In which I talk about Dragon*Con in a semi-organized, but mostly rambling and at-times-fangirling, fashion.
First, let’s talk about D*C in general. This is my third (fourth? I forget) year going, and the second in a row with Ladybug. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to attend panels without her, which seems heartless, but in reality is the only way I would be able to actually attend, as she is now at the age where she is mobile, fast, loud, and easily bored. None of which makes me the ideal panel attendee with her in tow. So, we booked a suite with a pull-out couch and arranged for a friend to be a “mother’s (and father’s) helper” in exchange for hotel and ticket. It worked like a charm and is definitely on the list to repeat next year. Also, we brought way too much food with us, so we’ll probably cut back a little next year, but again, still a good idea. Last, we stayed in a hotel NEXT to the Westin, with the intention of not having to deal with hotel booking hell, but still being close to our favorite bar. This would have worked out well, had not we had a small surprise in the form of Ladybug’s incoming little sister, and so I spent most of my time at the Westin Starbucks.
Next–the panels. Most of the ones I attended were on the Urban Fantasy track, which was even better this year than last (and it was good last year.) There was an excellent panel on Violence in Urban Fantasy, in which various authors, including Richard Kadrey, author of the Sandman Slim novels, talked about how they treated violence in their work. Lots of great information, and inspiration. Also, Richard Kadrey is a badass, who shut down an asshole who thought making stupid female-parts jokes would be funny. Additionally, the UF track panels introduced me to David B. Coe and Myke Cole, both of whom are great authors I hadn’t heard of before (and the latter of whom displayed the enviable ability to be eloquent while completely intoxicated). I rectified that with a trip to the vendor hall–but more on that later.
I tried a panel on the writing track, but was less than impressed, and attended a fun panel on the war college track, about sieges and urban warfare. That one was pretty good, and I got some good research angles.
There was one sour moment on the panels, when one of the authors described her book as: “…also, she’s a veteran, so of course she has PTSD…” That pretty much decided me on never actually buying or reading any of her books. Maybe it was that my inner veteran was near the surface, due to spending D*C 2016 with military friends, or the character I’m writing, or the fact that I leave tomorrow for drill, or the fact that D*C will always mark the anniversary of the loss of an Army buddy–but that remark highlighted once again the gap between “us” and “them,” and it pissed me off.
Other than the panels (which by the way spurred me to come up with how I’m going to fix the opening for Steel-Toed Blues, as well as motivating me to get back and get the words out), there was some great people-watching. Lots of heroes and princesses, as well as some lesser known characters. There was Marty McFly from Back to the Future, Ogre from Nerds, Barf from Spaceballs, and my husband, who dressed up as Max from Where the Wild Things Are. Also, Ladybug fell in love with the fairy wings and tutu that Rob brought with us, and insisted on wearing them every day, even with her Star Trek command onesie, and her Star Wars stormtrooper T-shirt. As always, though, the amount of creativity and skill in the cosplayers’ outfits was topnotch, and they were, without fail, gracious, polite, and professional when dealing with picture requests.
Last (but not least!) — the vendor hall. I stopped by WordFire Press, of course, as I wanted to see what was new from Quincy J. Allen and some of the other authors affiliated with the press. I picked up his Chemical Burn, as well as a few others, and was perusing the rest of the books when Kevin J. Anderson (yes, THAT Kevin J. Anderson) complimented me on my tattoo. I immediately suppressed a fangirl squee of supersonic proportions, and instead thanked him. And moved on. And then squee’d on Facebook. Because of course.
I spent most of my money on books in the vendor hall, and wished heartily that they would do some kind of Authors’ Alley, because it would be helpful in finding what you’re looking for. Or, if the Dragon*Con app had some sort of way to sort vendors by category, i.e. Clothing, Publisher, Comics, etc. Like in the mall, when you know you want to buy shoes and not every shoe store has the word “shoe” in the title.
Rob and I HAD intended to stay out late one or two nights, especially with the help of our friends to watch Ladybug, but we underestimated how much we like to sleep and hang out. So, most of our late-night routines consisted of him putting Ladybug to bed and waiting for me to get back from the 10 pm UF panel of that day. We party like rocks, what can I say.
I’m hoping to repeat the successful parts of D*C next year, and to improve on what was successful. I’m also encouraging Rob to apply to teach on the War College track next year, as I think he would be outstanding at that. I’ve renewed my writing and authoring goals, and had a great time. Next year, I intend to take full advantage of the Westin bar, as I have fond memories of their mojitos.
See you in 2017!