Saturday, August 12, 2017

Realm Makers 2017 Recap

Greetings, fellow adventurers! As you've probably realized by now, I have returned! And boy, do I have stories to share about Realm Makers. I'll try not to make a novel out of this post, but no promises.

Day 1

My parents and I woke up at an unholy hour (3 am, to be precise) to get to the airport on time. I've never flown before, aside from a few times in tiny crop duster planes, so this was all new to me. Despite being a complete newbie, flying turned out to be pretty straightforward. Follow the signs, ask for directions if you need to, and be on time. Easy enough. And thanks to Gravol and air plugs (these little rubber ear plugs that help with the changing air pressure), I made it with zero nausea.

From home I flew to Vancouver; then to Santa Ana, California; and finally to Reno, Nevada. I had a window seat during two of those flights, so I got to watch the flat prairies turn into the Rockies, and the Rockies turn into the Sierra Nevada range. I've never seen brown mountains before! (And I can now write airport scenes more accurately, so yay for that!)

Riding the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, I overheard conversations behind me about vampires and fictional races and how to find critique groups, and I couldn't help but grin. It was so unlike anything you'd hear on a regular bus, I just knew I was in the company of writers. I was finally at Realm Makers.

When I arrived at the hotel (which was huge and had a casino on the main floor--it reeked of cigarette smoke there), I met Lisa Canfield, long-time friend, blogger, and one of my roommates! We had supper with an assortment of Realmies, then retreated to our room for an early night.

Day 2

Me and Lisa nipped across the parking lot for breakfast first thing in the morning.

Pre-conference day! I met a bunch more people, including Victoria Grace Howell! It was so surreal to be meeting online friends and fellow bloggers, and glimpsing familiar authors in the crowd.

Me and Tori! Apologies for the fuzziness in the photos. Hotel lighting isn't the greatest.

The first half of the day was David Farland's pre-conference workshop on creating a winning writing career. I learned SO. MUCH. Midlist authors vs. super lead authors, pen names, global markets, being a fast and consistent writer, growing my skills in concept/plot/prose, the neurobiology of readers, reaching a vast audience, writing beats . . . I scribbled a dozen pages of notes on this class alone!

David Farland, pre-conference workshop

Sometime that afternoon, I met my friend Mary Horton, who's just as sweet in person as she is online!

With Mary Horton

Later in the day, the conference officially began, kicking off with an agent and editor panel where they answered questions we wrote in. One thing I was reminded of is to write the story I am passionate about, rather than worrying about trends, and that's what will set me apart.

Ted Dekker's opening keynote was next. If you'll remember, he's one of my favorite authors, so I was massively excited to hear him in person! I found he was as dynamic and powerful in his speaking as he is in writing. He's been on an incredible journey and come to learn so much about who God is, what it means to be one with Him because of Jesus, and the power of our own perception. Much of what he talked about was similar to things he teaches in The Creative Way writing course, but it stirred my hunger for knowing God, clarified my vision, and provided a breath of fresh air and peace.

Ted Dekker

After that, Carla Hoch held a fight workshop. It was super informative, because she was teaching real fighting skills in order to help us write better fight scenes. It was also super hilarious, especially since she was demonstrating everything on the emcee, Ben Wolf! Some of the practical things I took away were: everything is a weapon, the deadliest person is the most willing person, and the first thing you should try to do when approached by someone aggressive is RUN.

Carla teaching us how to break Ben's wrist with nunchucks.

Day 3

I had a lovely breakfast in the lobby with Mary H. and her mom, and then hurried off to my first class of the day: Robert Liparulo's continuing session called "Embrace the Strange." Sadly, I missed about half of his teaching throughout the conference because, being a newbie, I scheduled all my appointments during class times. But what I did hear was so encouraging and inspiring. He talked about how to write strange stuff without chasing people away (hint: hide the weird among the ordinary, the familiar, and the universal, especially universal human emotion). But the biggest thing I took away from his classes was this: trust yourself as a writer. And don't hold back those good ideas you're saving for fear of emptying your bag of tricks. Write those twists, those amazing characters and plots and ideas, now. And trust God to give you more for the next novel.

In the middle of that first session, I slipped out for a mentor appointment with David Farland. I asked him for advice on getting from where I am now to where I'd like to be (writing as a career), and got some great tips for how to prepare myself and grow my skills.

My next class was one on networking by Mary Weber! I was expecting social media strategies and marketing platforms, but what she taught was so much better: publishing is relational. Networking is just making friends. Of course she went way more in depth than that, but it was a wonderful reminder and eye-opener.

At lunch, I sat with Mary, Jonathan Trout, and a whole group of teens, a few I know from Goodreads and whatnot. They're such a fun group, and I ended up hanging out with them a lot more during the conference.

Right after that, I had a class on plotting a bestselling series by David Farland (apparently I signed up for a lot of his classes, LOL). I know I'll definitely be referring to my notes whenever I get back to working on The Prophet's Quest and its sequels!

Next I had another of Robert Liparulo's sessions. I missed part of it again for my first ever appointment with an agent. I was a bit nervous, but no more than I've been for job interviews, and the pitch went decently well. I was told my writing was good, so that's a plus!

That evening was the awards banquet, where almost everyone showed up in costume, and I dressed as Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time! Aaaaand here comes the onslaught of pictures.

With Mary (as Bilbo), and roommates Brianna da Silva (as medieval peasant) and Lisa (as Arwen) // photo courtesy of Mary's camera

Will all my roomies: Liv K. Fisher (as a fairy), Lisa, and Brianna
With Cassia Schaar (as Annabeth) and Olivia Hofer (as herself)
With Tori (as a fem Graham)
With Jonathan Trout (as Robin Hood, minus a bow)
With Hann R. (as herself)
With Keturah Lamb (as herself)

I didn't catch their names, but when I asked Flynn Rider and Rapunzel for a picture,
Flynn said, "As long as you get my nose right," to which I replied, "As long
as you give me the smolder." This is the result.
Snow White and the cutest dwarf I have ever seen!

Author Jill Williamson (as Gamora) and her husband (as Star Lord)
With Jill
I met so many others too--I just don't have room for all the pictures! There were characters from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Disney, and more. I saw Dr. Strange and the Ancient One (actually Scott and Becky Minor, who run the conference!), Katniss Everdeen, Belle, Gandalf, Wolverine, people in steampunk costumes, and so many others I either recognized or had never seen in my life. I've never been a part of any cosplay event before, but it was really fun to strike up conversations with perfect strangers based solely on the fandoms they represented!

As the banquet wound down, I got a chance to meet and talk to author James L. Rubart. He's a super nice guy. We had a great conversation and I walked away encouraged!

Day 4

First thing in the morning I had a half-hour session with editor/author Lindsay A. Franklin for my ten-page critique. It was amazing. She was so encouraging and supportive, offered awesome advice, and was just really fun to talk to! (And her first novel is coming out in 2018, you guys! Be on the lookout!) Based on her comments and ideas, I'll be reworking at least part of The Brightest Thread. Improvement is an exciting thing!

Afterwards, I had another pitching appointment. This one went very differently than planned, because as it turned out, TBT isn't the right fit for this agent. But we had a good discussion in which he asked questions to stir my creativity and help point me in the right direction, so it was still a helpful learning experience!

I then caught the tail end of Robert Liparulo's final session. Following that was a class on character motivations by Lisa Mangum, which offered practical tips for defining characters' values, goals, and ambitions, and thrusting them into conflict and growth.

That afternoon, I sat in on a panel about reaching readers. The advice was aimed more for already-published authors (always keep copies of your books in your trunk; never be without a Sharpie for signing them; etc.), but it was still informative.

My final class that day was another one by David Farland, this one about building a magic system! One of the best things I took away was the idea of using magic to explore morality--what is the right use of all that power?

Then we had some free time! I hung out with friends in the vendor hall/bookstore and agonized over which books to buy. With limited room in my suitcase, deciding was hard. And then for supper, my teen friends kidnapped me right out of the hotel for deep dish pizza and deep conversation to match. I had so much fun with them! (They were fascinated by my Canadian currency. 'Twas hilarious.)

picture provided by Jonathan Trout

Then it was back to the hotel for Ted's closing keynote and Q&A (so good!) . . . and then, the reason I had packed probably ten pounds of books along: the book signing!

I got Storm Siren signed by Mary Weber! She's like the nicest human bean ever.
Ted Dekker! I got Mortals signed by him. (Most of the Dekker books in my
house belong to my dad. I actually own very few of them myself.)
I didn't have any of Robert Liparulo's books with me, nor did I have room in my luggage to buy one, so he signed my notebook for me. XD
I also got a couple of books signed by Jill Williamson (she's so friendly) and Kyle Robert Schulz (fellow Silmarillion Awards host), though I didn't get pictures.

And then, to close it all off: the NERF WAR. I didn't stay for nearly all of it, because I had a ridiculously early flight the next morning, but I stuck around long enough to play several rounds of zombies vs. survivors. Despite being tired, it was hilariously fun! (Seriously, when do you get to see a whole roomful of mostly adults running around shooting foam darts at each other? And having serious strategy huddles before each round of the game?)
Liv and I, happy assassins

Day 5

I got four hours of sleep and woke up at 4 am to catch my flight to Salt Lake City. I was exhausted and threw up once, but my next two flights went smoothly. By suppertime I was home again.

* * *

And that was Realm Makers 2017! Sorry for the beastly length of this post. There was just so much I wanted to share with you. Realm Makers was encouraging, inspiring, jam-packed, worth the money, and so. much. fun. I learned a lot and met so many awesome people. When others ask me what the highlight of my trip was, I've been telling them it's the people. It's being around so many other writers. The energy of a huge room full of individuals who love story, speculative fiction, and Jesus. People who get me. People amongst whom small talk consists of more than just "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?" but "What do you write?" It was an amazing conference, and I hope I get to go again next year!


  1. Ahhh, I'm so jealous of all the people you got to meet! That's so awesome! Sounds like you had a fabulous time!!! Maybe I'll get to go next year . . . :D

    1. It *was* fabulous, and you should definitely look into going next year! It'd be fun to meet you! :D

  2. YES. THIS POST. ALL THE MEMORIES. *FLAILS* That's such a good idea to do the post day-by-day, I never would have thought of that though. xD Love all your pictures! Except now I'm mad at myself because SOMEHOW I missed the dude in the Flynn Ryder costume??

    1. IT'S JONATHAN! HI! Okay, but yours was all neatly organized by topic, which was a super good idea too. (Mine is kind of like, okay, here's the day--then it's a story dump. XD)

      How did you miss Flynn Rider?? Tsk, tsk! XD

  3. ...



    *gives you awed silence*

    *has no words*

    I really couldn't think of anything to say.


    and Ted Dekker. *grins impossibly wide* did you say hi to him for me? Just kidding, just kidding xD



    1. D'awww, Lisa! <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed! I kind of felt I was rambling all over the place, but I just had so many stories I wanted to share with y'all. ^_^ BUT YES. COME. COME NEXT YEAR IF YOU CAN.

      Ted Dekker is such a cool guy! If I would've thought of it, I would've said hi! XD I was already rambling enough as it was...something about loving The Creative Way course. XD


    2. Thanks for the invitation. I'll keep it in mind and come someday as soon as possible, whether or not it's next year xD

      (Hehe, I'm running around all the RM recap posts and just savoring them all and also seeing how many got pictures with Ted Dekker XD)
      After reading this post the other day when I was dreaming that night, I actually found myself at RM too? And I met him - but you guys had left already *sniffles* lol


    3. Yay! I meant it good-naturedly, of course; I understand there's a lot of factors involved in something like attending or not attending! ^_^

      (LOL, that's awesome. I think a lot of us got pics with him...)
      OH MY GOODNESS, THAT'S THE BEST. You actually dreamed about RM! But oh noooo, everyone was sad. D:

  4. TRACEYYYYY. I love this post so much! It's bringing back all the fun memories of one of the most memorable weekends EVER. <333

    Just...I don't know what to say. Realm Makers was a dream come true, and meeting you and Jonathan and Hann and Audrey and EVERYONE was the highlight of the experience. (I never imagined I would actually be eating breakfast with you! So surreal!) It was the most incredible experience, and I already miss you all terribly. <3

    Loved this post, dear, and it's inspiring me to write my own recap. (I'm apparently the last one to do this? Hehe. :P)

    Oh, and I'm so sorry you threw up on the way back. :( Was it because of the high altitude or just the motion of the airplane? I get carsick sometimes, but I actually haven't thrown up (yet).

    1. Everyone's recaps have been doing the same for me! Just seeing everyone's perspective and hearing some of the same stories in like, five different ways brings back all the memories. Gah, I miss it all so much already! <3

      I still can't believe I actually went! It's something I was dreaming of for years. And yeah, to actually MEET you and all the others was the best! (We had breakfast! I spilled coffee! We talked about bookish and writerly things! <3)

      Oh, please do write a recap! I'd looooove to see it. ^_^ Hey, best for last, right? Right? ;D

      It wasn't too bad an episode. I'm not even sure WHY I threw up. I wasn't really feeling nauseous, but I was exhausted and hadn't had anything more than a granola bar and bottle of water yet. About 5-10 minutes before we landed, I threw up. And then I was totally fine. *shrugs* (Yeah, I get carsick sometimes too. Not fun.)

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. YAAAY! I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS POST. Get ready for a comment as large as your post (but what's new?) 'cause I just have to flail!

    I love the day-by-day format of this post and all the details. I felt like I was THERE! I'm glad your flight went well. I've never flown before either, so it's a relief to hear it's pretty straightforward.

    It's just sooooo fun how you met all our people! LISA AND TORI AND MARY AND LIV AND JUST ALL THE PRECIOUS PEOPLE!!!

    And all the authors!!! *fangirls* I mean, TRACEY. YOU GOT TO MEET TED DEKKER. THAT IS THE COOLEST THING. (I also love his t-shirt. XD) But all the others, tooo. Robert Liparulo, Mary Weber, JILL WILLIAMSON. I REALLY like what Robert Liparulo said about hiding the weird amongst the familiar. That...really makes me think about my stories. Wow. o.o Very interesting! But also SOOO much yes to not saving all the cool ideas for later novels. I am the WORST about that. I come up with ideas I LOVE but want to save them because...what if THIS novel isn't the right one to use for that amazing idea? Maybe I should use it later??? Jill Williamson had actually said something like that in a GTW post a while back and it totally opened my eyes. I still struggle with it, but I'm getting much better about using the fun ideas I have and not hoarding them for later.

    I'm glad your pitch with an agent went well! I KNEW they'd like your writing. Because, girl. YOUR WRITING. o.o Some of the best EVER.

    ALL THE COSTUUUUMES. Liv's fairy costume is SO cute. Oh my goodness. Flynn and his smolder is great. XD AND THAT SNOW WHITE AND HER "DWARF". I AM DYING FROM CUTENESS. Also I see Sophie Hatter (from the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle) right behind Snow White! :D :D :D Speaking of which, Mary Weber is wearing an HMC t-shirt in your picture with her. ALL THESE FELLOW GEEKS.

    Oh man, I'd probably have to forgo packing anything BUT books because I'd want EVERYTHING to be signed plus end up buying ALL THE THINGS. So...yeah. If I ever go one year (which I am determined to do!) I'll have to figure out how to manage that... Haha.

    The nerf war sounds sooo fun! What a great way to end everything! ^_^

    I'm so sorry you threw up on your flight home. AGH. Poor Tracey! So glad you made it home safely though.

    This all just sounded so magical. I love what you said at the end, how you're surrounded there by people who GET it. Who ask writing questions instead of "What do you do?" questions. (Because I reeeally hate that question. Haha.) And just being amongst OUR people, you know? Aaaahhhhhh!!! It just seems like the best! I really, really, REALLY hope to go next year. But if it's like across the country I doubt it'll happen. So I'm crossing my fingers it'll be closer to me. Heh.


    Are you going to do any blog posts on the things you learned from all the classes by any chance? Because I'd be allll for that. *wriggles eyebrows*

    1. What's new indeed? XD I kid, I kid...! I get really excited whenever I see one of your long comments. <3

      Ooh, yay, I'm so glad the day format was immersive like that! This was pretty much a big brain dump, really. XD And yes, flying really isn't all that bad! The biggest thing, as Tori told me before I left, is to not let the security guards scare you, follow the signs, etc. Also you can't bring water through security (or was it customs? all my flights are beginning to blur together), so just bring an empty bottle and fill it up on the other side. And use Gravol if you get motion-sick. *nods sagely* But anyway, the view from a plane is amazing!

      Meeting everyone was a HUUUUGE highlight! I'd love to meet YOU there next year! *hopes really hard for both of us to make it*

      I knooow, I was fangirling on the inside so much! LOL, his shirt was the best. XD I didn't see him wear any color besides black (and denim, if that counts as a color). All the authors were so, so amazing.
      His advice was really thought-provoking for me too! One of those tips that affirms things I've already done, yet also gives me ideas for how to do that thing BETTER.
      Yes, I'm bad at idea-hoarding too. Oh, Jill mentioned it on GTW too? That kind of sounds familiar...hmm...I probably did read it, I just don't fully remember. XD

      ALSFJASLJ. *hugs and has no words*

      I COULDN'T GET OVER THE BABY DWARF EITHER. SUCH CUTE. Yeah, I recognized Sophie Hatter later when someone pointed her out! I still haven't seen the anime myself. :P And Lisa pointed out Mary's HMC shirt to me too!

      Just...pack an extra suitcase of books! Except luggage fees are blegh. (But yessss, you must cooooooome!)

      It was hilariously fun, even though I was ready to fall asleep!

      The throwing up part was short-lived and I felt fine afterward, thankfully. XD Yes, I was relieved the traveling went well too.

      (Haha, that question does suck sometimes. I have to say, "I work in retail," which is so not interesting when what my heart screams is, "I BLEED MY SOUL ONTO PAPER ON A REGULAR BASIS AND ONE DAY PEOPLE WILL PAY $$$ FOR THAT." XD) Being around so many writers and story enthusiasts was SO. COOL. But oh goodness, yes, I hope the next RM ends up being somewhere perfect for all of us to go! probably geographically impossible. Maybe I should whip out a map and triangulate the locations of where you and I and Mary and everyone else who wants to go/return to RM live, and find out the most central location. XD


      I should! I mean, I don't want to "steal" anything from the speakers, but if I put my own spin on it, you know--make it partly my own thoughts and reactions--that could work? Good idea!

  6. I really must make it a priority to go next year! It all looks so informative, and a filled with a great community to boot!

    Great summary, Tracey- thank you!

    1. Yes to ALL of that! Information, community--so much awesomeness. I'd love to see you there sometime! (Because obviously now I desperately want this to be a yearly tradition.)

      I'm glad you enjoyed it! ^_^

  7. I am so glad you had such an awesome experience at RM and got to meet so many wonderful people and learn a lot. I love your pictures! Great to see Tori, Olivia, and Cassia. I know them from FL conference. Did you also meet Ian and Christian? I'm sure you will be very busy now incorporating new ideas into your writing. Happy writing!

    1. Oh, thank you, Mrs. D!!! So happy you enjoyed the pictures. That's really neat that you know Tori, Olivia, and Cassia! I did actually meet Ian and Christian (now it makes sense why they were always hanging out together, haha), but it was very briefly. You bet, I have so much to work on now! I suppose that's the thing about conferences--you learn a ton, but you also realize how much MORE there is to learn! :)

  8. Sounds like a lot of fun. Wow, a lot of flight pieces though. I've gone from Pennsylvania to Orlando and back three times, but each time it was a direct flight. David Farland would be really cool to see/hear from. I really like The Sum of All Men, and he was an important professor for Brandon Sanderson, who I consider one of my mentors, even if I've never actually met him.

    1. It definitely was! Yeah, unfortunately it was airport hopscotch all the way there and all the way back. At least I've got the process down pat (pretty much) by now! :P

      David Farland's classes were all packed with advice! I haven't read any of his books yet, but methinks I should now. :) Yes, he's mentored a number of big authors: I know of Sanderson, Stephanie Meyer, and James Dashner.

  9. Thanks for sharing the adventure with us. Looks like you had a lot of fun. I wish I could have gone. You made a perfect Emma Swan!

    1. You're sure welcome, and thanks for reading! I would have LOVED to meet you there! Maybe next year, huh? D'aww, thanks. ^_^ Now if I had you around with your mad photography skills, we could've done an actual Storybrooke-themed photo shoot!

  10. Never mind the length, Tracey - I'm devouring allll the RM recap posts and the longer the better ;D It must have been so amazing meeting authors and writer friends from online! Were there many people from outside of the USA?
    Jem Jones

    1. Oh, whew, good to hear! ;D It was really, really surreal. There's the strange "duh" moment when you realize these online people have real faces. And real voices. o.o Who'd have thought, right?? XD

      I know there were at least a few! Some Canadians, including myself and at least four others. I also heard there were a couple people from New Zealand, and also a girl from Malaysia, I believe! No Australians, as far as I know. Maybe you'll change that some year? ;)

  11. It was so good to see you in person!!!! My fellow Canadian!!! It's so great to see that you had such a good time and I really hope we can see each other at future conferences!

    1. I loved meeting you too!!! Go Canada! :D I definitely hope to bump into you at more conferences down the road too. Hope you're having a great last month of summer!

  12. Realm Makers always sounds absolutely amazing. o.O I love stalking attendee's pictures on social media.

    (and also, I'm finally able to follow you! My setup wouldn't let me for the longest time, but now there's a pink rose in your follower's box. ;)

    1. IT IS. And I've been stalking everybody's pictures too. XD

      (Oh good! I hope there wasn't a problem on my end of things, although goodness knows I've had trouble with Google Friend Connect in the past. So happy it worked out for you! ;))

  13. I love all the pictures you took of the costumes! That Arwen dress... ! o_o
    Realm Makers looks so awesome! I'm so glad all the bloggers are posting about it! :)

    1. Thanks, Hanna! I know, Lisa's costume was so great! She made the headpiece herself, actually, and the dress she bought on Amazon, I think. ^_^

      Glad you're enjoying the deluge of recaps and pictures! :D

  14. I'm so glad you had an awesome time! :D Again it was so great meeting you in real life. *hugs*

    1. Thanks! I absolutely loved meeting you too! *hugs*

  15. THIS SOUNDS EPIIIIIC. I wanna go!! :D Sounds like you had a lot of fun, meeting other bloggers, meeting authors, learning cool stuff. :D That fighting class sounded AMAZING. ^_^ I would LOVE to go next year!

    1. It was, and you should if you can! :D Meeting everybody was one of the biggest highlights for sure, and I also learned a ton. Where to start is now my big question, lol. But yes, it would be fabulous to meet you there sometime!

  16. Man that sounds like it was a ton of fun! Oooo all those classes sound like they would have been fun to addend. I like need to go to Realm Makers someday.

    1. Boatloads of fun, and so helpful too! Yes. Yes, you definitely need to attend sometime. :D

  17. Yaayyy! I've been reading all the other recaps and it's fun to see where they overlap or even use the same pictures. The more I read the more I want to go next year. . . we'll see. A place where the first question is "What do you write?"! A place where there's a bunch of people I already sort of know, to meet in real live! And we're Christians! And there's so much to learn!

    And, probably, the majority of the crowd is made of introverts, who are talking a lot and making lots of noise --- weird how that happens when a bunch of us get together to do something we're interested in, how we can suddenly thrive on each other's company?

    1. That's awesome! LOL, some of us (Mary, Jonathan, and I) did share pictures amongst ourselves. ;)
      It would be so fun to meet you there sometime! I hope to go every year, provided everything works out. That feeling of being with a huge group of Christian spec-fic writers is incredible.

      Hahaha, true! The excitement and connections made me more outgoing the whole weekend, that's for sure. Or maybe "more outgoing" is misleading...I just had less shut-off times, if that makes sense. (You know...when you don't want to talk to another human being and just want to live inside your head for a bit. XD)

  18. That sounds like such an overwhelming but fun experience! I'm sorry about your getting sick on the way back, though. When I went on my trip earlier this Summer, I felt ill all the way home, and I was promising myself inwardly that I'd never leave home again (of course, now that I'm two months away from that experience, I'm already planning another trip) So I'm glad that part didn't make your overall experience bad!

    1. It sure was, on both counts! Mostly the fun part, though. ;) Oh dear, feeling sick ALL the way home would be a bummer. Thankfully it was just a few minutes for me. :P (Haha, of course you've gotta plan another trip! It's funny how those uncomfortable memories can fade so quickly.)

    2. Maybe that was my problem - I kept telling myself that I was NOT going to be sick. It's so uncomfortable, especially if you have a window seat. I warned my seatmates that I was feeling green, and one of them said he was a sympathetic puker...terrific.
      Was this the first time in the US for you?

    3. You might be right. I know when I'm concentrating on NOT being anything, I end up gravitating towards that! (What's that saying? What you look at you steer towards?) Oh gross, a sympathetic puker too! :O

      No, I've been to the US probably close to 10 times by now. My family and I go there for most of our vacations. :) Have you ever visited Canada?

    4. The glamors of traveling :P

      I haven't been to Canada yet, but it's definitely on the list. With being the youngest, most of the trips happened before I was born...*sighs* I'm working on getting my passport, then I might head up to Victoria. I would love to see Prince Edward Island someday!

    5. Aww, I never thought of that being a disadvantage of the youngest. I hope you get the chance to travel here one day! BC is beautiful, and I'm sure PEI is as well. (I have yet to visit the Maritimes.)

  19. Love seeing all these pictures :D It was beyond amazing meeting you :D

    1. Thank you, Keturah! It was so great to meet YOU! ^_^

  20. I'm terribly late, but THIS WAS SO AMAZING. I'm in awe of how you could coherently write what happened every single day in a single post. I did a journal entry like this, and it was pages and pages long.

    It was awesome meeting you there! One day I'm going to get a Canadian dollar xD

    audrey caylin

    1. THANK YOU, AUDREY. <3 I *did* journal this all out too, and it was like five times as long. So I hear ya! XD

      I loved meeting you too! Haha, come to Canada, maybe? Or I'll just have to mail you a loonie. XD

  21. Traaaceeyyy! So I legit took notes in a small notebook during this post, so that I would remember all the stuff I want to say!

    First up, three planes?! Go you! I did three planes once, to and from Chile. It ain't fun! Well done. Your opening pic is beautiful, by the way, the colours plus the font = gorgeous vibe!

    I am SO JEALOUS that you got to do this, and that you met so many people!!! I only two bloggers featured whom I follow are Tori and Jonathan, but you met so many friends! I guess you'd never met any of them before? IT IS SO COOL. After meeting Ashley in July I just want to meet all the internet friends! (Including this one cool gal who lives in Canada. *ahemhem*) It sounds like you had a really lovely time with them. I loved your description of the bus there, knowing you were among writers! I've never been in a big group of writers irl like that. (Which is why I say, PTL for the blogosphere!)

    It sounds like you learned some wonderful things. "write the story I am passionate about, rather than worrying about trends, and that's what will set me apart." That is such great, great advice. Also, I wish I'd been there for the lecture on plotting a bestselling series! The other great piece of advice is not worrying about using up all your ideas in one book. I've recently been having worries that I've shown my hand too early in SitC, but as you say in this post, I just need to trust God to get me to the end in SotT. (Writing SotT will be a learning curve, though, and will answer the question: can you pants your way through an entire series? I am going to try plotting at some point. I would like to plot the MetaBook series. I think I owe it to myself to try ...)

    Once again, I'm so glad you got to do this and that it was so worth it! I hope you take forward everything you've learnt. (On a vaguely related note, if you are reworking TBT, send me updates anytime, even when I'm reading it -- it's the easiest thing in the world to merge two docs with our good friends Copy and Paste, so it won't be any hassle!)

    It was lovely to read this! Lots of love <33

    1. You took notes?! Oh my gosh, that's amazing. XD

      Okay, but three planes between Scotland and Chile MAKES SENSE. Three planes between the Canadian Prairies and Nevada does not. XD
      Thanks! The picture is of the view out my hotel window.

      Meeting people was probably my biggest highlight! And no, I hadn't met ANY of them in person before, so that was LKAJDSLAKJFS AMAZING. (Hmm, really? Who could that be...? XD Kidding, because there's a certain awesome person in Scotland whom I need to meet one day too...) (Yes, thank God for finding kindred spirits online!)

      That series class was fantastic! I kind of want to blog about all those classes I took, but I'm unsure if I have a right to?? Like, it's not my material, exactly, but a lot of it is what you might find in all sorts of places already, just combined differently. (Everything is a remix, right?) So IDK.
      Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Keep trusting Him through your series. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds! (But eek, pantsing a series? I don't know...I know *I* would likely get lost!)

      Thank you so much for cheering me on! <3 (I shall definitely do that! So far, I haven't touched it, but if I do change anything, I'll let ya know.)

      Right back at you! <3

  22. Oh Tracey!!!

    (I know I'm late here... I saw the post and read and loved it aaaaaages ago but procrastinated commenting...)


    You met all the cool people!!!! Squeeeee!!!!!

    I want to go!!! I am going to come one of these years!!!! Seriously. This looks like an amazing experience.

    OHMYWORD. OHMYWORD. OHMYWORD. YOU MET TEDDEKKER. CASUALLY HYPER VENTILATING TO DEATH OVER HERE. Was he nice???? Was he creepy??? Did you get to talk to him???? Did you tell him I said hi??????

    I need to meet Ted Dekker...

    1. KATE! HI!

      (Pssshhh, I don't mind late comments at all. I procrastinate on commenting waaaay too much myself. :P)


      Honestly, the people were the best part about the whole thing! Yes, the classes and appointments and learning was incredible, but it was the people that made everything 100x better.

      That would be amazing! I'd love to meet you there! Next year's conference is in St. Louis, I think. I'm already saving up and dreaming of going again.

      I DID MEET TED DEKKER. I WAS INWARDLY FANGIRLING. He's a super nice person! Very friendly. Not creepy. (Although what goes on inside his mind might possibly be creepy at times, considering the stuff he writes, haha. Then again, my own brain is a creepy place now and then... #writer) I stood in line to get a book signed by him, and then blabbered something about loving his books and his writing course. TBH, I was probably incoherent. So any remembrance of saying hi for you slipped my mind! Sorry! XD

    2. Probably not for a while, but I AM GOING TO GO one of these times!!

      a;sldkjfa;sdlkfjas;dlkfj HE IS SO AWESOME. But I do think I would be a leeeeetle intimidated that he would like whip our a knife and chop me up or something. Definitely have read too many of his books to trust him completely. ;)))) Juuuust kidding!!!

    3. Someday!!!

      LOL, I can see why! All those serial killers he writes about, sheesh. XD But person to person he was really kind and down to earth!

    4. TED DEKKER FANS UNITE YAY *cheers bc I met the two of you*

      (*cough* sorry couldn't help but make a comment when I saw your pop up in my inbox)

    5. WOOHOO! Seriously, why aren't there more Dekker fans in our circles? *laughs because I made an accidental pun*

      (Don't ever be sorry for fangirling over books. ;))

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