Factorycon 2022 AAR — Shenanigans Aplenty

(I was so excited about next year that I forgot what year it was… yeah, I blame lack of coffee)

So not entirely about Factorycon, but hey — I’m gonna talk about it!

See? First line and I’m already knee-deep in shenanigans.

Factorycon 2023 actually started off early for us. Canadian co-author extraordinaire Jamie Ibson and his wife Michelle flew down a two days early in order to avoid travel issues (thankfully, their entry into the states was far smoother than their exit) and they ended up crashing at our place. The next morning I was able to give them a tour of the office after breakfast (it was the first for both of them, seeing Baen) and, after an hour, were on the road for Coinjock. We followed down the next day.

However, on Thursday we got a very late start, so we ended up not arriving at the KOA campsite where Factorycon was being held until almost 10:00PM. For someone at my advanced age, that’s just about bedtime (I’m going to be 45 next year. Seriously, oooooooooooooold man coming through), but I powered through and headed down to where the fish fry was just wrapping up. Yvonne Jacobs, Cajun, cook, and all-around badass was hanging out with a bunch of other people. I spotted Nick Steverson making off with a rather large plate of freshly caught tuna (apparently the black fins and yellow tails were running). Other people were set up around the campfire — Marisa Wolf, her husband Jeremy; Rich Hailey and his wife; Joy Wandrey, and others who I am totally blanking on right now. I said hello and then, after about fifteen minutes, remembered I was old now and headed off to bed.

I’d planned on the weekend being one of relaxation, writing, and fun. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I had a lot of fun, and I was plenty relaxed. Writing? Not so much.

Friday began early. We were going to the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks. They had a sea turtle hospital there (surgical suite and everything) and it was pretty cool. I still like the Ripley’s down in Gatlinburg, TN the best, but this one was pretty good, too. Since Melissa Olthoff and her husband had dragged along their kids, and Nick and his wife brought theirs, there was plenty of energy for those of us who were exhausted for some strange reason. The kids seemed to enjoy it, and everyone got to be paleontologists and play in the dirt.

We headed back to the campsite as more people arrived. Finally saw Chris Kennedy, the man behind CKP and the reason Factorycon was even a thing. Spotted Quincey Allen, coauthor Kevin Ikenberry, the amazing Kacey Ezell and her family (finally back in the states!), and a whole host of other people. Dinner was had (since Jamie retired from the RCMP he’s become something of a foodie and I really like when he cooks) and we hung out at our fire, watching the Orionids streak across the sky (it was pretty cool).

Saturday was a busy day. There was a professional development meeting for all CKP authors at 0830 (I will never stop bitching about them making me pay attention to a meeting before 10:00AM and 44 ounces of coffee) and then we had the little signing/selling event. I sold a book and mostly talked with Jon Osborne, who was nice enough to let me share his table. I looked over notes for the (multiple) works-in-progress and it started to dawn on me that I might have a bit too much on my plate.



After that, it was cornhole. That’s bean bag toss for anyone west of the Mississippi. First round? USA vs Canada!

Canada won. The less said, the better. Needless to say, the rebuilt shoulder of the former baseball prospect, even 17 years later, sucks.

Got some solid plotting in with coauthors Nick Steverson, Kevin Ikenberry, and Matt Novotny. Things are afoot in the 4HU. Plotting commenced. Ideas were shared. Many laughs were had. Stay tuned.

It was then time for the potluck and award ceremony. We brought venison tequilla chili and biscuits. The chili was a huge hit. The biscuits were not. I failed as a baker. Failed hard. Afterwards we hung out around the bonfire, talked late into the night, and finally crashed around midnight.

As I said…. old.

Sunday morning it was raining, so we stayed indoors almost all day. I tried to get some writing done but it was rough. Four people in that small space does not lend to creativity, and the wind was so bad the screened in porch of our cabin was getting rain in it so I couldn’t do that. However, lots of coffee was drunk and we talked with visitors who swung by to say hello. It was the first chance I’d gotten to see Dan Bridgewater and Mark Stallings for more than a few minutes. Editor Mia Kleve also stopped by — she saved us all by bringing coffee filters (I forgot to buy some). Then it was cleaning and packing in preparation for an early morning departure.

Fun fact: otters live around the Coinjock area. How do I know this? One waddled right out into the road and the car behind us almost ran it over. Fortunately the otter didn’t get hit and went about his business while the driver of the other vehicle learned the valuable lesson (I hope) about speeding in a tiny peninsula community.

Yeah, Factorycon was a blast. I missed the fishing trip this year, and that sucked, but I’ll survive. Somehow.

So what else went on while Factorycon was happening? A lot, it turns out.

The Friday of Factorycon, Chris Kennedy and Kevin Ikenberry released their first book in their new series, THE LAST STAND (Book 1 of the Guardian Covenant). It’s got giant mech versus alien kaiju. Yeah, you know that got my attention. Here’s their blurb:

One last chance to save the world!

When the first asteroid was spotted heading toward Earth, no one thought much about it. But then a second one was found, and then a whole string. One might have been happenstance… but thirteen was enemy action!

But who was responsible for them? With asteroids bearing down on the U.S., China, and Russia, all the nations that could have done it were unlikely to have been the ones who actually caused the apocalypse headed toward Earth.

It was bad when the asteroids began hitting the planet, devastating the areas where they fell… but when 35-meter-tall monsters began climbing out of the impact craters, things quickly became far, far worse. And when they were found to be immune to most conventional weapons, everything went completely into the toilet.

With the alien hordes dominating the land and sky, though, humanity did what it did best—it created the Guardians, massive mecha that were able to take the battle to the aliens, and rushed them into production. But with four continents already about to fall, there was just one question—would they make a difference?

Sounds pretty badass, huh? You can get your copy here at Amazon right now. No waiting.

Then, the German translation of WRAITHKIN (Book 1 of the Kin Wars) started taking off over at the German Amazon. Yeah, it actually came out two weeks ago, but I’ve been stupid busy trying to meet deadlines and… forgot to update that here. Not sure how many of my readers here speak German, but here’s the link to pick up a copy of WRAITH-KIN.

Then, for about two weeks the pre-order for CHICKS IN TANK TOPS dominated the Hot New Release ranking on Amazon, holding onto one of the Top 5 spots (including #1 for a solid week). I might have even more exciting news about it soon, not sure. But you can STILL get your pre-orders in today at Baen Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else they sell books. If you go into a store to reserve a copy, ask them if they’re going to order more. You never know… someone might become a new fan.

Oh, and I also had another anthology come out that I’d forgotten about (I turned the story in a while ago). LEGENDS: A JOINT TASK FORCE 13 anthology, is currently available on Amazon. Here is the blurb:

There is a thin wall between our world and that of the Fae…

During times of war, it is easily stepped through. The passions and emotions stirred by violence and combat bleed over, and the supernatural often awake from long slumber to meddle in mortal affairs.

But there have always been those among us who have been willing to meet the supernatural threat with cold steel, burning hearts, and grim determination.

In modern America, they are the men and women of Joint Task Force Thirteen, those who have proven they have the mettle on the battlefield. This organization has been intertwined with our country since before its birth. The name changes, but they are always there, ready to answer the call. Unknown, seeking no glory, asking no reward.

JTF-13, – They hold the line … BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL.

Legends: A Joint Task Force Thirteen anthology is a fresh collection of stories spanning over one hundred years in the JTF-13 universe. With continuing storylines from Lloyd Behm, Casey Moores, and William Joseph Roberts, any fan of the series is guaranteed to enjoy this collection.

My story, “Providence’s Player,” explores how the man known only as “The Director” discovered that demons were real, and there was a special task force to “take care of them.” I enjoyed writing it and it’s a fascinating playground to dip your toes in. You can pick up a copy here.

Casper is recovering from his second vet visit of the year. He’s getting old, but he’s still a curmudgeon, so I think he’s gonna live another ten years out of pure spite. Curly is fat and happy, as all cats should be. Found two more nails in the tires. Yay. Wake Forest has tons of construction going on, and contractors don’t seem at all concerned with the nails they leave behind on the roads, so… yay.


Wow, this got long in a hurry.

Oh! Matt Novotny and I cracked 200 reviews on Amazon for THE EXECUTIONERS. We’re actually at 210 last I check, which is freaking AWESOME. Have you left your review yet? You still have time. All the time in the world, but you know… it has a better impact if it happens this year. I don’t know why, or how, but it just does.

Quit trying to make me explain myself. Ugh. Let’s just say “quantum mechanics” and leave it, okay?


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