Push to Publish 2015

Panel of fear. From the left, literary agents Marie Lamba, Katharine Sands, Eric Smith, Jordy Albert, Gina Panettieri, and Sheree Bykofsky.
Panel of fear. From the left, literary agents Marie Lamba, Katharine Sands, Eric Smith, Jordy Albert, Gina Panettieri, and Sheree Bykofsky.

So, two weekends ago saw the comings and goings of Push to Publish 2015, the annual soiree at Rosemont College that pits writers against agents in a Mad-Max-style battle for dominance across a post-apocalyptic Australian desert.  “Just walk away!” howled agent Gina Panettieri.  “Just walk away, and we will allow you to live!”

Nothing really big and scary happened this year, other than this is my third time attending, and I am officially no longer intimidated by pitching my novel to agents.  That’s mildly scary.  I talked to local gatekeeper Eric Smith, who works with P.S. Literary and handles a chunk of their science fiction and fantasy.  He’s a nice enough fellow with an intriguing hat, but he seemed less-than-thrilled with the ideas behind Solomon’s Archivist, other than he really liked the title.  “Great title,” he roared, just before being locked inside a giant birdcage with me and a chainsaw.  Two men enter; one man leave!

I also met local publisher Christine Neulieb who cofounded Lanternfish Press.  Hilariously, they’re already publishing a book about a 1500-year-old guy who walks the Silk Road.  I tried to tell her that my book is about a 3000-year-old guy who walks the Silk Road, but she failed to understand the distinction, and instead of picking up my book, opted to hurl a metal boomerang at me before I noticed she was feral.

Things went much better for my partner-in-crime, George Filip.  I’m not going to mention any names for fear of jinxing things, but he re-met an agent he had met last year, and she was greatly impressed with the pages he showed her.  Hopefully, his tractor trailer won’t tip over at the end of this movie, only to show it was filled with sand, the whole time.

The after-party at Main Point Books was enjoyable, as always.  And George and I attempted to muster an after-after party at a bar down the street, but it ended up just being him and me.  I tried calling in our writing posse (Maribel and Kelly), but to no avail.  So, we spent a few hours enjoying beers, eating Irish burritos, discussing how we will conquer the world with our novels, and failing to invent additional Mad Max metaphors.

Special shout-out to some new friends I made at the conference:

Robert Rigel Nelson

Raven C. Eckman

Melanie Atherton Allen

Melanie has a particularly-disturbing website that’s full of mystery and perplexity.

For what it’s worth, my wife spent the day at the Octoberfest celebration in Ardmore, which is within walking distance of my house and features bratwurst and an oompa band.  It goes without saying that she is far wiser than me, but what can I say?  You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

Nick calling in his writing posse.
Nick calling in his writing posse.

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