ConCarolinas Recap

hotel viewBy the first day, I knew I’d be there again next year.  This is without a doubt, one of the best mini-cons I’ve ever attended.  Then again, I could be biased because of the fabulous view from my hotel room.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  Too bad I couldn’t say the same for the drag-your-ass internet service.  *sigh*

I arrived around 6pm because the urban fantasy panel wasn’t until 10pm.  Everyone was very helpful at the registration desk, in terms of getting my situated.  Not to mention, they also had a goodie bag of sweets waiting for me, which I immediately chomped down.  Anyway, the urban fantasy panel included myself, Dorian Wallace of Amira Press, and J.F. Lewis of Pocket Books.  I don’t know about them, but I had a blast on that panel, talking about urban fantasy, what it meant and how we chose it.  At least, I think that was a question.  *shrug*  Either way, we put a lot of information out there for other writers, including our methods for slogging through our dreaded middles.

Saturday was a full day for me, but the of the best highlights not on the schedule was meeting authors and publisher of Amira Press.  Sabrina Luna, Dorian Wallace, Crymsym Hart, and Dahlia Rose are the best!  I had the chance to pick up a few of their books while I was there, so I’m definitely going to get my reading on.  And if you’ve never heard of Amira Press, I highly advise keeping an eye on them.  I’ve been watching them grow for more than a year now and so far so good.  Not to mention, their books have gotten some pretty good reviews in Romantic Times. 

I can’t possibly forget the wonderful Kalayna Price who arrived on Saturday afternoon wime and kalaynath friends Darlene and Tori in tow.  All three of them rock!  I’m thrilled for Kalayna and the way her career is turning out.  Urban Fantasy lovers, keep your eye on this fabu author.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.  I finally had a chance to give her my much awaited congratulatory hug.  It would’ve been better had it not been for my sore boobs, but that’s a mother-to-be’s ever-changing body for you.  😉

The Marketing Your Book panel and What Color Are Your Characters were two awesome panels.  David B. Coe has a great write up on Magical Words regarding panels and is a very wise and personable author, too.  As for what I thought, the marketing panel was very informative with the biggest piece of advice being to have a book out at least once a year once you become published.  That’s the best marketing plan ever, IMHO.  We also shared the panel with the amazing Misty Massey who’s such a sweet person.  I’m still kicking myself for missing her belly dancing class.  Baby tummy or not, count me in if it has anything to do with dancing.  I’ll manage just fine.  🙂

In What Color Are Your Characters, I finally got to talk about something that’s very near and dear and private to me, as you can probably tell.  I write what I know, which is why I write African American and biracial heroines.  Now that we have an African American (or biracial) president, perhaps it’ll open up the doors a tad wider for AA heroes and heroines in the sci-fi/fantasy genre.  Fingers crossed.  🙂  We also talked about book covers with non-Caucasian characters and James Maxey brought up a very good question.  What was the last book you read that had an AA character on the cover.  Mine didn’t count, unless you weren’t me.  😆 

Next up was the Where Have All of the Vampires Gone and The Horror, The Horror.  I almost missed the vampire panel because I had fallen asleep.  What can I say?  I had split my time between Amira Press and crew and Kalayna and crew (Tori  and Darlene).  Before I knew it, it was 8pm and my panel was at 9pm.  So, I sat on the panel is a slight daze, still trying to wake from my much-needed nap.  Anyway, I think it went over great.  With such wonderful co-panelists, how could it not be?  By the time The Horror The Horror rolledaround, I was awake and ready to vent a few of my frustrations with horror movies past and present.  In fact, I think we wall had a great time doing just that.

ConCarolinas is without a doubt one of the best mini-cons I’ve ever attended.  My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to meet Christina Stiles.  Fingers cross we can rectify that in 2010.  😉  I think it’s safe to say that about half the people came in costume, which made it all the more fabulous.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would be a tie between the zombies and the steampunkers.  Although, there were some fabulous vampires there too. 

I can’t possibly forget about the writer’s track either.  The programming folks did an impressive job with setting up the panel topics.  I didn’t expect much since this was a small conference, so needless to say, it was a wonderful surprise and made me all the more honored to be a part of it.  If you’re looking for a cheap conference–$35 if you register early (I think)–and has a great writer’s track that concentrates on a little bit of everything from writing to the business of publishing, then this is the way to go.

ConCarolinas 2010, count me in!  :mrgreen:

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8 thoughts on “ConCarolinas Recap

  1. The view is glorious! Glad you had such a wonderful time, but I suspect you have a wonderful time almost everywhere. You carry your wonderfulness with you. And I don’t mean the baby, though I’m sure the baby is wonderful, too. 😀

    • Edie, we’re up to hug #53 now. 😆

      One thing about conferences is that it’s easy to have a good time when you’re in the company of good friends. Wonderfully enough, I had walked away with more good friends than I had planned. 😀

  2. I hope you can’t read the envy in my words, but by the gods I’m envious! It sounds like you had such a great time. I’m happy for you.

    I’m glad you said something about writing about what you know and pretty much the racial background of characters. A good friend told me once that I should keep my character main stream–the heroine in my MS is Caribbean and the hero is an interesting White mix *grin* I wouldn’t write it any other way. I need this kind of things to make my writing sound believable.

    Thanks for sharing, now I’m going to bed to dream about the day I’m there too 🙂

    • Magaly, had you been there, I’m sure you would’ve upped the fun quotient. 🙂

      I totally agree with your friend, too. I think keeping your characters mainstream adds another layer of reality to urban fantasy, one that’s hardly ever explored. Weirdness don’t just happen to one race. It happen to everyone when we least expect it. I’m hoping that adding an African American or Caribbean heroine–I would LOVE to read that–will take the genre in a new direction before everyone decides “Oh, well, the market has been saturated” without giving it a try.

  3. Wow. Sounds like you had a totally terrific time, Marcia. And yes, the view from your hotel window is worth it alone.

    I’ll be doing the Wisconsin conference in a few days and will probably blog about it over at MagicalMusings on Monday. As much as I enjoy the big conferences, I so look forward to the smaller ones. They’re more intimate.

  4. Oh Liz, you would’ve had a blast! While big conferences are great, the smaller ones can be just as exciting and memorable, too. Even better, it’s easier to make friends and new contacts.

    And I can’t wait to read your write-up on WisRWA. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about your convention that I need to start saving my cha-ching so I can make it up there.

  5. I can’t believe that, I live in NC and didn’t make the trip! I’ll have to plan better next year. I’m glad you had a great time though. Your view was breath taking.

    Most of the characters I write are biracial. I have to admit that, sometimes I worry that that will limit my marketablity. Most of the authors I read don’t write about AA or biracial characters. (Most movies too.)

    Wish I could have sat in on that panel 😦

    • You are so coming with me next year, even if I have to stop by your house and kidnap you for the weekend. 😉

      I so know where you’re coming from about the marketability of biracial characters. It’s not easy to sell a character like that as most might think because we’ll get shelved in the AA section of the bookstore and very few AA readers are known for reading fantasy. Plus, not many readers will go to the AA section to look for an urban fantasy book. They’ll go to the fantasy section. That’s the catch-22, and unfortunately, the burden we AA urban fantasy writers bare. So whenever people get uptight about a book with an unhappy ending being shelved in the romance section, I so want to tell them, “Be thankful you’re not in my AA shoes.” *shrug*

      All I can say is keep pushing through and making connections with ALL people. Life is more fun that way. 😉

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