It’s Wednesday, which is about right. I need at least a few days to recover from the awesomeness that is LibertyCon. I hated missing it last year, but I suppose I made the right choice. I am still married, after all.
Anyway, before I get going into my weekend, I want to take a moment to thank all the crew at LibertyCon. Brandy Hendren is a rock star among rock stars, and her crew is the single best organized con crew out there. I deal mostly with Rich Groller (programming) Matthew Fanny (gate) because I never get a chance to go to the best con suite around (Vonn Gants and crew), the art show (Ann Robards), or the game room (Misty Kat Gutierrez-Waller). And that doesn’t count all the behind the scenes folks.
That crew is amazing, but it’s not really a surprise. We often talk about how much LibertyCon is a family, and this is the core of the family. They’ve all done the job for a while, helping their family members have a great time.
I thank them all the time, but it’s really never enough.
Anyway, I was so ready for LibertyCon that last Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep. It was like Christmas Eve, so I gave up the ghost, got up at 430am and was on the road by 5 to Murfreesboro, my stop on the way. It’s good to have friends to crash with, especially when they make chicken and mashed potatoes for a weary traveler.
I got to the hotel early on Thursday and did a bunch of work in the room before heading down to the lobby.
The lobby at the LibertyCon hotel on Thursday night is a trap. A great trap, a wonderful trap, a trap worthy of Grimtooth, but a trap nonetheless.
There are friends there I haven’t seen in at least a year, lots of them! I flitted from friend to friend, getting snatches of conversation, talking business, the past year, beer, writing, and all the other things in swirling conversations that make the Thursday night at LibertyCon one of the single most important days of the year professionally.
We closed down the bar and then went to a room party. This was an oft-used plan by many at the bar. Marriott might want to reconsider closing the bar right at midnight.
Friday was breakfast at the City Cafe. Sadly, they’re being forced to move a few blocks away. It’s a shame as it was only a block away from the hotel and it is really good.
Then I got into panels starting at 1pm. This was the Out of the Trailer Park anthologies panel led by William Joseph Roberts. He’s a really smart dude and the driving force behind Three Ravens Publishing. If you haven’t checked that company out, do so. They’re really good.
Anyway, I’m not saying I committed myself to writing a redneck version of Beowulf, but I committed myself to writing a redneck version of Beowulf for a future anthology.
After that, I was generally off until 8pm and my Author’s Alley stint from 8pm to 10pm. I was really pleased with how this went. I only sold 4 books, but I talked to a bunch of folks and that’ s a big part of why I do those slots.
More importantly, I had bought a rolling toolbox to make setup and teardown go smoothly. It holds 4 stacks of books, so about 40 or so without difficulty. It also came with a smaller case that holds promo and setup stuff like the Wandering Signature Chart and the big d20. I can bungee two racks on top and it was really easy, so that’ll be a help going forward.
I was originally scheduled to be on Author’s Alley until 11pm, but the CKP Year Ahead panel went from 9pm to 11pm, and I skipped my last hour (actually I donated it to Cedar Sanderson, who couldn’t make the con) to go do the New Mythology portion of the presentation.
And that’s where I lost my name.
I showed up to find they were mostly through the New Mythology portion and that Kacey Ezell had impersonated me. Apparently, she’s a better me than me.
So I took her tiara and tagged in. I got there in time for not one, but two cover reveals. The first was for A Hope in Hell, the conclusion to the Heirs of Cataclysm trilogy by Christopher G. Nuttall. This comes out on July 11th and it’s the post-magical-apocalypse swords and sorcery series you didn’t know you’d love but you will. The art, by the way, was done by Laercio Messias.
Then came the most exciting part of the presentation. I’m re-releasing all of my books under New Mythology Press starting with A Lake Most Deep on July 25th. This is the first of the Edwardsaga, the fantasy mystery series.
The Firehall Sagas schedule starts like this:
- July 25th: A Lake Most Deep
- August 29th: The Eyes of a Doll
- October 3rd: Where Now the Rider
- November 7th and every 5 weeks afterward for a good while, something else.
No surprise that I’m excited. These books have updated art, maps, new edits, and a better layout. Basically, I’m taking all that I’ve learned over the last decade and refreshing them. I’ve said a number of times that while I love A Lake Most Deep because I created good characters, a great setting, and a challenging mystery, I didn’t execute the writing well. No surprise there, it was my first novel. Now, however, I’m as proud of the writing as I am the story and this is true for all the rest.
Did I mention art? Here’s the other cover reveal. This art is by J. Caleb Designs, one of my favorite cover artists around. I think you can see why. It’s much the same cover as before, but it’s so much more energetic and strong.
On top of this, I’ve been pleased to get a couple of blurbs from other authors. Glen Cook, yes that Glen Cook, the one who wrote the Garrett, PI series, said A Lake Most Deep is “a damn fine read.”
Yes, my head exploded when I got that email.
Also, at LibertyCon, Larry Correia gave me a writer blurb: “Rob mixes intrigue, murder, and magic in to his own cool blend.” Plus, Dave Butler agreed to get me a blurb as well. I’m honored by their trust and hope to live up to everything they expect of me.
Back to LibertyCon. Following the CKP panel, we had a CKP YouTube internet thing. This was a hoot. I sat in the back and heckled, not that it needed my heckling to be hilarious. Check it out here: youtube.com/watch?v=x35cP0ir34M. Uhhh, not safe for work, or your ribs from laughing too hard.
Saturday started with the brunch. We had a fun table including Gary Shelton the donut god, Ann Margaret Lewis (who’s releasing her first CKP title soon), and Scott Huggins, writer of the Responsibility series.
The theme for our table was, “Dammit, Scott!!!” The banquet was set up so each table would go up in succession, with the table number drawn randomly. Scott said he had terrible luck with this sort of thing and we’d go last, so every time another table was called, we yelled, “Dammit, Scott!!!” Then Scott McIntosh-Mize got in line and we yelled it at him too. He was appropriately confused. Then they said the last table to be called would get a prize, so we yelled “Dammit, Scott!!!” when we were second to last. We may have had to wait, but we had more fun than all the other tables.
Scott’s working on book 3 in his Responsibility series right now, by the way.
At noon I had a reading with Patrick Chiles. He’s a hard SF author writing with Baen and his first reading reminded me of Inherit the Stars, at least it had the same sort of awesome puzzle from James P. Hogan. That’s still one of my favorite books, even if some of the scientific basis hasn’t entirely held up in the nearly 50 years since it came out.
For myself, I read the new first chapter of A Lake Most Deep, which is much stronger then the first chapter of Farewell, My Ugly.
Then I had another long break until panels at 7, 8, and 10pm. The first was a panel on Writing from the Perspective of a Historian. In general, I enjoyed the panel, and David B. Coe did a good job of moderating it.
I think the key thing to remember about this topic is that history doesn’t have to make sense, but fiction does. Also, there’s always another level to the history, and at some point you have to cut that off in fiction to keep the reader in the story.
Then there was another panel on history, this time writing for history, and again moderated by David B. Coe. It wasn’t an exact reply, though, as it was focused more on worldbuilding.
He asked what 3 things we start with, and my answer is that all the worldbuilding has to provide kinetic energy to the story. Hence, I start with foundational stuff like the magic system and also the ancient history that is hidden in the epic fantasy quest. Then I start with regional stuff to create trade routes, political tensions, and such. Then I mention my Wikipedia random article process to create a database of ideas for characters, places, and events.
Then came the Great Tiara Exchange of Ought-23 and me getting a new name.
On the schedule it was the Valkyries panel where a bunch of authors in The Valkyrie Protocol anthology talked about their story. Kacey Ezell introduced herself as Rob, so I took her tiara again. This, by the way, was a huge blue-stone studded tiara as opposed to the simple circlet from the previous night.
I rocked it the rest of the night.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, as the Joelle Presby introduced herself as Rob. Then Melissa Olthoff introduced herself as Rob. So I introduced myself as Kacey Joelle Olthoff to much rejoicing.
All the while wearing the tiara balanced on my head. Did I mention it didn’t fit? It was just perched there, but I never once had it fall off.
Back to the panel, which had some business moments. Marisa talked about the plan to keep writing in that world, and that a number of books were coming out along these lines, ultimately concluding with an Avengers-like book with all the characters kicking ass. I don’t have time to write a book, but Vigdis hasn’t saved her last soul.
Side note: www.irocktiaras.com is available and I might need a new website.
Following the Valkyries panel, we retired to the bar to close it down. Then went to room parties. Then we went on an excursion!
I skipped right over the part where Trisha J. Wooldridge was at her first LibertyCon with her brand new release, Shadows, Ash, and Prophecy. She seemed to have a great time and is a great addition to the CKP crew. She’s also working on book 3 in that series right now.
Here’s the cover, by the way.
She was staying at a neighboring hotel, so we formed a party amoeba and escorted her home. Then we returned to the room party.
I usually do my major night of reveling on Thursday, but apparently I was too hyped to stop. I closed out the room party, then spent time helping Nathan Balyeat edit a story. A drunk editor can be good, but he either sacrifices his editing skill or his ability to phrase things nicely. Fortunately, Nathan didn’t kill me, but I was like a director yelling, “cut, cut, cut!”
Then I realized it was 6am and I had planned to drive to Fayetteville, AR after the con.
Well, I packed my stuff up except just what I’d need and took it down to the car. Went to the breakfast buffet, which opened at 630. Then I caught a few hours of sleep to join the Kaffeeklatsch.
After that was the Four Horsemen panel and suddenly, the tables turned.
They started the presentation and were introducing all the people up on stage when they came to an empty chair. Kacey Ezell’s chair.
Yes, I jumped up and did my best Kacey impersonation. To be fair, she’s a much better me than I am of her. I apparently can’t do a soft, higher-pitched voice without doing it in Southern. Still, it was a lot of fun and most of the crowd had been to the previous panels so was in on the joke.
At that point, I got out of Dodge as quickly as I could because I was already tired. I figured if I got out early, I could stop for a nap or two, which I did. However, leaving LibertyCon is not a fast process, something I appreciate. Lots of people to hugs, lots of goodbyes, and even a homemade cookie.
The trip home wasn’t terribly eventful, though I did make a detour when I saw the weather going through the middle of Arkansas. I ended up going north around it and getting a hotel in Mountain Grove, MO instead of stopping at a friend’s house in Fayetteville. Ah, well, I got home safely.
Overall, LibertyCon was as awesome as usual, maybe even more so since I’d missed it last year. Never again, unless I can’t help it.
All the business things I’d hoped to cover got covered, and more. I got to hang out with a people I haven’t had much of a chance to before, including Patrick Chiles, Howard Andrew Jones and the Holos. I met a bunch of new folks, too.
So, can we go back next week? I already miss my family.