Convention, family, flies, LibertyCon

LibertyCon 27 AAR

First of all, I’m back, and I’m sorry for my lack of planning! I thought I would have a few minutes to put up a post Saturday and yesterday, and it didn’t happen. Next year, I will plan ahead for this.

Mowbray Trailhead Overlook
A short hike with my First Reader to open it all with a day of relaxation.

We arrived in Tennessee on Thursday, early, treating that first day as a vacation day. It’s such a pretty state, and as we drove down Hwy 27 rather than the interstate, it was like a long drive in the country. We even took the time to stop and find a pleasant hike, although I don’t think the First Reader was expecting a short section of the Cumberland Trail! We did about a mile and a half of hiking, and got to see an overlook with a view of the Oak Ridge reactors, and the caves and overhangs of a small creek, with evidence that it had been used for camping long before civilization reached these hills.

Thursday evening was the first get-together with friends, at the City Cafe, of course. We wound up back there or at the one located in Downtown Chattanooga, several times. Really good food, and although there was a server at the downtown location we could have done without, it was worth it. But the company was the important part. Getting to meet James and Anita Young, to see the Hoyt clan again and plot with Sarah… To hear Peter Grant’s stories and pick Dorothy’s brain, this was what the weekend was supposed to be about. New and old friends.

Friday morning we took it easy, choosing not to do range day with the rest of the shooters. I didn’t feel up to another two hours of driving on top of all the journeying we had done the day before. Another meal and a great conversation with friends, before returning to collect badges as registration had opened.

Mystik Waboose was good enough to offer me table space for my print books, for which I am really grateful (go look at the link, they have great geeky t-shirts!). This meant I could focus on meeting people, including Timothy Zahn as I was setting up with Brad. I was delighted to meet one of my daughter’s favorite authors, and to have a chance to join the conversation discussing Archon’s misstep with him.

famous author
First Reader, David Drake, and Cedar

My signing was Friday at 4 pm, and I set up a little display of my books, my name card, sat down, smiling… and expecting to have a lonely hour. All you wonderful people shattered that expectation. I had friends drop by to make sure I knew I was supported, and to buy books. I met new people who read my blog (Waves, Hi!) and I was amazed at all of you. Thank you. I am also grateful that in a lull, when I saw a couple pause near the signing table, I smiled and said Hello… because then David Drake came up to me. The First Reader and I had a very fannish moment of (I hope inaudible!) squee.

I didn’t attend a lot of panels this last weekend. It was more about seeing friends, and most of the panels I wanted were conflicted with my own. I did attend Changes in Publishing with James Young, who is a relatively new author, but a very savvy one. As the panelists were discussing what goes on behind the scene at a traditional publishing deal, James leaned over and muttered, “Are they insane? am I insane?” I reassured him that as he is independently publishing rather than signing away all rights to his work “in the universes” as they discussed on the panel, and he’s getting more than the 12.5% most traditionally published authors get, he is the sane one.

Saturday morning bright and early I reported to the consuite to assist with preparing Barfly Breakfast. An annual tradition, this year it had been expanded to feed not only my Barfly friends, but the author guests (there were 100 at this con) and staff. As a result, or maybe just because Vonn Gants is awesome (she is running the consuite this year) we had a lot more room, and help, and I was tickled at how it all came together. I know my jam was on the table, maybe someone who was able to stay later can tell me how it went over?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had to slip away and run over to the dealer’s room for books, because I had a reading at 10 am. Thank you all who came to the reading! I don’t think I’ve mentioned before that Stephanie Souders was at the con, and she and her father Spike came. It was lovely to finally meet them. I think they had already read Trickster, but several other people who were there hadn’t, and everyone laughed in all the right places. For those who are curious, I read the battle scene at the pagoda, against the dragon and the salamander.

In between my scheduled events, I socialized, caught another panel, this one on Space Opera. With David Drake, Chuck Gannon, Sarah Hoyt, Sabrina Chase, and Stephen Simmons on the panel, it was every bit as fun as it sounds. Drake put forth his definition of the difference between Mil-SF and Space Opera: the RCN series is space opera, the Hammer’s Slammers are mil-SF. Which works well for me. Near the end, they all offered series that brought out their inner 12-yo. Drake and Simmons mentioned Keith Laumer’s Reteif series, and Hoyt suggested Lloyd Biggles Jr’s Still Small Voice of Trumpets, as well as my own favorite, the Sector General stories by James White. Gannon and Chase put forth that Drake’s RCN series did it for them, much pleasing that gentleman, I think.

I was only able to be at half of the Baen Roadshow, to my disappointment. I have enjoyed it every time I have seen it, and at Liberty the crowd heckles Toni Weisskopf, and she heckles them right back. I laugh so hard. Also, getting to see the cover art for new and upcoming books is always a treat. Sadly, at 4 I had to slip away to see to my own thing.

I was on a ‘what’s new in YA’ roundtable, which was very lightly attended as it was opposite the Baen roadshow. We discussed our own books, what we wrote and why, and then talked a bit about the trends we see in YA. As I have blogged about before, the cutting bleeding edge of YA seems to be catering more to adults who want to see lines pushed, than to kids who actually read. Sarah Hoyt and I would cover this again in our Sunday Workshop on writing for teens, as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the semi-unofficial Baen Barfly photographer at Libertycon, I always take a lot of pictures. Rarely posed, what you will see is the result of stealth photography. No flash, so I don’t bother people, and sometimes they didn’t even realize I was taking a picture! Over the whole trip I shot 1100 photos. I will NOT inflict all of them on you! Someone whose name I didn’t catch asked permission to use them on the LC facebook and website, which I granted, so if you see them there, don’t worry about it. It’s good 🙂 I will post a link later to a flickr album with the ‘raw feed’ of con photos in it. There are also smaller albums on facebook you can link yourself or friends in. I haven’t had time yet to do more than upload (I was dealing with Picasa which is a pain in the tush and doesn’t make sharing easy).

Kentucky Sunrise

Whew. I have chemistry class here very shortly, and I’m looking at how long this is already. Sunday we left around 1 to get home… and with heavy storms just north of Chattanooga, it took us 9 hours to reach home, and our own bed! I will likely come back to this… the initial AAR is always a bit muddled, as my brain is full. I’m still digesting the whole experience, but overall it was wonderful, and I’m going back next year, with special events planned. That, and the Evil Muse infected me with four new novels on the drive home. Have I mentioned the Mil-SF I was planning to write? Well, according to Drake’s definition it will be a space opera, but I’m really excited about starting on it now!