LAST DAY TO REGISTER AT REGULAR PRICE!

That’s right, folks. Today is the last day to register at the $349 rate. On June 1, the price goes up to $409. 

12916948_1103293653034279_3065734273179849812_oDo you know WHY you should go to Realm Makers?

Do you know who’s going to be there?

Do you know what workshops will be offered? You can even meet with some agents and editors!

Have you SEEN the costumes at the awards banquet? Not to mention the awards themselves . . .

The question becomes . . .

What are you willing to do to make this conference happen for you?

Sound off! (Be as crazy or serious as you like . . .)

 

Into the Mind of Michelle Levigne

Today on the blog we welcome Michelle Levigne. Let’s delve into her mind, shall we?

 

What are you most looking forward to for this year’s conference?

Spending time with people who completely understand all facets of where I’m coming from. Not split between writers or science fiction people or church people, but all three merged together. Until you’ve had your roommate at a Christian university tell you that there are demons in the apartment because of your science fiction books, or have a teacher at your Christian high school tell you Christians shouldn’t read fiction, much less write it, because “all fiction is lies,” then you really don’t know how this weekend recharges my batteries.
Will you be coming in costume to the Awards Banquet? 

Unsure yet. I’m trying to figure out how to handle the makeup for a Khybor from my Commonwealth Universe.  Glitter glue just won’t cut it. I want it to be really cool – and something I can wear to the genre dinner at ACFW in Nashville without having someone come after me with holy water and incense. (see answer above) 

How many books do you own? 

Last count (Yes, I have a list in my computer, so that if there’s a fire I can try to replace everything with insurance $$) around 1,200 print books – 80-some in my to-be-read shelf – and over 600 e-books between iBooks, Kindle, and Nook. Sadly, a lot of the e-books are also waiting to be read. A lot of them were free, or I got them for research purposes, or because friends wrote them. I’m lucky to read one book each week!

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Greece. I was addicted to Greek mythology in elementary school and junior high, and would love to see all the places where so many of the stories were set. Especially, I would love to visit Kephallenia, which is supposedly the actual location of Ithaka in “The Odyssey.” I wrote a book about the events of “The Odyssey” from Penelope’s point of view.

Would you rather live in Middle-Earth, Tatooine, or aboard the Starship Enterprise? 

Consider this rationally – no electricity, print books, movies or indoor plumbing in Middle-Earth. While it might be cool to be a Rider of Rohan, with my luck I’d get stuck in the stable. Or have Orcs in the back yard. On Tattooine, it sounds like you have the choice of desert, rock canyons with bandage-wrapped mutants running around, or the space-equivalent of Tortuga, full of smugglers and criminal chieftains. Nuh uh. Then there’s the Enterprise. WHICH Enterprise are you talking about? Archer’s Enterprise. Pike’s

Enterprise. Picard’s Enterprise. Or the choice of new Kirk or classic Kirk. Think about the survival rate of the “new kids” – if you’re not the Bimbo of the Week, then you’re probably a Redshirt. If I’m on the Enterprise, can I hang out with Dr. McCoy? At least I’ll have a doctor close at hand when something awful happens. Reminds me of a filk song a friend wrote, set to the tune of “A Policeman’s Lot” from “The Pirates of Penzance.” When constabulary duty’s to be done (to be done) a Redshirt’s lot is not a healthy one … Thanks, but I’ll take MY ship – the USS Defiance, NCC 1717.

How did you get into writing?

I was addicted to daydreaming, and got into the habit of rewriting the TV shows I had seen, so I could be a character on the show, or add to a favorite book I had read, to keep the story going. My roots are in Star Trek, and started doing fan fiction. The short version of the story is that I saw a pilot movie for a TV show in high school and kept playing with the storyline, and I had to get it out of my head because we had semester exams coming up. Very hard to study when you’re creating adventures for your heroine. Previous attempts at writing had always killed the story after a dozen pages or so, but this particular story kept going. I wrote that book for two years, then took the correspondence course from Institute for Children’s Literature, then took creative writing courses in college, then got into fandom, where I saw my first published stories.

What was the inspiration behind your most recently published work?

My newest book as of this date  is “Odessa Fremont,” the prequel to my Steampunk series, Guardians of the Time Stream. I actually wrote the next book, “The Blue Lotus Society” first, but I made so many references to Ess’s back story in “Lotus,” that I realized I had to write her previous adventures. “Lotus” has its roots (agg, bad pun) in an anthology I was invited to participate in maybe 10 years ago, dealing with aliens from the Orion star system surviving on Earth, with an Egyptian or Incan influence. The blue lotus of the story was a crystalline lotus that controlled all the other crystalline pieces of an enormous machine that had been disassembled by ancient astronauts when they crashed on Earth centuries ago – and now their descendants are trying to find the pieces and reassemble it, to make contact with the homeworld. (Anthology was never published) I had all the pieces hidden in Egyptian artifacts. Fast forward to about 4 years ago when I was searching through my notes for bits and pieces for a story, to try my hand at Steampunk. I incorporated the Egyptian artifacts and the blue lotus and the pieces of the machine – only now it’s descendants of two groups of time travelers, trying to find the pieces of the time machine. Ess/Odessa is the long-lost granddaughter of the leaders of the “good guys,” and one of the few people able to control the lotus. At the start of “The Blue Lotus Society,” she is a Pinkerton, helping to guard a traveling exhibition of Egyptian artifacts, sent by Her Majesty’s government and the British and Cairo museums. So, her book, the prequel, tells the story of how she runs away from boarding school, saves President Lincoln’s life, works for the Secret Service, joins the circus, and becomes a Pinkerton at age 17.

 

Why do you write Speculative Fiction? What draws you to it?

<cue soundtrack> It’s the Final Frontier … no seriously, the possibilities are endless, and the tools and toys unlimited in science fiction and fantasy. Storylines that would be really hard to write in today’s society, or would require a whole lot of research to be historically accurate, are easier to write in futuristic or fantasy/medieval-type settings. For instance, I had an idea for a “showdown” story between a rich, powerful man, a robber baron type, and the daughter stolen from him before birth. While it would be pretty hard to get away with kidnapping the girl, holding her prisoner while indoctrinating her into his “philosophy” in a modern, Earth-bound setting, a galaxy-spanning civilization and dozens of worlds with varying legal systems and rules, and artificial wombs and space travel and all the attendant techo-wizardry, made it much easier to stage. The storyline wrote itself once I figured out the culture of the space pirate father – it also helps to have a science fiction universe that was assembling itself … The crux of the story was the choice of “gain the world and lose your soul.” Set in an SF universe, you could throw in so much more power, and so much more danger and insecurity to overcome, where the temptation is even stronger to give in and do it “Daddy’s way,” just to be able to protect those you love. I couldn’t have written that story set in the modern US, not without going really dark and having to invent underground fortresses and kidnapping and the logistics of trying to convince this girl that she’s better off becoming a criminal mastermind.

Thanks for talking with us, Michelle!

michellOn the road to publication, Michelle fell into fandom in college (a recovering Trekker), and has 40+ stories in various SF and fantasy universes. She has a BA in theater/English from Northwestern College and a MA focused on film and writing from Regent University. She has published 60+ books and novellas with multiple small presses, in science fiction and fantasy, YA, and sub-genres of romance. Her official launch into publishing came with winning first place in the Writers of the Future contest in 1990. She has been a finalist in the EPIC Awards competition more than thirteen times, winning with Lorien in 2006 and The Meruk Episodes, I-V, in 2010. Her training includes the Institute for Children’s Literature; proofreading at an advertising agency; and working at a community newspaper. She freelance edits for a living, but only enough to give her time to write.

 

Volunteers Still Needed

by Volunteer Coordinator Nadine Brandes

 

Last year was my first time at Realm Makers. I’d been wanting to go since its inaugural year and once I was finally there, I didn’t know what to expect. I walked down to the lobby on the first day when everyone was supposed to arrive and saw a group of Spekkies sitting and stuffing nametags.

AND IT LOOKED FUN.

Only us oddballs and speculative-fiction geeks can make stuffing nametags fun. (It also helped that some people’s nametags said things like, “Ruling Overlord” and “Sith Master.”) It was one of my first-made Realm Makers memories and now one of my favorites to reflect on. So let’s talk volunteering.

//giphy.com/embed/mG1M7QlI9nDAk

via GIPHY

 

It’s not quite as intense as volunteering for tribute in the Hunger Games, and it’s a lot more fun. (Also we won’t be threatening your little sister with the Hunger Games, should you refuse. You can relax now.) Volunteering allows you to powwow and let your dork out with other volunteer authors you may not have met otherwise.

Those of you who have already registered have been dominating the volunteer slots. Seriously, y’all are awesome and have servants’ hearts.

 

That being said, we have about 400 people ready to help set up the bookstore and…less than 400 for some other slots. [wink] Here is what we still need:

 

  • Conference Recording Attendants – as a volunteer, you’ll be checking on voice recorders at the beginning and end of sessions. This will be explained to you. You don’t have to be the inventor of space shuttle coordinates. You don’t even have to be a sci-fi writer. Fantasy writers can do this, too.😉
  • Appointment Room Timers – So personally, I think this one’s fun. You get to hold the stopwatch and hover over your nervous friends as they go to their one-on-one appointments. Oh wait….I mean, you get to pray for your friends and provide comfort while waving an inter-galactic peace flag to inform them their time is almost up. (Basically…you’re keeping the appointments on time so we don’t run behind schedule.) You’d be signing up for approximately a one hour slot.
  • Classroom Hosts – Who doesn’t want to introduce all the famous author speakers who will be at the conference? (“Hello world, let me introduce J. K. Rowling. Oh, what’s that, Jo? You want us to be besties? Okay then.”) Bonding moment. Networking. C’mon folks, you know you want to do this.😉

 

So if you’re ready to pull a Katniss Everdeen…please send an e-mail to RealmMakers2016@gmail.com (subject title: “I volunteer as…volunteer!”) and let us know which of the above slots you’d be willing to cover. This goes for already-registered and not-yet-registered alike. (Though, if you’re not yet registered, um…GO REGISTER ALREADY! Crazy people.😉 )

 

Cheers, my fellow spekkies. I’ll save some unstuffed nametags for you.😉

-Nadine

 

Get To Know the Publishers and Agents of Realm Makers 2016

Welcome Spekkies!

Have you been wondering what publishers and agencies are going to be represented at Realm Makers? Are you puzzling over what to say at an appointment? Well we can help! Today we’re beginning a Get To Know series featuring the publishers and agents who will be with us this year at Realm Makers.

So without further ado, let’s begin.  Continue reading

Into the Mind of Katie Morford

Today we welcome to the blog the lovely Katie Morford of Crosshair Press to share a little about herself.

Welcome Katie!

What are you most looking forward to about the conference?

I’m most looking forward to connecting with other amazing creatives! I’ve kept up with friends on the Realm Makers alumni page, so it’ll be great to see them again as well as meet new friends. Continue reading

Why Come to Realm Makers?

By Jason Joyner
What factors are important to you when considering going to a writing conference? Cost, location, the conference focus, the classes offered?
What makes Realm Makers stand out as a choice for writers?11145557_1636268479963060_1851248644850977648_n

If you wanted to ask former attendees what they liked about RM, then you’re in luck. I’ve asked several “alumni” of prior RM conferences for their opinions.

Cathrine Bonham

Important factors for me: Low Cost, Classes taught by writers I read and admire, friends with fellow attendees, and geographically doable (I can drive there in less than a day).

Victoria Grace Tucker

Low cost. Full of nerds. Costume dinner. Very informative. Networking. Costume dinner.

CW Briar shared:

When I went to Realm Makers, I hoped for great teaching, writing inspiration, and opportunities to talk with professionals in the industry. I got that in spades. What I didn’t expect was how much Realm Makers would foster bonding between Christ-following genre fans.
Realm Makers isn’t just a conference. It’s family.

Pam Halter

I love having focus. The conference is all about Christian speculative fiction. Even though I don’t write Sci-Fi, there’s enough there to help me with my high fantasy: world building, map making, cover design, dialog/language, battle scenes and more … like … The Costume Banquet. wink emoticon.

And what other Christian conference teaches you to play Zombie Apocalypse Nerf Wars?

Amy Brock McNew

I went because I knew there would be others like me there. By others, I mean the ones who sometimes feel like they stick out like a sore thumb, who like weird things no one else has heard of, and who question everything. I had never met anyone there in person, yet within 5 minutes I was swamped with hugs and smiles. I thought, “They get me. They KNOW.”
Realm Makers is unlike any other conference I’ve been to. It’s full of content I could relate to and use. And full of people that have become family. Whether you’re new to this writing thing, or a seasoned vet, if you love speculative fiction, this is the place for you.

J.J. Johnson

Okay- I was all set to go to ACFW last year. Even registered. Had my hotel booked and everything. Then I saw some guy name Ben Wolf post about RealmMakers- I messaged him and he message back and said “Get a refund and go St Louis…” Maybe not in those exact words but close enough.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love ACFW. I’m even the OKC chapter president. But the conference itself just didn’t fit my profile as a writer. Obviously the majority of writers going there are writing to a particular audience I’m not. They have to serve the needs of the majority of conf attendees. And I understand that. And not that it’s not a great conf. It is. And I’ve gotten stuff out of past ACFW conf.

But I wanted the chance to really connect with like minded Spec writers who were also Believers and I felt that Realm Makers provided that… That’s why I went- It provided the void for me as a writer that I felt other conferences maybe didn’t. So it’s my conf of choice for the the time being.

Janeen Ippolito

Realm Makers is incomparable for the networking between Christian speculative fiction writers. The atmosphere is friendly, fun, and entirely open to new ideas. This is a conference that fosters the creativity, passions, and dreams of the writers. Realm Makers isn’t just a place to fill your spot in a classroom and wander through sessions. It’s a place to explore, make plans, and then meet the people who can help you launch them. If you’re ready to put your writing into action in a field where there are exciting opportunities for growth, then this is your conference.

Lauri Matuska

I wasn’t going to go because of finances and distance, but my then-new copy editor asked if I was going, and I wanted to meet her and my editor, so I laughed in the face of the responsibility that previously me planning to stay home and went anyway. To this day I am so glad I did! It was a fantastic way to learn about my craft but most importantly, I got to meet people who are Christians AND love speculative fiction. Being part of this community is irreplaceable, and I will go back every year I am able.

Aaron DeMott11224897_10206386502493652_4406879233161683522_o

Meet your tribe. Learn from the pros. Be encouraged. Meet (other) authors!
And, my story:
In 2014, I went to my first Ream Makers (I wanted to go the first year, but couldn’t get the time off from work. Someone had a wedding, and they thought that was somehow more important…) I’d talked to a bunch of the people going and involved on line, but hadn’t met them in person. Like most introverts, I was slightly terrified of meeting a lot of people that I’d never really met.

When I got there, not only was everyone really nice, but lots of people (published authors, even!) said things along the line of “Aaron, hi! I’ve been wanting to meet you!”

At that time, I didn’t have a book published, and my thinking was, “Wow, these people have made it, I’m the one who should be excited to be meeting them!”

And that really sums up the whole experience. Everyone there is awesome, friendly, and encouraging. These are my people.

Also, where else can you go where a Jedi, a vampire, and a zombie can have a serious literary discussion and no one bats an eye?

Ben Wolf

Three words: Zombie Nerf War.11779993_10206163770467581_7587355455768002501_o