Dragon*Con Musings…..

8 09 2009

Weather: High: 75º and partly cloudy.

So we’ve managed to survive our first Dragon*Con. And we enjoyed it so much that we’ll be returning next year. (Though this time around we’ll definitely be staying at a con hotel.)

so here’s the whole tale of the trip as I recall it.

Thursday:

After a late start, Bri and I piled into the car and drove to Atlanta. The drive wasn’t too bad until we hit hour #12 and started getting the drive madness that sets in about then. We had hoped to be in Atlanta by dinner time, but ended up checking into our hotel room (our WEE hotel room) at 10pm local time.  After making the requisite phone calls and texting everyone to let them know we landed, we hooked up with our friends Heather & Chris who were staying at the same hotel for a late dinner and some fantastic convo. (BTW- Heather & Chris have a fantastic website  here for their publishing company: Triscelle Publishing. Go check it out) Then it was off to bed so we could get some sleep before the festivities began.

Friday:

Up early for breakfast and off to Pre-Reg, Which involved standing in a very long labyrinthine line that got smellier as we went along, to get our Badges and con booklets. We were lucky! After hearing horror stories of 2-3 hour waits, we got through the line in a miraculous 45 minutes.  Then it was off to panels!We lined up for a panel and while waiting in line, met up with two of my favorite online friends, Anne Marie & Kara. Wonderful to meet people I’ve only been able to converse with online.  Then to the panel! It was a Farscape panel with Lani Tupu and Virginia Hey. Funny and gracious on both their parts, ti was informative and funny. We re-hooked up with Heather & Chris again after this panel and Heather and I headed off to some writing panels. First up was the “Vampires are the New Vampires” panel which was very informative.(Panel: Rosemary Laurey, Alethea Kontis, J F Lewis, Richelle Mead, Allan Gilbreath, Derek Tatum) Got to ask my first question about how to market a vampire novel in this ever expanding genre & received a lot of good feedback. A lot of authors that I am now in the process of looking up were on the panel and I got a nice insight on how different the takes on the genre have been fleshed out.

Then we went to get in line for the BSG panel. (There was an ongoing theme of standing in line for a lot of things! LOL) Met up with my long time friend Terri Osborne (author of numerous tie-in Trek novels & a soon to be published Stargate:Atlantis novel, in addition to her own line of “Realms Next Door” books.) Nice to see her after a couple of years. (She and I went to college together and have known each other for about 20+ years) So after a bit of geebling, we met up with Heather & Chris again for the BSG big panel. (Cast including Luciana Carroll, Kate Vernon, Mike Hogan, Michael Trucco, Kandyse McClure, and Alisandro Juliani) Very funny and nice to hear all the behind the scenes stories. We headed out to dinner with Heather & Chris then off to bed.Yes we’re that sad. Really wanted to stay up for the Abney Park gig, but between the drive and all the excitement during the day….my 42 year old body was not having it. 😦

Saturday:

Up early again for more writing panels. First up was “Time travel & Paranormal writing” which had Terri Osborne & Anna DeStefano on the panel. (The entire panel: Chesya Burke (M), Terri Osborne, Carole Nelson Douglas, Rita Herron, Anna DeStefano, Mari Mancusi) I was really happy I got to see Anna and talk with her briefly as we’ve conversed a bit on Twitter. She made sure we got a photo together as well. 🙂 Terri and I conversed briefly before the panel about the “Realms Next Door” chapbook that she’d brought along and then it was time for the panel. Great discussion on how best to utilize the mechanics of time travel in story telling, along with some great discussion on how the paranormal market is exploding right now. After this we took a quick run up to the Hyatt Concourse to catch the Faith & the Muse Acoustic set which was AMAZING. Back to another panel, this time on “Herding cats..er fictional Characters” which was a very lively discussion on character development. Gene Wolfe was on the panel and was at turns brilliant and hysterically funny. (Panel was Sandra Anglin Chastain, Kathleen O’Shea David, Rebecca Moesta, Janny Wurts, Toni Weisskopf, Gene Wolfe, Gary Raisor). I then ran off to kidnap my friend, author Phaedra Weldon ,from the Catalyst Games booth so we could meet up with the rest of the fangirls to see Abney Park’s acoustic set Since I’d missed their gig, I was NOT missing their set today. It was made of AWESOME! They performed a few classic tunes & a few of their own, and included a lovely mess of a cover of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” that has to be seen to be believed.

SEE? They’re awesome! After I got a copy of one of their albums that I was missing and got my Abney Park messenger bag signed by Kristina. Phaedra went back off to her booth and I floated on a fangirl cloud out to where Brian & Chris were holding places for me and Heather in line for the BEEG Farscape panel. Which was also FTW! Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Lani Tupu & Virginia Hey held a lively & funny as hell unmoderated panel. (I have some photos I’ll post later!) After this it was back to zee hotel and a lovely, if expensive dinner. Bri and I turned in for the night.

Sunday:

Up REALLY early for breakfast. Had a 10 am panel with Heather & Chris.. Bri’s first wasn’t til 11:30 so he met up with us later.

First panel was Paranormal Fiction & Urban Fantasy (Panel: Rosemary Laurey, Susan Sizemore, Jennifer Heddle, Jeanne C. Stein, Jackie Kessler, Heather Osborn, Mari Mancusi, Julie Kenner, Liz Maverick, Carol Malcolm ) Lively discussion on what the differences and similarities between the two genres, and how marketing is kinda fuzzy here. (Also realized my writing may lean more to PR rather than UF. Hmmm. ) Was very helpful for me & Heather (who is a librarian and runs into categorization problems as well)

Next up was Writing Paranormal Fiction (Panel:Dr. Bob Blackwood (M), Sandra Anglin Chastain, Gail Z. Martin (M), Christina Barber, Carole Nelson Douglas, Rita Herron, Jennifer St. Giles, Tracy S. Morris, Kat Richardson, Heather Osborn, Anna DeStefano, Laura Anne Gilman) This unfortunately was moderated a little too formally and was stuck in a very small room for such a large panel. But still, I got a comment in and got to FINALLY chat with my friend Laura Anne.  While I was in this panel, Brian was attending a panel on Steampunk Attire for men . (WIBBLE) We snagged Terri, Heather & Chris for some lunchtime Sushi and had a nice chat. Then Bri, Heather, Chris & I were off to A Self-Publishing panel. We caught the last 15 minutes of the Copyright Law panel and I’m really glad we did. Good info! The self-Publishing panel was really informative and was more a compare & contrast of self vs. traditional publishing. We got a lot of pros and cons for both avenues, which was more than helpful.

After all this, Bri and I parted ways with Heather & Chris and were off to dinner by invite with Kathleen & Peter David. Wonderful dinner, wonderful conversation with a bunch of authors and friends & a hilarious MST3K-ing of the Dragon*Con Parade, which we watched on Dragoncon TV. After, we & a couple of friends went to the elevated platform overlooking the Atrium Floor at the Marriott, had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the people watching before heading back to out hotel to pack.

Oh! (FACEPALM) Before Dinner: I had my first real mortifying fangirl moment. Bri and I ran into Nathaniel from Abney Park in the little shop at the hotel. I was at first reluctant to approach him, because I didn’t want to be THAT ANNOYING FANGIRL. But, he was starting to leave and I blurted out “Nathan, can I get you to sign my bag?” (I fumbled the name, because nathan is part of his LJ & Twitter name…OY!) He was all “OF COURSE! but then realized he didn’t’ have a pen on him. But I did! So pulled out my cache of pens which I had rubber banded together, and pulled out the sharpie, which launched two other pens at the poor man. (Facepalm #2) He was absolutely lovely, and instead of being appalled at my shaking nervous fumbling, got down on one knee and asked “Fair Lady, may I sign your bag?” I giggled and replied” Please do kind sir…” He signed my bag, stood up and said. “Now I need a hug!” Which I was all too happy to provide. (Again, what a wonderful sweet guy!) I told him about us missing their gig in Seattle earlier this year and that we were moving to Seattle next year (Which I got a smile and a fist bump in response!) He made sure I knew when they were having their next show in Seattle and I thanked him and that was that. He left, I was mortified but happy, and hopefully he remembers me as the awkward but nice girl from the shop. Sigh.My husband spent the next 15 minutes reassuring me that I wasn’t a complete pratt. Double sigh.

Monday:

Up early for breakfast with Heather & Chris (Who I might just add fro the thousandth time are the LOVELIEST PEOPLE.) We said our goodbyes and piled into the car for the eleven hour drive home.

All in all it was a fantastic, if exhausting time. I got a ton of great advice and motivation for my writing. Met more wonderful people that I am humbled to call friends. Saw some fantastic performances & have definitely made the decision to attend again next year!

So Dragon*Con 2009, I enjoyed every minute of you!

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