Hi guys! I am back with the next installment of my recap of this year’s Authors After Dark Conference in Savannah. In case you missed it, I have also posted a recap of the first two days: Days 1 and 2: Melting Like Butter. As always, click on the pics to make them bigger.
Panels and Parties
So the first couple of days were more focused on welcome events, catching up with folks, and seeing some of the city. On Thursday, the conference began in earnest with the start of the panels. The first panel I attended was a GBLT session called “What Comes Up in Fiction.” I am not 100% sure what that title actually means or what the panel was supposed to be about, but it was a great chance to connect with most of the assorted GBLT folks hanging around the con.
Panelists included KC Wells, Andrew Grey, Julia Talbot, Shannon West, and Anne Tenino (Here are KC, Andrew, and Julia). Most of the discussion focused on changes to the genre and how to move from the older tropes (such as coming out stories), to more books where the primary focus isn’t directly related to the characters being gay. We also talked a bit about bringing GBLT more into the mainstream.
The second panel was called On Feathered Wings and focused on angels and fallen angels. It was really interesting to hear where the authors got their inspiration for their world building, and reconciling the religious view of angels versus creating their own worlds.
We then headed out to lunch, which was notable primarily for my absurdly childish behavior regarding a little plastic monkey that I got in one of the swag bags from author Kiernan Kelly. The monkey (which J.A. and I dubbed the ever creative name “cock monkey”), has a huge head and little tiny penis and when you squeeze the head, air blows out his cock. What is even better is that Kiernan, who was sitting with us at lunch, informed us that if you submerge the cock monkey in water and squeeze his head, he looks like he is peeing (or put him in milk and he comes!).
Kiernan was also nice enough to get more cock monkeys for those at the table who sadly didn’t have one. Which of course led J.A. and I to put our cock monkeys into all kinds of childish poses (mine is apparently a bottom). Then Katey Hawthorne says, “put the cock monkey in your cleavage and I will take a picture.” And because I have apparently turned into a 10-year-old boy, I did it.
After lunch I went to a session on zombies, which was also a lot of fun. I was especially excited because author Mary Janice Davidson was one of the panelist (as well as the conference Master of Ceremonies). MJ was my gateway into romance reading when one day I found one of her Betsy books on the recommended shelf on the library. I totally loved it and went back for more, only to realize that the rest of the series was shelved under Romance. Well, I was totally freaked out because I DON”T READ ROMANCE. But I took a deep breath, dashed down the aisle hoping no one I knew would see me, and grabbed them all up.
From then on I went through everything that Davidson wrote and then moved on to more contemporary authors, then paranormal, urban fantasy and historical, and then ultimately to m/m. So I feel like I owe her a debt of gratitude and shared how much her books meant to me. She was quite lovely and gracious (we had a chance to sit with her at dinner on Saturday night as well), and kind enough not to run screaming at a rabid fan. Here we are together. What you can’t see is that she is practically on her knees in order to be in the same shot as me.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in some more panels, including another one on GLBT romance in science fiction and fantasy, which I really enjoyed.
Oh, as a slight aside, one of the cool things they do at AAD is bring in a tattoo artist and a corset maker to set up shop in one of the ballrooms. The tattoo artists were working practically around the clock and it was neat to see people getting new ink all weekend. The corset maker had brought a ton of stock and was selling corsets all weekend as well. She has incredibly beautiful stuff and let folks try things on. She even had these amazing men’s corsets that were sort of like vests with boning in them. The woman told me she sold some to the tattoo guys because it helps their back after long hours bending over. She had even made her husband a corset with matching kilt. *swoons* Here are some pics of people modeling. The one of the left is authors Tibby Armstrong, Brien Michaels, and Riptide marketing gal Stephanie Grober. And on the right is J.A. Rock. They didn’t buy anything but Katey Hawthorne and I both got skirts like what J.A. is wearing and tons of folks bought corsets.
After that we had a little break until the evening activities, so we headed out to dinner in the city. Katey and her husband had a car and were nice enough to drive J.A., Stephanie, and me out to this little restaurant called the Kayak Cafe that had these totally amazing tacos. It was a odd place in that it strangely connected to a gym on one side, but the food was amazing. Author Lori Toland was in town and she joined us as well so it was a really lovely dinner.
The next official event was the Bookie Awards but I am embarrassed to say we missed those in favor of dinner. But one particular highlight that I heard about afterwards is that authors Julia Talbot and B.A. Tortuga got engaged! Aren’t they a gorgeous couple! And so incredibly nice. Congratulations you guys!
After that the conference split up into several different events and J.A. and I decided to go to the carnival. It was quite well done with a moon bounce slide thing, cotton candy, and lots of games you could play for prizes. In addition, Kiernan Kelly was doing face painting (she is AMAZING!) and another author was making glitter tattoos. We had lots of fun and got to spend some time with Brien Michaels as well.
Here are a few pictures of the fun, including J.A. trying to toss a ring on a penis stand, and the two of us fondling a cardboard cut out of Ian Sommerholder. He is our new boyfriend. You can tell because J.A. is literally fondling his cardboard nipples. Won’t the three of us be so happy together?
So that is about it for Thursday. Friday was even more dress up and parties and still more panels. I’ll be back with more soon.