Just back from a wonderful conference, Authors After Dark.
It's the conference's first year, so it was relatively small, but it was a great group of people. This was my first "fan" conference. Unlike the RWA conferences I attend, which are strictly industry, this one was designed to bring authors and readers together.
And wow, it was fun! Totally different energy, much more like a science-fiction convention than a professional conference. The other authors and I were definitely working--signing books, chatting with fans, talking up our work--but it was more relaxed, less fraught atmosphere and there was a definite party element, including a massive costume party with dancing.
I got to meet my wonderful Samhain editor at last, and see Kat from Phaze again. Got to meet other terrific writers who love the dark side of romance as much as I do. I even got a cheer when I introduced myself at a panel--an avid reader who'd bought Lions' Pride and loved it. Not bad for a relatively new name! And these felt like my people. It wasn't just that they were fellow writers and readers. They were writers and readers with Goth streaks, readers and writers who larped or did SCA or science fiction fandom as well, writers and readers who were outside the mainstream in a number of comfortable ways. I even discovered that someone I was chatting with at dinner was a friend of a friend, quite outside the writing community.
And to top it all off, we raised $1500 for a local animal shelter raffling off gift baskets!