All in all, Tara and I had a pretty good weekend. I got to put some faces and voices to folks that had been names on a screen, met some new folks, and sit in on some interesting panels.
It didn’t get off to a great start. Friday morning we dealt with rain, traffic jams, and detours. We got to the ‘con before opening ceremonies started, but a bit later than I’d hoped. All in all it worked out well, and after the open I headed to the dealer room for my first signing slot.
I got a chance to finally meet Alfred Gennesson, who has given what’s still one of the best reviews of “A Place Outside The Wild” to date. Hans Schantz wandered by, and I got a chance to nab a copy of his latest book. (As an aside, if you’ve not read “The Hidden Truth”, it’s a must-read. I can most simply describe it as a a throwback to the storytelling of Heinlein juveniles, with the science of “The Martian” cranked up to 11.)
And, yes, I proudly sported Arizona Cardinals gear most of the weekend. There were plenty of folks in sci-fi and superhero shirts . . . but there was only one dude in Cardinals stuff.
Tara and I grabbed some dinner, then hooked up with Jon Del Arroz in the gaming room for some Star Realms, which was interesting since I’d . . . never played the game. “It’s kind of like Magic: The Gathering,” I was informed. “You’ll be fine.” Which is great and all, but I never played that, either. (I was more of an AD&D/Dark Conspiracy dice-rollin’ kind of gamer back in the day). But, sure enough, it’s a quick game to pick up, and I actually won my first ever match before time rolled around to head to my next event.
It was a zombie panel, which was fitting, because by the time the panel rolled around at 10 p.m., I had what was quite literally the worst headache of my life, and probably sounded not unlike one of the undead as I stuttered through my first few answers. All in all it was fun, and dislike for the disjointed writing of ‘The Walking Dead’ was universal pretty much across the board.
Saturday was a pretty light day. I did another signing session and realized I didn’t have any fun props. The best one was probably a steampunk-styled phone handset that Geoffrey Mandragora used to let people listen to samples of his audio books. You can, indeed, buy anything on Amazon.
After that, Tara and I snuck offsite for a while to do the tourist thing. Chattanooga has some amazing scenery, which makes for an interesting mix with the economic boom they seem to have going on. Literally, there was construction going on pretty much everywhere we went.
After that, we chilled out for a bit. I got a bit of writing done, slid into the audience of a couple panels (as an aside – serious facepalm moment. You’re at a mil-SF panel featuring David Drake and David Weber, you get the chance to ask a question – and you ask about John Ringo? Dude. Don’t be that guy. And no, it wasn’t me. I may have strong foot-in-mouth tendencies but even I’m astute enough to avoid that.) I caught the tail-end of an indie publishing panel and got some great marketing ideas, then sat down with Russell and Morgon Newquist to do a podcast interview for their publishing company, Silver Empire, that should be up in the next day or so.
After dinner Tara and I headed to the launch party for A Fistful of Credits. After that, we made our way to another launch party, this for Declan Finn’s “A Pius Man.” It’s a thriller set in the Vatican and he assures me the plot structure isn’t nearly as annoying as “The Da Vinci Code.” And if you can’t trust a writer in a snazzy canary-yellow suit jacket, who can you trust? Even if he is from New York City.
Sunday we got our stuff packed up and loaded in the car, but I had one last panel to do before we hit the road.
This actually worked out quite well, because it was an urban fantasy panel focusing on broken heroes. Considering the mental and physical beatdown Paxton goes through in “Fade”, he certainly qualifies.
I felt much better about this panel. For one thing, my head didn’t feel like it was lifting off into orbit, and for another I was much more glib than the “Uh – um – guh – zombies” routine I did a couple of nights before. In retrospect, spending most of the day in the car and doing a panel when it was sleepytime was probably not a wise choice. It was also cool to meet Faith Hunter, who is a super-awesome, just down to Earth great person. I love being a fan of someone’s work and finding out they’re cool, too.
So, yeah. That was my first LibertyCon experience as an attending pro. If we do it next year I will probably plan better so we can come down the day before, and I will be more prepared with gadgets and possibly props.
Writing took a bit of a hit, but that’s cool. I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the first draft of “A Place Called Hope”, and am still aiming for a mid-October release. Cheers, and happy 4th!