I have covered some of this in previous posts, so you know that we arrived on Thursday at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. We arrived at noon, intending to link up with the rest of the wedding party participants but with missed communications instead spent some wonderful time hanging out Jonna Hayden (thank you so much for sharing your cool room!) before she accomplished a final fitting of me in my wedding dress.
The hotel promptly lived down to our expectations, not having our rooms ready to check into for more than an hour after check-in time. We’ve not stayed onsite the last two years, and remembered why as we dealt with that. But this year with the wedding and my con schedule, we had no choice, and really, staying at the con is better. Also, the congoers have been banned from building three in the past years, and this year I saw why: the rooms there are nicer (although still not as nice as cheaper hotels nearby. But you take what you are given. Enough about the hotel, this is about the people, not grousing).
The wedding was everything I’d dreamed of. I had no idea which end was up until we were standing there with Peter addressing the crowd, then Dan and Sarah Hoyt saying their vows. When we leaped the sword, it was like flying. I want to thank Toni Weisskopf for bringing the replica of Lady Vivamus (created by Hank Reinhardt). The post-wedding dinner at the City Café on Carter St. was wonderful, until I started to pass out on the table. Too much excitement!
Friday started relatively quietly, with the 3D print set up. I didn’t begin ‘working’ until four, when I set up to do the first of two facepainting sessions. Immediately following this, we went to the opening ceremonies. Howard Tayler made the lists of attending guests into a playful experience rather than boring, and we all learned what ‘minions’ really means. The convention presented my new husband and I with a bottle of champagne and wishes for a happy life together, which really touched us. I finished my professional obligations with a session at the autograph table (and many thanks to everyone who came to have books signed or just talk to me. The comments about my blog were really encouraging, as this is an uncertain endeavour). It was fun to sit next to my dear friend Jason Cordova, meet Terry Maggert, and watch fan reactions to L Jagi Lamplighter Wright and John C Wright at the other end of the table.
Following this, I went to our room, where the Wedding Reception party was already getting underway. It was so good to meet up with friends old and new. Sarah Hoyt’s handmade baklava seemed to be a big hit, along with Amanda Fuesting’s truly decadent brownies. I know that Jonathan LaForce’s Ribs needed a guard to ensure they were distributed properly!
I wrapped up Friday night by walking with Sarah Hoyt to the Social Justice for the Undead panel. This was (I think) the only panel I attended where I wasn’t on the panel itself. I’m so glad I went, it was riotous good fun. As much fun as the previous year’s Messiest Ways to Kill Zombies. I got back to the room, did a last round of meet-and-greet, kicked the people out at midnight so they didn’t see me turn into a pumpkin, and I think I got some sleep…
Saturday was the only morning I got over to Barfly Breakfast, but I can report that Quilly Mammoth and Christine put on their usual terrific spread. I wasn’t able to volunteer this year, so I just left a box of assorted handmade jams as my contribution. I left breakfast with some concern, as I had signed up to donate blood for the first time ever, and when talking about it, had discovered that spending time in the UK in the 1990s could have made me ineligible. Turns out that I hadn’t been over there long enough, so they took my blood like cheerful vampires and I ran right to my first panel.
At noon I sat on the “How to Write” Workshop with Sarah Hoyt, and Kate Paulk and David Pascoe joined us since Amanda Green was unable to attend this year. Since the room lacked tables and whiteboard to conduct a hands-on, we talked about techniques and answered questions. For those of you who were there and may read this, I do recommend Navigating from Writing to Publication on the Mad Genius Club site.
After that I had another session of painting, but by the time I had finished I was aware that I really should have grabbed a snack after giving blood. The First Reader and Jr. Mad Scientist steered me to the Pizza Car (a traincar, and a pizza place!) and we discovered that a sauceless cheese pizza is a lot like eating an open-face quesadilla, and that we can’t let the JMS order without a bit more input from the parental units. It was delicious, and I was able to make it to the next panel on time without a faceplant. I sat on the Indie: Is your Book Ready for Prime Time? panel in place of Amanda Green alongside Dan and Sarah Hoyt, Doug Dandridge, and Peter Grant, and we talked about how to deliver the best product to market – in other words, publishing your book well-packaged, edited, and not letting perfectionism freeze up your momentum.
Following this I had a professional obligation away from the con, and then there was some sleep. I think.
Sunday morning bright and early we gathered back at the City Café for the Hun Breakfast with Sarah Hoyt, her family, and many others (you know who you are… LOL!). I would have loved to spend the day in gathering round tables with good food, laughter, and conversation, but at ten Sarah Hoyt and I had to be in the Author’s Alley to hawk books, sign them, and chat with fans. This hour was a great success, and I’m delighted the con added it. I did learn that having swag to give away really helps. I had kittens and grenades (I’d bought them to make into the wedding bouquets, but Toni Weisskopf provided lovely flowers, which were ideal) and Sad Puppies pins. Much amusement was had on discovering that my grenades made noise when the pin was pulled (when the pin is pulled, Mr Grenade is no longer your friend!).
For me, the funniest panel of the whole con was one I moderated Sunday afternoon. How to Serve Mythical Creatures was originally the brainchild of Robert Hoyt, who sat on this panel, and for added fun, the newly-minted Mistress (Master’s degree made her a Mistress, right?) Cathe Smith, the Insectress. Chris Smith, brewing expert and author, joined us, and at one point Cathe and I had him convulsed in laughter between us. Turns out if you want to cook unicorn you need Extra Virgin Olive Oil. And dragon? Best presented on a dragonscale plate as a ceviche in it’s own acids. Mermaid? Cathe proclaimed it to taste like tuna. The whole panel is of the opinion that as long as you aren’t surveing the human part, it’s fine… And then an audience member solved world humor by proposing that cutting limbs off a werewolf would be an infinitely renewable meat source.
I wrapped up my LibertyCon with a panel on Cover design. Dorothy Grant, Sarah Hoyt, and Sam Fleagal sat in on this one. It was great to talk to an artist about how to approach them, and pricing for a true professional to produce commissioned art for a cover, versus licensed art, or stock art. We only really had time to touch on the topic. Then it was time for me to deliver the last hugs, and pile into our overstuffed car and head for home.
So long, LibertyCon! It was a wonderful time and I feel like a new woman now that I’ve had some real sleep in my own bed!