Authors After Dark Convention Wrap Up: Panels and Readings

Posted August 18, 2012 by Shari in Random / 1 Comment


Who knew I had so much to say that I had to break it up the posts about Authors After Dark?

Let’s talk about those panels (fanning myself!). There were so many to choose from and I wish I could have gone to more. I started day one with Contemporary romance panel featuring Joey W. Hill, Tilly Greene, Lissa Matthews, Cat Grant, Sophie Oak and L.A. Witt. These women kept me laughing so hard but also hit upon Contemporary being a genre that we are all familiar with. Being familiar with the genre makes it easier in not having to set up an alternative world and allows them to be more character driven. I loved how these women described their books. I had never heard of Tilly Greene, Cat Grant or L.A. Witt before, but they quickly got put on my must try them list.

Anthology Panel – Alexandra Ivy, Delilah Devlin, Diane Castilleja & A.L. Davroe

Next up I headed to an Anthology panel with Alexandra Ivy, Jess Haines, Boone Brux, Erin McCarthy, A.L. Davroe, Ariel Tachna, Diana Castilleja, Delilah Devlin. These women nailed it on the point of finding new authors through anthologies. I don’t read a huge amount of anthologies, mostly I read them if there is an author I adore and the series continues through them. What I learned is this is a good way for new authors to get a short story out to people like me who are picking up the book for another author. It gets their name and work in front of me and hopefully drives me to buy their books. Also this is a good way to feature a lot of short stories. I still can’t say I am a big fan of anthologies, but it is making me look at them differently. Sorry for the grainy pictures! Some rooms just didn’t have much light!

Embrace Your Inner Bad Girl coin purse from Eliza Gayle

The Erotica Panel had to be the most I laughed at any of the panels. The questions asked were fun and the answers were sometimes even better. The panel was headlined by Sophia Oak, Delilah Devlin, Eliza Gayle, Sandy Sullivan, and Sascha Illvich. This is where I got an awesome coin purse for Eliza Gayle. The ladies mentioned using porn to get the positions correct when an older gentleman walked in the room late and asked them the same questions. Then there is the use of dolls to get positions correct and not to mention interviewing men to get their take on the feelings and such. I don’t say we laughed in a giggly way, but in a we really were having fun discussing how the authors write their erotic sex scenes.

The Demons do it… panel gave me a a lot to think about. I never really thought of religion in demon books so much. I guess it is all fiction to me so I don’t try to throw my personal religious beliefs into the mix. Just enjoy it for what it is…fantasy. So when Jessa Slade brought this up in the panel I was kind of floored that there are so many people that really have problems with demons and especially demons seeking redemption. I guess I though Jesus went around and forgave those that really were sorry for what they done. Then I learned Kris Cook has a theological background which made the discussion even better. Throw in Diana Rowland and Sydney Ayers and this was a more serious, but not any less interesting panel. Oh, yeah, let’s not forget Kris Cook getting us to yell “Holy Fuck!” twice during the session.

The Self Publishing panel was made up of Melissa Schroeder, Eliza Gayle, Cat Johnson, Tina Folsom, and Delilah Devlin. Some authors like Melissa Schroeder and Tina Folsom, are now totally self-published authors, while others have their eggs in multiple baskets for security. While being self published they also have a few publishers they work with. For some authors it came down to no one accepting their work, some others it was just wanting more control over the process. Along with the control though comes the responsibility of cover art, blurbs, marketing, etc. Then there is the whole Amazon or Barnes and Noble games you have to play to be self published. Like not being able to pre-order their books without having so many in sales, etc. It was just an interesting look at how self publishing isn’t always a fairytale, but hard work to become successful.

Damon Suede and Lissa Matthews

The M/M panel I went to was fascinating to learn more about. As women, we tend to want more character driven romances. F/F doesn’t seem to be our cup of tea, but watching the struggles of M/M seems to draw us in. Also learned that many people find women in romance to be whiney…who me? I am not a huge fan of M/M, not because of the content, but more that I like all kinds of romance and I don’t limit myself to any one genre. What I loved was hearing the authors talk more about why they are drawn to this genre. Some it just is their type of romance being in a M/M relationship themselves. The women, mostly because it is a complex relationship in contemporary romance that allows them to drive the story by character versus just sex. This panel was made up of Damon Suede, Lissa Matthews, Kris Cook, Julia Talbot, L.A. Witt, Sascha White, Andrew Grey and Mia Watts.

Lissa Matthews

Now my favorite panel was the Guess the Author by the Sex Scene panel. To say it was wild would be an understatement. Basically, six authors read excerpts from other books (not their own) and you try to pick the book they are reading from. They listed the books for us. Carolyn Crane, Nicole Peeler, PJ Snyder, Judi Fennell, Mark Henry and Jaye Wells had us laughing so hard we were in tears! To give you some perspective, they read from Fifty Shades of Grey, The Pussy Eater, Tangle of Need and a few more. I really wish I had grabbed some video of Mark Henry reading from The Pussy Eater. While to book was on my never to read list, he voice and inflection had me almost crying it was so funny. To make sure the names of characters were protected, they took volunteers. The volunteers used their first name and a hunky celebrity name. So when the authors read their stories, they put in these names so they didn’t give away the story. Unfortunately, I only got three of the six right, but I did when a book from Carolyn Crane.


I attended two readings. The first was Menage with Sophie Oak, Cat Grant, BA Tortuga, and L.A. Witt. What I loved was when one of the authors got embarrassed reading from her ménage book. It just proves we can write but it is hard to actually read it to a group of people. The scene Sophia Oak read had me laughing and now I can’t wait to start reading her Bliss, Colorado series. L.A. Witt read an excerpt from her new book, Who’s Your Daddy?, where an audience member screamed out “Oh, Fuck!” when the big secret was revealed. Overall, it is interesting to see an author read their own works and their reactions the scenes they are reading.

The other reading I went to was BDSM with Cat Grant, Joey W. Hill, Shayla Black and L.A. Witt. Again I was struck by the awesomeness of hearing an author read their own materials and how they choose the scenes to read. Shayla Black had someone with a tremendous voice read from her book. It lulled us right into the story and the heroine’s feelings. I was able to get a copy of Cat Grant’s book that I am looking forward to reading.

I also attended a panel on what’s on your keeper shelf. Classics were a must: Julie Garwood, Linda Howard and more.We discussed what made them keepers and why even some of those authors latest books are falling out of favor with long time fans. To go along with this one, I went to one on how to keep your favorite authors on the shelves. While these weren’t bad panels, they didn’t spark me as much as the others I went too.

The Erotic Romance panel helped me to define the difference between Erotica and Erotic Romance. Erotica is more about a single character and their life, their sex and the struggle to find themselves. Where Erotic Romance is still a romance, but a steamy, in more depth on sex romance. This hit home with me as I love erotic romance, but I really am not a fan of erotica. This will also help me in classifying the two genres as I read them. There was a comment on Mommy Porn that struck up some excited conversation…in essence let’s do away with the terminology of Mommy Porn. Just because we are women and have children doesn’t mean we lost our sensuality and right to be women who still have sex. The panel was headed up with Mari Freeman, Abigail Barnetter, Shayla Black, Melissa Schroeder, Erin McCarthy, Sasha White and Airel Tachna.

That’s it about panels I went too. There were a ton more I wanted to go too, but just overlapping and at times the only thing left pushed me to some panels. I did slant more to contemporary and erotic panels more because I knew the authors books. In general, I had a blast talking the panels and laughing at their jokes.


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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Sophia Rose

Wow! I’m drooling with envy as I read through the authors you were able to participate in panels with and some of the specific panels.

Thanks so much for putting together the posts!