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Liberty for all!



You might have heard – last weekend I went to a con. Not just any con. Liberty Con, which is basically one big family reunion filled with people you very enthusiastically want to see. I want every day to be Liberty Con, though the lack of sleep would probably get me - as it is, I'm still recovering, a few days later…whew!


Aaaanyway, it was an amazing experience, full of personal and professional wins and highlights, and no matter how much I put into this blog, I still won't capture all the awesome things. One I will definitely talk about forever is that GORGEOUS cover featured above. Real tears were shed, y'all. But let's get into the whole con, day by day:



Thursday:

This year I got to road trip into Liberty, and so avoided much of the travel woes that struck a bunch of folks. Even better, I got to road trip in with Kacey Ezell and Hailey (aka H.Y. Gregor). As you may know, this was Kacey's first Liberty Con back after a few years in Japan, and she's the person who brought me to my first Liberty, so it was extra awesome to get extra time with her this year.


Hailey + Kacey are excellent road trip buddies, and the drive zipped by with fun chats, excellent music, and allll the pre-con excitement. Kacey and I had dinner with friends, pet many dogs, and got a semi-early bedtime in pre-actual con.



Friday:

Leisurely start with great conversation for the day (great conversations were a hallmark of this weekend. Leisurely starts…less so. Gotta enjoy them when you can!).


From there we descended upon the hotel. The hotel staff were amaaaaaazing, and the valet/bellmen Handled Their Shit and got us set up in our room pretty quick – leading to the opening of Sleepover Central. There were four of us – Kacey, Melissa Olthoff, Leah, and me, and we had So. Much. Fun. Zero sleep. All fun. There are far worse trades.


Once at the hotel it was hard to keep focus – everywhere I looked was another of my favorite faces, people whom I had to hug immediately, people to squeal over, things to do…I mean. SO much fun.


First programming event was attending Kacey's reading (AAAAA) where the three authors of the Romanov Rescue read from their forthcoming sequel. Tom Kratman gave me the shivers, Justin Watson made me laugh out loud, and Kacey made me cry. I don't think those reactions were localized to me...the room was very enthusiastic. Cannot WAIT for this book.


From there my panels started, and I had such great ones (shout out to Rich Groller, who runs all the programming!). First up, Car Wars, where the fabulous Hillbilly (William Joseph Roberts if you wanna be fancy) celebrated his first Car Warriors book, Burning Roads, moderated a bunch of authors who will be writing in this awesome world, and also ensured we got to chat with the Legend of Games himself Steve Jackson and one of his awesome colleagues who's also gonna feature in a book or three…


This is going to be a fun series, y'all. Mad Max + Thunderdome and a whole lotta action/intrigue/car wars!


Right after that was Opening Ceremonies, standing room only and delightful as always, and then I got to stay in the same room for 'Give Me Liberty Con' where a rockstar line-up chatted about the two anthologies (Give Me Liberty Con! and Onward Liberty Con) centered around Liberty Con. Have I mentioned how much I love this con? Some of that came out in my story 'The Bookseller' in Onward, where I definitely brought up the power of found family.


Side note: a fun thing announced in that panel – my short story 'The Bookseller' has also been haunting me since I wrote it, so I'm going to go ahead and write a novel in that world. Aiming to have it done the end of this year!


From there it was on to CKP Year Ahead, where authors change identities, projects are announced, questions are answered, and shenanigans ensue. You should check out Rob Howell's or Kacey's AAR for the full breakdown, but as always the panel was great and there are so many exciting books to come from CKP.


But on the shenanigans note…post CKP panel we adjourned to a different room (another shout out to Rich Groller, who heard my random request and delivered, and to Jonny, who led wayward authors to the right place) and had a CKP Last Call, Live at Liberty.

Shenanigans upon shenanigans – also LOOK at what Joy and Mark Wandrey launched my way!!! You can see the moment itself preserved for all time on the internets at the link above. Importantly, he is much, much softer than the alligator that headbutted me, and I love him. I miiiight have carried him around the rest of con…and he miiiight be going to all future cons with me as well...


The evening did not end there - I stayed up until 430 am (City Café had to be sent off in style, and diner food is so good at 2am), and it is a blur of fun, food, much cackling.



Saturday:

Saturday I could have slept in a bit, but my brain said 'nah' and I was awake in time to accompany Kacey to the Banquet as her plus one. We donned tiaras, had excellent conversations, cheered wildly for the guests of honor, and ate some really delicious food.


There could have been a nap post delicious-food-ing, but instead I was mildly productive, and then had my very first author reading at Liberty (or any con!). I got to team up with Casey Moores, and we each read 10ish minute excerpts from two different works.


Casey gave the people what they wanted - the first part of Companion to Darkness and a sneak peak of his upcoming Secret Project, both to much acclaim.


I read a snippet of 'Dear Cynthia' to introduce folks to Bryn Siegmund, Director of the Valkyries Initiative, oh and then for the FIRST TIME EVER shared the first chapter of Beyond Enemies. Y'all, people laughed and leaned forward in all the right places and I am over the moon excited (and a tiny bit terrified) to share this book with everyone.

BECAUSE THEN


Next was the Baen Roadshow. And I walked into it. And I saw...


For the first time, I saw my cover, with my name on it, at a BAEN ROADSHOW and friends...

It wasn't the last time I cried at the Roadshow, either... But ok. Saw the cover. People were so lovely and celebrated with me and didn't even get annoyed when I got in the way to pose with my cover because of course I did.

Huge thanks to Leah Brandtner, who is an amazing photographer and captured like nineteen different expressions while I couldn't put this down.


Then the Roadshow actually started, and Toni Weisskopf, Editor in Chief & Queen of Baen, told the PACKED HOUSE/standing room only crowd about the fantabulous books coming soon from Baen.


Including mine.


Which I got to talk about to a PACKED HOUSE/standing room only crowd. And I mostly made sense!! Then I sat down, safe from embarrassing myself, except not really because the next slides came up:

Can you catch it? The slide: "If you like Marisa Wolf, you should also try this other fellow..."


Who just happens to be David Freaking Weber, Grandmaster of Science Fiction, incredible writer, deeply wonderful person, successful over decades of publishing wonderful, wonderful stories...


So 1) The post by Joelle Presby (speaking of incredible authors and deeply wonderful humans, good goodness y'all - she's amazing and if you haven't read Dabare Snake Launcher (my nominee for the Dragon Award in science fiction) you are doing yourself a disservice, go check it out!), like the moment itself, made me cackle.


Though I am very so gracious, helping out a new author like that, it was a fun teasing moment. AND THEN.


And then Toni Weisskopf, Publisher, Editor in Chief, Badass of All, said these words, "In seriousness, if you like David Weber, you're going to like Marisa Wolf. Read her books."


And


I


Died.


Ok, I didn't, I remain among the living but I covered my face and once more real tears decided to make their appearance.

Thankfully I was sitting and only a few people noticed but here's the thing: I'm a fan first. Lifetime nerd. Books were my everything for a long time, and still a huge source of comfort and joy. David Weber writes phenomenal books. Toni Weisskopf knows incredible books. That comparison means the world to me.


So. No pressure. Hope you love Beyond Enemies.


At the very least, I get to meet some faaaabulous humans. Like, my friend Joelle, mentioned above. She's very serious, as you can tell, but still pretty cool. ;)


OK SO. Post tears and excitement, there was more fun ahead - no more crying though, whew. Jason Cordova took a line up of authors to talk Chicks in Tank Tops, the anthology about...chicks. In...tanks. I mean, seriously, a girl and her tank - it's a timeless story and also of course where Beyond Enemies got its start, in the story 'Next Question' so forever thanks to Jason for inviting me to this fab project and being a terrific anthology editor.


After the panel I got to talk to a former tanker and that was yet another highlight. The people who attend Liberty Con, pros and fans and pros that are fans, are soooo freaking cool.


Last panel of the night was Valkyries, and there were SHENANIGANS.


I mean, quelle surprise, right?



There are so many pictures of me, Melissa, Kacey (and then the fabulous April Kelley Jones) because Nick Steverson (excellent author, forever florida man, my and Kacey's little brother, Melissa's evil twin) was taking pictures with which to mock us. It does get across some of the chaos.


Other amazing authors, like Kacey Joelle Olthoff and Mel Todd, pictured in their fabulous tiaras, and the various Rob Howells on the panel, also contributed to the hijinks, and it was a great panel. We had a sultry crab-walking stealthy Water Boy (Casey Moores), talked badass characters with the badasses Charity Ayres, Kacey "Rob Howell" Ezell, Rob "Kacey Joelle Olthoff" Howell, April Kelley Jones, Melissa Olthoff, Joelle "Rob Howell" Presby, and Mel Todd, discussed upcoming plans, and sold a bunch of copies of the anthology.


Speaking of upcoming plans - we mentioned The Spider:


Coming soon! AND, excitingly, we rolled out the brand new Valkyries mailing list. If you're a fan of urban fantasy, snark, and kickass ladies kicking ass (while also getting their own asses kicked), you are also invited. We want you to have at least almost as much fun as we're having...

Click here, sign up, and get one email a month full of Valkyries related shenanigans. As a bonus, you can download 'Sound of Wings' a short story featuring Dahlia Zunnes before she becomes a Valkyries, for the low cost of nothing!


So Saturday wrapped up somewhere around 2:30 am, on a very sleepy high note.



Sunday

Started off with extra coffee, then the Kaffeklatch for extra extra coffee alongside super fun conversations, and a bit of overtired staring into the void. Thankfully I was sitting with fabulous folks like April, Melissa, and Toni, so even when I lapsed into vertical unconsciousness, the conversation carried on without me.


After that we ran off to the 4HU panel to talk about the recent release of The Phoenix Initiative: First Missions and all the really fun stories to come (including Melissa's Depik companion book, which you can get a teeny preview of in the anthology). It looks like the main storyline for the 4HU will be wrapping up in the next year and a half or so...enough to get to at least an even 100 books, and it's going to be EPIC. I keep trying to invite myself into some of these books, but honestly I'll be just as happy reading them - the story is so freaking good.


My last panel was for Three Ravens Publishing, and they also have such cool stuff en route (including a horror anthology co-edited by yours truly and Nick Steverson) (and also don't forget about Car Warriors!!) (and so much more also as well!), so that was a joy as always.


AND THEN


Because wait there's more.


We went to Closing Ceremonies. It was a real pleasure to watch Brandy + the Board of Amazingness be rockstars and address concerns, hear well deserved compliments, and field thoughts from attendees. The crew that runs Liberty Con are topnotch people, professionals, and all around badasses (sorry, couldn't alliterate properly), and they do an AMAZING job. I'm so grateful to get to see their awesomeness in action and get to attend a con run with so much love and skill.


So of course I'm looking forward to next year. It'll be their 36th Liberty, and the Master of Ceremonies for this fantastical wonderfulness:

That's right! Kacey Ezell will be MC for Liberty next year. Tickets go on sale 12 pm EST July 15, so put it on your calendar. You're not going to want to miss it.


I know I won't.



Aaaaaanyway, so that was Liberty Con. The rest of Sunday was hanging out with awesome folks, saying goodbye to everyone, and trying to get every last second we could. It's never long enough, and I never get to spend time with all the folks I want to, but it's always wonderful. And I didn't even get to talk about the North Texas Trouble Makers, my sisters in spirit, the magic of Ben Yalow, the Tiara Squad, the times I cackled until my face and ribs hurt, the delicious food, the insane rain storm, the new projects, the joy, how cool Bill Webb is, meeting some cool authors' even cooler wives (J.P Chandler, your wife is awesome!!!), all the treasures, all the excitement, all the---


All the everything. Liberty is amazing, and despite sheer exhaustion, I'm still riding the high.


Plus on the way home I saw a cute cow. It's all wins over here.


Hope to see you at Liberty next year!

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bdkorslin
Jun 30, 2023

The Baen road show was my highlight! My first ever Road show and first LibertyCon. I had a great time and hope to meet and do some chatting next year! Looking forward to your book coming out!

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Marisa Wolf
Marisa Wolf
Jul 19, 2023
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My original reply must have gotten eaten (I blame internet gremlins) - but hooray!! I'm so glad you had an awesome time, and so looking forward to getting a chance to talk with you at Liberty next year!

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