LibertyCon 23

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!

25 Responses

  1. And don’t forget the range trip and lots of boomy goodness.

    • Mike

      Don’t remind me. The first thing I learned Saturday was that by not preregistering, I missed the morning of shooty goodness.

      It was an honor meeting you, by the way.

    • I forgot to post about that. That requires an edit!

  2. Regarding your “placement” at the table while others waited … not your problem: the staff should have removed the placard & put the right one there.

    Since they didn’t, you had “permission” … whether intended or not. Good on you!

  3. Hahaha great story. Also I’m pretty jealous you were in the same room as John Ringo.

  4. I’ve been a panelist at cons for over 5 years now.

    At EVERY con, I forget my placard at least once.

  5. You were in my home town? Ensley is pretty much still as described except you forgot the smell. Ugh. I hate it when I’m doing sat installs down there. I was actually showing a friend from Philly around this weekend. So where were you that was sort of like Ensley? I’m curious as hell. Norwood maybe?

    • It was an area just south west of the airport. I’m not sure what neigborhood it actually was, since it wasn’t an area I’d been in when I lived there before. But it was like Ensley, only quite a bit less scary. :)

  6. Sounds like you had a bang up time. I think I’ll have to make it to LTUE next year.

  7. Well, crap. I’d’ve camped out to get an autograph if I’d known it was in TN.

  8. Larry

    It was a real pleasure meeting you and Bridget. Rebecca was impressed to find that a scifi author can be so nice and normal, as well as his wife. So there’s hope for my writing career. Of course, that’s one of the reasons that I didn’t wait around so she could meet John or Mad Mike (just kidding, as it was an honor meeting both).

    I haven’t finished MHI:V yet but I can say that 1) your talent is growing and 2) you’ve outdone yourself. I’d initially thought it was on par with MHI (which is high praise) but it’s superior. I expect MHI:A and Hard Magic to be even better . . . no pressure. ;)

    Thank you again for honoring me with that copy. Toni said that I lucked out (which, sadly, was the extent of our conversation). As for the autograph being to me rather than “Ebay bidder,” that’s what whiteout is for. :)

    • Bridget thought Rebecca was great. It was good to meet you guys in person.

      • After meeting you two, Rebecca is talking about a ski trip to Utah. I’m not sure what she and Bridget discussed during their conversation but I guess it was good. :)

  9. I don’t know how to ski, but I live ten minutes from a ski resort. So dinner is on me. :)

    • So let it be written, so let if be done.

      Now, to figure out how to trade dinner for a guest room in the mansion that MHI built. :)

  10. Ringo was there, too? So, you’re telling me that I missed the opportunity to see two of my favorite authors in-person… at the same time?!

    Where’d I put that time machine…?

    • Liberty Con seems to be the place to meet that Baen authors.
      I may have to drag my carcass up there next year…

    • Ringo lives five minutes from the LibertyCon hotel, so he always visits, even if he isn’t on the official guest list. Other authors included Mike Williamson, Eric Flint, Sarah Hoyt, Dan Hoyt, Ben Bova, Julie Cochrane, Terry Brooks, David L. Burkhead, and Patrick Vanner.

  11. Shame I missed it… this is three years running I haven’t been. Hopefully it’ll work out next year that I can not only be there, but also be promoting release of long overdue book!

    Oh, and maybe bring some of my not-quite world famous salsa…

    • You would have fit right in. We have a cheese cake bake off. I am claiming victory by default. My competition used a crust from Keebler. But the real winner were the barfly. And someone made a scrumptious Strawberry cobbler in a dutch oven over open coals in the rain. Robert Irvine, from Dinner Imposible, could take lessons from him.

  12. Larry

    When you get a chance, could you summarize the two discussions you had on Friday: writing for fanfics and gaming, and killing the undead? I am still kicking myself for missing these.

  13. john ringo there and you mess up at table….oh larry correia no! hahaha good time!

  14. I just finished MHI:V. All I can say is I’m not sure which is the stronger feeling, amazement at your abilities or hatred for having talent I can only dream of. I may have to go with amazement with a touch of loathing.

    Half way through, I thought “this is as good as MHI.” By the end, I knew it was better.

  15. Just noticed a new printing of MHI on the shelf at the locaal Barnes & Noble.

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