Libertycon was a couple of weeks ago and I still have a lot I want to say. This will probably be my last post on the subject unless something else comes to mind. The memories aren’t as fresh as when they happened. I was saving some of my favorite bits for last and now I am afraid I have forgotten some things.
The thing about writers or authors is that writing isn’t all they are. Michael Z. Williamson hosted a fantastic panel on 9000 years of edged weapons. It was informative and the collection was impressive.
Many authors have served in the armed forces or are first responders. Others are math teachers, scientists, or computer engineers. Some play musical instruments. Some direct plays. I could go on for a while. Authors usually have a few stories to tell outside of the ones they weave in books.
One of my absolute favorite panels of all time at Libertycon is the ‘No Sh*t There I Was’ panel. Basically, it is a group of individuals who served in the military or law enforcement. Some of them are still active members. All of them have interesting stories to tell from that time in their lives. This panel allows them to share those stories with a willing audience.
One gentleman told a story about being deployed overseas and a scorpion. Sarah and I loved it. We saw him around the con but I couldn’t remember his name, so for a short time he became “Scorpion guy”.
Then later we ran into him in a hallway talking to Jason Cordova. We were able to tell him how much we enjoyed the panels we had seen him on and he even graciously signed my card for my cousin, adding his own bit of writing wisdom. This sparked a conversation on writing. It turns out he is a plotter and works from outlines. I was able to ask questions about his writing process and hearing how he approaches writing made me think about my own a little differently.
Toward the end of our conversation, he told me he wanted to give me one of his books. I love books and read constantly, so I was happy to accept a free one. I took the book as he handed it to me, smiled, and said thank you. Then I looked down and read the title and my world tilted on its axis a little. I was holding a Yancey Lazarus novel by James A. Hunter.
That may not seem like a big deal but you have to understand that I was holding in my hands a book I had purchased a year or two ago. I read it and loved it so much I looked for other things by the same author and read some of those too. I remember thinking that the writer of those books did such an awesome job, that I wished I could meet the author just to tell them how much I enjoyed the books. Then life happened and I temporarily forgot about Yancey Lazarus and talented writer who created him.
I have favorite authors that I will buy almost anything they write. David B. Coe, also known as D.B. Jackson, is one of those. I just know that I am going to get a good story. When I read James Hunter I saw the promise of him becoming another favorite. I had forgotten until the man himself was standing there in front of me, handing me a book I had already read. I blurted out “I’ve read this!”, probably a bit louder than needed. Sarah took a look at the cover and recognized it too. Her outburst of “Holy Shit, you’re that guy?” made me feel better about my own faux pas. (When I find a good book I share. So she had read it too.)
I’m not sure what James Hunter thought about all of this. He did seem a little surprised but pleased that we liked his work. I handed off one of my business cards and we all eventually went our separate ways.
Sunday we met up again in the author’s alley and I got another surprise. That evening when he was emptying his pockets he found my business card and recognized my blog address. He follows my blog. I had never met someone who follows my blog in person. Also, not only was this someone who has at some point read my ramblings, but he is a good author too.
It’s kind of like if your favorite actor showed up to your school play. Yeah, they may have wandered in accidentally and only caught five minutes in the middle of the show, but someone who is good at what you like to do saw you doing that thing. It made me happy.
This post is getting long so I am going to leave off here. I have more of James A. Hunter’s books and I am planning on reading them and reviewing them on Amazon. Reviews are the best way to support your favorite authors without spending money. It helps others to find them too. I’ll probably write what I think here as well. Eventually.