Dragon*Con 2011 in the Rearview Mirror

Think I’m mostly resurrected from my Dragon*Con undeadness. Spent most of last week asleep, in a dazed fog, or contemplating the mounting to-do items with a bleary sense of alarm. But despite being whammied by con crud and having a few stabbity-urgeful moments (I embrace my wrath, ooohmm), I had a great time.

Partook of banter and food with Ari Marmell and CA Suleiman—which in addition to being a highpoint of the weekend, got me interviewed by MTV. Caught up with Ann Crispin and my DC2K Writers peeps at multiple food-oriented occasions. (Eating and socializing at the same time. Brilliant!) And managed to make it to all my panels on time.

“Happy Genre Fiction” Friday afternoon with Anya Martin and Jean Rabe was my first. And I was still in a stupefied-spastic state after all the usual Thursday set-up chaos. So it’s a bit of a blur, but the audience seemed really engaged and were enthusiastic participants in the Q&A. I did have a momentary mind-go-blank-panic-now at the beginning when it was my turn to introduce myself, but I took a couple seconds to adjust the mike and remember how to breathe. Amazing what a bit of oxygen can do to jump-start the ole gray matter. Managed to recall my name and rattle off an intro and everything.

I was way awed by my fellow panelists in “Characters that Come to Life.” Carole Nelson Douglas and Nancy L. Holder are amazing novelists, and Lynn Abbey, Tracy Hickman, and John Ringo are like epic. Hope I didn’t come off too deer-in-headlights. Lynn was incredibly sweet, but I think what finally knocked me out of my state of eep was John Ringo repeatedly calling me “Naomi.” The first time I was puzzled, wondering if I’d misheard him, the second time felt kinda surreal, and the third time made me giggle. Never did manage to correct him.

And I had vasty gobs of fun on my “Writing Short Fiction” panel. Got to finally meet Ann VanderMeer (who is fabulous) in person instead of only pixels and exchange repartee with David B. Coe, Mary Robinette Kowal, Lee Martindale, and Davey Beauchamp—who ran down twenty flights of stairs to make it!—all of whom I adore and admire. Laughed so hard at one point my face hurt. Almost managed to completely forget my public speaking terror even. Almost.

And I got cute-scary-fairy plushies! Suzanne gave me a key-chain Teddy Scares who noms if you press on her chest:
rita_teddyscares_keychain

And Cassy gave me a fairy-winged skunk—which instantly rendered me speechless and cooing before outright slaying me with cute.
winged skunk

On the Daily Dragon front, I’m right pleased with how things went. There were issues, complexities, stressors, and unforeseen badness, but there always is. And every time I started spiraling into ranty-fume-want-people-on-fire-now-glargh! my staff gave me candy. Yes, I have the most awesome of awesomest staff.

Geoff, in what I took as his subtle way of expressing concern about my general state of uberstressed, signed me up for the Tai Chi Workshop with Erin Gray on Sunday. The workshop was really great, a relaxing oasis in the chaotic Dragon*Con maelstrom. But then I had this idea to introduce myself to Ms. Gray as the Daily Dragon’s director, thank her for her help in coordinating interviews with us, and give her a copy of Returning My Sister’s Face as a token of gratitude and appreciation. I managed to get out my name and Daily Dragon affinity before I was utterly and totally star struck and dissolved into a babbling, stuttering spaz. Sigh. This is why I do not conduct interviews at Dragon*Con.

Huge snaps go to Debbie, Maggie, and Tempest, my awesome trio of copyeditors. (And three is the right and proper number of copyeditors. The cosmos has spoken. I hear and obey. So mote it be.) Shannon and Paul, as always, for keeping my head from shooting off my neck in an apoplectic fit. And all my reporters, who dazzled and humbled me with their talent, hard work, good humor, and dedication.

So yeah, good con.

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