Hickman’s Comic Con FanXperience

Laura and I attended the Salt Lake comic con fan experience, held on April 17-19 at the Salt Lake city salt Palace convention center. It was a wild and wonderful ride, mostly memorable for the wonderful fans and new friends that we got to meet at that science fiction geek fest just a few weeks ago.

Evermore at FanX 2014. My son is on the right.

There was a lot of stress going into this convention. I have been working with a group of people to perfect a new texting system specifically designed to support artists, authors and vendors in just such a convention environment. We had run a much smaller scale test at a Denver convention a few weeks before and it had worked well there. But this was the big time: although we did not know it going in, this convention would have over 100,000 attendees crammed into those three days. In addition to those stresses, my son Curtis had a lot riding on success at this show. He is the Chief Creative Officer for Evermore, and adventure theme park that he is working on in the valley just south of where we live. I had convinced my son of the powerful applications that are texting system could provide him and he had committed to use the system as the central part of their marketing for the convention. Getting the system fully functional before the opening day of the convention became a huge matter of stress for both of us but the deadline was met and with a few bumps along the way the system worked beautifully throughout the convention.

Smoothing the dents out of new software was not the only stress that we had before the convention, however. I had ordered several cases of my ‘Wayne of Gotham’ hardback novels to sell at the convention. What better combination than to sell Batman novel at a comic con? Unfortunately, there was a mixup with the shipping company and my precious cases of books did not arrive until it was too late for the convention.

We set up our booth on Wednesday and then arrived early on Thursday morning prepared, or so we thought, for what was to come. We managed the peak at the Evermore booth our son had been working on nonstop for many weeks, including the miniature of the park which had just been finished the day before. Unfortunately, we had little time for praise in our admiration because the doors were opening and the tsunami of fans was flooding into the hall.

Fanx Booth

Where’s Tracy and Laura? Can you find us?

The next three days would be something of a blur… But what a delightful blur it was! Not only did we meet old and new fans and friends in our booth but we also got to share our space with our friends Joe and Kim Bourie who was demonstrating his new game app, Smash and Dash. Dan Willis, my co-author for our upcoming ‘Dragons of the Confederacy’ steam punk novel, also visited in our booth from time to time. Everyone was quite helpful in ‘minding the store’ whenever Laura or I needed to leave for a seminar or to grab something to eat in the Greenroom.

It was in the greenroom her I was delighted to connect again with Aaron Douglas. You may remember that Laura and I first met Aaron while attending a convention in Lethbridge, Canada. Not only is Aaron a wonderful professional actor, but his genuinely one of the nicest man I have ever met. To reconnect with him, chat about our business and our lives was a genuine joy. If you ever meet this man who played Chief Tyrol on the more recent Battlestar Galactica, please tell him hello for me and that I still owe him dinner.

On Friday afternoon, there was a bit of a mixup regarding our room assignment for our Dragonlance Legacy Celebration seminar and as a result the room was so packed that they had to turn more than thirty people away at the door. The convention management, however, was so upset and mortified that they asked if I would mind repeating the event again later that evening. It would make for a very long day, but I was happy to say yes. The result was that we had even more people attend our Dragonlance Legacy Celebration that same evening that had been turned away in the afternoon. We told about the early days of Dragonlance, showed a number of wonderful artifacts and even gave one of them away to the crowd using our convention text system.

When we arrived early on Saturday morning, we had brought our daughter Tasha with us. As we enter the convention, we noticed a huge queue of people waiting to enter the ballroom. Nathan Filion was about to appear and was scheduled, of course, opposite our Killer Breakfast. It was quickly decided that Laura and I could probably manage and other Killer Breakfast on our own so that Tasha could experience Richard Castle appearing on stage.

Killer Breakfast FanX

As for that morning’s Killer Breakfast, it turned out to be one of the most memorable in years. It seemed that everyone who came on stage had a talent for improv and by the time we came to the end the room was rolling with laughter.

At the end of the final day, there just wasn’t very much to take back to the car. We had sold our books, packed up our games, and were grateful once again not only to have participated in such an enormous and well-run convention but that within those crowds we have been able to connect with so many of you on a personal level.

To be able to meet you, the reader, who is ultimately the performer of our words was the best part of all.

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