That's right... three major events in three different states in one week... Whew! EVENT #1 WITHIN THE WEEK... SPWF, New Jersey...
First off, Steampunk World's Fair, the biggest Steampunk convention on the East Coast! I knew from my attendence last year that I could expect incredible musical guests, literary guests, vendors, and that the fashion would not disappoint. (And that I'd get to hang out with a bunch of fabulous friends. Thanks Babs at Event-ography for the picture!) All held true again this year. I was thrilled to return to the Library of Lost Literature thanks to the delight that is Stephen Segal and Quirk Books, to read from Perilous Prophecy and offer up a teaser for Darker Still, a Novel of Magic Most Foul!
There was a big author signing- very exciting, please see KatieBabs' fab rundown of the event- and there was even a pro-labor flash mob!
Earlier this year, at the Steampunk Industrial Revolution, author Miriam Rocek and I were discussing the historical and present importance of key female labor union activists. From there was born a 'hey we should do a labor rally' idea and Miriam really ran with it, gathering a talented group of folks to not only rush through the con on Saturday with signs and flyers (Thank you Painless Parker) in a flash-mob, but then on Sunday to an assembled crowd, speakers discussed historical figures and precedents in the Union struggle born of the 19th century. As a member of all three performers' unions; Actors Equity, Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, I certainly feel passionate about the role of Unions past and present. I spoke on Clara Lemlich and the Uprising of the 20,000 to offer a bit of historical context to labor battles we still fight today. Monique Poirer and Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez spoke brilliantly on the fluidity of class in Steampunk as an opportunity for dialogue, the progressive side of Steampunk, Painless Parker led us in Solidarity Forever, Ay-leen the Peacemaker taught us about the sugar cane strikes and Eli August wrote a gorgeous song inspired by the Cripple Creek Miner's Strike. A look to the past, a mirror to the present, with anti-union bills either passed or pending in many states in the country today, a huge battle rages within our borders and between the classes. Steampunk isn't just about playing dress-up. Frankly, it shouldn't be. Not that I don't love the dressing up, oh, you know I do. But I want more than just pretty things at my events; I want intellectual discourse and for the world to be a better place than it was in the 19th century and than it is now. Our panel on Envisioning a Better Steam Society certainly addressed that desire and many hard-hitting issues on the grounds of gender, class and race. Led fluidly and always capably by the amazing Ay-Leen and Jaymee Goh of Silver Goggles, I've either attended or been a part of many of these panels and each time I learn more and more and come away with a greater appreciation of the complexity and diverse viewpoints of these core issues- ever deepening and always important.
THEN... EVENT #2 WITHIN THE WEEK... BOOK EXPO AMERICA, NYC...
One day to change out the regalia and don my business gear for three days with the Publishing Industry during BEA; Book Expo America. I held court at both the Sourcebooks and the Dorchester booth, as well as a stint at the Romance Writers of America booth, where my books went quickly into excited hands- I was certainly excited to sign them too! It was a thrilling few days, with lots of great meetings and a ton of very special encounters. The great thing about BEA is it encourages a ton of bloggers to come in for the event and I met SO MANY wonderful familiar faces in the blog-o-sphere that I'd yet to meet in person. My Twitter feed was very active with excitement and familiar bloggers got lots of hugs. :) I am PSYCHED to report that the 100 Advanced Reader Copies of Darker Still, a Novel of Magic Most Foul were in high demand and were gone in under 20 minutes during my signing. Thanks EVERYONE who contributed to the buzz- I feel very blessed to be at Sourcebooks with this series. I can't wait to share it with you in November. Thanks so much to the many bloggers who I can call friends who have helped get the word out and have shown keen and enthusiastic interest in this book! I've been really thrilled with the many "Waiting on Wednesday" memes that have featured Darker Still so far - thanks, blogger buddies, you make the sun rise in my sky! :)
THEN... EVENT #3 WITHIN THE WEEK... MARCON, OHIO
And then it was off on a long drive with Stella Price and her awesome fiance, a delightful road-trip to MarCon in Columbus, OH. A hometown run is always nice, and it's far better with fun company. I was thrilled to meet the fun and engaging members of the Airship Archon, they were AWESOME co-panelists with me on topics like Victorian 101 and Steampunk/Neo-Victorianism - how it is and isn't like the 19th century, and I look forward to keeping in touch with them and with more of the Ohio Steampunk and Neo-Victorian community.
Oh, and by the way - I'm A Literary Guest of Honour for the Steampunk Empire Symposium in Cincinnati next year! Huzzah! Very, very excited and honoured. -- So, MarCon provided some time with family and friends from long ago, which was a very nice touch to my maddening week.
Truly, I'm exhausted- but in the good way. I'm out talking passionately about spooky paranormal topics, history and ideas, culture and society, topics big and small throughout geekdom and all with the honour of presenting my own professional work along the way- what could be better than that? Well... writing the next book. And that, I have to do. I'll have a few posts here and there, but it'll be a quiet summer here on the blog and on my various social medias as I attempt to turn in my next two books on time; the last Strangely Beautiful novel and the next in the Magic Most Foul series, and the deadlines close in. So much to do... so little time...
A STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL DEAL:
For Sony eReader customers! The Strangely Beautiful saga has been bundled in a special deal until June 6th only! Bundle includes books 1-3 in the Strangely Beautiful saga, as well as "A Christmas Carroll" novella (Strangely Beautiful 2.5)! Order Here...
All right - now, truly, off to work! Cheers and blessings!