This is a special blog post.
I thought I'd spend a little time with you telling you about the con I just came back from. I know how hard it is to get time away, plus travel time, hotel, food, and all the other details. So let's take a dive into...
To start, I wasn't alone in this adventure!
I convinced Madilynn Dale, a friend and fellow author, to sign up with me for the con, so she arrived from Oklahoma on the 19th to rest up. We headed to the Springs mid-morning on the 20th, driving out of the sunshine into clouds, arrived safely at the hotel, and set up our table.
Say hi to Madi, everyone!
A word about the hotel, specifically. This con was held at the Embassy Suites on the north side of Colorado Springs, and was the first year it had been held there. (The previous venue was sold at the end of 2021 and the new owners are not doing any convention/events, which made for an anxious two weeks last year!) This hotel managed to put all of the con events on a single level, conveniently located for food and access. The hotel also had rooms on that floor, which you could grab if you had the app (which I do), and serves a full hot breakfast. Overall, an excellent location with ONE major issue: the atrium, which runs the length of the hotel and is four stories tall, has minimal internal lighting. When the sun went down? It was DARK.
A word on booking into con hotels in general: first, book through the reservations link. Generally speaking, the cons will get better rates than the public is able to get. If you're a member of a rewards program, you may be able to beat the rate, but not always. Second, when you book, you ought to be able to link that reward account, which can get you things like free wi-fi or early check-in. Third, see what food options are available on-site. If it's a strange city and you had to fly there, you don't want to be going walkabout for dinner every day.
Right, so we set up the table. At first we had the standard 2x6 table, but one of my other friends was down with COVID and unable to attend, so Hearth Witch (yet ANOTHER friend of mine) and I were able to split the unoccupied table between us, giving us plenty of room.
The Dealer's Room opened at three, and we had a steady trickle of visitors until I had to go off to my first panel: Heinlein's Impact on Sci-Fi.
A note on First Friday Fandom, it was established as a Heinlein fan group. There seems to be a Heinlein panel to kick off the convention activities, which would make sense. When I went last year, I was also on the first panel, as a panelist, though seated next to SFWA Grand Master Connie Willis.
Nope. No nerves at all being the moderator for the first panel.
Luckily, I had panelists who knew their stuff, and a good-sized audience (despite the snow) who were happy to interact. That audience included Walt Boyes, who is on the board of The Heinlein Society.
But I survived to make it back to the table, just in time for Madi to head off to moderate HER panel.
Madi's new book - nice, huh?
I'm going to skip lightly over non-convention activities in the evenings. Suffice it to say that there were activities and hangouts and conversations, okay? Good.
The next morning it was back to the table for another round of sales and panels!
Madi was up first, running to talk about the future of television right at 9am. My first panel of the day was at ten, and it was all about Recording Audiobooks. I was there with three narrators, one of whom is an author himself. It was a fascinating discussion, although the venue - the so-called "Lobby Nook" - was a terrible location. Too much background noise.
At one, both Madi and I had panels, so we left Danni, our friendly neighborhood Hearth Witch, watching over things, as Madi went to talk on Zoom about Trust Issues (hmm, subtext?), and I went to moderate my second panel, Into the Multiverse. The Gundersons - the Science Guests of Honor - were there, and helped make for a most involved panel and audience despite the location (back in the Nook).
That was the end of panels for us on Saturday. That night was the Author Reception. They gave us food, they gave us drink, they stuck us at dark tables behind the Author Guest of Honor.
Did I mention they gave us drink? And I got to chat with both Rene Vecka (who has been on the site as an interview) and AL Kessler (a wonderful urban fantasy author).
Sunday came way too early, but each of us had only a single panel, mine at 1 and hers at 2.
By 3 we'd started packing up, and doing a couple late sales, and were on the road home by 3:40.
So. What's the takeaway?
COSine is a small con - there were just over 300 attendees this year, which is up from last year. On the plus side, this makes it possible to interact with a far larger percentage of the attendees, and cuts down on the crowding in the panels. The dealer's room and art show are both well-represented, with a variety which rivals larger cons. And it can all happen in one hotel (sorry, DragonCon, that's a strike against you). COSine also works hard to bring in big names - Martha Wells, creator of Murderbots, was the Author Guest of Honor this year, and Connie & Courtney Willis have been at both COSines I've attended.
On the down side, small cons don't usually draw the biggest names. They simply can't offer as much. And if there are people you don't get on with, then you're much more likely to see them over and over and over. The hotels, too, might tend to be on the middle-to-lower levels. COSine actually improved their lot this year, from what I could see.
And as a consideration, the cost of the membership is liable to be lower. To a degree that's good, but TANSTAAFL and You Get What You Pay For.
Will I go back? Most likely. It's a local con, I enjoy it and the company there, and I am moderately successful at the dealer's table.
And now that you've made it this far, one picture of me from the con.