My AAD Experience! What’s A Con Like?

Source: written by Steph
My friend Dorothy bought
this fabulous creation from Ties that Bynde
(I snagged this off their FB page, linked left.

If you follow along you know I got back from Authors After Dark (AAD) a couple of weeks ago. This was my first Reader Conference versus publishing Industry event.

I had a great time, with a couple of bobbles, but in general I was pretty impressed by the event put on by Stella and her gang at Romance Ink,  Inc.

My husband and I both traveled down to Savannah. We had a lot of luggage because of the two costume parties and also because we were going on to visit some of our favorite relatives after the con.

me and delilah
Delilah S. Dawson sports her new corset
and I mine.  Please ignore that I am wearing
it with an LLBean Polo Dress.t

While the conference at the Riverfront Marriott officially began on Thursday, things got underway on Wednesday night which was a little nerve wracking.  I headed right to the con from the airport while my husband went to check in to our hotel down the street a Marriott Autograph Hotel, The Bohemian.  After the opening event, there was some party in another room, but I needed to eat dinner so my husband came down and we walked back in the pouring rain. If you go to cons and don’t stay in the hotel you miss out on some of these things.

TortugaHillWhiteatAAD
A bit blurry, this is BA Tortuga, Joey W. Hill and
Sasha White laughing themselves to tears over something
BA Tortuga was saying at a panel on menage.

I got to the con pretty early the next day and went through at least 4 panels and lunch. I also bought an underbust corset and a Pixie Skirt from The Ties that Bynde Designs. Inc. This is a great company run by the designer, Jessica.  Jess’s mom is her awesome sales person. Author Delilah S. Dawson helped me get the courage to buy both.

I really enjoyed meeting up with Joey W. Hill who I just love for her sensitive treatment of sexuality and insight into the submissive’s mind.

Dianna Love
Dianna Love tells us she cheats at her
Are You As Smart as A Romance Reader
Game Show
Historic Romance Panel far left Sophie Jordan, Terry Spears,
Claire Ashgrove, Jade Lee, Sandy Sullivan, Beth Williamson,
Hildie McQueen

Then the Bookie Awards, Dianna Love’s Game Show and the Carnival.  Friday was more panels, the Blogger Swag Event and the Steampunk Tea.  The Blogger Swag thing was confusing but I got lovely swag and books.

I had to get out though before I had a panic attack and I wanted to make room for other bloggers so, I took off and went to the Steampunk Tea where I won a prize from Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine. I went back to my room to change for the Vampire Ball.

feathers(demonsandangels)
On Feathered Wings: Joey W. Hill, Jaime Rush, Ciara Knight,
A. L. Davroe.Stella Price, T. J. Michaels

Saturday was a bit of denouement, My husband and I went to the Pin Point Heritage Museum and then I went to the book signing event.  I bought 5 books.  I went back to get some food and to dress for the elemental masque. Some folks went all out for this event. After the dinner and costume event, it seemed to slow down so we left early.

Sunday at 8 AM people arrived PROMPTLY for the raffle drawings.  I did not win anything but I got to see and say bye to some friends many of whom won great prizes. We drove out to Hilton Head to visit relatives. It’s only about an hour and it was a great chance to see them!

It was exciting to meet some of my favorite writers: CJ Ellisson, Joey W. Hill, Delilah S. Dawson, Terry Spear, Jess Haines, and many more.

I also got to meet other fabulous bloggers Sharon from I Smell Sheep, Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About and Jennifer from The Book Nympho are just a few.  I have the blackmail pictures fun photos to prove just how depraved we can be at these things.

gracehmmLiaandDelialahelemental
Fellow blogger Grace from Cherry Truffle, A. L. Davroe. Lia Habel,
and Delialah S. Dawson at the Elemental Masque

I got to ask a lot of questions about BDSM: how far is too far, how do writers “in the lifestyle” feel about the curious onlooker like me, what motivates a particular story line.

I also met some great new friends and had a great time. I picked up a bunch of books (big surprise there!) and gobs of swag.  It was great to be with a bunch of people who shared my interests and who didn’t think it was too weird to be in a room with someone discussing angels and demons and sex, or angels and demons having sex.  The panel discussions and parties were great and we had great access to writers and other bloggers. And how can you beat BDSM bingo or Dianna Loves’ Are you Smarter than a Romance Reader (turns out I am not).

Issues:

Personally, I can have a hard time at events like this.  I am not really great in large crowds of people.  Seriously. I work out of my house doing this. I live in the country, we don’t have kids.

The loudest thing I hear all day is my cat Mini whining on and on about what ever it is she feels I need to know. So, it is a challenge for me to be in a space with 500 people talking.  I get confused and have a tough time taking it all in.  So sometimes I get a little anxious.

Issues with AAD in particular: Stella Price and the other people running it do a fabulous job in general. I feel that this con was a better experience for me than BEA has been – more valuable to me as a reviewer and blogger.  One staffer asked me what could be done better which I appreciated.

When it comes down to it, every event has issues.  Mine were: When the event was starting, Who could go to certain events for bloggers, Maintaining a 8 AM Sunday morning raffle that might have worked better then night before (IMHO), Better descriptions and information for people who had never been at the event, Event locations posted at other than the door. Additionally some of the communication was off-putting in its tone.  Gluten issues were problematic at some events. But in general the staff was great, friendly and helpful at solving issues.

I don’t know how the organization runs and some of this may be that it is a small group spread all over the place.  I understand there are a lot of volunteers and/or the organization is a non-profit.  The price is great.  They sure do a lot with very little.

OTHER CONS?

But, I also heard stories of other conferences around the country going on all year long.  There are so many!  But, there’s no “Readers’ Conference Central.” So, I decided to look a little more into these events and give us all some information about them.

It would be too much for today so come back tomorrow to see some additional information on the WHO, WHAT WHEN, WHERE, AND WEB on Reader Cons.

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