I attended Dragon*Con last weekend, my first real Con. I have been a scifi and fantasy fan since I was a young child, but never had the time to attend a convention. I attended a small one day affair in Tallahassee, Altcon, which was worth going to, but was not near the same class as Dragon*Con. I heard over fifty thousand attended. I could believe it. I went early, on a Wednesday, so I would be there for the Thursday start of the writer’s workshop I had signed up for. Author Jody Lynn Nye taught the workshop, and did a very good job of it. Her husband, Bill Fawcett, helped her out a bit, and had read some of the submissions. Thursday evening was time for registration, and there were already a bunch of people dressed in their costume finery. Fantasy Author Todd McCaffrey, Anne’s son, talked with us on Thursday and gave us an assignment on how to plot out a novel based on a classic four part structure. The workshop continued the next day, with best seller Kevin J Anderson and his wife, Rebecca Moesta, spoke to us on Friday, and both were very gracious. I talked with Kevin a couple of other times during the weekend, and found him to be a man with an easy manner of connecting with people. That night I saw Robert J Sawyer, who sat with me a moment before his panel. I saw him and his wife in passing the next day, and on a panel on Monday.
Todd McCaffrey was on another panel with Lynn Abbey, and he signed a book of his I bought at the session. Later I was introduced to Lynn Abbey in the VIP room while talking with Bill Fawcett. There were panels with John Ringo, Timothy Zahn, Michael Z Williamson and Michael Resnick. Then there was the hour with Larry Niven, a man I have been reading for over forty years. I stopped by the Baen table later and Larry signed a book. Kevin J did the same at his table. I also saw Van Allen Plexico on a couple of the panels, and he moderated the hour with Larry Niven. Man, how I envied him that job. I met Jeanne Stein, an urban fantasy author from whom I had taken a course in how to write that kind of literature. There were other Authors I met, some I had never heard of, many that I had heard something about, but not a lot. One of the more interesting authors was Jim Butcher, who in an hour long conversation stated that he had once entered a room at a con that was almost empty. This time the room was full, with what looked like a couple of thousand people.
There was one thing all the authors had in common. Most were friendly, though not all, but all were genuine people who seemed to really love the genres they wrote in. No one jumping into scifi and fantasy just to make easy money, as if writing anything was easy. I had originally gone to Dragon*Con wanting to see a number of the celebrities, but soon changed focus to the authors. It was my first Con, but will not be my last. I am already planning to go next year, and to LibertyCon as well. I just didn’t know what I was missing.