Wednesday, September 09, 2015

DragonCon wrap-up

Hey all,

It's my most favorite time of the year! DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia over Labor Day weekend. Where 70,000 geeks and nerds and fan boys and girls gather together to hang out and party and, of course, costume!

As an author, DragonCon is my biggest publicity event of the year by far. But it's also something I'd attend even if I wasn't in the industry. I just love the vibe, the excitement, the amazing cosplay. So many people coming together and just sharing and having fun.

This year I spoke on panels for the YA Track, the Writing Track, the Urban Fantasy Track and the Horror Track. The track leaders do such an amazing job every year - I'm always blown away by how seamless everything is and how many people attend the panels. Even Friday morning at 10am when my first YA panel started, there was barely a seat in the house. (That's major credit to Bev Kodak who runs the panel. She works tirelessly and it shows!!)

At the YA Horror panel with James Ray Tuck, Madeline Roux, Ted Naifeh, and Peter Solomon 

Me and the amazing Bev Kodak after my panel! I only got to do one YA panel this year, but it was a good one!

One of the coolest panel moments was during the iZombie fan panel. A woman in the audience decided to tweet Rahul Kohli who plays Ravi on the show to let him know we were talking to him and low and behold, by the power of social media, he skyped in and talked to the audience at the end, answering questions, etc. Just goes to show you never know what might happen at DragonCon. Also major kudos to Carol Malcolm, our fearless track leader. I love doing this track every year.

The power of social media! 
By the way, if you want to listen to the complete panel, it was put up as part of the iZombie podcast here.

Perhaps my favorite panel of all, however, was one I wasn't even supposed to be on. Derek Tatum, the fearless leader of the Horror Track put together a last minute panel on the legacy of Wes Craven, who had died earlier in the week. I hadn't meant to be ON the panel, just attend it, but when I arrived Derek asked me if I wanted to take part and how could I say no? It was so much fun talking about Wes and his legacy and the mark he made on modern horror. He was an artist with a vision, not just some schlock director out to make a buck and it showed in his work.

In any case, it's inspired Jacob and I to go back and watch some of his stuff we haven't seen for a while. Like what Derek considers an underrated classic: Shocker!

Did you realize the guy in the electric chair is Skinner from the X-Files? Who knew!

I also worked at the Tairen Lair booth, which is made up of a group of authors who get together to sell and autograph books at the show. We can move a LOT of books at a Con like DragonCon. Which is pretty amazing, if you think about it, considering just how much cool stuff is available to purchase. But these are our people and our people love books! And just getting to be there, talking about books to readers - that was fun in and of itself.

My little spot at the Tairen's Lair booth!
A new reader and his homemade dragon Iris!

I also got to fan girl a little myself. I was on a panel with Todd McCaffrey, author and son of Anne McCaffrey who wrote the Dragonriders of Pern series, which was a great influence on me and my dragon love growing up! I was a total dork and actually gave Todd a signed copy of Scorched and told him how much his mother's writing meant to me. He was thankfully very gracious when I asked if his name had two "T's" in it when I meant two "D's". Yeahhhh. I'm so cool. I don't know if he'll ever read the book, but I like knowing he has it now!

I also got to meet fantasy artist and author Larry Dixon who was super cool and bought a signed copy of the entire Scorched series (!!) for himself and his wife, the amazing Mercedes Lackey. (OMG. OMG. So. Not. Worthy.) The idea that the two of them now have MY books in their collection? My pre-published self would have pretty much keeled over and died. Also, Larry gave me a signed copy of one of his griffin drawings!

And, of course, as always -  I cosplayed! Most of my cosplay costumes were a bit over the top this year - meaning it wasn't always easy to get from place to place. But it was a lot of fun all the same and I must have had my photo taken a thousand times over the week. I felt a little like a weary celebrity at the end, haha. Like, wanting to run up to my room and wear something normal so I could walk the halls incognito.

Here is my cosplay line-up:

FRIDAY: Princess Celestia from My Little Pony

This costume is one I basically built myself. I am going to post another day how I put it all together. 

FRIDAY NIGHT: Queen Elsa and Sub Zero from Frozen and Mortal Kombat.

This one got a LOT of laughs and a lot of "OMG that is SO WRONG." Haha. My husband Jacob is the one playing Sub Zero and it was his idea to decapitate Olaf in typical Sub Zero finishing moves!

SATURDAY NIGHT: Tate and Violet from American Horror Story: Murder House (The first season)

This costume is mostly all about Jacob. I just wore typical "Violet" clothes, which aren't that different than my regular everyday clothes, along with a long brown wig. Jacob's took a lot more work, painting his face. We didn't get recognized AS much since it's a bit more eclectic than, say, Queen Elsa, but when we did, people were excited!

And last but not least... SUNDAY!

Sunday was my most exciting costume. I didn't make this dress - I had it commissioned by an amazing lady named Lane from Wicked and Wonder. And it got a TON of attention. The best part was when little girls would come up, their faces full of awe, wanting photos of me. I had little "princess prizes" to hand out to them, too. It was like being a real life Disney Princess for a day! I am already trying to decide what princess to do next year!

With the Brotherhood of Steel from Fallout 3/Vegas. 
With K9 from Doctor Who

With Jason Voorhees. But a DARMA Initiative (from LOST) mash-up.

Did I mention it was a REALLY big dress? 

But, of course, I'm not the only one in costume at DragonCon. And I had a blast taking  photos of other creative cosplayers, too. Here are a few of my favorite finds:

My Little Pony goes to the Dark Side!

Star Wars meets Beauty and the Beast

Gender-flipped Imorten Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road

I'll let you think about this one for a moment...
Yes, it's a limo driver, at the airport, waiting for Godot. :)

Gender-flipped Jareth. That baby was not hers, but another couple's who wanted to give their baby to the Goblin King.

These two were amazing! Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, all done up in Marie Antoinette style!

All in all it was a great time. I got to see old fiends and meet new ones. Sign books and speak to readers. Dress up like a Disney princess and a ghost and a pony and just have a blast the whole weekend. I'm already trying to decide what I want to do next year!!


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