Now that I’m back from Finland and suitably recovered from jetlag to do substantive work, I feel ready to tell you all how it went. Curious? Read on!
One of the primary reasons for me to go to WorldCon this year was to just check out Helsinki, as I rather doubt I’ll have many excuses to get to that corner of the world again. Overall, it was a really nice place – calm, clean, and easy to get around. The convention gave all members a metro pass for the duration of the convention, which was super convenient.
Though I didn’t get a chance to see a lot of the city, what I did see showed me a few things about how much nicer some American cities would be if they made necessary investments into public transit and bike infrastructure. The noise level in Helsinki was surprisingly low, traffic and congestion were minimal, and everybody seemed fairly calm. The quality of life there looks pretty high.
I was worried when going over that I would have trouble communicating, as I was having a hard time picking up any Finnish. Lucky for me, most of the Finns I met spoke enough English for me to get by (and a great many were wholly fluent). Everybody was very nice and I really don’t have much to complain about regarding my stay.
The Convention Center
It became clear really early on that the Finns had vastly underestimated how many people were going to want to go to WorldCon this year. This wasn’t exactly their fault – they based their estimates on previous years’ WorldCons in Europe and expected, based on membership sales, to host about 3500 people. They evidently got about 6500, many of whom purchased in the final week leading up to the kick-off.
Messukeskus, the Helsinki Convention Center, isn’t the biggest convention hall and, with that many extra bodies, it was really crowded. The corridors were kind of narrow, making it hard to get around, and getting into panels was difficult. You really had to line up at least a half-hour ahead of time to make it into any given panel, meaning the best you could hope for was a panel every other hour. The first day I was there (Thursday), I failed to get into most of the panels I wanted to because I hadn’t quite figured this out yet. It was a bit frustrating.
To their credit, the organizers *did* manage to get some extra space for Friday and Saturday panels, but even still it was a mob scene.
My book signing was on Friday afternoon. It wasn’t exactly crowded, but I did manage to sign a few things and even sold a book to a convention goer (I had brought 4 books of my own, since the dealers floor didn’t have any of them – largely my own fault, as I should have been in better communication with my publisher). I also met urban fantasy author Russel Smith (writing under RA Smith), who was sitting next to me. We had a lovely chat.
Of the panels I attended, perhaps the most interesting was the last one – it was on how to write a fight scene and featured Elizabeth Bear, Sebastien de Castell, and a few others whose names are slipping my mind at the moment (sorry! Can’t find my program schedule!). Anyway, there was a lot of back and forth about how detailed a fight scene should be, but the biggest take-away was that fights aren’t interesting or entertaining unless the stakes were clear and the audience is engaged with the characters’ plights, which I agree with and is good to be reminded of sometimes.
I attended a bunch of other panels – too many to go over individually – but one thing I will say is that this particular convention had a much more academic slant than other conventions I’ve been to. Pretty much every panel had one or two academics on the subject present, rather than just a table of writers, editors, and agents. This gave a lot of the panels a more serious tone than usual and meant that a lot of the discussions reached into realms of literary criticism and academic theory rather than concrete craft-building advice or idea brainstorming. The academic side of me found this really interesting (at times), but the writer in me kinda wanted a little bit more practical and concrete writing discussion and less theory.
My own panels went well. The first – “Any Sufficiently Immersive Fantasy is Indistinguishable From Science Fiction” – featured me as moderator, Max Gladstone, Finnish academic Hanna Rikka-Roine, and British academic Farah Mendelsohn. The discussion was basically a genre distinction discussion: does Science Fiction do worldbuilding differently than Fantasy? The basic answer there was “not necessarily” and we talked a bit about what allowed fantasy or science fiction to be what was termed as “immersive.” One interesting point brought up was that science fiction more often had a clearer “what if” driving concept that affected how worlds were built, whereas fantasy often did not. Of course, all of these distinctions were subject to exceptions and variations and we were hasty to point out that rules in literature were made to be broken.
My second panel, on Saturday, was “It Can’t Happen Here.” It was a panel about the horror show of modern politics and how science fiction and fantasy can (or should) work to improve the world around us. It featured Cenk Gokce as moderator, me, Edmond Barret, Evil Ivo, and Cat Sparks. Overall, this panel was a surprising amount of fun (especially considering the subject matter) and, while we did spend a lot of time complaining about politics, we also spent a lot of time talking about how science fiction has the means to potentially reach people, give them ideas, and present problems in such a way that future generations can be inspired to find solutions. That is, of course, if global warming doesn’t kill us all first, I guess. Fun times!
While there, I met with my agent and my editor (good discussions both) and saw a few friends. I also made a bunch of new friends, too, including Russel Smith (my signing buddy), fellow swashbuckling fantasy author Sebastien de Castell, German military scifi author Robert Corvus and his friend Martin Schneider (who runs one of the best scifi conventions in Germany). I met a variety of Finns (Pasi Kallinen, in particular – hello!), Dutch, Irish, Americans, and British – new friends all. I also spent quite a lot of time alone, riding the trams and looking at the city.
I saw Max Gladstone (again) – I seem to see him at every con these days – and I met Joe Abercrombie for the first time (though I doubt he remembers me). I saw George RR Martin everywhere I went, but I didn’t talk to him (he always had a gaggle of fans around him). I met my editor’s wife (whom I gave a copy of
my book), and met a great many other people besides.
Overall, a successful trip to Finland for WorldCon 75! Hopefully I’ll be able to go next year, too. Maybe I’ll see you all in San Jose!
Hi! Did you know I have a book signing this coming Thursday, September 8th? No?
Well, I do! Come to Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA for me to sign copies of No Good Deed and even, perhaps, do a little reading! I’ll be there from 7pm to 9pm. It’s free!
And…and I also desperately want this thing to be at least a modest success so the guys and gals over at Pandemonium continue to like me and the book sells and I’m not sitting there at a table, all alone, while people shuffle past me to buy Magic: The Gathering cards and try not to make eye contact with me because oh GOD would that be awkward.
I’ve done 3 book signings in my career thus far. Two have been successful (yay!), and one has involved me sitting alone behind the Nook displays at a Barnes and Noble mostly by myself, save for a handful of friends and that one guy who talked to me for a good hour and then didn’t buy the book.
So, in brainstorming over how I can improve my chances, I’ve come up with a variety of things that I probably shouldn’t try. Here they are:
- Anyone who enters the store between the designated hours is trapped inside of a labyrinth (complete with minotaur) that they have exactly two hours to escape and win fabulous prizes. The only way to avoid being devoured by the minotaur is to BUY MY BOOK.
- I shall impose a geas on all in attendance. They must either buy my book and recommend it to friends or turn into an attractive topiary garden-version of themselves until I get 50 reviews on Amazon.
- I will bring cookies. The cookies will contain a slow-acting poison. On one of the pages of my book will be the antidote. Or maybe there isn’t any poison. Maybe I’m making that up. Maybe.
Anyone who refuses to buy the book will have to face Trial By Combat. My champion is Ibtihaj Muhammad.
- Two words: Mind Control.
- I grow much more hair, make it more curly, and then wrap my book up in the dust jackets of Patrick Rothfuss’s Name of the Wind. Then we see how long it takes people to catch on.
- I summon up Lucifer and we negotiate (through my agent) for a distribution deal in which every bookstore I sign in has a line of the damned stretching out the door. You know, to drum up a whisper campaign.
I do the whisper campaign Kermit the Frog tries in Muppets Take Manhattan, but instead of in Sardi’s, I do it at every PokeStop in the northeast, and instead of Rizzo and his friends, I use white guys in clever T-shirts and cargo shorts.
- I coax the Kaiju to attack Boston. There is only one Jaeger pilot left, and he is holding stick-fighting auditions in the basement of Pandemonium. It’s the perfect plan.
- Rather than sit there at the table like a chump, I stalk through the book stacks, stealthily slipping signed copies of my book into everybody’s purse, bag, back pocket, or waistband. I whistle the Pink Panther Theme the entire time.
- I slip flyers under the windshield wipers of every car in a mile radius. Written in a hasty scrawl are the words “No Killer Clowns in Pandemonium.” The genius of this, of course, is that it is literally true.
- My cthonic spawn lay their insidious eggs in the water supply of the Boston area. Soon they will hatch, and all will be my slaves. I will use my newfound power to have them buy my book and then force them to use public toilets and outhouses responsibly and cleanly for the rest of their natural lives.
Alas, due to budgetary concerns, I have foregone all of these brilliant strategies. Instead, I merely ask you to show up, bring friends, and give a new(-ish) author a chance.
See you next Thursday!
…which is the song I’m going to be humming in my head the whole time I’m at WorldCon later on this week (I’ll be getting in about midday on Thursday). As I have never been there, I cannot vouch for the sanity of their women nor am I going for the express purpose of acquiring one. I am going because I plan to meet with a bunch of friends, possibly run into my editor (or agent), and basically take it all in. As I didn’t get my act together this year to put in for a panel (mostly because I didn’t think I’d rate one), I am not there in any official capacity. You’ll be able to find me sitting by myself in the back of various rooms, standing alone in corners, and maybe even awkwardly trying to insert myself into conversations with writers I admire and then completely and utterly embarrassing myself so that I will never look at nor speak to that person again.
So, you know, my typical convention experience.
I have high hopes this time around, anyway, that this will be more fun than I typically have at these things. You see, now I know people (well, virtually) who I will be able to link up with and whom, possibly, might not object to my presence or company. That’s the goal, anyway.
In the meantime, I am editing a novel (which is currently a torturous, miserable train wreck of a book), getting ready for the arrival of the fall semester (sigh – why does summer have to end?), and planning for my Book Signing and Reading at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA.
I’ll be there between 7pm and 9pm on Thursday, September 8th. If you’re in the area, come on down, hang out, get a book signed, and check out the Boston area’s best scifi/fantasy book and game store.
Anyway, gotta run–I’ve got to bash my head against this intractable manuscript a bit more. I’ll be back next week with a full recap of the magic of WorldCon!
This is just my friendly reminder telling you to get out there and buy my book in paperback! Yessiree, NO GOOD DEED is now available as a real, actual book so you luddites out there can get your fill of Tyvian and his mischief while smelling the sweet aroma of bleached, tattooed tree carcass. You might even get a paper cut or something.
Not convinced? Well, how about this BLURB:
Cursed with a magic ring that forbids skullduggery, Tyvian Reldamar’s life of crime is sadly behind him. Now reduced to fencing moldy relics and wheedling favors from petty nobility, he’s pretty sure his life can’t get any worse.
That is until he hears that his old nemesis, Myreon Alafarr, has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit and turned to stone in a penitentiary garden. Somebody is trying to get his attention, and that somebody is playing a very high-stakes game that will draw Tyvian and his friends back to the city of his birth and right under the noses of the Defenders he’s been dodging for so long. And that isn’t even the worst part. The worst part is that the person pulling all the strings is none other than the most powerful sorceress in the West: Lyrelle Reldamar.
Tyvian’s own mother.
Okay, okay – maybe you need a little more. For instance, perhaps you want me to scribble my name in your book and say something pithy. Fine. FINE – I will do that for you. On September 8th at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA I will be signing books and even doing a reading. Come on down to meet me in person and allow me to guilt you into purchasing a paperback. Last time was lots of fun so, with any luck, the streak will stay alive!
As for whether there is going to be a third book, well, time will tell. Stay tuned to this space (or follow me on Twitter or Facebook or Goodreads) and you’ll find out!
I have a book signing tomorrow at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, MA (7pm-9pm). Please come!
Associated with such an event, however, is the permanent and paralyzing fear that no one, in fact, will show up. It might seem like, outside of a few friends and family who might pop in, nobody much cares about my book or my career or the fact that the fantasy genre exists at all. All of it, ultimately, must be some kind of consensual delusion on the part of myself, my publisher, and the bookseller.
But I’m not crazy. For one thing, there’s Kameron Hurley’s lovely post on how our work matters. For another, there are reviews of my book, which, but for a singular exception, have all been simply lovely. Also, here’s the best part: I don’t even know all of those people.
So, as an effort to pump myself up AND as an effort to drum up attention for my novel, The Oldest Trick, just now released in paperback, let me collect for you a selection of review highlights.
Habershaw has a deft, sure touch and his characters are delicious. This is a well-crafted, gripping adventure.
~Samantha Murray, Amazon, 5 Stars
The Oldest Trick is a stand-out debut from talented new writer, Auston Habershaw. Intricate and deft world-building, strong characterization, a wry sense of humour and satisfying twists all infuse this novel. Well worth a look.
~Charcoal Chicken, Amazon, 5 Stars
Auston Habershaw’s attention to detail in creating his world of Alandar is nothing short of stunning (care to take a ride on spirit train anyone?).
~Steve Pantazis, Amazon, 5 Stars
Alandar is, quite simply, unlike any other place I’ve visited in fantasy. Habershaw tears down well-worn tropes and builds them into something new and unexpected.
~Daniel J Davis, Amazon, 5 Stars
An epic fantasy rollick in the style of Patrick Rothfuss and Scott Lynch...Richly envisioned without getting bogged down in exposition, and bursting with action.
~John Perich, Amazon, 4 Stars
Alandar, the world of The Oldest Trick, is awesome. It’s dark and fantastical, full of magic and assassins and pickpockets. To me, it’s an amalgamation of anime, grimdark and the top tier of contemporary epic fantasy. The characters are slick, and not without motivations.
~ChappyZach, Amazon, 5 Stars
Auston Habershaw’s The Iron Ring is an explosive debut by a talented new voice in fantasy. It is remarkably well-written, fast-paced, and highly entertaining. The main character evokes images of Scott Lynch’s Locke Lamora, quick-witted, charming, and rogue-like, while the worldbuilding is as deep and complex – yet logical – as any Brandon Sanderson book.
~Nathan Garrison, Goodreads, 4 Stars
I freaking love this series. This is how high-fantasy should be done. Can’t wait for the next one.
~Brooke Johnson, Goodreads, 4 Stars
Compared with The Lies of Locke Lamora or The Name of the Wind, this book should only get 4.35 stars, compared with pretty much every other fantasy novel it’s 4.68 stars, rounded up to a well-deserved five. It’s been some time since I have read a fantasy-trilogy/series? that had me this excited. Most highly recommended.
~Tom Loock, Goodreads, 5 Stars
So there, see? I’m not a lunatic. This book is worth your time. Either the world is crazy, or I’m pretty good at this. So get out there and meet Tyvian Reldamar, scoundrel extraordinaire, as he struggles with his cursed ring and tries to get revenge without being bad.
And if you do, leave a review when you’re finished, okay?
Exciting news, friends and stalkers! Thanks mostly to the Writers of the Future Vol 31 Anthology (to buy your copy, click on the picture on the sidebar), I am now ranked as an Amazon bestselling author in Science Fiction and also in Fantasy.
Pretty wild, no?
Those winners of my little giveaway for a signed copy of The Oldest Trick now, finally, after long ages of waiting, have their books in the mail. If the postal service is smiling upon you, you should have it within the week. Just in time for release day.
Which reminds me…
The Oldest Trick, first installment in my fantasy series, The Saga of the Redeemed, is releasing tomorrow in paperback for the first time. If you too enjoy the smell of a good book and the feel of smooth paper in your hands or just viscerally enjoy folding the corner over of a saved page, then go online and order! Available online wherever books are sold!
BUT I WANT IT IN MY HANDS NOW, HABERSHAW!
Never fear, my irrationally angry friend, this week there are not one, but TWO opportunities to not only acquire the book immediately but also to meet my stunning personage and have the opportunity for me to vandalize your newly bought property!
I am holding two book signings this week.
Thursday, 10/1, 7pm-9pm at Pandemonium Books and Games
Come to this cornerstone of the Boston Scifi and Fantasy world, nestled in the heart of Cambridge’s Central Square (and easily accessible via the T). Come meet me, come let me sign my book for you, and also peruse the many other wonders this hidden gem holds. Here’s the public facebook event, too!
Saturday, 10/3, 5pm-8pm at On the Dot Books
So, a busy week ahead! Please come see me! Amazon says I’m good, dammit – you should believe them!
Release day of the paperback version of The Oldest Trick is fast approaching! On September 29th, my debut novel (err…novels) will be available in physical form for you to annotate, smell, and hurl against the wall in a fit of anger at Tyvian’s latest act of douchebaggery.
To celebrate this momentous occasion, I’ve got a pair of book signings planned that you are all cordially invited to attend.
Signing the First:
Where: Pandemonium Books and Games, 4 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA
When: Thursday, October 1st, 7pm-9pm
Pandemonium is one of my favorite book stores/gaming spots in the Greater Boston area – I’ve been going there for years. Nestled in the heart of Central Square, it’s easily accessible from the T. It should be a really fun time. What’s more, people will be playing my favorite game, Warhammer 40,000, in the basement while the signing is going on! (I realize this might not be a draw for everyone, but, well, that’s too damned bad.)
Signing the Second:
Where: On the Dot Books, 1739 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester MA
When: Saturday, October 3rd, 5pm-8pm
On the Dot is a little independent bookstore in Dorchester that takes a special interest in local authors and, as luck would have it, is attached to a café (which I am renting out). There will be some food (though what and how much is still being hashed out) and probably a cash bar. This is more of a signing/release party kind of thing, and should also be a giant blast. Please come if you can!
About Those Giveaway Winners
So, some months ago now, I had a little signed copy giveaway of my book, as I was under the impression it would be released in paperback in July. Well, then it turned out to be August. Then they pushed it back to September. I’m just here to tell you guys: I haven’t forgotten and, yes, you will get a book. There is a crate of them being shipped to my house as we speak (well…hopefully). I should have them by the 29th at the latest and I’ll be putting them in the mail just about as soon as I have them in hand. Thank you all for your patience.
There you have it! Book signings and events! (Also, don’t forget I’ll be at the ITVFest in Vermont next week! Come on up and have fun in the beautiful Vermont countryside!) Come and meet me! Have me scribble on your book! I’m looking forward to it!
THE IRON RING introduced you to a world of industrialized magic, sorcerous enlightenment, and a seedy underworld of smuggled monsters, alchemical narcotics, and mirror-armored wizard/cops. You met Tyvian Reldamar – criminal mastermind, smuggler, and impeccable dresser – and watched him writhe in frustration as some fool’s idea of an external moral compass in the form of a plain iron ring was bolted to his hand. Struggling through the desolate winter countryside, a street urchin and a vengeful mother gnoll in tow, he tried to evade capture from the Defenders and secure vengeance upon the partner who betrayed him – that wretched, ink-thralled mercenary, Zazlar Hendrieux.
And then the book ended…
Frustrating, I know. If it’s any consolation, I was frustrated too – my publisher wanted it that way – but now, oh boy, do I have good news for you!!
IRON AND BLOOD, Book 2 of the Saga of the Redeemed, is releasing on June 2nd and (checks watch) that’s only four days away, friends!
Yup, in only four (4) days you’ll get to find out what happens!
(WARNING: Mild spoilers below if you haven’t read Book 1)
Will Hool be reunited with her lost pups?
Has Artus survived the night?
Will Myreon manage her escape?
Will Tyvian realize Carlo’s betrayal in time?
What horrible plan does Sahand have cooking, anyway?
Can Tyvian juggle all the threats that surround him to achieve revenge?
Is the ring actually making him a better person AND can he ever get it off?
Well, you folks have only four days to wait until you can find out.
I’m really excited! Are you really excited? I hope so! Finally, after a long, long wait, everybody will finally get to see this story wrapped up as I intended it to be.
Oh, yeah, and there will be third book coming out soon, too.
In Other News
I will be signing books at the Prudential Center Barnes and Nobel tomorrow, Saturday May 30th, from 2-4pm. Most of my family and many of my friends came to the last one, so I’m relying on people I don’t know personally to come and keep me company. I promise I’m nice. And not entirely unattractive. No, seriously. I mean, I could stand to lose a few pounds and I haven’t hit the gym too often recently, but still. I’ll shave, okay? Deodorant, decent shirt, the whole nine yards.
Anyway, see you there, okay? I’ll sign your book. Maybe it will be worth money someday. Or maybe you’ll be able to trade it for something useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario of your choice. You never know, right?
I just received word that I’ll be giving my first public book signing on Saturday, May 9th, in the Barnes and Nobel Prudential from 2pm to 4pm. I will be signing copies of the Writers of the Future Volume 31, which is a fabulous collection of short stories by some very talented people…and also myself. I’d love for all of you to come down, enjoy scenic and historic Boston, and then come get your book signed by me, your new favorite author. It’ll be grand!
See you all there!
Seriously, though, you all have to go. I mean it. If you don’t, I might end up sitting there, all alone at a folding table, stacks of books around me, and people will be walking by me and staring and muttering to each other about who that weirdo is and why he keeps trying to make eye contact and “I thought L Ron Hubbard would be older” and it will be super, super awkward. And then, you know, after I’ve been sitting there for an hour or so and the manager of the bookstore has decided I’m some kind of hack, some well-meaning old lady will walk up and ask if I’m lost or something and I’ll only just manage to strong-arm her into buying a book because she’s got a grandson who likes comic books and yes, yes old woman, this is exactly the same thing and your grandson will love it just please for the love of God let me scribble on this book to validate my existence!
So you see there’s a lot at stake here. I’m counting on you all. I’m holding you all personally responsible for my emotional well-being. Hell, if you don’t want me writing on your book, that’s cool – I can just pretend! I won’t take the cap off my pen and you can sit there and nod and pretend like something awesome is happening (even though you obviously will forget my name, face, and species the moment you turn around) and I, meanwhile, will twiddle my un-pen about on some random page and say something gregarious and encouraging and then, collectively, the two of us will turn away from each other and politely decide to delete this from both of our memories forever, as it lessens us both. Not too much to ask, right? Then you can stroll off and browse the food court, which is pretty snazzy by mall-food-court standards, I must say. It’ll be worth the trip.
What if I dress in costume? I could put a fishbowl on my head and pretend to be a spaceman! And elf ears! What I’m saying is that I really need you there, understand? This is my first time doing this in the wild, okay? Last time it was after an awards show where a whole lot of really awesome people came and applauded for me and my fellow winners and some very impressive writers explained how great we were. So, you know, after they did all that, they kinda had to walk around and let us sign their books, right? I mean, it would be rude to do otherwise, not to mention undercutting all the nice things they just said about us and all that clapping they went through. That’s not quite the same thing as me sitting in a Samsonite chair in a mall bookstore on a Saturday afternoon. Nobody owes me crap there. I won’t even be wearing that killer vest.
Anyway, you get the point: May 9th, Barnes and Nobel Prudential Center, 2pm-4pm. Be there, or be a rhombus.