Real Life has intruded on the scheduled poster here in a most delightful way. He’s greeting his third child into the world properly. So since the blog goes on, even when family is coming first, I offered to step in with a few words.
Community is grand. It’s a beautiful thing. I came home from LibertyCon earlier this week exhilarated, exhausted, and enthusiastic about my writing again. It had been three years since we last managed to get to Liberty, and as I said to Rich Groller at the Kaffeeklatsch, I didn’t know how much I needed that until we were there and in the thick of it.
There was a lot going on in my mind as I got ready for LC. First, this was the first time in my life I’d had a paid vacation. I’ve lived a odd non-traditional employment life, so this was different and unusual for me. It was nice. As a writer, it’s not something you get, per se, although as a writer this was a working vacation and a tax write-off. I’d originally intended it not to be a working con, I was just going to go as a fan, and enjoy seeing friends. But Rich emailed me and told me which panels I was going to be on, so! I bowed to the inevitable, and am very grateful to him and the lovely Tish for all they do for the con, and for me in small ways.
We showed up on Thursday evening with 50 lbs of frozen chicken for the consuite, and arranged to meet Vonn Gants to take delivery. With a very large cooler on my little book-dolly, we boarded the elevator, and a nice (mundane) lady got on with us. After some confusion over how to reach the 16th floor (C is for… um, consuite, at least this weekend) we were on our way up. She looked down at the load we were toting. “What’s in the cooler?” The First Reader couldn’t pass up the opening. “The heads of our enemies…” I elbowed him. “Shh!” Fortunately, she didn’t hear him clearly.
But it set the tone for the event. It was good fun, we were with our People and didn’t have to worry about jokes being taken wrong, or in-jokes going over heads, or really much of anything other than finding the people we wanted to see. Because the con is about community, especially this con. From the group hanging out in the smoking area swapping tall tales all hours of day and night, to the conversational groups clustering in the broad halls of the convention center chatting and waiting for the next panel to begin. I wound up not making it to a few panels I really wanted to see, because I got caught up talking to old and new friends, but I’m not sorry. That’s part of the fun. The impromptu networking. The story ideas being batted around. Walking with Stephen Simmons and friend (whose name I did not catch) listening to tales of submarines and how each one has a personality. And how stories about miserable events make great story plots. And then meeting a new to me writer by the name of Frog… didn’t get your last name, sir, but it was a pleasure!
I met LawDog, who is a lovely gentleman, and somewhat later he literally took me by the hand and led me up onto the Indie Marketing panel to take part… Next to John van Stry, Dorothy and Peter Grant, and JL Curtis. I met KC Ezell in person, as lovely in body as she is in mind (and probably going to gibb’s slap me for this next time we meet). I met Lydia Sherrer who has so much in common with me it’s a little scary. I met Dave Butler, who wore the same clothes all con long, but came up smelling like roses, and wearing a pirate hat. You should check out his books… heck, all of their books! I met Rob Howell… again. But there’s never too many times to see your friends, yes? Like James Young, Jagi Lamplighter, and many who I will not name here because it’s already going to be too long.
I was giddy as a schoolgirl at getting to meet the inestimable Col. Kratman, who knew me by sight. Later, watching the presentation of the flag during the Baen Roadshow… no, let me unpack that somewhat. A surprise was planned, a lot of work must have been done, and a marvelous group of women appeared in perfect step from the back room. The Colonel, stoic, faced the women who marched in red vests, schoolgirl skirts, and a red flower tucked behind their ears with military precision. They snapped a salute, presented the flag of the Amazon Legion, and he returned it before turning to the crowd to show off the work “This is so fucking cool!” he proclaimed. I don’t know about anyone else, but it was a little dusty in there… Which wasn’t helped by what happened a few minutes later as Toni Weisskopf revealed the cover for Martin Shoemaker’s I am Cary. He walked up the aisle and stopped about the first row and just stood there, silent and stunned, at the art she had chosen for his first Baen book. It was moving.
The con was in a different venue, almost didn’t happen this year since the prior venue had broken contract and the new venue wasn’t ready yet. The con committee worked hard at making it happen, and I am very grateful they did. I needed to immerse myself in the community again. I’m sure I am not the only one who mostly socializes online these days. I just don’t have anyone local (that I’m not married to!) to hang out with who understands me. That sounds… well, I just don’t socialize much. It is what it is. Going to Liberty was a whirlwind of hugs, conversations in real time (so different than chat), and the pleasure of people. I’m peopled out about now, but it was totally worth it.
So why am I not encouraging you to attend LC 2019? Because the tickets went on sale July 4 at 8 am. Just why of 6 hours later, they were sold out. Now, I had been sitting there with an alarm to remind me of the time, and I pounced and bought next year’s tickets immediately. But there is a wait list for tickets. And! I also went ahead and registered for LTUE in Feb 2019. I can’t recommend it enough if you are a writer, at any stage of your career. It’s the one con I’ve ever been to and felt like I left with my brain full of writer-lessons to apply. If you missed out on LC tickets, do LTUE. If you can do both, then do it. Because you need the community. You might not think you do, but let me assure you, you do.