Monday, September 6, 2010

Dragon*Con 2010

I have to preface this post by saying that I attended Dragon*Con in '06, and I had a terrible time (the traffic was awful, I was utterly overwhelmed, and got lost (both in Atlanta itself and in the hotels) several times). I swore that I would never go back, baring brain damage and hell freezing over.

Apparently both happened. On Friday evening, I found myself (GPS and a new sense of insanity optimism in hand) traveling back to Hotlanta for D*C 2010. This year, I had one “mission"- to meet Mercedes Lackey and get her autograph in my favorite of her books- The Black Swan.

The drive was not bad. I encountered relatively very little traffic and made good time to Atlanta itself, which was as welcoming and charming as ever. (Atlanta was some amazing architecture and gorgeous suburbs.) The weather was perfect- bright blue skies, and temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s.

I stayed at the Hampton Inn Atlanta Airport. While the hotel itself was great, I do NOT recommend staying at that particular location unless you are flying into the airport, AND are familiar with the area. Sullivan Road is not easily accessible from downtown Atlanta, and if you are solely reliant on your GPS (like I was,) you might find yourself circling downtown a few times before actually getting to the hotel itself (which was frustrating beyond belief.)

I love staying at Hampton Inns- they have the fluffiest pillows anywhere. (Really, they’re like sleeping on clouds.) I did find the breakfast a little disappointing (no scrambled eggs?), but the coffee was amazing. The room was a little on the pricey side, but I’d made my reservations only a week or so before I arrived.

I didn’t pre-register at D*C this year, and took my chances on waiting in the “credit card” line to buy my badge. Huge mistake. On Saturday, I waited in line for almost THREE HOURS, only to be shuffled from one line to another- one that collected payment, one that I actually registered at, and one that printed the badge. (Apparently the cash-only line moved much faster.)

I was so burned out by that time, I could only shuffle around from one hotel to the next, and left early.

The signing I attended was on at the Marriott Sunday morning at 10:00. I made it over around 9:30, and found a long, winding line threading through the bottom lobby. At 10:00, the line moved (rather quickly) but was capped about 15 people ahead of me. One of the D*C people came out and said that it wasn’t up to him OR Mercedes Lackey about where the line was capped, but that they might need the room for the next signing author. He also said that Ms Lackey wanted to sign for everyone, and that they were trying to work something about, but that nothing could be guaranteed.

There was some back and forth, and in the end we were allowed to get our autographs. Ms Lackey and Mr Dixon were absolute dears- not only did they sign everything that brought to them (some people brought multiple items), but they talked to every single person, asking their names, answering their questions. I asked Ms Lackey about publishing fanfiction online, and she said (emphatically) “yes.” Confirmation from the horse’s mouth! ^_^

I was struck by their graciousness, and their desire to meet every fan that lined up to see them. Ms Lackey put all kinds of little goodies in my book- stickers of Mr Dixon’s art (signed!), little trading card-like things. I was blown away. If I hadn’t been a fan before, I would have been one after.

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