Hello followers of Realm Makers!

Mid-December is upon us, and we’ve made some excellent progress toward having all the pieces in place for the first annual Realm Makers: a gathering of creators of speculative content. Here’s an update on what’s going on:

In order to make the deposit on the venue for the event, I have been asking publishers of Speculative Fiction if they would be interested in becoming sponsors of Realm Makers. So far, I have had a generous responses from

Marcher Lord Press’s Jeff Gerke

Port Yonder Press’s Chila Woychik


Splashdown Books’s Grace Bridges

They each have responded with corporate sponsorship of the event, and because of that, we are much closer to being able to write the check for that deposit. Not quite there yet, but I am still praying and asking around. If you or someone you know is interested in helping out in this capacity, please don’t hesitate to make me aware. Every bit sponsors donate will lower the cost I have to pass along ton conferees.

As for time and date:

The event will take place on August 2-3, 2013 on the campus of the University of Missouri at St Louis, in their J C Penney conference center. The facility offers presentation ready facilities as well as on-campus housing, which will be substantially less expensive than a hotel-type venue. Maybe a little less posh, but the first time out, I’m trying to keep it simple. The campus also has excellent public transit access, as it is very close to the airport, and there is a train that stops nearby.

 Classes and sessions:
I’m very excited to announce that Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press has agreed to serve as the keynote speaker for this event. As the leading pioneer of the Christian Speculative Fiction market, he seemed like the obvious choice, and thankfully, his schedule is open for this get together.  In addition to the incredible wisdom Jeff will share, other proposed classes might include:
  • Writing short fiction that sells
  • What a fight choreographer can teach you about writing battles
  • Why cover art matters–how to advocate for the best possible cover
  • Using social media to build an audience
  • World building
  • How to offer useful critique without breaking anyone’s heart
  • Group critique session where writers will read an excerpt of their work to receive feedback as well as offer it
As of this moment, I foresee there being 8 class sessions over the two days and 3 round table or panel discussions (provided by published speculative fiction authors, editors, and publishers. Again, contact me if you’d like to volunteer to be on a panel.)  In the evenings, we hope to host some fun events, such as a group writing session that produces a short excerpt for an in-conference contest. There will also be a costume soiree on Saturday night where attendees will be encouraged (but not required) to wear their best fantasy or science fiction inspired costume. (Prizes are inevitable.) This event will involve a buffet dinner as well as awards and acknowledgements.
It is my expectation that registration will open for Realm-Makers in May. I have some unofficial attendee commitments that I know of, but there won’t be any registration forms to fill out until then.

We are doing everything in our capacity to try to keep costs down. Typical writers’ conferences run between $400 and $600 for three days of content, but this event will be significantly less expensive than that, since it’s only two days and we are going no-frills on everything. Base registration cost will also be determined by the number of sponsors I can talk into easing the expenses on this.  My goal is to keep the base registration between $150 and $200 per attendee. This may be a pipe dream, though, so I ask your flexibility when the final numbers do go live.

In order to give conferees some control over how much they spend, things like housing and meals will be a la carte during the registration process.
Options people could add would be on-campus housing ($25 a night), boxed lunches provided by the University’s caterer ($8 per day elected) and attendance at the catered dinner on Saturday night ($25).  Dinner on Friday will be on the conferees’ own. Continental breakfast would be included on both Friday and Saturday with your registration, but the dorm housing does have small fridges in the rooms if people wanted to supplement or have their own meal options on hand.
I hope this helps you to get a clear picture of what we are planning. Through the next few weeks, I fully expect these details to become more concrete and then I will publish exact information as it becomes available. I’m thrilled that the pieces are beginning to fall into place for Realm Makers, and most of all, I will be thrilled to see you there!