There and Back Again: A Realm Makers 2021 Story

I’m back safe and/or sound, though the rumors of my soundness seem to be greatly exaggerated. I know several of you are wondering why I don’t post stuff before or during RM when I go, but that’s purely for safety reasons. So I save it all for now.

The Gateway Arch… and a train. I like trains.

I am so absolutely positively grateful to have been among my fellow Realmies again. I MISSED YOU GUYS SO MUCH! Awkward hugs and high fives all around.

Last day out the door with my darling bride.

The highlight in many ways was getting a chance to talk more than a couple times with Frank Piretti. I mean come on. As his keynote mentioned he felt like (and we all concurred) he is a professor emeritus of so many of us Christian authors out there. Particularly spec fic. I just wish I’d have gotten a picture with him, and not just with him talking to my wife at breakfast. (sorry, not sharing. too personal and private. Plus it’s a bad angle, for both.) So here’s a different candid shot. See if you can guess the author by their hands. LOL.. just kidding.

Playing Guillotine with Rob Story, Kat Vinson, Emily Haese (spelling?), Elizabeth Liberty Lewis, Kate Prater & and a quick round fill in by Megan Ward (I believe that was her last name).

The best moments from cons like this are often the candid ones not in classes and just by happenstance. You also never know who you’re going to touch and who will touch you back. The Clevandence sisters (apologies if misspelled) made my night at the book fair when I asked her what her favorite scene was in my first book, and I loved the writing of that same (grisly) scene too. It was a real highlight for me to talk like that.

For those who don’t know or realize, authors often love hearing back from their readers personally. Especially for us small indie authors. Too often we publish into the void, like every author and never know if we touched your lives. To hear when we do brings us all a spark of joy. Of course if we ticked you off, sigh, please extend us grace. We’re sensitive souls and may know the thing that ticked you off wasn’t our best efforts to. Kinda like a sports star who has a famous bad play regrets their mistake too. But still, it reminds us we’re not alone. We are touching others out there. So never be shy with your (positive) feedback, and be gentle (but honest) with us when we goof.

This year, my darling bride got me to cosplay for the awards banquet. It was a spectacular time. She had a whole backstory about the 1950’s librarian who’s favorite hero came to life for her. The story evolved through the night and was quite quite cute. But I have several pictures I got with people I have a real soft spot for in my writing career. Some I can share.

I was very happy to be friends with two winners of the Realm Awards. Very proud of their achievements that night and had some great conversations with so many people.

All in all, going to Realm Makers was a wonderful reminder of the good things in life. This last 24 months since I was at RM in the flesh has been a rollercoaster. In many ways I’ve ended up in a far better place, but at times… just I’m reminded to be grateful for what I have.

Oh, and I have leftover paperbacks and a few hardcovers from the consignment store. I’m toying with doing something special with at least one set of the books, but am also considering selling a couple sets of autographed copies. What do y’all think about that? Of course, I’d have to figure out how to set up a store, paypal and all that. I dunno what options are available. We’ll see though. Of course, if you want to encourage me, let your thoughts be known in the poll below.

Okay, more soon when there’s stuff to say!

Road Trip! (& a Life Update)

I wasn’t sure this was going to happen. Really really wasn’t, but I put it on the altar for the Lord to make the decision.

This last week I got my answer. The City and County of St. Louis dropped their masking mandates and the hotel is being all mealy mouthed on following local ordinances. So I’m going back to Realm Makers! (Those of you on my Discord channel learned about this last week of course.)

So cue up the house sitter so the cats don’t get lonely-

Photo by Mustafa ezz on Pexels.com
Bwing us tweats, hooman.

-aaaaaaaaand it’s time to go hang out with my fellow Realmies in the flesh again! I’m so glad it’s back in St. Louis, even if it’s now an extra 3 hours of drive time for me. At least the first half of it is going to be very pretty coming out of the mountains.

I’m not sure if I’m going to do the consignment store this year. I could, and I have something I can get for the gift bag if I can find a printer in time. I really didn’t prepare because I didn’t expect to go. Oh well, even if I don’t bring anything since finances will be tighter this year, it is still going to be very much worth my while.

I guess what made me the most enthused about this year is that the guest of honor is Frank Piretti. His “This Present Darkness” was the book that made me realize that you could write about the spiritual warfare side of Christianity in a refreshing and interesting way that was an evolution of a pair of my all time favorite Christian books, “The Screwtape Letters” and “The Great Divorce” by C. S. Lewis. Seriously, if you’ve not read those two, check them out. Amazing stuff. Piretti took the concept and ran. If things are going berserk in your life and you have no idea why, I highly encourage you to read “This Present Darkness” too. It may make some personal sense to you.

As for my writing, I’ve been getting scolded for leaving Akiniwazisaga on the back burner too long in my alpha reader’s eyes, and I have another fan who’s been telling me to hurry up so she doesn’t run out of series to read. She doesn’t want to wait for the conclusion of the story. Thanks guys.

Lately the writing focus has continued on the third novella in the Tales From the Dream Nebula series. Making sure you all get your money’s worth out of it before I let it out the gate. The first two novellas have hit the editing stage, and once that’s complete, we look at doing the script for the graphic novels.

One big discussion that’s started up though has been merchandise. I’m curious to hear what others would love to see as merchandise to buy from Akiniwazisaga. Apparel is coming (yes I know I’ve said that for a while, but we’re finally getting ready to move on some of this. The easy answers are of course typical book merch like coffee mugs, posters and bookmarks. There’s been some talk of different things too (I personally want a life sized plush version of Bergamot, but oof, the cost of making custom toys. I don’t even want to think what it would take to make Popvinyl toys even. A much bigger fan base to be certain)

Anyway, I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on merch ideas they’d love to see associated with Akiniwazisaga or the characters.

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

Into The Future…!

It’s been a while because life has decided to be problematic. Between the fear porn called “the news” and lockdowns and joblessness and riots and presidential race follies… and just plain insanity of the world, it’s amazing I’ve gotten any writing done at all.

But I have. Not as much as I’d hoped, but seriously a nice chunk of first drafts are done.

But not on what you think.

I’ve been having a project gnawing at the back of my brain for a while and it’s finally demanded I put book 4 of the Akiniwazisaga on the back burner and let it come out. So, there will be a delay in that trilogy being completed.

In compensation for this, here’s what’s coming next:

Tales From the Dream Nebula

This will be another genre mashup. TFDN, as I abbreviate it will be a “Raygun Gothic Space Opera” fantastical adventure serial with elements of Cyberpunk, Nanopunk, and Neo Noir genres. The best way I can describe it is if you cross Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Smokey and the Bandit, Convoy, Dark City, The Matrix, and even elements of Battlestar Galactica, throw them in an industrial blender and hit “frappe”. If you’re looking for Tolstoy or Lewis, this ain’t the place. I’m aiming more for Edgar Rice Burroughs type of adventure. Great fun, with a little meaning to it, and some spicy scenes too. Will this be for the Christian market, you may ask?

I’ll say “Hhmmmmmm…no. It’s mostly for the general trade market, but an author can’t escape his own beliefs, so who knows what will pop out here or there.

This is part of a much bigger project I plan to do with this universe, too. So don’t just expect novellas and novels. Uh uh. There’s more but we’re starting with a series of 4 novellas, which are planned to release over 2021 if all goes according to plan. (The first two are entering editing, and the third is being started very very shortly.) Due to the nature of the project I may have to find a small press or publisher to partner with for the second part of this project.

What’s the second part of the project you ask? Heh heh… maybe I should wait till later to tell you about that. Let the theories grow in your minds till you’re pestering me for answers.

The big thing I’m going to need to evolve the project will be artists. I mean I am accomplished in some degree with art, but not something I’d consider press worthy. More like I’d have an occasional work that could be good for it, but I’m no Frank Miller.

So, there you go. This is the next big project coming. Not the one I expected either, but the one that must be. And although Book 4 of Akiniwazisaga is delayed, it won’t be for long.

As always, if you want to have some more regular interaction, join my Discord server (link above). I’m around pretty frequently. I will possibly have some more Realm Maker news coming up in the future weeks/months for fans of Christian Spec Fic.

So till next time, vaya con dios!

Realm Makers Conference 2020 Public Event: Realm Awards Ceremony!

Thanks to the pandemic, RM2020 has gone virtual, and this means the Realm Awards Ceremony (which used to be a banquet full of cosplay and other fun stuff) is open to the public!  When?

TONIGHT @

Ever been interested in what a bunch of sci fi creatives do when massed in one place, even if virtually?  Now’s your chance!

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/realmawards2020

You may see a lot of authors (*other than me) you are familiar with there, chatting away!

Come on in, and see what it’s all about!

Out the Other Side & Much More

Last week I kinda got some crummy news but it was wrapped with lots of silver linings. Lots.

But first…

I’ve survived the plague, and the lockdown, and have managed to crack out 20 chapters on Book 4 of Akiniwazisaga.  The sad part? This may only be 20% of the entire book length.  I’m not sure, but this bad boy’s going to be a whopper.  If you want to keep up with the latest details on what’s going on in writing and life in general, you can check it out on my Discord Channel.  Link above. It’s worth it.

it even gave me a chance to read some Realmie books I purchased last conference.  Here’s some of them I bought:

 

 

Speaking of Discord…

The news finally broke this year that Realm Makers 2020 conference has gone virtual, thanks mostly to the State of New Jersey unable to unclench long enough to pull their head’s out and take a breath.  That means RM2020 is now a virtual conference, like all the other conventions and conferences all over the US stretching into next year.  I just… I… Come ON people, you don’t quarantine healthy individuals!  So here’s where the silver linings begin.

In the process of setting up for the virtual RM2020, we were told that it will be using Discord as a big part of it’s operation.  I happened to be right place/right time cheerleading and helping out on a different RM related Discord forum and got the powers that be to understand what was happening and how the system works. Thanks to those fortuitous (yeah, I see God’s hand all over it) I became a moderator to help out with handling the training of a lot of conference goers and then assisting as a mod for the con!  Woot! So that’s kinda fun to be on the inside of that one. A lot of energy has been spent on this setup and onboarding of writers from all over the world, it’s almost been a full time job.

Which leads me to the blessing in disguise of being laid off just as COVID19 shut everything down. So we’ll see how long it takes either to get a call back (ain’t holding my breath) or a new position.  Till then, writing, RM modding and creative endeavors will fill my days, mortared together with job hunting.

What about those other creative endeavors?  Music!  I’ve mentioned for a while I’m doing music, well now I’m posting some stuff on my youtube channel, with more to come as I feel appropriate and have the time.  Unfortunately the last song was too long, so Youtube rejected it.  Will have to try with some others. Here’s one example.

I’m an enthusiastic amature, so take that into account.

 

And as sort of a bittersweet farewell to the idea of going to Atlantic City this year, here are pictures from last year’s RM to cheer me up, and for you to enjoy too.