I am in Missouri.
Missouri is hot. Especially in July.
I knew it was going to be hot. I was prepared for it being very, very hot. I packed clothes for hot weather, made sure the air conditioning in my car was working and braced myself for a haze of bugs and muggy heat.
I was not ready.
But I am here now, and I have not yet melted into a puddle of goo. The gummy worms I brought with me did, but that’s another story. And, as much as everyone loves blazing sun, thick, muggy air, and steaming temperatures, that is not what I came to Missouri to experience. I came for a conference called, of all things, Realm Makers.
Realm Makers is a writing conference.
A Christian writing conference, actually. For authors writing speculative fiction.
In other words, it was a whole bunch of nerds who love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and dragons coming together to talk about the writing projects we’re working on, listen to lectures on how best to write characters that make people cry, deepen our world-building techniques, and get blood on the pages. Figuratively.
It was great fun.
Besides the lectures, the general camaraderie, and new acquaintances, some of us were there to meet the many, many amazing literary agents, editors, and coaches who had come to mentor, listen, and possibly, find a few new projects for their schedules in the next few months. I had pitch appointments with two of them, which meant, in short, that I had to sit at a table, make eye contact, smile, and somehow manage to condense a full-length novel into three sentences without tripping over my tongue or forgetting how to say the word ‘exploited’.
This is more difficult than it sounds.
However, I somehow managed. And, considering the appointments were only fifteen minutes long at best, I had plenty of other time to enjoy the highlights of the rest of the conference. Such as:
The Awards Dinner.
And, most importantly, meeting one of my favorite authors.
He signed my books.
We talked about writing.
I was excited.
Wayne Thomas Batson has been one of my favorite authors since I was twelve or thirteen, and it was such a special experience to finally meet him in person. I’m not the sort of person to be star-struck, but I was a little star-struck. His books have meant an enormous amount to me over the years, and to finally meet the man who introduced me to Bartholomew Thorne, Aiden Thomas, Ghost, and a hundred other memorable and enticing characters was such a pleasure.
Plus, did I mention that he signed my books?