As a sidebar, it has taken me a long time to get over the "Dragonlance effect." I'm now in recovery and I'm a happy sandbox DM now...A friend ran into Weis and Hickman at a con and got them to autograph a copy for me. I still have it --
|1986 - wow, that was a long time ago...
Then, I was really intrigued by Dark Sun. I think there was a set of books (the Prism Pentad?) that did a great job of exploring the setting. I enjoyed them.
Of course, I read the first set of Drizzt books. I enjoyed them too. I don't think I've ever played a "Drizzt" character. Maybe...
Lastly, I read a series by Simon Hawke. Must have been 1993 or 94. I had the chance to go to a workshop on writing. Simon Hawke was one of the speakers. He was kind enough to sign my book.
As a "Christmas Bonus," my employer at the time, John Conley (owner of Salsa Brava in Flagstaff, AZ -- FANTASTIC FOOD!) found out about the workshop and bought me a ticket. It was the most thoughtful thing an employer has ever done for me. Thanks John!
Important Tip: if you ever have the chance to meet someone like Simon Hawke, take the time to talk with them on a personal level. At one point during the event, there was a "bio break." Simon stepped outside to smoke in the snow. I went with him (I don't smoke.) We chatted for about 5 minutes. It was the best part of the day.