Tags: dragon*con

Snow White

The Princess and the Dragon*Con (3 of 10)

Number Three of my Dragon*Con Top Ten:
Meeting Paul McGillion
(or: Earth to Atlantis; come in Atlantis)

I mentioned earlier that due to my busy schedule I didn’t have many celebrity sightings this year – celebrity, of course, being someone of esteem that I don’t already have in my phone or on my Christmas card list. The two folks I caught a glimpse of who qualified were Anthony Daniels (C3PO from Star Wars) and Paul McGillion (from Stargate: Atlantis).

Now, there’s a whole story that revolves around the crew of Stargate: Atlantis, a story I promise to tell on the day I meet Jason Momoa and not before. Suffice it to say that it culminated in Janet’s and my hard & fast goal to introduce ourselves to every celebrity within arm’s length, no matter how intimidated, scared, or fangirl we might be.

So there we were in the Green Room. It was late. I was getting punchy. Everyone else was well on their way to being several sheets into the wind. Carl--the Green Room’s very tall bouncer whose job it is to bellow “Last call!” to no objections—offered me some high-octane vanilla cognac from his private flask. Not sure what Mike Lee was drinking, but he was loving the world and tipping well, so it must have been good...but not so good he wasn’t jealous of Carl’s favoritism toward women in low-cut dresses.

I had befriended a fabulous artist named Marrus (pictured right), whose friend explained how creeped out he was that I looked just like Marrus twenty years ago...and still looked quite a bit like her now, plus a few pounds and inches, and minus the frosted hair. We laughed and joked and carried on and yelled plans for the future in each other’s ears. See, once it gets packed and the evening wears on, the Green Room isn’t so much a haven as it is a really crowded bar with great snacks and free drinks. At first you only have to talk above the background music, the beer pong game, and the masquerade...later you have to yell above all the other people trying to be heard above all those other things too.

I followed Mike to the bar the first time as an excuse to walk by Paul McGillion. After like the sixth or seventh time, as folks were starting to head to other parties in anticipation of getting kicked out, I hooked Mike’s arm and dragged him slowly toward the door. I swear he said goodbye to everyone—which included bestowing a giant hug on Paul McGillion. Now, I had no idea Mike knew Paul. For all I know he probably doesn’t. But I stood there and smiled, and courteously after Mike said goodbye, Paul turned to me. And this is what happened.

Lee: (sticks out her hand & shouts) I’m Alethea Kontis! It’s nice to meet you!
Paul: (cups his ear) What!?
Lee: (leans in) ALETHEA KONTIS!
Paul: (smiles) Thank you! Thank you very much!

I tried to say something else just as he tried to say something else, and we both leaned in to scream it again in each other’s ears only to stand there in awkward silence. Paul then kissed me on both cheeks and said, “Have a good night!” Embarrassed, and feeling like I had just had a conversation with someone via tin can and string, I dragged Mike out the door after Janet, Leanna, and Chris.

WHAT had just happened? I touched my cheek. Paul McGillion had kissed me. Does it matter what happened?

The next day I stopped by the Sherrilyn Kenyon booth to tell my story to Eddie and Erin. They were just as confused as I was abou8t what had transpired. “What exactly did you say again?” Eddie asked.

“I just introduced myself,” I said, “and he said ‘Thank you.’”

“What exactly did you say?” said Eddie.

“I’m Alethea Kontis,” I said slowly, enunciating every syllable. There was a pause, and then we all started laughing. My cheeks flushed all over again. “He thought I was saying, ‘I love you,’ didn’t he?”

“That, and he probably thought you were very drunk,” said Erin.

I sighed. Not exactly that ‘meeting of soul mates’ moment that everyone wishes to have when introducing themselves to celebrities they admire. Then again—what is it I say?—some things are meant to be, and some things are meant to be great stories.

The next time we meet, I have a feeling Paul will get a kick out of this one.

Snow White

The Princess & The Dragon*Con (2 of 10)

Number Two of the Dragon*Con Top Ten:
Assimilating the Twitterverse

Twitter existed last Labor Day weekend, but it was about as prevalent then as the iPhone. Now that most of the appleminded have wised up and we're all jacked in,  the Twitterverse was alive and well in the fourth dimension. I tagged all my own tweets with the #dragoncon hashtag, and in the wee insomniac hours before my roommates rose from the dead, I would click on #dragoncon to see what everyone else was saying and doing.

What parties had just ended? What concerts were going on tonight? What cool costumes were floating around? What great panels had I missed? How many people had already stopped at Starbucks and were sitting in the Shatner/Nimoy line? What time were the Thriller dance rehearsals? How much was it to get Patrick Stewart's autograph? Getting to experience the convention through so may other people's eyes WHILE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING IT MYSELF was a bit mind-blowing. And excessively cool.

Before I knew it, I was responding to the tweets of perfect strangers. One girl mentioned that she was dressing up as Rose from the 60's episode -- I asked her if she'd worn the same thing to the parade yesterday because I'd noticed that costume. Turns out...it was her! I complimented her on the pink dress, and we commiserated about how we don't get to watch the parade anymore now that we're in it. One guy boasted about being part of the Crazy 88s that poured down the escalator during the sold-out Steampunk Ball and entertained everyone who couldn't get in. I had ordered Kit to take a picture of the group -- they looked spectacular, and I told my new friend Will so. He invited me to get in the picture next year, and I took him up on the offer.

The thing was, these weren't perfect strangers. At any other convention, these would probably have been the folks I found myself hanging out in the lobby with until 2am. Thanks to Twitter, I got to spend my free time seeing the convention through their eyes. I got to make friends with people I might have bumped into many times over the last thirteen years--people who might have been across town...or in the very next room.

We live in an age where people are almost afraid to walk down the street and meet their neighbors...but there are people out there--kind, like-minded people--just waiting to be met. Despite the alien disguises we might don, we're all human. And, as Twitter only further proves, at Dragon*Con, we're family.

Snow White

The Princess and the Dragon*Con (part 1 of 10)

This entry would have happened earlier, but as many of you know (how many mothers do I have on Twitter?) I came home from Atlanta and promptly got horribly sick. In the last week I've caught up on a lot of TV...and I relived Dragon*Con. I searched YouTube for recordings of the parade. I posted all my pics to my photo album, looked through Chris's and Judy's, and waited patiently for the fan photos that tagged me on Facebook (okay -- which one of you thought I was Sherri's niece?). I unearthed the famous Thriller video. And I made notes. There's no way I can ever write a con report that would do this year's Dragon*Con justice. Last year, I did a top-ten list. Hey! A top-ten list sounds like an awfully good idea, doesn't it? Let's start with number one:

1.)  Wait...it's OVER?!? Thirteen years ago, my boss at Waldenbooks dragged me to my first science fiction convention -- a little place called Dragon*Con. (I say "little" because it was only in two hotels: the Westin and one other.) One of the first hard-and-fast realizations that hit me was the One Universal Truth of Dragon*Con (apart from: "You have to go down to go up") was that it was impossible to do everything. There was just no way. You had to pick a few authors you really wanted to meet, a few stars you really wanted to see, a few panels you really wanted to attend, and everything else was a bonus. In fact, over the years I found that the more I didn't plan, the more fun I had. Bonus.

A few years ago, the dynamic changed. I started running with Sherrilyn Kenyon's crew. Derek got me invited as an official guest so that I could moderate the "Hour With Sherrilyn Kenyon" -- a panel that inevitably packed the Goth track room to its gills every year. The Dark-Hunter Companion hit the streets. I started walking with the Dark-Hunters in the parade. Derek asked me onto other panels. I became friends with some of the staff. They recognized me in the green room. Even after all that, I was surprised when I got my schedule emailed to me to find that I had four panels, an autograph session, and a reading. I suddenly felt like somebody, and it was a little scary.

I shifted my priorities a bit and concentrated on the one thing I wanted to do -- hang out with my roommates Chris (Kit) McCormick and Leanna Renee Hieber. Kit and I have known each other since I was 10 (see also: The High School Reunion essays). Leanna and I met a few months ago at BEA, which seems ridiculous even as I type it. Our souls have known each other for a lot longer. This was her first Dragon*Con, and the first time I'd been able to spend quality time with Chris in forever and a day. My first priority was them. My second priority was my schedule. Everything else would be a bonus.

Only...when one is in the parade, one doesn't get to see the parade. When one is required to speak on panels, one cannot stand in line to attend any others. When one's autograph session runs an hour long, the Walk of Fame shuts down before one is able to get over there. I hoped I would run into random celebs in the green room or at various parties. Other than Paul McGillion and a brief Anthony Daniels sighting, the only famous people I got to hang out with were the ones I already knew. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But at a con the size of Dragon, one does look forward to making impressive new friends.

At the very least, I walked the Art Show. I bought one piece of art from a new artist. I saw both Exhibit halls and bought both a corset and a Buffy skin for my iPhone (thank you, Pendragon and Dark Horse, respectively). I never saw Felicia Day or William Shatner. I never got to tell Jason Momoa my funny story. I did not have my picture taken with the Doctor Who costume crew (though we did catch a great 10th Doctor on the first day). I did not participate in the world-record-breaking Thriller Dance. And I did not set foot in the Walk of Fame. 

The second I drove up to the Atlanta skyline I took a picture, savoring the moment of anticipation because I knew it would be over sooner that I wanted it to be...and I was right. I had prepared for MONTHS, and here it was, and we were going to have a fabulous time. And we did. A time beyond measure.

The part I didn't count on, however, was that because I had left so much undone, up until yesterday I didn't feel like I had actually gone to the convention. It was a really weird feeling.

Especially because my convention experience was in absolutely every other way AWESOME.

Snow White

Post-con Princess

This is the scene in my dining room.

It's looked this way for a week now, because I came home sick from Dragon*Con AND I'M STILL SICK. I'm a healthy person. I'm not used to these illnesses that take two weeks to clear up. After seven days I have to admit...this is driving me nuts. Granted I've caught up on pretty much all the TV I've ever wanted to watch -- my two new favorite shows are "Castle" and "Lie To Me" -- Nathan Fillion just makes us authors look GOOD, and Tim Roth is, well, TIM ROTH, only he Hugh Lauries it up a bit.

There's a Dragon*Con Top Ten post coming. I have notes and everything. I've even started writing it. But I also have to get back to other work, and I don't want to leave you guys hanging.

So here are my pics from yes, the Best Dragon*Con Evar, and here are my best friend and Con Roomie Chris McCormick's. The Sideshow was standing room only. The Hour With Sherrilyn Kenyon had over 1000 people. Our signing lasted two hours. The parade was marvelous.

And I still maintain it was worth every minute of my current misery.

Snow White

Dragon*Con Scavenger Hunt!

AnthologyBuilder's Dragon*Con Scavenger Hunt

Our secret agents are stalking the convention circuit looking for AnthologyBuilder badge wearers. If they spot you, you'll receive a free gift certificate or anthology!
  • WorldCon
  • Dragon Con
  • World Fantasy
  • Philcon
Badges are reusable, so collect and save them for future events!

How to Win at Dragon*Con:

Since DragonCon is so huge, we're offering a new way to get prizes: Email a photo of your badge collection (or post it online and send us a link) to badges@anthologybuilder.com. We'll distribute prizes to the first 100 people who participate. The best prizes will go to photos that:

(1) include multiple badges
(2) include a costume
(3) are unusually inventive

Want to be a Secret Agent?

Send an email to 007@anthologybuilder.com telling us which convention(s) you'll be attending. Our staff will assign you a mission and provide a small compensation for your time.

My Awesome Badge

Jonesing to create your own anthology? Check out AnthologyBuilder's archives. I've got six stories listed there...it's a good start!

Bowler Hat

Dragon*Con Schedule

Ladies and Gentlemen, mark your calendars!

Vampires Are The New Vampires
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Vampires are always in style, no matter what decade it is.

Title: Dragon*Reading: Alethea Kontis (aka PRINCESS ALETHEA'S TRAVELING SIDESHOW! Join us for books, bubbles and mayhem. First 50 people get free tote bags full of prizes!)
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Roswell - Hyatt (Length: 1)

Title: Scary Fairy Tales
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: A look in to the darker side of fairytale magic.

Title: An Hour With Sherrilyn Kenyon
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Centennial I - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Moderator / MC for panel
Description: An interview with the bestselling author of the Dark-Hunter series.

Title: Dragon*Autograph
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: M301 - M304 - Marriott (Length: 1)

Title: The Future of Urban Fantasy
Time: Mon 11:30 am Location: Montreal / Vancouver - Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: Where does the genre go from here?

Demon Lee

Dragon Princess

For the last few years, I've been asked the question: "Was this the best Dragon*Con ever?" My response was usually a shrug. It's always difficult to top the first of course, back in 1996...or the one in 2003 when--after a 5 year hiatus--Kit and I dropped everything and decided two days before to get tickets and a hotel room and the stars kind of aligned.

But THIS, this was the first Dragon*Con where everything was about ME. Or, rather, where I didn't spend the whole time worrying about what everyone else was doing, or what I needed to pick up for boyfriends who couldn't be bothered to make it, or what I was going to wear on what day. I knew the lay of the land, I had my priorities, and all my friends had my cell number. Best of all, I wasn't afraid -- of anyone or anything.

So yeah. Apart from wishing I had taken more pictures, I think maybe this was the best Dragon*Con ever. Without further ado, I bring you Lee's Top Ten List of Things That Happened at the Best Dragon*Con Ever.

10. Family Reunions Are Like That. It wouldn't be a convention without being able to reconnect with friends like family and fans around the world. When the attendance is upwards of 60,000, the chances of running into someone you've known forever go up significantly. I wouldn't have been the same without: Eric, Edmund, Stephen (the man I would follow into traffic...and have), Mike, Janet, Lillie, Chuck, Chesya, Liz, Derek, Mike, Kit, Jen, Jim, Sabrina, Jeremy, John Ringo, Miriam, Dave, Bob, John Scalzi, Toby, Sherri, Eddie, Judy, Erin, Penny, Judi, Tina, Amy, Sherry, Marie, Leslie, Kimi, Audie, Kevin, Rebecca, Stephanie, Gray, Fred, Jackie, Brian, Toni, John Everson (I suddenly know WAY too many Johns), Tjuana, April, Katie, Destiny (was it you who yelled my name out the car window?), Lisa, Julie, Heather, Carol, Sam(!), Jeff, Dekker...I could go on. And should. But like I said...60,000 people...and I love them all.

9. Look Both Ways Before Crossing the Universe. So a bunch of us are on our way to the infamous Rainbow Frog Party, and we're waiting for the light to turn so we don't get hit by crazy Atlanta driver. Eric James Stone is facing me...and doing funky things with his eyes. He raises his eyebrows, looks at me like a deer in headlights, and then looks to his left. Okay. Someone Of Note is obviously standing behind me. Mike Lee is now looking over my shoulder like he's swallowed said rainbow frog. Crap! How do I pull this off? I subtly turn and look back up at the skyline like I'm checking hotel location and HOWDY there is Edward James Olmos. Admiral Adama is crossing the street with us. Yeah, we're rock stars.

8. The Dark-Hunter Companion. After two years of participating, I maintain that the best way to see the Dragon*Con parade is to be in it. When you walk in the parade, you want to carry as little on your person as possible. And when you're dolled up like a super-cute Goth Chick, there's really no place to put stuff anyway. I shoved my room key and a credit card in my right boot and made my way over to the Marriott to meet with the Dark-Hunter contingent...but first things first. Starbucks. And as I'm gliding along the down escalator, I curse. STANDING RIGHT THERE is the Doctor Who brigade, looking as fabulous as they did in the parade last year...when I didn't have my camera. *SOB* Only...is that Eddie standing in the Starbucks line? Eddie who wears pants with lots of handy pockets, and who keeps his camera on his person at all times? I walked up to the middle David Tennant and (blushing mightily) said, "Could I please get my picture with the Doctors?"

"Of course!" he exclaimed, then turned to his party and shouted, "Doctors, assemble!" I've never seen anything like it. All the Doctors lined up in formation and instantly whipped out their sonic screwdrivers. It was so perfect I had to laugh...and then realized that about 50 people had pulled out their cameras to take pictures. So I played my part as the Hottest Companion Ever. We look FAN-TASTIC. Steven Moffat, I'll be waiting for your call. Eddie, you're my hero.


7. Dancing Queen. Several years ago, Janet & Mike Lee got me to dance in public. It was a White Wolf party back in the heyday of Justin's mad DJ skillz. Mike handed me a drink that was possibly vodka and orange food coloring and said, "Drink this." I took a healthy (gross!) swig. "Now go dance," he instructed. I looked at the people dancing in front of the stage, took another swig (blech!!) and ran after Janet. I felt self-conscious until I realized I was sandwiched in the dark between a guy in leather and a fairy. When I finally emerged it was two hours later, and I realized that I LIKE dancing. And one day I'll get over myself enough to do it outside Dragon*Con.

So there I was at the Ego Likeness concert, way past my bedtime (1:30 is early for Dragon*Con!), and standing beside Stephen Segal as he watched the table and sold CDs for the band. I had sent a text to Janet that said, "This band is fun! Come dance with me!" but had no response. I was still too chicken to go up there by myself. So when the girl from Hellblinki walked past and said, "Okay, who wants to dance?" I said "Me!" before she even finished asking the question. I lost her in the crowd, and felt self-conscious...until I realized I was dancing in the dark between a storm trooper and a huge robot. I laughed, and got over myself.

6. Remove! Remove! There is nothing like people-watching at Dragon*Con. There is really nothing like being perched on the balcony at the Hyatt Bar with Janet & Mike & Stephen, commenting on costumes and yelling out impromptu scripts for Dalek porn. Observe the Geek in her natural habitat.

5. Moved to Tears. When Eric James Stone offered to share his reading with another author, I jumped at the chance to be his plus-one. I had enjoyed the juxtaposition of Mary Robinette Kowal and John Scalzi at WorldCon so much...there need to be more tag-team readoffs like that. By all accounts, Eric and I did a fantastic job, to an audience of more than twenty people I had guilted into showing up. Turns out, thanks to Sherri, I am now able to speak to crowds of thousands without an ounce of anxiety or preparation. When I'm reading my own fiction, however, I still blush terribly. My face was on fire by the end of that hour. But Lillie said I almost made her cry twice...a compliment that made it all worth it.

4. Hugging  Lex Luthor. Dave and Bob said they didn't know how to make it up to me when I got them passes for Saturday that didn't require them having to wait in line. I gave them what I thought was adequate recompense -- I wanted them to introduce me to their old friend Rosie, a.k.a. Michael Rosenbaum, the actor who made Smallville worth watching. We stood in line at the Walk of Fame until Rosie looked up and yelled, "Ziegler? Oh my GOD!" and came running around the table. He hugged Bob, and Dave, and then stopped right before he swept me up too. "Aw, hell, you get a hug," I said as Dave introduced us. I still haven’t written that Lex Luthor essay I've been meaning to get down...but now I have an even more unique perspective on it. Score.

3. All the Lonely People Come From Isengard. The first day of the Con, Eric and I walked through the three main hotels so that we might get our bearings...and check out who had made an early arrival on the Walk of Fame. I saw Nathan Fillion and Sean Astin -- all I ever did see of them that weekend. We did one loop around the room, and then headed back down the stairs to the dulcet sounds of a lovely piano sonata. My three favorite instruments are the piano, the violin, and the muted trumpet. I know how to play none of these, of course, but I admire anyone who does. And some talented convention goer had taken it upon himself to commandeer the piano in the hall. The piece? The Beatles' "Hey Jude." The pianist? Saruman.

You just can't purchase this kind of exquisite irony.

2. Hi, Sam!  Chesya Burke and I were standing in the food court waiting on Eric to get his shake at the Dairy Queen, and I smiled at the beautiful young man in a lovely red kimono next to us. He took one look at my face, glanced at my badge, and exclaimed, "Oh my god! I LOVE you!"

How else does one respond to that? "I love you too," I said. "What's your name?" His badge read: Samantha. Well hell, my sister's name is Sam. Finally! A fan name I could remember! We chatted about Dark-Hunters for a little while, and when Eric got served we said our farewells. I was on cloud nine. Having a perfect stranger tell you they love you in the food court can hardly be a bad thing for one's ego.

Fast forward to the "Hour with Sherrilyn Kenyon" panel, as ever MCd by yours truly. A hand goes up in the back, and I point. The inquirer stands up. I smile like an idiot. "Sam!" I yell. "Hi, Sam!" It's always good to see a familiar face. It's also fun to make that face the third most popular person in the room. What's the point of fame if you can't share it?

!. Dancing Queen, redux. ...but before I danced with the Hellblinki girl, I danced with John Scalzi. I'm not sure what took the Machines of the Universe so long to throw the two of us together, but I'm glad it finally happened. Yes, there was a Rainbow Frog Party. Yes, there was an incident involving bacon-flavored jellybeans, a conga line, and a room full of sweaty gay men. And yes, I take full responsibility. But you're not getting any more than that out of me. No, sirree.

Dragon*Con Rules: You have to go down to go up. Don't drink the blue stuff. And what happens at Dragon*Con stays at Dragon*Con.  

More Dragon*Con pics here.

Demon Lee

Calling All Vampires!

Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark-Hunter Fans, UNITE!

Dragon*Con Parade Info
Where: Marriott Hotel water fountain
When: Saturday, 9am
What do I wear?: Goth Gear, sunglasses, comfortable shoes! (Wings and horns optional)

Come one, come all, come kick some Daimon ass!

(okay, and if you're just friends of mine you better be walking with us too. All warm bodies accepted.)