I’m a bit overdue for a recap of my visit to this particular writers’ conference. It has been such a blessing to me each year I’ve gone, and this year was no different. I’ll just jump right in:

Deep Things I learned at Realm Makers 2016:

Silence is special.

God hears us.

Crying is healthy and sometimes necessary.

Sometimes asking ourselves hard questions will make things fall into place.

In order to know our characters, we must first know ourselves.

People who have the courage to sit down and pitch their stories to editors are brave, no matter how nervous they might feel.

Sometimes writing isn’t about grammar and words, but about our souls connecting with others’.

It is okay to “fangirl” when you meet someone whose work/art made a difference in your life. They might need to hear a simple, “Thank you for writing that book – I’m so glad you did.”


Things I learned at Realm Makers 2016 that are Not Deep:

It is possible to make a chameleon from metal parts and clay in about three hours. If you’re Andrea.IMG_2248

Safety pins can be used for almost anything.

Even writers who are adults seem to have an Achilles’ heel when it comes to Nerf gun battles.

All of us need a crown of some type.

Everyone, even professional grownups, have their own legitimate fanboy/girl moments.

If you want to see someone’s creativity blossom, tell them to dress up as any character they want.

IMG_2228Sushi isn’t as scary as it seems.

Realm Makers is a writers’ conference for authors of faith who write speculative fiction. This is its fourth year, and it was held on the beautiful Villanova campus. It’s not your typical writers’ conference for many reasons. One is the community and support these authors have for one another, another is the general lack of stressful competition. Also, most writers’ conferences don’t have an annual costume-optional banquet. The Crosshair Press girls and one of our friends (Andrea) all dressed up as Steampunk Disney Princesses Belle, Mulan, and Merida, and Rapunzel. Another of our crew (Carrie) dressed up as Princess Zelda, of video game fame, while the last of us (Lauren) went as Kylo Ren, from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We adoringly referred to her as our fifth Disney princess, because seriously, he was a major drama queen in the movie. Of the six of us, Kylo and Zelda’s costumes were probably the most labor-intensive projects of everyone’s there.

Stealing Kylo Ren's lightsaber - the Dark Side has cookies, I hear...
Stealing Kylo Ren’s lightsaber – the Dark Side has cookies, I hear…

Both were made from scratch, with hand stitching on both. Seriously, these girls (and so many people at the banquet) have major skills when it comes to costuming! Also, Lauren’s sister made her lightsaber hilt. And it looked legit.





Highlights from this year’s costume-optional banquet:

Merida & Kenshin (I *think* that’s how you spell it?) – Photobombing courtesy of Rapunzel & Kylo Ren.
Imperator Furiosa (Mad Max, 2015) – She won the “Surprise Best Costume Award.” 🙂
Wish I’d gotten better photos of her wings! Fairy Author, Pam Halter & me!
Agent Carter!
Our Disney Princess Companions (l-r): Pascal (Tangled, 2010), Elenor, aka Mother Bear (Brave, 2012), Beast (Beauty & the Beast, 1991), and Mushu (Mulan, 1998)
Ahsoka Tano (Star Wars: The Clone Wars & Rebels)! I was so excited, you guys. She is my fave. Could you guess?
Wardrobe malfunction! Rapunzel (Andrea) was our Genius Fixer Of The Wigs & Garments.
The Crosshair Press Team(l-r): Amy Williams, Amy Davis (me), & Katie Morford.
“I am your mother!” One of the best moments of the night, when Kylo (Lauren) threw her arms around Leia (Phyllis, of Castle Gate Press), and said, “Mommy!”
Belle, Beast, & Kylo Ren!
Belle & Mulan
“It’s dangerous to go alone!” Princess Zelda, Beast, & Belle.
Merida & Belle.
If you dress up as a Star Wars character, strangers off the street will ask to have their photos taken with you. Pretty sure it’s a proven fact, now. These girls (in normal clothing) were from South Africa and had their pictures taken with a few of us. “We don’t have these kinds of things happen in South Africa — this is why we *leave* South Africa!” – Girl In Pink & White. Well, there you go. 🙂


Our full merry group. So glad I got to experience the conference with these lovely ladies.
Heading back home after the conference, Theophilus the Exhausted Hedgehog & chai in hand.
‘Til next time, friends!







If you’d like a fuller glimpse  of what Realm Makers is about (and hear more about the aforementioned crying and fangirling), feel free to check out my “official” recap at Crosshair Press.

5 thoughts on “Highlights from Realm Makers 2016

    1. I have never been one for costumes, aside from playing dressing up when I was little, but this was very fun. Maybe it was because I was doing it with other people? All I know is that so many people seemed to blossom when they suddenly got to put on that “inner” persona. 😉 It was definitely a great opportunity for people-watching!


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