So July was kind of a blur, and the first part of August, but all for very good reasons.
Long-time blog readers know I blogged about writing in Ireland in 2015, and I went again this year. It’s a great week, full of fabulous touring and inspiration. But I stayed a little longer this year with organizer Fiona Claire to prepare for 2017, when I’ll be co-teaching with the talented Lorie Langdon!
Stay tuned for more information on this, but trust me, it’s going to be amazing. As I said in my newsletter: Want to explore a 15th century castle, walk through an impossibly green forest to an ancient waterfall, and climb in the footsteps of both 8th century monks and Luke Skywalker? All while improving your writing craft and exploring your publication options?
We’ll be touring in County Kerry, the Dingle Penninsula, and the Skelligs. We’ll be discussing various aspects of writing craft and editing, and I’ll specifically be talking about choosing self-publishing or traditional paths for your work and then walking through a complete self-publication process — properly. More to come on our workshop agenda!
Your price includes accommodation, some meals, the tours (including site admissions), ground transportation, the workshops, and personal manuscript review and one-on-one sessions with both Susan and myself. And it’s probably tax-deductible for your writing career! Save the dates now.
I was barely home before I left again for Realm Makers, a writing conference specifically for speculative fiction writers of faith. Yes, that sounds oddly narrow in scope, but this was my second year and it’s becoming one of my favorite writers’ events.
I’d volunteered to help out by picking up faculty from the airport. Not gonna lie, it was a fun moment when keynote speaker Thomas Locke enthused over being picked up in my shiny red Tesla and got excited that I was buying it with royalties. (Yes, I drove the 650 miles each way to the conference for absolutely free. Go electric!)
Realm Makers not only has good professional and industry information for the speculative fiction craft and market, it has a solid grounding in its speculative fiction essence and doesn’t forget its raison d’être — meaning, there are lots of fandom jokes and references. One morning featured a short writing craft lesson from Kylo Ren:
question from a trooper in the audience: “Sir! I’ve been told you should show rather than tell. Can you tell me how to do that?”
Kylo Ren: “I can’t tell you, that would be telling! Sit down! Next question?”
another trooper: “Sir, I’ve been told I have to make my characters likable for my reader to get invested in my story. But how do I do that?”
Kylo Ren: “The greatest characters ARE NOT LIKABLE! Consider the greatest character of all time, Darth Vader. /cough/ My grandfather. He didn’t have a likable bone in his body. I’m not sure he had any bones in his body.”
There is an awards banquet which is traditionally a costume event. Non-costumed attendees are welcomed, but why not have some fun? I had dinner with Hagrid and an Alice out of Wonderland, and beyond I saw a Weeping Angel, unicorn shaman, Twilek, the silent mother from Inkheart, Furiosa, a collection of steampunk Disney princesses, a zombie-killing Elizabeth Bennet, and many, many more. (I went as the young Battousai from Rurouni Kenshin.)
Also, the conference ends with a Zombie Apocalypse Nerf War. Bring your weapons.
Realm Makers is also great for networking; I came away with
fresh meat fresh beta readers, several new resources for publishing services (editors, cover designers, etc.), three manuscript requests from publishers, and an invitation to speak at another event. (2017 will be the fifth anniversary of this young conference, and it will be held in Reno.)
And then came Gen Con, a gaming-centric convention of 60,000+ of your best gamer friends and their assorted interests. The con takes over most of downtown Indianapolis.
Every year we teach some costuming workshops, and this year I brought back my presentation on Japanese Folklore and Mythology, which got a lot of good feedback. (Interestingly, I dropped that I was working on a book with Norse mythology as well, and I got a request to do a similar presentation on that — which would be a lot of fun, I’ll admit!)
My single purchase was a fancy new folding magnetic dice tower from Wyrmwood. That was after I managed to squeeze in some Pathfinder at the con. (My Hellknight leveled up!) Also, I brought Cupcake the Dinosaur to Gen Con, which was a lot of fun.
With all that, though, I did manage to get the rest of a WIP roughly outlined, so I’m looking forward to finishing that. Oh, and we wrapped the audiobook of Con Job, coming soon! Newsletter subscribers heard about it first and will have the first opportunity to acquire it at a special rate, so if you’ve considered subscribing but haven’t gotten around to it yet, here’s your opportune moment.
Next up on the conference front is Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in Denver this September, where I’ll be participating in the signing as well. I’d love to hear from anyone else who will be there!
Also published on Medium.