Monday, August 10, 2015

Realm Makers Wrap Up: Coming back to real life...sort of

I don't know what you've been up to this weekend, but I was on an adventure!

I attended the 2015 Realm Makers Conference and had an absolute blast! And yes, that is me wearing a cape. But, it was the only picture I had of my travel buddy (and amazing author) Ronie! We took off to the conference and definitely had an adventure getting to the conference location (taking me along pretty much guarantees an adventure).

So, for those of you who have no idea what Realm Makers is, here is part of the definition from their website: "[Realm Makers] provide(s) a faith-friendly symposium for writers and artists, focused on science fiction, fantasy, and all their sub-genres." There were amazing speakers like Robert Liparulo, David Farland/Wolverton, Steve Laube, Julie Gwinn, Amanda Luedeke, Kirk DouPonce, and many many others! The conference was focused on Christian Speculative Fiction and it was just amazing.

I not only attended the conference, but I was also the conference photographer and did headshots from some awesome writers! I'll share some of the highlights...

First off I did some fan-girling with two of my favorite authors (you'll recognize my travel buddy there). It was awesome to snatch a photo with Tosca Lee and Ronie Kendig. As you can see in this last photo we were having way too much fun. Tosca is hilarious and so sweet and Ronie and I couldn't help but laugh with her :)

This lady was amazing! She was definitely the go-to person (along with Becky & Scott) for anything and everything. I learned really quickly that not just anyone could step into her shoes when she left my friend Andrew and I "in charge" for a few moments. We managed not to help two people and, in the long run, probably confused them more but hey...we tried to help!

Then there were my roommates (picture above) who were amazing! Julie Gwinn, Bethany Kaczmarek, and Ronie. We had a blast in our "dorm-style" housing.

From Suzanne Hartmann
And yes, that's me dressed as "Super Photography Girl" with my trusty camera and maroon cape (on loan from my friend Jenn). And even superheros have jobs to I also took photos of the amazing costumes ranging from baby raptors to steampunk to a black hole. We had it all at Realm Makers!

So, when we weren't dressing up (and even when some of us were) we attended classes. Everything was geared toward the Christian Speculative Fiction genre and was so really informative.

There were some amazing quotes from the great instructors and I had a blast tweeting them back when possible.

 Then there was the Zombie Apocalypse Nerf War....

 [Enter dramatic voice] 
There I stood, surrounded by nerf guns and the threat of zombies, and I decided it was worth it...I would photo the war. I had no other choice but to show the truth! 

From Suzanne Hartmann
Ok, but really it was a BLAST and I did feel a little like an embedded photo journalist. Thankfully I only got hit once in the forehead...sad to say he was actually aiming for me too, despite my lack of affiliation to the humans nor the zombies. But it was worth it. Can't wait to show the pictures I captured of this fun event. 

Another fun aspect of the conference was getting to meet amazing people (like Amy here). We connected on Facebook...I'm not sure when? But being able to meet in person was so awesome! 

 Lastly, I was so encouraged by the keynote speaker Robert Liparulo. He started the conference off by explaining his computer had crashed and he'd stayed up until 4am fixing his slides - ouch! But then, as he shared, he told us the word he heard from the Lord was "Stop!" He explained that we as writers tend to compare ourselves with other writers or let things get us down etc. when we just need to stop and put all of that aside.

Then, at the end of the weekend, he shared that the last word was "Go!" And that we should go and write the story that God has placed on our hearts to write. It was the perfect thing for all of us writers to hear because we often feel like we should wait and rest and he was telling us to go for it!

Well, after all of that, I was sad to go home but was SO happy to get some Starbucks at the airport since we'd been without great coffee all weekend. Yes, I'll admit right now to being a coffee snob!

Anyway, that's where I've been all weekend!

What about you, dear readers? Do you enjoy Christian Speculative Fiction (like Sci-fi, Fantasy, and the like)? If so, who are some of your favorite books/authors?

*Special thanks to Suzanne Hartmann for some of the photos she took of ME! Check out Castle Gate Press for another look at Realm Makers!*

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