Coastal Magic Reconnaissance!!

Over the years, I’ve heard great things about the Coastal Magic Convention. As it says at their website, Coastal Magic is “a super casual, urban fantasy, paranormal, and romance focused convention in Daytona Beach, Florida.”

Casual? Great. Super casual? Even better. Florida, during the winter? Please, tell me more!

As The Most Introverted Author on the Planet™, I’ve never attended Coastal Magic myself, so my friend and Midwest Fiction Writers chaptermate Nancy Holland, who just returned, has kindly agreed to give us a sneak-peak into her experience.

Take it away, Nancy! 


Hi, everyone. Thanks to Tamara Hogan and the other Rubies for having me on the blog today! I went to the Coastal Magic Conference last week in Daytona Beach, Florida, and thought you might be interested in a report on this small, friendly, and low-key event.

One reason for a writer from Minnesota to attend this February event should be obvious.

Coastal Magic started out as a fantasy/paranormal con, but has expanded into a more general romance conference that includes a wide diversity of genres, authors, and readers, including everything from YA to gritty romantic suspense to m/m to high fantasy. Unlike most RWA chapter conferences I’ve attended, the focus is very much on author/attendee interaction (including a featured “lunch with an author”). Plus they have a MST3000-style movie night, a big party, and great giveaways. [Tammy adds: I saw the Cinema Craptastique tweets. OMG, hilarious! Jason Mamoa sightings are always a plus.]

Coastal Magic Book Signing

There are also vendors, lots of bloggers, and a book-signing on Saturday afternoon that’s open to the public.

And I had a great time!

One unique feature of Coastal Magic derives from its origins as a fantasy and paranormal con. Rather than panels on craft, marketing, etc., they focused on what I’d call content areas — m/m romance, military/law enforcement, westerns, horror and, of course, fantasy. This way of organizing the conference meant I could interact with and learn from other fantasy authors who draw from history, myths, and legends in their stories, while trying to remain true both to their source material and their own visions.

There were also panels on topics such as research, “changing lanes” from one subgenre to another, sidekicks, and audiobooks. The diversity panel was especially interesting to me because it included a conversation about how even authors from traditionally under-represented groups have to work around and with the larger culture’s stereotypes of those groups. There was also a discussion of how to take cultures and stories we think we understand (e.g., Arthurian legend) and make them new again. An amazing number of the authors on the panels I attended were anthropology, history, classics, and religion majors in college. In other words, my people. 

It’s always fun to check out the SWAG!

The conference was well-run, with excellent moderators and speakers at all the panels I attended, and that appeared to be the case across the board. The social events were fun (if a bit raucous for an introvert like me). That said, I agree with the advice Damon Suede gave me when he told me about Coastal Magic — you should go as an “attendee” before asking to be included as an “invited author.”  (Despite having a great time and making new friends, I haven’t decided if this event is the right match for me and my readers in the long run.) The cost of the con is reasonable; it’s held in a lovely resort hotel; and if you live near Daytona Beach, you can register for one or two days rather than committing to the whole event. I’d encourage you to check it out:   Coastal Magic Convention website | Twitter


Thanks for the reconnaissance, Nancy!

Today’s question: As a reader or as an author, what are your questions about, or experiences with, regional or genre-specific conferences and conventions? We’d love to hear from you.

Here’s the blurb for Nancy’s new fantasy novel, Thalgor’s Witch

In a land of perpetual war and wandering, warrior Thalgor not only leads his people in battle, but keeps the hope alive that someday his displaced tribe can rebuild the kingdom that was lost to the treachery between witches and men. When he captures a beautiful witch, he knows he cannot trust her. But to succeed in his quest to find a new home and prevail over his enemies, he also knows he needs her.
Erwyn might be a slave and feared for her powers and precognition, but she doesn’t cower when confronted by the feared warrior. Nor does she act as expected. Thalgor’s kindness confuses her. His flashes of humor confound her. And the reaction he ignites in her body creates a longing that she cannot deny.
Neither anticipated falling in love. The stakes are high, but when Thalgor is mortally wounded, Erwyn realizes she must she must accept help from an unlikely source to save him.

Isn’t that cover gorgeous?!? Excerpt and purchase information is available here.

12 responses to “Coastal Magic Reconnaissance!!”

  1. Thank you for sharing this information Nancy and Tammy. I’ve never considered this conference but it seems like it has a lot to offer authors, and readers. I do love meeting readers.

    • Tamara Hogan says:

      Between introversion and sensory issues, I’m rarely at my best in large group settings, but one of these smaller cons might be a manageable way for me to connect with readers.

      Something to think about!

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Autumn. It really was fun!

  3. Addison Fox says:

    What a wonderful post! I love the vibrance and enthusiasm and excitement of regional/local conferences. Every one I’ve ever attended has been a thoroughly enjoyable experiences full of new people, great workshops and the fun realization/reminder of…”gee, I get to do this awesome writer thing with amazing fellow authors and readers.”

    I always walk away humbled and pumped up.


  4. You’re right, Addison. Local cons are usually great, but this one had a special feel because the attendees and authors come year after year and, since it’s not an RWA chapter event, this is often the only time they see each other. It’s almost like a family reunion (but much friendlier to newbies)!

    • Tamara Hogan says:

      The only reader-focused con I’ve ever been to has been RT – nothing like starting big, hmm? – and it was just too noisy and chaotic for me.

      No reader wants to talk to the author who’s scowling/overwhelmed. 😐

  5. Thank you for the info, Nancy! I’m always curious to hear about different conferences – especially from someone who is a fellow introvert who can be overwhelmed by the crowds. This one sounds like a lot of fun – and Florida? Yes, please. I may have to give it some thought in future years.

    Thank you for giving us this rundown!

    • One thing that kept this con low-key was that there weren’t official pitch sessions (although I did overhear authors talking to editors). And no one minded when I ate alone, went back to my room, or took a long walk to regroup.

  6. This was my third year as a featured author at Coastal Magic. It really is a lot of fun–way more relaxed than most of the professional conventions I go to, like RWA Nationals. SO many fabulous people. Also since I’m from upstate NY, I definitely agree about Daytona Beach in February!

    I highly recommend it.

  7. I enjoyed meeting you at Coastal Magic, Nancy. This was my third year attending, my second as a “Featured Blogger”. Coastal Magic was the first Author/Reader convention I attended, and it opened up a whole new world for me.

    I loved how friendly and welcoming everyone was my first year. Alone and a newbie I was worried I would feel out-of-place, but a few of my favorite authors were attending, so I had to go. I’ll never regret the experience. CMCon is a must-attend conference for me. I attend others, but I think it will remain a favorite. I loved RWA2017 in Orlando, but that was over-whelming it was so big.

    Coast Magic is all about readers and authors getting to know each other, and variations thereof. Game night is one of my favorites events, although Swag Bingo and Swag Crafts were fun as well.

    Sorry Nancy, we never did get to actually eat lunch together, although we did have a nice walk. Daytona Beach is beautiful and warm this time of year.

  8. JD Monroe says:

    Great write-up, Nancy!

    This was my first year as a featured author, but I attended as a reader last year. It’s a blast either way! CMC is intimate and relaxed, but you have opportunities to meet with so many great authors and readers. I also really like the content-themed panels. It’s fun to get insight into how other authors in your genre approach the process and what inspires them. It was clear to me after attending last year why so many authors attend year-after-year! 🙂

    And yes – you simply can’t beat a beach getaway in the middle of February. <3


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