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.