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Blog Update

Wyvacon Weekend


This weekend’s Wyvacon schedule looks pretty exciting. I know I’m looking forward to a good time.

Bonus — Wyvacon has said that anyone under the age of 16 gets in for free with one adult paid admission. So if you pay for your ticket, your three kids get in for free. It’s that family-friendly.

It’s Wyvacon Weekend!

Saturday

10:00AMBreakout Room 1/2 — Kickoff w/ GoH Jason Cordova: We’re going to be just kicking things off here. No idea what we’ll talk about. Basically, I’m just going to be wishing everyone a great time while letting the Board of Directors welcome everyone.

11:00AMBreakout Room 1/2 — Mad Libs with Jason Cordova: Mad Libs are always fun. Since I’m keeping this PG-13 at the most, we’re going to be doing some creative things. Who knows? We could even build up a plot for a book!

3:00PMBreakout Room 1/2 — Four Horsemen Awesomeness with Jason Cordova: What’s the Four Horsemen Universe (4HU), you ask? It’s only one of the hottest properties in publishing at the moment, with almost 70 books in print from 20+ authors and no signs of slowing down. It’s on Kindle Unlimited as well, so you can read all of them on KU for free.

Cards Against Humanity at the pub with Jason Cordova (Guest Judge). I think this starts at 7pm at 7 Dogs Brewpub in Wytheville. 18+ please. I may or may not be impartial during the judging period.

Sunday

11:00AMBreakout Room 1/2 — Future projects with Jason Cordova: This is probably going to be a good one. I’ve got SO MANY FREAKING PROJECTS right now that we’ll have no problems with filling up the entire hour with what the heck I’ll be doing next. From 4HU books to Kin Wars to Monster Hunter Memoirs, we’ll be covering quite a bit.

12:00PMBreakout Room 1/2 — Mad Libs with Jason Cordova: I’m totally going to hijack this panel and talk to new and aspiring authors who want to get into the business but can never seem to get past the “gatekeepers”, including a huge push for my publishers on how to get in with them. Yes, spreading insider information on how to get published is my jam.

1:00PMBreakout Room 1/2 — Nerf Fun: I get to shoot people? AWESOME! I promise not to dance over your corpse like in GTA V.

2:00PMBreakout Room 1/2 Closing Remarks with Jason Cordova: We won’t be getting together and singing kumbaya, but at least we’ll get to talk about how AWESOME Wyvacon was and talk about what’s going to happen next year (hint: I won’t be the GoH but I will be attending. They can’t get rid of me that easily. Cordova in Spanish means fungus. Really).

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Blog Update

FantaSci 2021 — The Fuzzy Head Edition


(Warning — the following contains words put to paper by an exhausted author who didn’t sleep well last night after arriving home. Reader discretion is advised)

I should point out immediately that FantaSci 2021 was a huge hit. I don’t know how many people there were off the top of my head but everyone I spoke to said they would probably be back next year, which makes me happy. A con less than a four hour drive from my house? Yes please.

We rolled in on Thursday afternoon and immediately ran into my co-author (and very good friend, bestselling author, and roommate for the weekend) Chris Smith. It’s amazing how much you can miss your friends after a year of almost face-to-face meetings. Yes, Zoom and other apps helped a bit, but nothing beats seeing someone in person (and drinking a beer with them).

Since I had nothing else going on, we hung out in the outdoor porch area and spun tall tales of just how miserable our lives have been since we last got together. Philip “The Docfather” Wohlrab and Brian H. joined us, and then we hung out and shot the breeze until it was almost 0300. We called it a night at that point because the key to surviving a con is to remember that it is not a sprint, but a marathon. There’d be plenty of time for carousing the following two (for them, three) nights.


Friday

Friday morning we rolled out of bed to search for some food. Had to be quiet because roommate was still asleep (the wuss). While out in the lobby deciding on where to eat (and what) we ran into the International Lord of Hate, Larry Correia, and his wife Bridget. Larry and I are collaborating on a Monster Hunter project titled Monster Hunter Memoirs: Fever… just in case you hadn’t heard. 😉

Larry and Bridget hadn’t eaten since they left Yard Moose Mountain the day before and were ready to kill for some food. Since this would be bad, the four of us drove over to Cracker Barrel for some breakfast.

Side note: I thought my midsize sedan was roomy until Larry sat in the front seat. Since Bridget is taller than I am, I got to sit behind Larry. 6’5″ does not translate well in a small car. I understand having an oversized SUV now.

While at breakfast we talked shop a bit and basically devoured everything the server put in front of us. I normally don’t like cheese with my hash browns but that morning it was to die for. Plus, it was interesting watching them interact with one another while talking with us simultaneously. Larry and Bridget, as always, are an awesome couple and work together very well as Team Correia. It’s a good model to follow for relationships.

We headed back to the hotel because Larry had a panel at noon (my first one would be at two) and ran into a plethora of people. I don’t remember them all (because as I apologized to them all at the time, I can remember names, and I can remember faces, but I can’t put names with faces unless I’ve known you for a very long time). However, I was happy to see many old friends from Libertycon here.

My first panel at 2PM was called Jump Shot. On the panel with me was Ian J. Malone and Stephen Simmons. Ian was way more prepared than either myself or Stephen so we decided he was the moderator. Unfortunately, we were competing against two other panels with bigger names, so we had only one attendee. However, we talked a lot of baseball and it was unanimously agreed that the best rule change MLB could have at the moment is to get rid of the pitch clock and the DH rule.

After this I had a few hours until my next panel, so I found my way out to the outdoor patio. The hotel had very comfortable sofas to sit on out there, and there was a nice breeze with fans… well, next thing I know someone is shaking my shoulder and telling me I was going to be late to my next panel. Great — not even a dad and taking afternoon naps already. *sigh*

The next panel was titled Kill ’em All, and the schedule planner was very wise indeed. Chris Smith and I teaming up on a panel is always comedy gold and worth the price of admission, in my not-so-humble opinion. We have years of experience being on panels together and have gotten to the point where we know how to set up a joke for the other without any planning whatsoever. Doug Burbey and Dr. Robert E. Hampson joined us as we talked about the best kills we’ve had in books. My favorite actually was a scene Chris wrote in our collaborative project Kraken Mare. Great panel with a very engaging crowd, all of whom seemed to be fully on board with the idea that the more explosive the death scene for the redshirt, the more honor there is in the death for the tuckerization.

Since I had nothing else to do on Friday, we hung out on the porch and accepted offered drinks from random people who wanted to talk about stuff I couldn’t talk about yet. Primarily, details regarding MHM: Fever. I’ll repeat here what I told everyone else: it’s going to be awesome and that’s really all I can say. However, someone discovered I have a weakness for hard cider, and the intense questioning with bribery torture began. Finally, after three hours of rigorous beer drinking torture, I broke and admitted that the main character of MHM: Fever’s name was Chloe Mendoza. Everyone who had already read Monster Hunter Bloodlines picked up on that name immediately. That seemed to satiate the bloodthirsty hounds (thankfully — more beer and I might have given up the Court of Feathers… ooops), and they wandered off as I managed to drag myself to bed. It was only just past midnight. I must be showing my advanced years with my inability to hang. 43 is creeping up on me, you know.


Saturday

I was up early on Saturday morning, hangover-free, as is my superhuman ability (which seems to draw the ire of all who I tell about it, which is, admittedly, everyone who appeared to be nursing a hangover… still don’t understand why they hate me so much). The Baen Roadshow was scheduled for 10AM (ouch) and someone was handing out mimosas for those who needed them. Good plan but then, superhuman powers here. I was told I needed to be at the Roadshow, so I wandered in and hung out while Bean Books Head Honcho Toni Weiskopf gave out free books to people in the crowd. A surprisingly good turnout, considering the hour, and we got to see lots of new covers, including Lydia Sherrer and John Ringo‘s first collaborative project.

My first panel after that was actually one I knew very little about. Fantasy Gaming was supposed to talk about how playing RPGs helps authors build worlds, and while I’ve played some RPGs in the past, I didn’t borrow any of that in my fantasy novels, preferring instead to pull from actual lesser-known mythological beings from history (the Malaysian mythos are particularly fun). Fortunately, Stephen Simmons, Christopher Woods, and Jon Osborne knew much more than I did and helped me out.

Side note time: I was actually getting real-time quotes from the Care and Feeding of Authors panel, where Larry Correia and David Weber were being teased by their respective wives. David wasn’t there, since he had a deadline to meet and was up in his room writing, and I heard a rumor Larry was hiding in the corner laughing the entire time, but it was hilarious when the words “boom boom time” were mentioned as a way for stress relief. With this crowd one could never know if it was a comment on going to the range and shooting, or something else…

While on my Fantasy Gaming panel, I asked Larry if he wanted me on the Future of MHI panel, since, well, you know… he responded back positively and I was on my way to crashing the Guest of Honor’s panel. Heh heh…

Truth be told, I was a little nervous for some reason. I’ve done hundreds of panels before, and been on panels with Larry even, but this one just felt different. Larry has some amazing fans and suddenly all their attention is focused on me… yeah, nerves. However, Larry knows his stuff and we were rolling pretty smoothly. It was really hard not to give out too much about MHM: Fever since it’s exciting, but we somehow managed. After, I was off to another panel, this time a reading. I was going to be reading… nothing. I didn’t have anything I could read at the moment, so instead I opened an Ask Me Anything panel. A few people showed up and wanted to know about my current and future 4HU projects, which I gladly spoiled the hell out of. So three people (besides myself) know about Sunshine, Child of the Stars, and why she is such an anomaly. I also talked about The Executioners, which I will be writing with Matt Novotny.

Funny story: I was outside hanging out with a few other authors and Matt asked me if we could write a book together. Jokingly, I think, but then I responded with “sure… want to help me out with The Executioners?” I think I floored him a little. I’m looking forward to working on it with him. He’s got a unique style and voice that I think will work well with Lieutenant Mayhem (me).

My last panel of the weekend was a late one. Do You Want To Join My Anthology? featured myself, Mike Massa, and Monalisa Foster. I think between the three of us we’ve been in over 50 anthologies, so we gave a lot of pointers to new and aspiring authors on how to get into anthologies. Plus, as a bonus I was able to explain the process of building an anthology, since I am in the process of it at the moment. It’s always strange to be on the editor side of things. Gives me a new perspective on it, and I have a lot of respect for those who do this all the time.

After this panel, I was exhausted. Hung out on the back porch for a bit but turned in early. I was wiped out. Like I said before, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. I must have forgotten this sometime Saturday.


Sunday

Sunday was a whirlwind of shopping after breakfast. I hit the dealer’s room and picked up a few shirts and a bag from Mystik Waboose. From there I started saying my goodbyes because I thought we were heading out early to get home in time. That quickly changed as I realized I was on “The List” for dinner with the Correias and the Webers, so we stayed much later than intended. Finally got on the road around 8 or so and rolled back into Casa Cordova at or around 1 in the morning. Cats seemed interested to see us, but I went straight to bed. This morning was going to come early and I needed some rest.


Conventional Thoughts

I didn’t really understand just how much the pandemic and subsequent closure of, well, everything had damaged society on a deep and fundamental level until I spent time normalizing this weekend. It was a little awkward at first because, at heart, authors are introverts and socializing with our “tribe” is something that only gets easier with time. With the shutdowns, socialization for us introverts became rare and we retreated into the psychological armor we’ve built up over the years to protect us. This was a pretty tame con when compared to massive stuff like Comic Con and DragonCon, but it you could feel the energy from everyone who was there. We needed this more than anything. Social interaction, as a species, took us to the moon. Taking away human interaction, depriving people of sensory stimulation, is akin to torture. Why do you think locking someone up in solitary confinement is considered punishment for the worst offenders in prison? Heap that onto a people who need the emotional support of their friends and fans, and you create a lot of trauma that will take years for people to recover from. Everything could go back to normal tomorrow and you won’t really feel like a part of the “community” until months, even years later. The damage has been done, but conventions allow us to pick up, rebuild the community, and remember what it’s like to be the social animal who craves physical and mental contact with our peers.

Kudos to Joel Lyons and the hard-working staff of FantaSci. For a second-year con, they were outstanding and responded well to when snafus happened. Yes, snafus happen at every con, but what differentiates a good con from a great one is how the staff responds. FantaSci did a good job responding to any and all problems, and were constantly roving around and checking in on authors and guests to make certain we were okay. That sort of attentiveness is always nice.

Will I be back to FantaSci next year? If they’ll have me, then hell yeah. It’s relatively close to the house, has a great staff, and most of my con family attended. I know I missed people and I am really, really sorry if I’ve forgotten to mention you here.

Categories
Blog Update

FantaSci 2019 AAR – Gold Edition


First off, let me just say that FantaSci was an amazing first year con. Hat’s off to Joel and his wonderful staff for putting on one hell of a convention. There have been very few conventions I’ve been to where I felt like I had come home. This is one of… two, total, with Libertycon being the other. For those of you who can’t get in under the cap for Libertycon, consider FantaSci next year. GREAT PEOPLE.

**note — some names have been REDACTED to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent. On to the After Action Report!

THURSDAY

I give horrible directions. It’s become somewhat of a running joke amongst my friends for years. Ask anyone about the McDonald’s Incident a few years back involving me, Philip “Doc” Wohlrab, and Chris Smith. I’m literally forbidden from giving driving directions. If I attempt to do so, I am told to shut my whore mouth. I wish I could say that it is “all in good fun” but it’s almost 50% serious, 50% in good fun.

So naturally, I didn’t think about giving my author buddy Kacey Ezell or her partner in crime, Marisa Wolf, directions to my house and possibilities of picking me up last during their superman drive from somewhere up above Washington, DC. Marisa had flown in from Texas the day before and had ridden down with Kacey to get me. However, upon arrival I noticed one conspicuously absent individual who (I thought) should have been picked up before me, since I was convinced he was on the way. The aforementioned “Doc” should have been already in the vehicle and we would shoot south from there. Unfortunately, I didn’t speak up or anything, and this led to a minor communication snafu. It got sorted out after some teasing (Jason doesn’t give directions…. seriously) and we picked up the fourth person of our ride and headed on down towards Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina to get an early start to this new convention, FantaSci!

We rolled in and the first person I saw was Jonny Minion, a very good friend. I sat with the vehicle and shot the crap with Jonny, catching up on everything that’s been going on since the last time I saw him, while everyone else ran to the little boy and little girl rooms (I have a bladder of steel). Then I saw Joel, the head honcho of the con, and he recognized me. I felt kinda bad about not recognizing him, at least not until I saw his name badge. Then it dawned on me why I knew this guy. LOL.

I quickly found the people I was rooming with for the night. REDACTED and REDACTED are awesome people, and were very gracious to let me sleep on their pullout bed for the night (I only had a room for two nights). I redacted their names because I am going to tease her mercilessly in a few moments and I wanted to leave her dignity intact, even if I shared this story all weekend at the con. You miss out on the con, you miss out on a few key details. #sorrynotsorry

Once I got situated it was time to grab some food. We all went to the restaurant at the hotel (side note: hotel was amazing and their staff was great, considering that they had NO idea what they were getting themselves into LOL) and some major Four Horsemen Universe plotting and planning began. I’m a peripheral author in the universe but I got some juicy bits of information that made me very, very pleased. I also got word that I could write more books for them in the near-future, which made me happy. I was sitting across from Kevin Ikenberry’s first reader, whose name I forget at the moment, and we kept laughing and shaking our heads during the sooper sekrit powwow of authors. I also ran into David and Sharon Weber at the restaurant, and getting a big hug from Sharon. They’re good people and absolutely amazing to their fans. I say “their” fans and not David’s because while David’s 6’3″ and kinda intimidating, Sharon is an absolute angel and makes everyone feel loved.

Also got to sit with publisher extraordinaire Chris Kennedy and his wife, Sheellah, and a few others whose names I forget. Jonny was there, and he’s kinda hard to forget. The others? I know I know them, but I can’t remember any names at the moment.

Best part of the meal was when Sharon had to come over and tell Jonny that he was not allowed to wear his crocheted boobies beer cozy out in public. It then went downhill from there, with everyone practically dying from laughter as Jonny attempted to rules-lawyer Sharon freaking Weber.

In nomine patris…

The funeral was lovely. LOL.

After dinner we met up in the bar where we talked about, well, everything. Four Horsemen stuff, how amazing the sales for Homeguard have been, the upcoming release of Hunter (Ezell and Wolf), and even got to speaking with Mark Wandrey about stuff he’s doing with Marisa Wolf in the near future (side note: it’s going to be epic. I listened in on their plotting session Sunday and interrupted a few times because, well, I’m me). I then went up to the room I was sharing with REDACTED and REDACTED to get some writing done on Sons of the Lion before I went to bed.

As I was writing, they came up and then an old friend of theirs joined us. What I had thought was going to be an early bedtime (before midnight) stretched into the wee hours as we talked about some cool upcoming stuff in the 4HU (Four Horsemen Universe). We finally called it a night and went to sleep.

I should mention here that before we all crashed, REDACTED told me that she snored. I laughed and said “so do I”. She reiterated that she snored unlike anything I had ever heard in my life. I repeated again “can’t be that bad. REDACTED confirmed what his wife was telling me, but again, ego is the fall of great men, and I shrugged it off. We turned off the lights and went to sleep.

At 0300 on the f***ing nose, someone decided to land a 737-700 on the tarmac in our bedroom. The screeching, squealing sound of rubbing meeting concrete jarred me awake and I freaking panicked. I shot up and looked around, trying to figure out where the hell the plane was. It was silent for a moment and I had the feeling perhaps I had dreamed about it, so I lay back down and tried to go to sleep, heart still pounding in my chest.

Then it happened again, only this time I was awake for it. I sat up and looked over at REDACTED‘s wife. A third time and I had identified the source of the noise. Holy sh*t did she snore. I mean, she HAD warned me in advanced, and I had blown it off like “whatever”, but sweet merciful baby Jesus… this was something I had NOT been prepared for. I’ve slept through a freaking hurricane while in the Navy, didn’t even budge during the Northridge Earthquake of 1994, but this? This was a whole new level of DAAAAAAAAAAAAMN. I actually thought that REDACTED had forgotten her safe word at one point (I kid, I kid….. kinda).

I joke above, but having a deviated septum and sinus issues are hell on anybody. I really hope she can get it fixed soon because that can’t be healthy.

I did come prepared though, and I had earbuds for my phone. I popped those in, put on my music playlist, and went back to sleep.

FRIDAY

They weren’t kidding.

I was quiet as a mouse getting out of bed in the morning. I didn’t want to wake up the REDACTED‘s, since I am an early riser. I stumbled/found my way to the restaurant and got some breakfast. I don’t remember all who I saw, since I remained uncaffeinated for far too long, but I’m pretty sure I ran into the Weber’s again at breakfast. I also snagged Joel and managed to get my registration info from him and be officially a panelist at FantaSci for the weekend. Rejoicing could be had!

Afterwards, Doc, Kacey, Marisa, myself, and author Rob Hampson went to visit Baen Books HQ. That is always a great visit, and we got to meet up with Tony Daniels, Chris Ruocchio, and Jim Minz. They also have another employee and I ALWAYS forget her name and I am so, so sorry about this. While there we ran into David Weber’s co-author, Jacob Holo, and his wife, H.P. They were super cool people but I had a panel at 2:00, so Rob and I headed back while everyone else went to lunch.

On the way back, Rob and I plotted. We are evil. It was glorious. Fictional characters are gonna die.

My 2:00 panel was about Space POG’s (Persons other than Grunts). It was a new thing for me, since I had no idea beforehand what exactly a POG was. However, I do know how to wing it, and with Rob’s help (I kinda forced him to join me as a panelist so I wouldn’t be alone) we made it fun. I made certain that everyone would be joining us in the fun by the opening (with apologies to David Weber):

You are Hydroponics Technician 2nd Class Wally Whatsyername, serving aboard the HMS Vengeance and patrolling the far-reaches of the Star Kingdom’s borders. Suddenly the People’s Republic of Haven Navy ships appear and start launching missiles at you. Your battle station is in Hydroponics Bay 2, so you grab your squirt bottle and prepare to tend to your garden. Your last coherent thought before the missiles detonate is ‘Not the rutabagas!’

Yeah, good times.

After that it was Opening Ceremonies, which was a lot of fun. Got to meet Timothy Zahn again, and did not fanboi on him (much). From there it was dinner, which was pretty good, and then… I’m not entirely sure. I think we ended up at the bar. Friday night is a bit of a blur.

Oh! Friday night was the test demo of the new Four Horsemen: Omega War card game. I played as the MinSha and squared off against the Besquith, Asbaran Solutions, and Carthwright’s Cavaliers. The Besquith got their asses handed to them, and nobody messed with the MinSha (I turtled and dared them to “come at me, bro”. No shame in this.) It’s pretty easy to learn card game but you do need to learn to pay attention (I was guilty of this a few times). They didn’t have the card that I helped design yet in play but the game designer was very excited about bringing in my card in the near-future. I’m very glad I backed that Kickstarter.

SATURDAY

Saturday was a good morning. Got some food and almost made it to the Baen Traveling Road Show but… overslept. However, I did hear that they showed off Corruptor and talked about me for a bit (yay!). From there I went to a few panels and hung out in the dealer’s room, eyeballing a Peacemaker t-shirt that Joy Wandrey had for sale (I bought it Sunday), and generally made some new fans and friends.

I know I had a panel on Saturday but I can’t remember what it is. I think it was about Handwavium and How Much is Too Much? Not a lot of people showed up for that one so I pretty much pulled everyone into a circle and we complained about what authors do too much handwavium in their writing (Hi! My name is Jason, and I’m a handwaviumholic!). I pretty much derailed everything when another gentlemen and I agreed to disagree about Tom Bombadil in the Lord of the Rings. Good times.

I didn’t attend the eating out dinner at the Merc Guild outing, instead meeting up with Evil Penguin (Brent Roeder, evil neuroscientist at large) and having dinner in the restaurant. I realized that we had never sat down and actually talked before and we both were amazed to discover that we had quite a bit in common. It’s always nice to actually get to know people. You discover a lot of commonalities.

I got caught up doing something else after dinner and ended up missing the release party of Hunter by Kacey Ezell and Marisa Wolf, which meant I also missed the surprise birthday party for Kacey as well. I felt like an utter tool because I had known it was going to happen for a long while but I’m an idiot who forgets things at the worst possible moment. Plus I ruined the cookies I was going to bake for her. Not ate, but… well, let’s just say that butter is a key component to making this cookie recipe.

I decided to actually get some rest that night so I begged off late night drinking charades (although I did go and see the karaoke… less said, the better. My friends are wonderful writers but singers? Not so much. It looked fun, though) and went to bed. I had early morning panels to attend.

SUNDAY

0900 panels are the devil. There, I said it. There is just something inherently evil about getting up that freaking early and trying to make coherent conversation. I’m usually pretty chipper in the morning (post-caffeine) but Sunday I was dragging. I made it with about 1 minutes to spare and got situated as we talked about Music That We Write To. I don’t remember who all was on the panel with me besides the Holo’s, but it was a lot of fun and I discovered new music to write to. It went all over the place and had some very good audience interactions. I particularly enjoyed the crowd making suggestions for some music and others sharing what they use as a “kick-start your heart” playlist for writing. Other than the ungodly time, this was a great panel.

I then high-tailed it over to my 1000 panel (sorry to the gentleman who was trying to talk to me after the panel. My handler is awesome and was simply trying to make certain I wasn’t late) where we talked about Writing Believable Science Fiction with Chris Kennedy, Mark Wandrey, and Jon Osborne. This was probably my favorite panel at the con, since I got to give Mark a lot of crap (it’s what I do best) and make “titty bar gunfight” references while talking about dialogue during fight scenes (we were talking about Bright). As I said before, this panel was lots of fun.

Closing ceremonies were next, and I was obviously exhausted because people told me that I looked exhausted. *shrug* Yeah, I was pretty tired. I didn’t sleep well the entire weekend. But still, big shout-out to the crew of FantaSci. The issues were minor and the “Yell at Joel” session was actually pretty short.

I did want to give a huge medal to the guy who was running the Merc Pit (snack room). I went up there multiple times over the weekend and they guy was ALWAYS THERE. It was as if he simply lived in that room and made sure it was always stocked with snacks and drinks. I don’t know who he was but he deserves a medal. You hear me, Joel? A FREAKING HUGE MEDAL.

From here we simply hung out and talked for awhile. I did some writing while Mark and Marisa plotted a 4HU novel, and then we got ready for dinner. Kacey, Marisa, her siblings from Connecticut, Doc, and Bubba (Brian Gnad) all went to hibachi for dinner. The udon noodles were well worth the cheating on my diet, and then Coldstone for shakes afterwards because it was Kacey’s birthday weekend and we ALL DESERVED MILKSHAKES. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I promise.

Dead Dog Party time, and by this point I was pretty much half-asleep. You know a con is good when I can recognize that I’ve had too much fun. After talking with a few of the people working the con I headed back down to the bar and hung out with Chris Kennedy Publishing authors, which there seemed to be about 20 of us attending. I decided to call it a night and start reading Hunter, which I’d picked up earlier in the day.

About halfway through it dawned on me that I knew precisely how to wrap up Sons of the Lion so I got off the couch and started writing. Poor Doc (on whose couch I was crashing for the night) had to listen to me clackity-clack on my keyboard for an hour while I wrote the ending scene of Sons of the Lion. It came out okay (need to go back and fix some stuff earlier in the book) and I went to bed at last.

MONDAY

We packed up and left early, since Marisa had her flight in the evening back to Texas and they had a long drive ahead of them. On the way home I continued reading Hunter, and unbeknown to me (at first) Marisa was posting a play-by-play of my comments and noises I was making while reading. It made for some hilarious comments but eventually I was forbidden from speaking because Doc hadn’t read it yet and I was in danger of committing spoilers.

There was much fun to be had at my expense.

Doc and I were dropped off at his house so that Kacey and Marisa could save themselves 90 minutes of driving (I live in the boonies of Virginia) and he drove me home. On the way we talked about writing and his upcoming move, as well as my impending cross-country road trip, and we made noises about meeting up since our paths might cross. That would be epic because my co-author Chris Smith is meeting up with him already, and the three of us could leaving burning cities in our wake on Epic Road Trip America Tour of 2019.

I got home, did some chores, and was in bed at 8:00PM. I was pooped. I did do a little writing but most of it was me simply trying to sleep.

Okay, so where to begin? Thank you to Joel and his staff of numerous volunteers for putting on an amazing con. I had so much fun and it was nice to be able to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family. Next year they’re planning on more fantasy and YA, so I know I’ll be attending if they’ll have me. The Mercenary Guild Fan Group kickoff celebration went very well. I heard we’re around 200 people already joined, and it’s still in it’s infancy stages, so that’s going to be great. As always, I love meeting up with Kacey, Marisa, Doc, and all others who made the weekend amazing. I don’t make cons awesome, I’m just lucky to be a part of a larger group who I call my chosen family who do this. For those of you who can’t get tickets to Libertycon because of their cap numbers, may I suggest FantaSci as an alternative? It had a very similar feel to it. Relaxacon to the max.

If I didn’t mention you in here, it’s not because you aren’t amazing, but because I forget things and names and faces and everything else. You are appreciated, I just… forget.

Thank you FantaSci, and I hope to see you next year!

Categories
Blog Update Conventions

Uncle Timmy and the Thought Police


I’m going to tell you a little story about a good man who has been slandered and libeled by one individual who is hiding behind the anonymity of the Internets. That good man? Tim “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo.

You see, a pathetic troll whose name I’m not going to bother typing (because it’s a nickname that the individual hides behind because they’re afraid of owning up to their actions) has, after taking random snippets of conversations and tacky jokes that Uncle Timmy publishes on something called “The Revenge”, managed to get Uncle Timmy uninvited from Archon this year. Archon, apparently, is “listening to the fans” (the one who has slandered and committed libel, but we won’t get into that at the moment) and decided that it was in their best interest to not have Uncle Timmy as their Fan Guest of Honor this year.

Let’s ignore, for the moment, the forty years that Uncle Timmy has dedicated to fandom in the South and Midwest. Let’s forget that he started and ran Libertycon for 25 years, which is one of the more popular “small cons” around. Let’s ignore the fact that the man is extremely smart and is an engineer who has a sterling reputation (except when he’s playing spades. He’s a jerk when he plays spades). Heck, let’s even ignore the fact that Uncle Timmy is an old, fat white dude who started a scholarship for a fan and friend (a black man) after he died tragically while trying to help someone.

Oh, wait. No. Not only no, but hell no. All these facts are pertinent to the lie being spread that Uncle Timmy is one big old Southern racist redneck who hates science.

The thing is, Uncle Timmy refuses to be PC. And that, apparently, is a huge thought crime. His jokes in The Revenge hold no punches, and the jokes he relays (a lot of them are mailed in or suggested) are not always tactful. But the thing is, in The Revenge, nobody is safe. Uptight white businessman? White teen with purple hair? Blonde businesswoman? Doesn’t matter, all are fair game. As it should be, quite frankly. Because the jokes wouldn’t be so funny if he focused on one particular subject (trust me, the old fat white redneck jokes get old after the 80th one).

So… yeah. Is Uncle Timmy a racist who hates science? God, I hope not. Otherwise, he’s a brilliant actor who should’ve been winning Oscars for years.

The reason I am coming to his defense so vociferously (ah hell, biracial man with a vocabulary is rolling up his sleeves) is that back when I was first starting out on the convention scene, not a single con wanted this no-name biracial guy who wrote a book as a guest. Not a one. Cons who pride themselves for their “diversity” told me to kindly “piss off”. Cons that I lived less than five minutes to wanted nothing to do with a local author. Cons who are always claiming to want to showcase new and upcoming authors wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.

Then I got this email from Uncle Timmy and his daughter, Brandi Spraker, completely out of the blue. They’d heard about me through Travis S. “Doc” Taylor and wondered if I would be up to being a guest at Libertycon. I was thrilled. I was also confused, because after asking around, I’d heard that only “Baen authors” wanted anything to do with Libertycon. Which didn’t bother me much, because I enjoy almost all of the authors in Baen’s stable. Eric Flint, Charles Gannon, David Weber… all of them I’ve read, and all of them I enjoy. So I accepted and flew across the country to be a guest. And you know what?

I’ve never felt so welcomed at a convention as I was at that Libertycon. That’s even taking into account that the fans got me so trashed that I don’t really remember any of the panels (except the one that I yelled at John Ringo because of… something about aliens, humanity and sex? I forget). I promised I would return the following year, and I did (which resulted in a trip to the ER that is rather embarrassing). Of all the cons I’ve been to, Libertycon has, quite possibly, the best memories associated with it. And it made other cons easier for me, since the fans who go to Libertycon oftentimes attend other regional cons as well. They, in turn, have gotten me into other cons. And all this was possible thanks to Uncle Timmy.

What the Archon convention committee decides is, in the end, up to them. But before they listen to one lying individual who seems to have a vendetta, perhaps they should ask around and see just who Uncle Timmy really is. They may be surprised to find that Uncle Timmy is a well-respected and well-liked person who has helped thousands, if not tens of thousands, of authors and fans over the years.

But fortunately for me, due to their decision, they’ve helped me cull the list of potential conventions I will be attending in the future.