LibertyCon, held each June in Chattanooga Tennessee, is unlike any literary sci-fi convention you’ve ever been to.

Now, you may have heard about this convention among the Southern Fandom family, but it is unlike any other Literary convention out there, because of the way that Uncle Timmy, (Tim Bolgeo) designed it.

What is LibertyCon

(taken from the LC about page)

LibertyCon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and we are a Charity for Charities. Each year we select a charity nominated by our attendees and staff through a Board Meeting vote where everyone present at the meeting is allowed to cast a vote. 

You probably know by now that LibertyCon is a convention that prides itself on great guests, phenomenal panels, a killer ConSuite and our “Family Friendly Atmosphere”. We’re a convention that is small on purpose (we limit the attendees to 750, which is actually in our Charter) since we want to give the fans a chance to sit down and chat with the guests. Sure we could try to bring in twice the attendees, but do you think you’d be able to sit on a couch with Terry Brooks talking about law or playing Magic the Gathering with Brandon Sanderson if we did?

If you feel like you don’t know anyone, don’t worry. Strike up a conversation, attend the panels and hop in with a comment or question. Or if you really want to get to know people quick offer to help out. A few hours working in the ConSuite will let you meet up with more people than you’ll be able to remember. The conventions aren’t the real world… believe us when we say that you’ve probably never met a more accepting group of people than the members of Southern Fandom.

Liberty can probably be a bit strange to first-timers because we tend to be a pretty close-knit group. But that’s the way it is in the South. The first time you’re a new friend, the second a better friend… and before you know it you’re a member of the family too. (don’t worry though, we won’t ask for rides or to help with babysitting. However, Brandy will probably draft you for a staff position. It’s what she does.)

For the rest of the details, check out the LibertyCon about page

Before LibertyCon, I had fumbled my way through draft after draft of short story and novel ideas with no real idea of how to clean it up or how to go about publishing it. Even as a member of local writing groups and the Chattanooga Writers Guild, I struggled to get useful input about how to better my craft and how to go about the business of writing.

LibertyCon Opening Ceremonies, (in the foreground left to right, Christopher Woods, Chuck Gannon, Gary Pool, Tom Kratman)
Opening Ceremonies (Chris Kennedyof Chris Kennedy Publishing and the Master of Ceremonies [center] singing to Brandy Bolgeo-Hendren [left] The LibertyCon Chairman) {The MC singing to Brandy has become another of those LC traditions}

When a good friend of mine told me about the convention, I jumped all over it. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Archeologists, NASA scientists, nuclear physicist, and so many more.

LibertyCon’s available knowledge base is so diverse, that you can easily find someone within the community that knows the answers you are looking for, or worst case, someone will know the person with the answers, and they will happily connect you.

Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books presenting during the Baen Roadshow
John Ringo and Lydia Sherrer presenting the cover art of their latest release at the Baen Roadshow

Left to Right: Teresa Howard, Megan Miller, Terry Maggert, Amie Gibbons, Lydia Sherrer, Gini Koch
Left to Right: Lydia Sherrer, Stephanie Osborne, John Ringo, Gary Pool, Jody Lyne Nye, Mike Massa, Jason Cordova, Chris Smith, Brent Roeder [neuroscientist]

As stated above in the about section of the website, LibertyCon is a tight knit family, and each convention feels like a family reunion. That right there is the beauty of it too, because we’re all growing in the craft, and most everyone that is part of the LibertyCon community will help where they can, from bouncing ideas to passing on info about anthologies and contests, folks help each other, and it is beautiful.

Another thing to take into account, which Uncle Timmy had planned for when he created LibertyCon, what the ability for us baby authors to network with our peers as well as top tier authors. The amount of knowledge available still blows my mind. And even folks like Kevin J. Anderson, Larry Corriea, Eric Flint, Jody Lynn Nye, Bill Fawcet, etc. are happy to chat and answer questions.

Now, besides attending great informational panels, moderated by authors and experts in their respective fields, there are fun panels, discussing everything from some major series, (It Came From The Trailer Park, was one for us, as well as a JTF-13 and What’s new from Three Ravens Publishing panel), But panels for cosplay, chainmail crafting, readings by your favorite authors and more.

“It Came From The Trailer Park” discussion panel (From left to right, [not pictured Mel Todd, Kevin Steverson, Philip K. Booker, Jenny Wren] Charity Ayres, Michael K. Falciani, myself William Joseph Roberts at the podium, Amie Gibbons, Christopher Woods, Michael Gants, Jim Curtis, Lawdog, and William Alan Webb)

Then we have the game rooms, for video and table top, an amazing Consuite, The Mad Scientists Round table, Make it Take it (crafting room with supplies), the LibertyCon Artshow and the after hours activities to include Kareokee and Room Parties.

LibertyCon Art Show
Three Ravens Room party: Pictured John Osborn, Mark Stallings, Jenny Wren, Michael K. Falciani, William Joseph Roberts
Three Ravens Room party: Pictured Charity Ayres, Steve Jackson (of Steve Jackson Games), William Joseph Roberts

Then there are LibertyCon Traditions, like visiting the City Cafe in downtown Chattanooga.

Jay Boyce, Michael Boudreaux, Jenny Wren, Philip K. Booker, William Joseph Roberts
Jay Boyce, William Joseph Roberts, Philip K. Booker, Isaac Craft, Michael Boudreaux,

Now, if you’d like to be part of this great yearly gathering, Tickets for LibertyCon 35, happening June 23-25, 2023, go on sale July 16, 2022 at noon EST. The cost will be $60. LibertyCon only sells 1,000 tickets to our event, and they sell out quickly. So be ready for the “Hunger Games” if you want to come hang out with the rest of us aspiring authors.

Now, one last thing…

And remember that networking thing? There’s always the chance it might go beyond, and you make some great friends of these folks. Even if you don’t get the opportunity to come to LibertyCon, get out to the conventions that you can, meet other authors and personalities. You never know, you might come away with new lifelong friends.

Sketti Dinner and Munchkin with Steve Jackson and Michael K. Falciani at Raven Central
Sketti Dinner and Munchkin with Steve Jackson and Michael K. Falciani at Raven Central

Even after a crazy busy weekend filled with memories, networking and fun, it’s good to be home.

The Kutte is hung, the Con is done, time to make the words flow.

~William Joseph Roberts

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