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Liberty Con 32: The Absolute Best

Friends, I very much want to tell you all the amazing things that happened at Liberty Con this weekend. However, it was a long weekend in Chattanooga with 750 of my favorite people doing nerd things at a convention run by absolute world-class volunteer staff and I slept about 10 hours. So.

Thursday: To set the stage, Jeremy and I were home for about 12 hours before heading to TN, so I started off in a sleep deficit. Best cure for no sleep? Caffeine, whiskey, and running into people I love.

Jeremy helped the incredibly talented Joy Wandrey set up her booth (Spinner's End, if you like awesome things), while I...semi-helped and mostly excitedly chatted up Yvonne, Michelle, Jamie Ibson, Joy, her lovely family, and anyone else who wandered by. You may have heard: Liberty Con is like a giant family reunion in which you actually like everyone.

Then I saw Kacey Ezell, my coauthor, top three favorite person, occasional-partner-in-crime, all around badass! This is her last con for a few years, so I tried not to monopolize alllll her time, but I had no hesitation in racing down an escalator to interrupt her conversation (sorry, person!) and give her a giant hug. I also had a chance to quickly catch up with her daughter, C, who is a badass in her own right and always an absolute delight.

It might have been dinner time by then, so I crashed a growing CKP party in the hotel bar (Marriott, your staff is fabulous, and they were wonderful all weekend, and their patience is legendary), and was able to have drinks and food and all around merriment with Chris and Sheellah Kennedy, Mark and Joy Wandrey, Kevin and Stacey Steverson, Chris and Wendy Woods, Rob Howell, Ian and Smalls Malone, Mark S, Kevin Ikenberry, editor-extraordinaire Beth, probably other awesome people (again, there was whiskey).

Much joy abounded, but I made it an early night given that there would be very little sleep the rest of the weekend.

Friday: Started off exactly right: a little bit of writing and a LOT of good company as we walked to The Hot Chocolatier with Kacey, Chris Smith (he-who-adopted-adorable-rescue-kitten-and-also-writes-amazingly-well), their respective fabuloud daughters, Boy Casey (who survived an ADVENTURE arriving to LC in time for morning hot chocolate), and Tara and her fab entourage. I had a breakfast eclair (totally a thing), a lot of caffeine, chocolate, and a loooot of laughing.

I cried AND laughed at Opening Ceremony - Gray Rinehart wrote and performed a song in tribute to the founder and Godfather of Liberty. While I didn't have a chance to more than meet the famous Uncle Timmy, his daughter and goddess currently running Liberty Con, Brandy Spraker, is a dear friend, and...whew. Raise a toast indeed. Sorry I wasn't a safe place for you to look during that gorgeous tribute, Brandy! Master of Ceremonies John

After that was a whirlwind of seeing people, making plans, jumping into panels - the 4HU roundtable was full of all the shenanigans people should expect by this point, This Fallen World revealed some upcoming awesomeness, I got to cheer wildly at the Noir Fatale panel celebrating such masters of the craft as Kacey Ezell, Griffin Barber, Mike Massa, and more! Also, Kacey and I got to sign an ENORMOUS banner a fan of our books had made, and when I tell you I teared up again...well. Thanks for that, Twilight.

Back to the bar (this is a theme), where my brilliant and discerning publisher asked follow up questions about the number of projects I have coming up (12. the answer was 12, and is now 11 because one is turned in!), much whiskey was consumed, somewhere between Yvonne and Jonny Minion "wroguling" was invented, Jeremy and I hit up City Cafe at 11, and then we hit up the consuite with the cool kids, ultimately retreating to the hotel lobby for more air conditioning and shit-shooting (thanks for your fan, Sheellah! And running away with me, Jonny + Natalie!) until...2ish? 2am came faaaast.

Saturday: Started earlier than I would have liked but 1) I had some writing to do and 2) a 10 am panel I had to get human for. There was breakfast quiche with Kacey, then the Freehold Resistance roundtable, headed by Michael Z. Williamson and peopled by fricking awesome authors that made a 10 am panel delightful (not the a.m.-brandy talking), and let me tell you - the collaborative novel Mike put together out of our stories is going to blow you away. These people are TALENTed, and I'm so honored to get to hang around them.

I have no idea what I did with my afternoon. Panels? Hanging out? What I didn't do was nap, which was a fatal flaw. I did get to pop by the Baen Roadshow, run by the ever-fabulous Toni Weisskopf in full space-opera get up (her capelet was divine), before running off to Writing with a Co-Author, moderated skillfully by the dynamic Mel Todd. At some point in the day Mel had also introduced me to some amazing hair wax and gave me purple streaks, so she is awesome on multiple levels. From there it was right over to What's Coming from CKP. What Chris Kennedy has put together across imprints, from 4HU with the incomparable Mark Wandrey to a brand new line with the inimitable Chuck Gannon...WHEW. An honor, a privilege, and a ridiculously good time to be a part of.

Jeremy and I had the honor of a fabulous dinner with the Baen folks, where I might have monopolized the Massas' and the Barbers' time, but they are so wonderful I can only #sorrynotsorry them.

The Alabaster Noon/CKP room party run by Rob Howell was full of dangerous drinks and witty folks, during which I managed a tiny plot session with Mark Wandrey (yesssss), some quality hang out time (including running off with amazing gift clothes from a certain deeply wonderful and slightly bullying-with-love Canadian), and a lot of drinking. I was then summoned for pictures with Brandy + our badass group, which led to a HUGE highlight of the con - shenanigans and laughter and joy and rowdiness with a huge group of talented/beautiful/hilarious/amazing/everything ladies taking over the lobby. We issued riddles, scared people away, and had such a good time. Toni, Brandy, Kacey, Tara, Cisca, Yvonne, and so many others: holy shit you rock. So hard. Love you.

The dulcet tones of Jim Minz reminded us there was karaoke (!!!!!) happening, to which we descended en masse, found the CKP crew among others, and many, many shenanigans ensued. Many. There are pictures. And videos. I will not put them on the internet, but I will show them in person if you ask nicely (#thatswhatshesaid). Thank goodness for Jim + the Violent Femmes, and for karaoke-runner Sara(h?) who stayed three hours later and kept us going til 3. Good, good party.

Sunday: I crashed Cisca's breakfast, which turned into a steadily growing table of various amazing people and a truly fab meal (for the quality AND quantity of company and food, so that's hard to beat), then Tara + her wonderful husband accompanied me to my last panel, What's New from Copper Dog publishing, where I got to hang with Benjamin Tyler Smith, William Joseph Roberts, RJ Cates, Michael H Hanson, Rich Groller (who also, somehow: writes, has a full time job, and puts together all the programming at LC! A rockstar), as Michael led us through talking about a super exciting collaborative novel/anthology/awesome thing we're hoping to have done this year. An honor, folks - writing with talented people who are ALSO hilarious is my jam!

There was more hanging out and project-discussing and a bit of whiskey and an AWESOME plotting session with Kacey and Mark re: Ally (aaaaaaaaaa, it's gonna be SO GOOD), and then sadness and 1.5 hours of sleep before our ridiculously early flight.

And yes, this is the sum-up. There are approximately 100 other people I didn't mention who also made this weekend incredible. Please know that if I talked to you at any point, you were a legit highlight, because this weekend was straight through amazing.

So, on very little sleep, Monday I finished a short story (11 projects to go, woo!), passed out, and am now sad for leaving, delighted to have experienced it, and super eager for LC 33.


In for real for real summary: LC is the best, I strongly recommend it, I am an absurdly lucky girl, and so grateful for y'all. Let's do it again soon.

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