Monday, September 28, 2015

AllSoulsCon: Our Fan-Girl Experience!

It's done!  The first Annual AllSoulsCon has come and gone, and wow what an experience!  This is a recap of the convention from our point of view, and we will have more perspectives on this great event in the coming days!  First, we had to actually get there!  One of us from Chicago, one from Dallas, one from Seattle.   We all arrived with zero incident and had no idea what to expect from the first ever AllSoulsCon.

The iconic Theme Building at LAX
Welcome to Los Angeles!  Well, there are distinct differences between Los Angeles and the cities we came from.  All major U.S. cities each have their own energy and personality.  Los Angeles' vibe is a bit hard to describe, but perhaps this picture will say it all:

Approx. 10ft tall robot spotted walking at LAX baggage claim.  Errrr...ok!
It's taken us several days (more like a couple of weeks) to get ourselves back in the swing of everyday life.  We finally we had time to sit down and parse out what went on on that whirl-wind day.
Written on our behalf by the Scheming Daemon:

Still not totally back to the land of the living but this Con-zombie will attempt to do a daemonic recap of our adventures - fan-girl style!

The Sofitel, Los Angeles - where we stayed, and where the event was held.
Friday night we checked in with our hosts Laura and Karen. These women were so kind, genuine and wonderful to work with (spoiler: we are sooo going to do this again!)  We staked out the ballroom, visited for a bit, and then ventured out into the neighborhood (Beverly Hills!  What?!).  We had a fabulous dinner at AGO with old friends and new.  The food was outstanding and our waiter was a delightfully flirtatious Italian gentleman of a certain age.   I'll just say it - Friday night turned into a middle school-style slumber party!  Lots of giggling, and we barely slept (probably nerves!)  We were up way past a time that is appropriate for people presenting a panel the next morning.  There was no hair braiding, though... ;)

The best hosts ever!  Karen Mendez and Laura Ventura.  Photo/Lilly Derway

We were actually on stage while this was taken, but here is everyone we got to have a great conversation with! 
Our table is the one on the far right.  The three empty seats are ours!  Photo/Lilly Derway
We opened with a passage from ADOW and off we went. After our first impressions of Matthew, we immediately found kin-ship with the audience!  These are our people!  This is our tribe.  We broke down our analysis by book and then the categories of family, friends, and the persona Matthew took on in the particular book we were covering.

Screen shot of a portion of the outline we sometimes ignored worked from!
The Maven daemon put Oprah to shame with that mike!  From where we were sitting, she was awesome to watch. The best thing of all is that this wasn't a lecture.  It it was a conversation!  It flew by so fast - we realized afterwards that we didn't get to do a thorough job on ADoW, barely touched on SoN, and never mind BoL, which was hastily summarized to a conclusion.   Hamish and Ysabeau were hot topics!   But it was such a blur we're still trying to fill each others memory gaps.  I did say something about Matthew "needing a quarter for the clue bus" but the context escapes me!  Like I said, a total BLUR!

The Maven Daemon at work!  Photo/Lilly Derway
After our whirlwind panel, Thomas Gunter/Gallowglass actually came up to me and told me "you guys were f*cking awesome!"  He is in the process of reading the books, and he loved our panel.  He also said that he loved the Daemons (because, why wouldn't you?!  Ok, ok...but honestly, there is no room for humility when this guy says something like that!  You'd be a bit boastful too!)   He was such a nice person - with a bit of an edge.  He may not look like everyone's Gallowglass but he certainly channeled his spirit!  Our Vampire Daemon did pet his tattoo, though.  Can you blame her?

Vampire Daemon admires Thomas' tattoo.  Photo/Lilly Derway
The music segment was great and tons of fun - Professor Gilbert has tentatively agreed to do a post for the Domain, so watch this space!   The yoga interludes were also fun and relaxing - not to mention Goddess centered.  We loved Margaux, and needed the centering breaks - there was so much crazy energy bouncing around the ballroom - and it was all good!  This daemon must have been an amusing sight trying to go through the poses in spike heels and a pencil skirt - but I did bow out before it shifted to NSFW territory (eek!).

The musicians pose with Corra! Corra artwork by FetchGoodyAlsop - Photo/Lilly Derway
Deb was not in the house for our first panel ever – maybe it was the Goddess at work (imagine the extra pressure!).  She couldn’t find her keys and was running quite late.  Apparently, Deb watched the live stream while she was searching for them.  She finally came in 10 minutes into the Elizabethan music show (we didn't notice!), and afterwards, as the Vampire Daemon put it, “pretty much strangled us.” Apparently, she made a beeline for me, tackled me at the breakfast bar and gave me a big rocking hug. “I saw you on my T.V..  You guys were sooo good. Thank you so much.  It was wonderful.”  A huge sigh of relief from me. “We didn’t embarrass you or screw up too bad?” I had to bite my tongue to keep from channeling Sally Fields at the Oscars!  I was stunned in the best way.  Then she headed straight for the Vampire Daemon and Maven Daemon at the table.  Again, with the big, long hugs!   She was holding onto Vampire Daemon's hands and kept petting Maven Daemon's arm.  She's always been very warm and genuine with us, but we were of really shocked by the new level of affection!  It was crazy.  Talk about our Daemon godmother!  We could tell the whole event thrilled her.   We are glad she got to see how much her fans truly adore her!

Jennifer Ikeda was our lunch companion, and it was her birthday!  Thanks to a heads-up by Laura, we came prepared with the gift of a Daemon shirt, and made her one of our own.  Yes, she is now an honorary Daemon!  She came, she saw, she got the t-shirt!   And there was cake!  She is so, so sweet...and a Star Trek: TNG fan!  She was truly overwhelmed by the fact that people would want to meet her because of her audio book work.  What a lovely lady!

Jennifer Ikeda, you are now an honorary Daemon.  Photo/Lilly Derway
Any doubt that this woman is a daemon of epic proportions?
Jennifer Ikeda treated us to a reading from ADOW and a glimpse into the process of making an audio book.  It's a very solitary and intense experience.  There's a ton of preparation involved including as many as three read throughs, and lots of margin notes tracking the shifting voices (it's not always clear who's speaking).  In fact, TBOL was recorded in only three marathon sessions because the timetable was so compressed!  The most poignant moment of this segment was Deb and Jennifer's first face to face meeting. There were lots of sighs and a few tears.

Deborah & Jennifer's first face-to-face meeting! Photo/Lilly Derway
Deb did a big Q&A – Yours truly played hostess with the microphone - so no notes, but we did record it, so there will be a daemonic transcription at some point!  These are the high points news-wise:  Deb’s progressing slowly but surely with both the BBC pre-production and writing but no real details to report on either.  There’s a mix of old and new characters in what she’s writing but she described it as "tender green shoots."  Her exact words: "I am writing about people you know."

Deb's Q&A panel.  Photo/Lilly Derway
There was a lot of 'meet and greet' during the signing.  Our dear author informed us that sometimes the Daemons’ idea of simple and everyone else's are totally different – we’re still trying to work out what that means!   I'm happy to report that Jennifer Ikeda is Baldwin-friendly!  There were some disappointed Baldwin naysayers in the audience when she announced that.  Ah, well.  We did get to do a little mutual Baldwin-swooning during the signing!

Getting some of our giveaway stash signed for Daemon 'Prize Central', and chatting w/ Deb.  Photo/Lilly Derway
It was a night for lots of connecting, hugs, and overall good feelings – it was soul-nourishing, truth be told.  Hopefully we will see you next year!

A shot of our convention badges before they got packed away for our journey home.
Badge artwork by FetchGoodyAlsop

Huge thanks goes to the producers of AllSoulsCon, Laura and Karen for having so much faith in us.  More perhaps, than we did in ourselves.  :)  Thank you Lilly, for all of the great photos of the event and dedicating your time/talent to ensuring that fans everywhere got a glimpse of the day.  It was so wonderful meeting all of you!  Thank you, Deborah Harkness, Jennifer Ikeda, Thomas Gunter, Margaux Permuttall, Isaias Garcia, Professor Adam Gilbert of USC & accompanying musicians, in-person, and online attendees for making us feel at home and ensuring everyone in attendance had an absolute blast.

Til next time,
feed your daemons!

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