Dragoncon: Sunday

Angelia woke me up again. I fired her. But I unfired her when she gave me tea, so I think she’s holding them in reserve.

My signing was scheduled with Mercedes Lackey and A.C. Crispin. When Mercedes saw the line to Spain for her books, she declared in a loud voice, “You are all insane!”
Note to self: Mercedes had pre-signed bookplates for those who had more books than she could sign. That would be a good choice if/when I ever become famous enough to need them. In the meantime, I'll sign whatever you put in front of me. We sold a few books, mostly to Lackey fans who wandered over. It's funny that I do 10 times more signing in halls and after panels than I ever do at my actual SIGNING. I don't mind at all, but it's so dull sitting there at the signing that I wish people would come by just to chat. :)

From there I went to the reading, and that went really well. The room had a decent crowd, including a few people I didn’t know. As always, I had to duck out for the five minutes before it began. I can't just stand there and stare at people. It freaks me out too much.

I read the popobawa flashback from BLACKFIRE, which is one of the more vicious killers I’ve ever written AND it includes onscreen sex, so I felt a little awkward. Not as awkward as I’d have felt reading some of Samantha’s sex scenes aloud!

When I finished, it had only been 45 minutes. I always read faster in front of an audience than in my room the night before. I thanked them for coming… and they protested. “Read more!” they insisted.

Well. I guess they weren’t bored, then.

Laura Underwood was next in line and very gracious, so I spent the next fifteen minutes reading BLACKFIRE from the beginning. I got as far as the springheel’s initial attack when I ran out of time.

“Sorry! You’ll have to buy the book to find out what happens!” I declared gleefully. Mental note: I can read the popobawa and the springheel sequences in 1.5 hours.

We sold some more books during the reading, which was beginning to counteract my mood of DOOM about sales. It was very slow at the beginning, enough that booksellers were drinking like fish and there was much talk about not coming back next year.

I also am noticing far fewer booksellers – whether publishers or retailers – this year than in previous years. I know Dragoncon is becoming mostly a media con, but I would really hate to see the literary side of the con disappear. Buy books, people! It’s important.

I had a little time off, so Angelia and I went to the VIP greenroom to snag some free food. There I met a charming gentleman named Robert Pralgo, an actor and movie producer who appeared in THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, among many others. We talked for at least an hour about the changing nature of our industries. I had no idea – though it makes perfect sense – that the collapse of video stores was so catastrophic to the movie industry. People used to rent movies by browsing in stores and looking at boxes, just like they used to select books by browsing the shelves.

No more. With Netflix and Amazon, people have to know what they’re looking for. That means getting attention for your small-press book or indie film is like searching for a needle in a stack of needles. At any rate, we had a very intelligent conversation and I was sorry to see it end. I scuttled off to the 2012 panel.

This was by far the most populated panel I was on this year. The room was full and people were turned away by the door. DCTV filmed it. I was there not so much for my apocalyptic fiction, but for my expertise as a reporter. I still crack wise, but being Reporter Me uses an entirely different skill set than being Writer Me. For part of the panel, I had a hard time following the topic, as they talked about iterations of the Mayan calendar and so forth. It didn’t help that I was getting seriously dizzy.

But when they started in on how the media is responsible for the hysteria because we blow everything out of proportion, I stepped up. I shall spare you my usual rant, mostly because it’s probably on DCTV by now. But I started to see that theme over and over, that of vilifying the press because it’s too hard to decide which side of the issue is more worth vilifying.

I was bone-tired and ready to jump off the balcony after that, but instead Angelia took me up to the room and put me to bed. I was too despondent to check in with the booth, given the cascade of bad news, so she went for me to find out how it was going. The answer: better than yesterday, but not like last year.

Angelia did yeoman’s duty this weekend as my flunky/bodyservant/Sherpa this weekend, folks. She got me up, got me to my panels, walked ahead of me so people would get out of the way and was willing to be the SuperBitch in my place so she could get me onto elevators in time to make my panels. She kicked my ass when it needed kicking and kicked others out of the way so I didn't have to. I know there are authors who manage to do Dragoncon without a flunky, but I have no bleeding clue how they do it. Brava to Angelia, folks.

Next, I took a nap. Apparently I needed it. Also: cold Chef Boyardee out of the can. Yum. The glamorous life of a small-press author, ladies and gentlemen.

Sunday evening was far more low-key than I recall any other Sunday at previous Dragoncons. Yes, it had the masquerade, and as my roommate Tricia and I commiserated: we’re spoiled. There’s nothing wrong with Dragoncon’s masquerade, except that it isn’t Archon’s.

Angelia and Tricia wrestled me into the black leather corset and harem pants. I meandered back up to the VIP greenroom, hunted some costumes and spent some quality time with friends.

I tell you what: there are far worse ways to spend an evening.


  1. Anonymous7:57 AM

    D: I missed the reading of BLACKFIRE? D: Damn it.


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