Running Away


I almost got eaten by an alligator this weekend.

Maybe it was an alligator gar.

Or a catfish.


But it tried to eat me, I’m pretty sure. Killer catfish are dangerous too, you know.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

I ran away from my life on Thursday. Packed up my car, grabbed my toothbrush, the whole nine yards. Because I’m a responsible person, I requested time off from my job and told people where I was going and when I would be back too, but it still counts as running away. I mean, I planned it in all of two days, and that’s definitely what you do when you’re running away.

You also get up ridiculously early and leave in the dark before it gets light, and I did that too.

Then I drove to Missouri. To see my editor.

It was glorious.

First off, there was the drive. I was gone for four days, and two of those were nothing but me and the open road, all the snacks I could eat, and as many audiobooks as I could possibly listen to in 24 hours of straight drive-time.

In case you were wondering, I plowed through four and a half books.

Three and a half of them were scary.

The last one was sad.

I am still questioning my choices.

The other two days were spent soaking in the  Missouri sun, canoeing down a gorgeous river straight out of Jurassic Park, almost getting eaten by a killer catfish, horseback riding through the woods, and slapping at bugs.

The catfish didn’t actually bite me.

But it flopped like it was going to bite me.

I screamed in self-defense and it was a totally normal reaction, so you can stop laughing now.

Anyway, I’m home again and running on no sleep and adrenaline, so wish me luck for the next week. I’ll sleep when I can’t run away from my problems anymore.

What were you up to this weekend? Anything special? Tell me about it in the comments! 

Realm Makers 2018

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.

The costumes.

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?



Riding Solo

Wednesday morning, I woke up at 4:30 A.M.

On purpose.

Who does that? I mean, the stars are still out, for heaven’s sake.

My cat was judging me. I think she wanted me to climb back into bed with her and go back to sleep for a few hours. Or pet her. She doesn’t really care if I get any sleep, so long as I stay in bed and keep her warm.

But, I couldn’t go back to bed. I had an adventure to start, and sadly, a very large number of adventures start at 4:30 A.M.

I think it might be a requirement.

By 5, the last of my bags were packed, my snacks were in the car, and my little car and I were headed down the road on our way to St. Louis. This was my very first solo road trip, and it was great fun!

For the first ten minutes.

Then I realized there was no one to pass me snacks.

Or open my water bottle.

Or start the audiobooks.

Having a second pair of hands in the car is actually very handy, come to find out.

Despite the lack of someone handing me snacks whenever I wanted them, the drive went exceptionally well. Long highways, cloudy skies, almost no traffic, and beautiful, rolling country for as far as I could see.

Especially in Kansas. I swear, once you hit Kansas, you can start to see the curvature of the earth. Not a bump in sight.

I’m kidding.

I love you, Kansas.

Just not enough to stay.

But not even Kansas lasts forever, and in the late afternoon, I reached paradise.

Or Missouri. Whichever you want to call it.

I knew for sure I was getting close when I stepped out of the car to get gas and felt like someone had wrapped me up in a steamed towel and pushed me into a sauna. Have you ever tried to breathe through a hot, wet towel?

It is not easy.

I think Missouri might be trying to very subtly murder me. Agatha Christie style. Someone should say something.

Heat aside, I am so excited to be here! This weekend is the Realm Maker’s Conference, and many exciting things are all set to happen! (Including the meeting of a very special author. Squeak! Pictures to come!) I will be sure and let all of you know how things go and post as many pictures as I can remind myself to take. Until then, wish me luck!