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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