It’s been a whole month since I saw my people face-to-face. This conference–the only Christian Speculative Fiction Writers Conference of its kind–is definitely the highlight of my year. Last year I flew to Reno, this year it was St. Louis. I think it’s safe to say, this thing could be held in Tokyo and I’d be on the next flight out!
When I hopped in my car to begin my drive, I broke down crying. I cried for the first half hour. Not just because I would miss my family (there’s that, too) but because I could feel God working in me. He had something to do in my heart and I just knew it was waiting for me in St. Louis. As I drove, it felt like I was headed to something big. Like I was going to meet my destiny or something. (If that doesn’t sound too cheesy??)
And He did. God taught me things about my writing I’d been too scared to admit even to myself. He added a new excitement to my creativity that had somehow been overshadowed by numbers and deadlines and pressure and not feeling like I ever add up in the world of putting words on a page. I learned so much in just a few short days, I could stop this post right here and walk away and say that was that.
But I can’t.
Because, as I looked back through my pictures, I noticed something. I didn’t have a ton of pictures of books or coffee or any of the things I’d learned in those classes. Instead I have people. My people. My tribe.
This conference is about so much more than learning to write or getting a book published. It’s not even about signing autographs, for those who are published, or tackling an agent with questions, for those who aren’t. It’s about being with people who have the same passion and heart that I do. Connecting with these special people is what made driving 24+ hours and being away from my family for a full week, worth it. These people. My people.
I met my critique group, The Armorers, for the first time.
I got to meet the amazing Katie Phillips, my writing coach and confidant.
After 2 1/2 years, I finally met my agent, Cyle Young, face-to-face!
I had a blast at the Awards Dinner when I went dressed as Castiel “Steve” from Supernatural. (Who knew I’d find another Cas and even Baby? 😍)
I got to hang out with Nadine Brandes and her Ninjas,
AND Mary Weber and her Hatters! (So much fun!)
And I was beyond blessed to get to spend a nice long car ride getting to know my “conference daughter” Catherine Jones Payne.
As I climbed in the car to drive the last leg of the journey home, I broke down into tears again. This time because I’d seen what God had to show me. Something in me had changed and I knew from here on out, things would be different. I have my tribe. I have my purpose. And I have my words.
Thank you, Realm Makers Tribe. You are truly unique and hold a special place in my heart. See you in 2019!