This weekend I participated in the Writer’s Track (aka Ink Track or Think Track) at Frolicon, a yearly Easter-weekend convention in Atlanta, Georgia. To clarify, it’s not an Easter-themed convention (although people do dress up like bunnies and other animals). Frolicon is a celebration of kink, fetish, and sexuality and it’s really a lovely, accepting place where folks walk around naked, dress up, dress down, defy social expectations, and basically let their true freak shine through without risk of judgment. If this sounds fun to you, see if you can make it to Atlanta on Easter weekend next year! This year it was only $110 for a 4-day weekend pass, very affordable.
So, on Thursday I arrived and participated in a “Preserving your Anonymity as a Kinky Author” panel with Sizzler author JJ Rose and short story and literary novelist Jamie Thorsen. We had a good crowd and a good panel–Jamie even brought his bullhorn. Which he carries around with him everywhere. Inexplicably. He also carries around a dildo-handled flogger and other various paraphernalia, which makes him pretty cool. JJ carries around chocolate and writes spanking stories so if you’re into that, look him up.
After that I had dinner with my friend Linzy Antoinette at the only real restaurant within walking distance, Ruby Tuesday. This Ruby Tuesday across the street from the Sheraton Gateway clearly girds their loins for the avalanche of sex weirdos that descends on them every Easter weekend. We ate there twice. Both times, they brought us the amount of biscuits equal to the number of diners–PLUS ONE. So we had to fight over the remaining one. Actually we just split it in half, cause we’re chill that way.
After that we returned to the convention for Frolicomics, an hour of kinky stand-up comedy that had us rolling. Each subsequent comedian got a little more inappropriate. I even laughed at a Malaysia Air joke that was so, so awful. We all laughed and felt horribly guilty. Inappropriate comedy can be fun even if it’s guilt-inducing. Also, Linzy got to pet an adorable puppy afterward and this made her night.
By this time it was nearing 11pm, which is nerdy Annabel’s bedtime. But I still had Linzy help strap me into the super tight bodice of a ball gown and put on a huge black beehive wig to attend the Eyes Wide Shut costume play party. I will stop right here and apologize a billion times that I didn’t take a picture. I hate myself for it. But honestly, at Frolicon, there is very much a feeling of being in the moment. There’s not a lot of pausing for pictures. A lot of people there need anonymity and that’s another reason I barely take my camera out. BUT I do wish I had a photo! Bad Annabel.
Linzy was dressed up as a ship’s captain, with hat, nautical shirt, sunglasses and everything. This is because she couldn’t find her Zom-bee costume. None of these costumes had anything to do with Eyes Wide Shut anyway, so what did it really matter? We had fun. We strutted into the party in all our glory, the tiny cruise ship captain escorting the renaissance ballgown wearing woman with two-foot fake black hair. The magic of Frolicon is that no one even noticed us. We tucked ourselves away in the corner and enjoyed watching some tender, emotional scenes (and some screaming scenes) (and one scene with a really hot rope top). There were a lot of impact sounds from floggers, canes, paddles. Linzy and I were doing a lot of fidgeting and empathy-ouching, not gonna lie.
After about an hour we headed out because we had a long drive home. I will say that there is a whole other layer to Frolicon if you stay at the hotel and participate in the late-night parties. There is great opportunity to party, honestly, 72 hours straight if you are physically capable of it. I’m not.
After way too little sleep, I arrived at Frolicon for the second day. Friday is the day most of the things get done, because people are still fresh and somewhat well rested. We set up my author table and I hung there for a while, giving out AJ bags, tee shirts, mini-paddles, etc. Behind us there was a huge marketplace where kinky vendors come and hawk their wares. You can buy ANYTHING at Frolicon.
I did my first Friday panel in the morning, about Writing the Female POV. One thing I really took away from this panel is that females are really hard to write! I had a very different experience as an author of historical females and submissive females, versus Linda Mercury, the moderator, who writes mainly gender-bending, kickass females, versus Sascha Illyvich, who writes all over the map. But it was fun and we had a great audience.
After that I attended an Anal 101 class. I am partly ashamed and partly proud that I pretty much knew everything she went over already. HAHAHA. In the class I was texting with Book Addict, AKA La Crimson Femme, the moderator of the classy and drama free BDSM group over on Goodreads. We had plans to meet for lunch since we were long-time online friends and she was at Frolicon, and as we were texting we realized we were sitting next to each other. HAHAHAHHAHAHA. It was pretty funny.
So, I was thrilled to return to Ruby Tuesday to have lunch with Book Addict and her husband (and Linzy again.) So, with the 4 of us, of course they brought 5 biscuits. WTF, RUBY TUESDAY??!! So we split the extra biscuit into four pieces and again all was well. I loved getting to know B.A. better and getting to learn more about the BDSM group and the behind-the-scenes challenges of running it. She is a lovely, super sweet and funny lady. I saw her several more times over the convention, attending tons of classes on all kinds of kinks so she could share the info with the BDSM group on Goodreads.
In fact, after lunch we dropped off her husband in the lobby, and the three of us headed over to the Women who Love Male on Male Action event. This is exactly what it sounds like. Generous (and exhibitionist) gay men come to the dungeon and get it on while we are allowed to stare all we want. It was so beautiful…so much raw sexuality, and playful sexuality, and kinky sexuality…it was ALL THE SEXUALITY right in your face and it was great. B.A. asked an adorable couple next to us a bunch of questions about their play scene, and about how to locate the prostate, and what it feels like. They were so forthcoming and answered every question. I love gay men.
After that it was on to another panel, this time about writing description and dialogue. I got to meet Kiernan Kelly for the first time and she was awesome and fun! If you read gay romance you probably already know her name but wow, she seemed to know her stuff and had been in the publishing world for a long time. She’s going to be at Authors After Dark in Charlotte and also 2015 in Atlanta, so I get to see her again! *happy clap*
Next I hung out at the author table, talked to a few folks, finally got to meet Captured Erotica in person (if you click his link there is music, adjust volume accordingly.) Some of you will remember his photos gracing the Hall of Hotness on my old blog. It was nice to finally give him a hug after several years of knowing him! I also got to chat with some friends from last year’s Frolicon. For privacy reasons I will call them N. and M. They are an adorable couple and I talked them into volunteering to act out Miri’s de-virginization scene from Command Performance at the Bedtime Stories event.
Which brings me to Bedtime Stories! The authors got together to throw this event on Friday night. There was free alcohol, raffles, prizes, all the fun. Each author read some steamy scenes from their books, and as they read, volunteers acted out the various actions. Oh my goodness, these folks got into it. The first guy completely stripped, which kind of set the tone for the rest of the readings. Everyone was so supportive and generous, and FUN, and CRAZY! When N. and M. went at it as Mason and Miri, they left it all out on the floor. They brought all the grunting, groaning, and groping, and all the fun emotion. It made me so happy!
Me and Linzy agreed that we NEED to do some kind of similar party at AAD 2015, with some hot male models to help us ladies pantomime various hot scenes from some of your fave AJ books. What do you think? No real sex or nudity, of course. Well, unless people choose that. HAHAHAHA. I think Bedtime Stories is also going to become a recurring Frolicon party. Man, it was fun.
Of course, by the time that was over I was beat and Linzy and I headed home to try to catch up on sleep. But at Frolicon you never really catch up on sleep. We dragged ourselves in on Saturday morning and I sat bleary eyed at the author table for a while, and sold a few books to people who I hope will become regular readers. I noticed people all over the place wearing my free shirts and carrying my free bags, and a big group of cosplayers using my AJ mini-paddles to have a sword fight. All of this made me supremely happy even in my tiredness.
Then my friend Captured Erotica came by again and he had a back-massaging super-tool, and wow, that was good timing. We had a very interesting conversation about sexuality and beauty and the power of a photographer, and he agreed that maybe one day I could use one of his images on a book cover. Yeah! After that it was time for a panel on The Secret Lives of Authors. It was a Q & A type panel and I got to meet Tantelle for the first time. She’s a kinky playwright, which brought a whole new perspective to our author panel. She also had the coolest outfit ever, along with a Hello Kitty headband, and a beautiful warm smile, and I can’t wait to see her again someday.
After that it was back to the author table. Me and Linzy pounded fruit and yogurt because we were hungry and tired and so draggy by this point. Then my very first editor from Loose Id came by. I gave Venessa all the hugs and reminded her (as I always do) of how much she taught me and how I will always appreciate her help forever, and ever, and ever. All of you should appreciate her too because she was instrumental in getting me my first break and making me the writer I am today.
If you are an author interested in subbing to Loose Id, please let me know and I’ll hook you up with her. She’s particularly looking for BDSM authors, but all erotic romance is welcome. If you write shorter stuff, she also edits a quarterly short story anthology called Fictionvale. It has awesome, original genre-based material, so if you’re into that, be sure to check it out.
If you are still with me, I promise the end is in sight. At this time I headed off to my LAST PANEL. It was called Write What you Don’t Know, moderated by Angelia Sparrow, who specializes in telling the most entertaining and shudder-inducing anecdotes. It was mainly about doing research if you want to write about something you don’t personally know about, and especially being RESPONSIBLE when you write about things like kink. Getting stuff wrong can really bum out readers, or result in their Kindle being thrown against the wall and broken, and you don’t want to be the cause of that.
Anyway, after that it was time for us to pack up and head out. Well, some authors stayed for Sunday but since I wasn’t staying at the hotel I headed home to hug all my kids and get back into soccer mom mode. I want to thank everyone who made Frolicon so special for me…you know who you are, but I especially want to thank Linzy Antoinette, who kept me organized and sane. If you are in the area or if you want to spend a weekend in a sexual/fetish happy world, please consider coming next year! I’m planning to be there on the author track again, and I’d love to see you.
Finally, as a special bonus to my superfans who have read this far (because only a superfan would have read this far, lol) I have three copies of Command Performance with the OLD cover that I need to liquidate. I will send the first three commenters with US addresses a signed copy for free. (I am so sorry to leave out my international readers but these books are so heavy and I can only use Media Mail shipping in the US.)
Thanks for reading everyone! Look for news on the Master’s Flame release in May, coming soon. If you haven’t signed up to my newsletter, you can find the sign up link on the navigation bar!
p.s. I’m closing comments now! Thanks to everyone who stopped by!