"Clay and Susan Griffith's Vampire Empire is Transforming Genre Fiction" Paul Goat Allen, BN Explorations.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DragonCon 2011, part 1

The Happiest Place on Earth...if you like weird stuff...

DragonCon is a convention dedicated to popular culture held in Atlanta, GA every year over Labor Day weekend. While steamy Atlanta in early September isn't always that pleasant as a destination, no other convention can beat DragonCon's content. Not ComicCon. Not WorldCon. Not nobody. If you like science fiction/fantasy books, movies, television, and games, you owe yourself at least one trip to DragonCon. We've been many times before, and this year was the best time we ever had.

We arrived early this year because last year's registration process was an absolute nightmare. This year was a dream by comparison. We were excited by Susan's fortune cookie on our first night in town.
Your hard work is about to pay off.

We stayed in the Westin, which hosted the Alt. History track, but wasn't in the Hyatt/Marriott/Hilton interconnected hive of activity. It was nice to be out of the beaten path, but also bummed to be cut off from the heart of the con.

Susan on Plotting panel
We participated in a number of panels on several tracks -- Writing, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Alternate History, Young Adult. They were all great, and we loved meeting our fellow panelists as well as fans afterward.

There were two central themes to this DragonCon for us. One was hanging out at the Pyr Books booth, participating in autographings, meeting fans, selling books (both ours and others), and working with the Pyr editorial/marketing folks: Lou Anders. Rene Sears. Jill Maxick. Lynn Pasquale. Gabrielle Harbowy, and other Pyr authors: Jon Sprunk. Andrew Mayer. Ari Marmell. Erin Hoffman. Sam Sykes. James Enge (we didn't get a photo of James!). We've said it several times, but being a part of Pyr is like being a part of a family. We truly love all those guys, and respect their work.  Creatively, it's like being in the legendary Marvel Comics bullpen in the 1960s. All these fiercely creative and smart people working hard to build their own titles, as well as the Pyr brand. It's really amazing, and amazingly fun.

Jill Maxick, Lou Anders, Lynn Pasquale
Pyr braintrust
Lou Anders, Rene Sears
Mirror Mirror takeover?

Ari Marmell, Andrew Mayer
Erin Hoffman, Jon Sprunk

Sam Sykes, Lou Anders (stylin')

The other significant theme was our event with James Marsters. Regular readers of our blog will know that James Marsters (best known as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) will be voicing the audio version of The Greyfriar, and the entire Vampire Empire trilogy. On Sunday night, we appeared with James at a ticketed event where he read the first chapter of The Greyfriar. Then we all participated in a Q & A. The questions were excellent, focused on the writing process and the world of Vampire Empire. James was a genuinely nice man, and also completely invested in the project. He was totally conversant on characters and plot. Sitting there hearing him read those words we have lived with for so long was a surreal experience. He was fantastic.
Clay (too serious), James Marsters (so good), Susan (in coma of joy)

Oh, okay, there was a third theme. Enjoying the party. Our editor, Lou Anders, loves to hang out and drink beer and talk books. He also loves to surround himself with his writers, and other writers. He likes writers, and that's a great thing for an editor. We spent every night dining and drinking and watching the incredible show that is DragonCon After Dark. The cavernous lobby of the Marriott Marquis is like another world.

We'll write and show more of that world in another post soon.

When it's over, you're exhausted and ready for a little reality. But after a day or two, you start thinking about DragonCon next year.


Carla Swafford said...

At 2003's DragonCon, I had the pleasure of meeting James. A very kind man.

Wish I could've been there too.

Ari Marmell said...

Guh. I look like I've been run over by something in that picture.

And I still want one of those guns, dang it!

Lovejames said...

Sorry to bring this up but you have used at least one photographer's photos, without crediting them.
i am surprised as authors you are not more concerned about others' copyrights - perhaps you are already working on correcting this 'oversight', yes?

Clay and Susan said...

You are totally correct, and we apologize. I think it's been properly credited now, but if not, please let us know. I know Rebecca Doe and Karo McQueen were taking pictures at the event, but I "think" the first photo of us and James came from our camera. But we could certainly have made a mistake on that too. Not being a pro photographer or blogger, it was hard to determine source once all photos were sitting in a single folder. It was an oversight on our part rushing to get the blog post up, and we hope someone will tell us if it needs further credits.

Clay Griffith said...

We should also mention that Jean Marie Ward was photographing/filming the event for Buzzy Media.

Clay and Susan Griffith said...

With further thought, we've removed that photo that wasn't ours. We're pretty sure the remaining photo of us and James was ours, but if that's wrong, someone let us know! It isn't right to use someone else's work without permission, even if credited. We apologize. And we'd send folks to the entire (credited!) photo collection linked on the Vampire Empire facebook page.

Jean Caldwell said...

I love DragonCon too! Always a weekend that I look forward to. I started attending years ago when my brother first told me about it, urging me to go, convinced I would enjoy it. He was right and I have been hooked ever since! What I enjoy so much is the undeniable creative energy that surrounds it all. As an art teacher, I get quite revitalized and inspired when mingling and diving into such highly charged activity. I meet the most fascinating people there, including you both this past weekend. It was a pure pleasure to have that opportunity. Vampire Empire is truly a unique adventure, so clever and fast-paced...Lots of fun! I'm through Book 2 and eagerly await the third. Thanks!

Rebecca Doe said...

Hi, I'm the photographer who took the photo you had up (and have since taken down.) I originally posted a link to it on your Facebook. If you'd like to use it, feel free. I took others also at the reading, which you may use if you wish. They're in the same photo album on FB. (Credit to Rebecca Doe is fine.)

Anyway! Loved meeting you both, and getting started on my Greyfriar journey. I'm looking forward to reading both books! :)

Rebecca Doe said...

Oh, and I should also say that I do have other photos from the reading that I didn't post on Facebook. If you're interested, I'd be happy to send them to you.

Clay and Susan Griffith said...

Thanks, Rebecca. We'd love to see the other photos when you get time. You can find our email address in our profile. The pictures were terrific.