Friday, October 30, 2015

Weekly Geek! Happy Halloween!

This Weekly Geek is dedicated to one of our favorite holidays - Halloween!  We are going to explore the American traditions mentioned in Chapter 42, A Discovery of Witches.

A tiny witch and a slightly larger vampire were holding hands on the front porch.
“Trick or treat,” they intoned, holding out their open pillowcases.
“I’m a vampire,” the boy said, baring his fangs at Matthew. He pointed to his sister. “She’s a witch.”
“I can see that,” Matthew said gravely, taking in the black cape and white makeup. “I’m a vampire, too.”
The boy examined him critically. “Your mother should have worked harder on your costume. You don’t look like a vampire at all. Where’s your cape?” The miniature vampire swept his arms up, a fold of his own satin cape in each fist, revealing its bat-shaped wings. “See, you need your cape to fly. Otherwise you can’t turn into a bat.”

And that was Matthew's introduction to a modern American Halloween and one of the sweetest passages in A Discovery of Witches.  What better way to celebrate the day than to geek over the origins of some of the traditions Matthew experienced before his time walk?  Let's do it!

Trick or Treat!
Let's start with the "trick or treat" tradition, which first became popular in the US in the 1930s.  It's actually a combination of two medieval traditions: "guising" and "souling".

Guising is part of the Celtic tradition of celebrating the end of the year by dressing up as evil spirits. The Celts believed that as we moved from one year to the next, the worlds of the dead and the living would overlap, and demons would roam the earth once again.  Dressing up as demons was sort of a defense mechanism.  If you encountered a real demon roaming the earth, they would think you were one of them and walk right on by!  Eventually, it was co-opted by the Catholic Church.

The idea of receiving candy or "treats" dates back to the late medieval Christian practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on All Saints Day (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).  In a way, it is similar to the caroling scene in Shadow of Night.  That magpie Will even references it in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593) - We think we may know who put that idea in his head!

Traditional modern Jack-o'-lanterns
The Jack-o'-lanterns carved so beautifully by Sophie,that Sam and the teenage warlocks just had to come and see them in person, came to be from a tradition that originated in Ireland - except the first Jack-o'-lanterns started as hallowed out turnips containing a lit candle. People carried them on All Hallows Eve to keep away the evil spirits.  They are rooted (pun totally intended!) in the Legend of Stingy Jack.  What's Halloween without a cool spooky legend?  Well then, let's tell a tale, shall we?  Gather 'round . . .

Stingy Jack was a miserable, cheap old drunk who took pleasure in playing tricks on just about everyone - family, friends, his mother, and even one on the Devil himself.  The Devil was rather intrigued by Jack.  Stories of his misdeeds were getting to be legendary in the underworld.  The Devil, an expert practitioner of the famous Seven Deadly Sins1, heard of Jack, became rather envious of Jack's nasty pranks, and got greedy.  He decided his collection of wayward souls needed the addition of one Stingy Jack!  Now, here is where the tale gets fluid; there are a few variations of this story (ah legends...gotta love them.  It's like playing telephone!).  One version had Jack being well aware of the Devil's pursuance of him, and he thought that with some trickery he might be able to trap the Devil up in a tree to avoid being taken to Hell.  When the Devil arrived, he asked him to please climb up the tree for him and retrieve an apple - one last perfect apple for Jack to enjoy - and then he'd allow the Devil to take his soul.  The Devil thought, "easy enough," and up he climbed!  While the Devil looked for suitable apple for Jack's last meal, Stingy Jack quickly placed a bunch of crosses all around the trunk of this tree.  Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was effectively trapped!  Another version of this tale takes place in a pub.  Stingy Jack is overly drunk, and does not have the cash to pay his bar tab (according to this version, Jack never paid his tab).  The Devil, knowing just where to find Jack, appeared at the pub to take his soul.  Stingy Jack then begged the Devil to turn himself into a coin so Jack can finally show appreciation to the pub he's considered a second home, and pay the over-worked bar man once before leaving the earth.  Jack swore that afterwards the Devil could morph back to his original form and take Jack to Hell with him. The Devil, thinking that this was a fair enough bargain (he really wanted this soul!), turned himself into a coin; Jack - instead of paying his tab - pocketed the coin where he carried a silver cross. The Devil, unable to change himself back to his old form because of the silver cross, was trapped!  In both of these versions, Stingy Jack found himself in the rare position of the upper hand over the Devil. Adding insult to injury, he was rather self-congratulatory about his nefarious tactics! Eventually, after the repeated, needless taunting of his captive, Jack made his demand: the Devil was to pledge not to take Jack's soul after his death.  Only then would Jack let the Devil down from the tree/remove the cross from his pocket.  After reluctantly agreeing (he had no choice, really), the Devil acquiesced and relinquished the claim to Jack's soul.  Stingy Jack removed the crosses from the bottom of the tree/the silver cross from his pocket, and the Devil was set free.

Many years later when Jack's life finally ended, he went knocking on the pearly gates of Heaven.  He was met by Saint Peter, and scolded thoroughly!  Jack was told that he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth.  St. Peter told him that the big man did not approve!  Stingy Jack was banned, and denied entry to Heaven for eternity.  Jack was promptly whisked straight to Hell, where he had to face his old nemesis, the Devil.  The Devil was adamant in his denial of Jack's entry. The Devil is a lot of things, but he is not one to back away from his word!  Do you remember how Devil loved his Deadly Sins? He was full of wrath, had abundance of pride, and protected his ego fiercely; he had not forgotten the embarrassing prank that held him hostage years earlier.  At this point Jack started really freaking out!  He had nowhere to go; he was to wander around forever in the darkness of the netherworld somewhere between Heaven and Hell!  He pleaded with the the Devil to provide some guidance in his bleak eternity, as there was no light to direct his path!  The Devil, despite himself, found pity for this feckless soul (the Devil did admire Jack's shrewdness during his lifetime), and tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell to help Stingy Jack light his way.  Jack just happened to have a turnip with him (it was one of his favorite foods - it seemed in all versions of this story he had a turnip handy!)  Jack hollowed out his turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him inside.  From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his Jack-o'-lantern.

If you happen to later seek out this tale yourself, we warn you: there are countless versions!  You'll find all kinds of stories about Stingy Jack. We even found one combining the versions we just told (kind of!  Even in that one the details diverge). The permutations are all quite entertaining, and all inevitably end with the same moral lesson.

And that, friends is how we wound up carving faces on pumpkins and sticking candles in them ... wait, what?!  Like all legends, this one traveled with its tellers.  In Ireland and Scotland, after wide circulation of the tale, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits.  In England, large beets were used.  Immigrants from these countries brought the Jack-o’-lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States and Canada. With the wave of immigration - especially from Ireland, in the mid-19th century amid the potato famine - the holiday exploded.  Folks found that pumpkins, a gourd native to America, actually made great Jack-o’-lanterns!

Apple bobbing was one of the activities at the coven's celebration attended by Sarah and Em.  It may seem like a child's game but its origins are decidedly adult!  You can thank the Irish for this custom as well.

Bobbing for apples dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain, when the conquering army merged their own celebrations with traditional Celtic festivals.  The Romans brought with them the apple tree, a representation of a goddess of fruit trees and fertility, Pomona.

During the annual harvest celebration, young unmarried people try to bite into an apple floating in water or hanging from a string.  The first person to bite into the apple would be the next one to be allowed to marry.  Girls who placed the bobbed apple under their pillows supposedly dreamt of their future loves.

And with that, we're off to greet trick or treaters at our own households, and munch on conduct quality checks of the Halloween candy!  Have fantastic Halloweens, everyone!

You still have time to enter our Halloween Giveaway!  It's international and open until midnight tomorrow night (Eastern time).

Here's something to feed your ghouly daemons with before we sign off for the holiday:
Halloween, With a Medieval/Early 16th Century Twist

1. "The Seven Deadly Sins" - Christians (since the earliest of times), have used variations of these vices as instructional tools concerning human tendency towards sin.  Considered fatal to spiritual progress, Christians were to practice virtue, and denounce the sins inherent to their nature.  The Sins in their currently recognized versions: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Wrath, Greed & Sloth.  The Sins in literature: In Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, a parade of the seven deadly sins is conducted by Mephistopheles.

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!  If you enjoy our Weekly Geeks and/or our other regular features, you can subscribe and have our posts come straight to your inbox.  No spam, promise!  No post, no email.  Simple as that, and you can unsubscribe at any time!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

From Hogwarts to All Souls - A Journey

Hello friends!  Because of this trilogy we've met many like-minded people.  Amongst our fellow All Souls enthusiasts, this question usually popped up within our first introductions: "What brought you to All Souls?"  We love hearing about the journeys to the Trilogy.  Here is one story that we thought would be cool to share because many young adults grew up with Harry Potter.  As he entered maturity, so did they - right by his side.

We'd like to thank our good friend, Jei-Nhy, for writing this guest post and telling us about her personal road and many a reader's inevitable leap into the All Souls universe . . .
A Blending of Worlds.  Harry Potter and the All Souls Trilogy
By Jei-Nhy Quirantes

J. K. Rowling gripped the literary world with the wizarding world of Harry Potter for a decade. If you’re a huge fan like I am, you can understand that those years were filled with magic and wonder as our imaginations took over our senses and gave us a much needed reprieve from high school and our entire muggle existence. As our minds crossed Platform 9 3/4. We were gifted with not only magic, but with a sense of adventure as we battled magical creatures, tried our hands at potion making, and secretly wished we were as smart as Hermoine. And, if you’re a huge fan like me, you were a bit sad when this magical world came to a close and we were forced to well...grow up. 

It’s hard to overcome a spellbinding story like that.  The ability to blend the fantastical with a dash of reality to make the possibility of a magical existence not only believable, but almost logical.  A story like that is magic. Pure magic.

Which brings me to the exciting introduction of the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  She does a superb job in creating another door into our Narnia-like world where magic exists again!

We loved Harry Potter because of the adventure! We were jumping with Harry Potter on the back of that troll in the girls' restroom! We were shaking alongside Ron when Harry dragged him to meet Aragog. And we were running alongside our classmates in the Great Hogwarts Battle, flashing our wands at those Death Eaters.  The All Souls Trilogy matches that level adventure and then some! We meet vampires face-to-face, to the point they’re practically family!  We meet witches and wizards, some bad, but most good. If you are like me and absolutely love the Burrow, you’ll definitely love the Bishop House.   And if you’re thinking that a story that includes vampire and witches is ordinary, I can’t wait for you to meet the daemons!  They add an extra flair to the magical world that you’ll definitely appreciate!  The All Souls Trilogy offers many adventures down many different paths. You’ll love All Souls Trilogy because of the adventure.  

We loved Harry Potter because of the magic! I dare you to tell me I’m wrong!  We loved the story because of the wands, the charms, the potions, and the spells.  We loved flying on brooms, facing dragons, and being intrigued by all things Hogwarts.  While All Souls Trilogy may not have the exact same stunning spells or even those nasty 'Forbidden' curses, it has its own kind of magic.  The witches in All Souls have their potions and their own sort of 'time-turners'.  They weave magic in ways I haven’t seen done before.  The All Souls Trilogy upgrades its magic for our (hopefully) slightly more mature minds.  We've grown up quite a bit, and so did the magic!

We loved Harry Potter because every now and then we have trouble drawing the line between the fictional world and reality. Let’s be honest - reading through the series, tell me you didn’t find yourself thinking that a magical world and the world as we know could possibly exist? It almost made sense that you couldn’t see Platform 9 3/4 because you didn’t get a letter from Hogwarts, but that doesn’t mean others didn’t!  The blending of reality and magic that Rowling created made it almost plausible that a magical world existed in parallel with our current realities.  It’s the same balance and blend with All Souls Trilogy.   Ms. Harkness is a historian by trade and weaves reality between a magical existence that blurs the lines enough to make you question it, even if just for a second.   We get swept into Diana’s magical existence without even realizing it, because if we’re honest, it’s always been around us. You’ll love All Souls Trilogy because it makes fiction a reality!

Harry Potter will always be one of our first loves. All Souls Trilogy will be the next.  Capturing the same sense of adventure and magic, All Souls Trilogy helps us bridge that gap between childhood and the life we now face.  It’s been almost twenty years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published.  We can drink beer, rent a car, and actually pay taxes to Uncle Sam. We're finally allowed to join in grownup conversations, and All Souls Trilogy helps us do that without losing the adventure, or the magic.


P.S.  It's not our tale to tell!  Do you have your own personal tale you'd like to share with All Souls fans?  Contact us!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

Weekly Geek! About Syrah...

Wow!  According to this, Matthew's a Syrah guy.  They probably heard Daemon squees all the way to the McLaren Vale!  This really excites our Scheming Daemon - it's her personal favorite.  It's a grape whose wines not only reflect the unique profile and feel of the grape but also reflects the personality of the location and  maker.  In the hands of the French, it becomes the famous red Rhône wines of Côte Rotie and Hermitage and Chateauneuf du Pape.

In the hands of our Aussie friends, it is the big, bold, sexy Shiraz.  Petite Sirah, which sounds like it should be related, is a totally different grape and a delicious discussion for another day.   In short, the wines made from the syrah (shiraz) grape are as beautiful as the elusive vampire that loves to drink it.

Syrah in a glass.
Syrah makes an intense wine all the way around.  It's color is a deep violet, nearly black.  Its appearance in the glass by candlelight is mesmerizing.  It has an almost chewy mouth feel and richness, on your tongue.  It's spicy, rather than fruity - aroma is misleading because the wines from Syrah often pack quite a punch - especially the Australian potions.   In short, there's nothing subtle about syrah!  It's been described as sumptuous, lavish, voluptuous, even ‘slutty’!  It's the bad girl of red wines!  And it's a red wine that will make a good girl go bad!  ;-)  If you ever need proof, ask our Scheming Daemon about seven guys, a Penfold's dinner, and free pour Grange when next you see her.  Scandal!
Although cultivated since antiquity, competing claims to the origin of this variety have it either being transplanted from Persia, near the similarly-titled city of Shiraz, or to being a native vine of France. There is evidence that the grape had been grown in the Rhone since the Roman occupation. While DNA testing seems to have disposed of the Persian claim, the Darioush winery of California, whose new world wines celebrate the old world styles of Bordeaux, makes a beautiful Shiraz as a salute to the winery owner's Persian heritage.

Syrah is wonderful on its own but also stands up to hearty food.  Our Daemon loves to pair it with lamb or smoky, grilled meats.  It's also tasty coupled with spicy Moroccan food.  However, a certain vampire may have different ideas!  :-)

Let's just cut to the chase: the drinking suggestions!  These are a few of the daemon's favorite Syrahs/Shirazs. Give syrah a whirl!  It's a peek into Matthew's soul. :-)

This wine always evokes memories of blueberry pancakes on a Sunday morning.

Chateauneuf du Pape is a great starting point for sampling the Rhone's interpretation of syrah - with a range of price points you can ease into it slowly and have a great time exploring.

This is great with or without food and reflects the Aussie's love of fun and witty names for their wines.  Some of them are worth it for the label story alone!
The back label of
"The Ball Buster"
Another Australian - it's an elegant bottle fit for a special meal.

As always, trust your own palate! Taste. Taste. Taste. Drink what YOU enjoy and never apologize about the grape or price point.

Browse the contents of Matthew's cellar:

Learn a little more about syrah here:
Syrah Wine Grapes, Flavor, Character History Wine and Food Pairing Tips

Some pairing ideas:
Northern Rhône Syrah: Foods to Pair and Meals that Call for Northern Rhône Syrah

And just for fun:
Your Wine Astrology Sign!
Wine By Sign

Feed your inner daemons . . . some delicious wine!

P.S. If you have something you'd like us to explore on Weekly Geek, contact us! You may find your curiosities addressed on one of our future geekly posts!  If you enjoy our Weekly Geeks and/or our other regular features, you can subscribe and have our posts come straight to your inbox! No spam, we promise!  No post, no email.  Simple as that, and you can unsubscribe at any time!

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Happy Halloween! - Giveaway!

Prizes are not shown to scale in the above graphic!

Our favorite time of year is approaching!  Reason #1 this is our favorite time of year is that October 31st is the night that Diana and Matthew time-walked into the 16th Century, ushering in our personal favorite of the series: Shadow of Night!  Reason #2 ... oh, c'mon, who doesn't love Halloween?  And the recent NEXT reason: the news of a 4th book, The Serpent's Mirror, covering the time period!  Since this has been such an overall joyous time of year for the Daemons, it's time for a giveaway!

Here's what's up for grabs:
*   1 signed copy (U.S. hardcover) of Shadow of Night 
*   Miriam's T-Shirt! "Stand Back, I'm Going to Try Science!" <---Click to view
*   A Penguin Tote bag!  Perfect to carry books, or great for really ambitious trick or treaters!
*   A few AST bits and baubles (including a surprise from The Tenth Knot!)

A glimpse of what the winner will receive.  Not pictured is the surprise trinket from The Tenth Knot!


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Monday, October 12, 2015

A Ridiculously Random Recap! Issue 6

Ah, the Ridiculously Random Recap!  Why the name?  Because it's a recap.  And it's random (ridiculously so).  There is no rhyme, reason or rationale, reference its recurring release.  Also, alliterations are almost always adored by able, yet addled daemons!

Welcome to Issue 6!  We are covering the 24th of September, 2015 through today!  We have quite a few things to report, in case you missed it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and elsewhere!

Well, we are back into the day-to-day weeds and seeds of tending the Daemon garden!  We'll take a look at what has happened since the last RRR, and have a look ahead of what is going on in the All Souls Universe from today and beyond - and in case you've been social media free for the past few days, there has been some HUGE news about a new titleSeries News and Deborah Harkness' events will be listed on the bottom of this post.

1. Fandom News 

•  AllSoulsCon
Fans are already submitting panel and venue ideas for ASC 2016, email to chime in.  Also, according to this, there are some things in store!  Keep an eye out for around Halloween...

•  A Feast for All Souls
New recipe for Braised Chicken or Rabbit, if you prefer!

•  The All Souls Podcast
New episode; Episode 3---> HERE

•  The All Souls Trilogy Wiki
How did we ever forget to include this gem?  Great info for those new to the series or just need a refresher for a re-read.  A new one reflecting the upcoming title has been started HERE!

•  The Tenth Knot
On the Footsteps of Diana & Matthew – Part 5: Other Oxford Locations ... and --- > A Toast to The Serpent’s Mirror, ... and --- > Just for Fun.  Also, do not miss this guide: A brief unofficial guide to All Souls Trilogy Locations

•  Daemons - what we're up to...
~ Remember the past:  A Q&A with Deb.  AllSoulCon perspective pieces from: Nicole Evelina, Us, Donna Barrington, Lilly Derway, Thomas Gunter, and ASC Producers, Laura Ventura & Karen Mendez + a volunteer view from Jennifer Tepavcevich.

~ Await the future: The immediate future holds a new contest!  The semi-distant future promises a lot of interesting things.  For a while, we've had some items simmering on our burners as far as people, places, and subjects within the orbit of the All Souls Universe, and since now we have AllSoulsCon in our rear-view, we are going to bring these goodies to the table!  Of course, we'll carry on with our regular features including this (recaps) and the Weekly Geek.  Also, another regular feature is brewing . . . just working on getting our pesky real lives sorted, and then it's full speed ahead!  Feel like chatting about All Souls?  Join our new forum: The All Souls Gathering.

2. Other Points of Interest Around the Web

•  The Blue Chair Blog
A blog by Suzanne Shaw; Her bio says ‘I’m a writer, a photographer, a traveler, and (I usually say) a recovering lawyer.  She's also been a student of Deb's master class at Hedgebrook.  She's shared an interesting piece on Oxford with us: Dipping a toe into Oxford. We also enjoyed this piece of hers: Signs And Whispers

•  Fellow reader @JordanEHewett went on an Oxford tour and tweeted us beautiful pictures!  Here are a few:

Photos by Jordan Hewitt - Please see her originals, the resolution is much better!

• Thug Notes!  FINALLY!  We can showcase one of our favorite YouTube series, because this time it actually relates to the Trilogy!  We are convinced the producers of this show are daemons.  Yup.  We won't believe otherwise!  In this episode, Sparky Sweets does a summary and analysis on the A text of Dr. Faustus!

Video by Wisecrack

3. Author/Series News

THE TITLE FOR THE NEXT BOOK IS OUT!  News came out on Friday, October 9th 2015 that the new book is planned for release in 2017!  Title: The Serpent's Mirror

This tchotchke makes a bit more sense now....  :)
"Deborah Harkness has placed World rights to her fourth novel, THE SERPENT'S MIRROR, with Viking Penguin and editor Carole DeSanti. Set in the All Souls’ world and centered on Matthew Clairmont’s career as a vampiric double agent in the Tudor era, the novel explores historical riddles surrounding the ascent of Elizabeth I to the throne. A contemporary narrative involves the witch-historian Diana Bishop and the cast of the Harkness’s bestselling All Souls’ Trilogy (A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life). THE SERPENT'S MIRROR is projected as the opening volume of a series of novels drawing from material in the centuries-old de Clermont archives, and a 2017 publication is planned."

Read full details on Deb's website: Coming in 2017: THE SERPENT'S MIRROR!

• Real-time reading: Every year—like clock-work—you can count on Ms. Harkness' real-time reading posts on social media - example: 

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES real-time reading, September 23 (chapter 6): "The manuscript inside the next box was smaller than the last, but it contained interesting sketches of alchemical apparatus and snippets of chemical procedures that read like some unholy combination of JOY OF COOKING and a poisoner's notebook."

Wellcome Library, London, MS. 446 (late 15th-century alchemical manuscript in French and Latin), fos 27v.–28r. Wellcome Image no. L0031726.  That post was found on her FB page; but you can follow along wherever you follow her.

• Holiday Signed Books at Pages a Bookstore: Order deadline OCTOBER 31.
Details: Deborah Harkness Signed Copies

The Book of Life is a finalist! Best L.A. books of the year: Southern California Independent Booksellers awards finalists

Competition for UK Readers! Win a complete set of signed UK edition All Souls Trilogy books, plus one of Matthew's wax seals.  This competition is to celebrate the release of the free UK edition of the Real-Time Reading Companion, available now for Kindle through and iBooks through iBookstore in the UK.  According to Deb, yes they are working on something similar for others world wide! UK readers, enter the competition --> HERE

Foreign Edition covers:

Read the details about the Danish covers on Deb's FB page
Read Ms. Harkness' post about this cover HERE

• Upcoming Deborah Harkness events:

Tuesday, October 27th at 7:00 pm
A Gathering of Witches
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02138

Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00pm
NYC Halloween Event
Brooklyn, NY.

Friday, October 30th at 6:15pm Nashville Public Library
615 Church St, Nashville TN 37219
Find Tickets/Tickets available:

Sunday, November 8th at 6:00 pm in MST Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Find Tickets/Tickets available: 

Do you know of anything going on in the fandom that you'd like to see included in these recaps?  Please contact us!  If you are the owner of a website, group, or page, and you'd like to relay something to the All Souls Community, we are talking to you!  We love to hear about new events, story related items, or articles as long as it has to do with the All Souls Universe!  Do you like our regular features/posts? Subscribe to Daemons Domain!

Until the next randomly released recap,
feed your daemons...

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Friday, October 9, 2015

We End the ASC Perspectives at the Beginning...

The ballroom at the Sofitel, Los Angeles.  Photo/Lilly Derway
The title of this post is the opposite of what Hamish would suggest to Matthew as far as how to relay a tale, but we imagine he'd forgive us this once for our arrangement.  :)

Our final perspectives are from the people who made AllSoulsCon (ASC) happen - a volunteer & the producers of ASC!  Without them, none of this would be reality!  We personally thank them for the time and effort it took to arrange this wonderful event for fans just like us!  We loved the idea because it meant that our (you are all included in the 'our'!) little fandom was growing up!  We thank the producers and volunteer staff for stepping up and taking the reins of an event that will no doubt carry on for years to come!

Thank you to the volunteer staff - Jen, Lyn & Donna.  And to the producers, Karen and Laura?  Good luck trying to get rid of us! ;)

All Souls Con Wrap-Up or “What Did We Learn While Dreaming?”
By Jennifer Tepavcevich

Jennifer participating in panel discussion (as Lyn observes).  Photo/Lilly Derway
Honestly, I did not know what to expect from the experience but I was not disappointed.  From start to finish, All Souls Con was a fun affair!  I have never had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people, especially all at once.  I had the pleasure of first meeting our organizers (Karen and Laura) and my fellow volunteer (Lyn).  Then, we caught up with another fan during lunch (who heard us discussing Peter Knox, of all people) and she quickly joined in for the fun of putting together bags, dragons, and lively conversation.

The highlights of the con, for me, was the Renaissance music workshop and of course, the Q&A with Deborah.  I learned so much during the day it was almost overwhelming.  The wine tasting definitely provided a nice segue way and I could see people making friends in line, waiting for their glasses.  The food was excellent, definitely in sync with meals mentioned in the books - full of good bread and tea.

If I had to pick on thing I took away from this conference was a sense of connectivity.  I was able to connect with fans from all over, people who loved the same books I did.  Perhaps we fell for them through the hardback, the paperback, or the audio.  Some even admitted to reading them out of order, and then playing catch-up but what I found most common and let me feel like I was surrounded by like minds, was the collective enthusiasm.    There was so much excited conversation between strangers, eager to share their favorite characters and scenes with other readers.

In short, I cannot wait until All Souls 2016 to reconnect with old friends and to make some new ones.

A Very Thankful & Backward Organizer’s Perspective
by Laura Ventura & Karen Mendez

Karen and Laura at the podium.  Photo/Lilly Derway
Our friends at Daemons Domain asked us provide to a couple of paragraphs recapping our experience as organizers. Wait! They couldn’t possibly know that a “couple”of paragraphs may stretch to five, or ten… Fair warning.  :)

Where to begin? “At the end, of course.” Said Hamish Osborne (ch. 9, ADOW). We might as well follow his advice since he’s our favorite daemon in the trilogy.

AllSoulsCon is already behind us. How did this happen? Most days we have to stare at Lilly’s beautiful photos or at the pretty badge designed by FetchGoodyAlsop to make sure we didn’t dream the convention. We miss it already. “It begins with absence [...]”has never been more true. We need a reunion soon, before the next AllSoulsCon.

It takes months to plan a convention, and then it’s over in a day. We’ve been cheated by time! We still vividly recall the moments immediately following the end of the event when we were in the green room packing, our head reeling. “Wait! We didn’t spend any time at the Sept-Tours table.” “We didn’t have a chance to chat with Margaux about ayurvedic medicine.” Or “We didn’t even ask Lilly to take a group picture.” “And we didn’t have time to fill out the wine score card.” Sigh! Well, we’ll have to save that one for next year.

How did time accelerate all in a sudden? Back in that green room full of boxes, we felt giddy and  enormously thankful for all the incredibly generous people that helped us make the first AllSoulsCon a big success. How often in your lifetime do you get to spend seven hours in the same room with Deborah Harkness? Cue: the fangirl squeals. We couldn't imagine a more generous author if we had an entire bottle of Château Yquem! She took the time to sign 100 bookplates before the convention for all the attendees in Los Angeles, and an undisclosed number of items (to be revealed around Halloween) for us to raise funds for the Bodleian. How do we even begin to thank her?

Lyn and Jennifer, our two volunteers, eventually joined by Donna. You must be part vampire. Yet again in the green room, Laura sat at a table to respond to an email the day before the convention, and suddenly, the goody bags and badges were all done. No human can work at that speed! Where do we get a vampire test kit?

Lilly and Margaux, we haven’t spent enough time together. Can we get together to share a bottle of wine? Or bottles, plural? Grateful doesn’t seem adequate to express how we feel about these wonderful ladies.

Sara and Asha at Market Hall Foods, thank you for the big box of tea! everyone, including our musicians, loved the tea. And the French Sofitel staff  was very, very impressed when they saw the Mariage Frères tins. Hint, Sofitel. Any other tea brand should be banned.

Our beloved Daemons, Angela, Jean, and Valerie, we recall very vividly reading your message informing us that you were planning to attend AllSoulsCon, and the happiness that followed after we recovered. Your panel was over too fast. Time has yet again cheated. You raised the bar very high for future panelists and in no way, are you allowed to skip any future AllSoulsCons. Period.

And Thomas! How did we get so lucky to have you at AllSoulsCon? The Goddess must have sent you. There’s no other explanation. Thomas is the kindest, most patient and generous cosplay (and professional) we’ve ever seen. As a friend very eloquently wrote, “he channels Gallowglass.” We second that. BTW, the Goddess that “sent” him has a name. She’s Janet Cadsawan, the same talented weaver of stunning jewelry, magnificent AllSoulsCon partner, and generous soul. How do we thank these two amazing people?

Going further back in time, Isaias Garcia, the talented, award-winning composer and AST fan entered the AllSoulsCon scene a few days after our website went live. Did we feel lucky then? The magnificent music workshop with Professor Adam Gilbert and his students got a standing ovation. We really wished you were there to see it.

Finally, let’s rewind the clock to the day in December when we sent a PowerPoint presentation to Deb’s publicists at Penguin Books. That’s how it all started. It began with one publicist liking our plan, and by the time the convention started, we must have exchanged emails with at least a dozen amazingly supportive people at Penguin Books. The Penguin team and Deborah were instrumental in getting the word out.  Jill, that includes you.
We couldn’t have done it without all the partners, the speakers, the moderators, the guests, the performers, the volunteers, and all the fans that had faith in us. We are grateful beyond words.

Hope to see you all next year!

That wraps it up!  We'd like to thank Nicole Evelina, Donna Barrington, Lilly Derway, Thomas Gunter, and of course Jennifer, Karen and Laura for allowing us to share your great stories!

Keep an eye on for their fundraising events throughout the year + updates for next year's event!  Also, we will stay on top of it here at Daemons Domain.  As soon as we know something and are given the go-ahead to publicize it by Karen and Laura, you will know something as far as dates/times/location for ASC 2016!

We are back to our regularly randomly scheduled programming starting . . . (AllSoulsCon2016 or BUST!) . . . now.

Feed your daemons!

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Monday, October 5, 2015

'Gallowglass' Speaks! - An ASC Perspective

Thomas and Deb do a selfie!
Ok, friends...we know that all we've been doing lately is posting perspective pieces about AllSoulsCon (plus a cool Q&A - in case you missed it!), and we will be back to our regular 'programming' very soon!  This was not what we originally planned!  We figured we'd maybe get a paragraph or two from each person - just enough for us to collage together and fit into a couple of features.  Instead, we received these wonderful, detailed descriptions of fan experiences about the trilogy and/or the event!  This is why we have been posting all of these.  Each one deserved their own post to showcase the varied paths to the All Souls Trilogy (AST) and AllSoulsCon (ASC).

Now for something completely different!  We knew how people who are huge fans of AST saw ASC, but we wondered what an outsider's take would be.  We also were curious as to what a male POV of the series and event would look like.  Perfect!  We knew someone who fit both of those descriptions!  On top of that, he was charged with portraying one of the most beloved characters of the trilogy: Gallowglass.  We asked Thomas Gunter to help us out by describing his own ASC experience!  Here's what he told us:

By Thomas Gunter

So it all started when Janet Cadsawan asked if I wanted to be a part of AllSoulsCon.  I said “Sure, why not?  Let's do this!” At the time, I had no idea what an AllSoulsCon or who this ‘Gallowglass’ was.

Laura Ventura contacted me shortly afterwards, and assured me that the fans would be ecstatic to know that ‘Gallowglass’ will be attending. “Ecstatic,” I said to myself.  Great! No stress or pressure there!  It was time to get started with my research of this series and character.

I found out that AllSoulsCon was about a series of books that featured witches, daemons and vampires and written by Deborah Harkness.  At that moment, I knew for sure that I was going to enjoy this!  So between studying for various acting roles, I started reading as much and as fast as I could. I remember at one point thinking to myself, “Enough about Matthew, what about me (Gallowglass)?!”

I arrived at the convention a day early so I wouldn't have to wake up early in the morning and drive anywhere (which I am so thankful for).  I decided to walk around and find out where everything was located for the mornings events.

They gave me my own table!

Ok, no pressure now! This is when I realized that I might be in over my head.  Fans in general are really on point when it comes to knowing everything about all of the characters inside and out.  On top of that, with Deborah Harkness’ reputation of being very compassionate, and just an overall good person, I knew that the people who showed up were going to be awesome!  I decided I was just going to be myself, and see what happens.

Thomas observes as Laura participates in panel discussion.

Everyone was great!  The AllSoulsCon was a success.  The question and answer sessions were very informative!  What I really enjoyed about them was how the fans interacted with each other and with the panels.  Everyone was eager for more and all had their own ideas of why things were the way they were in the story.

Deborah took center stage and it was amazing to see how everyone changed just a little.  Something just happened, and people just took on this look of innocence while watching her on stage and listening to her every word.  We could have spent hours talking and asking questions.  It was such a beautiful sight to see.
During the autograph session, I was in love with how the guests would light up once they were finally able to meet Deborah Harkness.  She touches so many of these people's lives in so many ways.  That’s something that I look up to, and hopefully one day I will be able to achieve that in my own career.

Deb breaks her own rule and signs someone's body! We don't blame her!

The fans were really great to me too!  Even the ones that were not huge Gallowglass fans.  I took so many pictures with so many beautiful people, I could not have asked for a better event to be a part of.

Yes, when it's all said and done I would do it all over again.  And yes, Gallowglass is my favorite character!

Thank you to everyone that made this great event happen, and thank you to everyone that came out and made it the success that it was!

Thomas Gunter
a.k.a. Gallowglass


Thank you, Thomas!  We are holding you to the "I would do it all again"... let it be said, let it be done!

To our audience:  Thomas is the kindest, coolest, friendliest, most down-to-earth person anyone could ever meet.  Anyone who knows us, knows we don't throw words like that around lightly!  It was our pleasure to get to know him.   He embodied Gallowglass' spirit quite well!  We suppose he's okay to look at too ... ;)

*  Read more about his career on his IMdb page: Thomas Gunter
*  Photos by the lovely Lilly Derway.

We'll be back to our regular programming soon... ;)
Until next time!

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Daemons ask Deb! - Deborah Harkness Q&A

Happy October!  September was an awesome month for All Souls Trilogy lovers!  September is also the month notoriously known among fans of this series for the start of re-reads and read-alongs!  It's a big part of why Autumn is such a magical time!

With the first annual AllSoulsCon behind us, we keep reflecting on all of the wonderful people we've had the honor of meeting, and great things we got to experience over the years.  We figured we'd take the time to say goodbye to this past epic September in an epic way!   In our own whirlwind AST adventures, we are very fortunate that we get to see Deb from time to time.  In the past (bless her!), she's let us get away with asking her a lot of off-the-wall questions on the fly.  We figured it was time to compile some questions and do a proper interview for a change.  To commemorate our (you are part of the 'our'!) personal journeys with this series, we did just that.  Here's how it went. . .


Deborah Harkness
Daemons:    In the Trilogy it’s easy to see that many places inspire you. We’ve read that you’ve visited Speke Hall as a child, and that the Bishop House was the duplicate for one an ancestor built. What other destinations and/or locations from your youth (prior to entering the world of academia) inspire you?
Deb:    Great question! I went to lots of battlefields and castles as a child—my father was a history buff and my mother is British—and I think both made it into the story.  I suppose Marcus’s death at the Battle of Brandywine was a result of tromping around so many battlefields on summer vacation.

Daemons:    We love to hear how characters come out of the blue to talk to you (examples: Hamish and Gallowglass). We are curious about actual historical figures. Does studying the historical version of the person directly influence their voices and interactions in your stories? Did you have a distinct sense of Henry, Kit, George, Walter, the Emperor Rudolf or Gerbert's — to name a few — personalities prior to writing them, or do their voices just show up as you go?

Portrait of Rudolf II
Holy Roman Emperor c. 1580
Deb:    I suppose it’s a bit of both.  I usually have some sense of a character based on the texts they read or wrote.  This makes me react strongly to the “pop culturing” of historical characters.  Most treatments of these individuals either make them cuddly or monsters.  Most were neither.  They were just doing the best they could in a challenging world. That said, I don’t usually work out full character sketches in advance. The fine details of their characters emerge as I put them in specific situations.  So Henry Percy’s mother and her goose came about because I started wondering what kind of Christmas the Earl of Northumberland would have enjoyed growing up, which led me to research his mother, who turned out to be quite a character!

Daemons:    Rudolf II was a notorious collector known for his cabinet of curiosities. Do you have a collection of anything you can tell us about?

Deb:    Books, of course—mostly academic, but I also have a staggering number of cookbooks for someone who doesn’t run a restaurant.  I collect cowboy boots.  And I have way too many teapots, most of which I never use.

Daemons:    You are a very descriptive writer.  Is there a descriptive passage from the trilogy that particularly resonates with you?   What sense do you find most challenging to describe?

Deb:   Thank you! I like the description of Sarah’s stillroom from The Book of Life, in large part because I wrote that in a room overlooking a garden that felt very much like it could be Sarah’s, with lavender hanging from the rafters and scarred counters. Whenever I read that passage I see the place where I wrote it.  As for senses, I think taste is the hardest to describe.   It’s hard to make taste precise and evocative without making it sound ridiculous.
Daemons:    To which time and place — excluding the 16th century and your area of expertise — would you like to time-walk?
Deb:    I’m a huge Jane Austen fan so I would love to go to Regency Bath or London and go to the balls and sit in a drawing room writing letters.  Perhaps I could even learn to play the piano!

Daemons:    If Matthew were to accompany us while wine shopping, and was instructed to choose three wines (one for creatures on a budget, one for creatures who are looking for a good solid mid-range wine, and one for the creatures with a vampire's bank account — money is no object), which three wines would he recommend? What would he choose for his own cellar from the recent vintages (1980s forward – as that is recent for a vampire, after all)?

Deb:    Wow. Tough question!  Matthew is a red wine person, and on top of that he is a Syrah man.  So he would steer you first to a Côte du Rhône, which are relatively inexpensive blends of red grapes from a region not too far from Sept-Tours.  Mid-range, he would probably send you to a Chateauneuf-du-Pape or a good American Syrah or Australian Shiraz.  In the upper range, we would be looking at Penfolds top-end Shiraz or Côte-Rôtie or Crozes-Hermitage.  Being a vampire, Matthew probably put aside some 2012 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, some 2012 Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Carnival of Love, and (though not generally a huge fan of Bordeaux) he does have a soft spot for Château Léoville-Las Cases so he might have bought some bottles of those recent vintages in case Baldwin drops by. 

Matthew would probably recommend the above...
Daemons:    What children’s books do you imagine Diana and Matthew would stock in Rebecca and Philip’s library?

Deb:    The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, Edward Eager’s Half Magic, and The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope.   I imagine the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling will be waiting on the shelves for them when they get a bit older. 

Rebecca and Philip's potential library...
Daemons:   One last question! Which de Clermont would you date, and why?

Deb:    I would never date a de Clermont.  Too high maintenance!


A huge 'thank you' goes to Deborah Harkness for feeding all of our daemons, today!  :)

Bring on October!

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