Well, I am back from LibertyCon 31, and am thoroughly knackered.
Herself didn't get to join me -- again. This year a nasty bout of strep throat put the kibosh to any thoughts of her climbing into a pressurised metal tube for the flight. Sigh. I swear to any number of godlings that I will get her to to LibertyCon 32 if it harelips every cannibal in the Congo.
I had -- somewhat (okay, very much) nervously mentioned to the Con staff that I would do a panel, and they proceeded to put me on one named "No [Deleted], There I was, Just Minding My Own Business ..." "It's war stories. You'll do fine" I was informed.
Gentle Readers, I'm here to tell you that when you plonk down on a dais, and you realise that you're sharing it with David Drake, John Ringo, Michael Williamson, and others whose books you've been reading for decades ... that's the sort of thing that'll launch you, shrieking, straight for the rafters.
Honestly, between 1) The sheer number of people in the room not only staring at me, but breathing my air; and 2) Mentally chanting "Don't[deleted]thisup, don't[deleted]thisup, don't[deleted]thisup" the memory of the stories I told are pretty much white noise and incipient panic.
At the request of a fan, (Hi, CrankyProf!) I told the Armadillo story (which seemed to go over rather well); and I was planning on telling the Hog story -- both of which I've told a million times, but I practised again just to be sure ...
... and then Ringo told a sidesplitter ...
... and my very-competitive monkey-brain slipped past the censor gibbering in the corner, cut sling-load on the Hog story, and launched (fully unprepared) into the Pink Gorilla Suit story.
When I'm not wearing the Cop Suit, my voice tends to be somewhat soft. And when I'm jazzed to the gills on over-stimulation, mild panic, and PEOPLE, I tend to run my words together; so when the white noise cleared, I was checking the crowd to see how bad I screwed up the delivery of the story, when I hear Mike Kupari clear his throat, "Not exactly fair, having to follow LawDog."
From the expressions in the crowd, I'm pretty sure that I didn't embarrass myself.
The rest of LibertyCon was a blast. Sipped some really nice booze, swapped stories, met some genuinely nice people, wound up with a gift-wrapped box of 1/4" nuts delivered by a minotaur representative of ACME Industries, and got hugged.
Good convention. Good people.
We'll be back next year.