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  • Writer's pictureRosie J.

ConCarolinas 2024 Recap

Hello, friends! It's time for my ConCarolinas 2024 Recap!


Almost every year, I attend this wonderful sci-fi/fantasy convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, called ConCarolinas. I've been going since 2016, except for 2022 when we couldn't go because my partner was in a wedding a couple weeks before and then we were going on vacation to New York City a couple weeks after.


ConCarolinas holds a lot of nostalgia for me. I get to see some of my best friends I made when I used to live in South Carolina. The people who first introduced me to the Con and were pretty instrumental in setting me on this writing path. And as my network has expanded, I get to connect in-person with authors and yet-to-be-published writers I've been getting to know online. The networking is so worth it.


purple nebula type backgorund with a winged panther silhouette and the word ConCarolinas

Let me just start by saying the weather was INCREDIBLE this weekend. ConCarolinas is always the weekend after Memorial Day which is always the last Monday in May. I've been when it's been 100F outside, but this weekend it was around 80F and breezy with clear skies. It was so nice. While the Con itself is mostly inside, there are a lot of restaurants within walking distance and some outside activities and vendors, so it's amazing when the weather cooperates.


Now, on to the event!


As always, ConCarolinas offered a ton of options for everyone. The tracks include Geek Life, STEAM, Paranormal, Writing, Demo/Workshop, Film, Gaming, and the Main Programming. There's an amazing vendor hall. There's LARPing. There's music. There's an indie film festival. Karaoke. Tabletop gaming. So much stuff that happens that I don't even know about because I'm doing other stuff. You could clone yourself five times and still miss things.


We went to a variety of panels across the tracks, but definitely many writing panels. I'm going to list the panels, the track, and the panelists!


I've included links for panelists. Please check them out, because they're all amazing.


Friday


Saturday


Sunday

  • Self-pub v. Small Press v. Big Press - Truths and Trends (writing) - Gail Z. Martin, Rebecca Moesta, Bishop O'Connell, Anthony Francis, Chris A. Jackson

  • Crossing Genres in 2024 (writing) - Gail Z. Martin, Ben Meeks, Lucy Blue, Jason Roach

  • Romantasy (writing) - Sara Bond, Alexandra Christian, EM Kaplan, Vikki Perry, Paige L. Christie



Y'all, seriously, look at all those panels! And that was with taking liberal time for meals on Friday night and Saturday, and having a debacle with getting stuck in a super long line for the elevators on Sunday because the elevators were stuck (with people on them--thankfully not me), so we missed a panel while waiting for the elevator to load our luggage up at check out time.


I can't say enough how amazing cons like this are. I know it's tempting as a writer to go to a "writing conference" that costs hundreds of dollars, but don't discount your SFF fandom cons that have writing tracks. It was $70 for my weekend badge and that was with me getting it two weeks before the con because we weren't sure if we were going to go. They ran a 2-for-1 bring a friend deal at some point, often have discounts, and the early bird registration is about $20 less. So really, all that information and networking opportunity for SO LITTLE compared to traditional writing conferences. Not saying those conferences aren't great too. I'm just saying, if you're on a budget, expand your horizons to include SFF Cons with writing tracks. Do your research, because some are more expos with lots of autographs and no panels, but the ones with panels are a gold mine.


I'll post a couple links at the end of the blog with lists of regional Cons in case you want to look into any.


It's hard to pick a favorite, but Blue Collar Heroes was really great and made me thinkin about writing characters who aren't the typical heroes who can just leave and go on a quest and it's fine. Characters who have to worry about how to pay their bills or their day jobs.


Starting a book is always hard, so there was some insight in the Tackling the Blank Page panel that stuck with me. I'd never heard it explained like this before but one reader said consider the first page like a party. You don't want to show up when they're setting up or when the party is already over. But you want to show up during the interesting part.


Another quote from that panel was to do with writer's block. David B. Coe said "the idea of writer's block presupposes that writing is supposed to be easy." And I don't think I've ever heard truer words than that. Writing isn't easy. Writing does take time. And it may not be true "writer's block" so much as just the normal, difficult task that is writing.


Darin Kennedy also said that even if you aren't putting word on a page, your brain might still be chewing on an idea. And that is writing. Typing is just the act of recording it. The writing really all happens in the brain. Which, to me, was comforting for the days (which are many) I don't get any words on the page.


I didn't take notes at many other panels. Not because the information wasn't valuable, but just because I was tired LOL and we went to a lot of "fun fun" panels later on Saturday and Sunday, too. Like the Dad Jokes and the ConCarolinas Cult and the Smut panel.


The Crossing Genres panel had some great advice for writing in multiple genres. And considering I have a holiday romance with a strong thriller/suspense aspect, it was a good one for me to consider if I'm hitting points that will appeal to both readers of holiday romance and romantic suspense or thriller.


The vendor hall was amazing, as always. We had to budget wisely this year, but I got a couple cute pair of earrings and a 3D printed turtle to go with my pocket dragon I got last year. My partner got another dragon. And of course we visited the fudge guy and brought home some banana rum, bourbon old fashioned, chocolate bacon, and almond joy fudge.


Two pairs of earrings, one are resin unicorns the other are wood handpainted of a cat on a stack of four books
A 3D printed dragon and a turtle, both with a purplish hue

We only bought two books, but one is a collection of a trilogy, so I guess technically four books.


The Keeper Chronicles trilogy by Ben Meeks that is a rural fantasy with a were-otter demon hunter and the Feisty Felines anthology with Kevin J. Anderson as one of the editors. Anderson was also the Author Guest of Honor.


Fun story! I was flipping through the Feisty Felines anthology and saw that one of the authors included in the anthology was a recent Twitter connection I'd made, Pines Callahan. The writing community is so big but also so small at the same time!


A picture of two books, one is feisty felines the other is the keeper chronicles by ben meeks

While I did not purchase the Nevermore anthology edited by Misty Massey at ConCarolinas because I backed the Kickstarter, many of the authors featured in this anthology were at ConCarolinas.


I was able to go around and get signatures from many of them! I missed a couple who I couldn't find, but I will try to remember to take it to ConGregate as well to see if I can snag a couple of the others.


I'm really looking forward to diving into this anthology. I love Poe and I can't wait to see how these talented authors reimagined his stories.


I guess that really sums up our weekend at ConCarolinas.


It was a great con, as always, and I hope to continue going to ConCarolinas every year. Maybe one day I can be a guest at ConCarolinas like I'm going to be at Multiverse in October.


The Con Chairs for Multiverse were also guests at ConCarolinas. The Southeastern Con Circuit is pretty fantastic!


Next up, we'll be going to SAGA Genre Writers Conference that is paired up this year with ConGregate, a SFF fandom con in July.


Have you ever been to a Con like this? I'd love to hear about it!


For now,


Rose


an outline of a rose in bloom


Link | FanCons.com is a good website to start finding Cons near you, but you do have to wade through all the expos and anime cons and stuff to find the ones similar to ConCarolinas


Link | Southernfan.com is another great place to find cons in the Southeast


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