Now I’m eager to step back to those days of yester-week. And I’m more eager more to remember twenty-five more graces that I enjoy, thanks to God’s work through Realm Makers. (See the complete set of one hundred graces, once I’m done.)
Realm Makers 2019: One hundred graces, 26–50
- We loved meeting people at the Lorehaven magazine booth. Here we recruited free subscribers, sold copies, and shared about the magazine’s book reviews and advertising. Next year, we’ll have even more, likely including my book.
- Catherine Jones Payne and her husband, Brendan. The former is a great author and conversationalist; the latter was one of my roommates, and a darn good one. I hope he’ll be back next year! Catherine and I both love Jesus (and often critique fundamentalist subcultures). Also, Catherine has a new book in the furnace. Mermaids, avast, and beware Fire Dancer. The cover is boss.
- Travis Perry and his (still new!) wife, Tabatha. For this year’s costume banquet, they dressed as sort-of devil-and-angel figures. I was afraid I’d have to talk with Travis—friend and colleague at SpecFaith—about the perils of portraying evil. But no, this was actually a tribute to the themes of Travis’s new anthology, Beatitudes and Woes. I think his devilishly red makeup clung on the rest of the weekend.
- During his writing classes, Wayne Thomas Batson really knows how to work a room—and draw in a by-phone cameo from one of his own children.
- Realm Makers, and all the great people there, is one of the best places to work through controversial subjects. This includes (lately) omnipresent issues, such as the announced divorce of one Joshua Harris.
- During my last night, the chap in the room next door was playing his stereo. Loudly. The bass notes: loudest of all. I had to call down to the front desk. They sent a security guard, who let me know that hey, it’s okay, the guy next door is really nice and he had no idea that bass was that powerful. Per the guard, our neighbor wanted to apologize to whomever complained. Common grace for the win! (Our hotel neighbor was all about that bass, and I didn’t have to get him in treble.)
- My other roommate, Jonathan Clay, was also great.
- Costume banquet, in no particular order: Jill Williamson’s White Witch, formed in part from a gown left over from her previous wedding-design business!
- All the Wonder Women.
- Steampunk Justice League-ers.
- Kerry Nietz was Professor Hulk, or as I like to call this version, the Credible Hulk. (He backs up his rage with facts and documented sources.)
- The universally recognized perfect cosplay of Johnny Depp’s Edward Scissorhands.
- Junyan Wan, a.k.a. Michael Ban, who dressed as Aragorn, finally re-using his suit from his and his wife’s Lord of the Rings–themed wedding! Also, he came all the way from Singapore for his first Realm Makers.
- Sitting between us at the costume banquet was Wesley Fulkerson. Like me, he’d forewent a costume this time. Also, he recently signed with Enclave Publishing. Expect his debut novel, For Whom the Sun Sings, to arrive March 2020.
- After the costume banquet, I walked into the hospitality suite. I was just in time to hear the native population begin to share all the reasons The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) was a rotten perversion of all that’s good in Narnia. Yes. I am so there for that discussion.
- In the bookstore layout, the Lorehaven booth was number 42.
- The next day, during my first lunch at Fuzzy’s Tacos, my order number was also 42.
- Ronie Kendig, whom I’ve known since I was attending the American Christian Fiction Writers conferences. She had just gotten her advanced review copy of her upcoming book, sci-fi Brand of Light, and she was thrilled.
- Bethany Jennings—always a great conversationalist and advocate of beauty and truth, great stories and biblical doctrine.
- Author Bryan Davis, whom I’ve seen at every conference this spring, despite his battle with back pain and surgeries.
- All the Realm Makers Bookstore volunteers, who man their posts without being distracted by all the other graces (as I would be).
- Michael Howell and his faithful companion, Dr. Ted Baehr (or is this the reverse?). I had some great conversations with Michael, particularly about the pros and cons of Big Hollywood. I also enjoyed meeting Dr. Baehr. However, I may have disappointed him by apparently being the one aspiring writer guy who literally has no dreams to Make it Big in Pictures.
- Those “Realmies” who stay up late, I think each day, to play geeky card games. No, I never joined them. Yes, I was invited several times. Sorry, folks, but thank you so much! Regardless, I enjoyed hearing all the next day’s references to crazy things that were said.
- All those folks who cosplayed as various Doctors, and at least one Master. I heard that someone was in need of a sonic screwdriver, particularly the Eleventh Doctor variety. Naturally, as I heard, one of the props was rather easily procured.
- This cosplay, though it’s a bit inside-jokey: in which Mary Schlegel portrays the cleaning lady of one agent/publisher Steve Laube, and carries a sack full of unfortunate wads of rejections.
Next time: twenty-five more graces, though at some point I will move into anticipation (and a little promotion for) the 2020 conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.