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LibertyCon News & Events

Doug Loss running "One Last Job" at LC30

You guys might not know about it yet, but Doug Loss will be GM'ing an RPG session of "One Last Job" in Norfolk Saturday night at LC30 (at 6:00pm...  set a reminder now!).  

To give you an idea of what's up with it, here's you a bit of info:

If It Was Easy, We Wouldn't Need You

You're between jobs and things are getting a little tight when your ex, who's still working at Gressler-Khan (he's in upper management now) pings you.  He says he has something interesting that you might be a good fit for, but you need to see him in his office immediately.  What the hell, a girl's gotta eat.  You flash him back saying you'll be right there.

The security drones scan your creds (S4r4riw0m4n_LX) and pass you through with no hassle; what a change from when they escorted you away from your deck and out the door the last time you were here.  You go to your ex's office and after the door closes a surveillock field slashes all your connections.  Damn, this must be more than a little important.

Your ex looks you up and down and says, “Sarari, before we get started I need you to sig an ex-prej NDA.  You know what that means.  Break it and you're termed.”  Oh well, no guts, no glory.  You sig.

“OK, we need you to break into the Tessier-Ashpool orbital stronghold and upload an AI.  What it's for is none of your business.  We can't use a standard corp team for this, as the possibility of blow-back if they're made would be too great.  You'll have to infiltrate the corporate complex without raising the alarm.  You'll probably run into corporate crews of cyberwear-laden professionals primed to dispatch if there's trouble, surveillance bots, rentacop corporate security guards, and who knows what else?

“I'm thinking to do this you'll need to find Logos. That AI-rigger has a worryingly close relationship with her (or his? we've never met in meatspace) silicon friends.  But you've worked with her before.  I remember when you convinced that Senator to give up the information that Logos needed using only a needle.

“You used to be the best deck-jockey we had, till that black ICE fried your brain and left you a drooling simpleton.  Our cybermedtechs did what they could and mostly brought you back, but there were still unpredictabilities we couldn't accept around our class-1 datasets.  Still, I think you can do this.  We'll front you untraceable kit and transport; just let us know what you need.  The payout's more than you'd see in five years if you succeed.  You in?”

Character General Abilities:
MUSCLE (Hurt people, be athletic, intimidate, protect)
CYBER (Hack things, use computers)
SHADOW (Sneak, avoid things, break and enter, criminal knowledge)
HUSTLE (Lie, cheat, charm, impersonate, convince)

Game System Download

Halfway to Sold Out for LC30!

At the Dead Dog Party after LibertyCon, Brandy and Matt were talking. There were so many people singing up already for LC30 that she had said, "Wouldn't it be great if we got to 375 by the end of July? Halfway to sold out already."

And Matt told her he was crazy, and they went back to playing Munchkin.

By way of explanation, we usually have around 80 or so registrations by the Sunday of LibertyCon. Usually we're at around 200 or so by Christmas, then we have a burst that starts in the spring and becomes a full bore rush a couple of months before the convention. (Remember, this year was only the second time we've sold out!)

Well folks, with the membership from Maxim Poddubny from Forest Hills, NY we have now hit 375!

That's right, we are halfway sold out for LibertyCon 30... and not only by the end of July, but just over a week after the end of the convention!

That counter that's on the banner at the top? Well, it just went from being a counter to being a countdown!

375 in, 375 to go...

And I bet Brandy's already wondering if we can get them before the Christmas Party. Wink

LibertyCon 29 is over and done, and the website is getting updated

Just wanted to point out to everyone (in case you hadn't already noticed) that we're already gearing up for LibertyCon 30 now that LC29 is wrapped up.  (and it's the earliest I've ever done it!)

Most of the sections have been updated, and pre-registration is currently open so go take a look and see why you need to come out in 2017!

And in case you haven't already checked out our guest list for LC30, here you go:

Literary Guest

Kevin Hearne

30th Anniv. Literary Guest

John Ringo

Artist Guest

Dan dos Santos

Science Guest

Dr. Elisa Quintana

Special Guest

Todd McCaffrey

Master of Ceremonies

Toni Weisskopf

30th Anniv. Guest

Faith Hunter

I'm sorry that I haven't posted an LC29 Wrap-Up report yet, but this update has taken all of my time.  Don't worry, you'll hear me blather on about how great it was...  at least what I remember.  LibertyCon is always a blur of good times afterward for me.  Wink

Just over 72 hours left!

Just got this from Fritz, where he posted it on Facebook:

Just of 72 HOURS TO A SOLD OUT SHOW!!!!
 
A few Announcements:
 1) The dedicated space for the book readings has been moved from the Victorian Room to the CARTA Room. All publications have been updated with this info (website, app, Pocket Program, YouAreHere Signs), but we wanted to mention it here too.
 2) The Blood Drive sponsored by Blood Assurance will be on Saturday. You won't be able to miss their blood mobile outside the main convention event space. All those that attempt to give blood will be put into a drawing to win a LC30 membership.
 3) The Charity of Choice is Lana's Love. We've already had lots of cool stuff donated for the Charity Auction, we are always on the lookout for more cool stuff. Please don't hesitate to bring anything to donate to this cause. Don't forget: This donation counts as a Tax Write Off.
 4) The Gaming Room is going to be 24 Hour Gaming. There's lots of events going on in the Norfolk Room as well, but the room won't close until the convention does.
 5) We are always looking for volunteers to help out when and where needed. If you're interested, just let us know prior to the convention or at the convention.  (Or you can use our signup form)
 6) If you have any questions or issues at the convention, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE to ask a Staff Member. Look at any given badge, if there is a ribbon on it that says STAFF, then you are looking at a LibertyCon Staff Member. If they can't immediately answer your question, they will know exactly where to direct you to resolve any question or concern.
 7) We're looking forward to seeing everyone. We've worked hard to make this the best LibertyCon ever (as we do every year). This whole OneUpmanshipThing that we impose on ourselves is a bitch, but it seems to work. We hope you enjoy the show as much as we've enjoyed putting it together!
 
See You All SOON!!!!
 
-- Kevin FRITZ Fotovich
LibertyCon Secretary

Pre-LC29 Announcements!

Some quick notes from Fritz, our LibertyCon Secretary:

Good Morning LibertyCon Family!
 
T-Minus 10 Days from a SOLD OUT SHOW for LC29!
 
We’ll be having a few announcements made during these next 10 days, and this facebook page will be the primary source of delivery for those messages.
 
Announcement 1:
The LibertyCon Banquet, a Horror Theme Luncheon and Guest of Honor Speech event that will be at Noon on Saturday in the Roosevelt Room, just had two (2) tickets become available. If you are interested in snatching up those seats, please contact our Chairman, Brandy Spraker.
 
Announcement 2:
There are three (3) Fan Tables left for Fan Organizations. These are tables that are in the main programming event building with prime traffic visibility. The tables are $15 each for the weekend. Yes… $15 gets you a table all weekend to promote your fan organization. If your organization would like to set up a booth in one of these spaces, please let us know.
 
Announcement 3:
THE GAMING ROOM RETURNS TO 24 HOUR GAMING THIS YEAR! Our new Gaming Director, David Boling, wanted this to happen and we said, “Make it so.” So, it is. Table top gaming will be going on 24 hours a day Friday thru Sunday in the Norfolk Room.
 
Announcement 4:
Blood Assurance will once again be at LibertyCon. They are scheduled to have their blood mobile in from of the main programming event space on Saturday from 10:30am-3:30pm. All who attempt to give blood will be entered into a drawing for a LC30 membership. Blood Assurance is also providing T-Shirts for all those that can donate.
 
Donors can go to our blood drive's online sign-up page at https://donor.bloodassurance.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/84686 and schedule themselves for an appointment. The blood letters and collectors won’t turn away walk-ins, but if you schedule an appointment then you’ll know exactly when to be there in order to bleed.
 
Announcement 5:
In case you missed it: LIBERTYON 29 IS A SOLD OUT SHOW! WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!

LC29 Schedule Teaser

So while Rich has been hard at work on the LC29 Schedule (believe me, the guy has been putting in more hours than his day job on the thing!), he wanted me to post something as both teaser and a "You might want to get something prepared for this sort of thing".

Here are our Alpha and Omega programming events in the Workshops track. The first is Friday @1:00pm, and the second on Sunday @1:00pm.

Friday 1PM: Face to Face Critiques from the Slushmaster General - MC Gray Rinehart, the BAEN Slushmaster General will critique your work - first come first serve basis - bring the first 5 pages of your story and your 1-2 page synopsis. You will receive real time feedback. Learn what really happens to your manuscript once it arrives at the publishers, and how to make yours stand out!

Sunday 1PM: Creature Features: Bringing Your Monster to Life - From Simple Shapes to Monstrous Mayhem! Special GOH Melissa Gay shows you how to design and draw your own creature in this 2-hour workshop. Pencils, paper, and Sharpies supplied-- bring your own creativity!

And as a warning, he has told me to be ready any day now to open the schedule for everyone to see! I'll be sure to post when he does, but be ready to hit the Schedule Page!

Post ChattaCon

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? Wink) 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!  Wink

Merry Christmas to all!

With fifteen minutes left, we just wanted to hop in and hope that all of you have had a great Christmas! Sorry that we haven't done it sooner, however we had to come out of the food coma from this afternoon... luckily I don't think it's actually physically possible to explode from overeating at holiday meals, which I think has been tested in our household!
To make it up to you guys though, as our own little "Merry Christmas" present we'd like to let everyone know that Steve Jackson just got in touch with us to say that he will be coming back to LibertyCon 29! It's always great to see him, and it's a great surprise to have him come back for another year!
 And boy will he be surprised when he gets his badge and it says, "Honorary Assistant Director of Gaming" on it! Hehe... hey, wait a second... he's not on here is he?
 Steve, you saw nothing... Smile

LibertyCon 28 Wrap-Up

LibertyorDeath croppedAmazingly 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.) Wink

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. Cool

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! Wink

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) Wink

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.  Wink

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) Cool

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! Laughing

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.

Ever.

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. Cool

The Choo-Choo is sold out

Just wanted to post a quick note to let everyone know that yes, the Choo-Choo is completely sold out of rooms.

We'll be posting a list of hotels for overflow soon, but we're just waiting to get a few details first.

If you'd like to get on the waiting list in case something comes open, let us know. You can email Brandy with your details, and she'll keep up with it.

Don't call the hotel to get on a waiting list, since it won't really do you much good.

Also as an aside, we have accounted for everyone with a room, and from what we can tell there is one room rented to a non-LibertyCon person. Everyone please be nice to the Mundane. Wink

Larry Niven, Grand Master!

Larry Niven

In more LC Family news, I just heard that Larry Niven has been awarded the SFWA Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award! I have to admit that I've always considered him a Grand Master in SF already, so it's exciting to see him officially receive the award. Congrats, Larry!

You can find out more at the SFWA article

Art Show for LC27 is accepting reservations!

A quick note from our Art Director, Shannon:

Dear Artists and Agents,

Welcome to the 2014 LibertyCon Art Show! We have amazing guests of honor this year! These guests include: Jody Lynn Nye, Kurt Miller, Dr. Travis Taylor, David Cherry and Jim Minz. You can find out more about each one at www.libertycon.org.

This is to let you know that the Art Show is now accepting space reservations. These are on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have already sent a request, please do so again to ensure I have your reservation. We do have some changes this year, so please plan accordingly!

Panel Space: We have 4’ x 4’ panels for $12 each. We have 2’ x 4’ panels for $6 each. Due to our increased space, we have changed the per artist panel limit to 6 panels. This equals 2 full bays! Thank you, Uncle Timmy, for our fabulous space and layout!

Table Space: We sell our table space in 4’ x 30” sections. Two sections equal one full table. Each section is $8, the full table would be $16. Due to the high demand and small number of tables (compared to panels), we are limiting each artist to 2 sections/1 full table.

Mixed Space: If you get two full bays of panels (6) and want to put a table in there, we can do that.

Charity Auction: Please remember the annual charity auction. We sincerely appreciate your participation in this event, on both the donating and purchasing sides! The 2014 charity will be the Chattanooga AIM Center.

Exciting News: Derek is building us a better database and website, so the 2014 Art Show should run much smoother on all fronts: artist check-in, artist check-out and buyer check-out. More details will be forthcoming in the spring.

If you want to make reservations or have questions about the art show or the charity auction, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Thank you!

We were on Channel 3 the other day

A few days ago LibertyCon presented the Chattanooga Area Food Bank with a check for $6,000, all of which was raised from LibertyCon 26 earlier this year.  The Food Bank wanted us to come down to their annual "Share Your Christmas" fund raiser event to do the presentation, and we were briefly interviewed by local anchor Cindy Sexton.

It was completely thanks to our attendees that we were able to make such a large donation to the Food Bank, and because of that thousands of meals will be distributed to the local needy.

You can see the clip here (please ignore the snippet of commercial at the end) Smile

 

 

LibertyCon 27 News Update from Brandy!

We have so much good news I hardly know where to begin! First of all, the amazing Jody Lynn Nye will be gracing us with her presence as our Literary Guest of Honor for LibertyCon 27!! For those of you who might not know her, Jody is a premier American science fiction writer who has authored or co-authored approximately forty published novels and over one hundred short stories. She specializes in writing science fiction or fantasy action novels and humor. Her humorous series range from contemporary to military science fiction. She is a truly wonderful lady and we feel honored to have her as our LGoH.

If that isn’t enough, at our October financials meeting we confirmed that we raised $3852 during the charity auction and then received another $336.93 from the Baen Barflies to add to that. We did the ‘Bolgeo’ math and came up with $6000 for the Chattanooga Food Bank! Our sincerest thanks go out to each and every one of you for your donations and purchases that have allowed us to donate this much to a great cause.

Speaking of charities... we also voted on the LibertyCon 27 charity. This one is quite special to us because it is in memory of a child of one of our own. Andrew Martin, son of David Martin and DeeDee Lessinger, passed away this year. He received services from the AIM Center, including housing, so this year our donation will be in memory of him. If you are not familiar with this wonderful charity, please take a few moments to look it up.

LibertyCon 26 Wrap Up

So LibertyCon 26 is over, and now that we've slept a solid twelve hours or so things seems to be returning to normal. But boy, I can tell you that we had a great time this weekend!

In a nutshell: the convention went pretty darned smoothly. The entire volunteer staff did a wonderful job! We had a mind boggling number of great pros in attendance, and one of the best groups of 'Headliner Guests' that we could possibly have hoped for. There were quite a number of new faces in the attendee crowd this year, and hopefully we picked up quite a few new family members for future years.

All in all, it was a great time!

Now that's out of the way, I'm going to go into a bit more depth. And as a warning, I tend to get wordy. Because of that if you're planning on reading any further you might want to stretch your legs, get a drink or whatever you might like to do.

Don't worry, we'll wait.

(la dee dee dum... dum, de dum...)

Ok, so you're back... and you didn't really go get that drink, did you? Oh well, I warned you.

LibertyCon 26 was held this past weekend (June 28-30, 2013) at the 'world famous' Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Our Headliners this year were Kevin J. Anderson as Literary Guest, Vincent Di Fate as Artist Guest, Catherine Asaro as Science Guest, Michael & Paul Bielaczyc as our Special Guests, and lastly Larry Correia as Master of Ceremonies. Apart from those guys we had over fifty other pros and panelists of all kinds come in: authors, artists, scientists... and even a couple of professional musicians and comedians.

Our Programming Director, Rich Groller, managed to shoehorn more than one hundred hours of programming into forty eight hours of convention (and that's even allowing time for people to actually sleep!) covering all sorts of categories: Performances, readings, publishing, art... heck just about everything you can think of, including what's coming to be one of the most popular panels we have, "The Messiest Ways to Kill a Zombie". You know you're doing something right when at the Closing Ceremonies (AKA: 'The Bitch at Brandy Session'. Really, it's in the Schedule like that) the harshest complaints against your department can mostly be funneled down to the same sentiment, "You're putting too many good panels against what I want to see, and I can only be in one at a time!" Perfectly understandable, I have to admit, considering some of the phenomenal panels on that same Schedule.

But when you consider the guests we had, you're really going to have a hard time finding a lousy panel. I want to start talking about our guests by telling you how horrible it was for some of them to get to us. Kevin J. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta sat on a runway in Denver for close to four hours while a fuel problem was resolved (how in the world do you load an extra five thousand pounds of fuel onto a plane anyway?!), after which they had to sit in Atlanta (I believe) for more equipment problems. An extra five or so hours sitting on a plane is enough to fray anyone’s nerves. Larry Correia and his wife Bridget had more 'run of the mill' delays and ended up running about three hours late, as did Catherine Asaro. But they all pale in comparison to poor Vincent DiFate and his wife. Through a series of airline errors and pure misfortune they ended up routed across a good chunk of the United States, and even had to stay the night at one of the layovers. They weren't able to get to LibertyCon until late Saturday night, a full two days after starting their trip.

Michael and Paul Bielaczyc just drove down. Really, that's all. If any of the other guests would like, we can dunk them for you in retribution later. Smile

But regardless of all of the problems, all of the guests were incredibly friendly and upbeat. I honestly couldn't believe it, but once you spend some time with these guys, you can see why. I've met Kevin J. Anderson and his lovely wife Rebecca a couple of times before, and had been struck by how open they were to just engage with their fans. As a matter of fact, when my (then ten year old) son Alex met them at MidSouthCon a few years ago they ended up pointing him to their Crystal Doors series. They didn't just suggest it, but they actually took quite a while to chat with him about what he liked and to explain what the series was about... all the while treating this pre-teen to just as much attention as they might an adult fan looking to buy their entire Dune lineup. That really stuck with me, and I'm glad to say that impression was only reinforced by speaking with them during Liberty. These guys were incredibly generous with their time, as well as being incredibly charming and entertaining as heck to listen to. And come on, how many times do you get to talk to a Science Fiction writer about everything from Superman to genetic breeding camps to "What's it like being friends with Neil Peart of Rush?"?!

Speaking of charming, I have to hop over to Catherine Asaro. Before this weekend I had never met her. In all honesty, I've never read one of her books. (but boy, Brandy sure has!) This woman is one heck of a class act! I'm not going to go into all of her different facets, you can read about those in her Bio... but I'm going to say that I can't imagine meeting any singular woman (apart from my wife) that combines beauty, intelligence and sheer raw talent like she does. And when you top that off with an incredibly engaging personality, it's one heck of a winning combination. My one really quick example is actually a bit embarrassing, but here you go. After flying in and being delayed by several hours, Brandy and I picked her up at the airport. No problem there. However I completely forgot about some road construction on the freeway, and didn't realize it until just AFTER the last off-ramp to avoid the traffic. Needless to say I felt absolutely horrible for making her even more late, but instead of being irritated she spent a good chunk of the hour or so of bumper to bumper traffic in trying to make _ME_ feel better about the situation. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a class act.

But that's nothing compared to how frustrated and downright angry Vincent Di Fate would have been totally justified in feeling. Error after error hit him and his wife as they slowly made their way to the convention. It was so bad that we even told them to turn around and go
back home, we felt so incredibly bad for them. After all we really wanted them there, but felt horribly guilty about the utter Hades that they were going through. And you know, they would have been completely justified in doing just that. But they didn't. They dealt with one airline disaster after another, not only because they had agreed to come to the convention... but because these guys are family. They went through all of this to be at our convention for the simple reason that they wanted to be there, and I would personally like to let them know how amazingly honored we are.

Luckily other members of our 'Family' had it easier. Michael & Paul Bielaczyc came down from Nashville to act as our Special Guests. It's really hard to say something about these two guys, because... well, it's freaking Michael & Paul! These are the guys that Brandy and Shannon refer to as "Our Boys"! These are also two incredibly talented artists who have come full tilt into the LibertyCon Family, and made themselves right at home in a way that few others have. They aren't 'Guests'... these are the cousins that you're incredibly fond of, but live out of town so you only get together a few times a year. And all I can say is that we were incredibly happy to have them as our 'Special Guests' this year, even if the power of the white ribbon did go to Paul's head. Wink

Our final guest was someone that I can't say enough good things about. Larry Correia attended LibertyCon in 2010, but at the time I never really got a chance to meet him. (I know, it's a smaller convention... I should meet everyone. But honestly I tend to run around so much 'gophering' that I never seem to get a chance to). Anyway, when he stepped off the plane all I could think of was, "Holy crap! He really is Owen Pitt!" Then he started chatting with us, and between him and his wife Bridget we were just absolutely blown away. This guy writes about guns, monsters and blowing things up in innovative and incredibly messy ways... and he is just so incredibly NICE. That might sound like a platitude, and he might honestly get tired of hearing it, but I swear that both he and Bridget were two of the nicest people that I have ever met! We southerners tend to have a reputation for being easy going and hospitable, but these guys would definitely give us a run for our money. Also one thing you realize when you talk to them is that the conventions aren't just a 'gig' for Larry... he's a fan. He told me about trying his best not to go all 'fanboy' when he first met Tracey Hickman, which is when I found out that his wife is the same... only for her it was Eric Flint. It's always great to find out so directly that the people behind the books really are 'one of us'.

These were only our main guests... I could fill pages by talking about our other guests. Some are 'Family', like John Ringo, Toni Wiesskopf, Michael Z. Williamson, Tedd Roberts, Jason Cordova, and etc (Whom if the Bielaczycs are those cousins you like, these guys are the aunts & uncles that you try to sneak out to hang with)... man, I want to list everyone, but can't... Les Johnson, Stephanie Osborn, the ENTIRE FREAKING HOYT CLAN (Seriously, three writers in one family! How do you even do that?!), Chuck Gannon, Sara Harvey, Mark Fults, Stephen Cobb, Anita Moore, James Ward... ok, I have to stop! The 'Hellions' were in full attendance and even had a book launch for the new 'Dreamers in Hell'!

There were performances by Catherine Asaro, Chris Morris, and some 'new guys': The Painfully Funny Troupe. And of course when you talk about performances, you have to mention ARTC. Those guys have been performing at LibertyCon for almost a decade now, and I honestly can't imagine having a convention without them there. We are so incredibly fortunate that they have chosen us as one of their regular conventions, and in all seriousness would like to thank them from the bottom of our collective hearts. You guys never fail to put on a great show, and it's something that all of us look forward to every year. (Even if we do get your performance information wrong in the Program Book. /ack!)

And all that is just our guests! If you weren't there this year, you can't imagine how much fun it was with all of these people floating around the convention. Remember, we are a small Con... intentionally. Our attendance was capped at 550 paid members, after which Brandy would have been forced to turn people away at the door. We have a Programming Schedule that can rival WorldCon, but we purposely will never have that many people. After all unless you 'know someone' at a convention of thousands, how often do you get to just sit down with one of the guests and chat about whatever strikes you?

That being said, we were actually worried about just that. We missed hitting our cap by six people, and you can't imagine how relieved Brandy was that she didn't have to tell someone from Ohio, "Thanks for your interest, but I'm afraid that we're sold out." And all I can tell you is that it felt like the perfect size for our convention.

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I'm going to start talking about things other than the guests now, so if you didn't listen to me earlier about that drink you might want to do it now. Or possibly go to the bathroom. Don't worry... like I said before, we'll be right here when you get back. Wink

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There were tons of things going on at the convention, but the first one that I want to mention was something that Brandy and I were extremely honored to be witness to: Patrick Vanner and his wife Heather recently had their first child, Corbin Thomas Vanner. They decided to use LibertyCon 26 as the location to have him christened. John & Miriam Ringo were the Godparents, and the service was performed by Miriam's brother (whom I unfortunately didn't get his name). It was a beautiful ceremony in the central garden, and incredibly touching that they would have it at our convention. We've had weddings at Liberty before, but this was the first Baptism that I've ever heard of! Congrats to the entire Vanner clan, and especially to little Corbin!

There were also several humorous things that happened, but one of the best involved Jason Cordova. You may have heard that he is currently engaged to (the really too good for him) Melanie Boyd… and… well, some people had decided to turn the last part of one of his panels into a 'Roast/Beat on the Bachelor' session to celebrate. Unfortunately no one told him, and he missed the panel. He still got the wine later, but missed out on the party. Not to worry though, they still had a good time roasting him (just without the chance to defend himself) Wink

One particular department of note was the Art Show. It was expanded again to an even larger space than last year, and was an absolutely great setup. As sometimes happens at conventions, the Art Show got off to a rocky start during check in, but Shannon and her staff were able to streamline checkout by Sunday to get everyone home on time. We will be working on this during the year and have a different process that will allow the artists more flexibility in how they check in. The Iron Artist 'panel' was one of the best art events I have ever seen at any convention. Eight separate artists created unique pieces for the Charity Auction as we watched, all the while just chatting away with the people watching over their shoulders. Which leads me straight to the Art & Charity Auction. As of this writing I don't have exact numbers (and I probably won't until our business meeting in September) but I know that the Charity Auction _ALONE_ brought in more than thirty five hundred dollars for the Chattanooga Area food Bank! That's easily the most we have ever gotten for charity from the Auction. The Baen Barflies contributed over $300, and Joe McKeel chipped in a chunk of change from running the Patriot Games... when all is said and done we should have raised a little under four thousand dollars, and that's before any of our notorious 'bad math' while writing the check to charity!

Speaking of the Barflies, a really huge 'Thank you!' goes out to all of them for helping out in the ConSuite. Between the normal staff and those guys, Michael ended up running a Hospitality Department that has gotten nothing but raves and kudos from everyone in attendance. There was always something to nosh on, which I know _I_ was really thankful for considering that we had five kids with us. Wink If you ever want to have the chance to meet everyone at a con, work a few shifts in the ConSuite! After all, at some point everyone passes through for a soda, beer or something to eat.

Also, I want to give a huge thanks to our Security staff. What, you didn’t know that we had security teams roaming the buildings at all hours of the day and night?? Well, that just shows that they are great at their job! Andy and crew, always consummate professionals, make a big job look easy.

Ironically, the last area in here is Registration… you know that area that most attendees see first? This is one area where no news is good news. Making sure that registrations for 544 paid attendees and over 50 professional guest passes are done in a speedy (and accurate) manner is not a trivial task. But Matt and his team are always up to the task! Even at our busiest times the line was pretty short, and most people were through it in just a few minutes.

Hopefully all of that can give you a sense of what we saw at the convention this year. It was an absolutely wonderful time, even though I kept telling people how much I was looking forward to getting back to work so I could rest up from the weekend!

But I would like to point out something to you guys, and if you’re on staff at a convention you probably already know this… we don’t see the same things that the attendees see. If I might be allowed a really clumsy metaphor: We’re constantly on the move trying to make sure the trains are running on time, and sometimes we don’t notice that the actual seats _IN_ the train might be a bit dirty. For example, my main problem with what I said earlier about the panels is that it's all second hand. That comes from the feedback we got from attendees (through our App, through feedback on the webpage, and from comments in the Bitch Session). I personally didn't attend a single panel, and I'm pretty sure that most of the staff is in the same boat. We admittedly had several issues that came up over the weekend, like there will be at any convention, and probably quite a few that we don’t know anything about.


That's why it's really so important for you guys to let us know what you did and didn't like, what worked and worked a little less… without those comments (good or bad) we honestly might not have any idea of things that we can do to keep tweaking the convention in a positive way. Your feedback is VERY important to us, so please take a minute to tell us what you liked, and what we can do better. (We already have a laundry list of changes you can expect to see, in everything from the website on down!)


Again, thank you to all of the people who spent their time and energy putting on the convention. As Brandy likes to remind people, all of the staff members are volunteers. We don’t give price breaks to our staff because we are a small convention and a 501(c) non-profit, and instead try to give every penny that we can to our yearly charity.

We can’t wait to see you next year!


PS. Ok, since you ignored me before… NOW go take that bathroom break! Wink

PPS. If there are any of the Science Panels that you missed and have an interest in, keep an eye out for upcoming episodes of Stephen Cobb's 'The Future & You' podcast. He recorded quite a few of them over the convention, and I imagine they'll be popping up in the coming weeks.

LibertyCon 26 Android App is available!

We're halfway there! Just so everyone knows, the LibertyCon 26 Android app is now available in the Google Play store! Ben submitted the iPhone/iPad version last week, but with Apple's approval process we're not sure when it will be up. But if you have an Android phone or tablet, you can get the app here:  LibertyCon 26 on Google Play

Edit: The IOS version of the LC26 App is now available as well and up in the Apple Store! Feel free to grab it for your iPhone/iPad/etc!

Also as a quick note, both versions (IOS/Android) have the map from last year. However he's working on getting a quick update pushed out with the new map for this year. (The only real changes of note are the removal of Town Hall and the addition of the Roosevelt Room)

And lastly, for the people having problems installing the Android version of their Nexus tablets (and others) he's also looking into that to try to get it fixed for you guys. I'll let you know if he gets a fix in place.

 

Two Week update!

Wow... the convention is only two weeks from today, and we're all busy trying to get everything finalized.  There are a couple of things I need to let everyone know:

1) Pre-Registration will end Sunday night (6/15) to allow for us to get the names to the printer in time.  If you haven't pre-registered, do it now!

2) There are still banquet tickets, but you might want to go ahead and get them as well instead of waiting.  They're going fast and if you wait until the convention you might not get a spot.

 

I got this in from Elayna last night about the 'Big Ticket' items for the Charity Auction. I don't know if she's posted it elsewhere already, but you can't promote charity too much! 

Charity Auction Items for LC26

  • Tuckerization from Chuck Gannon.
  • Tuckerization from Catherine Asaro.
  • Tuckerization from Kevin J. Anderson.
  • Art from Dan Cortopassi and Mark Paulk.
  • Pottery from Stacey Morgan.
  • Tarot cards from Melissa Gay.
  • We also have confirmation of items from Bryan Jones, Melissa Gay, Vincent diFate, and Sara M. Harvey!

Want to donate items to the charity auction? E-mail Elayna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and don’t forget that all donations are tax deductible! 

*In the off chance that you don't know what a 'Tuckerization' is, it's where an author gives you the chance to have a character in an upcoming book named for you. They might die tragically in one paragraph without ever having dialogue, or they might become integral to a series, but either way they'll be in the book.