San Diego Comic-Con

Where I’m Going, Where I’ve Been

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(I should totally apologize to Joyce Carol Oates for that title.)

Hey! It’s been a crazy couple of months, which has made for a lonely little blog. But it’s been the good kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that comes with pictures to share.

Westercon

July started with a bang (ha) with a trip to San Diego for Westercon! While I’ve been to more than a couple comic conventions, I’d never been to a science fiction convention, so I didn’t really know what to expect. All I can say is, wow! What a cool experience! While most of the comic conventions I’ve been to focus on the latest pop culture experiences, Westercon was a convention about ideas. The panel topics varied from climate change to colonies on Mars. It was brainy and scientific and I absolutely loved it. One of the highlights was being on panels with William F. Nolan and Larry Niven. (!!!)  I also made some new author friends: Lisanne Norman, Fred Wiehe, Thomas Voorhies, and Jason V. Brock. Such a cool convention. If you get a chance to go next year (in Portland), definitely check it out.

Here are a couple of pics:

San Diego Comic-Con

Two days after Westercon ended, I turned around and headed back to San Diego for SDCC 2015.

Ahhh, SDCC. This year was magical to say the least. Not only were my books on display at the Random House booth:

But over the course of the con, I met Peter Capaldi, Guillermo del Toro, Tom Hiddleston, Greg Grunberg, and Curtis Armstrong. I also went to a bunch of NerdHQ panels, asked Zachary Levi to smolder, attended both Nerdist podcasts, played both Battlefront and Project Morpheus, and walked my feet off. It was amazing. Here are some pics:

Teen Lit Fest

The weekend after SDCC, I participated in Teen Lit Fest at the Southeast Regional Library in Gilbert, AZ. I was just one of a dozen or so authors appearing at the event. I not only got to see a few of my friends in the AZ author community there (Tom Leveen, Bill Konigsberg, Amy Dominy, Brian Augustyn, Sara Francis-Fujimura, Mark Rude), I also made friends with new authors and chatted with a bunch of teen readers. It was a really fun event, one I hope to be invited back to in the future. Here are a couple of photos:

Payson Book Festival

And this last weekend, I traveled to northern Arizona to participate in the first ever Payson Book Festival! I shared a table with my friend and fellow author, Patricia Grady Cox, and we had a great time spending the day together up in the cool Payson pines. Here’s a pic of us at work:

Payson1

The Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction Authors

This weekend I’ll be attending the Schrödinger Sessions at the Joint Quantum Institute a the University of Maryland. Holy guacamole, I’m getting a crash course in quantum mechanics! If I’m not too busy entangling my brain with quarks, I’m going to post some blog updates. We’ll see. If not, a full recap and pics when I get back.

WHILE YOU WERE GONE Book Launch!

To cap it all off, next Tuesday (August 4), my second novel, While You Were Gone, hits shelves! I’ll be having a couple of events in August to celebrate the launch. Hope to see you there!

Thanks for being on this journey with me!

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San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Recap

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I got back from San Diego Comic-Con Sunday night. Here it is Wednesday morning and I’m just starting to feel human again.

This was an interesting year for me at SDCC. I might even go so far as to call it pivotal. Not to wax philosophical, but I learned a lot about humanity this year. And about myself.

The biggest highlight was Random House giving out advanced copies of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE at their booth. That was a real milestone. I was able to sign a few of those ARCs for people as well, which was a total blast. Blows my mind to think in just a few months my book will actually be out in the world.

Another highlight was the friends I made over the course of just a few days. This year I befriended two awesome guys who write for Bleeding Cool, a stem cell biologist, a geography professor, a producer for Disney, an opera singer, an astrophysicist. Really wonderful and generous people. I even camped out with some of them overnight on a sidewalk to get into Hall H for the Hobbit and Marvel panels. Nothing quite as bonding as sharing sidewalk space for 12+ hours. I really hope to see them again next year.

And then, of course, there were the celebs. I got to see Benedict Cumberbatch, had a very brief and funny encounter with Guillermo del Toro, got a photo taken with Adam Baldwin, met Stampy Longnose (my kids freaked out!). Just awesome all around.

There were a couple of things that happened this year that opened my eyes to the uglier sides of humanity, too, and brought up a lot of conflicting emotions inside. Through these situations I learned I’m stronger than I think. They also made me examine how much I’m willing to allow people to hurt me with their words and actions. My instinct is always to extend kindness in the face of inconsiderate and critical people. I learned some valuable lessons this year on protecting myself, protecting others, knowing where lines are and to stand up for myself when they’ve been crossed. I may blog more about this later. Not sure.

Despite that (or perhaps in light of it), I had a great time at SDCC14. Here is a gallery of photos I took along the way. (The Avengers pics are blurry, sorry. The place was insane. And I may have been shaking.)

Tomorrow I’m off to LA for the SCBWI conference, and I’ll have lots to say about that when I get back. In the meantime, hope you enjoy these photos.

Get your ARC of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE at SDCC!

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NowThatYoureHere_AmyKNichols_smHey everyone! Sorry it’s been soooooooper quiet around here. There has been so much going on, and I have loads to tell you. But it’s going to have to wait, because I’m literally going out the door right now to travel to San Diego for Comic-con!

*kermit flail*

I wanted to tell you really quickly, though, some exciting news:

The Random House booth (#1515) will be passing out free advanced copies of NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE during SDCC!

*double kermit flail*

If you’re at comic-con, be sure to stop by and get your copy. And then, feel free to tweet me at @amyknichols and I will happily sign it for you.

More when I get back!

2013 Rocked! (A review with photos)

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Ahhh, here we are. The end of 2013, and the (completely self-indulgent) reflecting back on the year.

In a word, 2013 rocked.

Some highlights:

January: A whirlwind trip to New York with my hubby. I visited my publisher, took in all the art my brain could hold, saw a couple of Broadway plays, ate delicious food and skated at Rockefeller Center. Awesome.

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February: Another whirlwind trip to Los Angeles to go to the Oscars with my friend Trish. And just a couple of months after the two of us went to the Emmys. We ate at The Ivy, did the celebrity cemetery thing, shopped and, you  know, went to the Oscars. Crazy!

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March: I experienced my first real deadline. It was…intense. Don’t get me wrong: working with my editor, Katherine Harrison, has been nothing but a joy. But I have definitely gained a new understanding and appreciation for the energy and discipline it takes to revise a novel, and to do so by a specified date. I work best under deadlines (I think), but man do I need a nap afterward.

April: A weekend trip to Sedona with friends, including a friend who traveled all the way from England! Sedona is beautiful and we had a weekend full of laughter and food and fun.

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May: Phoenix Comicon!! I made my first official author appearance, participating in a panel on publishing. It was so fun! And Phoenix Comicon is just awesome. If you ever get a chance to go, go! Every year gets better and this coming year is no exception.

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June: My Parking Lot Confessional cohorts Stephen and Amy and I met Neil Gaiman!!

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July: San Diego Comicon with my friend Trish. Our first time attending. It was mind-blowing. I don’t know that any future SDCC visits will be able to top it. But we’ll see what happens in 2014!

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August: I traveled to Los Angeles to hang out with friends at the LA SCBWI conference. Always a blast. Every kidlit writer should attend an SCBWI conference at least once. This year was particularly poignant, as I got to meet up with other Adams Lit clients. Yay!

September: My first experience with copyedits. Wow. I’d heard that copyedits were trying, but I had no idea. My hat is off to copyeditors everywhere. You have a unique gift. I have a new appreciation for sentence structure and grammar now. Going through copyedits took my writing to the next level, for sure. September definitely grew me as a writer.

October: A much-needed vacation, driving through Colorado during the changing of the leaves. Ahhh, this trip did my spirit good.

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November: This month was full of fun events. I met Dan Simmons, and Preston & Child at The Poisoned Pen. My family also celebrated the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, seeing The Day of the Doctor in 3D at the cinema. So cool!

December: Just before Christmas, I submitted the manuscript for my second book to my editor. Then I indulged in all kinds of Christmas celebration, including building a TARDIS with my husband. I don’t think the neighbors know what it is, but that’s OK. In our opinion, we definitely have the coolest Christmas decorations on the block.

tardis

And now, it’s the last day of 2013. Looking back, this year just blows my mind. I only hit the highlights here, but in between all of these events were a day-to-day life filled with all the things I love: my husband, my kids, my friends, my writing. Of course there were less-stellar times as well, but overall the good far outweighs the bad. I am grateful. I am blessed.

2014 should be an interesting year. In 2014, my first book, Now That You’re Here, will be published! Stay tuned for lots of news and fun and giveaways and events.

In the meantime, though, thank you for reading, thank you for putting up with this self-indulgence. Here’s a toast to 2013: a wonderful, whirlwind of a year! And here’s to 2014 and beyond. May we all experience joy and peace and love beyond measure.

Happy New Year!

San Diego Comic-Com, Sunday

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Blissfully exhausted, Trish and I traipsed into Sunday, the final day of San Diego Comic-Con 2013.

We had chosen not to camp out in the Hall H line to see the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary panel. We’d heard there had been people lined up since early Saturday afternoon. Ugh! Had we decided line up, we wouldn’t have been able to attend the Nerdist Podcast with Matt Smith the night before. So we felt okay with our choice.

Still, there was a Doctor Who autograph lottery Sunday morning and we thought, Why not try? So we lined up at 6am for our shot. Made some friends with others in line and then when the time came, tried for a signing ticket.

The autograph lottery lines are a special kind of torture. Lining up for hours and then climbing numerous sets of stairs for a chance to stand in a smaller line where you get to reach into a bag in hopes of getting a ticket with a stamp on the back. It really is a gamble. Our first time through, we didn’t win. Our second time through, they were out of tickets. Sigh. Ah well. At least now we knew what the lottery was like. The experience made us all the more happier we’d been able to go the to Nerdist Poscast the night before. (Thanks, Star Dot Geek, for the ticket!)

We briefly considered bribing people for their bathroom passes in Hall H so we could slip into the Doctor Who panel, but instead we were distracted by John Barrowman. Had to stop for a hello and a photo. We also stopped by the Random House aisle, where I met some of the marketing team who will be working on the marketing plan for my books. SO exciting! They mentioned maybe me doing ARC signings at next year’s con. Here’s hoping!

Next we went upstairs and enjoyed the X-Men comics panel (one of the panelists was Paul Cornell!!) and Ben 10 panel, before scoring perfect seats for the Spotlight on Neil Gaiman panel.

I feel quite spoiled, getting to see Neil Gaiman twice in less than a month. And this time it was hosted by Jonathan Ross!

The panel was brilliant. Very relaxed and fun. Neil and Jonathan talked about everything from Neil’s hair to movie plans that Neil isn’t allowed to say anything about. One of the best panels we saw during the entire con.

After, we rushed over to the Sails Pavilion in hopes of catching the tail ends of a couple of author autograph sessions. SM Wheeler signed the ARC of Sea Change I’d won during the Tor panel at Phoenix Comicon. Very cool. And then we ran over to Patrick Rothfuss’ table.

They’d capped the line and wouldn’t let me in. I was sad. Very sad. I watched him signing books, and thought very sad thoughts. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Trish convinced the young guy guarding the line to let me in! Yay, Trish!! Thank you!!

I had a really wonderful chat with Patrick. He is a very kind and generous soul. I am so grateful for the chance to connect with him. Really meaningful moment. Thank you, Patrick.

We left the Sails Pavilion in a total Con fog, our geeky hearts full of joy. It had started raining, but that didn’t dampen our spirits at all. We boarded the trolley for Old Town and took a final pic of the Convention Center in all its glory.

We decided to have one last adventure to cap off the weekend, and did a ghost walk of Old Town San Diego. What a blast! We got to see the sights at night and learn the history of our hotel and surrounding area.

The morning after our first real night at the Cosmopolitan (Friday night), Trish and I had commented how noisy the night had been, how we’d heard footsteps outside our door. We didn’t think anything of it, though, until our ghost tour guide asked us if we’d heard them. We said yes and that we’d assumed it was our neighbors (though we always got home very late, around 2am) and the hotel was quiet. The guide said next time we heard the footsteps to look outside our door, there’d be no one there. Eeeeek.

Monday morning, we enjoyed scones on our porch outside our room, got in a taxi for the airport and said goodbye to another amazing adventurous weekend.

Thank you, San Diego Comic-Con for an incredible time. We’ll see you again next year!