#CMCon16 Wrap-up…and why YOU should hit the beach at Coastal Magic 2017! #giveaway #bookbloggers
Coastal Magic 2016 was the best romance reader con I have attended. Hands-down, no question. I loved it so much, I want all of you to love it too! Coastal Magic is designed to feel intimate and friendly, so it will always be small, no matter how popular it becomes. Registration hasn’t even opened for 2017 and I’m already anxious to reserve a spot. Why? I’m about to give you allll the goods!
Why #CMCon16 totally rocked my world
Every single person I met—-reader, blogger, author, or publisher—was supportive, enthusiastic, and genuinely friendly. No snark or hubris or attitude. The authors were approachable and the readers were humble. This is the #1 reason you should make #CMCon a priority in your schedule for 2017, whether you are an author or a reader, or are just coming for the book signing day. This conference will change the way you experience reader-organized cons.
Breakfast with Rebecca Zanetti
What a great way to start off the con! I love Rebecca Zanetti’s work and I’m always so thrilled when she takes time out of her crazy-busy schedule to spend with just me. She is a doll, and I <3 her so hard!
One of the many things that sets #CMCon apart from other, more crowded events is the quality opportunities for readers to have face time with their favorite (and newly beloved) authors. It’s so much easier to make connections when the attendance for the event is capped at 300.
Stuffing Welcome Bags with the Featured Bloggers
Part of what I love about blogging is giving to the community. Doing little things like organizing giveaways and gifting prize packs makes me happy. So, spending four hour stuffing the con’s Welcome Bags with the other Featured Bloggers was a blast. And some of that swag was SWANK!
Shout out to Laura from Little Read Riding Hood, Chelle & Charity from Literal Addiction, Jackie from Literary Escapism, Jay from Joyfully Jay, Melanie from Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews, and of course, Jennifer from Books Make Me Happy (our amazing conference mistress!): my fellow Featured Bloggers at Coastal Magic ’16!
Moderating and attending panels
This was my first time moderating panels, and I will never forget the moment when (just before the start of my second panel moderated EVER), I overheard Damon Suede turn to Lorelei James and say something like “I don’t know who the moderator is, but if it’s HER” (looking my way) “then it will be fantastic. She was great!” Oh my. *profuse redhead blushing ensues* Talk about an auspicious start (and THANK YOU for the praise, Damon! <3).
I attended several panels, but these were my favorite…
Sizzle & Burn for its unexpected and organic honesty. Damon Suede made the audience cry, and all the authors on this high-profile panel gave 110% to my questions and those from the audience. Shayla Black shared a resource for kinksters and did you know Sylvia Day has posted definitions of the various types of romance?
“Porn objectifies human beings. Romance subjectifies humans. Porn reduces people, the characters, to pieces of meat. Romance inspires emotion.
Romance is the literature of hope.” ~ Damon Suede, Sizzle & Burn panel, #CMCon16
Family Feud was a HUGE hit! This was the first year the con has hosted it and the room was packed. With such an all-star panel of authors, you might expect the high attendance, but fans were jumping out of their seats to participate on one of the teams. It was Team Paranormal vs Team Contemporary, and both sides had tons of fun. I don’t even know who won (everybody won!), but I can’t wait to do it again.
The Twitter Party was an exercise in patience and persistence, but in the end we all had a blast! Featured Author Jan DeLima and I planned this event for MONTHS in advance—we even had all our tweets pre-scheduled to go at specified intervals in HootSuite!—but Murphy’s Law was in full effect on the day of the event. The weather was windy and cold. The hotel’s internet couldn’t support our bombardment of the area Wi-Fi (meaning many of us were chugging along at a snail’s pace of Twitter stream loading), and—my personal favorite—all my scheduled tweets were on Pacific Time, three hours delayed, so they weren’t even going out as scheduled! Rebecca Zanetti even took to tweeting from the bathroom, because that’s the only place she could get a signal! Thankfully, despite my personal struggles with the internet and time zone, most of the other people who participated (especially those tweeting from home!) had a great time and made it work. I want to give a HUGE shout out to the authors and bloggers who really made this event happen!
Author Party-Starters: Jan DeLima, Tawdra Kandle, Lisa Kessler, HD Smith, BA Tortuga, Paige Tyler, and Rebecca Zanetti
Bloggers Party-Starters: Jen (Twimom227) from That’s What I’m Talking About, Liza from Blogging With Liza, Jackie from Literary Escapism, and Chelle from Literal Addiction
If you want to read through our crazy event, you can look up the hashtag #CMCParty on Twitter.
Bringing home the best swag
The unofficially official swag of Coastal Magic 2016 was apparently rubber duckies, because I came home with FOUR of them. That is more than I’ve collected (or even seen) in as many years!
My favorite swag of the event was Kit Rocha’s O’Kane brass knuckle key chain. I <3 THIS THING SO HARD! Apparently there was a TSA snafoo with these bad boys during transit. Next time you see Donna or Bree (the author duo extraordinaire behind the pen name Kit Rocha), you should ask what went down. 😉
Kiernan Kelly’s handmade soap and crocheted bag (from the blogger-author meet-and-greet) was downright adorable. I used that soap in lieu of the hotel crap that dries out my skin, and it was so moisturizing. What a darling! Thank you, Kiernan! <3
Damon Suede’s Bad Idea pins were ridiculously cute and infinitely wearable. I ended up with a handful of these in my pocket (to give away to you lovely peeps!) and just had to smile every time one of them poked me in the leg. If you haven’t read Mr. Suede’s Bad Idea…well, it’ll make you smile and celebrate your repressed inner geek.
Memorable moments of #CMCon16
Poppy Dennison crashing the Getting in the Groove panel. You weren’t scheduled to be on the panel (my first clue should have been “I don’t listen to music when I write” LOL!), but I’m so glad you dropped in! We’ll have to thank Jennifer Morris for giving you the bogus room directions.
Passing around the fuzzy-tail butt plug in the Fistfuls of Rainbows meet-and-greet. If that panel name didn’t get you thinking naughty thoughts, then this passing around this adorable, fluffy toy (attached to a rather petite purple anal plug) while naming all the possible euphemisms for sex, penises, and the female anatomy most certainly would have!
The omelette guy in the hotel’s buffet bar. I know, what a strange thing to remember from a romance convention! But, seriously, this guy made MAD omelettes and he was super friendly. I want to hire him as my personal breakfast chef.
Dinner at Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse with Jade Lee, Amy Lane, Boone Brux, Asa Maria Bradley, and Jodi Vaughn. During this epic dinner (seriously, from start to finish, it was incredible! And I’m pretty sure we scarred the waitstaff for life), we talked turkeys & duels, lovers & dead horses, and origin stories, and I even got to roast Amy Lane for her brutal storytelling decisions in the Little Goddess series. I’m still hurting from that scene, Amy. ADRIAAAAAN!!
The Cards Against Humanity and 1001 Dark Nights author/blogger and author/reader events. Getting to ask Christopher Rice “How many men? One, two, three, or more?” and hearing “ALL of them!” was good fun (and totally the right answer, dude!). And creating some naughty CAH statements with Shayla Black and Boone Brux cracked me up.
Third base really is the answer to all the world’s problems…
And who doesn’t love to joke about our nation’s crippling debt?
Dinner with Lisa Kessler and her Night Angels. Lisa was my very first author interview here on GraveTells, so when I discovered that she has a fan group (appropriately called Night Angels) that I wasn’t part of, we both sort of said…WTF? So I joined, as I should have done a long time ago (Have you read her Moon series? SO GOOD!), and feasted at a quirky, fun restaurant with some badass peeps. Lisa graciously let me crash her private event last minute and was such a sweetheart during the dinner. I don’t think I’ve ever met an author so welcoming and truly interested in her fans’ day-to-day lives than Lisa. You are truly a gem, my lady! <3
Meeting (and hanging out with) some really incredible authors, bloggers, & readers
Asa Maria Bradley, your Vikings are to die for!
Lunch with not one but TWO amazing authors and super-friendly fans was a ton of fun…
Lorelei James, you were such a sweetie to talk to! And I’m so glad you mentioned that US by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy was in ARCs, because you TOTALLY motivated me to snag one (and I loved it, of course!)…
And Donna Herron (half of the writing pair Kit Rocha), you have NO idea how long I’ve wanted to pick your naughty brain! <3 Thank you for the great lunchtime conversation!
Wondering what we talked about…?
Damon Suede picked me up. Literally.
Damon: Can I pick you up?
Me: Uh. Do you want to pick me up?
Chudney Thomas: It’s sort of his thing. Damon, you haven’t done that yet this con, yet? Right?
Me: Okay, then!
The best part? He even set me down like a pro. When I commented on it, he said, “I used to be a ballet dancer.” Dude, what have you NOT done?! Damon, you are an incredible person, and I can’t wait to spend more time with you at future cons. *mwah!*
Finally got to meet Tigris Eden. Lady, just your name makes me want to growl “RAWR!” but after meeting you, we should totally do that together. Check out Tigris’s first ever guest spot on GraveTells here!
Photo op with Kristen Painter. If you follow GraveTells, you’ve probably picked up that I’m not a huge fan of Urban Fantasy (I just REALLY like romance!), but The House of Comarre is just so well done. If you haven’t read it, go. Go now! Start with Blood Rights*.
Jodi Vaughn is the sweetest, most gracious Southern woman I have ever met. And, since I’m from Texas, that’s saying a lot. Jodi, just listening to your accent made me feel both welcome and homesick. Your Arkansas Werewolves are next on my list!
I saw Jennifer Estep in the Daytona airport on the way home from the con, and when I nodded at her, not only did she smile back, she stopped by to chat for a few minutes. Very cool. <3
After the madness of the Twitter Party, Jan DeLima and I were decompressing at Legends Sports Bar when Jen “TwiMom” and Liza Brown stopped by to join in the revelry. I’m sure Jan got a blogger earful while we had a blast chatting about those pesky issues unique to bloggers in the romance world.
Hanging out with my Mom. Now that I live in California, we don’t get to see each other often. Mom is (like me, although you probably couldn’t guess from meeting me, hah!) an introvert, so events like #CMCon16 are very much outside her comfort zone. But we shared an amazing beach-side cabana suite, which was pretty freaking awesome, aside from getting wet every time I went outside (oh the RAIN!). She was a real trooper and, ultimately, she had a great time (she even got some surprise chocolate covered strawberries from an admirer!). Mom has always loved the water and the beach, so despite some crazy cold weather, we took an ocean-side stroll together.
And we had wine. Of course. Guess whose glass is the large one. If you know me, it really won’t be that hard… *wink*
The final take-away
Coastal Magic Convention rocks, and you should try to go next year!
And here’s a toast to everyone who helped make it great!
Until next year…!
To celebrate such a fantabulous con, I’m giving away FIVE swag packs to readers on today’s post. Tell me which pics and moments were your favorite below so I know what goodies to send you if you win! Here are some things you might find in your swag pack…
- a book or two
- a Damon Suede Bad Idea pin
- screen cleaners
- a travel kit
- a custom book-themed notebook
- a lovely bracelet, compliments of Jodi Vaughn
- sticky pads
- a candle
- lip balm
Don’t forget to leave a comment below, then enter to win here!
* signifies GraveTells affiliate link.