I hadn’t planned on attending Authors After Dark in New Orleans, but a chance phone call with author Jade Lee on Tuesday had me on a plane Wednesday. Spur of the moment adventures are so much fun.
“Authors After Dark focuses on the reader-author relationship through education of titles, genres and books in general. It is a true reader con, putting readers wants and needs at the forefront, and caters to all types of readers of romance, fantasy (including urban fantasy) and horror.” After being there for 5 days, I can tell you it’s true. The readers definitely come first and they travel from all over the world to attend. I met a couple of ladies from Australia who brought over 40 boxes of Tim Tams with them. They even gave me a couple. There were visitors from Norway, Canada and England.
One of my favorite things was the phone app that was available. Once downloaded, it offered the complete schedule and map. You could also customize it for yourself and set it with reminders. With so much going on, it really came in handy. I’d love to see this at more events.
There were panels for everyone, but they were so popular that some were standing room only. Readers took advantage of seeing their favorite authors up close and personal. One reader told me that while she came to see Joey Hill, she was thrilled to meet so many new authors and bought many of their books. There were readings by authors divided into genres, so you could hear historicals, westerns, paranormal, urban fantasy and more. Everyone was included as evidenced by panels, reading and authors featuring BDSM, M/M and GLBT: Alpha/Beta.
Another favorite activity were the field trips. These were special ticketed events that had authors hosting tours around New Orleans. I’m told they sold out in 5 minutes because they were small groups. There were ghost tours, garden tours and Royal Street tours.
One main event was the Masquerade Ball. I should mention that there was a corset shop on site and a tattoo salon. This was evident when you saw everyone dressed up. It hurt my ribs just seeing all those corsets, but it didn’t seem to bother the guests. They were dressed beautifully with a few going the creepy route as voodoo dolls.
There was a steampunk tea and as a fan of steampunk, I loved seeing the costumes. The creativity is amazing and everyone really got into their roles.
The booksiging is always a popular event and the packed ballroom proved that.
I lunched with the New Orleans romance book club, Heart to Heart. These women know their romance.
It wouldn’t be New Orleans without something special going on. The Red Dress Walk for heart disease packed Bourbon Street in a sea of red. All for a good cause.
Bottom Line: I’ll be back in New Orleans in December for Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans…save some beignets for me.