Monday, August 10, 2015

Realm Makers 2015: "Most of" Awards, the unofficial list by Kat Heckenbach

I woke up this morning after finally getting a real night's sleep. Realm Makers was awesome, so I stayed awake far too late every night and woke up far too early every day, which meant I was basically a zombie coming home yesterday. I think I may have enough brain power to post about my adventure now.

Some of my fellow Realm Makers attendees have already posted on their blogs--lovely recaps and great photos. I think I'm going to take a bit of a different twist....

This is going to be sort of a "most of" post. Let's get started:

Most asked question (of me, that is): "Is that new?"

The nose ring. Yes, I got that a couple months ago.

Most anticipated meeting: Mike Duran

Been friends online for years. Mike's been a great support, and I could not wait to meet him in person. Even cooler than expected.

Most unexpected meeting: Tosca Lee

Technically, this is us meeting for the second time. But last year, every single picture I had taken with her didn't come out. She showed up unexpectedly for the Splickety pre-conference critique party and I FINALLY got a good picture with her.

Most years as online friends: Chris Kolmorgen

This guy started following my blog like seven years ago. One of my very first blog followers! We've stayed connected online ever since.  I was so honored to finally meet him in person, and so impressed with the man he's grown up to be so far.

Most adorable couple: Aaron Schlegel and Mary Ruth Pursselley

Steampunk never looked so awesome. 

Most adorable family: Aaron Demott and his lovely ladies

I had the honor of being a secret costume judge at the Award Banquet -- along with Mike Duran and agent Steve Laube -- and it was an easy and unanimous decision to choose this Star Wars loving family as the winners.

Most bitter-sweet moment: Accepting my certificate as finalist in the "Escape" short story contest

Yes, it was massively cool to be a finalist and know that my story "Darkness" will be in the anthology. But I didn't win either the readers' choice or judged first place awards. I was disappointed--I admit--but the edge was definitely taken off when two of the judges paid me very high compliments on my story, one even saying mine was her absolute favorite!

Honored to be a finalist along with Grace Bridges

Most interesting compliment: being called a "conference mom"

Heather Titus (aka H.A. Titus, author of the newly-released Forged Steel) referred to me as her "conference mom" over the weekend. Heather is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet, and I have so much fun hanging with her at Realm Makers. I love that we are both real friends and she sees me as a mentor-type. 

And last, the things that could not be captured on film...

Most heard marketing advice: "You are your brand."

I took the marketing track, which was taught in segments throughout the whole weekend. Three teachers taught about marketing--Amanda Luedeke from the MacGregor Literary Agency, Julie Gwinn from the Seymour Agency, and Suzanne Kuhn of Suzy Q author and book promotion services. All three could not stress enough that the author is their own brand.

(Just sayin'--I was told quite a few times that my look and personality are a complete fit for the kind of writing I do, so hopefully that means I'm branding myself as a writer the correct way. Or even better--my brand has organically developed from who I am.)

Last but by far not the least....

Most profound statement: Keynote speaker Robert Liparulo's words telling us we should pray, "God, make me prepared to do this."

That has been a big theme for me lately. Over the last couple of years it has really sunk in that this is truly a journey--not just to publication or to maybe someday fame as an author, but one of preparedness. I would not ever have been prepared to be even where I am now way back when I started writing. I can see these days that I've needed this time to ready myself for being more than just a writer, more than just a small-press author. I'm learning all the time, gaining confidence. THAT is what I need to pray for, not success or opportunities, but rather for the preparedness I will need when opportunities and success come along.

And hopefully, with the help of Realm Makers, those will come along.


Chris Kolmorgen said...

Still happily following this blog and still honored and happy to see you last week. :)

Chris Kolmorgen said...

Still happily following this blog and still honored and happy to see you last week. :)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks, Chris! So glad you've stuck with me all this time!

Katie Grace said...

You did a fabulous job with the costume judging. I approve of your choice for a winner. :)

Emilie Hendryx said...

Great update! Love the different approach here :)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks, Katie and Emily! It was so much fun!

Unknown said...

Great thoughts! :) I never heard Heather referencing you as her conference mom! I probably would have joined in. ;)

Kat Heckenbach said...

Liberty, I don't remember the exact situation, but she and I were talking and it just slipped into something she said to me. I just remember it kind of reverberating in my mind, though, and my heart kind of swelling with pride :).

cherylbethjohnston said...

Love this post, Kat. I felt like I was at the conference with you, and of course, photos are always great. Congratulations on your finalist award...would love to read that story. And best of all, to know that everything God sends us through is for preparedness. You are definitely displaying your brand...which is so cool!

Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks so much, Cheryl. Glad you enjoyed the post. And maybe I'll have to bring the story to BCW :).