Category Archives: Aesc & Thorn Publishing

Posts related to Aesc & Thorn Publishing and various aspects of Rob’s professional life.

Catching Up

Today was a day for cleaning out my email, working on promotional stuff like my website, and planning on new conventions. Let’s see if I can remember everything I did:

  • Registered for World Fantasy Con in October.
  • Registered for WorldCon in August.
  • Registered on Goodreads as an author.
  • Updated my Amazon authors page.
  • Updated my website. More images and general coolness.
  • Made a new banner for the website.
  • Put a bunch of links to my wiki for the World of Shijuren.
  • Sent information to LibertyCon for two of my Authors Alley books.
  • Updated my WordPress blog site with some new images.
  • And, oh yeah, actually did a blog post.

Not a bad day’s work. Lots of important things taken care of.

My favorite, as you will find out, is the Shijuren wiki at http://www.robhowell.org/shijuren. Basically, this will ultimately be the entire repository of all my Shijuren world-building. There are only 170 or so entries right now, but I’m adding them consistently. There are also snippets of the novels you can find by searching “From the Books,” including snippets of I Am a Wondrous Thing, which will be released in June. So if you want to find sneak peaks, you can search for “IAAWT” for the pieces I’ve put up already. More is coming.

I keep learning things. Like I didn’t realize Goodreads was attached to Amazon, so I never made an author’s page there. I’m fixing that. I also learned that Amazon doesn’t necessarily link new works to an author’s page. Fixed that too.

I also added a few more images to my Amazon page and my official website. If you watch my Facebook page, you might very well have seen them already, but they’re some of my favorites of me. I also made a new banner image for the website and this blog, including one of the images I added. I think it’s pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.

I should take this time to thank Patrick McEvoy. I keep finding new ways to use the cover art he did for A Lake Most Deep. He did a fantastic job, and I’m really liking what’s coming from it. I’ll be unveiling a new actual banner this weekend at Kansas City’s ComicCon that is also based on that artwork and I think it will look fantastic.

I’m clearing the decks because Kellie has given me the next edits of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll be pounding away at getting that ready for publishing as soon as possible. I have to say, I really enjoy working with Kellie. She’s not only great at catching mistakes, but also places where I’ve not necessarily made a mistake, but could use strengthening. I can’t recommend her enough.

I’m also really excited about ComicCon this weekend, but I’ll talk about my excitement on a post later this week.

Now, I think it’s time for some lounging and thinking about how to execute all the directives Kellie gave me.

Cheers all

 

Ad-Astra AAR

When the only thing I didn’t like about Ad Astra was the printing snafu that messed up the locations on the mini-schedule attached to my badge, then it’s probably safe to say it was a successful con.

I was on 4 panels, went to a meet and greet, and had a reading. All of these were firsts for me, and generally went very well.

The first panel discussed the relationship between a self-publisher and their editor. This was probably the panel I contributed the most, because Kellie Hultgren has trained me well. We have worked out a good system, generally speaking, and I was able to discuss the things that have worked well for us. Beverly Bambury moderated the panel well, and I was joined by Charlotte Ashley, Jennifer Jaquith, and Ness Ricci-Thode. Jack Whyte, yes that Jack Whyte, complimented me afterwards, which was quite a thrill for me.

My second panel was not quite as smooth, and that panel talked about food and cuisine in speculative fiction. Why did it not go as smooth? I think it’s because all three of us hit our main talking points so well and quickly that, for the last 20 minutes or so, we floundered a bit looking for things to talk about. Mostly we repeated some of the things we had already said. Still, it went pretty well, just I think our panel of me, Costi Gorgu, and Erik Buchanon might have gotten boring and repetitive at the end.

My third panel covered books signings, festivals, and conventions. Basically the nuts and bolts of getting involved with these as a self-published author. I actually felt a little out of my depth here, as I don’t have a ton of experience. However, I do have experience as a moderator from academic conferences, so I claimed that role since the con did not assign that to any one person. My two co-presenters, Mark Lefebvre and Sarah WaterRaven, did a really good job and I definitely learned a number of things I’m looking forward to implementing.  I did a pretty good job of moderating. Were I to have been assigned the task ahead of time, I would have done a little better, nevertheless, we covered the topic well, filled the time, and flowed well. I’m pleased.

My fourth panel was on Sunday at 1pm, and it talked about marketing and publicity. I again felt a little out of my depth at first, but Beverly, who had moderated my first panel, did a real good job of steering things in my direction and I definitely contributed. I probably took things off the rails a bit as I talked about my wiki at www.robhowell.org/shijuren and my plans for it, but otherwise it went great. Especially since it was Sunday at 1pm and I was tired. Also on the panel were Sarah WaterRaven and MJ Moores who both gave me some nice ideas.

On Saturday, Sarah WaterRaven hosted a meet and greet of self-published authors. While the authors outnumbered the readers, I was still pleased with this event. I got to talk to a few people, sold a couple of books, and released a couple more in the drawing.

Finally, my last official involvement was on Sunday at 3pm for a reading. Four people showed up. More than I expected actually. Three other authors were there, Brandon Draga, Catherine Fitzsimmons, and Cameron Currie.

I’m not surprised that I can do a reading well, given my theater background, but I definitely need to get a better plan of attack. The part I chose to read was the part where Edward enters the Gropa Mansion in the end of A Lake Most Deep and the start of the final Agatha Christie-style get all the possible suspects together and reveal the villain scene. I like my choice in many ways, but it was a little long for me to get the most impact. However, I have a much better idea of how long it takes me to read a chunk. I’ll do better next time.

I did some other socializing in the Green Room, and a little in the Con Suite, but not much. I came down with a cold on Thursday, and I dinged my foot at Ard Chreag fighter practice on Monday, so I was pushing hard to bring the energy to my panels. I need to work on my stamina in general, but also to get full value out of my convention appearances, especially if I’m not at my best.

I need to also do a better job of planning how to sell my books at conventions. Basically, I just need to get my ducks in a row and know the plan. What are the con rules? The laws of the location? That sort of thing. Then, I need to make sure I actually mention my books are on sale when it is appropriate. I’m not good at that. I would have sold many more had I had a better plan.

I also need to make bookmarks with www.amazon.ca QR codes for Canadian conventions.

Still, it was a productive con for me. I handed out a bunch of business cards and met a lot of people. Also, I’m learning that my approach to this profession is correct, even if I haven’t sold a ton yet. I’ll be an overnight success after some years of working at this.

Thanks to Pasi Paltanen for suggesting I come up. I hope I can afford to do so next year. Also, thanks to Gary Russell and Brad Hruboska for being my extra-special cheering section on Saturday.

My next con appearance is Kansas City Planet ComicCon. I’m really excited to see how this goes, but I’ll forever get to say I’m a guest at the same con as Stan Lee, George Takei, Alan Tudyk, and Kevin Smith. And a whole bunch of others.

If you’re in the KC area, it’ll be worth your while to come. I’ll be in the Creative Alley area with books for sale. Come join me.

Catching Up

Lots of stuff happening around here.

First, I just published a second edition of A Lake Most Deep. If you bought the first edition in ebook form, then you can speak to Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall or
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat
You just need to ask for the updated content and they’ll send it to you for free.

Second, the draft for the first book of The Kreisens, book 3 in Shijuren, was sent off to the editor last week. I’m hoping for a release date around 1 June.

Third, there’s progress on the audiobook front. I’m hoping for September for A Lake Most Deep. I will probably do a Kickstarter in May for that project.

Fourth, I’m on the road in Canada right now. I had a wonderful time at the coronation of Nigel and Adrielle. Talked to a bunch of old friends, made some new ones, and promoted the next edition of A Lake Most Deep as well as showed off The Eyes of a Doll. A fun and useful day.

I’m headed to Ad-Astra this upcoming weekend, so if you’re in the Toronto area come join us. I’m in four panels, plus a reading. They are:

Friday 7pm Richmond B
The Relationship Between a Self-Publisher and Their Editor
Vanessa Ricci-Thode,Jennifer Jaquith, Beverly Bambury, Charlotte Ashley, Rob Howell

Friday 9pm Richmond A
Food Drink and Cuisine in Speculative Fiction
Costi Gurgu, Erik Buchanan, Rob Howell

Saturday 4pm Markham A
Book Signings Conventions and Festivals: Navigating Opportunity as a Self-Published Author
Sarah WaterRaven, Rob Howell, Mark Lefebvre

Sunday 1pm Markham B
Marketing and Promoting Your Self-Published Novel
MJ Moores, Sarah WaterRaven, Beverly Bambury, Rob Howell

Sunday 3pm Oakridge
Fantasy Reading
Brandon Draga, Cameron Currie, Rob Howell, Catherine Fitzsimmons

Exciting times.

Random Musings

  • I’m learning so much about how to write each day. I’m editing A Lake Most Deep for the second edition release and I shake my head at the progress I’ve made.
  • Many thanks to Kellie for taking the time to tell me why something is right or wrong, helping me make fewer mistakes, write better, and also find times to break the rules for effect, not ignorance
  • A Lake Most Deep, v2.0 will be a vast improvement but won’t seriously change anything, for those who’ve read it before. It’s mostly better formatting and a better working relationship with my editor. Beth, who edited it the first time, did a fine job, but I still do not really know her. I’ve known Kellie for years and that is a great help to me. Much more collaborative.
  • I’m facing some technical challenges to the big thing I want to announce, so it is delayed, but still coming. I want it to be right before putting it out there.
  • I’ve not liked the NBA for a long time. Frankly, it’s boring basketball, and I’ve long since enjoyed soccer so much more than basketball because it’s more exciting in general. Steph Curry is changing that for me. He might very well be the most skillful basketball player ever. Not the most dominant, that is Wilt Chamberlain, but the most skillful. He has changed the game in a way we’ll only fully understand in retrospect.
  • All that being said about basketball, the one and done format of March Madness, especially on opening weekend, is truly one of the best things ever.
  • I really hope Ron Baker and Fred van Vleet have one more great run in them. Obviously I mean that because I’m a Wichita State fan, but also because I think they’re great kids.
  • I am looking forward to Gulf Wars, and in some ways I’m more excited than I have been in several years. However, it’s becoming more and more an afterthought to…
  • Ealdormere Coronation and Ad-Astra. I’ll be on panels at Ad-Astra, with maybe a reading. That all is a huge step up for me. I’m also going to swing by my grandparents house in Teeswater, which is fairly close to Underwood and Coronation. I’m also contemplating doing something stupid, and going around the Great Lakes. I know it’s much longer, but there’s so much to see.
  • The NFL draft talk is approaching. People keep talking about what Dallas should do, so I will too. Dallas should trade pick 4 for something like pick 8-10 in 2016 plus a 1st in 2017 and some others. The draft chart numbers work for this. The question is whether the Cowboys should take a QB (my preference is Carson Wentz) as a successor to Romo or get better players to surround him. This way you get better players *and* put the Cowboys in position to get a successor next year.
  • Rob’s rule of thumb when trading high picks. Always trade down. More picks means a better chance to get a productive player.

Off to go through a car wash on a lovely day.

Where Now the Rider

Well, I’ve been puttering away with several projects and things are going well.

Some convention announcements and reminders. I’ll be going to Gulf Wars in a few weeks and will have books for sale and autograph at Calontir Trim. Swing on by. Also, I’ll be at Ad-Astra at the end of April. I’ll be serving on panels for the first time there, and will probably have a reading as well. Also exciting is a creator table at KC Planet Comicon. Come see Stan Lee and Alan Tudyk, and then buy my books. Exciting stuff.

Speaking of books, my editor is working on two projects for me, so while she’s doing that I’ve started the third Edward book, which I’m entitling Where Now the Rider. Let’s just say that Andreyev, Gibroz’s lieutenant, is not the only criminal interested in horseracing.

I’ve also been working on a major thing in the background. Next week, I hope to announce what I’m doing. Hopefully, it will make both reading  and writing my books easier.

More to come soon. c

 

Random Stuff

I’m in a weird position in terms of writing right now. Kellie, my editor, has her hands on both A Lake Most Deep and the first Irina novel and I can’t work on either.

For A Lake Most Deep she is re-editing it to match the editing style from The Eyes of a Doll. I am getting low on physical copies of ALMD and I am going to order more before Gulf Wars. I’ve been planning to issue a second edition to reflect the things I’ve learned in publishing both ALMD and TEOAD. Mostly, this means revising the cover, changing the font, and the formatting. However, I’m also going to take the time to get it re-edited so it and TEOAD are the product of the same hands.

The first Irina novel, as I may have mentioned, is a much more complex novel, with a large number of threads and perspectives. This is my first foray into such a complicated structure and I’m not sure if what I’m doing is working. Kellie’s looking at it to see what I’m doing right and wrong. I’ve been waffling on titles but for now I’ve decided to call it A Mind-Song of Motherhood. I like that title quite a bit, and it might end up as the title of the trilogy.

What this means is that the top two things on my to-do list are out of my hands. So, I’m focused on other projects.

I’ve started laying out the third Edward novel in my head. I know the hook, the basic background of the story, heck, I even know the title, Where Now the Rider. However, as usual, I don’t know the main villain until I write it. I’m a pantser, what can I say. I’ll start writing the opening chapters tonight or tomorrow and will have a few thousand words ready to go when I turn back to finishing Irina 1.

More importantly to me is my other project, which I’ll keep mostly mum on for now. Suffice it to say that for all of you who will read the Shijuren series of novels, this will be a wonderful and ongoing thing.

It’s this last project that I’ve pounded my head on for the last couple of weeks. I’m getting there, and if I weren’t so paranoid I would have been able to announce it by now, but there you go.

I’m getting more and more excited about the upcoming con schedule. One big reason is that I’ll be more involved. It looks like I’ll be on panels at both Ad-Astra and LibertyCon. Also, I’ve a table at both Planet Comicon and Mid-Americon II here in KC. I’ve also got a line on some smaller regional cons. By the end of the year, hopefully I’ll be more well-known.

The more I read, the more confident I am that I can write. I’m awful at self-promotion, though. Working on it, though.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great day, everyone.

ChattaCon AAR

I had debated about attending ChattaCon for a couple of reasons.

One, I sent in a couple of emails and they fell through the cracks, in part because they had some technical issues. Stuff happens. Still, I wasn’t sure how much exposure and value I would get from the con.

Two, I was pounding on the next novel in all  of January and I was tired. The next one is much more complex and was going slower. Frankly, I was just tired.

Nevertheless, I decided to go to the con if only to get out on the road and re-energize, as driving often does for me. In the end, though, I’m really glad I did go as the con was very productive.

I want to start by thanking Larry Correia for being so gracious and patient with questions not just from me but from anyone who asked him. He knows a ton about the process and is willing to share it with anyone who is interested. I had met him briefly in the Writer’s Seminar at GenCon 2014, but since ChattaCon is much smaller I was able to pick his brain more thoroughly. I look forward to chatting with him again at LibertyCon and other events.

I also got very lucky and ran into William Dietz as he was going to the same room party as I and we had a long chat and stroll on the way. Very nice man with, again, lots of knowledge to learn from.

My biggest problem right now is that no one knows who I am and I made a few nice new contacts that I think will really be helpful in the long run. I had met Uncle Timmy at LibertyCon last year, but only briefly. He has a large following that he might help me penetrate.

He also helped me get with the programming director of LibertyCon and I think I’ll be very active on panels and such there. Probably a reading. That’s a little terrifying, but another step on the path.

Also, at the end of the con, Mark Wandrey and I chatted. I had met Mark before, I think at GenCon 2014, and he is only slightly ahead of me in the independent author career path. I think he and I can help each other quite a bit, and we’re planning on sharing a dealer’s booth at WorldCon.

The last point is a bit embarrassing. I talked with Toni Weisskopf some, and she now knows who I am, at least vagely. She knows I’m an independent author, but really not much more. I offered to give her copies of my books, but chickened out when she asked if it was a submission.

Weird. I had no fear to give her my books as just something to read. But giving them as a submission to Baen? Terrifying. Bah. Sometimes I’m an idiot. Do I think I’m a good enough writer for Baen? Yes. Do I think I’m there now? I don’t know. I guess not knowing, at least right now, is better but I need to get over that fear.

One fear I lost was my worthiness to be on panels. I realized in several that I had something important and relevant to add based on my experiences so far. I don’t know everything, but I do know some things.

To sum up, ChattaCon was a great time. I now know the system and anticipate participating on panels next year. I got to meet some new people, expand some previous relationships, and make some contacts. Totally worth the drive.

Anyway, time to get back to work. Have a great day, people.

 

ChattaCon

I am here at ChattaCon and I’m quite pleased so far. I was unsure how things would go since I received no communication back from emails, but apparently there were server issues. Still a problem, but stuff happens.

I’ll give a complete report about how things go next week.

For now, I want to update my plans. I had intended, even promised, to have the next novel to my editor this week. I, in fact, got a draft to her, but only about half-done. This is a much more complex book, with a much larger structure and many different threads, and is the start of a trilogy.

I like much of what I have written. There characters are coming along. The story is growing and working. My skill at weaving the threads is lacking, though, and it’s not in a form that works yet. I’m setting it down to do some foundational work while Kellie takes a look at what I’ve done so far to give me her opinions and suggestions.

This means I’m only going to publish two books this year, and I had only planned on two next year. I don’t know if the stories will wait, though, and I’m going to start writing some short stories in Shijuren to bridge the gap and also start building up a Wiki, which I will publish fairly soon. It will be incomplete, but that is the nature of Wikis 🙂

I know I need to get more things published, but I also know that the work has to be good.

For now, it’s time to get back to ChattaCon.

Notes and Updates

Greetings all

First, I meant to announce this much sooner, but the draft for The Eyes of a Doll has been sent to my editor. Also, Patrick McEvoy has agreed to do the cover art again. We are on schedule for our planned date to publish on 1 December.

As always, I’m my own worst critic. But there’s some parts of this book I really like, so I just need to get the rest up to snuff.

While I wait on the first edited copy, I’m working on the next book, which for working purposes I’m calling I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’m making good progress and feel like it will be a fun story.

Looking through the convention list, I’m thinking I’m probably done with conventions for the rest of 2015. I’m planning on expanding the number of conventions I’ll be going to in 2016, though.

Sooooo…., if you have suggestions, especially if you can offer crash space, let me know. I don’t mind driving to just about anywhere, especially as I get better about voice writing while driving, but I’d rather spend my money on Patrick’s art than hotel rooms.

That’s enough for now. I owe you all an NFL prediction post.

A Full LibertyCon AAR

Last year, I went to my first LibertyCon because of the list of attendees from Baen Books. This year, I attended because of the fun I had last year. I’m going next year and from now one because of the fun this year.

It’s a decently long drive for me, over 11 hours. I did most of that drive on Wednesday, reaching  Sam and Talina’s house in Marietta 8ish. I suspect I’ll make this the standard plan in the future if they don’t mind. This allowed me to hang out some while recovering from the drive.

Thursday, I made the drive back up to Chattanooga heading initially for the Kinko’s. I had new business cards made up to replace the ones I left at home. I left them in a place where I could not possibly miss them when I walked out of the door. Sigh. I’m good at that.

Anyway, I checked into the hotel on Thursday and was almost immediately invited to the Thursday night party by Gary. This was laid back, but there was some good conversation and I met a number of interesting people. Laid back was all I really wanted, and I went to bed at midnight, very pleased with the start of the Con.

Friday was productive. I spent the morning hanging around outside the art and dealer’s room, meeting some new people and reconnecting with some I’d met before. I sat with Jason Cordova and let him recruit me onto the HMS Wolverine, slated for imminent recommissioning. He introduced me to Jasmine deGroot, another crewmember, who has a twisted sense of humor like his and mine.  I suspect I’m going to really enjoy being a part of Commodore Cordova’s squadron.

Jody Lynn Nye led a world-building workshop that might have been scheduled for two hours, and for next year should be scheduled for two hours. She listed some interesting points about the influences of geography and culture in world-building that made me think.

Then we started making up a world on the fly. Some of the ideas were frankly a bit silly, but for a workshop, making some of the silliest ideas work is probably a good thing. Unfortunately, we had to stop just when we got going well.

My next big event was the Keeping Track of Your Money panel of indie authors. My eyes were opened, but I don’t think I can truly implement all of their advice. Doug Dandridge can apparently publish a book for less than $100. I just don’t think I can publish effectively without editing help, major editing help. Maybe someday, but right now I am too much of an academic and I write too much in Rob-ese.

However, I may have to reconsider my cover art. I really like what Patrick McEvoy did for A Lake Most Deep, but he may just be too expensive. I will have to play around with numbers for The Eyes Of A Doll, my next book.

Then I sat in the Short Story or Novel panel. I’m definitely a novel writer, but I do see how I can expand my sales and my publicity with short stories. What’s embarrassing is that I wrote several this past year, including a couple of 1632-verse ones, that I just need to finish. September I think on finishing and submitting those.

I followed that up with the Indie Marketing Panel. I got a bunch of ideas that I need to follow up on. First and foremost is to be more active here and to expand my internet presence. I’ll probably add a Google Plus page and start tweeting. I am a private person and I tend not to like to put myself and my thoughts out there. However, it’s part of the job.

There were a number of interesting panels after that, but my brain was full and I needed food and recharge time before the recommissioning of the Wolverine. The SCA ceremony geek in me wants to increase the ceremony involved in these sorts of things, but it’s probably more accurate to have a small ceremony followed by socializing.

In any case, I received one of the highlights of the Con, a picture of all involved in the TRMN at the ceremony. Jason insisted that as I was enlisting I joined them. I’m really glad he did because I now have a picture with both me and David Weber in the same group. Naw, I’m not a complete fanboy. I’ll just be in the corner squeeing quietly.

I then spent much of the rest of the evening floating from conversation to conversation and eventually closed down the Con Suite. They really have an amazing Con Suite at LibertyCon. Next year, I may make some pies or something to contribute.

In any case, I went to bed at a time not terribly late, but definitely not early. I got to sleep somewhere around 2:30am, meaning that most of the panels in the morning were not as interesting as they might have been. I essentially got up on Saturday morning solely in time to eat at the Luncheon Banquet.

This was a hoot. Howard Tayler is hilarious, which of course you already knew from reading Schlock Mercenary. They had old science fiction and fantasy books at each table and I went directly to the table with Heinlein’s Space Cadet. While I will always make the same choice, given the other options, that table was in the absolute front and four of the chairs were empty as they were just too “in front” to be prime spots. Though I enjoyed chatting with the people at my table, I would have enjoyed having a full table more.

Nevertheless, I’m definitely adding the banquet to my yearly purchase list.

Then I went to the Baen Traveling Slideshow and Prize Patrol. While I essentially know the entirety of the Baen catalog by heart, I really enjoy seeing and hearing the authors and Toni Weisskopf adding stories and extra tidbits. They give away a goodly amount of swag too. Even though there’s very little that they give away that matches my personal preferences, I really appreciate the amount of stuff they give away. Now if I can only steal…, I mean, acquire legally some of the big posterboards of their book covers that they display at these slideshows. If they all magically disappear one day, I guarantee I didn’t do it… that anyone can prove.

I then did my turn around the dealer’s room and the art show. In general, I don’t buy much, but I had to buy the Grumpy Cat DMing TShirt.

Most of the rest of the afternoon and evening involved lounging and chatting. Quite pleasant.

Later on I went in and watched them demoing Munchkin: Steampunk. I’m totally getting this version, it’s all the whimsy of the Munchkin with twice the gears. I basically sat there and heckled, which all of the players accepted good-naturedly. A really fun relaxed time.

This was capped off with Steve Jackson joining us at the end. They were packing up, but he passed out a bunch of swag. I got my prize of the Con. One of the swag pieces was a blank Munchkin card that simply said “Go Up A Level.” I immediately said to Steve, this has to have a reason. So he signed it. I can’t wait to play that card and shout “Because Steve Jackson Said So, Bitches!”

I went to bed around 1ish, anticipating a long day on Sunday. I think next year, though, I am going to stay for Sunday night and close the Con down right. I’d like to get to know the staff and locals better, they seem like hoopy froods.

Sunday started with the Kaffeeklatsch. I lucked out and happened to sit at David Weber’s table. We chatted on a variety of things, and I was able to ask about the Starfire universe.

I’m not the biggest fan of the game Starfire out there, but I’ve got to be nationally ranked. It was wonderful to hear him chat about his plans and where that’s going now. I guess Chuck Gannon is running that universe now with Steve White. I should reach out to him and see if he’s interested in auditioning another author in that universe. That game is the reason I became a David Weber fan in the first place in something like 1984, and it would be a huge honor to write some stuff set from the perspective of the Tabbies.

Then I watched Family Feud between the Hoyts and the Williamsons. It was even sillier than the TV show, but a lot of fun. I will forever treasure the memory of Sarah Hoyt demanding “Who Did You Poll!?!”

I then sat in the tail end of Sam Flegal’s presentation. He was the artist guest of honor, and he specializes in intricate interpretations of Norse themes. I managed to score a signed copy of the LibertyCon artwork, and I doubt that’s the last thing of his I’ll get.

Celebrity Jeopardy, where the questions are made up and the points don’t matter! They had three of the Con celebrities play Jeopardy using answers relevant to Con and panelist interests. Unfortunately, the Jeopardy game they had was difficult to use, and points weren’t always credited correctly. By this I mean, points were credited correctly at least twice. Still, I’m going to watch it again this year.

Then came Closing Ceremonies. One thing they do really well at LibertyCon is encourage comments, and they subtitle this “Let’s Bitch at Brandy.” I had a couple of small suggestions to the really excellent Android app for LibertyCon. There were lots of other suggestions. Lots and lots. Some of them deserving of attention. Brandy kept smiling. They really do have a good staff.

Of course, nothing can be perfect. One of the things that was striking to me is the difference between SCA people and Con people as a whole. Obviously this is a major generalization of two related bell curves, but I was distressed by how much trash was left on tables in the Con Suite. I get forgetting things, but it was clear that many groups of people simply assumed a member of the Con Suite would pick up their trash.

Yes, they were right, members of Con Suite did pick up their trash, but in my mind they should not have had to.  I’ve never seen the food court at Lilies, Gulf, Pennsic, or Estrella have as much trash simply left for others to deal with. I felt both proud of my SCA side and ashamed of my Con side.

I didn’t feel comfortable mentioning my reaction then as I’m still a relative newcomer, though I probably should have. Maybe next year at the “Bitch at Brandy Session” I’ll challenge everyone to pick up after themselves. The Con Suite people worked their tails off to provide free food and drinks to 700 plus people. We should pick up after ourselves and not add to their already huge workload.

Despite this, LibertyCon is now on my permanent schedule. I’ll pre-register before I leave every year, because it’s capped at 700 attendees. They do this to keep the family atmosphere, and it really is a good atmosphere.

You leave the Pennsylvania station ’bout a quarter to four
Read a magazine and then you’re in Baltimore
Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer
(Then to have your ham and eggs in Carolina)

When you hear the whistle blowin’ eight to the bar
Then you know that Tennessee is not very far
Shovel all the coal in, gotta keep it rollin’
(Whoo whoo, Chattanooga, there you are)

See you next July, Chattanooga.