New Member Monday: The Schedule is Live! Now What?!

New Member Monday: The Schedule is Live! Now What?!

Well, JordanConers, the schedule is out and it is time to start making plans! But, if you are new to Conventions, the schedule can be a lot!!  So, here are some quick terms and notes about all the information that you can find on the schedule.

Terms

  • TRACKS – Track is the name given to a specific room or rooms generally being used for similarly themed panels.
  • PANELS – A panel is a staff or guest-led discussion about a particular topic.
  • MODERATOR  This is a volunteer who helps guide the conversation on panels, makes sure the panelists don’t get too off-topic, and keeps an eye on the time. The moderator often has some additional knowledge of the panel topic.
  • PANELIST – The panelists are who you came to see! They will be the ones discussing the topic of the panel.

JordanCon 2022 Tracks

Main Programming From Opening Ceremonies to Closing Ceremonies, JordanCon’s Main Programming is the centerpiece of the convention. It is home to such activities as the Costume Contest, Karaoke, JordanCon Dance Party, Author Signings, and Q&As

Art Track Our goal for our track is to expand appreciation of art and artists among the general JordanCon membership and also to provide a great mentoring and networking environment for artists, whether they are just starting out or are seasoned professionals.

Fantasy Track JordanCon’s Fantasy Track offers programming spanning a wide range of stories and worlds. From traditional fantasy like Lord of the Rings to more modern fantasy like Harry Potter to Young Adult stories and even Urban Fantasy like The Dresden Files. And they cover TV and movies too.

Gaming Track The Gaming Track Room is constantly bustling with gamers of all sorts. You can always find something to do here! It houses many demo games available to be played on one of the many banquet size tables available for open gaming. Want to bring your own game to play?  No problem!  If there’s an open table, you are more than welcome to come on in and play.

Science Fiction Track JordanCon’s Science Fiction track is dedicated to opening new worlds to you, our members, and letting you get lost in the multiverse. Our guests lead the conversations in a myriad of panel discussions on everything from the earliest days of SciFi, to the modern masters and everyone in between. We have a passion for SciFi and we always seek to spread that passion around!

Writer’s Track The JordanCon Writers track is a place to come learn about the art, craft, and business of writing. We have topics that range from traditional to self-publishing, editing and other aspects of writing, and workshops

Wheel of Time Track The World of Wheel of Time Track covers all the things Wheel of Time from the books to the Amazon Prime TV show 

Brandon Sanderson Track In this track all things Sanderson are discussed.

Workshops Do you like to learn new skills or how to make items? Visit the JordanCon Workshops Track to unleash your crafty side or your unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Here, participants acquire different skills. Sign-ups are located at registration at the beginning of the convention.

Many workshops focus on learning a craft, such as: costuming, dancing, metalworking, painting, woodworking, or even 3-D printing. Some workshops focus on learning more intangible skills, such as calligraphy, copyright rules, running a fan store, or even laying out an eBook. Workshops are announced in advance of JordanCon so anyone can join in the Workshop Track fun!

Speaking of Workshops…

Jordancon is more than just panels; it is also a chance for some hands-on activities. Every year the Workshop staff looks far and wide to come up with amazing workshops for con-goers to attend. The best part about the workshops is that you don’t have to be familiar with The Wheel of Time to enjoy them. It is perfect for those of you that are attending with a fan but haven’t read the books.

While some of the workshops require preregistration before the con, you can register for most at the Con.  The signup sheets for workshops can be found near the registration desk. Be sure to ask when you check in where to go to register for workshops. If there is a cost to a workshops, the fee should be paid directly to the workshop instructor. Exact change is appreciated.

 Workshops for Jordancon 2022

  • Alcohol Ink Pour Painting with Alexandra Klimek ($15) – Create a painting on wood with alcohol ink using pouring and blending techniques.  Class limit 15.
  • Braid Tugging with Melisa Grooms Learn some great hair up-do styles perfect for the JordanCon Dance.  Limit: 12, over 12+
  • Crocheting Doomslug with Karen Ahlstrom ($5) – Learn to crochet Doomslug from the Skyward series. Class limit 15.
  •  Braiding on a Loom: Kumihimo with Deana Whitney ($6) – Learn the basics of 4 & 8 strand braiding. Can create hundreds of cord styles. Class Limit: 8
  • Tarot Reading with Katharine Reid – An introduction to the basics of tarot reading.
  • Make your own Hero of the Horn with Karen Ahlstrom ($5) – As seen on TV!  Make a ragdoll Birgitte. Class limit 15
  •  Cross Stitching with Maureen Carr ($5) Cross-stitch Wheel of Time Characters. Fee $5.00 Class limit: 15. 

Any questions can be sent to workshops Director Amelie Downing at workshops@jordancon.org

 Now that you know a little more about the technical aspects of the schedule, here are your next steps:

  1. Take a look at the JordanCon 2022 Schedule
  2. Decide what Panels and/or Activities you want to participate in
  3. Check out the Volunteer Sign-Up Page to see where you can help.
  4. Get ready to meet the family you didn’t know you needed!

#WelcomeHome #itsfinallyapril

 

JordanCon 2022 Karaoke All-Stars!

JordanCon 2022 Karaoke All-Stars!

My fellow belters of songs! It has been a long time since we’ve been able to take the stage, but after conferring with the Programming Team and Convention Operations, we are tentatively optimistic that the great JordanCon tradition of Karaoke will be back for 2022! Of course, that also means we will be coming back for a third year of JordanCon Karaoke All-Stars! Who will win the talent pipes this year? It could be you!

NOTE: This is a tentative and optimistic plan. Should Covid-19 conditions change to where JordanCon deems that we cannot do Karaoke safely, we will postpone to a future year. At a minimum, we expect that all singers will be required to wear masks, and you will need to remain on the stage (no going out into the audience)

You can put your name in the hat here.

Rules:

  1. Alternate lyrics are allowed, but please keep language and the performance to PG-13.
  2. Groups are allowed, but no repeat performers. There is only 1 prize (a set of “talent pipes” from Badali Jewelry) awarded to the winner, so a group will need to decide who it would be awarded to should they win.
  3. Your time-slot is 5 minutes long. This includes set up, anything you want to say prior to singing, the song, any outro, and leaving the stage. Points will be deducted for exceeding time.
  4. You will be provided 2 wired microphones, 1 wireless microphone, and a stage.
  5. Backing music and lyrics-on-screen will be provided to the best of the host’s ability. He will work with you over email to get the best arrangement possible. (more info below)
  6. There will be a sound/mic check at 7:30pm Friday night. Doors open and the contest begins at 8:30pm. Do not be late, or you will be bumped.
  7. Singing order will be determined on site via random draw.
  8. A panel of three judges will rate your performance. Judging criteria are:
    • Singing Accuracy/Skill 50%
    • Showmanship/Performance 40%
    • Costume/Props 10%
  9. The email address you supply will be the point of contact used for this contact.

When you submit your song, Richard will reach out to the you (or your Group’s point of contact) to coordinate getting the karaoke track to the group to practice with before hand, or to request the track should he not have it. Simply “play this YouTube” will not work, though. Richard needs at least an mp3 file as he will not have reliable internet access.

Lookin’ Forward to hearing what the All-Stars can bring!

Extra Workshop Classes on YouTube

Extra Workshop Classes on YouTube

JordanCon 2021 passed in a blur of activities and gatherings and digital content, along with a few minor hiccups. The Workshop Track refuses to let the fun fade away too quickly. To continue our digital experience, we have two more panels to present. Lovely teachers not able to join us this year in person shared their expertise in other ways. 

Glass Aes Sedai Trinket box

Glass Aes Sedai Trinket box

The first is from master glass artist Leia Powell. She generously shares her skill in showing us how to build a glass trinket box. The box showcases the ancient symbol of the Aes Sedai. Along the way she shares bits of information about the history of stained glass. JordanCon 2022 attendees will have the opportunity to meet Leia in person and buy some of her amazing works in the dealers room. She occasionally teaches live workshops as well, but as of this moment, the spots are filled by the students who signed up for the 2020 workshops which were put on hold along with so many other matters. Meanwhile, follow her store on Facebook at: Wildcat Mountain Artistry or on Etsy at Geeky Stained Glass

 

The second presentation is a discussion between the costuming expert Linda Taglieri and Workshop Director Deana Whitney. Members of the Wheel of Time fandom might know Linda from her celebrated blog The 13th Depository. JordanCon regulars know her as one of our favorite Aussies and the creator of many amazing Wheel of Time inspired dolls. Linda and Deana discuss the clothing in the Wheel of time with an emphasis on split skirts. There are reasons Jordan showed the ladies smoothing their skirts so often. Linda and Dean shared some related split skirt images in this folder

Enjoy these videos along with the other content on the JordanCon YouTube channel. 

Video: Glass Aes Sedai Trinket box by Leia Powell
Video: Smoothing Skirts and Other Clothing Matters in the Wheel of Time with Linda Taglieri

As always if you have a suggestion for a workshop you would like to see or to teach at JordanCon, please send an email to: Workshop (at) jordancon.org. We love bringing a mix of crafts and lessons to our members. The schedule for JordanCon 2022 is already in the works. If you are interested in sharing your work via the written word, rather than teaching a live class, drop us a line as well. 

Almost every type of artwork or skill is welcome. Some we can’t teach due to limits of space and safety. Maybe a written brewing class would work for the JordanCon blog, but hotel rules and a streak of bad luck for our brewing teachers have sadly placed it on a short list of “We can’t do that” classes. Along with knife throwing and fire juggling. Sorry to the Mat Cauthon cosplayers. Until next time JordanCon, keep crafting! 

JordanCon 2021 Livestream Schedule

JordanCon 2021 Livestream Schedule

Can’t make it to Con this year? No problem! We’ll have coverage all weekend on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and you can join us live each day for special livestreamed sessions from our Wheel of Time and Main Programming tracks.

Check out the schedule below and join us on our YouTube channel Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

 

Friday, July 16

Saturday, July 17

Sunday, July 18

2021 JordanCon Costume Contest

2021 JordanCon Costume Contest

We know that many of you have been working on that perfect costume for over a year now. We’re excited to say that we WILL be hosting the always-popular Costume Contest this year despite reduced programming! Sign ups will be slightly different, so please see below for details. We can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.

General Guidelines

  • Contestants may choose to compete for juried awards or only for Judges Choice/Audience Choice
  • Due to time constraints, we will be limiting the number of entries to the following:
    • We will accept the first 20 contestants to sign up who wish to be considered for juried awards. (Best in Show, Best in Class, or Best Workmanship)
    • We will accept an additional 10 participants for Judges Choice or Audience Choice awards only, but these will not be pre-judged or considered for the “Best of” categories.
  • Mandatory pre-judging for juried entrants will take place at 4 PM in the Main Programing Room (Dunwoody Ballroom). Please arrive early or you may not be eligible for juried awards.
  • Participants who are not being pre-judged should arrive by 5 PM.
  • Each entry will have approximately 1-2 minutes to present their costume while the emcee reads your pre-written description. Please write descriptions clearly and provide pronunciations, otherwise the emcee will ad-lib at their own discretion.

Awards

The following awards will be given at the end of the contest:

  • Best in Show– The best overall entrant from all classes.
  • Best in Class– The best entrant from each class that is not also the Best in Show.
  • Best Workmanship– The entrant with the best workmanship who has not also won Best in Class or Show.
  • Judges Choice–  Each judge may choose to present an award to any contestant that does not also receive a “Best of” award.
  • Audience Choice– This award will be chosen based on audience reaction.

Classes for Juried Awards

  • Entrants may enter one of the 3 classes (below).
    • Novice– Anyone who has never won an award before.
    • Journeyman– Anyone who has won 2 or fewer Best in Class awards or no more than 1 Best in Show.
    • Master– Anyone who has won Best in Show more than once or Best in Class 3 or more times.
  • Classes are determined by placement in previous JordanCon Costume Contests only; however, entrants may choose to enter in a higher class based on other factors.  Entrants may not enter a lower class. Group entries will be classified by the highest entrant in the group. 

Criteria

  • Entrants will be judged on the following equally-weighted criteria.
    • Accuracy (how well it matches the source material) 
    • Craftsmanship (how well constructed the self-made pieces are)
    • Presentation (the overall look and appeal of the entry) 

Conduct

  • Entrants are expected to abide by the JordanCon Code of Conduct.
  • Contestants should provide their own handlers for any large or obstructive costumes.
  • Contestants should be aware of any part of their costumes or props that may cause damage to the facilities or other contestants and take necessary precautions. If your costume is considered a problem by the organizers, you may be asked to leave.

Registration

  • Registration will take place online via the Eventeny ticketing system. Only 20 tickets will be available for juried awards. An additional 10 openings will be available for Judges Choice or Audience Choice awards only. Tickets to enter the costume contest are free of charge.
  • Entries will be taken on a first come, first served basis.
  • Tickets/entries for the Costume Contest will go live July 14 at 8:00 AM EDT. Please only sign up for ONE type of participation ticket/entry. The link provided below contains tickets (entries) for both types of contestants.
  • No entries will be taken after 1:00 PM Saturday or after the online tickets have been filled, whichever comes first.
  • Link to tickets for the JordanCon Costume Contest Awards is here.
Considering the Study of Many Dragons: Two Book Reviews & a Cake

Considering the Study of Many Dragons: Two Book Reviews & a Cake

Lady Trent book covers and an ocean cake.

The Tropics of Serpents: A Memoir by Lady Trent written by Marie Brennan

Join me in discussing Lady Trent and her extended study of dragons. As we draw closer to JordanCon time is starting to run short. There is still time to read a few more books before the convention. Each is around 12 hours of audio listening. By now I hope people have checked out Marie Brennan’s website to learn more about her. There is also a good collection of articles about and by Brennan on Tor.com, including her take on RPG campaigns.

JordanCon family, life hit. I fully intended to have two different articles about these books. Then I fell and injured my hand with less than 3 weeks to the con. Typing is slow going; however, I still want to provide everyone with more about our author guest of honor’s work. Toward that end, this article will cover a summary of book two and three from the Trent Memoirs. It will also showcase a fanart cake I made in appreciation of the sea serpents in book three. Thankfully the cake was made a week before life went sideways. 

Discussing the books this way will include spoilers, but as in my first article, major book spoilers will be below warning lines. 

In The Tropics of Serpents, the now widowed Isabella Camherst embarks on an expedition to the continent of Eriga to study savannah dragons and many other species. On this trip, Isabella takes the steps that will lead her truly down the road as Scirland’s premier dragon naturalist. The elder Lady Trent also warns readers in the preface that scandals and gossip abound for this portion of her life. 

Joining her on the adventure this time is Mr. Thomas Wilker, assistant to the Earl of Hillford, and Miss Natalie Oscott, the earl’s granddaughter. Lord Hillford is around for moral and financial support, but his health does not enable him to travel. Along the way, the group meets Erigans such as: Faj Rawango, Galinke, Okweme, Akinimanbi, and Yeyuama. The Erigan’s are from different backgrounds. They do not share a religion, a culture, or skin tones with the Scirling characters, nor with each other quite often. Readers will see the implied and, at times, overt racism of this world. 

Eriga is a tropical land that invokes images of African savannahs and rainforests with a vastly different power structure than found during Earth’s Victorian history. It is also filled with iron ore deposits in a world hungry for iron. The cultures represented by the various Erigan characters appear to be a blending of African cultures. I appreciate this blending, so that nothing feels like a parody. Instead it feels like Brennan is trying to show the cultures as real and fully developed, though the reader is not immersed in the nuances. 

The main focus of the narrative is about the study of dragons—from the savannah snakes of Bayembe, to the Moulish swamp-wyrms inside the Green Hell—and what Isabella is willing to endure in pursuit of these studies. Even when others want her to stop.

Map of Eriga by Rhys Davies. Swamp-wyrm by Todd Lockwood.

Spoilers: The Tropics of Serpents 

The real strength of The Tropic of Serpents is in the character development. In book one, Thomas Wilker is introduced as Lord Hillford’s assistant. A minor criticism I had was he never became a 3D character in my mind. Brennan completely changes that in this installment. She wrote about this transformation inside her mind on a blog post several years ago. In this book Wilker and Isabella develop a strong working relationship, and more importantly a true friendship. A friendship that is beautifully free of any sexual tension between the two characters, though outsiders kept trying to see some and cause troublesome rumors to boot. I greatly appreciated how a ceremony to banish witchcraft allowed for frank conversations between all the main characters. 

Natalie Oscott transforms from a one scene character into Isabella’s true companion. She is an engineer at heart and her designs help drive the action. Oscott, like Isabella, wants a life different from the expectations of a  Scirling noble woman. Unlike Isabella, her father is not supportive of these goals. Thankfully, her grandfather and friends do support her actions. 

Brennan digs into the realities of being a “lady adventurer” more in this book. From dealing with unwanted advances to dealing with menses in different cultures. Not offending local norms plays a major role in how the subjects are handled. Being a young widow and mother does not free Isabella from marriage expectations, despite what she might wish. For those hoping to see different sexual preferences expressed, the topic is touched upon lightly and more favorably than typical Victorian era novels. 

The conclusion of the novel takes a hard turn away from the study of dragons after Isabella performs a near miraculous feat with the help of Oscott’s engineering skills. She earns the right to learn more about the swamp-wyrms, just in time to defeat an army with them. Readers are teased with more Draconean ruins and rumors of treason. It’s almost unfair how fast paced book 2 is in the last few chapters. Yet it leaves Isabella and Wilker with strong lessons learned about the dangers of making promises rashly. These lessons serve them well in the next installment of the series.

End of Book 2 Spoilers. 

The Voyage of the Basilisk: A Memoir by Lady Trent written by Marie Brennan

The Broken Sea by Rhys Davies.

If you decide to pick up physical copies of these books, I highly recommend the hardback versions. Not only is each book printed with beautiful interior artwork; each book is printed in a different color scheme too. Book three, to match Todd Lockwood’s impressive cover illustration, is printed in blue. Most appropriate for a story that takes place largely at sea and on islands.

Readers join Lady Trent six years after her Eriga trip as she, her son Jake, and Tom Wilker embark on a voyage around the world in search of sea-snakes and more dragons. She and Tom are gathering information to question the nature of dragon classification. If successful, both might achieve the recognition from the Philosophers’ Colloquium they crave, despite the barriers of gender and class that have blocked their paths. 

The Voyage is my favorite installment of the first three books.  It might be due to the Keonga islands, inspired by the Polynesians islands and people. It could be the introduction of the archaeologist character named Suhail from Akhia. It could also be the sheer scope of the adventure told. It’s a literal voyage around the world, which takes them on a two year adventure visiting many parts of the world barely mentioned until this point. 

Beyond the study of dragons, readers learn more about the ancient Draconian civilization that has popped up in the other books. Now more links are being drawn between them and the study of modern dragons and sea serpents. 

Isabella and Thom continue their research as they deal with hostile governments, cultural taboos, tropical diseases, storms, and being shipwrecked. 

Dragon Turtle by Todd Lockwood

Spoilers: The Voyage of the Basilisk 

One of the best additions to the stories is Jake Camherst, Isabella’s now 9 year-old son.  He and his governess Abigail Carew join the expedition as a learning opportunity and as a counter to all those that criticized Isabella for leaving him behind when she went to Eriga. Sadly, Abigail remains a rather flat character, but Jake grows in many ways during the story. He also pushes his mother into some adventures she would have turned down without his prodding. 

The other stand out addition to the story is Suhail, an archaeologist of Draconean ruins met by accident twice during the journey. His desire to learn more about the Draconeans makes Isabella more interested in them as well.  Brennan has said her natural inclinations are better reflected by Suhail, rather than Isabella. He is a character with drive and interest. He also has an ability with languages that enables better communication between the Scirlings and an assortment of other peoples. Like Jake, Suhail also prods Isabella into taking actions. Actions that lead her into the middle of another battle. 

The Keongan people are primarily represented by Heali’i. Who is a Ke’anaka’i and identifies Isabella as one too. These ‘Dragon Spirited’ people are recognized and respected in the culture as different. Yet not being of a related culture or transgender myself, I would hesitate to call it a positive representation. I respect Brennan for including a transgender character in a culture that creates a place for them. She could have not included the subject, but instead it becomes a plot point. This enabled more frank conversions as thought provoking as the witchcraft ceremony of book two. The Keongan people respect the Ke’anaka’i. Isabella respects them by fully acting as one. Indeed, being one opens up several opportunities otherwise forbidden to women.  

The pacing is a bit uneven and will seem slow if you only want action and fighting dragons. This segment is more about the people and animal breeds met along the way.  It includes more self-reflections than in past books. Yet despite these minor issues, this installment inspired me the most.  

End of Book 3 Spoilers. 

More adventures await for Isabella Camherst. Indeed, as of book three, she is still not Lady Trent. That story happens later in the series. Yet I hope these discussions have inspired you to pick up the series and enjoy the full story yourself. 

Words of the Series:

Interlocutor – a person who takes part in a dialogue or conversation.

Much like Brandon Sanderson used “maladroitly” quite often in his Mistborn: Era 1 series, Lady Trent uses interlocutor several times per book. It stood out after the third time I heard the word, and I was finally compelled to look up the meaning. 

Let us all gather in July to be interlocutors together.  Until then, enjoy some tea and cake while reading more from Marie Brennan. 

Ocean Wave Cake: 

The sea serpents and Todd Lockwood’s stunning cover artwork fired my creativity after reading the series. Thanks to this inspiration, I decided to make fan art. My medium of expression has become cake and fondant in the last few years. At the bottom of the waves is an early style diving bell.  I’m rather proud of the engineering that went into creating a twelve-inch tall leaping sea serpent over tropical waves. 

Isabella may enjoy a number of coconuts while in the Broken Sea; however, it is not a flavor I enjoy. So the cake is a lemon sponge with pineapple filling, which creates a sunny look and a light citrus flavor. The ocean waves are made with Swiss meringue buttercream in 4 colors. The sea-serpent and diving bell are fondant over rice-cereal treat. Isabella is made of all fondant. 

Bright lemon and pineapple flavors. Next images will contain spoilers.

Spoilers: 

Sea-serpent cake with book cover. Figure is 12″ tall. Overall cake is 23″ x 8″

 

Reverse side of the sea-serpent. I tried to make is square-ish, like Lockwood’s cover.

 

Isabella riding a sea-serpent. Whiskers made of fishing line.

 

Article and cake by Deana Whitney
Join her in the Workshop Track at JordanCon.

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