Realm Makers 2016

Last weekend,  I was at the Realm Makers conference in Philadelphia. I drove 1500 miles to get there, which took me three days. Of all the various writers’ conferences I’ve been to, this one is my favorite. It’s my favorite because it’s specific to the kind of writing I do, which means that no one thinks  I’m weird. Everybody else at this conference is just as weird as me, and some are considerably weirder. I went to this conference in its very first year, and have only missed it once. This year was the fourth Realm Makers.

This time, though, I went with mixed emotions because I knew it was likely to be my last writers’ conference for the foreseeable future. We have lost a big chunk of our income and there will no longer be any “discretionary” funds available. So in a way, it was hard to enjoy it fully because I knew there was no future to look forward to.

On the surface, it was a great conference for me. I had three appointments instead of only two. Both publishers and the agent requested material from me, and I have been busy sending it out since arriving home. No one had any interest in my time travel story set in Africa—but I expected that. I have always assumed that at some point I will have to publish that myself.

I enjoyed the classes I took and I really enjoyed getting to know my roommates, who included an editor, a very successful author, and a “wanna be” like me. They are all wonderful ladies.

I had a plan to help me meet new people at this conference, because when you’re an extreme introvert, you really have to have a plan. My plan was to offer tea to anyone who wanted some, as coffee is more the focus of the caffeinated offerings at the conference. I announced my intention ahead of time and received an enthusiastic response. However, despite the fact that I skipped breakfast both mornings in order to make myself available for tea lovers, only one person came. My clever plan was an abysmal failure and my assortment of tea-making supplies remained unused by anyone but me. *sigh*

My bookmarks were also not a hit at all. I guess I’m the only one who loves them!

It’s not that I didn’t socialize; I did. I greatly enjoyed the conversations I had at mealtimes and during classes. I love hearing about other people’s stories and discussing nerdy stuff with them. I enjoyed the costume dinner even though I didn’t have much of a costume, having put all my effort into making the Desert Assassin Cloak for the raffle. I was so tickled when my friend Lelia won the raffle. She is such a sweet lady and was so excited about her new cloak!

So, as I said, on the surface it was a great conference. Tomorrow I’ll talk about why I am still struggling to come to terms with my experience.

Meanwhile, I can share with you something positive that came out of last year’s Realm Makers. Last year there was a story contest and my story was a finalist, which means that it was included in the anthology which has just been released this week! All of the stories are excellent. Here’s the link:


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