In lieu of the traditional featured story/featured author mid-month post, I have something special for you today.
I was at Realm Makers last weekend–a conference for Christian authors of sci-fi and fantasy. It was an incredible experience, and it dominated my July. In honor of the conference (and because I’m moving super slowly through my reading pile), today I’m going to give you a run-down of the highlights of the trip and my TBR (to-be-read) list from it.
Also, you probably know that I’m a teacher. In order to renew my teaching credential, I have to go through something called Induction. For the next year, I’m going to be taking classes on top of teaching and author-ing. So this is a head’s up. I’m going to do all I can to maintain a regular blogging schedule and keep up with you guys, but if Induction and the rest of life get in the way, please be patient with me.
In list format:
- Hanging out with Hannah Heath and K. L. + Pierce. These two authors are part of the Phoenix Fiction Writers. I’ve met Hannah in person before, but this was my first time meeting Kirsten outside of the Internet. I spent so much time with them, and I love them both.
- Meeting other Internet friends. So many authors whom I’ve interacted with for years online were there, and I was fizzing inside with joy at meeting them in the body. Deborah O’Carroll, Julia Garcia, Olivia Cornwell, Kara Swanson, Claire Banschbach, H. L. Burke, and Morgan L. Busse were just a few of the incredible people I met.
- Meeting new authors. There were also tons of people whom I hadn’t interacted with before, and I look forward to continuing to get to know them.
- Carrot cake cupcake. I had a lot of homework to do, so whenever there was downtime, I found myself tied to my computer working away. Hannah and Kirsten went exploring one day, and they brought me back a delectable carrot cake cupcake. They are amazing friends.
- Talking with Wayne Thomas Batson. Mr. Batson was the third fantasy author I ever read, and it was while reading his books that I started to think of writing fantasy myself. His The Door Within trilogy captured my imagination. Interacting with him a few times over the course of the conference was an huge blessing. He was incredibly kind and sweet.
- Fuzzy’s Tacos. Fuzzy’s was a taco place near the hotel. I’ve heard horror stories of Mexican food outside of California, and the name “Fuzzy” brings to mind moldy old socks. Needless to say, I was quite nervous to try this fuzzy Missourian Mexican food. It was so delicious, though! Far better than I had hoped.
- Affirmation. Several people told me they had Child of the Kaites at home, and several others bought it (and The Weavers’ Blessing). Going into the conference, I was afraid to realize I was delusional and that no one would care about my stories. People’s interest in my fantasy Moses retelling with magic swords and homicidal storms humbled and encouraged me. Now I’m fired up to finish the Steward Stories and rewrite The Steward’s Apprentice!
- So. Many. Good. Books. Seriously, every table in the vendor hall was overflowing with beautiful books. Everyone I talked to told me of fascinating stories that they have written or are writing. My TBR grew exponentially.
Which is a perfect transition to:
My Realm Makers TBR
I’m a teacher on summer break. I had a tiny budget for book-buying. This meant that wandering the vendor hall was a special kind of torture, so I had to add everything to my Goodreads TBR as soon as I got home. I’ll include the Goodreads link for all of the books.
Also, Terry Brooks gave everyone at the conference a copy of The Elfstone of Shannara. He was amazing and friendly in person, and after hearing some of his thoughts, I’m looking forward to reading this.
Now for that TBR list:
- Oath of the Outcast, Claire M. Baschbach (this just came out yesterday!!!)
- The Chamber, J.J. Johnson (dystopia with an evil A.I. house)
- Outerlands, P.J. Regnier
- The Emerald Enigma, Paul Regnier
- Paranormia, Paul Regnier
- Circus Phantasm, Naomi P. Cohen
- Launch, Jason C. Joyner
- The Curse of the Spider King, Wayne Thomas Batson
- Dreamtreaders, Wayne Thomas Batson
- The Black Prism, Brent Weeks
- The Savage War, Esther Wallace
Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! And share your July TBR with us, too!