2014 Charlotte, NC Authors After Dark [AAD] Convention Recap & Giveaway!

As always, Authors After Dark was a fabulous, fun-filled convention that I’m missing already! If you don’t want to sort through all my pics and ramblings about it, you can skip down to the bottom of the post for the giveaway.

The Road Trip

Since I was driving all by my lonesome, I didn’t take any pictures of the things I saw on my way from Tampa to Charlotte. I one-shotted the trip in a single day. It took me a little over 9 hours, even with my GPS derping on me and sending me about 50 miles off course to somewhere north-easterly of where I needed to be.

Why did I drive, you ask? If you’ve been wondering why I’ve been so quiet on Twitter and Facebook the last few weeks, I’ve been on the road and I’m currently in New York for some family time. I’ll be around social media sporadically until I head home in September (and if you’re a Floridian and want to see me, come to my next signing–the Angels & Sinners Tampa Mashup on September 13, 2014 at the Westshore Tampa Double Tree Hotel–because after this I’m taking a break from the con circuit until Coastal Magic in Daytona in February, 2015).

I do want to thank C.J. Ellisson for being a fabulous host and an all around wonderful person for giving me a place to crash on my way up to New York. Thank you, C.J.! Can’t wait to see you (and play another round of Munchkin) again!

The Convention

Once again, I was thrilled to be an Authors After Dark featured author!

AAD-Featured-Author-Button

I sat on two panels this year (Vamps and Odd Paranormals) and had a fantastic signing. I’m still amused how many people were sold on the Werewives anthology based on my description of the bitchy werewives in one of the panels.

Odd Paranormal Panel at AAD Charlotte 2014
Odd Paranormal Panel at AAD Charlotte 2014
Odd Paranormal Panel at AAD Charlotte 2014
Odd Paranormal Panel at AAD Charlotte 2014

It was nice to sit in the audience of a few panels, too. Some of the panels Holly and I checked out included ones on Shifters, Urban Fantasy, and Kick-Ass Heroines. We had a total blast!

Here’s an idea of some of the fun times that were had:

AAD 2014 Charlotte - Even The Tables Look Like They're Ready For Fun
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Even The Tables Look Like They’re Ready For Fun
AAD 2014 Charlotte - The Panel Where Allison Pang Explained How She Got The Idea for Her Miniature Unicorn to Leave Behind Glitter In Her Heroine's Underwear Drawer
AAD 2014 Charlotte – The Panel Where Allison Pang Explained How She Got The Idea for Her Miniature Unicorn to Leave Behind Glitter In Her Heroine’s Underwear Drawer
AAD 2014 Charlotte - The Shifter Panel
AAD 2014 Charlotte – The Shifter Panel
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Do The Dragon
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Do The Dragon
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Girl's Night Out - Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I've Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Girl’s Night Out – Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I’ve Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Girl's Night Out - Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I've Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Girl’s Night Out – Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I’ve Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Girl's Night Out - Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I've Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Girl’s Night Out – Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I’ve Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Girl's Night Out - Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I've Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Girl’s Night Out – Some Of The Craziest Bachelorette Party Games I’ve Ever Seen
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Sins & Virtues Ball - Dinner at Alexandra Ivy's Table
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Sins & Virtues Ball – Dinner at Alexandra Ivy’s Table
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Sins & Virtues Ball
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Sins & Virtues Ball
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Sins & Virtues Ball - The Cover Model Announced Something But I Was A Little Distracted And Don't Remember What...
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Sins & Virtues Ball – The Cover Model Announced Something But I Was A Little Distracted And Don’t Remember What…
AAD 2014 Charlotte - Sins & Virtues Ball - Paris Hilton--I Mean, Carrie Ann Ryan, Escaping The Paparazzi
AAD 2014 Charlotte – Sins & Virtues Ball – Paris Hilton–I Mean, Carrie Ann Ryan, Escaping The Paparazzi

And, of course, there were friends I was thrilled to see again:

Me, Kate Douglas, another author (agh, I'm sorry I don't know her name!), and Joey W. Hill
Me, Kate Douglas (one of the authors from one of the anthologies I was in, Nocturnal), another author (agh, I’m sorry I don’t know her name!), and Joey W. Hill
Me, Elise Hepner, Paige Prince (aka, Mama Kitty)
Me, Elise Hepner, Paige Prince (aka, Mama Kitty)
Jenny Trout, Me, Holly Rutan
Jenny Trout, Me, Holly Rutan
Alexandra Ivy at the Corner of Mark and Twain
Alexandra Ivy at the Corner of Mark and Twain
Jennifer Estep, Me
Jennifer Estep, Me
Cards Against Humanity - Paige, Leanna Renee Hieber and Jenny Looking Calm Before The Storm. Then...
Cards Against Humanity – Paige, Leanna Renee Hieber and Jenny Looking Calm Before The Storm. Then…
Cards Against Humanity - ATTACK OF THE VIGOROUS JAZZ HANDS
Cards Against Humanity – ATTACK OF THE VIGOROUS JAZZ HANDS
Cards Against Humanity - Bringing Us Laughter, Tears, and Vigorous Jazz Hands
Cards Against Humanity – Bringing Us Laughter, Tears, and Vigorous Jazz Hands
Cards Against Humanity - Bringing Us Laughter, Tears, and Vigorous Jazz Hands
Cards Against Humanity – Bringing Us Laughter, Tears, and Vigorous Jazz Hands

This barely scratches the surface of everything I saw and did while I was there. I’ll upload more pics to Facebook as soon as I have a few minutes. Check out my albums there later this week if you want to see more!

As for me being my authorly self, I gave out tons of fun things at the paranormal party and I can’t believe I ran out of the ribbons the readers were supposed to collect before it was over! If you haven’t seen them, they are black with silver lettering and say “Doesn’t Play Well With Others”–subtle, right? I even had some bumper stickers made up that said it and ran out of those long before the party was over. Same with the “I went to New York and all I got was this lousy contract” T-shirts.

Me at AAD Charlotte 2014 Paranormal Party
Me at AAD Charlotte 2014 Paranormal Party

The signing was great, and I really enjoyed chatting with Bronwyn Green (who sat on my left) and the assistant to the author who sat on my right (I’m kicking myself for not catching her name). I was kept busy almost the entire time, signing, meeting fans, and generally having a good time.

Me at AAD Charlotte 2014 Signing
Me at AAD Charlotte 2014 Signing

Also this was Holly’s very first signing. (For those of you who aren’t familiar, Holly Rutan is a good friend of mine who occasionally comes with me to conventions. She is also a librarian and now a brand new author! Show her some love! And check out her book, SILVER BOUND, because it’s awesome.)

Holly Rutan's First Signing!
Holly Rutan’s First Signing!

The Town and The Food

Uptown Charlotte feels like it’s trying too hard to be a cleaner Los Angeles or Manhattan or something. Parts of it are very pretty, but near the Westin (the hotel where the convention was held) it has more upscale office buildings and restaurants than the feel or attractions of a tourist town.

Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
Come on, now, Charlotte. Why are you channeling something out of Clive Barker's imagination?
Come on, now, Charlotte. Why are you channeling something out of Clive Barker’s imagination?
Meet me at the corner of Mark and Twain!
Meet me at the corner of Mark and Twain!
Charlotte Museum of Modern Art
Charlotte Museum of Modern Art
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
I've got my eye on you, Charlotte.
I’ve got my eye on you, Charlotte.
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC

It’s a nice town, but I don’t recommend it if you’re looking for a place with reasonable prices and lots of tourist-y things to do. Even the Starbucks closes at around 5PM on a weeknight and the bulk of the restaurants are of the fancypants and/or expensive varieties that might appeal more to foodies than tourists on a budget.

As for the food, Holly and I spent over $125 (1 shared appetizer, 2 entrees, 3 drinks, and 2 desserts) on our first meal at Mimosa Grill:

Mimosa Grill - Crawdad and Shrimp Hushpuppies
Mimosa Grill – Crawdad and Shrimp Hushpuppies
Mimosa Grill - My Dinner
Mimosa Grill – My Dinner
Mimosa Grill - Holly's Dinner
Mimosa Grill – Holly’s Dinner
Mimosa Grill - Holly's Dessert
Mimosa Grill – Holly’s Dessert
Mimosa Grill - My Dessert
Mimosa Grill – My Dessert

Red Ginger was an excellent sushi and hibachi restaurant to visit for lunch, but their service at dinner time was lacking. One of the people I was with for dinner has a severe allergy to certain foods and ordered something off the menu that had to be prepared in the kitchen. We didn’t discover until much later that our waitress never even turned in her order.

What we did have was good, and I can tell you it is very worth going there for hibachi for lunch (I can’t tell you how their sushi was as I don’t care for it), but I don’t recommend it (due to both price and service) for dinner.

Red Ginger - Fire Is Always Good
Red Ginger – Fire Is Always Good
Red Ginger - Fire Is Good, But Lunch With Friends Is Better
Red Ginger – Fire Is Good, But Lunch With Friends Is Better
Red Ginger - Getting Pretty Free and Easy With That Sake
Red Ginger – Getting Pretty Free and Easy With That Sake
Red Ginger - Getting Pretty Free and Easy With That Sake
Red Ginger – This Guy Likes To Share His Sake.
Red Ginger - Fire Is Good, But Lunch With Friends Is Better
Red Ginger - So Much Sake. SO MUCH.

We had to walk about 6 blocks to find the much more reasonably priced Valhalla’s Pub & Eatery, which not only had good food…

Valhalla's: Where Vikings Go To Eat
Valhalla’s: Meals Fit For A Jarl
Valhalla's Menu - I Should Have Tried the Loki's Loaded Fries
Valhalla’s Menu – I Should Have Tried the Loki’s Loaded Fries

…but they clearly have a sense of humor about themselves as well.

Valhalla's - Our Waiter Posed For A Pic
Valhalla’s – Our Waiter Posed For A Pic

I also strongly suggest avoiding Mellow Mushroom. Their service was terrible and their food was mediocre at best. We had a party of 10; it took us 30 minutes of waiting to get a table, 20 minutes for the waiter to come for our order, and almost 40 minutes to get our food–and it turned out the order was missing items, which meant more waiting.

About That Giveaway…

If you couldn’t make it to the AAD Convention, I have not one but 3 separate prize packs just for you!

AAD 2014 Charlotte - The Giveaway Prizes!
AAD 2014 Charlotte – The Giveaway Prizes!
AAD 2014 Charlotte - The Giveaway Prizes!
AAD 2014 Charlotte – The Giveaway Prizes!
AAD 2014 Charlotte - The Giveaway Prizes!
AAD 2014 Charlotte – The Giveaway Prizes!

Randomly selected books and swag from the above pictures will go into the themed bags I created for you! Everything you see above will be split into 3 prize packs. Yes–you’ll even get an official Authors After Dark Convention swag bag, complete with cherry-picked promo, swag, a number of ebook download codes, and a random selection of the physical books you see in the picture below, just as if you had come to the con yourself!

This is all thanks to the generosity of the authors listed below (and if they offered 1 or more paperback book, see the note beside their name in parenthesis for the title; no note means they gave ebooks and/or swag). Please be sure to visit the following authors on Facebook and Twitter (and buy their books!) to thank them for playing along:

(** Indicates author offered 1 or more signed paperback books. Signed books will be randomly divided between the 3 winners.)

These giveaways are intended to go to people who really wanted to go but couldn’t make it this year or don’t otherwise have the means to get their hands on these books. If you attended Authors After Dark, be sure to tell your friends about this giveaway so they have a shot at winning all of the wonderful things you brought home from the con!

Enter To Win One of Three Authors After Dark Prize Packs! (U.S. Only)

Enter to win books, books, more books! There is an eclectic mix of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, contemporary romance (new adult, cowboy, sweet, etc.) and more. There are shot glasses, pens, pins, magnets, even a T-shirt! Whatever the flavor of books or swag you enjoy, there is something in here for you!

AAD 2014 Charlotte - The Giveaway Prizes! Check Out These Books...
AAD 2014 Charlotte – The Giveaway Prizes! Check Out These Books…

The selection of paperbacks includes titles like:

  • A BRUSH OF DARKNESS
  • A MIDWINTER FANTASY (anthology)
  • A TALE OF TWO DJINNS
  • AWAKENED
  • CLOSE TO THE BROKEN HEARTED
  • ENSLAVED BY THE OTHERS
  • MAKE DAMN SURE
  • SET ADRIFT
  • SWEET FILTHY BOY
  • THE REAL WEREWIVES OF VAMPIRE COUNTY (anthology)
  • THE SPIDER
  • TURNED
  • WHEN DARKNESS COMES
  • And many more…

Each winner will get at least 10 paperback books (minimum 3 signed by the author[s]) and 2 (or more) free ebooks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Unfortunately, as costs of shipping outside the U.S. are prohibitive, this giveaway is U.S. only.)

Please be kind, pay it forward, and tell your friends who couldn’t make it to the con about this special giveaway so they can play along at home, too!

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18 Responses to 2014 Charlotte, NC Authors After Dark [AAD] Convention Recap & Giveaway!

  1. mariannewestrich says:

    I want to win this for my bedt friend, Shari, who couldn’t make it to AAD this year.

  2. nicka says:

    The Spider by Jennifer Estep. I haven’t read any of her books yet. Thanks for a chance to win some great stuff!

  3. Jess says:

    You’re very welcome! Good luck, and I hope you enjoy Jennifer’s books whenever you give them a shot. :)

  4. Samantha Wallace says:

    I see Jennifer Estep’s The Spider, I have read her Mythos Academy series and it was AMAZING!! I would love to read her other series as well and thanks for the giveaway!! :)

  5. JoannaM says:

    Wow, it seems like you guys had so much fun!!! I see The Real Wives of Vampire County by Alexandra Ivy and Turned by Virna DePaul but I’d take any PNR I can because I’m a paranormal girl!! Thanks for this wonderful chance =D

  6. Lachi Denali says:

    Looks like you had an amazing time. So hate I missed it. My favorite genre is m/m paranormal!

  7. lizziekeck says:

    I could not attend AAD but hope to be able to next year, I have always loved to read and love anything Paranormal. Wolves, Shifters, and Vampires are my favorite. Thank you for the chance to win, everything looks amazing!

  8. Mamadevine says:

    Went to AAD last year in Savannah. Went with my then 13 year old daughter to the YA day so she could meet one of her favortie authors Colleen Houck. We had a blast! I hope to go for the whole convention sometime!

  9. kwest says:

    Thank you for the opportunity! Paranormal genre.

  10. saralee1974 says:

    I would love the opportunity to win any of these books but THE REAL WEREWIVES OF VAMPIRE COUNTY (anthology) caught my eye. Thank you for the opportunity. We readers appreciate all the authors who reach out to us!

  11. Wolf Dragon says:

    The Real Werewives of Vampire County or When Darkness Comes. Thank you

  12. cerenity2007 says:

    ooooo, ummmmm, yea hard choice. I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance and well just about any book in the fantasy genre <3

  13. BookLover62 says:

    The Real Werewives of Vampire County

  14. Linda says:

    I love romances – paranormal, urban fantasy, contemporary, western, sci-fi… Thanks!

  15. margar8 says:

    I’ve read Allison Pang’s book but don’t own it so that’s one. I don’t think I read the Real Werewives except for the Others story so that’s another.

    Hey Jess, did you drive the Tardis again? So much swag!

    • Jess says:

      Ha! No, Tardis this time. I drove my own car. The blue beast belonged to Aria Kane. I swear, that thing really was bigger on the inside…

  16. Pingback: It’s Been A Long Trip, But I’m Finally Home! » The Blog of Jess Haines

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