I just got back from New Mexico, where I spent three days visiting friends and attending some fun Wild Cards events.

The first was an “in-character” interview done for the audience at the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Due to the fact that I got into Albuquerque a little late, I got to the theater halfway through the event and basically had to do a cold interview–from the car onto the stage (in front of an audience, jumping into a show already in progress), and getting handed a microphone before I had much of a chance to get nervous. It was good fun, though, and I find I’m definitely getting better at public speaking/performing because I’ve done it so much now that my pre-event anxiety is a great deal lower than before.

On Monday, I went to a Wild Cards author party thrown by KayMcCauley at Meow Wolf, an art venue in Santa Fe that is pretty spectacular. I had a chance to meet Wild Cards writers and reconnect with those I’ve met before. I also got to meet Thomas Olde Heuvelt, who was whisked into the event by George R.R. Martin after his own signing in town the same evening. (He’s in the US on a book tour for the English version of HEX, his best-selling debut novel.) It was a fun event, and I had a good time, even though I still feel like the new kid in high school among so many well-known high-caliber writers.

I also had a chance to see a bit of New Mexico–at least the parts around Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque (which I just now managed to type properly without autocorrect assistance for the first time in three days), and sample the local food. Man, folks in NM really take their chile seriously. It’s a very scenic state, and Los Alamos has a ton of interesting history.

It’s still slightly bizarre sometimes to be Regular Me most of the time, but then to fly off to distant locales and big events to be Writer Me, who can selectively switch off his introverted tendencies and do stuff like sign books or speak in front of audiences without breaking into a cold panic sweat. But I’m getting better at it the more I do it, even though I suspect I’ll never fully get rid of the feeling that I’m getting away with a con, and that they’ll find out any minute that I’m just some random dude pretending to be a writer. Maybe I’ll even get used to it when I am sitting at a signing table, and people walk up to me to tell me that a.) they know who I am, and b.) they’ve read all my books.

(By the way, if you’re in Santa Fe or nearby, and you’d like to grab signed Frontlines books, I signed the stock on hand at the Jean Cocteau.)

In closing, allow me to regale you with my amateur photography and share some shots from the trip. Like I said on Twitter–New Mexico is made for the panorama setting on the phone camera, or vice versa.

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