Liberty Con After Action Report

Really, what the h*ll happened?  When did I become a name writer, one whom fans travel hundreds of miles to attend?

I’m still spinning and peopled-out from that con, and need some time to process.

It started badly.  We hit Atlanta, and the restaurant at which we normally have lunch which is 17 minutes away from the airport took us two hours to reach.

The con, which normally takes three hours driving, took seven.

The highway was down to six miles per hour at times.  Now visualize that moving speed and trucks trying to change lanes to a packed lane.  I’ve never been that scared on a highway with Dan driving since our honeymoon when he drove in snow in Boston after two weeks in Portugal, jetlagged and half asleep.

All the way there, my phone was beeping with texts of people giving me their room numbers and asking if I was going to be at x, y and z.

As we crept closer to the one event I’d set up at 10pm, I was getting frantic.  Particularly as I was getting contradictory tweets where the con suite (where I’d set it) was open/closed.  It was WEIRD.

We had to pick up Robert’s girlfriend at the airport at Chatt. too, at 9 pm, and for a while there, I was arranging backup plans, in case we didn’t get there in time.  We did.  Barely.  We offloaded suitcases and number two son, and went to pick her up.

I was a little nervous about that too, because Robert insisted she meet the “extended family” before they decided they were serious and I was going “What a horrible thing to do to a girl, even a writer, to drag her to her first SF/F con when it’s one where we know everyone, and she’ll be watched?  What if she doesn’t get our jokes?  What if she hates our friends?  I mean… I was nervous.

Then we picked her up and on the way back from the airport, I told Dan “Be careful, don’t run over the jaywalking couple!”  And she said “Aw.  But we get extra points.”  And I knew she’d be all right.  So I was free to start on the con worries.

It started with the reading.  No, not my reading.  Well, sort of.  My reading, but not my book, rather an erotic SF tale, which halfway through degenerated into an instructional time on how to write and what not to do.

–Do you guys want a mini-workshop for next year?  I can ask Rich for a 3 hour block or so, to go over how to hook the reader, etc.  Yes, no?

There were a lot more of you there than I expected, and I got to bed much too late.  This was to become a theme.

I swear, I couldn’t go ten steps without tripping over fans stacked ten deep for autographs, or introductions or just to talk.

— WHEN did this become a thing with me?

Anyway, I had a panel to promote the Tombstone antho, and skipped the reading because Dan was inexplicably on a zombie panel.  He’s never REALLY written zombies.  So he didn’t want to go it alone, and I ended up going with him, to help and to talk about Black Tide.

Sorry if any of you missed me at the reading.

I didn’t have any panels to promote Darkship Revenge, because the one Space Opera panel on Sunday was… odd, and went mostly into movies and what we’d read.  So, do a writer a favor and consider buying the book.

I also apologize if you went to the signing party for Four Horsemen looking for me.  I wasn’t in the anthology because at the last minute, I ran out of brain and time.  So, I’m sorry.

The Huns breakfast was profoundly weird, partly because the owner of City Cafe was unable to understand “loose group, sit us in waves, as close as you can to our friends” and insisted on sitting the dozen or so I came in with as a group, which meant he sent us to the back room to wait.  In the meanwhile there were already 5 tables of our people, in various stages of breakfast completion and he got testy when I went out to greet them.

When you consider we were supposed to have two breakfasts, I think we’ve outgrown the City Cafe.  If/when they know where LC will be next year, I’m going to try to get one of the banquet rooms and have breakfast catered, if possible by Jonny LaForce.

It will be announced “in the councils of the Huns.”

The “if there is one” is because we have a hotel for 2020 but we might not secure one for 2019 in time.  So be patient, you’ll be informed.

The con ended with a mass dinner at Rodizio, with Speaker and a bunch of friends.  Well, a large bunch.  Two sets ended up in separate tables.  There too, a banquet room is being contemplated.

We came home on the third and when we arrived I thought I was fine and could do a party.  Glad saner heads prevailed, as that party was an hour drive away.  We went to a diner for dinner, and by the end of it, I was nodding off.  I barely made it home before falling asleep.

Yesterday I was scattered with a chance of weirdness.  Because the last thing we wanted to do was brave Downtown Denver for fireworks (the traffic, the time) we went to one of the little neighboring towns to watch them.  It worked really well, as on the way we watched something like seven firework displays all around, some obviously professional.  And even though I’m fairly sure we parked in a cow pasture, to watch the fireworks, and it was probably illegal to do so (not absolutely sure.  It was dark!) it was a wonderful display.

I came home with just enough awakeness to make it to bed.  Which again, is why I’m late this morning.

I still don’t understand my bewildering popularity at the con.  It’s never been like this before.  What happened between last year and this?  Who knows?

Loved seeing all of you though, and sorry for the ones I missed.  I really was overwhelmed.

298 responses to “Liberty Con After Action Report

  1. paladin3001

    I really got to get to one of these Liberty cons. I figure I should be able to arrange it in, oh say, four years? 🙂

    Sounds like a good time was had by all the posts I have seen about it. Even with the few quirks.

  2. It’s all those friends in low places.

  3. Sarah,

    It was definitely good to see you and chat with you! I’m glad you were able to make Rodizios and we will definitely be getting the private room there next year for us. 😀

  4. Seamus Curran

    It was great meeting you at the con, only wish I had more time. I had to skip the dinner Sunday as I’d come down with a bad cold and didn’t want to infect anyone.

  5. Apparently being a Beloved Blogger and Guest Instapunditeer builds a writer’s following. Who’d’ve thunk it?

    Glad Beloved Spouse and I got to conjoin you, Dan & Kate P. before you wuz big.

    Let’s hope the notoriety is reflected in book sales.

  6. ronald r zukowski

    Puppies are Dawgs ( spelled that way in Georgia though I went to a different School) and Dawgs is loyal.

    • “My two favorite teams are Tech and whoever plays Georgia”

      – sign a former boss had on his office door.

      • My Dad says he is a Michigan fan, and whoever is playing Ohio State

        • My parents resemble that remark!

        • I live in North Carolina where, in basketball season, the state seems to schism, such that NC est omnis divisa in partes tres: those who want Chapel Hill to lose, those who want Duke to lose and those who want both to lose.

          • Much like Texas, OU, and Aggies

            • kenashimame

              Arizona’s football season is never, truly, considered a failure as long as we beat the ScumDevils.

              • War Eagle! Auburn vs Alabama. Roll Tide my ass! College football is a bigger deal in AL because there are no pro football teams.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            In my part of Illinois, if you’re a baseball fan, you either root for the Cardinals or root for the Cubs.

            Dad was a Cardinal Fan and while I’m not much of a baseball fan I love to see the Cubs lose. 👿

            • That’s funny, While I don’t really “do” sports (seems a waste of time to me, yes, I admit to being a complete nerd). I’ve always claimed to be a Cubs fan. Why? Because my older brother was a Cardinals fan when we were kids, and he TOLD me I was a Cubs fan. I think he didn’t want his nerdy little brother to besmirch the name of Cardinals fans everywhere.

            • William O. B'Livion

              Baseball would be a lot more interesting and the salaries much more “earned” if they’d learn to use those clubs properly.

              Also the Foo beat the Bar would be more technically correct.

      • It’s an old joke; I first heard it as, “I’m a fan of the Red Sox and whoever’s playing against the Yankees.”

      • Broncos and whoever plays the Raiders.

        • Damn straight

        • Now that is some serious AFL heritage.

          Just remember, the AFC West is the only division in football to consists of its original teams and its original teams only…although not all in their original home…only the LA Chargers and the Denver Broncos can claim that (and Denver is the only one to never move).

  7. Yeah, the Thursday and Friday before a holiday weekend is usually… bad in Atlanta. As in, “holy hell, where’d this parking lot come from? It used to be a freeway!” It doesn’t help they’re rearranging a lot of the traffic flow, either, and the construction can back stuff up a LONG way. As you found… 😦

    “Do you guys want a mini-workshop for next year? I can ask Rich for a 3 hour block or so, to go over how to hook the reader, etc. Yes, no?”

    YES! YES!!! YES!!!!!!

    I would SO plan on making it next year!

    • There was rain, too. Sheets of it, obstructing the view.
      As for workshop, if not 2018, then 2019.

    • And then there’s that whole highway-falling-down-because-fire-under-it thing.

      • Thought that was fixed and opened.

        • Really?! They made it sound like it would be more than a year to fix it.

          • It’s amazing how fast they fixed it. The pundits were saying it’d be at least Labor Day, but they got it done in May.

            It helped that CWM still had the specs for the beams they’d used there – and the maker of the beams went on overtime to get them ready and in place.

          • May 15th it reopened which made me very happy.

            So many people were using the same MARTA line as me I had to use a different station due to parking lots being full most days.

    • Sounded like traffic I got into once near the airport.

    • Fishing for Carp, er, Readers..

      Seems a Good Idea.

    • How are things going with the repairs and replacement necessitated by the fire this spring? I read that they were supposed to be reopening the section in June. What with the weather the south east has been experiencing and highway construction’s usual bumps and grinds were they able to?

    • I always plan to spend Friday *morning* getting north of the fustercluck zone (nowadays, above Cartersville). The snowjam a few years ago is instructive about evacuating Atlanta.

  8. Sarah, you ought to cut Doug Dandridge a break about that space opera panel. The title was “What’s Your Favorite Aria?” and that’s all the guidance he was given as to what the panel was to be about. I wouldn’t have had a clue either.

    Sorry Ruby and I didn’t get a chance to do more than say hello in passing. But you seemed to have way too many people clamoring for your attention, and southern manners means you don’t add to someone’s stress level if you can help it…

  9. I was trying to find a way to send this invitation to everyone here, and I guess I’ll just toss it out now. It’s not so much that it’s attached to LibertyCon as that it should be of interest to many of the hard-science-minded folks (and Sarah was at the last one and can vouch for it):

    I’m the registrar for TVIW, the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop. We hold symposia every 18 months, and have been doing so since 2011. The next symposium will be in Huntsville, AL, October 3-6. We have a strong schedule of scientific papers being presented, seminars on various topics, panel discussions, and interactive working track investigations. We’re partnering with Starship Century and the Tau Zero Foundation to present detailed, accurate, and up-to-date looks at all aspects of interstellar investigation.

    The first day of our symposium will be opened by Pete Worden, the Executive Director of the Breakthrough Initiatives, and will feature the first (I believe) detailed public description of the Breakthrough efforts, by the Breakthrough investigators themselves.

    The second day will be opened by Mark Millis, the founder of the Tau Zero Foundation, and will include talks about their efforts as well as papers from other researchers from around the world.

    The third day will be organized by TVIW ourselves, and will include papers from NASA researchers as well as a briefing from Rep. John Culberson of Texas, chair of the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds NASA.

    You can look at our website, https://tviw.us, for more information and details about our organization.

    We would welcome your participation, and certainly would look forward to seeing you! If you know of anyone else for which this symposium would be a good fit, please forward this invitation to them also. The early registration rate is good till July 15, when it will go up $25.

    • Dan and I and Marshall will be attending this year.

    • *looks at calendars. Sighs* Alas, that’s too close to a six-weeks marker for me to skip school. Maybe next time around.

      • Next time will likely be in early February, 2019. Mark your calendars, set your clocks!

    • We hold symposia every 18 months

      A(n International Geophysical) Year apart.

    • kenashimame

      No one at Old Tucson gets to take vacation time in October, it’s our big month long Halloween shindig. Maybe Feb of 19.

      • A plug for K’s employer here – they do their “Nightfall” event at Old Tucson very well; if you are here in that month, check it out. (To me, October is usually also one of our two “perfect weather” months, making outdoor events quite enjoyable.)

        OT to kenashimame – did there seem to be a lot more “unofficial” fireworks over on your side of town this year? There certainly were over here on the east end. (Fire precautions all held around my house. Phew! Just one small one on the strip north of the plane graveyard, about at Pantano – and random people driving by stopped to kill that one before it could spread. Love this State…)

        • I would extend WritingObserver’s question about “unffoficial” fireworks to everyone, because it certainly seemed to me that there were a ton more sources of significant fireworks activity in my neck of the woods this year, too.

          • Heard more in town, where they are Strictly Verboten. Several more towns brought them back this year as well.

            • I speculated to the family last night that it could be the “Nobama” (or “Nohillary,” or a combination) effect.

              Absolutely nothing to back that up, of course – I don’t know the further neighbors well enough to do a survey. (Those in my immediate neighborhood do quite a bit every year; so asking them would probably be pointless.)

            • Oh, I should note that we have an odd State law here. Local jurisdictions can prohibit the use of fireworks within their boundaries, but not the sale of them. This, IIRC, is the third year of that law? (I’m subject to correction there, I know it has been more than two.)

              The use is verboten by Tucson ordinance. It is possible that more people have noted that LE is absolutely helpless in enforcing that ordinance – even if they used every officer on the force, and skipped little things like traffic control and drunk checkpoints, they would only be able to cite a tiny percentage of violators (assuming that any neighbors would report them, or back up the officer’s assertion that they came from that back yard).

              Yep, make a law that is impossible to enforce…

              • So you can buy the fireworks and then sit and admire them, thinking about how nice they would be if you were allowed to set them off? Yeah, that’ll work…

                • Or buy them, then go just outside the municipality… and shoot them over said municipality. Stupid “There oughta be a law!” folks.

                • kenashimame

                  You can’t set them off within Tucson City Limits, that leaves all of the county (and Pima County has more square-mileage than New Jersey) and the other incorporated suburbs.

                  Though setting them off in the forests at the moment might get you lynched.

                  • Difference there between “can not” and “may not”…

                    Quite correct on the second part. I’ve always felt that the Summerhaven residents (currently screaming “Not AGAIN!?!”) should erect a gallows at the entrance, with an effigy hanging from it and a sign saying “Firebug.”

                    Then a second gallows with an empty noose and a sign saying “Reserved for Future Use.”

                    • kenashimame

                      It’s amazingly sad how many people go up the mountain, start a fire, and have no idea of how to deal with it when they’re done.

                    • Yep. Confused the (then) fiance mightily the first time we went up there after moving down here. Took a while to explain just why I was loading a bucket of sand (Home Depot bucket, that is), a big thermos of water that she could not touch, a hoe, and a shovel.

                      I was on brush fire crews three years running up in the Pinal Mountains. And two years on the “standby” crew at the Fourth of July at the Community Center (Dad was a founding CC Board member, so that was my first “voluntold” experience…). The latter, though, I just had a very close seat for the display – I wasn’t on that crew the one year that I remember they managed to start one.

                • Illinois prohibits the sale of fireworks in the the state but just over the border on each interstate highway into Wisconsin and Indiana (who have more permissive laws) are big year round fireworks stores right by the exit ramp…

                  I usually go to the display put on by the suburban city at the fairgrounds. The entire police force is there running the well planned traffic management plan to get folks through the surrounding neighborhood to the major roads quickly afterwards. But just across the tracks in the bit of unincorporated city there is someone that every year puts on a very professional looking ‘ preshow’ and ‘post show’ that lights up the sky behind where the official show will be seen. He’s been doing it for decades (even shifted to the 3rd when they moved the official show a few years back.) but that massive police presence never seems to find him. I personally believe that they think he keeps the crowd happy by extending things (and maybe unofficially checked on his training) so leave him alone.

              • yup, there were signs all over my little city saying they were going to be enforcing the “safe and sane only” fireworks laws, and the guy down the street was still launching small pro grade ones.

                • It just occurred to me that, though it may be a very small percentage, could some of those folks actually have had licenses to do such? That used to be a possibility where I live (it’s been 35 years since my cousin brought a huge box of fireworks that stopped traffic in front of our house for a half hour with people stopping to watch, so I don’t know if that’s still possible).

                  • you not only need the license, you also need a permit for the display. I doubt the city gave them a permit to paunch pro grade stuff in the middle of the street, tho as far as i understand from my neighbors he has a pyro permit

                • One of our governor candidates has promised to re-legalize fireworks. I support that, wholeheartedly.

          • Only ones I knew of were some idiots who didn’t manage to kill themselves this time, either.

          • FlyingMike

            significant fireworks activity

            Here in the Valley of Silicon fireworks are way way ultimate verboten! Nyet! Even the “safe and sane” that were legal in my distant youth are not allowed. It’s been than way for at least 20 years, probably more like 25 or 30, and I’ve been here in the same locale for that entire period.

            So all this time July 4th has traditionally been a loud if low level fireworks-o-rama, with the occaisonal bottle rocket and such thrown in, so auditorially a re-enactment of a minor infantry skirmish, but little shooting skyward.

            This year, just in my local neighborhood, we apparently had some folks liquidate a chunk of employee stock options and roll it all over into major purchases of extensive and sophisticated fireworks. At least two significant displays were visible several blacks away over rooftops, and they went on seemingly forever. It was truly amazing.

            And unlike past years, a survey of the abode and environs has yet to yield even one bottle rocket carcass.

            So possibly a Nobama move upscale, even here behind the lines in deep red California?

        • kenashimame

          Didn’t see, or hear, any more than normal; but the official city one did give A Mountain a lovely orange glow when it was finished.

          And that’s how you tell it’s Independence Day in Tucson: We set A Mountain (or Sentinel Peak if you’re a purist) ablaze.

  10. I spent an hour traveling about 7 miles on I-24 coming in from the west as well. And for no bloody reason that I could determine except for a bit of rain, but that is typical of “express” roads around Chattanooga.
    “The “if there is one” is because we have a hotel for 2020 but we might not secure one for 2019 in time.” May one infer from that statement that there will be one more LC at the Choo Choo in 2018? I know there are no longer any rooms at the inn, Choo Choo having decided to go full condo on us. I’d love to see their business plan on that decision. But the meeting rooms, Findley Hall, and Centenial Theater are a great venue from the con perspective. Doubt wherever they wind up will be better. Won’t miss the five mile hike to the con suite at all at all though.

  11. It will be announced “in the councils of the Huns.”

    Whatever that might be… hopefully I’ll find out somehow. (And hopefully that wretched site FB is not involved.[1])

    [1] The only way I care to see FB “involved” is if the term is “fully involved.”

    • A pox on the book of faces

      • I have to admit to having a love-hate relationship with Facebook. When I’m feeling sociable, its a great way to stay in touch with my widely-scattered cousins. When companies use it in place of a regular website, it is a poor substitute at best. And then there’s all the other downsides about tracking, personal information, etc.

        • never had an account, don’t plan to. heck, I hardly twitter any more, and that is either replying to a friend in the UK or “Here are the deer that live here in town across from my house”

      • This. I miss out on a lot of goings on, but… =/ not sure if the various risks are really worth it.

        • It’s a bit mixed. I’m there because of friends and family, but FB messes with the contents of your homepage so much that you can tell they’re still doing social experiments on everyone.
          I’m definitely working to cut back my exposure, there is just so much stupid on display there, that it makes me pray for WW3

    • +1, FB delenda est! (or at least ignored, and hopefully it will go away)

      • FlyingMike

        Go read their terms of service to see what they think they can collect about you if you fail to log all the way off.

        The eventual demise of Zuckerbook will get none of my sympathy.

        • I recall Mr. Z saying something about how “privacy is an obsolete concept” until there was the ‘revelation’ that NSA et. al. were looking at ‘everyone’ and that could include him and then he was suddenly concerned. My response was, roughly, “Welcome to your d@mn world, Arschloch!”

  12. Christopher M. Chupik

    Did you at least get to use your shocked face when you got mobbed by fans?

  13. As for strangeness, it happens. I’ve been informed there was even a unicorn sighting.

  14. It was great to see you at LC, Sarah! It was also great to meet several other Huns.

  15. Glad you had good time.

    I’ve crawled through Atlanta traffic a few times, two decades ago, but nothing like that! One or two overpasses being down (still?) can’t have helped. Would flying into Birmingham help, I wonder?

    • There’s always Nashville or Raleigh. Yeah, some driving, but at least you’d be moving on the SuperSlab of I-40.

      If Georgia’s appropriations ahd highway people move at normal speed, there aren’t going to be any new overpasses in 2018 or 2019, either.

      • I assume their normal speed is.. tectonic?

        • The Rocky Mountains erode faster than the Georgia highway department moves, or so it seemed *coughcough* years ago when I lived in Decatur and volunteer-worked south of ATL.

          • Highway projects depend on all sorts of things, from environmental studies to ROW acquisition to the ever important political pull. I’ve seen projects fast-tracked, and I’ve seen projects take decades. One, that started not long when I was hired, went from standard measure plans to metric then back to standard measure. It’s been about thirty years, and it still hasn’t begun. If they hold off a while longer, I can be retired before they start hollering to move poles.

            • The New Jersey Turnpike was about a hundred miles long as originally constructed, but it only took 23 months to complete. By contrast, the 16 mile long Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway in Greater Cincinnati was built in seven stages from 1958 to 1997. Even slower, the Foothills Parkway near Great Smoky Mountains National Park was proposed as 71 mile route and began construction in 1960; two disconnected sections have been completed (or nearly completed) totaling a mere 38.7 miles.

              • I grew up in West Virginia and can assure you that some miles of highway are easier to build than others. Joisey’s biggest challenge is stabilizing the sand for the roadbed.

            • From the tune “Interstate Highway System”

              o/` In ’88 still not complete; a contractor’s salvation. o/`

      • Raleigh to Chatanooga??? I’d think about braving Charlotte first or puddle-jumping into some place closer.

  16. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Hey!

    Robert has a girlfriend?

    I thought you were concerned that your boys wouldn’t give you grandchildren? 😉

  17. Sarah, you want to know part of why you have all those fans?
    Because of things like your Usaians and the sorts of ideas you promote – and embody, really – in all that you do and write. You’re a happy, sappy, freedom-loving gal, who tells great stories.
    What’s not to love about that?

  18. When did I become a name writer, one whom fans travel hundreds of miles to attend?

    Friday, May 8, 2015 around 8:45 PM Mountain Daylight Time, but it has taken a while for everything to start spinning up.

  19. Tripping over fans? If all of them are multi-story buyers, you’re in the big leagues, regardless of whether you have a single brick and mortar contract or not.
    Con-gratulations!

    Can you imagine a weekend away from everything, just to relax, and let your mind idle to the point of just jotting down occasional notes on things that pop into your head? Maybe it’s just a mood thing set off by the cooler temperature, the smells of growing things, the soft calls of birds, the morning sun filtering down through the leafy canopy of the trees in faintly sparkling rays…
    And then I had to make a right turn into heavy traffic.

  20. We just loooooooove listening to you talk.

  21. Do you guys want a mini-workshop for next year? I can ask Rich for a 3 hour block or so, to go over how to hook the reader, etc. Yes, no?

    Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes.

  22. As for what happened over the last year, you’ve become something of a “spokesperson” for our tribe–libertarian leaning or outright libertarian science fiction fans. Others, at least among my acquaintance, don’t fill that roll as well. MadMike, for instance, takes more of a “gadfly” role as opposed to your more thoughtful approach.

    That’s my guess anyway.

  23. o you guys want a mini-workshop for next year? I can ask Rich for a 3 hour block or so, to go over how to hook the reader, etc. Yes, no?

    Uhm, yes…what do you think?

    BTW, I was told online reg opened Sunday but still nothing as of today. Do I have bad links?

    • No. They’re not sure there will be a con next year. One year after, for sure.

      • I just emailed Brandy, Fritz, and Rich about that. I’ll let everyone know their response as I receive it.

      • Just heard from Rich Groller. No news yet on LC31 whenever and wherever it will be, or (of course) on when any pre-regs will be taken. But he said he’d keep me posted on any updates, and I’ll pass them along as I get them.

        • In normal times there would be a prereg link on the Libertycon website, and there is, but it says registration for LC30 is closed. I fully expect that once a decision is reached they will update the info there as well as getting the straight skinny out to all the fen.

  24. So Sarah, when is HoytCon 01 going to be? Since you’re now a big draw and all. 😀 Think of it, you could have it near home and not have to travel…and you could even get some minions to run everything for you so you could indulge your Beautiful but Evil Space Princess (TM) persona…

    • Like you’re the first one who suggested that.
      I don’t think I’m big enough for THAT.

      • Not the first one, but surely the whiniest one…please, please, PLEASE? 😉

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          What location and when? Amarillo? Wichita? Colorado Springs?

          • I vote for Amarillo, but I’m a wee bit biased.

            • Dallas.

              • Marinette/Menominee!

                • Now, Menomonie would be nice for me, at a mere three hour drive, but I rather doubt it would do so well for Sarah – or you. Of course Menominee is a bit further (7 hours), but still a shorter trip than LC. And I can rest up in Merrill, WI if need be on the way to or from then.

                • I would, however, advise all to keep any gathering outside of MN. I’ve found that the Rule of “How to have a good time” is “First, leave the state…” Yes, I’ve had better times in Iowa, Wisconsin, and South Dakota. Not sure I have enough data points to be sure about North Dakota, but at the very least, at least it’s not Minneapolis/St. Paul.

                • Michigan?

                  • Since he’s in “da UP” yep. I’ve only visited the area, but spent enough time close enough that I do not necessarily speak fluent “Yoopenese” I can readily decipher most of it. That is, Rusty Chevrolet while an exaggeration, is not all big of a stretch. The only jarring thing is that the car in the video isn’t some light blue where it isn’t rust. When the Merrill, WI PD got their first “unmarked” car it was the only big grey sedan in town, which meant it was obviously “the unmarked car” to the locals. Had they made modifications to an older blue (and rust) Chevy, it would’ve been all but invisible all around.

                  • Yes
                    I be across the street from the river/border

                • While we’re blue-sky-ing it (as it were) I vote for Wyoming. I’ve always wanted to see the place since My Friend Flicka.

                  • Wyoming! Why Ohming? (~_^)

                    It is on a state to be visited list. I’d hoped to make a western state trip as a motorcycle ride vacation, but the job relocation and poor management here makes it unlikely anytime soon.

                    • o/` Ohm, Ohms on the range… o/`

                      Well, that is how an electric range works.

                    • Where the sear and the cantaloupe filet

                      cantaloupe?

                    • i generally filet my cantaloupe. Much less messy that chewing it directly off the skin.

                      Back when i was reading the Xanth books, I thought of writing to Anthony and suggesting the “Can’t Elope” plant, which parents could plant beneath their child’s window when they got old enough to think about such things.

                    • You can get married but you cantaloupe

                    • “When it’s cherry blossom time in Orange, New Jersey
                      We’ll make a peach of a pair. I know we cantaloupe
                      So honeydew be mine…”


                      Danny’s always okay by me.

                    • Now I recall, inspired indirectly by the canteloupe, a person who went by the name Treesong online and had a .sig that included “Always carry a grapefruit” or “acag.” I asked about this once and was told it was from some story, but there was no recall of what it was. Just that the line kept in mind. I’m still curious, and still haven’t found out by typical (search engine) means.

                    • I think that if we Hoyt a con in Wyoming the proper name for the meet-up would be The Wyoming Knott.

          • Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty
            You’ll see Amarillo
            Gallup, New Mexico
            Flagstaff, Arizona
            Don’t forget Winona

            (Wait, no, that’s merely the lyrics to Route 66. Nevermind.)

            • ironically, Sept 30 i get to read those in reverse order.

            • “66Con”? You move it down the road each year, then back again? 🙂

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Thing is, it looks like OKC, Armarillo, and Flagstaff might be viable. Winona and Gallup seem too small, assuming I know the right Gallup.

                • We could set up outside of town. Do a big bonfire with a wooden figure.
                  Wait… that sounds familiar.

                • you can’t move a con more than about an hour’s drive from where the people who run it live. Or it dies.
                  Seen it tried, but the personnel change too much, the flavor changes too much, and after a year or two, it’s done.

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    So the location would have to be inside of an hour of where the Hoyt fans/huns who run it live. Or rather, a HoytCon would need sufficient concentration of people with said skills to be viable in the first place.

                    I’m pretty sure OKC is more than an hour from Armarillo, and both are more than that from Dallas, so those locations couldn’t pool together the skills of the local Hoyt fans.

                    Thanks.

                    • BobtheRegisterredFool

                      Amarillo. I’m not sure where that extra r came from. Might be my obvious r fixation.

                    • OKC is four hours from Amarillo (the way most of us drive) and either three or five hours from D/FW (which side of D/FW, rush hour or not). D/FW is five or six hours from Amarillo (see previous sentence).

                    • Dorothy Grant

                      We knew what you meant, Bob. In fact, we might have been reading that going “Wow, somebody who didn’t call it Armadillo… a true mis-spelling, that!”

          • Just how big is Robert’s basement?

      • I’d be up for it, though.

      • How big do you have to be? Putting my conchair hat on, I’d like to point out that at this point you are essentially holding a HoytCon within every LibertyCon. While I would strongly advise against attempting to organize it yourself, due to the associated time suck if for no other reason, if there is no LC in 2018 a gathering of interested denizens of this site might be fairly well attended.

    • Probably as soon as time, money, and space for it can be found… in {Announcer voice} “beautiful downtown Goldport, CO.”

  25. Birthday Girl

    In 2018, I will be in a position to attend LC, first time ever. So since I’m not on the book of faces or other social media, where should I sign up for notices, etc.? And would it be acceptable for me to come and hang out on the margins of the crowd, without being an author or hopeful author, just a really interested reader? And yes, I will be asking you, Sarah, to autograph my scrap of flag …

  26. This was our first LiberyCon. It was, without reservation, the best convention we’ve been to. We saw you a few times (I think…can’t read the nametags from far away), but always when we were in a hurry to get somewhere and you were surrounded by fans ten deep. We didn’t know about the dinner and breakfast events. We’ll have to keep an eye out for them next time.

    The panels we attended were really good. Educational and entertaining. We ended up missing all the gaming events and some quality time in the dealer’s room because we had so many cool panels to attend.

    3pm on Friday was cruel, though. I mean, New Madrid Fault, Future of Military Flight, Xenobiology, Edged Weapons, World Building, OGRE, and even the Balloons of Doom which I now want to attend after seeing examples on heads…AT THE SAME TIME?

    And then there’s all the panels we missed because we were chatting with people outside or in the ConSuite…which was awesome. For instance, we talked for an hour with Robby Hilliard and TJ Morris about why my girlfriend was stuck in the muddled middle of her first book. And about writing filk, among other things. That’s not an experience you get at any large Con.

    We also got to tell Jeff Duntemann how much we liked Ten Gentle Opportunities and ended up with a signed book!

    Even helping break down the dealer’s room was good for gaining friends and losing pounds.

    The only bad spot was our 2+ hour urban hiking adventure Friday morning in search of a grocery store. It really put my feet in great condition for the rest of the con. Thanks, google maps! I wasn’t planning on taking the shuttle, but I was very thankful for its existence Saturday and Sunday.

    We will become regulars and maybe volunteer as staff. It is just that good.

    • For future reference, the Grocery Bar at 1501 Long St. is the closest one to the Choo Choo. No idea about its selection or prices.

      • Darn, I just learned that the Grocery Bar is closed now. There’s still Carniceria Loa No 7 at 1500 Broad St. if you like hispanic food. From the name it’s probably more of a butcher shop than a supermarket, but it’s still something of a grocery store.

        • Yeah, google maps took us to 2 closed grocery stores (possibly including that one) and a corporate HQ or warehouse or something…

          We just wanted some chips and granola bars for if we came back late and hadn’t eaten all day. Fortunately, the ConSuite was awesome, some nearby restaurants were awesome, and it the issue didn’t come up.

          • If LC is at the Chooch next time, be sure to make it to Blue Orleans restaurant, just across the street and half a block down.

            • I doubt it will be. Finally figured out the best way to deal with that convention space and where I need to stay. So, naturally now that I know the answer, it will no longer apply.

          • snelson134

            We found 2 Wal-Mart Supercenters within about 5 miles; maybe we can coordinate a grocery run next time?

    • FYI, Stephanie Osborn’s New Madrid presentation was so well received that she agreed to expand it into a series of guest blogs here on ATH. And eventually she will turn those with added content into a science fact book in the same vein as her cosmic weather book, The Weather Out There Is Frightful.
      Her business manager is a real tyrant and will nag her incessantly until this all comes together.

  27. I apologize for my delayed reply. What changed? The power of InstaPundit.

    That is all.

    • I recall when all I knew of Sarah was just a cover on Baen.com until she became a link on an “In the Mail. Insty post.
      read the book.
      likey, likey
      Oh look, she’s got a blog.
      Ha! now she has to put up with me all the damned time (~_^)

    • Instalanche!

  28. C4c (First night with reliable.internet in two nights. And a hotel room that we can actually walk though without tripping over someone. So I have a lot of catching up to do.)

    • Hey Sarah! It was good to talk to you and Dan, both during the Saturday morning Diner fiasco and then Saturday evening while you waited for Dan to come back from parking the car in the rain. Betsy and I really appreciated your congeniality, and didn’t expect you to actually recognize us, as far on the fringes of the Huns and as low-key as we usually travel.

      We met some nice people, and had interesting moments when we discovered, and were discovered by, other “Huns on the fringes”, the quieter ones who love following along, even if we don’t always speak up as much as the more racuous portion of the tribe.

      • Rauck! Rauck! Huns on fringes, Huns on fringes! Raaaaaauck!

      • I had a lovely breakfast at the diner and sat quietly as the Huns trickled in and sat with that strange bearded mundane gentleman. Or so they thought until I dropped a few carefully chosen phrases.

  29. I was a little nervous about that too, because Robert insisted she meet the “extended family” before they decided they were serious and I was going “What a horrible thing to do to a girl, even a writer, to drag her to her first SF/F con when it’s one where we know everyone, and she’ll be watched? What if she doesn’t get our jokes? What if she hates our friends? I mean… I was nervous.
    ———————–

    Interesting story along those lines…

    A friend of mine related recently how she’d gone to the other side of the country to meet her boyfriend’s parents for the first time. He broke up with her shortly afterwards. Apparently he didn’t go with her, because the girl he started dating after my friend was someone whom he’d met while my friend was visiting his parents.

    In the long run, though, it turned out okay for my friend. Several months later, she started dating a guy that she met and briefly interacted with while on the trip.

  30. “to go over how to hook the reader”
    By the genitals?

  31. I’m just happy that I finally got to meet you. And Dan was actually exactly what I expected. Interesting that.

    • John, enjoyed our conversations and greatly appreciated your contribution at the indie workshop panel. You, Old NFO, and Daddy Bear did yeoman duty standing in when Peter and Dot had to beg off. All three of your viewpoints on the business were most enlightening.

  32. I guess after you managed to silence all the non-white, male, Mormon writers in sci-fi their readers had to find something to read that was still being published.

    • Sarah has a wide range of books, mystery, fantasy and SF, enough to fill an old-fashioned book spinner. She does indeed have a great rack.

  33. “I still don’t understand my bewildering popularity at the con. It’s never been like this before. What happened between last year and this? Who knows?” Eh. Prob’ly just another Puppy Plot.