I returned home from Savannah last Sunday, feeling tired but also energized. It was the second writer’s conference I attended this year, and it was very different from the RWA Nationals in July (see my post “How RWA13 Was Like A Plate of Chocolate Nachos”). How? RWA was intense and professionally slanted, while AAD was relaxed, informal, and intimate. But both were informative and fun.
Authors After Dark is a Romance Writer’s Conference, but also heavily attended by readers. The result is a great mix of people coming together for the love of reading all genres of Romance. The panels were 3 or more authors grouped together to discuss a particular subject, but after brief introductions they would take questions from the audience. So you never knew where the conversation was going to go, and I learned a lot more that way. In addition, it was interesting hearing the reader’s perspective- what they love to read, what they want more of, and what annoys them.
There were numerous events designed to bring everyone together, so published authors and conferences attendees could mingle. There was a Riverboat ride, Costume Balls, Book Signings, Pajama parties, even BDSM Bingo, which featured the cute little party favors shown in the picture. Prizes were given out at the events, such as drinks with an author, or breakfast with author, because one-on-one time with readers is a hallmark of this event.
Many authors organized events privately, too. A highlight for me was the Annabel Joseph Ghost Walk. Our tour guide, Skippy Spiral, of Ghost City Tours, led us on a spooky-sexy-scary tour of Savannah’s old homes. Twenty- two women followed him through the wet streets at midnight wearing “I Love Naughty Books” T-shirts. Something you don’t do every night!
My husband is a bass player, and when he is hanging out with his musician friends, there is camaraderie, a shared love of making music, they all have in common. One of his dreams is to attend Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp in Las Vegas, to jam with real rock stars and other musicians. Today it occurred to me that Authors After Dark is our “fantasy camp” experience, and the well-known authors whose books we have read and loved, are our “rock stars”.
I came away from Savannah with more than a list of new Twitter contacts. I made some new friends, people like me, who love to write, read, play dress up, hoot and holler and have a good time. And that is priceless.
What conferences have you attended? Which were your favorites?