DragonCon and Salt Lake City Comic Con

It’s an annual pilgrimage to DragonCon in Atlanta.  Rebecca and I counted, and we think this is our 18th one—and it certainly won’t be our last.  Of all the cons we go to, year after year, DragonCon never disappoints. It is vibrant, crowded, and full of joyful fans. You can tell that everybody loves to be there, and we always look forward to seeing the 75,000-person family.

This year, we arrived on Thursday without incident (unlike last year’s maddening travel travails), and after collecting our badges, we went to the new dealers’ room to help our friends C.s. Brown, Melinda Brown, and our two faithful helpers Dave and  Libby. Moving the dealers room to the Americas Mart (rather than the Marriott) caused innumerable headaches—I have faith they’ll be fixed next year. The gang went to our favorite Max Lagers brewery for dinner then got a good night’s sleep (knowing it would be our last one for a while).

Friday even before the con officially opened, Rebecca and I spoke to Jody Lynn Nye’s writers workshop, then opened our table in the dealer’s room before we headed for the Writer’s Track where we had three hours to give our full “Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me” lecture, to a room with about 200 people. Then back to the dealer’s room to meet fans and sign books.  (Yes there was a lot of walking over the weekend.) And I wrapped up the evening on a Star Wars panel with Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole, and Bryan Young.

Over the course of the weekend I was on panels with Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Katherine Kurtz, and many other friends and colleagues. Lots of fun, parties, signings, and just plain good times.

Jim Butcher and KJA dressing properly for the “Mighty Men of Urban Fantasy” panel

With Sherrilyn Kenyon before we headed off to a fabulous feast at a Brazilian steakhouse.

We sold most of our books at the table for one of our most successful shows ever. Every single copy of my three Dan Shamble books, every single copy of CLOCKWORK ANGELS, every single copy of Terra Incognita, of RESURRECTION, INC., CAPTAIN NEMO, and many other titles. Very few boxes left! We packed up the table cloths and banners and carried them home, because we’d need them again in just a few days for Salt Lake City Comic Con. We had two days at home (and I got another five chapters written in HELLHOLE INFERNO—almost finished, only two left!), by which time I could feel a cold starting, the famous “con crud” often picked up at large conventions.

We flew to Salt Lake City on Thursday morning, and our WordFire Press managing editor Peter J. Wacks had already worked to set up our marvelous booth on the show room floor. Enthusiastic helpers—all Superstars alumni—pitched in to set up and watch the table over the weekend. R. Jon Rock, Michelle Corsillo, Sam Knight, Guy Anthony de Marco, Mike Baron, David Boop.

Thursday the doors opened at 3 PM, and the hall filled quickly. This was the first Salt Lake City Comic Con, with a few birthing pains, but the fans were thrilled. Though I barely managed to leave the table as the crowds came forward, I did find a chance to say hi to Tracy Hickman, Howard Tayler, David Farland, Larry Correia, and our close friends Tracy and Lisa Mangum.

By now, though, the con crud from DragonCon was in full swing, and I had headaches, cough, and a raspy throat.  Rebecca was a day or so ahead of me in symptoms, so I could see just what I was in for.  I was on several panels Friday and Saturday, had to use the microphone because my voice was fast disappearing. All our copies of CLOCKWORK ANGELS, RESURRECTION, INC., most of our Star Wars books, most of our Dune books.

Dean Cane was a surprise guest at our Superman panel on Friday

WordFire Press also debuted two new books at Salt Lake City Comic Con by two of our Superstars alumni, The Crown and the Dragon by John D. Payne based on the forthcoming major fantasy film from Arrowstorm Entertainment, and Lights in the Deep, the first story collection by Hugo, Nebula and Campbell nominee Brad R. Torgersen.

John D. Payne signing his novel The Crown and the Dragon

Brad Torgersen signing Lights in the Deep

By the end of the con I had lost my voice entirely, could barely whisper to the fans who came up to shake my hand, but the crowds kept coming in. According to the fire marshall, the attendance was nearly 80,000 people—the largest convention of any kind in Utah history. And we signed thousands of books, sold so many the table was nearly empty by the time we closed up. We brought 23 cases of books out to the show and went home with four.  We will definitely be back next year!

All our empty boxes—these were full of books when we came to the show.

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