June 3-5, 2005
Charlotte, North Carolina
I fought thunder storms and rush-hour traffic to make it to Charlotte by early evening. I arrived a little worse for wear.
My first stop—after checking into my room and cranking the AC to fight back the oppressive southern humidity—was the bar. I remembered from the previous year that they served Guinness in the nitro cans and that was just what I needed. On arriving I discovered that Tee Morris and Tony Ruggiero had already beaten me there. A couple of pints later I had gotten the scoop on Tee and Tony’s book tour and was ready to join the real world, or at least the con world. I sat in on Tony’s panel on “The Role of Modern Day Vampires” and then retreated to the bar for dinner. Tee introduced me to writer/podcaster Mur Lafferty and then it was off to my first panel, “Internet Publishing.” The turnout was pretty good for a Friday night panel and it was the only one I had scheduled, leaving me free for the rest of the night.
Apart from myself, what else was going on at the con? Guests of Honor included Greg Keyes (Writer), Farscape’s David Franklin (Media), and The Great Luke Ski (Filk). Horror movie icons Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) and Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th) were on hand for autograph sessions as well.
Saturday was my busy day. I was scheduled on panels from 10:00-4:00 and then for a signing from 4:00-5:00. Seven hours, no break. Now, I’m not one to complain and I do like being on as many panels as possible but a lunch break would have been nice in there. Just something for programmers to think about in the future. On the plus side though I got to have dinner with Ken Foree, so there was some karmic balance.
Saturday night started off back in the bar. The cliche really is true, many writers and editors do spend a lot of time at cons in the bar. Especially at ConCarolinas. The Marriott Executive Park has got a very nice bar with an excellent staff. The group gathered there that night included SMOFs, writers, actors, editors and fen. A real cross-section of fandom. Saturday night is also the best night for events at the con too though, so after a couple hours it was back to the con for Klingon karaoke. Also got to catch some of Luke’s concert—funny stuff, as always. We also made it to the Stellarcon pirate party for some pretty serious rum concoctions. Sadly, I missed the dueling Slave Leia costumes at the Masquerade. I hear that they were quite the hit.
After the traffic nightmare on Friday afternoon I had vowed never to return to Charlotte for another con but by Sunday morning I was making plans for next year. ConCarolinas does a fantastic job of mixing Literary and Media programming and also provides a large, well-attended Gaming Room—a great recipe for bringing in a younger generation of fans.
Here are a few photo highlights from the convention, courtesy of Peggy Cobb Gregory…