This one time at Writer's Camp…
Libertycon 24 AAR
Libertycon 24 was a blast, with the launch party of Lawyers in Hell as well as for selling more copies of Corruptor. So let’s get this AAR-CE (After Action Report-Con Edition, for the non-military here) started!
Arrived mid Thursday afternoon and had absolutely no trouble checking into the hotel for once. Somehow the hotel staff got better without having any actual turnover since I was last there in 2007. I even recognized the same woman working the hotel front desk as the last time I was there. That’s an impressive retention rate for any employer these days, especially for a company like Comfort Inn.
Checked in at the same time as NYT Bestselling Author Julie Cochrane, who offered to exchange rooms with me when I found out I was assigned a smoking room. Once more, Julie is teh awesome, but it turned out to be unneeded as the room didn’t smell like a smoking room at all — minus the familiar, wafting smell of cannabis which seemed to emanate from my bathroom, that is. *shrug* Oh well, can’t have everything. At least my room was in much better shape than last time.
I started seeing familiar faces around five or six pm. Andrea Boyes and her dad, author Walt Boyes. Authors/publishers Janet and Chris Morris, head of Baen Books Toni Weiskopf, recently published author Leo Champion; the entire group was there. But for us, the con wasn’t starting yet. We steeled our nerves and prepared for battle. We had a raiding party to attend!
The opening midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was my first night in town and we were determined to go to it. We had grabbed everyone we could online to agree to go to it with us but we were spread out across four different theaters for the midnight premier. Undeterred, I found myself in the theater with Bellatrix Lestrange on my left… which was absolutely awesome because she looked just like Helen Bonham’s character! Tried to grab a picture but it was too dark. 😦 Still, it was a lot of fun.
The movie doesn’t disappoint (spoiler alert: Harry wins) and I managed to drag my happy butt to bed around 3 in the morning. Crashed, slept and prepared my mind, for Libertycon 24 officially started the next day.
Ran into Barfly Tom Monaghan right off the bat Friday morning and he tagged along as I wandered the hotel, watching the dealers, guests and fans alike start to trickle in. That’s the beauty of arriving early: you get to see who shows up and what is going on. Immediately ran into more Barflies and eventually I was able to check in at the con’s front desk, where I received some cool swag and my con schedule (updated edition). Saw I had a few new panelists and others who hadn’t shown up and readied myself for my first reading at 5:00pm that afternoon.
I’m usually good when I read to others, and I did not disappoint. A very entertained crowd sat in (a small crowd, but entertained!) as I read the entirety of And Injustice For All then, afterwards, proceeded to answer quite a few “Hell”-related questions regarding working with some of the other authors and what’s coming next. Talked a bit about Corruptor as well, which I was surprised to discover had been read by more people than I had thought. That was good news as it turned out, because I had to answer a lot of questions about the sequels from varying sources later on. Sequels that I wasn’t sure if I was motivated enough to do or not until just then. 🙂
Attended the mass signing and sat around as all the other Hellion authors signed to their heart’s content. It was nice watching deserving people like Larry Atchley, Jr sign his first book. I wonder if he practiced? I know I did.
More panels that night, including my first inkling that something was definitely going to be interesting when Michael Z Williamson, myself, Janet and Chris Morris and John Ringo sat in on Saturday morning’s panel about the future of SF. Janet and John butted heads a few times but it was more of a mutual feeling-out headbutt than something that usually forces me into the ER. I had been on a panel with both John and Janet the night before (separate panels, I was the common link) but this was the first time I got to see something like this since I accidentally did something similar in 2006.
Friday night room parties were a little slow, though I did get to run into the Vonnage and Subdude in Barfly Central. It was nice seeing two people who helped craft Corruptor with me all those years ago. Talked a bit with Subdude about Planck Length and Other Sciencey Stuff and realized that I had forgotten just how scary smart Subdude was. That’s a mistake, one I’m not going to make again. Plus side: have some more math worked out for a book/series that’s been on the back of my mind for years.
Went to bed after being offered a “Chappaquiddick” alcoholic beverage: two shots of Irish Cream with a splash of water with a toy car inside (…). I mentally cringed as I took a sip. Then I was offered a “Baby Seal”: club soda with Canadian whiskey, coconut shavings and grenadine. I did mention that Michael Z Williamson is a nut, right? Yeah. I don’t even want to explain the “Princess Di” beverage…
Up to about Saturday night the con was relatively slow for me. I wasn’t drinking much, hanging out while listening to John Ringo and Patrick Vanner come up with the Greatest Military Charlie Foxtrot Novel in existence. I was certain that Toni Weiskopf would never buy it; she wouldn’t make it through the book because she’d be laughing too hard. Still, if this book makes it out, I can’t wait to see people’s faces when “A’ight” is constantly being said.
Saturday night found me in a room, holding a cup of “Pirate Punch” and not entirely sure how I got there. Somehow, someone had been feeding me drinks without me actually noticing and next thing I know I’m meeting a guy from a local convention in Lexington who is attending FandomFest this weekend as well. I managed to get over to the large setup of Rock Band and jam with a bunch of other drunken congoers, much to the delight of the attending fans. I’m pretty sure that my smashed rendition of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” went over well, despite my low score (93% on medium). I wanted to play “Master Destroyer” by Tenacious D but, sadly, nobody had that saved on their PS3. Boo. I also missed out on playing “BYOB” by System of a Down. That one always makes my hands ache afterwards but watching people’s faces when I can nail it 100% on hard is worth it.
Stumble to bed sometime after 2am (I think, it’s a little fuzzy here) and woke up at 6am. Ouch. My first hangover ever. So this is why people have hated me for all those years when I never got a hangover.
Yeah, I apologize to you all. I didn’t realize just how bad they suck.
Sunday. Sinday in Hell speak, and I had a feeling about this as I walked into my last panel. Janet and Chris Morris, myself, John Ringo, Michael Z Williamson and Walt Boyes were on a final panel about whether or not one needed military experience to write MilSF. The answer was a resounding “No”, which then drew the panel into a different direction. Once more, the Morris-Ringo Dynamics Theory was implemented, with the two saying some of the same things but in different languages, creating a small amount of tension. Things came to a head when all the former active duties knew quite a few former personal who had admitted that they enjoyed kill the enemy while the Morris’s didn’t know anybody who did.
My thoughts: Enlisted vs Officer. Most of us writers deal with grunts and low ranking officers, O-5 and below who are helping us out for research. Defense contractors like Janet and Chris generally deal with officers O-6 and higher, and those officers work for them, which leads to a difference of relationships.
After that contentious debate, I was ready to roll. However, I had been invited by Bullet and Belinda Gibson to their house to hang out and have some food. Turned into a great after-con party where Toni, John and Miriam, James Cochrane, Sarah, Dan and Robert Hoyt and some new friends showed up. Had fun but I had to leave before too long, since the drive was going to be a long one. Stayed too late, though, and paid for it today as I put in a full 8.5 hours with only 2.5 hours of sleep.
Libertycon24: totally worth it.
Sold out of books (I have 2 copies of Corruptor left, and I was expecting to have more) and signed about 50 books. Bought a t-shirt (Miskatonic University: Dept of Necromancy… go Lovecraft!) and helped out the Ronald McDonald House Charity auction (Corruptor was auctioned and earned $21 for a final bid). Total was something in the neighborhood of a few thousand dollars, so that was great. Also got to talk up the Sha’Daa and share in the announcement of Perseid Publishing picking up the next two books in the series to publish. Exhaustive weekend, but a lot of fun.
Best part? I hear they’re moving hotels next year for Libertycon’s 25th anniversary celebration. That’s going to be awesome! I hope they want me back.
*off to the black regions of my mind to catch up on some Z’s*