Thursday, April 4, 2013

WonderCon! (Part Two): a guest blog by Dana Cameron

Catriona McPherson is the winner of Hallie Ephron's There Was An Old Woman and Terri Ponce is the winner of S.J. Bolton's Dead Scared! Ladies, please send your contact information to me, Julia, at juliaspencerfleming - you guess the rest - dot com.

  JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: You know what we like here at JRW? Mysteries. Sexy archeologists. Tough, smart heroines. Werewolves. And, of course, our friend Dana Cameron, who combines all of the above and more into her new FANGBORN series. Here she is with the second half of her love letter to all things geekish

WonderCon! (Part Two)

Last weekend I was in southern California promoting my new book, SevenKinds of Hell. I did an event at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, then trained it to Anaheim to participate on a panel and signing at WonderCon. WonderCon has been described as the baby brother of Comic-Con and is a long weekend devoted to celebrating science fiction, fantasy, horror, comics, movies, TV, etc. (you can get a good idea about the event by checking out my Femmes Fatales blog here, where I show some of the awesome costumes. Here you can see the Mysterious Galaxy RB crew dressed a la The Night Circus

While you could just spend the day people-watching, playing character bingo: Dr. Who characters are very big this year, and Star Wars remains popular (I wish I'd gotten a picture of the guy with the middle-aged paunch walking around in a Boba Fett  helmet, bathrobe, pajama bottoms, and slippers—a bounty-hunter with a mug of coffee before work). The costumes range from masks to professional-quality make-up and props. Like this bug monster, who went around on stilts. That's dedication! 

There are also panels. People line up for hours to get to see a panel on the Joss Whedon “Much Ado about Nothing.” But there are a wide variety of discussions about writing comics (and suspense and SF/F and horror), what it's like to work with a famous character like Superman, writing movies and TV shows. There are panels discussing how to make the best Star Trek costumes and how soundtrack music is created. And there are panels on social topics, such as women geeks forming networks to meet other geeks and have fun with crafting, fandoms, and politics. 

I didn't have time to see many panels, but in addition to my panel, “Criminally Entertaining” with Gary Phillips and Stephen Blackmoore I went to a panel on writing fantasy for YA, with the wonderful Nancy Holder (the bestselling, prize-winning Sherlockian who, among so many things, writes dark young adult dark fantasy series and books based on such shows as Highlander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and a raft of others; you can see her here with me and Sherlockian and literary historian Les Klinger. The panel that I was very excited about, however, was the one on the Buffy comics. That featured writer Jane Espenson, about whom I am simply crazy. Not only did she work on Buffy and Angel and Torchwood. She worked on two of my all-time favorite shows, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. Hearing her talk about the difference between writing for TV and writing for comics almost blew my mind. And, when I just happened to be looking for a comic that she'd worked on (I picked up the one based on Husbands), the guy making the sale said, “Oh, she's signing up front now.” 


“Um, the table right there?”


“Uh, yeah.”

“Holy—!” I grabbed my book and ran.

As I got to the table, I tried to play it, well, not cool—polite. Tried to be. WonderCon is a huge event, and Ms. Espenson been doing panels and signings non-stop. So I just said, “I've loved your work forever. Thank you. I'm looking forward to reading this.”

“And would you like me to inscribe it to—oh,” she said, noticing my ID tag, which has my name on it. “You have a name!” 

See, not every attendee's tag has a name. “Professionals” do. I was there as a “Professional.”

I just caught myself before I said, “Yes, I'm a professional! Like you! Well, not like you, but...well, I'm Dana, and I write, too! And my new book just came out, and I'm wicked excited, and I'm so excited to meet you, and omigod, I LOOOOOOOVED BSG so much, and Buffy was a huge influence, and I LOOOOOOVE Joss Whedon and what was it like—?”

Because if I went down that road, I would have gone into a full fan-girl melt-down. Which I would have been happy to do; I own my geekitude. But a line was forming behind me, so I just said: “Yes. 'To Dana,' please. And thank you for everything.”

I made sure I said hello and thank-you-for-signing to her co-author, Brad Bell, asked for a picture, then left. Five feet off the ground. 

And that's what a large part about WonderCon is about—what any convention is about. Getting to share an enthusiasm, pick up a few new ones, and sometimes getting to say “thank you” to someone who made an impact your life.
Do you geek, dear readers? (Or, if you're the same generation as Dana and the Reds, were you a nerd?) Tell us of your fannish enthusiasms, and one lucky commenter will win a copy of SEVEN KINDS OF HELL!

You can find out more about Dana and read excerpts from her books at her website. Dana blogs at Dana's Notebook as well as at Femmes Fatales, and you can also also find her at Facebook and on Twitter as @danacrmn.


  1. Dana, that looks like so much fun. Love the photos! I never heard of WonderCon, before. Thanks so much for introducing me to it. And omg that bug!

  2. Oh, yes . . . all that “I’m a fan of . . . “ is great fun. Generally my fan enthusiasms have been pretty tame, taking me to book signings, television show sets, and the theater. I do, however, have fond memories of attending a Star Trek convention, which was pretty much like the WonderCon goings-on that Dana has described although it didn’t take hours of standing in line to get into the panel with the show’s stars . . . .

  3. YOU HAVE A NAME! Can't do better than that.

    And, Dana, your fans feel the same wey about you.

    What did you learn from the "writing for TV versus writing for comics" bit?

  4. I can really relate to this, Dana. I don't care how well known we are, we all have that fan moment. Mine was when I sat at the signing table next to Tony Hillerman.

    I finally got up courage to turn to him and say "I love your books."

    Felt like an idiot!

  5. Reine, thanks so much--and that bug was IMPRESSIVE!

    Joan, I think these days the Star Trek conventions would have similar lines! It was nice to see a few Spocks wondering this crowd :)

    Hank, aw, thanks! To paraphrase: in writing TV, you need to have the story arc and the dialogue, then the actors and directors and set designers and everyone fills everything else in. In writing comics, you have to be super specific in spelling EVERYTHING out (including realizing that the thing you need the guy to hold in this panel should appear three panels before).

  6. Rhys, I don't think anyone hates hearing that! And I had the pleasure of meeting Tony Hillerman once--he was absolutely charming. :)

  7. Sounds like SO MUCH FUN! Maybe I should change genres. Because I'm a HUGE Star Trek fan. You definitely turned into a fangurl -- would love to have witnessed the transformation.

    I'm promoting my new book, too, so I'm hoping our paths cross...

  8. This looks like a blast, Dana. What fun for you.

  9. Hallie and Elaine, it was HUGE fun! Best of luck with your new books! Hallie, I've always been a fangirl, but this was a particularly good place to experience it!

  10. Ooh, Dana! So envious. And getting a huge kick out of Shakespeare mixed in with the Whovians and Trekkies. Go Joss.

    For anyone who hasn't read Seven Kinds of Hell yet, get thee to a bookstore or library. Great read.

  11. I second Kathy Lynn . . . "Seven Kinds of Hell" is a great read . . . .

  12. You know what I was thinking when I was putting Dana's pictures up? WHY DON'T WE DRESS UP IN COSTUME AT MYSTERY CONVENTIONS??!!??

    I would be down for that.

  13. I've never been to a convention. It sounds like a riot. I'm a big Doctor Who fan currently. And I was a big Star Trek fan way back when. And lots of stuff in between!
    I dressed as Agent Scully and my husband went as an alien with green pointy ears to a party with an extraterrestrial theme years ago. He was in my custody.

  14. Joan and Kathy, thank you very much! I'm so glad you're enjoying SEVEN KINDS OF HELL!

    Julia, there have been costumes at the Crime Bake dinner on several occasions.

    Pat, I love the inventiveness!

  15. I'm a Jane Espenson fan, Dana, but I had no idea she also did comics....somethng for me to look into. Thanks!

    I've enjoyed your archaeologist books, and I must follow you to Seven Kinds of Hell...oops, that didn't come out right, but you know what I mean!

    And thank you for the pleasure you provide for your readers!

  16. Thank you so much, Deb! I'm so glad you've enjoyed my work!

    JE did work on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics and the one based on "Husbands."

    There's lots of archaeology in the new Zoe book, SEVEN KINDS OF HELL. You can take the girl out of the field...