Out and About: CokoCon 2019

The first year of CokoCon was awesome. This year, CokoCon 2019 went beyond and was phenomenal with incredible guests, fantastic panelists, and engaged audiences. Duncan’s Books and More was more than happy to be part of the convention and wanted to share some of the many highlights.

First, the dealer’s room was busy with many sales. Besides Duncan’s Books and More, the other vendors were happy with the event and with how well the dealer’s room was run. Since Duncan is the Dealer’s room liaison, that made for a great weekend. While Andrea was in charge of registration this year, we brought in our wonderful helper Aimee Kazor to help. As always, she did a great job and we were happy she was able to participate.

There were many wonderful guests this year. Our author guest of honor was Emily Devenport, author of Medusa Uploaded and Medusa in the Graveyard. Duncan has been working on reviews of her books. If you haven’t read his on Medusa Uploaded, go to the archives and check it out. Emily was knowledgeable, supportive, and fun. She also was accompanied by her husband, author Ernie Hogan, who is known for High Aztec and Cortez on Jupiter. Both added an element of professionalism but also good humor to the panels and presentations they were part of. Look her up on Facebook, Emily Devenport

Artist Guest of Honor was Gilead, who led drawing instruction and participated in panels and the art show. Gilead is a man of gentle good humor and is an incredibly talented artist who is very self deprecating. If you haven’t seen his art, check out his Facebook page, Gilead. Gilead also won best in show and sold almost all his art.

We also had Professor Sparks join us. Professor Sparks has amazing shows that both teach and entertain, explaining the risks but also the ways we can be safe around electricity. An OSHA professor, Professor Sparks put on several shows at Cokocon 2019, each one a huge success and a big hit with our members. Go check out his website, http://oshaprofessor.com/

The highlight of the convention for me, though, was our Filk Guest of Honor, Alexander James Adams. Alexander not only is an accomplished master musician who performed beautifully at his concert on Sunday night but also has a presentation on Music is Magic. His teaching was insightful, deeply thoughtful, and musicology on a new level. Alexander also is one of the nicest people that I have met. It probably didn’t hurt that he is my (Andrea’s) favorite singer, blending Celtic influences with Filk, magic and fantasy as a Bard. He had music to sell, so Duncan set him up next to him. Alexander made the entire weekend more entertaining and his stories made the days brighter. It was truly a blessing to have him entertain our show and on a personal note, it was magical getting to know him better. We want to thank him so much for making the convention so much fun and with him the best with his music. I highly recommend going to check out his website, Alexander James Adams

Duncan and I actually got to go to a couple panels. Besides the music, which was beautiful, we enjoyed the diversity panel with Jennifer Roberson, Judith Starkston, Ernest Hogan, and Emily Devenport. They had great insights on how to make your world and characters more diverse. We attended the Author Self Care: Spoon Management panel. Since both of us are creative, we need help with balancing our energy and health. The panelists, Marsheila Rockwell, Beth Cato and Ross Lampert, helped provide some insights. They were very open and honest about their emotional and health issues that sometimes collide with their ability to be creative but that honesty helps others so we appreciated their unflinching empathy and truthfulness. Duncan attended Bad Ass Women of Scifi which featured authors Jenn Czep, Terry Smith, Emily Devenport, and Avily Jerome. The panel was lively, fun, and everyone learned a lot.

Personally, we’d like to thank a few people for making the convention a success. Our Chair, Dee Astell, Co-chair Mark Boniece, and Vice Chair Hal Astell. Terry Smith was set up in the dealer’s hall with Duncan and of course, we couldn’t have done it without her. Our helper Aimee Kazor was invaluable as was the assistance at registration of Julie Hargraves, Froina Nava, Jama Jagna, and Heather HColleen who also writes for our blog. Our staff lounge was ably manned by Craig Dyer, Sue Uttke, and treasurer Stephanie Dyer. They kept us fed and Stephanie kept everything at the hotel running smoothly. Joseph Gaxiola did an amazing job as guest liaison. Edward Pulley was incredible as the head of the Moderator crew. We loved seeing our favorite authors, which include Jeffrey Mariotte as well. We didn’t get to his panels but we always enjoy seeing him. All of the volunteers and participants were who there kept the convention running and made the weekend a blast.

We can’t wait until CokoCon 2020!

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