My First Convention

By Milli Gilbert

I recently – like over the weekend recently – had the chance to attend my first “nerd convention” as my husband calls it. It was, and I won’t deny it, but… I can no longer say I’m a closeted nerd. I’ve officially outed myself, and in a big way. Because I had a fantastic time.

CONvergence is a fan-run convention held in the Twin Cities every summer. (I think next year’s dates are the weekend after the Fourth) I haven’t yet decided if I’ll be going – the weekend before is my step-daughter’s wedding! For sure in 2018, and I’ll probably be bringing my daughter (she’ll be five) and one (or two) of my nieces to help me keep track of her and allow me to still be able to go to panels that aren’t fit for the little ones.

So… first impressions? OMG! I’m going to die! This is way too much, too big, too many people! SO. MANY. PEOPLE! The person I went with is an ASL interpreter – she was there to work more than she was there to play. I got there and she showed me around – none of it stuck. Got my access badge for the weekend – still didn’t know where I was.

We got back to the room and I may have had to asked myself, “Now what?” a few times. But I put my badge together, and browsed through the convention program. That helped. I pulled out my highlighters and highlighted all the panels that caught my attention. There were quite a few of them. I had to narrow them down. Thankfully, highlighters come in more than one color. Green for the panels I wasn’t going to budge on – I was going to those. Orange for those that I’d like to make it to, but if I don’t, it wasn’t going to be a disappointment. Yellow for the ones I needed to decide between because they were all going on at the same time.

Considering this was a “nerd” convention, I was surprised to find the number of writing-specific panels – cover design (though, that was more of a game, and I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time), disability as character development, tips and tricks and experiences with doing audio books, there was even a panel on writing your NaNoWriMo novel. I was going to attend that one, but two things factored in Sunday morning. 1) I decided to sleep in, and 2) I’ve done November NaNo twice, along with April and July Camps twice each, and it’s been different each time.

There were also some randomly informative panels – there was one about sexual fluidity, several military panels – the best was definitely the panel of submariners at 10:00 Saturday night when the alcohol came out and they started talking. And ripping on the panel moderator, who happened to be a retired Marine.

There were panels that discussed TV shows, movies, and the physics of the Tardis. There was gaming all the freaking way up on the 22nd floor of the one tower. And readings up there too. I wanted to go to readings. I stood in line at the elevators to go up. I got close and… bailed. Couldn’t do it. Apparently, heights is a bigger deal to me than I thought it was. (Seriously – I had no problem looking over the railing on the Royal Gorge Bridge when I was ten, but this, I couldn’t do.) I learned there were Cards Against Humanity up there. Still. Couldn’t. Do. It. Ya learn something new every day.

I didn’t know, when I first got to the convention, what to even expect, let alone that I would make some new friends. The nerd in me may have given up on hiding when I saw Toothless (that was all for me, I won’t even lie about that).


I may have been a little shaky…

I made my way from the second floor to the first floor in record time. I may have pictures of Batman (for my daughter – really) and Chewbacca (also my daughter) and Iron… Woman (for my son). She was the best Iron Man cosplay I saw all weekend.

So you’re probably wondering what I learned all weekend. A lot. More than can be summed up in a blog post. I’ve also got some new resources and insight on things I only wondered about before, made some amazing contacts, and met some incredible people. And may have broken from my bubble a bit. If you’re thinking about going to a convention, but don’t think there will be anything there for you, there probably will be. At least there was at this one. And I’ll be going back to that one. It’s just a matter of whether I’ll be going every year or if I’ll skip next year to recover from a wedding.

That’s all for now, and I’ll see you next time!


Milli Gilbert is a stay-at-home mom who loves to play with words almost as much as she loves to play with her kids. All of her stories involve romance, and maybe a little bit of mystery. Milli loves to write about cowboys and shifters. And smut. Don’t forget the smut. And can usually be found trying to find interesting ways to combine them. She has several short stories published, and hopes to have her first full length novel out in late Summer 2017. She just took off after one of her couples to follow them around for a few months – but don’t worry, she’ll be back. If not, you can find her on  FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest, or follow her on Twitter. And of course, on her blog, Hairballs of Genius.



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