Well, my brain has recovered enough from the 18+ hour travel day on Sunday, and the week’s worth of work landslide when I got back into my day job, to finally post about LibertyCon.
What an awesome time.
LibertyCon, for those of you not familiar with it, is held in Chattanooga. It is kept smaller on purpose, around 500 people, but is a remarkably cool event. It is a very Baen-centric Con, and there are slews of Barflies there. I was able to finally meet my publisher, Toni, in person, as well as many other Baen authors, including Sarah Hoyt, John Ringo, Eric Flint, Julie Cochran, Chuck Gannon, Mike Williamson (met him before though), Les Johnson, and Patrick Vanner. In addition I got to geek out a bit when I met Terry Brooks, because Sword of Shannara was one of the very first fantasy novels I ever read. I even sat next to Darrel K. Sweet in a limo.
LibertyCon has a fun, laid-back atmosphere. People just kind of congregate everywhere to shoot the bull. I’ll definitely be doing this one again.
I did manage to screw up once. I was on one of the first panels on the first day. I had a little paper name placard at the table in front during that panel. When the panel was over, I forgot about it and left it on the table. Then an hour later it was opening ceremonies. I didn’t even realize it was the same room, (in my defense, it was very humid, and since I’m acclimatized to Utah I had dropped 10 IQ points), as I walked in and spotted my name at the front table. Okay, that must be where they want me to sit. So I sat down right next to Eric Flint, master of ceremonies, and introduced myself. (nice guy, by the way).
As the opening got going, and Uncle Timmy started introducing all the guests, I began to wonder why The very well-known Dr. Ben Bova was sitting out in the audience. I look down the table, and everyone else up there is one of the special guests or guests of honor. Then I look back out into the audience and see a bunch of other writers way more famous than me, and it kind of clicked. I looked over at Eric Flint, and said “Uh oh. I don’t think I’m supposed to be up here.” He just shrugged and told me “too late now.” So for the record, good people of LibertyCon, I’m not a total narcissist, (I’ve published one book! LOOK AT ME!) and I didn’t steal Ben Bova’s seat on purpose. (also a very nice man in person by the way).
I loved meeting fans and the BS sessions. The other authors were great. In fact, Sarah Hoyt and I have decided that we are cousins (Portugal is a small country). Sarah is friggin’ hilarious, and she does remind me very much of every single one of my female relatives growing up.
I was able to meet Dillis Freeman in person, who I’ve known on internet gun forums for about a decade. He was the opening quote in MHI. So during the Baen slideshow of upcoming works of awesomeness, when Toni gave me a galley copy of MHV to hand out to somebody in the audience, I gave it to Dillis. Luckily he didn’t have me autograph it to “anonymous Ebay purchaser”.
As an added bonus, this Con gave me an excuse to go back down South. I love it down there. The lovely Mrs. Correia had never been South before, so I showed her around. On Sunday morning I drove her around my old stomping grounds in Birmingham, though I did avoid taking her through my favorite parts.
Mrs. Correia – “Wow, this is a bad neighborhood. Is this Ensley?”
Me – “Well, this is sorta like Ensley. Only some of the lawns are alive. And there needs to be more broken windows. And I don’t see any mangy stray dogs. Not enough trash either… And no dead bodies.”
Mrs. Correia – “Oh…” rolls up window.
I do love the South, but it was good to get a reminder of just how pleasant Utah is in the summer. It’s 90 degrees here right now, but it feels like I’m standing in a walk in fridge compared to Tennessee. It is good not to be moist.
That said, I’m already excited for next year. Uncle Timmy and his crew put on a good Con.
p.s. Monster Hunter International is now in its fourth printing. Four printings in one year… Not too shabby.
EDIT: Mad Mike just pointed out that I forgot the shooting portion. Yes, LibertyCon has a shooting portion. It isn’t an official event, but Mike takes a crew out to the range on Friday morning. I missed the first hour because I got there a little bit late and missed the convoy, but thankfully my GPS was able to find the address helpfully provided by the Barflies.
I’d only brought one little gun. (Kahr MK9) I’m always scared of flying with guns, because I have a fear that they’re going to lose my luggage. Mike on the other hand, drove, so he had an Ultramag .50. Which the Barflies were able to enjoy until a park ranger showed up and he had to quickly hide it. Which is funny, since I didn’t see any signs banning .50, and hiding a .50 is a bit of a misnomer since it is the size of a piece of farm equipment.
Next year I’ll make sure I show up on time!