Panel 1: Anti-Heroes You Hate to Love: Do you love the Dark, Desirable and Deadly heroes? Join us for a lively chat with authors who have mastered this archetype. Chat with a room full of authors and friends who understand your obsession! Participating authors include Jo Beverley and more!Authors participating:Anna Campbell, Carolyn Crane, Carolyn Jewel, Cathy Maxwell, Cindy Gerard, Elizabeth Hoyt, Hana Samek Norton, Jeaniene Frost, Jessa Slade, Jo Beverley, Keena Kincaid, Lori Wilde, Meagan Hatfield, Nalini Singh, Terri Brisbin, Terri Garey.
Panel 2: Author Fairy Godmothers to the Rescue! Have you ever wondered how you, the reader, can help your favorite authors? You indicate your support for an author by purchasing her books, but is there more that you can do? Join us as a panel of authors and publishers give you the tools you need to help ensure your favorite authors keep producing the magical stories you’ve become addicted to!Authors & editors participating:Autumn Piper, Carly Phillips, Cathy Clamp, Cindy Hwang, Deb Werksman, Deeanne Gist, Elizabeth Boyle, Jeanne C. Stein, Lori Wilde, Veronica Wolff.
Pro: Not many pros to list. I did get a list of sites I had never heard of that I could possibly post reviews/thoughts on but other than that it wasn’t very helpful from a reader point of view. I did like the section spent on libraries. I did think that was useful information to have about the number of circulations of a book and how to help your librarian with suggestions. I was hoping the rest of the panel would be as informative as that section was.
Con: This panel started off with 20 min about pirating books. I understand it is a problem within the industry (heck every industry that has digital content) but really as a reader it is not my job to monitor. Which between the number of times google alerts and searching were brought up, I believe that was more for the authors to share between themselves. I think 5 min explaining it is an issue and that readers need to be aware to buy from legitimate sources would have been plenty. I think that would be a perfect panel discussion for authors/publishers to have amongst themselves. Then we were told again and again to post our reviews/thoughts on Amazon because the casual reader would see them. At that point, I agreed it would be helpful but they went on to say it doesn’t matter what you write that the star is important and just the number of “reviews” a book has. I am not sure how many casual readers they know but the ones I do only read 10 books a year. They do solely base their book choices on books that they have heard good reviews about and I doubt they could tell you how many stars it has been ranked. Also, they kind of downplayed Goodreads and never even mentioned Library Thing. They didn’t really mention Borders or Barnes & Noble. So on a whole this panel was just a complete wash for me. I was hoping to get how I, as a reader, can help the author get the word out about her books. So I will be skipping this one next year.
Panel 3: Intimate Chat with Hannah Howell
Pro: I loved this setting. It was 10 of us in the room with the amazing Hannah Howell. We all just sat around and talked about her books, life, and inspirations. There wasn’t really a moderator so it was just a free round table discussion. I enjoyed it immensely! Hannah is a hoot and such a sweet lady.
Con: None! I think this ran very smoothly.
Panel 4: Meet Samhain Publishing
Pro: It was interesting to see how they vary from a traditional publisher. They were also actively looking/listening to what readers would like to see more of. I am not sure I will go to any of these panels next year but it was interesting to see once.
Meals in General
I am going to group all meals together as I was not impressed. They were entirely over-priced and not very good at all. Breakfast in particular was a big waste of money. $20 for a continental breakfast that only had a few choices when you could go to the hotel restaurant and get the same thing for $8.95 was kind of a huge let down. I would say if you plan to go unless you just want to watch the awards for dinner, skip buying the meals. You will save some money and probably get better food.
Panel 5: Melissa Mayhue & Friends Blogger/Reviewer Party (Invitational)
Pros: This was a ton of fun! I enjoyed talking to other bloggers about what they were reading and getting to know the authors.
Cons: None really!
Friday overall: I thought the day went pretty smoothly. I heard there was some “drama” at a reviewer panel that afternoon. So glad I missed it. It was the big talk on twitter and around the conference that night. My only thoughts on what I heard is that I really don’t think there is a right/wrong way to do your reviews. They are for other readers, if you don’t like a book you paid for, I think you have every right to state that fact. If I don’t like a movie, I say it. I don’t know why anyone would attack an author in a review and not just state what they like/don’t like about the book but I guess it has happened? I have never seen it but I think common sense dictates that the author is not their work, so they should not be brought up in the review unless you are referencing something they have said about the book. Other than that, to each their own. There is plenty of space in the world wide web for everyone. So put your big girl panties on and just worry about your own stuff not everyone else’s. If everyone was exactly the same, the world (and book blogs) would be a very boring place!
I did not attend the Costume Ball because I was exhausted! The day was tons of fun and while I was overwhelmed at times there was such good vibes from everyone involved that you couldn’t help but be in a good mood. It was a lot to put into one day but well worth it!
9 AM Speed Date a New Author–Session 1: Have a flash visit with your favorite authors or new-to-you authors and decide for yourself if you’d like to check out their books! Some of the authors participating are Amanda McCabe, Brenda Novak, Bronwyn Scott, Erin Nicholas, Jami Alden, Jeanne C. Stein, Lila DiPasqua, Monica McCarty, Nicole Peeler, and Susan Donovan!
Pros: These were some of my favorite events! You got 3 min with each author (just like a speed dating event). It gave you a chance to learn about new authors to you and chat with some of your favorites in a one on one environment.
Cons: They figured this out for the later speed dating events but for the first one we were to close together. Love how the volunteers/organizers were quick to adapt!
10 AM Speed Date a New Author–Session 2! Have a flash visit with your favorite authors or new-to-you authors and decide for yourself if you’d like to check out their books! Some of the authors participating are Autumn Piper, Blythe Gifford, Catherine Anderson, Christine Feehan, CL Wilson, Elizabeth Boyle, Gabi Stevens, Hana Samek Norton, Jodi Thomas, Keena Kincaid, Lynda Hilburn, Mary Sullivan, and Veronica Wolff!
Pros: They put us further apart so that was awesome. Other than that, again I really enjoyed my 3 min with each author. It was just fantastic fun! Christine Feehan–I got to talk to her for two cycles. I was a total fan girl and not even apologizing about it 🙂 Also, I did my sister proud and mentioned her a thousand times to Jodi Thomas! She loves her!
Cons: None this panel
12 PM Book Fair–Open to the Public! Meet Jo Beverley, Christine Feehan, Julia Quinn, Lori Foster, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh, Carly Phillips, Susan Mallery, Melissa Mayhue, Catherine Anderson, Jodi Thomas and dozens of other fabulous authors at our multi-author booksigning sponsored by Borders. Bring up to 3 books from your own library for your favorite author to sign!12 PM Publisher Meet & Greet Scavenger Hunt at the Booksigning: Make your way through the labyrinth of clues in our Publisher Maze to win great prizes and find some great new authors!
Pros: All the authors in one place! It was a fantastic opportunity to get your books signed.
Cons: The layout–man it was hard to find your favorite unless you knew what they looked like. Also, it was hard to identify them as they didn’t have their books in front of them. I think they will fix that for next year.
3:30 PM Historical Spotlight Authors Tea: Join our historical spotlight authors, Hannah Howell, Anna Campbell, Elizabeth Hoyt, Jo Beverley, Melissa Mayhue, and Julia Quinn, as they host 75 special attendees with afternoon refreshments including tea, coffee and cake! Attendees must register for this free event and will be selected via a lottery. Lottery winners will be announced in July.
Pros:Loved this panel. It was fun interaction and we played games.
Con: It was at the same time as the Paranormal Tea
Saturday Overall: It was a fantastic time. I actually missed Were-Squares at 2:30 which I heard was a ton of fun. I wish I could have made it 🙂 The only thing I would like to see them change next year is the opportunity to attend all 3 teas (those are huge events). The book fair was good but I think this will be something that will be even better next year. Sometimes you have to try something once to learn how you want to tweak it. I actually ended my day by going to Denver for dinner and checking out downtown. So it was a great day!
I woke up with a fever and sore throat 🙁 So I didn’t get to say goodbye to the tons of people leaving that day (I did a few) because I wasn’t going to make everyone sick. I did go through the lobby a few times and saw groups of people hugging, exchanging information, and chatting up a storm. It was fantastic to see the love that was in the air. I also forced myself to go to one of the speed dating events because I wanted to see Shannon Butcher!
11 AM Speed Date a New Author–Session 4! Have a flash visit with your favorite authors or new-to-you authors and decide for yourself if you’d like to check out their books! Some of the authors participating are Carolyn Jewel, Cathy Clamp, Cindy Gerard, J L Wilson, Jessa Slade, Judi Fennell, Leanne Banks, Mary Burton, Meg Benjamin, Nalini Singh, Shannon K. Butcher, Susan Crandall, and many more!
Pros: So much fun! Everyone was tired but it was great to meet every single one of them 🙂
Overall: I really loved this conference and will go again next year. They haven’t set dates yet but I am sure they will soon. I would like to see more “reader” type of panels. Kind of like: Mix n Mingle with other Historical Readers, Paranormal Readers, Contemporary Readers. I would actually like to see less blogger panels (yes I know I am a blogger). Maybe even a readers lounge, where readers can meet and talk about books inbetween sessions 🙂 For the first time though I thought it was very well done! In my humble opinion you should go next year if you get a chance 🙂