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Okay, here we go.

I have heard epic tales of the wonderment that is San Diego Comic-Con International for years. I always thought maybe someday I would like to go just to experience it first-hand but I didn’t think I’d actually be Invited and Official and it’s still hard to believe I was there.

I flew out on Wednesday and had the longest flight ever, which probably felt even longer because I haven’t been on a plane in years. I am forever grateful to my agent for suggesting noise-canceling headphones which are the greatest thing ever. I also managed to have brilliant timing weather-wise, as I missed an atrocious heatwave in Boston and the weather in San Diego was lovely.

Wednesday night I tried to stay awake long enough to meet my publicist for a drink and failed.

Thursday morning started bright and early and dropped me right into the surreality of press conference land, it is a very odd thing to be suddenly faced with a room full of reporters and cameras and flashbulbs and questions, especially once you’re finished and back in the green room again and the cast of Twilight is sitting where you were sitting ten minutes earlier.

Then there was a whirlwind of interviews (including one for this piece in today’s USA Today) and the lovely woman who interviewed me for Sirius radio had a fantastic octopus necklace and when I commented on it she told me it was cast from an actual piece of calamari, which I found absolutely delightful.

(Speaking of jewelry, I got a lot of comments on mine. The keys I was wearing on Thursday were from Star of the East and the pearls on Friday were from my beloved Savage Salvage.)

After a bit of running around trying to get my Comic-Con badge I actually got to see the floor, which was bigger and louder and crazier than I’d expected, and I had expected fairly high levels of big, loud & crazy. Wandered around a little bit just to get a taste and tried not to go into sensory overload. There’s just so much to look at it’s difficult to focus.

That afternoon I signed posters in the Summit booth, which is both the first time I have signed next to t-shirt pressing machines and also the first time I signed with a DJ doing running commentary about my signing (Thanks, Mike! You were fabulous!), so that was strange and loud but fun and they had great posters with the book cover art.

After that my darling publicist and I went back to the hotel to actually eat something. We ended up with an array of fried vegetables, mostly by accident. I was not aware that one could fry a portobello. Daniel H. Wilson came and met us after a bit of confusion, I think it is a good piece of advice for the ages that when suggesting someone meet you in the hotel bar,  you should first make sure you’re in the same hotel. I’d met Daniel briefly during BEA and it was great to see him again, once we actually found him.

And then there was catching up on emails and such and then more meeting people for drinks and fried things (including Charlie Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, who was one of the people and not one of the drinks or the fried things, and also he is lovely and his book has a fantastic title).

Thursday night was the Summit party, which was on a gorgeous paper lantern-strung rooftop at the Hard Rock Hotel, and also managed to be baby’s first red carpet.

Luckily I was told there were going to be red carpet photos and then that there weren’t, so I had already planned to look pretty decent (and I figured the red and black striped corset was appropriate for a Comic-Con party) and then the actual red carpet was a not entirely unexpected surprise. I’m not sure what’s going on with my hair, but I only had about 20 minutes to get ready and that included corset lacing.

The party itself was busy and lovely and I had more interviews (I was not forewarned about those but everyone I spoke with was lovely) and there were celebrity sightings and I got to talk to the other  Summit “soon to be a major motion picture” authors, Veronica Roth who I’d met briefly earlier for color-coordinated photo ops and Issac Marion who I had not. They are both lovely, tall people.

After that we tried to catch the end of the Random House party but it was already over. There was a mechanical bull. Seriously. So sad to have missed that. I think.

Friday morning I signed ARCs of The Night Circus at the Random House booth, which was much more serene than the previous day’s signing so I could actually talk to people instead of straining to hear.

I met Craig Thompson and Ernie Cline, which was fabulous because we’d all done the Random House librarian breakfast at BEA in May but I didn’t actually get to meet either of them there. So this time I got to tell Craig how much I loved Blankets and adore the lines of his artwork and I got a gorgeous preview of his new book, Habibi, and he sketched on the back and put me to signing shame, it makes me want to improve my handwriting. (Also, they had one finished copy of Habibi and it is glorious.) And I got to geek out at Ernie about Wil Wheaton doing the audiobook of  Ready Player One which I really want to listen to, but in the meantime I can read my marvelous shiny signed ARC.

After my signing my official duties were done, wandered around a bit and met Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn which is one of my very favorite books of All Time. There’s a new graphic novel version of it and it is absolutely beautiful and he was wonderful, it was magical to meet him, especially since I didn’t even know he was going to be there.

Went to lunch with publicist Alison (nothing fried this time!) before she had to catch her plane. She’s the best, truly, and I am a lucky, lucky girl to have her wrangling me.

Then I went back into the craziness to explore, took most of the quick photos I posted the other day and just soaked things in for a while. I wish I’d had more time to look through things and actually shop but I didn’t, I hope I get to go back with more time for actual Comic-Conning someday. Also, this is a perfect example of why the circus does not have clowns:

The blurred jaw? Because it moved. Ugh. I’m not an easily creeped-out person but that thing was creepy.

You know who’s not creepy? Andrea Cremer. She is a delight, I saw that she was signing and had wanted to meet her since we’re agent mates and she said lovely things about the circus. Luckily I found her during a bit of a lull since I walked by later and she was mobbed, but I had time to chat with her a bit and she is infectiously bubbly wonderful. I actually ran into her again later that night in the hotel lobby, along with Heather Brewer and Marie Lu, it was like hitting the YA author jackpot completely by accident.

I met one of my marvelous Summit producers to chat, and no, I do not have any movie news but there are meetings and wheels turning and all sorts of people working on things in that mysterious film production way. And then I had dinner with some of the lovely ladies from Random House before going back to pack, since I had to be at the airport bright and early Saturday morning to spend the entire day on planes again.

Okay, that was pretty epic but I think that’s it, can hardly believe that was all in just two days. I would have loved to have stayed for the rest of the weekend, really, just to get more of the Comic-Con experience. I do hope I get to go back again.

There are more Comic-Con photos over on facebook!

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