Friday, August 31, 2007

This weekend is a big one for science fiction/fantasy fans in the Southeastern U.S. Labor Day weekend = Dragon*Con. Dragon*Con is often refered to as THE Con. Taking over the Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton hotels in Atlanta, Georgia, it pulls in over 30,000 people every year, many in costume. It isn't uncommon to walk through the lobby of one of these large hotels and see storm troopers standing side by side with Captain Jack Sparrow and Gandolf. Vampires, zombies, hobbits, and jedi all populate a party that often spills out onto the surrounding streets.You have to love Dragon*Con. It is the one place on earth that no one can feel like a dork. No matter how weird you are, no matter how strange, there is no way possible to be the biggest dork in the place.

Day one for me was spent wandering back and forth between the three hotels. Up first was an hour long Q&A in the Buffyverse with James Marsters (Spike), Juliette Landaue (Drusilla) and Elizabeth Rohm (from Angel and Law and Order). I was surprised by Marsters. I'd heard negative things about him in the past in relationship to fans and these types of conventions. But I had to go see him. I love me some Spike! He was wonderful. Laughing, joking and very animated. He kept the audience rolling on the floor with stories and just a great sense of humor and self deprecation. He did seem a bit shocked when someone asked him about the slash being written in fanfiction and actually asked him who he thought Spike would be most likely to have a slash relationship with. He replied that he didn't know how women could kiss them. He said men are scruffy, whiskery, and he really felt for women having to put up with them.

The panel on Werewolves was fascinating as it contrasted the opinions of an expert on folklore and legend with the impressions of contemporary authors L.A. Banks and Carrie Vaughn.

The book signing had to be the best. Sherrilyn Kenyon is the sweetest person. I stood in line over an hour and watched her stop and talk, really talk, to each person who came up to her. Everyone was greeted warmly and respectfully. She listened to each reader as they spoke. When I told her that for me, she had made reading and writing fun again, she encouraged me to keep writing and keep trying. When I told her I'd already had some success, she seemed genuinely happy for me, high-fiving me twice and giving me a hug. She told me to email her when the book (Access Denied from Cerridwen Press) comes out next month. I was absolutely thrilled when I realized she'd signed my book including her congratulations. Kenyon's generosity and kindness were overwhelmingly apparent as she posed for photo after photo, even bringing along folks in role play gear to stand in for her characters Simi and Acheron. Yep, got my picture taken with Acheron. Very cool.

Sherrilyn Kenyon is a lesson to writers on how to treat readers. Standing in line I watched several disappointed readers be turned away from other authors' signings because the authors didn't show for their scheduled signings. When I left, over an hour after she'd begun signing, Kenyon had a long line and showed no signs of turning anyone away.

My favorite quote so far has to have come from author Peter David during a discussion of the legends of King Arthur. "Lancelot is the original Mary Sue." In fanfiction Mary Sue is a negative term used to describe the all too perfect character that is beautiful, talented, powerful and saves the day.

Oh, and to the ladies I met in Kenyon's line who assured me that one day people were going to line up and be all excited because it was me, and that they were going to say, "We know her. We met her when...." Thank you. I'd had a head ache when I stepped into line today, but your enthusiasm and acceptance helped ease it away.

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