It has been 14 years since I went to a convention. It’s not that I did not want to go, but the timing was always off for me and I did not look too hard for one I could go to. In late 2022 I talked to my wife, Tracy, and told her I wanted to start going to conventions. She thought it was solid idea and so I started looking at options.

The first Con to catch my eye was Ret-Con in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ret-Con is a speculative fiction convention in late February and this was the first one. I thought it sounded like fun. The cost was affordable and the hotel not ridiculous. I pre-registered and booked my suite. After that it was all about the waiting.

Cut to the weekend of February 24-26. I worked a half day and headed to Raleigh with way too much stuff in the trunk of my car. It was all I could do to function that morning because I was so excited. The drive is about two hours from my house to the site, so I arrived a little after 2:00 PM. 

I checked in with the hotel and my room would not be available until 5. No big deal. I had a convention to check out. I went through the dealer room and looked at all of the books and other interesting items. I showed restraint and did not spend a lot of money that first day. I’ll do a post in this series talking about the vendors and authors I bought from.

I attended panel after panel all weekend long and over the course of it I only missed two that I really wanted to go to. The first was Noir, Actually, because it started before I arrived on Friday and I did not get there in time. The second one I did not make it to was Saturday afternoon: Query Pitches. Unfortunately I fell asleep in my hotel room and woke up to late to make it. All in all I would consider it a successful trip not making it to only two panels.

By the time I left Sunday morning I was tired and pleased with my first Con in more than a decade. I came away feeling inspired and excited to write. I will definitely be back next year and plan on buying my registration as soon as it is available.

I will be posting about one panel a week using my notes as reference. I’ll share information about the panelists and my takeaways and I hope you find it all as useful as I did. If you have questions, attended the panels, or were a panelist and you want to add to what I write heres then I would love to hear from you.

Next post I will be talking about the panel, Against the World: Society as a Villain.

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