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A Tight-Knit Horror Community at Scares That Care Authorcon III!

Being able to hang out with my favorite indie horror authors, buy books, chat with other readers, and make new horror friends is my idea of a heavenly weekend. I was living my best indie horror life last weekend and wanted to share my experience with those who could not attend.

The most important part of this super fun weekend?

Scares That Care Authorcon is a 501(3)(c) charity organization that has donated over $300,000 and counting to families in need.

Below - indie horror cover artist and general badass Lynne Hansen at Scares That Care

Lynne Hansen sports her awesome blue hair and skull tshirt featuring her art while posting at her AuthorCon table
Indie horror cover artist and general badass Lynne Hansen at Scares That Care

This was my second year attending the Scares That Care event. This go around I had a bit of tweaking to do last minute with my plans that turned out to be an enjoyable experience. I traveled from East Tennessee to Williamsburg, Virginia with talented artist Lynne Hansen and amazing author Jessi Ann York. We arrived early on Thursday and got to setting up the tables.

Insider tip: If you can get to the event a day early or even Friday morning, I highly recommend it.

Kirsten posing with super kind author Eric LaRocca. Both are smiling and wearing spooky themed black tshirts.
Myself and author Eric LaRocca

Throughout the next few days, I was floored by being able to meet indie horror authors and readers I had known only from the internet. I bought tons of books and got just as many books signed. Every single author at this event is exceedingly kind and welcoming. It is easy to be stressed to approach someone you admire like Eric LaRocca but trust me when I say you will always be treated warmly by these authors. The sense of community at this event thrums throughout every attendee. Even the staff and volunteers who work this event show up for everyone there. Over the weekend I witnessed them go above and beyond for the safety, well-being, and comfort of those at the event. The event coordinators will even tell you - when you are at AuthorCon, you are family!

Insider tip: Be sure to utilize the name tags and hug/no hug stickers found at the main check-in area. It can help you feel more comfortable approaching new people and navigating the con.

A panel table featuring five prominent horror authors talking about folklore in horror
Folklore in Horror panel featuring (from left to right) John Langan, Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Matt Blazi, Laurel Hightower and Tony Evans

As if the thrill of meeting phenomenal authors and readers wasn't enough...cue the scheduled programming you can attend during Scares That Care! This year I was able to attend live readings from indie horror authors, panels about specific horror and writing elements, and even a wildly hilarious presentation from How To Sell A Haunted House author Grady Hendrix. Panels are a unique way to gain insight into indie horror while you learn new things about your favorite authors. I highly recommend carving out time during Scares That Care to attend a few panels.

Insider tip: Grab a copy of the schedule each day of the event and mark down the panels or readings you are interested in. I even set reminders on my phone so I could make sure I didn't forget.

A panel table featuring five indie horror book reviwers discussing how authors can reach their readers.
Book Influencers 101 panel featuring (from left to right) Eve Bullet (@eve.reads.horror), Sonja Ska (@ghostlyreads), myself, Heaven Ferguson (@justlike_heaven_) and Elizabeth Gonzalez- Collazo (@shereadswithcoffee)

This year I was honored to be on a panel as a moderator. This panel was the first of its kind at Authorcon and was called Book Influencers 101. It was a super special experience that I hope benefitted the wonderful people who attended. On this panel we chatted about how to get ARCs in readers' hands, why we are drawn to a book, and our favorite socials for talking about books. It is one of my goals as a reviewer to facilitate positive, impactful relationships between indie horror authors, publishers, and authors however I can. I hope to be a part of more panels in the future!

Insider tip: On the last day of the convention, they hold a Yell at Brian Keene panel where attendees can voice concerns or ideas they have to make the panel better. There's no better time or place to share your thoughts on your experience. Just be sure you don't really yell at Brian!

A banner featuring the upcoming dates for AuthorCon IV.
Don't miss AuthorCon IV in St. Louis!

Missed AuthorCon this month in Virginia but still want to attend an event? I highly recommend going if you can. Scares That Care will return for AuthorCon IV held in St. Louis this fall. Grab your tickets here and get ready for a fun indie horror experience!


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