After combing through a deep field of class proposals and agonizing for hours over who would be the best fit for the Realm Makers conference in its second year, we have finally come to some conclusions as to who will present content. So, without further delay, I give you the Realm Makers: 2014 faculty!
Well, we’ve already announced this, but it bears repeating that we will enjoy the privilege of hearing from NY Times Bestselling author Tosca Lee as our keynote speaker at Realm Makers: 2014.
Tosca is the author of Demon: A Memoir; Havah: The Story of Eve; Iscariot; and The Book of Mortals series with NY Times Bestselling author Ted Dekker. She’s best known for her exploration of maligned characters.
Tosca’s keynote content is still in development, but we look forward to updating you on that in the coming months. She could read the phone book* in our opinion. She’s TOSCA LEE, and that, in and of itself is enough!
*Not to worry, she won’t be reading the phone book.
Mr. Graham joins us for a second year at Realm Makers, offering an encore presentation of his powerful class on Worldview in Speculative Fiction as well as a second course the characters we love to hate: Villians. LB will unravel the mystery of when it’s actually OK to have a two-dimensional villain vs. when they need to be more fully-realized, explain why we (and our heroes) need bad guys, and discuss why evil is attractive, even though that attractiveness is a lie. He’ll also delve into how to keep our portrayals of evil age-appropriate and how to avoid glorifying evil while admitting it’s sometimes fun to write.
LB has published eight novels with a ninth on the way, and had eighteen years of teaching experience. According to Realm Makers:2013 attendees, LB “owns the classroom,” and you will be challenged and encouraged by the content he presents.
Mr. Martin teaches at conferences across the country, and his personality and presentations are both hilarious and packed with take-away. He’ll be presenting content on the ins and outs of networking, including a spiritual perspective on effective network-building. Torry’s second class will offer attendees wisdom, drawn from Torry’s own career, on how to swim with industry sharks without becoming one yourself. Too valuable to miss for writers at any stage of their career!
Mr. Gerke served as our keynote speaker for Realm Makers: 2014, and we’re excited to have him back in attendance, this year in his preferred role as session teacher. Jeff will be presenting content on the craft of fiction writing, though his exact presentation content is still coming into focus. For anyone who’s ever sat in one of Jeff’s classes, you know he teaches at warp speed, and his takeaway is at once challenging and brimming with encouragement.
Jeff has written novels under the pen name Jefferson Scott, worked all over the publishing industry in an editorial capacity, edits on a freelance basis, and has written multiple books on the craft of writing. He was the founding owner of Marcher Lord Press from 2008 through 2013, and continues to advocate for, teach, and build up Christian writers of speculative fiction with his constant contributions to the geek community.
Mr. Streu, a member of the very popular horror panel at Realm Makers: 2013, joins us once again, this time to teach a full, solo session on “the Ins and Outs of Christian Horror.” The class will feature an examination and critique of modern secular and “sacred” horror in literature and film against classic horror. We will explore the question of what makes horror, horror, while critiquing modern expectations of the genre, such as sex and gore. Finally, the class will look at Christian horror from a publishing perspective, specifically writing well within the genre without breaking trust with Christian readers–or with God.
Randy is the administrator and lead writer for A Flame in the Dark, the premier Christian horror blog on the web. He’s also is the co-founder, director, and developmental editor for Diminished Media Group.
Ms. Jerome joined us in 2013, primarily as a “Splicketeer,” but has much to offer in her own right. This year, she will present content of supernatural elements in real-world settings. As an author of books that incorporate fantasy and supernatural elements into a real world setting and as the editor of Havok, a speculative fiction magazine, Avily’s perspective is unique and will be beneficial to writers who are also interested in this type of world.
Mr. Perry joined us in 2013 as a contributor to the discussion of Splashdown Books’s Avenir Eclectia, and this year will draw upon his experience as an Army Reserve Officer to teach about the real toll of mortal danger in fiction.
Travis deployed five times into combat zones, once as a medical specialist and served over ten years as a combat medic. His real-world experience with warfare and his established body of work in speculative fiction make him an ideal candidate to keep the rest of us straight when we write about the physiology or psychology of wounding and danger.
Ms. Stieffel is also a returning presenter at Realm Makers:2014. This year, she’ll explore how the work of Mark Okrand and JRR Tolkien can help us give distinct languages to the people groups in our storyworlds. She’ll unpack how studying real languages other than English can provide inspiration for our fiction.
Kristen is a writer and writing coach, helping writers polish and nonwriters write. Kristen is a member of Christian Editor Network and the Editorial Freelancers Association. Her fantasy novel Alara’s Call is under contract with OakTara, along with three additional books in the Prophet’s Chronicle series. (We don’t know her release date for Alara’s Call yet, but here’s hoping she’ll have snazzy new books for May!)
Mr. Kwapisz joins us as a new faculty member in 2014 to discuss the detailed process of taking a graphic novel from idea to print. His session will cover the current realities of the marketplace and the differences writers and artists encounter if they traditionally publish vs. taking the self-publishing route. Gary has a passion to encourage Christians to re-engage the popular culture and help infuse the general market with values-based content.
Gary offers a wealth of industry experience, having worked as a professional artist for virtually every publisher in the comics industry, from 1980 to the mid 90’s. (Just Google him—you’ll be amazed.) He’s drawn characters as diverse as Conan, Batman and Harvey Pekar. Even if you don’t necessarily intend to delve into the world of graphic novels, Gary’s breadth of skills and depth of experience will offer Realm Makers attendees encouragement, wisdom, and a dose of reality not to be missed.
Ms. Heckenbach participated as a loved panelist at Realm Makers: 2013, and is back this year to teach one solo session and to team-teach another. Her solo session, “Writing in YA mode” will explore how writing for young adults is not the same as simplifying fiction for adults. The major point of the session will emphasize that meeting teens where they are does not mean dumbing down a stories language or content. She’ll also explain the difference between writing “teen fiction” and writing adult fiction that is safe for teens.
Kat Heckenbach is the author of Finding Angel and Seeking Unseen, YA fantasy that incorporates satisfying scientific principles. She has published countless short works as well, in anthologies ranging anywhere from Chicken Soup for the Soul to horror. Attendees will benefit from Kat’s dry wit and extraordinary literary range.
Mr. Winch joins us once again to offer an encore presentation of his 2013 class on writing flash fiction that sells, a class that will offer attendees the opportunity to enter into a Splickety Magazine-sponsored flash fiction contest. He will also be team-teaching with Kat Heckenbach a session that explores ways to connect scientific reality with fantasy to build believable and consistent story worlds. This team session promises to offer an excellent toolkit to either get you started or bolster any writer in their world building.
Andrew is the senior editor of Splickety Magazine, Splickety Love, and Havok. His training as a physical therapist gives him expert knowledge in the science of the human body, and he finds no shortage of ways to utilize that knowledge in his own writing endeavors.
While this gives you an in-depth sampling of the offerings you’ll find at Realm Makers: 2014, expect us to announce expansions and adjustments to this list in the coming months. We’ll also be determining the presenters and content for panels at the conference, but at the least, expect panels on topics like magic systems, self publishing, commissioning cover art, and more.
Down the road we’ll also announce agents and editors who will be looking at manuscripts during the conference. I hope you are excited as we are about the amazing array of classes slated for May.