So maybe you heard, I went to San Diego Comic Con. It was awesome.

The exhibition floor statues! The cosplay! The enthusiasm for everything I love!

But before I went, I was nervous. Really nervous. I was sure this event was going to maul me like a stampede of buffalos.

After all, this is an event known for mayhem, overwhelm and round-the-clock excitement. And I'm ... an extreme introvert.

Plus, I love a lot of geeky things, but am I geeky enough? In the week before the event, I developed an irrational fear of being pulled aside and quizzed by the geek police.

But it was great. I hope to go again sometime. And I learned a lot about how to get the most from the event. Thought I'd share a few tips:

  1. Forget Hall H

    In my opinion, don't throw your dedcation behind hitting Hall H your first time at Comic Con. Not only is that your entire day, it's also your day before. I definitely want to hit Hall H sometime, but first I wanted to get the lay of the land, and be free to chase something on a whim. Besides, I didn't bring my camping gear. (Yes that's right. Hall H requires camping.)

    Think of it this way: The major highlights of Hall H end up online. But that niche comics creator you worship? Her panel probably won't be.

  2. Walk the Gaslamp District

    Plan on some time to just people watch along this main strip directly across from the Conference Center. It's crowded and crazy, but it's amazing! Just like Times Square, but without the creepy off-brand Elmos.

  3. Go with what you love

    For all my fear of not having enough geek cred, several of my most exciting sessions had a ton of open seating. Talking about my heroes got blank stares from some of the other fans I talked to. You know what you love, so go with it. Forget FOMO--it doesn't matter if everyone else is in line for something "big" in the other wing.

  4. Bring snacks

    The food at Comic Con was fine, but at an event like this, every day is a big day. You'll save yourself a lot of money, time and likely some stomach cramps if you bring some of your own (healthier) munchies. I ate a huge breakfast at my hotel, grabbed lunch at Comic Con, snacked all day, and then caught a late dinner out in the city each night.

  5. Venture out

    Speaking of dinner in the city, I strongly recommend planning a little extra time to explore the area. San Diego's a cool city! The hubs and I were hoping to see La Jolla, but weren't able to find the time.

  6. Hit a party

    Typically, I opt out of evening activities at events like this as a critical survival measure. But the parties at Comic Con are designed to blow minds, and they truly deliver. I some some absolutely epic pictures from SyFy's incredible bash at the Children's Museum, and the Rave of Thrones sounded amazing too. I managed to weasle my way into a WETA indstury party. My head almost exploded, being so close to the business.

  7. Rest

    Sleep and downtime matter, especially for you introverts out there. When there is always something that sounds killer going on, at some point, you just have to listen to your body and say enough. Know when you're better off crashing, so you can enjoy the next day of events as much as the day before.

Have you been to San Diego Comic Con? Share your own tips in the comments!

 

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I cosplayed! 10 points if you tell me who I am in the comments.

So I went to San Diego Comic Con, and I lived to tell the tale.

What did I bring back with me? A ton of pictures, a few fantastic stories, exciting new professional connections, new books, and a random collection of blurbs to share about what it was like.

SDCC is every bit as massive and overwhelming as the media buzz led me to expect. Madness! On every corner! It was every bit as amazing as I expected, and I hope to go back again sometime.

I hope to go back again in a few years. But for now, here are a few of my biggest highlights from my SDCC 2017 experience:

1. Talking to the other Con-goers

You may have picked up by now that I'm no extrovert. As a rule, I prefer as few peopel as possible. And to talk to those people as little as possible. I'm not shy. I just prefer to be in my own head.

But San Diego Comic Con, much like a writers conference, was one of those special places where odds are, almost anyone you bump itno is my type of people. 

More than once random small talk with someone next to me in line turned into an incredible conversation about the creative industry and craft, and I got to connect with a few awesome people family and friends have wanted me to meet for years. I also quizzed a few author vendors about the value of the con and buying booth space, and they were extremely willing and helpful.

2. That time I crashed an invite-only industry party.

Look. It was an accident. I was told to meet a person at a party, and it happened to be that this was an invite-only industry party. So I was invited, I just, you know, on the list.

Also I was told said party was on the ninth floor. So when I came in and saw the big flashy invite-only, check-in-at-the-door all-dressed-up party table for the third floor, I walked right past it, stepped onto the elevator and pressed 9, thank you very much.

Only when it became clear that there was definitely NO PARTY on the ninth floor did I then go to the third. And what can I say, the back door security was lax. The hubs and I looked at each other, made a silent pact to look like we belonged. Then we walked right past the security guard with a smile and ordered our complimentary movie-themed cocktail.

And not a single person asked us where our wrist bands were all night.

Movie models in the Exhibition Room

3. The Exhibition Hall: Just being in it. 

The spectacle that is the San Diego Comic Con Exhibition Hall cannot be overstated. I could have gotten lost in there, between the life-size statues of DC and Marvel superheroes and tables upon tables of books, for days. Case in point, I did in fact, actually, get lost at one point, and suddenly discovered I was going in the exact opposite direction than I thought. 

Watch your wallet in there--it has a tendency to lighten itself as you acquire one amazing discovery after another.

Rumor has it there was also an It school bus ride in there somewhere, too, but I never found it.

4. My creative heroes, within arm's reach.

Robert Kirkman. Karen Berger. Dave Gibbons. Gail Simone. These and many other of my creative heroes (authors, editors, illustrators, special effects masters) were all there. And I was utterly starstruck.

A side effect of geeking out over these geniuses was that most other Con-goers would give me blank stares. (To be fair, I did opt out of the Viking funeral, where a real viking ship was light on fire in the harbour, to go to a panel about Ray Bradbury.)

Fringe oddball, or out-geeking the geeks? I'm going with the latter...it's all about spin, right?

5. The Gaslamp District. That is all. 

After walking down the main strip of the Gaslamp District a couple times, I am forever convinced you could simply walk up and down this strip, straight across from the Convention Center, for the entire Con, and feel you got the full experience.

It was like Time Square, except without the creepy Elmo knockoffs. Just the most incredible cosplay you'll ever see, including a group of street-partying Storm Troopers and a Jesus heckling religious protesters with a sign that said, "Don't listen to these pricks."

Black Spider in the Gaslamp District and a child running away when he looked at him)

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of my thoughts coming out of my first San Diego Comic Con! Another post or two (or maybe even three if I get ambitious) are still to come as I continue to distill the experience into complete thoughts.

Got questions about San Diego Comic Con? Throw them in the comments below!

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Another month, another awesome opportunity for you to discover a new favorite speculative fiction author with a promotional giveaway.

That's just how we roll around here.

My Royal Palm Literaray Award-nominated novella Rain is up for grabs, and so are 60+ other awesome science fiction and fantasy reads.

Go ahead, treat yo' self.

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Comic-Con is here! Comic-Con is here! It's like Christmas, but the religion is your favorite fandom. And it's heeeeeeere.

I write this from the airport as I wait to be transported to San Diego, and not going to lie, I'm not sure if I'm more excited or intimidated. I've tried to get into San Diego Comic-Con for years, and now that I'm finally on my way, I hardly know what to do with myself.

Except cosplay. Obviously, when one Comic-Cons, one cosplays. (See a teaser of what I'm cosplaying as here.)

Beyond that, it's about all I can do to read up every newbie and 2017 guide, and hope that this event does not plow right over me and flatten me into the cement.

If you want to follow along from home (or are similarly cramming in preparation, like I am), here are the best resources I've found so far:

San Diego Comic Con: Your Complete Guide, Rolling Stone

A great look at the top anticipated highlights, broken down my franchise.

These Panels Will Bring Fans to Their Feet at SDCC 2017, Forbes

This article breaks down the major events by category, rather than company. Quite helpful. (And yes, Hall H is a category.)

Comic-Con 2017: You Don't Need a Badge for These 12 Fun Events, San Diego Tribune

If you want to hang out but couldn't snag a pass, this is the list for you.

Your Complete Guide to Comic-Con 2017, SDCC Blog

The official event's guide, with more links than you will ever be able to read.

Comic-Con 2017: 10 Things to Watch, San Diego Tribune

The hottest film and TV teasers at the show. Tough choices were made, but someone had to do it.

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To say that  Greece had some of the most breathtaking, stop-walking-and-stare moments of my life would just be silly, because Greece is well known for this trait. (Just check Pinterest.)

But I have to say it, because I may never get over it--not just how beautiful scenes caught me off guard, but how frequently it happened. We're talking every few steps.

Nothing makes me relax like being near water. Water this incredilby blue and clear was awe-inspiring. If you ask me, as a writer, if you're not taking time to clear your mind and seek out inspiration, you're simply not doing your job.

From that perspective, I worked so friggin' hard on this trip, you guys. So. Hard.

So for today's Greek Week post, I wanted to share a few of those moments, even if my amateur no-filters photography can't come close to doing it justice. Enjoy!

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So! If you get my newsletter or follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have heard. I went to Greece.

Greek mythology was the first mythology I learned, and I fell in love right away. The stories were just so strange, and the monsters were incredible. They blew open my imagination in new directions, and it plays a big role in how I write.

So a trip to Greece was high on my travel wish list. (And hey, who doesn't love a good beach?)

The trip was incredible! To share it with you, I'm posting pictures of my favorite moments all week.

Let's start with some classics--top ruins from Athens.

Temple of Zeus

Or at least, what's left of the Temple of Zeus. So many of the buildings from ancient times are still in incredible shape, it can start to feel like it's nothing special. I loved the Temple of Zeus because its partially-standing columns are a beautiful reminder of what an incredible thing it is that anything is left standing at all, thousands of years later.

The Carytids

Slipped right in with the rest of the majesty (and hoards of tourists) in the Acropolis, these four lady sculptures-turned-columns blew me away. There's ionic, doric, and corinthian ... and then there's this. Who are these ladies? My mind craves a story to go with them.

Socrates's Jail

This is where the actual Socrates was brought and jailed before his execution. A little morbid, I guess, but standing on that same ground had power about it. The philosopher has become just a big, vague concept to me. Standing at a place he was known to have been, too, made him incredibly real.

Hope you enjoyed these glimpses into my trip. More to come!

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Next week, I have a short story coming out as part of a collective called The Alvarium Experiment, around the theme of Masters Revisited. 

For the collection, each author is taking a classic work of fiction and putting a speculative fiction twist on it. I chose Jane Eyre.

Jane finally found her happily ever after. But can she remain content as the ghost of Mr. Rochester's first wife haunts her? In this reimagining of Jane Eyre, Bertha has a dark secret she must share, leaving Jane to choose between her independent mind and her soul's yearning for love.

Doesn't this cover just give you chills? The Alvarium Experiment's Charles Cornell really captured the story's tone perfectly.

Jane Eyre is more than a story to me. It's a mirror. Every time I pick it up, my assessment of Jane as a character, her life's events, and her unusual relationship with Mr. Rochester leaves me unsettled in a different way than the time before. Thus, reading about Jane also tells me how much I have changed since the last time.

Which made it all the more fun to play with for this story. What do you think of Jane Eyre?

More details to come as the release nears!

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Next week, I hop on a plane to the other coast and hit up San Diego Comic Con. For the first time ever. Hello, yes, long time fan, first time attendee.

I’ve heard the tales of those who have traversed to this grand event before me. I’ve done the roundups and tracked the round-the-clock coverage of the madhouse of sneak peeks and teaser promos and best panel moments. Even from afar, this event is overwhelming.

So please, give me your geek wisdom:

  • How does one get the most from SDCC?
  • How does one take care of oneself and avoid burnout?
  • What do you wish you’d known before going to your first SDCC?
  • And I’d especially love any tips you’ve got on attending as a Creative Professional—how do I get the most from it?

Share your wisdom! Enter below in the comments.

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With a two-week trek through Greece the centerpiece of my month, I've got mythology on my brain this month. Mythology has always captured my imagination in a unique way. Something about those naughty, all-powerful gods and those incredible, larger-than-life monsters.

Greek mythology is the set of mythical stories I learned earliest in life, and it has a special place within my imagination (if you want proof, just read Mud). In fact, it was a major driver behind my desire to go to Greece in the first place.

I promise, pictures and stories from my actual trip are coming very soon! But in the meantime, behold this list of my very favorite contemporary novels inspired by Greek mythology, over at Book Riot.

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Hey readers. Hope your summer is off to a great start. I have big plans for travel and lounging by the pool--how about you?

What do all my summer activities have in common? They require a huge pile of books to read.

If you're looking to pad your TBR in prep for summer, I've got just the thing. I've teamed up with several other sci-fi/fantasy authors, and we're all giving away a book for free, including my Third Realm Wars novella, Rain.

Get free sci-fi & fantasy books here

And hey, real friends tell friends about giveaways--why not share Rain and more with your friends? Tweet this.
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