The All Souls universe has gifted us with the most generous friends, and one of them happens to be our wonderful contributing editor, Wendy MacNeil. Wendy, who attended All Souls Con 2017, has been recruited by the All Souls Con organizers as the “accidental volunteer” to help with a fundraiser, logistics, and even planning the next convention. If you meet Wendy in person, you’d know why you’d want to enlist her help.
In this post, Wendy shares the seven reasons why she enjoyed New Orleans.
All Souls Con 2017 in New Orleans was a whole new experience for me in many ways. I had never been to a Con of any kind, had never been in New Orleans, and had never gone on a trip by myself to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I started planning my trip to All Souls Con in January, so I had a lot of built up excitement, nerves, and expectations by the time September 21st rolled around and I boarded the plane to head south. This trip, this city and the people at the Con so far outstripped my expectations, that I am still finding hard to wrap my head around it all.
So, in no particular order here are the highlights of my trip to All Souls Con:
1. Meeting my “All Souls Family”
There are a number of people that I interacted with online prior to going to the Con, Laura from The Tenth Knot, Karen and Laura from the Con, our Lady Daemons, Val, Angela and Jean (Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know!!), Dr. Shelli Carter, our Vampire Scientist, and so many others. But I had never met any of them in person, so I was nervous about seeing them – would they recognize me, would I stutter and fumble when I finally met them, would they be as nice in person as they were online??? Well, meeting them in person was AMAZING!! It wasn’t just that they recognized who I was, but they welcomed me into this family with open arms and made me feel like I had been part for years. Also, meeting other fans whose names I saw online from all over Canada, the US and even the UK was a blast! (Pic taken by our Fabulous Bartender at the NOPSI). And this led to #2.
2. Volunteering at the Con
I was given the opportunity to help out a bit behind the scenes and it was such a fantastic time. I had so much fun spending time with these women (and a couple of men) getting things ready, setting up, moving things around, helping other All Souls Fans find the right keepsake to take home. It all made me feel like I had done a small part in helping others enjoy the Con that much more – and who doesn’t like that!! (Bag Stuffing on Friday).
The hotel couldn’t have been better … the set up for the Con in the ballroom, the way they let us take over the Patio for Daemon’s hour, the bars, the food, the décor, the extra room for Creature Yoga in the morning before the CON…really not sure we could have been in a better setting!
4. The Food and Drinks
New Orleans is known for unique food and drinks and this did not disappoint. From the restaurant in the NOPSI, to the Café du Monde, to all the other restaurants and bars that we made it to – the food was amazing – yes Gumbo and hush puppies are yummy!! And, I discovered that I like drinks made with Gin…thank you NOPSI for introducing me J. My inaugural drink at the NOPSI and beignets and iced coffee from Café du Monde.
I didn’t have as much time to tour New Orleans as I would have liked – I was having so much fun at the hotel with everyone from the Con!! But I did manage to get out to see a few of the highlights…The French Quarter, The French Market, Pirate’s Alley, the Cathedral and Museums, the Garden District and its houses, some haunted places, some green spaces, Canal Street, Royal St., Bourbon St., and the list goes on. And most of the sites had a link to our favourite trilogy…we think we may have found Marcus’s house in the Garden District, saw part of Ransom’s city, cards that he and Marcus could have used, medical equipment that Marcus likely used…and so much more!
6. The special guests at the Con
We were privileged to hear from Dr. Richard Campanella about the geography and history of New Orleans and where the locations in book would be on a map of the city. The wonderful group of women that put together the “The World of All Souls,” Deb Harkness, Colleen Madden, Claire Baldwin, Jill Hough, and Lisa Halttunen gave us news, samples and insights into the companion book that is coming out in 2018 (and is available for pre-order now!!). And of course, we heard from Dr. Shelli Carter who explained DNA and mtDNA in a way that made even me understand!! Way to go Dr. Shelli! (picture of mtDNA from mitomap.org).
7. Last, but certainly not least, listening to and meeting Deb Harkness
Well, what do you say about meeting one of your all-time favourite authors in person?!?! We all know how kind and generous she is to us online via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her webpage, and she is the same in person. She seemed as genuinely excited to meet us as we all were to meet her. She took a moment to chat with each person in line to have their book signed and take a picture. And that was after she spent a few hours at the Con MC’ing the panel with The World of All Souls authors, giving us all some insights into t
he next books and her writing process, and spending time answering questions from the attendees on Saturday. On Sunday morning at the breakfast, she sat at each table and talked to all of us before signing and taking pictures with everyone.
All Souls Con 2017 was for me a trip to remember for everything above and so much more. Seeing these books through other people’s eyes, getting new perspectives on people and things in the books (empathy for Satu – whodathunk?!?!), meeting others who are as knotted to these books as I am, seeing all the creative ways that people have of interpreting the books, and getting to geek out with 200 other people who just “get it” was such an incredible time. In fact, I have already started planning my trip for All Souls Con 2018 in Philadelphia and I hope to see you all there!