I know, it has been over a week since Realm Makers and everyone else and their brother-in-law has already written their Realm Makers post. I’m a little behind. More news on that later.
All I really have to say is IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!! That would pretty much sum it up, but that would be a sorry excuse for a blog post, especially after I haven’t posted anything in four weeks.
Realm Makers is a writer’s conference for Christian writers in the speculative (fantasy, science fiction, horror, steampunk, etc) genres. It is kind of like a four day retreat with 150 of your closest friends (even if you didn’t know they were your friends until you arrived). This year, it was at Villanova University outside of Philadelphia. Me being crazy me, I drove the 11 hour drive all by myself. Who wouldn’t want to drive themselves with views like this?
I did the drive in two days, one long day and one morning so that I had time to stop at the Valley Forge National Monument. Valley Forge is where George Washington and his men spent the winter of 1777-1778 and started being better organized as an army. While most of t
heir huts and entrenchments are no longer visible, the farmhouse where George Washington spent the winter is still there. It is about 80% original, down to much of the interior floorboards, railings, and paneling in the rooms.
Finally, I arrived at Villanova. The campus was beautiful, all stone buildings and brick paths. Lots of scope for a fantasy writer’s imagination there!
I roomed with Nadine, Katie, and Ashley. Of the three, I’d only known Nadine before the conference, but that didn’t stop all of us from bonding. Katie is super perky and amazingly dedicated to her blog fans. Ashley and I swapped curly hair horror stories and product tips. Seriously great Realmie Roomies! I could go on and on about how amazing our three AM chats were! Ashley and Nadine both have books available, and I adore both of their series! There was a rather hilarious moment when I wore a Nadine’s Ninjas shirt all day, but Nadine didn’t notice it until nearly midnight. She screamed incredibly loudly and totally freaked out. Katie and I got a good laugh about it, because Katie asked in the morning how long I thought it would take Nadine to notice. Apparently it took her all day.
Ashley and I got each others books at the conference. So excited to read the rest of her series now that I have them!
The sessions were amazing, especially Steve Laube’s. He focused on building our own faith since, as writers, we pour out what we take in. If we aren’t taking in God’s Word, we can’t pour it into our writing.
The costume night was also a highlight. I dressed as a Blade, but I struggled to be intimidating.
Then there was the lack of sleep. The last night I got about 20 minutes of actual sleep before I had to be up to drive a carload of faculty to the airport. I’m really surprised none of them refused to ride with me when they realized I’d had pretty much no sleep, I was driving in the dark in an unfamiliar area, and it was a torrential downpour. Thankfully, they all arrived safely, and I was able to doze in bed for a few more hours before I had to start my drive home.
In case you hadn’t noticed, no one at Realm Makers sleeps. For four days, people should get about 32 hours of sleep. I haven’t seen any Realmie report anything more than 20 hours of sleep. I think I got about 10 hours of deep sleep and a lot of catnaps and dozing. Good thing everyone at the conference is too buzzed on hanging out and caffeine to care how little sleep they got!
The best thing about Realm Makers I think is the whole atmosphere. It is very relaxed, very friendly. Like I said, it feels like a several day retreat with 150 of your friends more than a stuffy conference. I made so many new writer friends it would take pages to list them all here. I miss them all so much already!
Seriously, if you are a Christian speculative fiction writer, you should go to Realm Makers if at all possible! I can see now why people go back to it every year!