Today was something of an ordeal.

On Saturday, I got an email from a South African Alera fan, asking if I’d sell him a 36″x48″ print of the map. My rational brain got hopped up on giddy juice at the idea of seeing the map that large, and I called my printer (Influence Graphics–excellent customer service and top-notch work, conveniently located on the same block as my job) and left a message inquiring about pricing. They’re closed weekends, so I knew I wouldn’t have an answer until Monday morning. On one level, I was aware that it would be a lot of redrawing work to QUADRUPLE the size of the map, but I was too swept up in the “How Do I Make This Happen?” in time to bring the extra-large posters to MarsCon.

If I were to have them for MarsCon, I’d need to have the art ready Monday morning. It takes a day for them to print a proof, then two days after approval for the full job. I was going to have to pick up the posters Thursday afternoon and tote them to a friend’s place on Staten Island that night, so the friend’s ride could pick them up in his car.

And then, like an idiot, I only started working on the art yesterday evening. Sure, my weekend was pretty packed with events with friends, including seeing Mummenschantz and nomming at Fred’s, but that’s no excuse for such an oversight. As the gravity of the endeavor sunk in, I resigned myself to an all-nighter. Finally, just past 5am, I realized that there was no way I’d finish in time to leave for work at 8:20. I didn’t want to half-ass something at the last minute–this needed to be a work of time and love, something worthy of taking up a wall.

So I went to sleep. Or at least, I went to bed. My brain was so thoroughly lodged in Must Stay Awake At All Costs mode that I tossed and turned for twenty minutes before the Sandman whacked me over the head with his sandbag. All in all, I got about 2 1/2 hours of sleep.

Needless to say, my brain was in a straaaaaaange place at work this morning. My Twitter provides plenty of condemning evidence.

Around midday, my eyes were so fried from staring at a computer screen that I had to go outside for a 15-minute walk, which was surprisingly refreshing. The day had warmed up somewhat from the morning’s Arctic blast, and nestled inside my big, puffy coat and fuzzy hat, I was quite comfortable. I want to go for 15-minute walk breaks more often. Other folks use more time for smoke breaks.

Finally, when the workday was over, I headed for Chris McGrath‘s apartment. In addition to being a super sweet guy, he’s also exceptionally talented. Chris is the cover illustrator of some of my favourite series: The Dresden Files, the Toby Daye books, and the Mistborn trilogy, to name a few. One of my friends ordered a print of one of his covers, and rather than worrying about shipping it in time for MarsCon, I volunteered to pick it up. We live five blocks away from each other, so it was no hardship!

I love New York.

We chatted briefly, which mostly consisted of him showing me awesome stuff and me making complimentary noises and trying to string together sentences in the proper order, thanks to the sleep debt collectors hammering at my mental doors. I was particularly entertained by the reference photographs he took for the Ghost Story cover. It was so surreal to see Harry Dresden looking down at an invisible grave from a variety of different vantage points and poses, surrounded by lamps and cords and other ungraveyardy things.

And yes, “ungraveyardy” will be a word until I have slept at least eight hours.

He also gave me a print of the Side Jobs cover art that had gotten a little smudge on the white border. It would have been covered by a matte anyway, but he couldn’t sell it. I win!

So for the tl;dr, I am tired, Chris is great, and megasharktopus-sized Alera maps will not be available at MarsCon. I will, of course, be selling the fabulous 18″x24″ posters, which Jim will be happy to sign for you. If you’re not going to MarsCon, you can preorder a signed and personalized map at my site store. Preorders end this Saturday at 3, so if you want a Jim-signed map, you have only five days to act!

And now I owe Jim and Seanan McGuire beta crits and Thematic Consultant comments on the latest pages from the Fool Moon graphic novel, but this blog post has taken all my words. I’m going to see if my eyes can stand the idea of watching Lie to Me and Castle in scintillating HD and hit the sack early. Hopefully, by tomorrow morning, “ungraveyardly” will have ceased being a part of my vocabulary.