Thowback Thursday: ConCarolinas 2017

At the beginning of June, GiGi and I attended our third ConCarolinas.

We affectionately refer to it as our geek family reunion as it brings together just about every artist, author, fandom podcaster and crafter/cosplay/cosplay group we have gotten to know over the years.

With over 200 panels in it’s 2 ½ days, this con attracts a large crowd and has become one of our favorite yearly events.


The 2017 event was moved back to the Hilton Charlotte University Place and though very different from the prior two years at Embassy Suites, our stay and Con going was just as enjoyable!



The layout of the hotel was pretty straight forward. After attaining your badge in the lobby you simply had to take the escalator down to the con floor.

We opted to get off the elevators and go to the right because it was there we found our first and one of our favorite groups of people…The Charlotte Geeks!

Our friends Joey and Matt were manning the booth Day 1 talking all things Geek Gala and slinging The Mummy merch. Familiar faces are always a great way to start a con!

And the familiar faces kept on coming as we made our way through my favorite area…Authors Alley. Loads of our AMAZING author friends were there promoting new work.

A.J. Hartley


John G. Hartness

Gail Z. Martin

Darin Kennedy

J. Matthew Saunders

Nicole Givens Kurtz


Jim McDonald

Calandra Usher


**In addition to the above mentioned there were probably at least 50 more authors there not only selling their work but participating in informative panels on the writing process, character and world building and publishing. If I counted correctly there were over 20 panels on writing alone, not to mention the other panels the authors could be found on.***

The panel rooms were tucked all along the con floor trail making it easy to pop in and out along the way around the con.

Once through Authors Alley we wound our way around the rest of the con floor noting booths for Mysti-Con, Congregate, The Renaissance Festival, the regional SCA troupe, Mad One Films, st, artist John Harriston Jr.  and MORE.


The con floor trail ended at the dealer room. Among the dozens of crafters, artists, and artisans we were pleased to see some of our favorites…

Ben Mirabelli   


(I have all of his LOTR pieces and the Hamilton piece :))

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A Sticky Obsession



Metal Lynx Creations


AND to meet new favorites Lea Von and Hettie from

Artsyology 101!

Their handmade junk journals were INCREDIBLE


Be sure to check out ALL of these wonderful people and keep tabs on where they will show next!



As we mentioned above, there are over 200 panels throughout the ConCarolinas weekend. All of the latest geeky television shows and movies are covered, as are all popular fandoms, fandom theories AND pro advice from costumers, podcasters, authors and film makers.


We had the chance to sit in on a few that we thought were really great!


Hold On To The Light


In this panel authors Gail Z. Martin, John G. Hartness, Darin Kennedy, Andrea Judy, Nicole Givens Kutrz and Kalanya Price took an opportunity to bring a little light into the darkness by creating a safe space to discuss mental health in general and also  how it influences their writing. The vulnerability of each author to share deeply personal aspects of their life was powerful and served the intent of the panel well. Hold On To The Light is an ongoing project space to help support and inspire and can be found here…


Crowdfunding and YOU

It’s no secret that crowdfunding has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years. In this panel seasoned crowdfund creators Jonathan Weaver (filmmaker), Darryl Mansel (comic book creator) Brian Holloway (web series developer) and Alethea Kontis (RPG writer) gave the audience the ins and outs of getting your project funded by fans. This panel was full of great information.


Most of the panelist had experience with Kickstarter, Indigogo and GoFundMe. They collectively suggested using a platform that gives you the money as you reach decided goals vs waiting to see if the project gets funded before the money is usable. The panel also agreed that using social media marketing to get the word out about your projects was the best (and probably only) way to go. There were difference of opinions about which platform, between the two most popular Facebook and Twitter, work the best BUT each was in total support of using one, if not both, to create interest in your project.

The best piece of advice was probably one of the first recommendations and that was to start with your friends. Even if they can’t give to your project at the time, the chances of them sharing about it are higher that sending invites and requests to the people you maybe don’t know so well. As a friend who has contributed to several projects of my friends, I can tell you that I can usually find at least $5-$10 to put toward the project so that when I share about it I can show how easy it is to make difference to the creator of the project.

We learned a lot from this panel and hope what we shared can help you in the future!



Author’s Dating Game

The beautiful Joey Starnes hosted this BRILLIANT panel that had attending authors pose as one of their characters and attend the “show” as a datable contestant. Two rounds of the game were played putting both an eligible male (Darryl ‘The Seed’ Mansel) and female (Etta Candy) in the HOT seat as they interview three potential candidates each for the date of their dreams.


Eligible Dates included

Fred from The Vampire Accountant Series by Drew Hayes

Jovienne from #1 in the Immanence Series by Linda Robertson

Sabrina Grayson from Mark of the Necromancer by Tamsin Silver

Turd from The Mourning Woods by Rick Gualtieri

Gaspard from The Soul Wars by JD Blackrose

Vad’Alvarn from Chains of Fate by Alledria Hurt

This panel was SOOOOO entertaining and a great way to get to know an author and his/her characters! Very impressed with this panel as it takes picking up a book and reading the cover to 1000th percentile! Kudos to the programmer for this one!


My Brain Is Bigger Than My Budget

This panel was in the Film track and though it focused on creative ways to make a film and maximize one’s budget, the information gleaned could easily be applied to loads of other projects. Panelist included Mad One Films-Jaysen Buterin, Matthew B. Moore, Dave Harlequin, Robert W. Filion, Shannon Strucci, Tom Gore and Christine Parker. Here are some of the helpful tips gathered from this fun and informative panel.


-Plan, revise and plan again…make sure the concept is clear..preparation is key

-Network with friends and businesses you TRUST

-Get to know other people in the field and help them if you can

-Don’t be so focus on the $ that you forget about quality. More money doesn’t necessarily mean something will be better

-Kindness, it doesn’t cost a thing!

– Make sure you can provide at least a meal and hydration for anyone that is helping with a long project such as filming

-Be creative…use what you have access to and when writing for film, keep that in mind also

-Don’t look at your disadvantages, look at your advantages

-Start simple and them add to it

-Most projects involve people. You’ll need people. Help others and help will be there for you when you need it

Great information! Great Panel!


There were LOADS more and each year we try to get to different ones to catch everything this convention has to offer. Stay tuned for the 2018 coverage for more!




We had a great time, truly, and we learn more about how to better cover conventions when we attend this one. Everyone is so kind and willing work with us as we try to fine tune what is important to cover and what isn’t.

Our one regret is that in our three years attending ConCarolinas we have never been in to the Gaming Room. There is an entire room dedicated to table top gaming and we are practicing up so we can spend a few hours in there next year!!!



Registration is open and there is a room block at the Hilton for next year. If you are in and around the Charlotte, NC area June 1st-3rd 2018 and want to attend a convention ran by, guested and attended by The Best of people, come on out and join us!




Don’t forget to say hello!




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