You may see a few vampires and steampunk maidens wandering downtown this weekend.

It's all part of this year's Authors After Dark romance convention, and you're invited to the party.

The event is coming to the Savannah Marriott Riverfront from Aug. 15-18, with a free book signing from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 17.

Stella Price, convention director, started the event to create an inexpensive way for readers to interact with authors on a more personal level to discuss their work, said Carolline Greene, public relations representative for Authors After Dark.

Previous conventions have taken place in New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans, she said.

"Savannah was chosen because so many of the authors and attendees wanted to come to the area," Greene said.

There will be 100 featured authors, including Mistress of Ceremonies Mary Janice Davidson, who is a New York Times bestselling author, and Georgia native Delilah S. Dawson.

Several featured bloggers will also be in attendance.

Greene said author/fan interaction is a huge part of the convention.

"Outside of panels, meals and parties, the authors linger in the hallways and meeting rooms around the hotel, as well as gathering at some of the local businesses.

"Some of the authors end up doing smaller, spur-of-the-moment things with their fans. For instance, last year a group of authors, including T.J. Michaels, had a ZART (Zombie Apocalypse Response Team) event at one of the local bars, where they hosted giveaways and just relaxed with people. Kallypso Masters hosted a brunch at the hotel the last day of the convention for a group of her fans she met during the convention," Greene said.

Attendees are encouraged to dress up for several of the events, and many of the get-ups are "phenomenal," Greene said, adding there are often best costume awards.

"The Vampire Ball and Elemental Ball are two of the themed events chosen for this year," she said.

"The Steampunk Tea is a re-occurring event where attendees and authors come in costume for drinks and small snacks, where authors put on a show consisting of prize giveaways and readings of their works, while signing and taking pictures with fans."

While the parties are open to registered attendees only, local residents can get a chance to mingle with the authors and fellow fans by purchasing day passes for $50.

Saturday's book signing, however, is free and open to the public, Greene said. You can either bring your own books to be signed or make purchases on-site.

Greene said last year was her first convention, and she met "so many wonderful people."

"I was able to fawn over authors that I've read for years, new ones whose works I recently fell in love with and several new-to-me authors, of which I ended up reading their work following the convention. That's not to mention the fellow attendees I got to talk with about our mutual love of books," Greene said.

"The convention was the catalyst of new relationships with bloggers, authors and fellow readers that I can't wait to see again â¦"

Authors After Dark is really about a celebration of reading, Greene said, regardless of category.

"I think one of the wonderful things about AAD is everyone's general love of books and reading. No matter if you read the same genre or not, attendees can discover new authors and friends, all while exploring the culture-rich city of Savannah," Greene said.


What: Authors After Dark romance novel convention

Where: Savannah Marriott Riverfront, 100 General McIntosh Blvd.

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 15-17; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 18; book signing from 2-4 p.m. Aug. 17

Cost: Book signing event is free; day passes are $50 (must show ID to prove residency)

Info: 18 and older only;,