ComicPalooza in Houston

Rebecca and I just came home from our weekend as author guests at the Comicpalooza show in Houston.  We had an excellent table and looked forward to meeting a lot of fans.

We arrived Thursday evening, then met up with local friend and fan Aryn Scheuermann who delivered the six boxes of books we had shipped to her house, which we would be selling during the show.  We met inside the George R Brown Convention Center, found our table location, then started unpacking (finding our printed tablecloths at the very bottom of the very last box, of course).  Working together, it didn’t take much time to set up the booth; we were joined by Kathryn Elizabeth Graham and her baby Charlie (a micro-fan) to finish all the details—then we went out to dinner at Theo’s, a Greek restaurant that was highly (and deservedly) recommended by Katie Graham.

The gang at setup: Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson, Katie Graham (and Charlie), Aryn Scheuermann

Friday morning we met for breakfast with one of our Superstars students, John Payne, who wrote the novelization for an upcoming fantasy film, The Crown and the Dragon, which WordFire Press will be publishing.  Then it was off to start the day on the convention floor. Alan Dean Foster dropped by our table (and stayed for an hour talking shop), then we went to a panel about Star Wars novels, back to the show floor to meet more fans and sell more books until the end of the day. I had lunch in the green room with Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Frazer Hines (Dr. Who’s companion Jamie McCrimmon), both of whom I have known for some time.

with Peter Mayhew and Frazer Hines

Frazer invited us to join him and the gang for dinner at Pappas, a well-loved local Houston barbecue joint. We met in the lobby and were joined by Dr. Who writer Gary Russell and—much to my delight—actor Ian McNiece, who had played Baron Harkonnen in the Sci-Fi Channel DUNE and CHILDREN OF DUNE miniseries (among countless other well-known roles). So, we had a great carnivorous feast with the Baron himself, ribs, brisket, chicken, sausages, and all the trimmings. Then later, nice relaxing at the con’s Hospitality Suite (with some good local-brew IPA).

with Ian McNiece, the Baron Harkonnen himself

Saturday was the big day for the con, and we got on the floor before opening. I had a spotlight panel at 10AM, but people were still getting their tickets and filing through the doors…and the panel rooms were far away and hard to find. I didn’t expect much of a crowd, but the ballroom was full after a few minutes.  I was interviewed about worldbuilding, writing in media universes, my Dan Shamble series, and especially about Clockwork Angels.

At the table we were selling books like crazy, and I knew we were in trouble when we sold out of our entire inventory of Clockwork Angels by 11AM in Saturday.  Fortunately, I had a large group of “book babes” to help out at the table—and they all really helped out.  No wonder people kept stopping at our table.

An embarrassment of Book Babes: Mara’s Mom, Mara-Belle d’Lacur, Kevin J. Anderson (*not* a book babe), Rebecca Moesta, Keisha McDaniel, Aryn Scheuermann

Although Frazer Hines wore a kilt (and cowboy boots) that did not qualify him to become a Book Babe.

We had a couple of signings with Alan Dean Foster at Houston bookseller Murder by the Book, then back to our own table.  Dinner that night was with a large gang at Morton’s Steak House—Houston seems to have a great deal of good food in large quantities.  (Ian McNiece quipped, “I like Houston. Here, I don’t even seem particularly fat!”)

The gang at Morton’s Steak House for dinner.

Frazer Hines and Ian McNiece.

Sunday was another busy day at the table—and we were rapidly running out of books!  Sold out of Clockwork Angels, sold out of Death Warmed Over, sold out of Hair Raising, sold out of Captain Nemo, sold out of Martian War, sold out of all but two Dune titles, sold out of Veiled Alliances, sold out of some Seven Suns books.  (Not that I’m complaining.)  And Rebecca discovered that if she wore a nice, tight leather corset that it really helped her back pain. I heartily endorsed her efforts to feel better.

We had an amazing time, met a lot of fans, and went home with less than one box of books (out of the six we had shipped). This is an excellent con, and we hope to go back again.