... or at least, very nearly. It's been an amazing summer, I don't mind telling you. Great weather, plenty of rain (the Ozarks are a rainforest right now, compared to this time last year), exciting events - no complaints!
I won't bore you with the details of my entire summer, but I will take a few moments to talk about Realm Makers, which was definitely the highlighting event!
If you didn't hear about it beforehand, Realm Makers was the first-ever writers conference specifically designed for Christian writers of speculative fiction. And it. Was. Awesome. I met some amazing people, had the privilege of shaking the hands of people I'd previously only met online, and had a great time enjoying the company of a whole troop of people just as crazy and creative and nerdy as me!
Becky Minor, the reason we even had such a thing as a Realm Makers conference. So a huge thank-you to her for an awesome weekend!
Among other personages with whom I made acquaintance over the weekend were L.B. Graham, author of The Binding of the Blade series; Brian Davis, author of the Dragons of Starlight series (and with whom I sat down and had a lovely chat about my novel The Sword Masters of St. George's Academy); Jeff Gerke, commander-in-chief of Marcher Lord Press; and of course Becky Minor, author of the Windrider Saga.
Best of all, I got to see Grace Bridges, leading lady of Splashdown Books, again - this time officially as "my publisher"! Yep, she made the trek all the way from New Zealand to be at Realm Makers. I also got to meet a lot of the other Splashdown and Avenir Eclectia authors too - Deborah Cullins-Smith, Kat Heckenbach, Travis Perry, and Robbyn Tolbert. I'll admit, I was a little intimidated about meeting Robbyn. She's the one currently working on Song of the Wren-Falcon, helping me get it ready for publication, and for some reason that just really, really freaked me out. But with the help of my friend Heather ("Help" in this instance indicating Heather dragging Robbyn over to me by the hand, shoving me towards her, and saying "Now talk to each other!"), we broke the ice and started getting to know one another.
Let me just say that, having met and talked to Robbyn, I feel totally at peace entrusting her and all the rest of the Splashdown crew with my manuscript. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't have submitted my novel to Splashdown at all if I was worried they might mess it up - but still, it's my baby, you know?
Now though, I have every confidence in the world that by the time it's done, Song of the Wren-Falcon is going to be absolutely the best novel that it can possibly be. And it's going to be good for me as a writer, as well as for the novel itself. I'm not going to be allowed to get away with any cheap tricks or short cuts (which, I confess, I did use here and there in SotS - yes, I know it's not SotS anymore but that's way simpler an abbreviation than SotW-F).
But more on that in another post. For now, back to Realm Makers.
Which brings me to another highlight of the weekend! On Friday, Ben Wolf and Andrew Winch, the executive and senior editors of Splickety Magazine, respectively, gave a talk on what flash fiction is, and how to write it. (Flash fiction is what Splickety Magazine publishes.)
At the end of the talk, they announced a contest: write a story of 500 or fewer words and turn it in to them by noon on Saturday. The winner would get published in the first edition of Havok, a new imprint of Splickety coming in January.
So, instead of sleeping like we should have done Friday night, Elyn, Michaela, and I all stayed up most of the night, woke up abominably early Saturday morning, and spent most of the time during the morning lectures scribbling stories instead of taking notes. We all got them turned in, and settled down to wait eagerly for the announcement of the winner, set to take place at 5:00 pm.
It finally rolled around, and they started announcing the runners-up. Elyn made the finals, with her story Wolf Myth!
I didn't make the finals, but I was just glad that I would be able to say I entered the flash fiction contest at the first-ever Realm Makers conference.
But then they announced the winner... and it was me!!! I literally almost fell over. I had no expectation whatsoever of winning, so hearing my name blindsided me completely. Which turned out to be a problem, since they then asked me to read my story aloud to the entire assembly of conference attendees. Elyn says I read it a little too fast. I imagine that to mean something along the lines of Twitchy from Hoodwinked. But oh well.
So, that means that if you subscribe to Havok, you can expect to see my story, The Mermaid's Pocketwatch, in the inaugural issue!
It was a great way to wrap up an utterly fantastic weekend. I'm so glad I got to enjoy it with so many of my closest friends, authors I've loved for years, my publisher and new colleagues, and new friends made.
Come to think of it, it made a pretty nice finale to the summer. Here's to next time!
If you've actually made it to this point in the post, you're amazing. I know, it was insanely long. I should have done a three-part series or something.
I still don't have internet at home (another one of those ridiculous details about my summer that I won't bore you with), but I've got things arranged so that I should be able to get to wi-fi at least a couple of time a week now. Most of the posts this fall will probably be scheduled as a result, but I'll try to still reply to comments and post at least every week or so.
I hope everyone's summer was wonderful, and I'm looking forward to this fall. God's doing some cool things, and I'm excited to watch them unfold.
How was your summer?