by Guest Blogger Leslie Annis

It’s that time of year again!

Okay… you got me… it’s not quite April yet, but it’s that time when we start shamelessly promoting our shiny weekend that is JordanCon, in the hopes of sharing our communal merriment with Wheel of Time friends far and wide—those we’ve met and those we hope to meet.

Seriously, yo. Come and play. It’s a sweet time, and one you won’t regret. The more we get together the merrier, faster, stronger, and the partier we’ll be.

Or something like that…

In the interests of discovering what makes JordanCon… er… JordanCon, we performed a wee bit of crowd sourcing a while back—which is the fancy way of saying we posted on Facebook to see what previous con-attendees mentioned as the highlights for potential newcomers to experience.

In the interests of thoroughness, we have absolutely crawled the JordanCon Facebook wall to see what people are saying to those would-be-first-time-con-attendees-but-they’re-nervous-and-need-a-little-push-folks. Because we truly want to see you in April, newbies!

(Even though that previous paragraph sounds stalkery, we’re really not… unless “stalkery” is a euphemism for “exuberant,” in which case, hells yeah, that’s totally us—and we party well, too!)

Ahem. Anyhow. Here’s what we got from said stalkery…

In response to the question, “What are you most excited about for JordanCon?”

  • “Seeing my JordanCon family again!” – Brit
  • “…The new hotel, new programming layout, bigger art show/dealers room, etc.” – Jimmy
  • “It’ll be my first time, so… everything!! (Mostly meeting all of you though).” – Rina
  • “Meeting the people who have only existed on my computer screen for so long! I do want to experience all of it, workshops, costumes, etc. but it always comes back to the people. Always the people.” – Steve
  • “Seeing my friends! And meeting the author. And meeting new people! And dancing. And…and…and….” – Tricia
  • “Seeing my JCon family, the panels, Jay’s cookies, people, the authors, the artists, the art, the people, the costumes, the laughs, the hugs, making sure Kristy eats, laughing, just ALL OF IT!!!!” – Tina
  • “Bob’s blackberry Brandy, the mead, the homemade wine, Blood and Bloody Ashes, Fork Root Tea, etc.” – Lisa
  • “Getting to see all the people I only get to see once a year. And more Lews Therin dragging a dead Ilyena around.” – Seth
Fans attending the Sunday Kaffeeklatsch enjoy an hour chatting with Artist Guest of Honor Michael Whelan. Photo by Tricia Grantz Irish, from JordanCon V, 2013.

We asked previous con-attendees what they’d tell first timers, and we received a myriad of responses.

  • “The Saturday night dance party is a must!” – Jenna
  • “Shout-out to volunteering as a newbie—it’s a marvelous way to meet a whack of people at once and really invest in your own Con experience. It might only be a couple of hours, but you could meet a ton of people at the registration desk or by being a runner for the Con suite, or maybe help out with signing lines (and meet author guests one on one). Seriously, so many opportunities to enhance your own experience…it does NOT feel like work!” – Leslie
  • “Jay’s cookies! And the family reunion atmosphere that’s only barely held in check by panel times on the track schedule. And the authors, who are, seriously, the most awesome on the planet.” – Tiff
  • “SHENANIGANS!!!!” – Bonnie
  • “For anyone that hasn’t finished the series, I’d recommend the discussion panel that only goes up through Book 5 or 6 (not sure which it will be this year, I suggested 6). It’s great to discuss the series and what you think is happening and what will happen. It’s even more fun to discuss the characters we love, hate, or love to hate.” – Jeff
  • “I went a few years ago, the only time I was able to make it. The things I still remember are the awesome people I met (most of whom I still keep in touch with), cover art artist panel, poker competition, and dance party. And of course meeting some of the top people in the Wheel of Time world.” – Jeremy
  • “Getting up super early to wait by the registration desk so you can get your name on the Team Jordan kaffeeklatsch list. Because Harriet, Maria, and Alan are awesome!” – Ross
  • “The people are so great that even if you have not read all (or any!) of the WoT books they are NICE to you and talk to you! And if, HYPOTHETICALLY, you completely misunderstand the instructions for the Shenanigans and start playing halfway through and generally causing accidental chaos (BUT FOR CHARITY), people are very understanding. Get there early for panels, because even shy people can strike up conversations with strangers who turn out to be completely lovely, and suddenly you have a new friend!” – Melissa
  • “If we’re making a list of must-dos for the Con, you NEED to hit the Con Suite! Lots of low key chatting for those who want to meet people in a quieter setting, plus free food, and the smiling faces of the Con Suite crew. Home away from home!” – Leslie
  • “JordanCon is more than just WoT! We have fantasy, sci-fi, writers, gaming, hands-on stuff… We’re equal opportunity geeks!” – Tiff
  • “I love the local authors that come from the other panels; they write diverse genres. From YA fantasy to comedy/urban fantasy to romantic fantasy to urban/action/horror to SciFi. I am of course referencing Jana Oliver, John Hartness, Delilah S. Dawson, to James Ray Jr. Tuck to Alex Hughes. All published authors. Check out their stuff.” – Charles
  • And, of course, last but certainly not least, folks need to come to JordanCon to experience the “best bartender in Randland.” (Thanks for literally sharing, in this respect, April!) [Editor: You’re welcome.]
Warders really do make the best bartenders. Photo by April Moore, from JordanCon IV, 2012.

Here and there on the JordanCon Facebook group we see some brave souls sharing their vulnerable side, specifically their concern that they’d be traveling solo to the con. Take, for instance, Rand (whose name has been changed to protect the innocent).

Rand says, “I want to go soooo bad, but I’m wary because I’d literally be going alone and I wouldn’t know anybody there…”

Here’s how our JordanCon veterans replied:

  • “Jen Halbman heads a ‘Speed Friending’ panel on Friday afternoon that was started the year before last. I’ve helped her with it and we have a ton of fun! Gives folks like yourself a chance to meet some other attendees and break the ice in a fun way. We had great turn-outs both times and everyone seemed to have a blast.” – Danielle
  • “I walked in the door knowing about 6 people. In the next ten minutes, I acquired friends for life. […] I was absolutely PETRIFIED about going. I missed last year and I’m still trying to recover. Seriously, it’s a lot of fun and you’ll wonder why you didn’t go sooner.” – Melanie
  • “We didn’t know anyone at all there. The first day was a little strange but then, by that first night, it felt like we knew everyone!” – Randy
  • “We’re so friendly, we’ve had weddings and Bar Mitzvahs crash our party.” – Jeff
  • “For all of you posting about being concerned about going because you won’t know anyone, just hang out here [on the JordanCon Facebook group] a lot. Post often, comment often, and then you’ll recognize names and we’ll recognize yours. I promise that you won’t be alone!” – Paige
  • “Yes! There are no strangers at JordanCon.” – Kelly
  • “COME!!!! We’re all excited to meet you! No strangers, just family you haven’t met yet (I know, it’s been said before — but it’s SO true!!)” – Tina
  • “It’s just like old home week. Remember, you have something to talk about with every JordanCon’er!!! Just open up, relax and enjoy!!” – Darrell
  • “It’s a small con, and very laid back. Very welcoming. I would definitely suggest it for an introduction to cons.” – John
  • “Aside from us being a friendly group in general, we also do a few things specifically to help people meet each other. We do something called ‘Speed Friending’ in the Wheel of Time track every year, we’re hosting a pre-con book club this year and we’re looking at a few other potential games. Lots of people say volunteering for a few hours helped them meet new friends too.” – Jen
Even bestselling authors know to run from their characters when the One Power starts getting thrown around. Photo by Jansen Photography, from JordanCon IV, 2012.

That wraps up our list, folks—perhaps you spotted your own quote or maybe you’re a potential JordanCon attendee who’s now had your questions answered. Between the artists, authors, and apparel, the panels, parties, and people, there’s plenty to do and see and you’ll have plenty of new friends to hang out with while you’re at it.

Come and play at JordanCon, you won’t regret it.

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