Monday, April 7, 2008

Official I-Con Report

Me. New York. Loved it!

Below is my official I-Con convention report ( Some names have been changed to protect the innocent, but more likely they’re changed because I can’t quite remember them all in my sleep deprived state. Now, I didn’t meet all 8,000 attendees, but I did meet a lot of them, and what fabulous people they were.

Being a guest of I-Con was such a great highlight for me, and an auspicious start to my book tour. There were just scores of great people at the I-Con convention in New York this past weekend.

It started with a great flight from Salt Lake to JFK airport. I met Chris, a woman going to meet her husband in New York and Robert, a businessman from Ireland who was a really fun fellow. We had a fabulous chat and the three of us talked the whole flight long. It was a lot of fun and time went so fast. There three of us became fast friends.

I arrived at JKF Airport and was met by a volunteer (Scott) from the I-Con convention, of which I was an invited guest because of my writing and role-playing game experience.

I-Con took care of everything: hotel, flight, food, and transportation. A volunteer driver, (another Scott), showed up and along with the two Gaming Guests of Honor from Wizards of the Coast: Bill Slavicek (head of game design, the big guy himself!) and Mike Mearls (one of the best game designers on the planet). Both Mike and Bill are heroes of mine and I was honored to be with them. They are so nice and after talking with them I can’t wait to read more about 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, I’m an uber Geek.

Scott, Bill, Mike and I took the 1.5 hour journey from JFK Airport to Stony Brook, New York, in Long Island. What a great trip. Getting to chat with Bill, Mike, and Scott was really cool.

After I dropped off my bags, Scott took me to the convention at Stony Brook University. He escorted me around and we hung out in the Green Room, the place where guests can get food and such. The VIP ribbon on my badge was my all access pass. Then I got to hang out with lots of cool gamers and fans in the Student Activity Center. The guy running it all, “Dregg,” was extremely cool, and all of the volunteers were awesome. I was quite impressed. They made me feel right at home and I’m so thankful for them. We hung out and made friends.

Later that night, I went with some of my new friends to watch the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica season 4. This is the final season. The first episode was so incredible. We watched it in a huge theater with several hundred fans. What an amazing experience it is to watch that kind of show with rowdy fans. We cheered, whistled, clapped, gasped! And had a wonderful time. Watching BSG on the big screen is incredible. My big screen TV at home does not do it justice. Sigh. Oh well. I got goose-bumps during the show a few times and the energy in the theater was invigorating. The whole vibe of the convention was great. People were so excited and many were in costume. I just love it when people can let out their true nature and be among friends.

There were lots more great chats on the bus ride to the hotel with some new friends who watched BSG with me. I loved it.

Finally, the first night ended after a stop in the Green Room for munchies at the hotel. They had a green room at the hotel and at the convention center. Life was good. The fluffy pillows were also good, but there was no little Tammy to share them with.

I should not have checked my email though. An agent declined to represent me with my current novel, Medusa’s Daughter. Oh well. Someone will eventually. Sleep finally happened as I tried not to think about the rejection from the cool agent.

Saturday was a blur of activity on little sleep. I had a panel up against Bill and Mike’s two hour 4th Edition D&D seminar. Needless to say, no one came to listen to me. No one played any games at that time either. Everyone filled an auditorium to listen to Bill and Mike describe the future of our beloved game. I made it down eventually myself and learned a lot. I think 4th Edition will be wonderful. I’m really looking forward to it.

Anyway, later that day I hung in the dealer’s room. Margaret Weiss Productions was there and they gave me a space at their table to display my stuff. I got to meet Jamie and Renae Chambers, a fantastic couple. Jamie wrote the BSG role-playing game and Renae is a great lady who I adore very much. She’s tough as nails and has my favorite kind of determination. She’s survived a lot of surgeries and her character is top notch. All of the people with them are great, especially Lindsay ______, an amazing artist, who was along with Jamie and Renae. I bought some of her art and I can’t wait to hang it on my walls.

Okay, on Saturday I ran a 3 hour Pirates of the Blue Kingdoms D&D game. It went so well and I had 10 players total. The game was really fun and they got right into the spirit of it. A few of them hadn’t played D&D before, but it didn’t matter. All of the players were fun people. The game ended in such an unexpected and cool way. It was very memorable for all of us. I’m happy to have met such nice people.

I signed some books and then went to the I-Con awards banquet with Cherise Fung, Mike Mearls and Bill Slavicek. Cherise is a very good person, and is the one responsible for inviting me to the convention. We were late, but the food was good and awards very entertaining. Harlan Ellison received the I-Conosphere Award and gave an extremely vulgar speech, that was quite entertaining. He did admit to writing an episode of the old TV show, The Flying Nun, but only because he wanted to have sex with Sally Field. Though he described it in a much more colorful way. Yes, he used the F-word a lot when describing this activity that he failed have with dear Sally Field.

I was seated with the co-recipients of the I-Con award for gaming: Wizards of the Coast (represented by Mike and Bill), and Margaret Weiss Productions (represented by Renae and Jamie Chambers). What fine people they all are and very deserving of the award. Both are leaders in the business and they bring so much fun to so many people.

After the show I went back to the con with the leader of the gaming track, a cool fellow who goes by “Dregg.” He drove me back to the con, which was a great perk. It was a highlight to meet him and we had a fun chat in the car. I just love talking with fellow lovers of fantasy and sci-fi.

So, that night I laughed my butt off watching a promo DVD for the game Demon Hunters. It was an orientation DVD for new recruits and so incredibly funny.

Then I ran another Pirates D&D game from 11 PM to 1 AM. Six of the ten players from earlier came back for more, and one new player came for the game. We ran part two of the adventure and it was so funny my stomach hurt from laughing. We all had a wonderful time. A guy named Shane hijacked the game while playing the salty Sea Dog, Codfrey Saltpans, known as “Cod.” It was just too much fun. It was just sidesplitting entertainment and we ended about 1:00 AM.

After about five hours of sleep, “Dregg” drove me, Bill and Mike to the convention and I proceeded to buy art. Yes, it’s an addiction. I just can’t help myself.

But I met some great artists: the famous Ken Kelly, Lindsay Archer, Scott Grimando, Maurine Starkey, Mike Okamoto, and I bought art from Chimera Publishing. The guy who owns Chimera is a close personal friend of Ciruelo Cabarl, my cover artist. I had a wonderful time.

After the goodbyes, Scott drove Bill, Mike and myself to the airport. It was too quick of a trip, but it was a great one. I look forward to next year and hope they’ll invite me out again.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Paul Genesse

Author of The Golden Cord

Book One of the Iron Dragon Series

Five Star Books, April 2008

1 comment:

MoStarkey said...

It was great meeting you too.
The i-Con folks were gracious and organized. I had loads of fun and learned (through good example) some things I'll apply to SiliCon in the Bay Area.

Dave Goldstein was through and a joy to work with. I wish now I had brought more art with me to show off.

Good luck on the writing and keep in touch.