Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Authors After Dark Savannah - 2013 (Friday).

I love the ribbon scavenger hunt that occurs at AAD.  Several authors have ribbons printed out with fun slogans pertaining to their books.  The object is to try to collect them all.  Here is one attendee who was quite successful.

Friday morning the first panel I attended was Witches (Joey Hill, Heather Long, Rebecca Zanetti, Sasha White.)

Is there a market for witches? Publishers are thinking a few years ahead.  What is popular now, may not be in a few years.  The panelists advised to market yourself and your name.  (If you're a writer that is.) Independent publishers are more flexible.  Sasha said that she writes what she wants to presently write.  Heather added that people want to read good books.  Whether it's vampires, witches, etc.  The market is a good story.

The authors then talked about why they wrote about witches.  Heather stated that a female witch is empowered.  Rebecca writes what she wants to read.  Witches are fun and she wanted to explore on the fringe of what's possible.  Joey uses knowledge from her Wiccan training.  Her witches are instructional, down to earth.  Her character is a teacher. Heather is also Wiccan and grew up watching Bewitched.  She found a book called, The Changeover by Margaret Mahy and wanted to write *that* book.   When Sasha was a kid, she wanted to be psychic.  However, if she wasn't she could create someone who was.

For all the fun in magic however, Steph stated that magic has to have a cost or it's hard to believe.  Rebecca's magic obeys the law of physics.  For example in her world, you can't change a person into a frog, it doesn't make sense, they're not the same size.  Also, their witches don't always win a fight.  In some of their worlds, the more you rely on your magic, the more it corrupts.

So do the authors believe in magic?  Joey said absolutely.  "Wicca is my Faith.  It's prayer and energy.  Magic is a science not yet explained."  Rebecca also believes in magic and reminded us that we only use about 12% of our brain and pointed out that there is a lot out there we don't see and understand.  Heather also said yes and told us the beautiful memory of the first moments of holding her daughter.  It was so touching and difficult to dispute that it indeed was magic.

Laura from Little Read Riding Hood talks to the authors.
Next I went to Kick Ass, Take Names (Amanda Carlson, Dianna Love, Kendall Grey, Kait Ballenger,  Jeri Smith-Ready, moderated by Amanda Bonilla.)

How do these authors craft a good fight? Jeri's heroine Ciara from her WVMP Series fights more with her brain.  However, in the last book she picks up a weapon.  Jeri does research and puts herself in the shoes of the character. She takes it moment by moment and uses all the senses in her writing.  Kendall's heroine is a biologist, so she uses her brain as well.  Kait states that the key to fight scenes is tension.  She is concise and doesn't use a lot of description.  She also relies on her martial arts background.  Amanda loves writing action scenes and told us that they play out in her mind.  Amanda B. can write a fight scene in a matter of minutes.  "YouTube is my best friend.  I pay a lot of attention to movement."

"Being kick ass doesn't always mean a punch in the face."

Jeri further discussed Ciara, who is a former con artist and understands how to manipulate people.  Her way of kicking ass is to come up with schemes to save lives.  Kendall's character's strength comes from her heart.  She is a regular person and doesn't have to have magic to do that.  Kait's female characters struggle with how physically strong they are and how mentally strong they are.  Amanda's heroine is new to her powers and her strength is how she's figuring it out.  Diana's character is always tested and that is how she grows emotionally.

Similar to the Villains panel the question of whether there is a threshold was asked.  Do the authors draw a line?  Cait's books havent had a violence threshold.  They are pretty violent.  Amanda C. told us that her books are not dark.  "I like happy."  Dianna writes dark.  Her action scenes switch as to who gets the upper hand.  It's part of the plot.  However, her torture scenes happen off the page.  Jeri has a  different threshold when writing YA.  But in her adult books she delves into the repercussions.  One thing with violence is to show the effects.  Kendall doesn't have a threshold but her editor does.

Jen (Twimom) from That's What I'm Talking About brought up the topic of torture off scene vs. active participation and the differences in writing torture vs. fight scenes.

"Action propels the story.  Torture lends itself to emotional growth."

Jeri treats torture very seriously.  She explained there is a lot of forms of torture.  She talked about how isolation can be a form of torture and that is why solitary confinement is considered such a severe punishment.  Kendall hasn't written a lot of physical torture, but does use emotional torture.  Kait thinks a torture scene is harder to write than a fight scene.  It's difficult when a character is incapable of standing up for themself.  In her Romance books, Dianna only uses torture off scene, but in her UF she utilizes it a bit more.

How much do they pay attention to societal tropes?  Dianna explained that when you're writing a strong woman, you need to make her believable and relatable.  Strong women are not necessarily ballbusters.  Amanda doesn't pay attention, she just writes the character as does Kendall.  Amanda B. says that women are more judgemental.  She has to ask herself why the character is behaving this way?  She writes bitchy females, but there is a reason.  Jeri feels that any character that is not a straight white male is judged on how they represent their group.  Characters who are female or a minority are not judged by as a person but as a group.

Other panels I attended were Spontaneously Paranormal, Post Apocalyptic and You and The Unlikely Hero.   After the panels there was a Blogger Gathering and a Steampunk Tea.  (I went back and forth to both rooms.)

Steampunk  Tea

Annie from Booked and Loaded.
Leanna Renee Hieber.

The Vampire Ball was one of the highlights of the weekend for me.  I loved seeing everyone's costumes and creativity.

Joey Hill.
Winner of the costume contest. 

Someone's cool purse.  I wants it!
I didn't sign up for an author table, but I ended up sitting with Kat Mancos.  She had an awesome gift basket for one lucky winner seated with us and she also had other prizes for everyone at the table.  

Chelsea from Vampire Book Club & Laura from Little Read Riding Hood.  

Jess Haines, (unknown), Lia Haber, Kristen Painter. 

I was sorry not to have gotten more pictures of the awesome bloggers I met.  Things were so busy! I had to leave Saturday morning so I missed the author signing and the party. However, I was able to pack in a lot of activities and fun during the time I was there.  If anyone reading this is wondering whether Authors After Dark is worth it, I can tell you that it is!  Especially if you are a fan of even one or two of the authors who attend, enjoy interesting panels, fun events and meeting great people.

Don't forget to sign up for the 2014 Authors After Dark Challenge hosted by me and Bookswagger!


Karen said...

What's nice about AAD is that there is a lot of time to actually interact with other bloggers and authors. As opposed to something like BEA where you're just running around frantically.

P.S. That's Delilah Dawson next to Jess Haines in that last pic.

Jenny said...

Oh my gosh look at all those unbelievable costumes!!!! Everyone really outdoes themselves at this event, I'm so impressed. I hope to make it to AAD one year, all the panels, parties and people seem so amazing. Glad you had such a blast Pam, and thanks for the pictures and recap!

Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

The costumes are my favorite part though I really loved our group costume last year. I hope we get to do something similar in the future :)

Aurian said...

Awesome post again, and I loved all those nifty costumes. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends!

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