My day at Liberty Con
I'm not the type of writer who does the “con circuit.” It's not that I don't like to get out and meet the fans, it's that I hate to travel and would rather be at home working on my next book.
In 13 years of writing, I have only attended four conventions counting Liberty Con 27. My agent, the studio that produced the Bigfoot War movie, and even the con itself all teamed up, asking me to be an author guest. I would have said no, like I usually do, except for the fact that David Drake was also a guest this year.
David Drake is one of the best Military SF authors the genre has ever known but more than that, he's my personal hero. Reading his early horror stories and his world famous Hammer's Slammers series as a kid made me into the writer that I am today.
When they told me I would be signing right next to Drake, even sharing the same table, how I could I not go? Dave had already signed numerous books for me through the mail and we had chatted a lot online but meeting him face to face had always been a dream of mine. I packed up the family, made the agent, producer, and con staff happy, and headed over to Chattanooga.
As I arrived for the first of my two autograph sessions at the con, I metDrake for the first time. I was wearing a Professor Zoom shirt with a bright red lightning bolt on it. Dave pointed at his socks. He had ones with huge red lightning bolts running down the sides of them.
We were both surprised and burst into laughter. It was awesome. I got my first pic taken with him before I was forced to hurry away and sign books. Several people stopped me on my way to have their picture taken with me beneath the giant banner for the Bigfoot War movie the con had put up in the lobby area.
For that first autograph session, I sat next to Charles Gannon, New York Times bestselling co-author of the 1632 series. The bulk of fans I signed books for had copies of my new Kaiju Apocalypse series but one fan threw me a curve ball by actually having a copy of War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies from Simon and Schuster with them for me to sign.
I didn't think anyone at a SF con would know me as a “zombie guy” but they did. There was even one hardcore fan of my zombie work who cornered me more than a few times to talk during the after parties.
I was on several panels but the coolest was the Kaiju panel I moderated with my co-author, Jason Cordova. I was stunned by how many giant monster fans showed up for it on the last day of the con. Then I was off to sign with Dave. I don't think there are any words to express how amazing it was to sit next to the king of Military SF, my personal hero, who's work had made me want to write in the first place, as a peer.
Timothy Zahn was there with Dave and I. He had a huge Star Wars display set up but I never even spoke to him. (Sorry Mr. Zahn!) When the burst of fans rushing up to get books signed finally died down, I spent the rest of the time talking with Dave and discovering just how alike we were in so many ways. It's rare that one's hero not only lives up to one's expectations but actually surpasses them but that was the case with Dave.
The con has already asked me to come sign again next year even though I am a mainly a horror writer not a SF one. Whether or not I decide to go, I'll say this: Liberty Con 27 was by far the best and most relaxed (in comparison) con I have ever been a featured guest at.