Wednesday, September 7, 2011

DragonCon 2011

After three days of awesomeness in Atlanta, I must declare that DragonCon is the best scifi/fantasy/costume party on the planet.

The Pyr Books booth was bigger than last year, and many of the authors spent significant time there. And rather than feeling lost in the shuffle, it felt like coming home to my second family. We had fun selling each other’s books, kidding each other, and getting sloshed together.

There are a lot of people I need to thank for the great time I had.

First off, thanks to Lou Anders, editor and art director at Pyr Books, who convinced me to come again this year. Over the past couple years, Lou has become a good friend. Hanging out with him is a special experience.

Big thanks to the Pyr staff—Jill, Rene, Lynn, and Gabrielle—for kicking ass and taking names (Money-takers!). When you work with your publishing staff in a professional setting, you expect them to be knowledgeable and helpful, but you don’t expect to get choked up saying goodbye. A year is too long to wait to see you good people again.

My fellow authors who helped to man the Pyr booth, including Sam Sykes, Andrew Mayer, Erin Hoffman, Ari Marmell, Susan and Clay Griffith, and James Enge. This is a special bunch of people. I encourage you to buy everything they write.

Joshua Bilmes at the JABberwocky Literary Agency for helping me get a professional invite to the convention. It made me feel like a minor celebrity.

The fans. For me, there are things more thrilling than to meet someone who has read (and hopefully, enjoyed) my books. You guys are the best.

Some very cool things happened to me this convention. First, we sold out of copies of my Shadow’s Son, and also Sam’s Tome of the Undergates and Andrew’s The Falling Machine.

Second, I had drinks with Brent Weeks, the best-selling author and widely-acknowledged king of fantasy assassin fiction. And when he told me that he’d read my book (and liked it!), I was floored. Then he came to the booth the next day with his lovely wife and bought a copy of Shadow’s Lure. As you might imagine, my hand was shaking a little as I signed it for him. Let it be shouted wide and far that Mr. Weeks is a Class Act of the first order.

Then I got an invite to the exclusive reading of Susan and Clay’s The Greyfriar by none other than James Marsters, who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not only did James give a terrific reading, he signed a copy of the sequel book, The Rift Walker, for my wife. And I almost got him to call Jenny on a cell phone, which would have blown her frigging mind, but he had to run to a dinner engagement after the signing. Oh well. It was still pretty cool to shake his hand and chat for a moment.

If that wasn’t enough, I met Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the Anita Blake series, and her husband. Got to hang out at their booth a little and swap stories. Both are very nice people, and I know Jenny will treasure the book they signed for her.

The last night of the con was a little surreal. As some of the staff and authors at Pyr got dinner, and then sat in the bar drinking, there was a feeling among us that we didn’t want this experience to end. Like it had all gone by too fast. Finally, too tired to stay awake, we stumbled back to our hotel rooms, and I prepared myself to re-enter the real world.

If you ever get the chance, go see DragonCon at least once. If you’re like me, you’ll be hooked by the costumes and celebrities, by the dealers’ rooms filled to capacity with all sorts of scifi/fantasy paraphernalia, and by the great people you’ll meet. My only regret was not being able to take my wife along. Maybe next year.


Paul Weimer said...

Thanks, Jon.

Sounds like I missed out.

J.M. Martin said...

Perhaps someday I'll be helping you man the Pyr booth at D*C. One can hope!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Sounds great. Brent Weeks! He should be home writing his next book. I'm waiting for it!

Jon Sprunk said...

That would be awesome, Joe.

Susan -- Brent was a very nice chap. Deserves every bit of his success.

David Alastair Hayden said...

Dragon*Con is the best. It's fast becoming almost a family reunion for me. Hard to go anywhere without spotting a friend or acquaintance. And always making new friends there. It just keeps getting better every year.

Anonymous said...

"I laughed, I cried" while reading this post. You are the best! You almost make me want to commit to return next year.

Jill Maxick said...

"I laughed, I cried" while reading this post. You are the best! You almost make me want to commit to return next year.

Jon Sprunk said...

It wouldn't be the same without you, Jill.

Dawn Simon said...

It sounds like an amazing time!

I like your blog. :)

Susan Griffith said...

Definitely bring Jenny along next year!! And you hit the nail on the head, Jon. This year's D*C was special.