The lovely Mrs. Correia and I spent most of the last week in NYC. She said I was a lot funner to travel with having just finished a book and not having started the next one, than when I’m actively working on one, because then I feel guilty the whole time like I should be working. Between that and the good company, this was the best trip I’ve had there.
We spent a few days sight seeing. Jim Minz is one of my editors and he used to live in NYC. Jim makes a really good tour guide, and every night he took us someplace awesome for dinner. I’m an adventurous eater. I’ve already proven that if some culture somewhere considers it food, I’ll try it, when I go somewhere I like to eat what the locals eat (who the hell travels far away and eats at TGI Fridays?) and nowhere has better food than New York. Over the week I ate goose liver (twice, they sure do like it on Iron Chef, but not my thing), rabbit (first one I didn’t shoot myself, come to think of it), duck (same), octopus (never actually shot an octopus), sea bass, scallops, clams, squid, eel, oysters, swordfish, lots of pizza, and a sea urchin. As a man with an iron stomach who will eat anything, I’m happy to say that my earlier encounters and opinions formed about sea urchin were accurate, and even in one of the best sushi places in the foodiest city in the world, I’m happy to not eat any more of that mooshy beast. However, the restaurant? Best sushi I’ve had in my life, and I’m a sushi fan. Holy moly. That was good.
This was like my third or fourth time in NYC, but it was my wife’s first. However since she grew up right next to San Francisco and I’m a country bumpkin, she does a whole lot better in big cities than I do. Truthfully, I don’t like crowds. I don’t like people bumping into me or touching me. So I’m good in Manhattan for a few days, and then I need to get back home, where the entire island of Manhattan could fit inside a single ranch, but we only have 10,000 people. Plus, here on Yard Moose Mountain we don’t have a single stop light in our entire county, In four years, I can count the number of sirens or horn honks I’ve heard on my fingers. In New York, the honking NEVER STOPS.
And sorry, New Yorkers, Central Park is not “getting back to nature” nor is it “a quiet and contemplative place”. My wife wanted to go for a run in Central Park and one of the locals assured me, I kid you not “Oh, don’t worry, Central Park is perfectly safe… Just don’t go there after dark, because you’ll get murdered.”
At the actual con I was swamped the whole time. Baen decided to send a bunch of books for me to give away, and when Toni says “a bunch” she’s talking tons of books. I gave out and signed over a thousand copies of Hard Magic and Monster Hunter International and talked for a bit with almost every one of those people who got one of the freebies. Luckily New Yorkers aren’t vigorous hand shakers like at SLC ComicCon, so I can still feel my right hand.
It is always fun to meet fans, and as usual my fans were awesome.
Chuck Gannon and Ryk Spoor were the other Baen authors there, but they didn’t get to stay as long. Chuck and I got really good at telling people about the other guy’s books, because really, after you’ve told a complete stranger the plot synopsis of your novel 200 times, it is good to tell them somebody else’s plot synopsis for a while.
I ran into a bunch of people I know. The place is lousy with authors.
I’ve plugged Jonathan Maberry’s work on here before, you guys know I’m a fan, and we’re even writing a team up Franks & Ledger story for an anthology next year, but I’d only met him in person once, and that was five years ago. Like the day before flying out I’d been having an email conversation with another author, Chuck Dixon, who I have never actually met in person. However, Chuck’s picture, he’s a stocky guy with a beard. So when Jonathan walked up to the booth and said Hi Larry, my brain filled in the blank and I called him Chuck Dixon. Jonathan stood there for a moment, confused, waiting for the punchline while I slowly realized I screwed up.
Thankfully, Maberry is a stud, understands the author brain damage that sets in at cons after you’ve already talked to hundreds of people. Plus, he pointed out that he’s taller than Chuck, so I will file that away for future reference. Don’t feel bad Chuck and Jonathan, when I get mistaken for someone else, it is usually this guy, and it is usually at a TSA checkpoint.
Then I ran into somebody else. Internet gun nuts should recognize.
I’ve known Marko Kloos for something like fifteen years now, but this was actually the first time we’ve ever met in person. We were both moderators on The High Road way back when. Marko’s career has really taken off, he’s one of the bestselling authors in sci-fi right now, and we both have houses with cool names. So of course, what happens when you get two libertarian, anti-authoritarian, gun nut, bestselling authors together in a place where we’re not allowed to pack heat or shoot high powered rifles off the porch? We went on a crime spree, obviously.
No. I kid you not. Since this is New York, I bet me and Marko stealing meatballs from the Javit’s Center was like sixteen felonies, so I will speak of it no more. But we were justified. Rage against the machine! Fight the power! Stick it to the man! (or if you’re going to have a cash only line in the food court that is like 40 minutes long, put up a damned sign!)
Meanwhile, because New York is Templar territory, the lovely Mrs. Correia was taking odd jobs from random pigeon coops, and leaving a trail of bodies in her wake.
The wrist blades are hot.
I had a great trip, but after a few days of the big city I’m just ready to go back to Yard Moose Mountain. (this readiness to go home is much stronger when I’m on the subway for some reason… Oh, hey, look at all those giant rats scampering along the tracks) Compared to New York, Utah is quiet, clean, and efficient. Basically, Utah is America’s Germany. So of course, because I said that at some point while remarking on the never ending chaos that is New York, fate decided to laugh at me when I got home.
After riding a train to Newark, and then riding a monorail squished against a sweaty Italian man, and then a five hour flight to get home, my brain was mush. So then we took the shuttle to the giant economy parking lot where we’d left our car. This is a very big parking lot, and we are very tired, but since I’m an experienced traveler, I always take a picture of the sign when I park here, no problem. I was looking for F4…
Only because I had bragged to some New Yorkers how efficient Utah was in comparison, there was no F4, and the Salt Lake Airport decided to go ahead and change all of the signs in their 500 acre parking lot while we were gone, just to mess with us. You’d think they’d warn people riding the shuttle, or maybe put up a sign, or a flyer, or something, but nope. It was kind of sad, watching hundreds of confused, jet lagged travelers dragging their roller bags through the construction zones, hopelessly lost, until they perished in the dust. Half an hour later we found our car (I love the little key fobs that make your horn honk) and drove home.
This was my 13th and final convention for the year. I do believe I am now done until LTUE in February. As much fun as that was, I will never do 13 conventions in a year again.