- Published: Sunday, 07 February 2016 20:53
Well ChattaCon is over and we're back home, tired, and already missing everyone from the weekend!
It was a blast (like always!), and kudos to the Lee and the rest of the staff for running such a smooth convention (at least as far as we mere attendees could see).
We had a great time catching up with Larry Correia (who we get to see again at another Chattanooga convention this summer! Wonder what that one is? ) as well as getting to sit down and chat with the super talented Artist Guest, Scott Grimando. If you don't know the name, you owe it to yourself to check out his site at Grim Studios.
I wish we could have socialized more, but our Friday night was taken up with the Annual LibertyCon Room Party... which I must say with all due modesty, kicked an absolute amount of butt! We were pretty much at capacity for most of the night, and everyone was having such a good time socializing that I had to (quite literally) yell at the person standing next to me to have any sort of conversation. Like always, a huge thanks to Karin, Don, Inga and Andrew for helping out (*koff*setting it all up*koff*)... couldn't do it without you guys!
One thing that did come out of the party was how many people weren't sure if they had already pre-registered. Normally we don't start putting up the pre-reg list until spring, but then again we normally don't have more than half of our available memberships already sold by this point! That's right, we're currently at not quite 400 memberships out of 700 total already sold... I'm not saying anything, but if you haven't pre-regged yet you might not want to wait too long. I thought we went through them pretty quickly last year, and this year is looking to be even quicker!
Because of that we've gone ahead and put the current pre-reg list online at the Pre-Registration List page here on the website. I've gone ahead and put together a database that can be updated on the fly, so we should be able to keep it up to date instead of manually changing it every now and then the way that we have done it in previous years. If you're not on the list, pre-reg! If you think you should be on there, shoot Matt an email and he can get it taken care of for you.
Now it's time to rest up, relax a bit, then get ready for AnachroCon later this month!
Hey guys, we have some bad news and we have some good news.
First, the bad... Marc Gunn, our Master of Ceremonies for LibertyCon 29 has had a family conflict come up recently which unfortunately has forced him to skip LibertyCon this year. It was unfortunate, but these things happen.
Don't worry though, we're going to try our best to get him to come in for a future LC... after all we were really looking forward to hearing some of the cuts from Sci Fi Drinking Songs live! (And if you still haven't heard them, you can head over to the cdbaby page and check them out)
Luckily Marc found out about this early enough that we were able to go to our next pick for MC and sucker them... err, hit them up to take his place.
So now the good news:
We're happy to say that Gray "The Gray Man" Rinehart has accepted, and will be filling the role of Master of Ceremonies for this year's LibertyCon!
He's a filker, an author, an editor, and last but not least retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel! Yep, this guy has been around the block and we're glad that he's stopping in to see us on one of his hurried laps!
Some sad news has hit at the end of the year. We just heard that Andrew Bostaph, a longtime friend that was always great to see at the local conventions has passed away at his home. He was only 46 years old.
He will will be missed by those who knew him, and if you didn't know him you missed out. Simple as that.
There's not much information, but you can hit his Facebook page for what there is. (https://www.facebook.com/andrew.bostaph.7)
It's November now, and we finally have the hotel information for the Christmas Party this year!
It will be held at the Choo-Choo on Saturday December 5 in the new LC ConSuite area (next door to the old Penn Station). Rooms are $92/night. (423-266-5000)
We'll have a really abbreviated meeting starting at 4:00 (everyone is welcome!), and the potluck dinner will start around 6:00pm.
We'll be supplying turkey and ham, the rest is up to you guys!
Also be sure to bring out your donations for the annual holiday charity auction!
Thanks to Ray Jones, our intrepid photographer, we have a few pictures online from LibertyCon 28. Well, maybe more than a few... "Metric Crap-Ton" might be more accurate.
Head on over and take a look!
And as always, thanks Ray!
Sorry to take so long to let you guys know, but our Artist Guest has been confirmed for 2016! None other than Todd Lockwood, one of the biggest names out there in the fantasy sphere!
We got a chance to sit down with Todd at JordanCon this past year, and if you don't know him you're in for a treat. Not only is he incredibly talented, but also a really friendly guy. (Not to mention a great presenter. Seriously, be sure to make a couple of his panels... you'll be glad you did)
On the off chance that you don't know his name, I imagine you know his artwork since he's been a primary TSR/WotC artist, worked for Blizzard, and has done a ton of book covers (including a large number of R. A. Salvatore's "Drizzt Do'Urden" books)
You can check out his work in his galleries on his page at ToddLockwood.com
I've been working on getting the website updated for LibertyCon 29, and I think I have everything in place (with the exception of the flyers... those are coming soon).
I know I missed some things, so take a look and let me know.
I can't believe that it's a full year from now! Clock! Calendar! Hurry!
Amazingly enough, LibertyCon 28 has now come and gone. It's all still a bit of a blur, just like it always is right afterwards, but this year was a bit different.
It was different in the guests of course, especially since we had so many of them! When all was said and done, we had close to 150 authors/artists/panelists/etc that all somehow manage to cram in over 200 panels over the course of a few days. We had plenty of new faces sitting behind the tables, and of course a ton of returning favorites.
Speaking of returning favorites... Our LGoH, David Weber, was an absolute pleasure to see again (as always!). While some people might think that we keep inviting him to LibertyCon as a way to get to hang out with his lovely wife Sharon, we would just like to say that's scurrilous rumour. Really! (Well, at least "probably not"...) It was great catching up with him, and while I would normally say that we hope that he comes back soon... well, I don't have to. Barring an unforseen calamity, he's already said that he's coming back next year! So if you didn't get a chance to meet him in 2015, 2016 is for you. (So David... eat healthy, take time for exercise, and keep the car tuned up.)
And while I'm talking about David, I have to mention the most important thing. The thing that's on the top of everyone's mind... how did he do in the Spades Tournament? Well, I have to say that he sadly didn't win. He did come in second however, and I have it on good authority that if only a certain unnamed individual *koff*Kelly*koff* had played a certain specific different card then another unnamed miscreant *sneeze*Rich Garber*sneeze* wouldn't have walked away with the coveted title. Gentlemen, I would be looking for your deaths upon a starship very soon.
But Spades wasn't the only game at LibertyCon, far from it! With Special Guest Steve Jackson in attendance we had to run two game rooms, and they were a blast! With help from Rev. Bob and P.K., Steve ran an absolutely phenomenal track of gaming. If you haven't met Steve, you can't really understand... but to try to explain, this man loves games. Of course he does, you might say. But he positively infuses the people around him with that same love, and then "brings it" to the table. It also doesn't hurt that he is quite genuinely one of the nicest guys around. I spent quite a bit of time with both he and his friend Monica, and came away with an incredible appreciation for both of them.
But you know who didn't play around? Our Science Guest of Honor, Tedd Roberts. I mean Speaker to Lab Animals. Oh crap, wait a second... Robert Hampson! That's it! Robert Hampson!
This man of many names wasn't playing around, and as always brought the Science... hard. When you're chatting with him, you tend to forget that this loveable guy in a hawaiian shirt is a genius in the field of neuroscience (primarily, but believe me that it's not the only one!) He brought out the whole family with him, including his parents! While I don't know if they managed to make it to the ever-popular Mad Scientists panel (which had the room packed to standing room only), I know that they were around at quite a few of the other science panels that dotted the schedule. Tedd was... crap... Dr. Hampson was delightful as always, and we look forward to seeing him again next year!
On the flip side from the sciences, we have our Artist Guest of Honor Sam Flegal. When it comes to an artist guest, it's hard to top this guy. Funny, friendly, and talented as heck, Sam had some absolutely gorgeous pieces on display... including the "Liberty or Death" picture that graced our Program Book and t-shirts this year. (As a side note, he won "Best Color Work" at Origins for this piece as well as "People's Choice" at JordanCon. So we're not the only ones who like this guy's stuff!) You really owe it to yourself to check out his work to see a true professional in action!
And speaking of professional, I have to say that is a great way to describe our Master of Ceremonies Howard Tayler. If anything ever happens (heaven forbid!) to keep Howard from working on his daily webcomic, Schlock Mercenary, he really might want to think of a career in public speaking. This man is an absolute genius with a microphone! Howard took to his duties as MC in a way that had people raving all weekend... for example, at Opening Ceremonies he listed all of our attending pros. Guys, it's like reading a phonebook. Typically at some point you want to say, "Ok, let's just list everyone who's _NOT_ in the Program Book instead." But not with Howard. He was so incredibly witty and delightful that he had the crowd rapt. So from now on whenever I hear the phrase, "I'd listen to anything he does, even reading a phonebook" I'm going to always think about Howard Tayler. Because I know that I'm going to have a darned good time with it! Opening Ceremonies, the Saturday Banquet, panels... this man epitomized everything you hope for in an MC, and blew right past it!
Those were our "Headliners", and I could keep going on and on about all of our other attending pros... but remember the phonebook? There are just so many high quality guests at LibertyCon that I could write for hours and still leave people out. So instead I'm just going to give a huge "Thank You" to all of the guests that came in on their own dime to help make this LibertyCon the best (and biggest!) convention that we've had. To put it simply, you guys rock!
I will call out one group of people however, the 1632 authors associated with the 1632 Mini-Con. When Eric Flint asked us about hosting this year's Mini-Con we of course jumped at the chance, and it was wonderful! The Mini-Con travels around the country to different conventions every year, and we'd just like to say that we're incredibly honored that you picked us for 2015. It was great to see Eric again, and we enjoyed meeting so many new authors associated with the 1632 Universe.
But it wasn't just new authors in for LibertyCon 28. It was amazing how many new faces were walking through the halls. To give you an idea, during Opening Ceremonies Brandy asked for all of the first timers to put up their hands. Usually this gets a large handful of people. However this year it seemed that half of the theater had their hand in the air. If you were close enough to her, you would have seen her eyes go wide as she mouthed "Holy %@#$!". We knew that there were a lot of new people at the convention, but none of us were prepared for that! We hope that they had a great time, and we look forward to having quite a few of them return and join the LibertyCon Family. (And in some cases, join the staff! As but one example of many, a new attendee arrived from England on Tuesday. On Wednesday he wandered over to where we were putting up the Art Show and started chatting with us. Within a few minutes he was helping build panels and putting up walls. We had first timers working in most of our departments, and we'd like to thank them all! And be sure to come back next year, 'cos we'll have a lot to do then too)
Once the Art Show that Paul (the fellow from Southampton, England) helped build was up and running, it turned into one of the best ones we've ever had. Anita Moore won our "Kid's Choice" award, James Ward won "Best 3D", and Leia Powell walked away with the other two awards ("Best 2D" and the "Polly Freas Viewer's Choice") for her "Liberty for Brandy" stained glass window. "Liberty for Brandy" might sound like an odd title, but it's descriptive since it was a 20th Anniversary present for LC Chairman Brandy Spraker, and is one of the single most gorgeous pieces to grace our home... I mean Art Show. (Pictures will be coming soon, trust me)
But the Art Show isn't just about phenomenal art, it's also responsible for our annual Art & Charity Auction. We don't have exact numbers, so I don't want to give an amount until after everything gets added up, but I can very definitely say that it was the largest charity auction that we have ever had... and we're looking forward to being able to present a rather sizeable check to Bethel Bible Village in the near future. Between the auction and the generosity of our attendees with the Blood Assurance blood drive, it's obvious that fandom is quite a generous group! Thanks to everyone!
A special thanks also goes out to Todd McCaffrey, who made crepes for the staff one morning. Yes, you read that correctly. Todd... Freaking... McCaffrey made us breakfast. Annnddd not to make too big of a deal of it, but he's already started planning breakfast next year. So Todd, much like I said to David... eat healthy, exercise well, and don't pick airlines with lots of flight cancellations.
So let's see... guests... awards... new attendees... what else is there to talk about?
How about next year?
For LibertyCon 29 we're moving dates. Don't worry, it's only for one year, then we're back to the last weekend of June like normal. But definitely mark your calendars for July 8-10, 2016.
We have five time Bram Stoker award winner, Jonathan Maberry, coming in as LGoH (And quite possibly as martial arts instructor considering that he is an 8th degree blackbelt in addition to being one heck of a talented writer). Jonathan not only writes horror, but also military fiction, martial arts handbooks, as well as comic books (having written several in the "Marvel Universe vs." multi-series story arc). One thing I know for sure, with Jonathan and Eric Brown coming to LC29, Rich had better reintroduce one of my favorite panels, "Messiest Ways to Kill a Zombie"!
Our Artist Guest is still tentative since we're still waiting for a little *koff* convention in San Diego to announce their 2016 dates, but as long as they don't have the audacity to overlap us... well, let's just say that you're going to be impressed! (And if they do, there's always 2017. Just saying)
Our Science Guest of Honor has more degrees than you can shake a diploma at. Dr. Kevin Grazier has BS degrees in Computer Science, Geology and Physics. He upgraded the BS in Physics to a Masters, and picked up a Ph.D in Planetary Physics. He is a professor at UCLA & Cal State, has worked at JPL, and has been scientific consultant on Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Falling Skies, Defiance, ... well, you get the idea. All I know is that I will pay money for someone to give me an idea of something that he and Les Johnson are on opposite sides of scientific theory on, because that would be a discussion to tell the kids!
Our Special Guest is a slot that is very special to us. It's our pick for someone who has helped, promoted, or otherwise been an integral part of LibertyCon. This is a spot that you will never see a new face in, instead it will always be filled with some of our favorite people. For LibertyCon 29 that spot will be filled by Nashville artist, Melissa Gay. Melissa is a LibertyCon regular, and totally apart from her stunning artwork, always manages to bring a smile to our attendees with her absolutely infectious energy. She's a joy to just be around, let alone actually engage with, and we're excited to have her be on our list of "Headliners" next year!
Our last slot, that of Master of Ceremonies, will be filled by the Celtfather... otherwise known as Marc Gunn. Marc is highly personable, a talented filker, and a heck of a funny guy. We also have it on good authority that he's the "World's Second Fastest Filker"... but a note to Tom Smith, watch out... this guy is practicing up!
There's our lineup for next year, folks!
"So when can I sign up?" you ask.
Now. Right now. Online registration is already open on the LibertyCon Store, and the hotel is already taking reservations. I don't know if we're going to sell out again (remember, we're limited to 700 paid memberships!), but I will just say that as of right.... now... we have almost 250 people signed up. Hotel reservations are also going quickly, last I heard there were around 100 rooms taken already.
Wow... one day after the convention and we're already a third of the way to being sold out.
That does bring up something I'd like to point out. People keep pointing out to us that we could easily grow. We could probably easily double our size, which for Chattanooga would be a pretty impressive convention. And they're right, we could.
But we won't.
LibertyCon is family. It's run by our family, and attended by our extended family. Would we still have that same relationship with 1,500 people? I doubt it. Liberty is something special, and it's because of the fans that come out every year that make it that way. But don't worry, we're always looking for new people to join. Just come on in, introduce yourself, and pretty soon you're going to be coming back to Chattanooga for your annual family reunion as well.
Well that's it, LC28 is now over... it's in the books, and pretty soon I'll be updating the website with new names, new pictures, and new info. Because no matter how phenomenal LC28 was, I'm already looking forward to LC29.
I just got the word... Apple approved the LC28 Mobile App update! Just in time for the convention, you can now update your IOS app to the most current version.
In case you don't already have it on your device, here's the link (or just search for LibertyCon in the App Store)
And remember that the Android version is already available on the Google Play Store!
They're planning on being on site Saturday afternoon between 10:30am and 3:30pm.
However before they do, they need to have people sign up online. They're asking for at least 30 people to make the trip worthwhile, so we're asking you guys to give up a half hour out of the weekend to help them out. (More than 30 is obviously what we're shooting for though)
All of you know how vital blood donation is, and every pint could go a long way to save someone's life.
Please think about donating next weekend, and if you can please visit Blood Assurance's Online Scheduling
And just to spice things up a bit, we're going to be giving away a LibertyCon 29 pre-registration to one of the donors! We'll draw the name at Closing Ceremonies on Sunday.
Room Party Update!
Here's a list of the room parties that we currently know about... if you want to have one as well, we're all for it! Just let us know about it though so Brandy can get you into Party Alley, and so that we can put you on the list in the Pocket Program and on the website (Don't worry, the list is coming soon)
As an fyi, the room parties will be listed in the mobile app but all with the time of 9:00PM. We don't actually have times for any of them, so I had to make one up to get them into the database.
Now on with the list!
On Friday night we have:
Debi Chowdury running NOLA 2018
Frank & Millie Kalisz running Dublin in 2019
And the Cedar & Sanford Wedding Reception
On Saturday it's showing:
Elizabeth Meinert (for the HMS Barbarossa)
David Humphrey throwing the McPhrey Media party
Jennifer & James Liang hosting the JordanCon bash
Warren Buff is running the DC17 WorldCon bid party
and KC will be running the ChattaCon party
And Kevin Pullman will be on-hand with homebrew both nights!
If you have more information on the parties please let me know!
And we're all for a party, so like I said just let us know if you decide you want to run one! We'll put you on the list as well, just email Brandy
Well I just wanted to point out a few of those in another "bring your wallet" category... Tuckerizations!
(In case you don't know know what a Tuckerization is, it's where a writer will put you into an upcoming book. It might just be your name, or it might be an entire character based off of you... maybe for a scene, or in some cases a recurring character. That's completely up to the author)
This year the pros that we have signed up to offer Tuckerizations (so far!) are:
We also have something from LGoH, David Weber. David has not been doing as many Tuckerizations as he once did. But what he's been doing instead is offering to put the winner on the first readers list. This means that the person will get his manuscripts at the same time his publisher gets it... Generally this is about a year before its released... That's right, let that one sink in for a moment. You could get copies of Weber novels delivered to your inbox at the same time as Baen or Tor!
We'll be posting more Charity Auction items over the next few days, so keep an eye out... and start saving now!
Tamara Lowery just sent us a note, and asked us to share it with you guys. See you in a couple of weeks Tamara!
Win a signed copy of Black Venom, book 4 of the Waves of Darkness series, by Tamara A. Lowery! This contest is only open to attendees of LibertyCon. I will have entry slips available at all my panels, signings, and Author's Alley appearances. The drawing will be held and the book awarded at my final Author's Alley appearance, Sunday, June 28, at noon.
Also check out my page http://facebook.com/Waves.of.Darkness for a chance to win one of two "red shirt" spots in book 6, The Daedalus Enigma (due to release Halloween 2016). That drawing will beheld at my morning appearance Saturday, June 27.
So guys, look what I have on my phone! Ben has been working on the new app for LibertyCon, and it's just about ready. Just a couple more interface tweaks and it will be on the Google Play store and submitted to the Apple store (Though you know that they take longer than the Play store.)
Keep an eye here and we'll let you know when to go get it!
Two weeks from today (Hey, it's after midnight... I can say "today"!) we'll be down at the Choo-Choo setting up the Art Show, bringing a couple of truck loads of supplies from the warehouse, and generally wondering why we ever thought that this was a good idea in the first place!
I just thought I'd give everyone a quick update to what's going on...
The first thing is that we're having our last staff meeting before LibertyCon 28 this Sunday at 2:00pm. It'll be at the Spraker household, so just email Brandy if you need directions. If you've ever wanted to get involved, but weren't sure how, just come on down! Believe me, I've seen how this thing is run... we can use the help!
Apart from that, we're getting everything settled out. The Program Book went to the printer this morning, and badges will be shipped over to them in a few days. T-Shirts are ordered and should be on their way soon, in plenty of time to be waiting for the descending hordes.
We're still talking over the "fiddley bits" in the Schedule as well as the function space, but it's all pretty much nailed down for now. That being said, be sure to keep an eye on this space for when our official Android & Apple IOS apps hit the markets! It should be any day now!
We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the convention!
You guys know that we have some great items up for sale every year in our Charity Auction, but this year I wanted to make sure to point out something special that was just sent to us by our Special Guest, Steve Jackson.
You ready for it?
He's offering the chance for you to work with SJ Games staff to come up with your own Munchkin Card! That's right, you'll have the opportunity to pitch your idea for a production card... Wild, wacky, weird, you think it and if they like it they'll make it. (Don't worry though, if your initial idea doesn't work for the game it's not a problem. They'll collaborate with you to refine your dream into the perfect Munchkin of perfection!)
Not only will you get to see your card developed by SJ Games, but you'll also be listed and thanked in the production credits!
A word of warning though, you'd better bring your wallet with you because I see a "Spraker's Kettle of Slaking: Cause all monsters to leave for a tea break. All interfering players must act out 'I'm a Little Teapot' or lose three health!" in my future!
Ps. I ran this past Steve to make sure I had everything correct with it. Here's his reply, verbatim:
Also tell them:
The card will be part of a regular set and drawn by the regular artist. It will be a real, official card.
They will get six copies of the release containing the card - which could vary widely in retail value depending on what set the card appears in, so don't base your bid solely on that. Bid for charity and for awesomeness.
The winner will meet personally with Steve at LC to start the discussion. Derek will be there to buy the drinks and wish he had bid higher. Unless Derek wins the auction, in which case the drinks are on Steve.
Special Guest or not, this guy's just cruel!
Well, for those of you that I have been annoying with "There are only XX memberships left!" messages... you're safe now.
Registration for LibertyCon 28 has just closed. For the first time ever, we have sold out all available memberships for the convention over a month ahead of time! When you factor paid memberships and attending pros together, this will be the largest LibertyCon on record!
We look forward to seeing all of you next month, and in the meantime please help us come up with things for Matt to do since his Friday just cleared up like we wouldn't have believed.
In non-membership related business, I was just putting a few titles for Sarah Hoyt and Peter Grant into the LibertyCon Author's Alley and I realized that we have 95 books listed in there!
If you haven't taken a look, you might really want to. It might give you an idea of the works of some of our attending authors that you haven't been exposed to already.
(And if you're coming out to the convention and have a book or three under your belt, let me know. There's no charge to get listed in there, and we don't make anything from it... we know we have some of the most talented authors around coming to the convention, and just wanted to make sure that everyone else realized it as well.)