Consider this a time-delayed on-site blog. All the hopes and plans for tweeting and blogging “during a few spare moments in the schedule” went out the window within the first hour after arriving in San Diego at 9:30 AM on Wednesday.
DAY 1: Rebecca and I reached our hotel and checked in — the new Hilton connected to one end of the Convention Center (but still blocks…or maybe miles..away from the main halls). HarperCollins had sent me two cases of the paperback LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON to hand out to the first 90 people for my Friday spotlight panel, and I retrieved them from the shipping dept.
Tim and Diane had driven from Colorado the previous two days with an SUV full of books, shirts, and other promo materials and they were arriving within an hour or so. Shawn Gordon from ProgRock Records was also driving down from LA with boxes of CDs. Byron Merritt came from Monterey with other Dune promo items, and I was trying to rally badges for everyone and coordinate meeting up with NO convenient parking or unloading areas, and armies of contract security guards wearing red shirts (I doubt they understood the irony) challenging you every time your badge flipped over. Fortunately, we conscripted two dedicated and hard-working DUNE fans, Phil and Ed, to help with the unloading and schlepping of boxes. I had lost my sunglasses in the shuffle, and Ed promptly produced a spare pair.
Highlander Films and our friend Len McLeod had graciously given us display space on their table on the main show floor, and Comic Con also provided two adjacent tables in Artists Alley for Brian Herbert and me. We all worked frantically to get the tables and booth set up in time for the much-anticipated Preview Night (outside the hall, people had camped out in tents, lawn chairs, and sun umbrellas for the entire previous day). Leaving Tim and Diane to manage the table for Preview Night, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Shawn Gordon, Rebecca, and I set off for our evening book and CD release party at the Stone Brewery in Escondido, 30 miles away.
The Stone Brewery is an amazing place and about ten times larger than I had imagined, with a sprawling patio area, large indoor restaurant, beautifully landscaped gardens, as well as the brewery area itself. We had a section of the patio dedicated to our party, and a group of people arrived early for the VIP tour of the brewery (and the tasting room), hosted by DUNE fan Bryon Wischstadt, who had met Brian Herbert and me at our PAUL OF DUNE San Diego signing last year.
Gathering for the brewery tour at Stone Brewery
It’s not ready yet.
Which way to the tasting room?
Members of Roswell Six arrived for the tour and dinner — Mike Alvarez (cello), Kurt Barabas (bass), Michael Sadler (vocals), as well as Shawn, Rebecca, and me. We gave a talk, played the “Terra Incognita” CD over the brewery sound system, and signed books, posters, and CDs for the next several hours. We finally got back to our Convention Center hotel a little before midnight, ready for our next day’s duties at the con.
Setting up for the signing: Michael Sadler, Rebecca, and Kurt Barabas
Shawn Gordon, Rebecca, and Kevin at the signing table
Michael Sadler, Mike Alvarez, Kurt Barabas, and our Stone Brewery host, Bryon Wischstadt
DAY 2: The line at the Starbucks in the hotel could have been measured in kilometers. I left Rebecca in the room to finish getting ready while I went to get us coffee. Outside the convention center, a literal sea of people covered every open speck of ground (I heard later that some of the lines were up to 4 hours long in order to see sneak previews of Iron Man 2 and Twilight stars). I don’t think Brian had ever seen anything like this before.
It’s like Woodstock for geeks
Reb and I trooped over to the convention center and fought the crowds to make it to our tables. I divided my time between our table at Highlander Films and the Artists Alley table. I had a panel in one of the main ballrooms, and then a signing afterward with fellow authors and panelists Holly Black, SJ Day, Brom, Vicki Petterson, and Richard Kadrey. As I was autographing, the fan line came forward, some people excited about the Dune books, other excited about the Star Wars books, others had come for my X-Files novels, others for Batman/Superman or Seven Suns or Terra Incognita/Roswell Six. Next to me, SJ Day laughed and said, “How many different sets of groupies do you have?” Brian also had a profile panel and an autographing session. That night we went to dinner with our friends Cherie and Mary (my typist) at the Kansas City Barbecue (where the sleazy bar scene in TOP GUN was filmed).
To be continued…