I spent the weekend at LibertyCon in Chattanooga TN, and I’ll do my best to tell most of the story in pictures, because that’s a lot more fun, but this convention had so much going on from dawn until next dawn (they certainly don’t stop at dusk) that it was incredible. Programing had me running so ragged I barely was able to do much else other than what they had me listed as, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m far more comfortable WORKING than doing anything else, so when a convention fully utilizes me as a fairly charismatic speaker and event organizer, I actually feel far more appreciated than I would otherwise.
So kudos to the programming folk right off the bat.
I started off with a reading (which is on video), where I had the great author A.M. Freeman doing an interpretive dance to my rendition of “The Snake” by Al Wilson, followed by a sneak peak at The Adventures of Baron Von Monocle 2: The Blood of Giants (which will be out in August). Quincy Allen actually coaxed me into doing Zaira’s 16 year old female voice for the dialogue… I’m not sure I’ll do that again so if you want to laugh at me, you’ll want to watch that.
Then came the Superversive Panel, which was very special for me in particular as I was on a panel with Jody Lynn Nye, who was one of the first people to teach me how to write at Dragon*Con. I owe everything to Jody, her class did wonders for me, and she is the classiest, coolest professional in the field, so it was a pure honor for me. I introduced myself on this panel as President of the Jody Lynn Nye Fan Club. It was a lot of fun.
Perhaps the most interesting part was the opening ceremonies, which were stormed by folk wearing Make Science Fiction Fun Again hats and Happy Frogs shirts. Over the course of the convention of folk who wore or bought it, I tracked that more than 5% of people were wearing my apparel brand, so a big thank you to everyone who picked it up and ran with it! You guys are awesome. The guys over at CryptoFashion tell me that if folk missed out on the winning and want to get a good deal on next year, they’ll be running a sale this week on all of my apparel so winners who couldn’t make it can still get in on the winning.
The opening ceremony itself was so packed it went into overflow with people unable to get in. And for good reason. This was the best opening ceremony I’ve ever seen at a con. Gray Rinehart SLAYED a song he created for the event, which made everyone laugh and put everyone in a great mood. And then Chuck Gannon delivered the most entertaining convention speech I’ve ever seen in my life. The con made it clear: THIS CONVENTION IS ALL ABOUT FUN. And they delivered.
I won’t detail all my other panels, which were fantastic and fun down the line, but the weekend continued much like that, and we also had a great time doing a Star Realms tournament on Saturday night. The parties were great, met some of the most wonderful people in the world or saw them again (shout out to Arlan Andrews, Julie Frost, Jason Cordova, John Van Stry, Mark Wandrey, Chris Kennedy and I’m sorry to probably the 200+ other folk I spoke with over the weekend I love you too but this blog would get long!).
Bottom line was the convention stuck to science fiction/fantasy, they stuck to fun, everyone was a joy to be around, there was no drama, no politics, no identity bullshit, and this is what people come for when they come for fandom. If you’re a convention, this should be your model. Fun first. Put everything else aside. Your mission is to grow science fiction, and the way to do that is to welcome everyone and have a good time, just like LibertyCon accomplished. I know certain organizers from certain places are reading this – and I most certainly am talking to you!
I also made an announcement on the Steampunk panel that I’ll be doing the #SummerOfSteampunk. If you have steampunk works coming out, join in on the hashtag, have some fun. My release schedule will look like this:
Von Monocle 1.5: James Gentry’s story “Knight Training” – July 18th.
Von Monocle 2: The Blood Of Giants – August
Von Monocle 3: Fight For Rislandia! – September
Truly a steampunk filled summer. If you haven’t caught up on my bestselling and award winning novel For Steam And Country yet, now’s the time. It’s on amazon, free on kindle unlimited, and there’s even an audio version! Check it out here.