I’ve been a guest of three weekend conventions in the last four weeks, and I’m exhausted.
No doubt, the veteran road warriors of the convention circuit scoff at me for that opening declaration. But you need to understand, this isn’t my usual gig.
I haven’t attended many conventions per year during my two decades as a professional writer, but this year and next year are seeing an uptick in my planned appearances. In the last month, I’ve been a guest at Shore Leave in Baltimore, Md.; LI-Con 2 in Ronkonkoma, NY; and, this past weekend, Dragon Con in Atlanta.
And fool that I am, I traveled to all three by car.
That was no great hardship for the first two shows. Shore Leave is about four or five hours’ drive from home for me. LI-Con is even closer, just over an hour’s drive outside New York City.
But the road trip that Glenn Hauman and I just made to Atlanta (for which he did nearly all the driving, because the man is a demigod) … that was an adventure.
Fortunately, we had glorious hospitality awaiting us in Georgia, at the home of my dear friends Jon and Jen. They generously hosted Glenn and me in their guest room, treated us to a steady flow of Old Fashioned cocktails and good wine, and made the Labor Day long weekend a joy.
This was my first trip to Dragon Con, and I had a fantastic time. All of my panels were quite well attended, and though I feared no one would come to my Sunday morning signing or even notice me at the show, I was kept busy during my signing, and I sold more books on one Sunday at Dragon Con than I have ever sold at any other show. Don’t tell me there are no readers at Dragon Con — if I can move books at this con, anyone can.
I also got to spend some time in lovely Decatur, Ga., and I had the joy of dining at such venerable Atlanta institutions as The Varsity — a retro-style drive-in near the Georgia Tech campus — and Fat Matt’s, home of the finest barbecue ribs I’ve ever eaten. And, as one might imagine, the road trips down and back were punctuated by visits to Waffle House.
The atmosphere of Dragon Con is intoxicating; Glenn described it as “the Mardi Gras of genre events,” and I think that’s an apt description. The cosplayers were impressive, and the sheer scope of the con was daunting, but also exciting. I hope I am able to return as a literary guest next year, and for years to come after that.
But next time, I’ll be traveling to Atlanta by plane.
Next on my convention schedule: New York Comic Con (no panels for me there, but I’m hoping to do some signings for Star Trek: Seekers #3 – Long Shot and 24: Rogue), October 8–11, 2015, in New York’s Javits Center; and then World Fantasy Convention, November 5–8, 2015, in Saratoga Springs, NY. Watch my website’s Events page for more details!