Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Making a New Realm: My Thoughts on the Realm Makers Conference, 2014 Blog Hop

I've really been struggling lately with this labeling thing. The Christian this and Christian that. I am totally okay with what is commonly referred to as "sanitized" fiction/movies/music being available for people who like that. I don't care if they want their own aisles in the bookstores, or their own awards. What I'm starting to get sick of, though, is the idea that one must choose which box to be in. "Christian" or "secular"...with the implication that one is "clean" and the other "dirty."

There is so much clean, wholesome fiction out there that doesn't address Christianity or faith at all, and it kinda only gets a polite nod from "Christian fiction" advocates, a "nice try, but where is GOD??" Or, on the Christian side, if you do include God but also include a single bad word or some other no-no...or maybe you write all that weird speculative may get told that your story is great, blah, blah, blah, but it won't have a chance of being published in the CBA.

There have been interminable debates among Christians for as long as I've been writing (about 7 years), and judging from those discussions the debates started long before I boarded the ship. While sometimes it feels as if we're talking in circles, gears spinning, at other times it seems that little by little the cogs of those gears are catching hold.

If nothing else, what it's done is draw attention to the issue...and drawn like-minded writers toward each other.

A great example of this is Realm Makers. I attended the first Realm Makers Conference last year (August 2013) and it was amazing. All of those writers, all Christians, all writing weird and dark--some cleaner, some with lots of CBA no-nos--coming together in one place and connecting.

I wrote a bit about that experience HERE shortly after the conference. Basically, it was amazing to realize that I'm part of a movement. Not that I've been welcomed into the fold of an already existing, fully-formed genre, but rather that I'm getting to experience a genre taking form and taking root.

That is exciting. That is what totally pumps me up about being involved in Realm Makers.

Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying others haven't played major rolls in carving the way for Christian speculative fiction. Oh, they have. Early writers of the genre, small presses that  have managed to find a measure of success. Even online forums have been around for several years that have allowed us to reach out to each other.

But Realm Makers is another huge step forward, and it has to do with that idea of not being forced into one box or the other. There are loads of writers conferences and sci-fi/fantasy cons. But they come in two flavors: Either purely secular, or overtly, primly, conservatively Christian.

Realm Makers is neither of those things. It seems to be its own animal right now, and that is what I love about it so much. It is, truly, Making its own Realm.

 So, intrigued? Check out the Realm Makers website for more info on the conference.

And head over to Becky Minor's blog to enter the RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY for chance to win a digital subscription to Havok magazine and a five page edit from Grace Bridges, the owner of Splashdown Books.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dark Kid Lit, Realm Makers, and Whispersynced Audiobook

It looks like I've not even thought about this place for a few weeks now. But I assure you, that's not true. I've started--and deleted--several blog posts lately. I simply can't get hold of a topic solidly enough to post about it.

So, today I will at least get some links and such up:

I have another post up at A Flame in the Dark. It is my take on why kids should be allowed to read dark fiction. Check it out HERE.

I don't normally post links to reviews of my books, but this one just made me feel so awesome when I read it. Review of Seeking Unseen on Yellow30 Sci-fi Review--click HERE.

Realm Makers. If you haven't heard (did I post here about this yet?), I'll be on faculty at the Realm Makers Conference this coming May (30-31) at the campus of Villanova University, which is just outside Philadelphia, PA. I'll be teaching a session on Writing for the YA Market, and co-teaching one on Science in Fantasy Writing. For more info and registration, click HERE. (PS--we have Tosca Lee as Keynote Speaker, and I am stoked!)

The last thing I want to mention is that Finding Angel is now Whispersync enabled. That means, if you buy (or already own) the ebook copy, you can purchase the audiobook for $1.99. That is ebook and audiobook together for just shy of $6. The coolest part is that they will be synced, so if you want to listen for a while, then read, then go back to listening, etc., it will keep track of where you left off and keep going from there.

HERE is where you can purchase both. You have to buy the ebook, then the audiobook will show up at the lower price and you can then buy that. (If you find that they can go in the cart at the same time, let me know, but I'm pretty sure they have to be bought separately.)

PS--if you want a taste of the audiobook, you can listen to the first couple of chapters here: