What I Learned at Realm Makers 2015

So what is Realm Makers? It is the preeminent conference for writers of Christian speculative fiction. This past weekend, somewhere around 150 people gathered in St. Louis to listen to keynote speaker Robert Liparulo, attend classes and seminars on the craft of writing, pitch to agents and editors, and generally just have a good time.

Due to a number of factors, I decided that this year, I would take a sabbath of sorts from writing conferences. While I normally attend ACFW, I won’t this year. And the same went for Realm Makers, even though a lot of my friends encouraged me to do so. I had to stick to my guns, especially since my congregation had Vacation Bible School at the beginning of the week (which was wonderful, thank you for asking) and I’m in the middle of a sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit (which you can listen to here).

Now I had resigned myself to non-attendance. But I have to admit, I was a little wistful when I saw all the posts and pictures of people going to Realm Makers. The mourning grew to the point where I felt I had to express my sorrow in meme form:

Spiderman Realm Makers meme

So I figured I’d just have to wait until next year to be one of the Realm Makers conferees.

But apparently I made it to Realm Makers anyway.

So this is what I learned at Realm Makers 2015:

If your friends are going to miss you at a conference, they may take extreme measures to get you there.

Morgan John and Jill

It’s wonderful to be able to catch up with old friends, especially the ones you haven’t seen for months:

John Gillian and Andrew

John and Avily

It’s also great to make new writing friends, especially if he’s a Jedi.

John and Aaron

Apparently I have something of a sweet tooth.

John and desserts

I also have a really freaky asymmetrical eye thing going. I mean, I’ve known that for a long time that I have this problem. But wow, is it obvious with my headshot all blown up like this.


I learned that Chris Kolmorgen is faster on the draw than me when it comes to a quip…

John and Chris at Realm Makers

If you haven’t met him yet, Chris Kolmorgen is awesome. In discussing this picture, we had the following dialogue on Facebook:

Me: I’m just crouching behind the table, ready to jump out and scare someone. And Chris is all like, “Naw, don’t do that, you don’t want to be disruptive when you’re only two dimensional…”

Chris: I’m explaining the dangers of two dimensional characters.

Me: Ah, man! Why didn’t I think of that?

Chris: You were so close…

Me: I know! In the ballpark but off in the stands (or something like that).

Not seeing Chris is one of my greatest regrets about not going this year. I haven’t seen him in a very long time. There’s a reason why I included him as an Easter Egg in Failstate: Legends.

And if you have a really good friend, she’ll act as your own personal telepresence robot.

Realm Makers with Jill

Jill Williamson is just awesome. She allowed me to Facetime into the cosplay banquet on Friday night and she carried me around the room so I could say “Hi” to people. You should totally go  buy all of her books. I already have and they’re brilliant.

But the number one thing I learned at Realm Makers this year?

I totally want to be there in all four dimensions next year.


  1. This is possibly the best recap from Realm Makers! LOL! I got a few photos of “you” with the other authors from Enclave as well. You were all over the place! Hope to see you there next year.

  2. Wish you could have been there as well (& wish I’d said hi on FaceTime!) Also: thanks for the sermon links.

  3. We definitely missed you this year, John. But I’m glad I got to buzz at you with my sonic screwdriver on Facetime. Maybe next year?

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