If you are a Christian who writes speculative fiction, you will find your people atthe Annual Realm Makers Conference: July 13-15, 2023
Our 2023 Conference is a hybrid event—register to attend in-person in St. Louis or LIVE online. You will have access to classes and keynote addresses during and after the event no matter which way you attend. Every attendee has access to replays of every class.
To take advantage of your member discount, please visit your member group in the RealmSphere and retrieve your coupon code!
Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, has been in the book industry over four decades, first as a bookstore manager where he was awarded the National Store of the Year by CBA. He then spent many years with Bethany House Publishers where he was named Editor of the Year by AWSA. Twenty ago he became an agent where he and his agency have represented over 2,000 new books and Steve was named Agent of the Year by ACFW. He was also inducted into the Grand Canyon University Hall-of-Fame by their College of Theology. In addition, he is the Publisher of Enclave Publishing and serves as president and owner of The Christian Writers Institute. He is the author of the annual Christian Writers Market Guide, Write Your First Novel (with Gilbert Morris), and The Chosen Presents: A Blended Harmony of the Gospels (with Dallas and Amanda Jenkins). His office is in Phoenix, Arizona.
Speaker, podcaster, and author of more than 80 books in numerous genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and books for children and teens. She’s a wife, homeschooling mom of ten, and loves to mentor writers through WriteThatBook.Club. Tricia lives near Little Rock, Arkansas.
Bestselling novelist whose latest novel, Synapse, a near-future thriller, was a finalist at the International Book Awards in the Science Fiction category. Steven holds a master’s degree in storytelling and is the author of Story Trumps Structure and Troubleshooting Your Novel.
Descriptions for all sessions are listed below where you will indicate which classes you plan to attend.
Indie author of romantic fantasy filled with lots of humor, spunky leading ladies, and broken heroes, including the bestselling Elven Alliance series. She is a life-long fantasy geek with a growing collection of swords, a few cosplay costumes in her closet, and a Narnia-themed guest bedroom (aka Spare Oom).
Mary Driscoll has spent many years as a script analyst for Hollywood writers, movie critic, ghost writer, and judge for a top international screenwriting contest. She is most proud to be a mother of 4 wonderful children, and most recently married in the Holy Land.
Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of fantasy and romance fiction, writing contemporary romance as C.N. Holmberg. Winner of the 2020 Whitney Award for Novel of the Year for Adult Fiction. Charlie was raised a Trekkie with three sisters who also have boy names. A proud BYU alumna who lives with her family in Utah.
Studied the SF under the great James Gunn, graduating with honors from Kansas University’s Masters Program in Creative Writing. Winner of the Eric Hoffer and Ben Franklin awards, and the Realm Award for his science fiction novel Operation Grendel. Daniel motorcycling on country roads. He lives outside Kansas City.
Author of five spec-fic novels. When she's not writing, Sara might be found behind her camera or planning her next adventure to California. She homeschools her three padawans, braving Arizona summers and reminding her superhero husband it's almost Christmas (even if it's only January).
USA Today Bestselling author of historical romance, as well as a speaker, podcast host, and CEO of the podcast network PJC Media, where she interviews authors from all over the world. Parker’s speaking topics focus on inspiration for aspiring authors. She lives in Detroit with her family and four-legged daughter, Princess.
Author, speaker, and contributor to Go Teen Writers, one of Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. Her book Winter, White and Wicked was called a “propulsive, adrenaline-fueled ride” by the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Shannon lives in California with her husband, two children, and a husky named Leonidas.
An award-winning freelance artist creating book covers for some of the largest publishing houses in the country. Kirk has designed covers for over a thousand published books, won several awards including the Parable/Realm Award for cover design and has been featured in Spectrum Fantastic Art, Imagine FX, and Communication Arts.
Book editor and designer for Looseleaf Editorial & Production (her company), production editor for Dragonsteel Books (Brandon Sanderson’s company), and managing editor for Pegasus (Charlie N. Holmberg’s company). Kristy has taught university-level publishing and editing courses for over five years.
Author of Fight Write: How to Write Believable Fight Scenes and FightWrite.net, a Writer’s Digest Top Website. Carla is also a Writer’s Digest University instructor, teaching writers the mechanics of fighting. Carla is a world champion jiujitsu fighter with experience in many fighting styles. She lives near Houston, Texas.
With over 30 years in publishing, from subsidiary rights to editorial, Marilyn has worked at publishing houses of all sizes. Most recently she acquired a middle grade novel from best-selling author Bryan Chick, a regency romance from a debut author, and a nonfiction work from debut author and TikTok superstar Devrie Donalson.
Rowena Kuo is the CEO, executive editor, and producer for Brimstone Fiction, Brimstone Books & Media, and Brimstone Fire. She is the host of web show Don’t Be Cinderella and has written for Christian Devotions and Written World Communications. When not working on words or films, she is a mom with secret aspirations for spaceflight.
Donald Maass founded the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York in 1980. He is the author of several books including The Breakout Novelist, Writing 21st Century Fiction, and The Emotional Craft of Fiction. He is a past president of the Association of Authors’ Representatives.
Editorial director for Oasis Family Media in Illinois. Author of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene: A Text-Faithful Prose Rendering and Courage, Dear Heart. Taught literature and rhetoric in a classical school for seven years, where she also served as department chair. Holds an MA in Storytelling/Oral Literature.
For information about hotel reservations and airport shuttles, click "Lodging and Hotel" in the topline menu.
NOTE: This email address will be used for all correspondence, access to online content, and your appointments. Please double-check for typos so you don't miss any messages!
The following three fields will appear on your conference badge. If you don't have a company, you can use these fields for your genre, book title, motto, or other any other information you choose…within reason.
Adults 18 and up*Members: check the RealmSphere for your member discount code.*Join us at the Sheraton Westport Chalet in St. Louis, Mo., for a weekend of learning, fellowship, and celebration. Includes general sessions, continuing sessions, electives, two agent/editor appointments, two mentor appointments, beverage and break hospitality, awards banquet, livestream access, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31, 2023.
Adults 18 and up*Members: check the RealmSphere for your member discount code.*Join us in our exclusive online community, the RealmSphere, for learning, connecting, and excitement. Includes general sessions, continuing sessions, electives, two agent/editor appointments, two mentor appointments, awards livestream, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31, 2023.
Ages 13-17 years oldTeen registration includes general sessions, Teen Track with Tricia Goyer, electives, two agent/editor appointments, two mentor appointments, beverage and break hospitality, awards banquet, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31, 2023.A parent or other adult must accompany the student to the site. In the "Teen's Chaperone" space provided below, please provide a full name and phone number for the accompanying adult. Remember to buy your chaperone an Additional Banquet Ticket below!
Ages 13-17 years oldTeen online registration includes general sessions, Teen Track with Tricia Goyer, electives, two agent/editor appointments, two mentor appointments, awards livestream, conference group in the RealmSphere, and conference replays through Dec. 31, 2023.
For those attending only the awards dinner Friday, July 14, 2023.
Friday Night Awards Dinner
For companions who are not attending the conference but want to enjoy the Awards Banquet. Click the "Add" button for as many guests as you need, then enter their names below.**Registered attendees do not need to purchase a banquet ticket for yourselves. It is included in your registration.**
Add-on Exhibitor Table
For those who wish to display books or other merchandise in the Vendor Hall. Requests must be approved due to space limitations. If your request is not approved, the table fee will be refunded 100%. Priority is given to publishers, previous exhibitors, and official members at the Published, Professional, or Business level. May only be purchased with Adult In-person, Teen In-Person, Publisher, or Exhibitor registration. Up to two individuals can cooperate to share a table. A publisher is limited only by the number of authors they have directly published.Questions? Contact Scott at [email protected]
In-Person Attendees: Choose one option for each session. These choices are not binding; we use this information to assign classrooms. You are free to change your selection at any time, including on site. Schedule subject to change.
Charlie Holmberg—Magic Systems, Worldbuilding, and Characters
Part 1: Different types of magic systems and how to build them, including effects you can achieve with different styles and hands-on practice.Part 2: Learn about developing creatures, geographies, cultures, religions, and technology; includes hands-on practice. Part 3: How to develop characters that evolve from the rich world you've built. See how setting shapes actions, attitudes, and story. Learn to weave worldbuilding into characterization and plot in dynamic ways to shape compelling stories.
Daniel Schwabauer—What Makes a Story a Story?
Part 1: The magic of Story is usually found in emotive conflict and honest treatment of human nature. We’ll dive into the surprising elements of every good story.Part 2: Create characters who feel alive. Explore the use of archetypal traits in character creation. Archetypes are patterns of insight into human nature—an essential part of the language of Story and key to creating characters who breathe.Part 3: The key to developing great prose and implied themes is using tools that serve more than one purpose. We’ll pull apart examples to see what they can show us about images, concepts, hooks, story loops, moments of revelation, and a story technique used by the world’s greatest storyteller, Jesus.
Part 1: The premise is the most important element in writing a screenplay. Premise drives the entire story. Each participant will develop their own premise.Part 2: Participants will learn how to construct a scene. Every scene tells its own story!Part 3: Character Arcs are vital in creating an excellent screen presentation. Learn to create multi-dimensional characters who draw interest, emotion, and empathy, but have enough flaws to make them believable and relatable.
Donald Maass— The Secrets of Series Characters
Part 1 of 2
Shannon Dittemore—Tell the Truth When You LIe
Stephen King tells us fiction is the truth inside the lie. And when you know THE truth, this packs an even bigger punch. In a post-Christian culture, truth itself suffers from a lack of representation. So let's talk about truth. What it is, and how to be sure our well-written, compelling stories shine a light on it.
Parker J Cole—Why Speculative Fiction Needs Romance
This is part one of a two-part workshop. The first is a discussion of what romance is and what it isn't; how romance and romantic elements enhances a speculative fiction work and dos and don'ts.
Sara Ella— Finding Aslan: Discovering Your Novel's Spiritual Theme
We want readers to see Jesus in our stories without hitting them over the head with a Bible. Learn to weave in a spiritual theme that is subtle and powerful. We'll look at the difference between preaching and presenting spiritual truths, how to handle criticism of faith in our stories, and writing for the general versus Christian market.
Kirk DouPonce—Fonts Have Feelings
An award-winning designer talks about typography, especially how it relates to book covers. Kirk will show examples and do a live demo.
Rowena Kuo—Backstory Blowout
Have you ever been told to remove backstory from your novel, but you think your story needs it to make sense? Discover techniques to remove backstory and reincorporate it into your manuscript where and when it belongs.
Carla Hoch—From Practical to Tactical
Learn the basics of fighting through live demonstration.
Kristy Gilbert—Retelling a Fairy or Folktale with Spinning Silver
Learn to craft a nuanced novel-length retelling of a folktale by examining Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver, which uses varied techniques to weave a new story from the threads of “Rumpelstiltskin.” This masterclass discusses tropes, cultural criticism, folk traditions, character roles &relationships, and more.
Sara Ella - Infinity Rejections and Beyond
A class for authors who need encouragement—or a swift kick in the pants. Includes coping with failure, staying motivated, and practical tips about why criticism and rejection aren't just helpful, but vital to the author's journey.
Panel: Design w/ Kirk DouPonce
A panel of authors and artists will talk about their experiences and challenges and answer audience questions.
Part 2 of 2
Rowena Kuo—Discovering Your Unique Voice
We’ll discuss 5 top elements of an alluring author’s voice, techniques to develop your gifts, and effective ways to make your writing distinctive. Discover what it takes to unlock your unique voice, capture your audience at the start, and hold them until the end.
Parker J. Cole—Adding Romantic Elements in Speculative Fiction
This is part two of a two-part workshop. This will be a hands-on exercise of how to implement the romantic elements via writing exercises.
Kristy Gilbert—Live Editing Session
Learn about different types of editing and gather tools for your self-editing kit by watching an editor work on the first few pages of a manuscript in real time. The editor will take submissions from attendees and edit pages, explaining what she changes, what she doesn't, and why.
Rebecca Reynolds—The Art and Science of Gravedigging
Learn strategies for overcoming writer’s block through a sampling of ancient story techniques that might unlock experimentation in your writing. Examine narrative methods embedded in the classics and invite the history of story to bring new life into your own creations.
Shannon Dittemore—All My Heroes Were Failures
Failure is one of our greatest fears. Yet the act of writing a story shows both the value and necessity of failure. We'll talk about failure in the publishing industry and compare with failures of our favorite fictional heroes. Our journey has prepared us for what lies ahead.
Carla Hoch—Dealing Damage
Tactical class on how to achieve certain injuries.
Panel: Best Book Launch Ever w/ Sara Ella
Learn tactics that worked, ideas that flopped, and other pro tips on how to make a splash when you launch a book.
Panel 2—From Novel to Audiobook w/ Marilyn Kretzer
Whether your publisher is handling production or you're holding the reins, hear what you can expect when your novel gets transformed to audio. Discover your part in making sure your story is compelling to hear.
Self Publishing Q & A
Ask full time indie author Tara Grayce your indie publishing and self-publishing questions.
Pre-conference Workshop: Writing to Market and Marketing Your Writing: It's All About the Tropes
Thursday, 9 am–3 pmTara GrayceFar from being clichés, tropes are the key building blocks for a successful indie author career. From targeting tropes when writing your first draft to using tropes to effectively market your books, making tropes work for you is crucial to satisfying your audience and creating your indie author career.
Post-Con Workshop: What No One is Teaching You About Characterization
Sunday, 10 am–noonSteven JamesMulti-dimensionality for all characters (including antagonists and protagonists) depends on varying their status. Characterization is brought out by showing how a character acts in relationship to other characters. Learn how to understand the dance of submission / dominance that every relationship has and how situational and substantive status affect every character in your novel.
Realm Makers Storms Six Flags! (Sunday all day)
An informal adventure to Six Flags St. Louis. Grab your tickets from us to get the group rate, then carpool over to the park for a day of thrills. Realm Makers will not provide transportation, but attendees may use the carpool/roommate matchup group on Facebook to coordinate travel to/from the park.*Price covers cost of ticket plus sales tax**As of Feb 1st, we already have enough buy-in to secure this group rate! The activity is cleared for take-off, God willing.
Appointment scheduling will take place—right now! You will find links to schedule your appointments in your confirmation email. Schedule your appointments immediately upon receiving the link—Realm Makers cannot guarantee that attendees who schedule late will be able to get pitch appointments, as these are our most popular and fill up quickly.
Please be aware that not all faculty accept online appointments, so if you switch your registration from onsite to online, we can't guarantee faculty will keep your appointment.
Get professional feedback on pages of your manuscript in a 30-minute appointment with the critiquer of your choice. Critiques are available to purchase through May 15, 2023. Critique appointments will be scheduled through our appointment booking system. Please only schedule one paid critique.
Please note that critiquers marked with * are not in the appointment system; they will contact you by email to schedule your appointment.
Questions? Send an email to [email protected].
Kristen Stieffel* [6 remaining]
Freelance Editor and Writing Instructor
Ralene Burke* [8 remaining]
Parker J Cole [5 remaining]
Specialty: Romance & Podcasting
Steve Rzasa [1 remaining]
Specialty: Science Fiction & Libraries
Tara Grayce [3 remaining]
Specialty: Self Publishing
Amy Williams [4 remaining]
* — These critiquers are not available through the appointment scheduling link; they will contact you by email to schedule your critique appointment.
Except for Online Appointments helpers, all volunteer positions require in-person attendance.
NOTE: Most volunteer time slots correspond to class sessions and run 1–2 hours. This is the same general schedule as last year, designed to reduce volunteers having to leave and enter classrooms mid-session.
Choose which volunteer position(s) you’re interested in, and our Volunteer Coordinator will send you a link to schedule your volunteer time slots.
Have you ever wanted to rescue someone from a (virtual) dungeon? Here's your chance. You'll facilitate Zoom-based online appointments. Open to in-person and live-online attendees. Requires some training from our Appointments Coordinators. It's not hard, we promise.
Help keep appointments running on time. 15 minutes goes by fast! These slots align with session content. No special requirements other than being calm and an encourager.
Two people will be assigned to one room all day during sessions. Your role is to make sure the A/V equipment is working properly and Crowdcast is running (no need to be on camera). It's not hard, and we'll train you. Great for introverts who have a bit of tech savvy. No need to know soundboards or other complicated equipment.
Station yourself at the front desk and guide people you suspect might be Realmies to the Realm (registration desk, bookstore, etc.) These slots are for early arrivers (Wednesday evening and Thursday). Great for alumni who attended Realm Makers in previous years, but that’s not a requirement. Requires a bit of extroverting but not too much.
Help set up and tear down the bookstore. If slots fill up, don't worry, we'll put you to work anyway. Many hands make light work! All-hands-on-deck Wednesday night and Saturday night. This is a great way to meet people or catch up with fellow Realmies.
Help Realmies check in and receive their registration packets. Registration gets busy on Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon before the keynote. Time slots vary, some align with content. No special requirements.
Assist our hospitality caterers with keeping Realmies fed, watered, and caffeinated while they complete their quests. Additionally, for early risers, the caterers need volunteers to start the coffee before we begin serving. You will be rewarded with caffeine. These slots align with session content (except coffee duty). If you're the one in the kitchen at parties filling up the snack trays, this is the place for you.
Not only do people have pitches with agents and editors, life goes on outside of the walls of the hotel. Be there to pray with people as needed. These slots align with session content. Ideally, we'd like to have one male and one female in each time slot, but that's not required.
Folks who do this job won't have to miss anything—they will just watch the door for events they choose to attend to ensure that anyone who enters has a badge. They'll just need to sit by the door when the class is in session for anyone who straggles in.
I Prefer Not to Volunteer
Dine on your own or with our faculty!
The options offered here allow you the chance to enjoy a catered meal in a hotel ballroom with our conference faculty and special guests. This gives you an exclusive opportunity to network with faculty, including agents and editors.
A hospitality suite will be available to all attendees with beverages, snacks, and light fare in the morning, afternoon, and after hours.
Those who wish to economize can enjoy many dining options in the village adjacent to the hotel. There are seven fast food options, including Fuzzy's Tacos, Starbucks, St. Louis Bread Co. (aka Panera), as well as a diverse mix other chain and independent restaurants.
Complete Meal Package
All three meals with faculty: Thursday Dinner (Westport Buffet (sirloin, salmon, chicken, salad, seafood pasta salad, potatoes, wild rice, green beans, dessert), Friday Lunch (Penne Pasta w/asparagus, mushrooms, & bell pepper. Served with salad and dessert), and Saturday Lunch (Chicken Imperial-Chicken breast with lobster basil cognac sauce, asparagus, & risotto.).
Westport Buffet (sirloin, salmon, chicken, salad, seafood pasta salad, potatoes, wild rice, green beans, dessert)
Penne Pasta w/asparagus, mushrooms, & bell pepper. Served with salad and dessert
Chicken Imperial (Chicken breast with lobster basil cognac sauce, asparagus, & risotto.)
For the awards banquet, please provide your dietary restrictions even if you are not purchasing the meal plan.
Merchandise listed on this registration form is for pick up at the conference only.
Online attendees: Please do not order merchandise through this registration form. So that we can serve you in a way that includes the cost of shipping we'll notify you once these items are ready for ordering via our online store, store.realmmakers.com.
In-person attendees: Merchandise ordered using this form will be waiting for you when you check in. If you place a merchandise order here and then later change to online attendance you can have a friend pick up your items for you or else we will ship your items to you and email an invoice to cover the shipping cost.
2023 "Punk" T-shirt
UNISEX: Port & Company T-shirtLADIES: Port & Company Women's V-neck T-shirtTALL: Gildan's Ultra Cotton Tall T-shirtFit: Standard fit: straight fit on body, chest, & arms
Realm Makers Logo T-shirt
UNISEX - Bella + Canvas Jersey T-shirtLADIES - Bella + Canvas Women's Jersey V-neck T-shirtFit: Semi-fitted: closer fit; skims body, chest, & arms(This style runs small. You may want to consider sizing up.)TALL - Port & Company Tall Essential T-shirtFit: Standard fit: straight fit on body, chest, & arms
18oz. stainless steel travel mug with black ceramic inner lining.
Add Purchase Protection and get a 100% refund of your purchase if a qualifying unforeseen circumstance prevents you from attending this event. Covers illness, injury, transportation problems, emergencies and more.*
*Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.
Purchase Protection is a service offered by Purchase Protection LLC. Purchase Protection is not an insurance policy. It is a service that will refund you 100% of your event fees, taxes and dues should you be prevented by unforeseen circumstances from attending the event. Purchase Protection does not apply to, and will not reimburse, merchandise purchases and charitable donations. Purchase Protection fees will be charged as a separate transaction. Any changes made to your order will not change the amount covered in this agreement.
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