws the weekly web comic, Gronk, among other things) to make these mini-paintings of characters from my books. She does these for only $5 a pop, which is ridiculous, considering their sheer awesome awesomeness.

First up, from Norse Code, a wolf of Fenrir’s kin, eating the Moon:

And a mash-up of Click from The Boy at the End of the World and a squid from Kid vs. Squid:

And, finally, Protein from The Boy at the End of the World:

I know, right?!

My Comic-Con tips

From Comic-Con 2010

My first Comic-Con was kind of a frightening and horrible experience. I’m not all that keen on crowds, and I’m quite keen on personal space, so I kinda wanted to create my own exit with a flame thrower and run screaming to the sea. Also, downtown parking in San Diego sucks.

But now, after a few Comic-Cons, I’ve found some tricks to enjoying it:

1. Enter the exhibit hall from the ends. That’s where the comics stuff is, anyway: comics on the west end, artist’s alley on the east end.

2. If you go upstairs to the fan pavilion (I’m not sure that’s what it’s called, but it’s where fan groups have their tables and promote their local cons, it may be the Mezzanine), you can get a nice view of the exhibition hall from above and with windows separating you from the seething masses. It’s fun to look. Also, from there you can exit to a patio with harbor views. Fresh air is awesome. Also, there’s a little food court up there. I’m not recommending the food, but if you need a slice or a pretzel or a soda or whatever, it’s there.

3. Crossing the street is always frightening and painful. But now there’s a new pedestrian bridge. This isn’t a tip, because I don’t know if it’ll make things better. Like I said, it’s new. But I hope it makes crossing the street better.

[Update: The bridge does make crossing the street much better.]

4. Don’t plan on seeing anything. Just sort of check the schedule as you go along and drift into whatever looks interesting, as long as what looks interesting to you doesn’t involve movie stars or the big-name comics creators. Being a less popular artist or writer doesn’t equate to being a less talented or less interesting artist or writer. (But do plan on coming to my panel on middle-grade writing: Sunday, 1:45, 5AB.)

[Update: If you’re reading this post in a year other than the one in which I wrote it, I can no longer recommend coming to my middle-grade panel, because it happened in the past and time travel is B.S. so just accept your sadness and regret at having missed it, unless you didn’t, in which case, wasn’t it awesome???]

5. The CBLDF master classes are always cool. That’s where an artist draws stuff that gets projected on a screen and talks about her or his technique and process and stuff.

6. Don’t drag a roller suitcase across the exhibition hall floor, because I will trip on it and you will turn around and want to get in a fight with me and by then I’ll be a little bit tired and I’ll yell back at you. YOU HEAR THAT, GUY? JUST DON’T!

7. When you go grab a bite to eat, get off 5th Street. The other streets also have eateries and they’re quieter. I’m not going to tell you where I go to eat, because I want them to stay quiet.

8. This is the time to be the biggest, dorkiest, geekiest, nerdiest fan on the planet (who still observes social considerations). In other words, squee! Squee like the wind! That’s what Comic-Con is for. It doesn’t belong to Hollywood, it doesn’t belong to DC or Marvel, or even to writers and artists. It belongs to all of us. Have fun!



Some items. These are the items:

I finished a first draft of a book! Is it a good first draft? Oh, heavens, no! Hopefully it will be a better second draft, and by the time my editor sees it, perhaps even a halfway decent book. Lisa and I celebrated with adobada burritos overlooking a stupidly beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Jenn Reese’s blog post about books for boys and books for girls, and how and when the twain shall meet, or ought to meet, and which compares and contrasts some of the marketing and story characteristics of The Boy at the End of the World and Stephanie Burgis’s Kat, Incorrigible/A Most Improper Magick.

Not having gone to Clarion, I didn’t know that I would be in any way impacted by Clarion moving to San Diego, which, as some may be aware from the pics I post of blue water and the words I utter about the awesome burritos, is the town in which I currently reside. But I’ve been going to the Clarion instructor readings at Mysterious Galaxy. So far I’ve been to Nina Kiriki Hoffman‘s reading, and John Scalzi‘s reading (which was followed up by a very pleasant sushi dinner with him and his family and a college friend of John’s who had actually read one of my books, which was neat for me). And tonight I’m going to try to make Elizabeth Bear‘s reading, which will have been preceded (these verb tenses are correct, though complicated) by beers this past weekend (something we’d talked about doing for years at various conventions but had never quite managed), and hanging out with some of the Clarion students. I’m starting to feel more of a connection to the SF community here, and plus it’s also just nice when interesting people come to town and I have an opportunity to spend some time with them.

There. Those were my items. May your day be filled with your own items, and may your items be good.

Fun in Santee

Got to be part of a really fun event yesterday at the Santee branch of the San Diego County Library.

(And now, since I typed the word “library,” I have to take a moment and burble the following: LIBRARIES RULE JEEZ BY GOSH WE SHOULD FUND THE HELL OUT OF THEM!)

(It’s true. We should.)

(Also, they should remain public and not fall to privatization.)

Anyway. The event was billed as “Lunch With Teen Authors,” and my co-panelists were Kirsten Hubbard, Cindy Pon, and Barrie Summy. They were smart and funny and engaged, and part of me wishes I could have just sat in the audience and tossed questions at them instead of listening to myself blab (which I have kind of a tendency to do).

After a couple of, shall we say, lightly attended events, it was both a relief and a pleasure to see the audience fill up the available space. Seemed like a good mix of teens and maybe some pre-teens, moms, and a guy filling plates with Chinese food, who may have been my favorite person there on account of he was filling plates with Chinese food. Cindy taught me the correct way to say “chow mien,” and before the panel I ate my chow mien at a table with two girls, and they were both cool and one of them had even read Kid vs. Squid, so that was a treat for me. I also met a guy named Shane who quite rightly pointed out that one of my ideas for a Kid vs. Squid sequel violated one of the key genre concepts of KvS, and he even suggested an alternative. Shane, if you happen to be reading this, I mispoke. I didn’t literally mean Hell. Nonetheless, you are quite correct, sir.

Librarian Marisa and the audience asked a lot of good questions, and I particularly liked answering the ones from the young writers in the audience. I hope we didn’t crush their dreams by talking about the hard parts of being a writer. But, durn it, they deserved the truth.

Mysterious Galaxy was there selling books afterward, and I signed a few, plus some bookmarks and postcards, but even better than signing the books was seeing library copies being snatched up. As much as I love finding my books on bookstore shelves, knowing they’re in library circulation is an incomparable feeling. Libraries. They are good.

Later, I met local YA writers, Lisa Ritter Cannon, Nikki Katz, and Andrea Ortega, who keep a group blog, YA Know, and I joined them and Barrie, Cindy, and Kirsten for some coffee and chat, which was, as you might expect from the overall tenor of this entry, very fun and pleasant.

All in all, just a really great event. Thanks to Marisa and Santee Library and the Friends of Santee Library (who sprang for the event) and everyone in attendance.

Here’s a photo ganked from Andrea Ortega’s Twitter feed:

San Diego Comic-Con schedule

My San Diego Comic-Con schedule is now all official-like:

SUNDAY July 24
1:45 – 2:45
Writing For the Middle Grade Audience – engaging the reader at an important age. Writers discuss how to craft books that engage and delight readers who are too mature for early readers, but not yet ready to read young adult books. Authors include: Rebecca Moesta (the Crystal Doors series), Brandon Mull (Beyonders: A World Without Heroes), Matt Myklusch (A Jack Blank Adventure Series), John Stephens (The Books of Beginning), Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar series). Stephen McCranie (Mal and Chad), D.J. MacHale (the Pendragon series), EJ Altbacker (Shark Wars series), and Greg van Eekhout (The Boy at the End of the World). Moderated by Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy.

SUNDAY July 24
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m
Autographing in the Comic-Con Autograph Area


Lunch with Teen Authors – Santee Library

Are you a teen? Are you anywhere near Santee, California? Do you like lunch? If these conditions = true, then an event that has been planned with precisely you in mind:

Event Type: Author Visit
Date: 7/5/2011
Start Time: 12:00 PM
End Time: 1:00 PM
Place: Santee Library
9225 Carlton Hills Blvd #17
Santee, CA 92071
(619) 448-1863

Have lunch with teen authors Kirsten Hubbard, Greg Van Eekhout, Cindy Pon and Barrie Summy as they talk about their books. Copies of their books will be available for purchase and checkout.
Hear about their newest novels: “Like Mandarin” by Kirsten Hubbard; “The Boy at the End of the World” by Greg Van Eekhout; “Fury of the Phoenix” by Cindy Pon; and “I So Don’t Do Famous” by Barrie Summy.