Tag Archives: DragonCon

Treat Yoself to a Dragon*Con

First, if you haven’t seen Parks and Recreation, do that. Do it. All of it.

Next, go to Dragon*Con.

This year was my first Dragon*Con, and can I just say “wow”? Wow. While it has a reputation as being a party Con, I found Dragon*Con to be one of the best. There’s something about being in a place with thousands of other people, taking up a lot of space, and being there for the same reason: to geek out together! I especially loved that I could look at anyone and smile. I felt the excitement and camaraderie almost immediately.

Dragon*Con has a few unique aspects. The panels and events are held in six hotels and buildings in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Also, because it’s such a big Con, the organizers put the events and panels along a number of tracks. You can access the schedule and information about these panels via the Dragon*Con app. For example, if you are particularly interested in Anime/Manga, the organizers have a proposed schedule for you for each day. Some of the tracks include: Animation, BritTrack, Comics and Pop Art, Costuming, Fantasy Literature, High Fantasy, Horror, Military Sci-Fi Media, Paranormal, Podcasting, Sci-Fi Literature, Star Wars, Table Top Gaming, Urban Fantasy, Writer’s Track, Young Adult Literature, and many more.

But what’s in it for you as a writer? Lots.

I attended about 13 panels at Dragon*Con this year, most along the Writer’s Track. I loved the YA panels – it felt like we were all there together, laughing and geeking out over YA literature instead of an audience watching writers talk about writing.

I especially liked two panels over the weekend. The Magical Mavens of Fantasy/SF panel included Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mercedes Lackey, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and Jane Yolen (I’ll save you the play-by-play of my geek-out over Jane Yolen). Hearing these women talk about the industry, the people who told them they wouldn’t make it, and how they paved the way for the rest of us really made an impact on me. The sister (brother?) panel to Magical Mavens of Fantasy/SF I attended was Magnificent Men of Fantasy/SF with Kevin J. Anderson, Jim Butcher, Larry Correia, Peter David, and Larry Niven. I wasn’t expecting to laugh that hard, nor come near tears when they told touching stories.

Each night, the Westin hotel hosted a Writer’s Bar where professional writers could go to meet fans and fellow writers. I spotted and/or talked with Myke Cole, Sam Sykes, Jim Butcher, and Delilah Dawson. The cast of Wynonna Earp also showed up to hang out, which blew a lot of our minds. The accessibility of writing professionals at this convention seems abnormal, especially compared to other bigger Cons like San Diego. But nothing will light a fire under your ass to get published more than talking with professional writers and wanting to be on panels with them.

I’ve attended smaller conventions and a few huge conventions. Dragon*Con was my favorite. The Writer’s Track, High Fantasy Track, Sci-Fi Track, Urban Fantasy Track, and the Young Adult Literature Track provided multiple choices of panels each hour, and I didn’t attend one panel that I didn’t love. The access to professional writers was unlike any other convention I’ve been to. You’ll find that price of admission is well worth it to attend Dragon*Con. Oh yeah, and you’ll have a blast, too.

Hell in an Elevator

A guest post by Scott Eder.

When asked to write a post for The Fictorians on the “stranger than fiction” theme, I paused before accepting. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of an incident in recent memory that would qualify, but I love The Fictorians blog and figured I’d come up with something. Instead, something came up with me.

Fake Aladdin had to go, or at least shut his mouth. Hell, he was the reason we were stuck in the first place. I knew the downtown hotels were packed during DragonCon, but geez. I can handle a crowded elevator, but this?

I’d grabbed an elevator up from the nineteenth floor thinking it would top out, and I’d be set for the ride back down to the lobby. Claiming a spot on any of the vertically moving conveyances provided a challenge, so I grabbed one when I could. Easy peasy.

Freakin’ Aladdin slid aboard on the twentieth floor in a flash of purple silk, baggy pants, and goofy grin, trailing a crew of Agribah rejects—a sleepy-eyed, barely dressed ninja with iridescent lip gloss, a Tom-Baker era Dr. Who trailing a long scarf, and his companion, a red shirt wearing Starfleet officer. The red shirt should have been my clue to exit, but I wasn’t attuned to the signs.

In my opinion, the elevator was full. We had a little room to move without intruding upon our neighbor’s personal space. A few of us had forgone costumes, but the majority represented the universe of sci-fi/fantasy fandom. Pressed against the elevator’s glass wall behind me, another Whovian, this one bearing a striking resemblance to David Tennant, and his Rose Tyler matched well. Orcs, knights, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones characters stood shoulder to shoulder, passing flasks and laughing. So what if the temperature started to climb? We wouldn’t be on here long enough for it to become a problem. No worries.

We stopped on eighteen. The doors slid open. Aladdin beckoned to the folks waiting outside, and in a loud voice invited them to join us. Smiling, those waiting shrugged and pushed inside.

We stopped on seventeen. The doors slid open. Aladdin beckoned to the folks waiting outside, and in a loud voice invited them to join us. With a shrug, more people joined the “fun.” We were full before, but now we were packed. The mass of humanity crushed the short, lithe ninja against my side. Her diminutive world had narrowed to elbows and armpits. Poor thing. I wanted to throttle the street rat for being too affable, but the press of the other characters locked my arms at my sides.

The heat rose, and so did the stink.

We stopped on sixteen. The doors slid open. Aladdin beckoned to the folks waiting outside, and in a loud voice invited them to join us. Those waiting eyed the dense crowd, and backed away. Thank goodness.

Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, the same thing. At every stop, Aladdin did his thing. Nobody took him up on his offer again until the eighth floor. The doors opened on a pair of voluptuous young girls with flowing hair and too-tight corsets jacking up (and almost out) their ample breasts. The guys near the doors sucked in their guts. The ladies squeezed in, and the doors closed.

We dropped four feet, and the doors burst open then quickly closed again as we jerked to a stop. Dead on the vine.

Freakin’ Aladdin.

Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Voices grew louder. Tempers flared. Sweat streaked down my face. Bodies crushed against me. The poor little ninja against my chest wilted, having trouble catching her breath. The woman near the doors mashed the emergency call button again and again and again. No response. Security guards lined the balcony of the eighth floor. A few talked through handsets, while others took pictures with their cell phones. Other guests followed the situation as we became the hit of the moment.

Thirty minutes. Bodies shifted an inch so the ninja could breathe. Grumbles. Accusations. Damn, it was hot.

The doors popped open, letting in a cool, fresh breeze, and a grim-faced hotel representative poked in his head. He said that the elevator would not budge even after several restarts. They were going to have to lift us out by hand.

Really? By hand? I thought this crap only happened in the movies. Damn.

One by one, a crew of the hotel staff unceremoniously hauled us out on our butts. Nice. What a great way to start the Con.

Guest Writer Bio:
Since he was a kid, Scott wanted to be an author. Through the years, fantastic tales of nobility and strife, honor, and chaos dominated his thoughts. After twenty years mired in the corporate machine, he broke free to bring those stories to life. Scott lives with his wife and two children on the west coast of Florida. Check out Knight of Flame on Scott’s website.