Sunday, July 29, 2018

Realm Makers 2018 Recap

Realm Makers . . .

I've been putting off writing this recap because I don't know where to start! Recently, I told a friend that I feel like a Pevensie returned from Narnia. There's a wistfulness and a yearning about leaving a place that feels so much like home.

I met so many friends at RM, even more than last time! New friends, old friends, and quite a few of those friends I've known online for years but had never met until now. I met authors who are incredibly genuine, humble, and kind. I left with my mind stuffed full of writing/publishing knowledge and the glimmerings of new ideas. I left with my heart full and my soul fed. There's no other way to say it.

To give you an idea of just what goes on at Realm Makers, I'll take you through a quick recap of each day of the conference. Then, because I have a couple of special stories, I'll share those at the end. Warning: This is going to get long, so I won't blame you if you skim!

Day 1: Wednesday

This was my travel day and my second-ever flying-on-my-own trip! I felt a lot more at ease this time. From home, I flew to Toronto and then down to St. Louis, Missouri. I met my roomies Deborah O'Carroll (finally, yay!), Claire Banschbach, and E. Kaiser Writes for the first time, and we grabbed another friend to go for a late supper.

Day 2: Thursday

Tosca Lee's pre-conference workshop was amazing. She really made us attendees get up and get to know each other throughout the class--a smart idea, because otherwise that room of mostly introverts would never have started talking--and then she laid a solid foundation for the life of a writer. She also delved deeply into characters. Like the ouch, now I'm digging into my own dark corners kind of deep. I loved every bit of it and scribbled a dozen pages of notes.

Left to right: Audrey, Savannah, Mary, me

Since I've enjoyed Tosca's books for years (and also followed her Instagram for a while), it was also neat to meet her in person and get a book signed. She's sweet and funny and down-to-earth.

With Tosca Lee

Halfway through the pre-con session, I went out to nab a taco lunch with friends, and we found Wayne Thomas Batson sitting in the corner of the restaurant. Of course we ambushed him introduced ourselves.

After Tosca's session, I met more people who had recently arrived, including the darling Christine Smith! By this time, my group had fairly doubled in size, and we ate more tacos for supper.

The evening kicked off the actual start of the conference with Mary Weber's opening keynote (she gets right to the heart, guys), an editor and agent Q&A, and a live flash fiction critique sponsored by Splickety (both informative and helpful). I was elated to hear two of my friends' flash fics read out loud--Deborah O'Carroll and Savannah Grace!
Left to right: me, Mary, Savannah, Christine

Day 3: Friday

Regarding classes, I attended . . .

  • Allen Arnold's continuing sessions on When Chaos and Creativity Collide. I've got a story about that class for later, but for now I'll say it stirred my heart and breathed life into my soul.
  • How to Pitch Your Novel Without Sounding Like a Robot by Nadine Brandes, which was every bit as helpful as it sounds. I finally feel like I can tell you what my WIP is about in one sentence without sounding like a complete dork.
  • Everything You Need to Know About YA by Mary Weber and Nadine Brandes. Super information shared by two of my favorite authors!

With Nadine Brandes

In between, I had a short mentoring session with one of the faculty and walked away with some actionable steps to take in honing the focus of this blog. I also pitched to an agent, which went well--a great confidence boost!

But in true RM style, there is much more going on than just learning! I went out for pizza with a big group of friends, including all of the SilmAwards peeps who were in attendance. So much awesomeness in one place.

SilmAwards folks! Left to right: Savannah, Deborah, Jenelle Schmidt, Kyle Robert Shultz, me, Madeline J Rose

With my fairies, Christine and Deborah!

Friday was also the night of the awards banquet, where almost everyone shows up in costume. It's one of my favorite parts of the conference--seeing the creativity everywhere, striking up conversations with random strangers about our shared fandoms, snapping dozens (hundreds?) of pictures.

I cosplayed as Linh Cinder of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and I was honestly shocked at how many people recognized who I was!

It's Cinder!

With Mary Liz as Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way!)
(Audrey's photobombing is amazing too)

Madeline's got the epic steampunk look down pat

With Ashley Townsend as Eelyn (from Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young)

With Jenelle as Jyn Erso

With newfound friend Cassandra as my Cinder twin!

With Andy Sheehan as Captain America (he does a great Steve impression too)

With Nadine Brandes as Trelawney (whom I haven't read about yet!)

With a steampunk Mary Weber

With Mollie Reeder as a Jurassic World character and Emily Hayse as Black Widow

With Christine as a steampunk Alice and Deborah as
Princess Kamarie (one of Jenelle Schmidt's characters)

Without meaning to, I ended up sitting at Steve Laube's table for dinner. Yes. The Steve Laube. I sat next to him and fumbled through my meal with my one free hand, my painted hand hovering over my lap so as not to turn everything silver. 'Twas rather amusing.

Steve Laube (wearing a sign that reads "The Dream Crusher)
with Carla Hoch as a rather bloody editor
Later, I was having such fun that I stayed up past midnight chatting with a circle of friends.

Day 4: Saturday

Bryan Davis was in town and stopped at the conference for breakfast! I missed the beginning of his talk, thanks to the aforementioned decision to stay up late, but it was so great to say hello in person (and get one of his latest books signed)!

With Bryan Davis!

With a sweet blog follower named Jessi Rae!
*waves* Thanks for stopping to say hi!

I attended the last session of Chaos and Creativity and Part 2 of Mary and Nadine's YA class (which focused on marketing to YA). In between, I pitched to a second agent--that also went well, thankfully. I later went to a paid faculty lunch, which meant eating the catered hotel food and chatting over dessert with Mary Weber (I love her, guys). Then it was off to several short spotlights and panels, on topics such as editing and writing believable futuristic technology.

Mary gave her closing keynote, full of sisterly advice to writers. Every time she speaks, it seems that she re-centers my focus on what matters.

One of my favorite memories of the conference is Saturday supper. Mary W. and Nadine B. gathered a massive gaggle of fans (mostly from their street teams, but I must've snuck in) for tacos! Yes indeed, I ate tacos three times in two days, and didn't even care.

tacos with the gang

With Instagram and Goodreads friend Heidi

With Katie Grace, who's every bit as sweet in person as she is online

With Instagram friend Rebekah

With Hann, a sweet friend from last year

[Note: I'm very sad to mention that I somehow neglected to get a picture with Blue, a faithful blog follower and lovely friend! Blue, please forgive me!]

That evening, the Realm Makers bookstore was teeming. Authors signed books, readers bought more books than they could carry and stood in line, the raffle prize winners were announced (my pal Audrey won the free conference registration for next year, and I'm so stinkin' happy for her!), and it was basically a bookdragon's heaven. I got books signed by Lindsay Franklin, Nadine Brandes, Mary Weber, Wayne Thomas Batson, Allen Arnold, Jamie Foley, and Kyle Robert Schultz.*

*Thank goodness I had twenty pounds to spare in my suitcase for the flight home.

With Lindsay Franklin

With Wayne Thomas Batson

By the time the book festival wrapped up, I was exhausted. Sadly, I didn't have the energy to join the Nerf war this year, so I watched the first round from the sidelines, than bade a teary goodbye to a couple of friends and retired to my room to pack.

The Nerf war is underway...

Day 5: Sunday

A very sleepy Tracey woke up early to catch her flight home. That's it.

Well, I had to miss Carla Hoch's fight workshop, sadly. But I had a lovely conversation in the St. Louis airport with a gentleman and his wife who were flying to Canada to play golf. And the only other highlight of the day was returning to home soil and reuniting with my family.

Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up

You know how I mentioned that all the authors I met were super nice people? Yeah. That had a bigger impact on me than I expected. I've interacted with plenty of nice authors before--online, in person, at Realm Makers last year--but something about meeting so many of them at once was inspiring. Just a few vignettes . . .

Wayne Thomas Batson // My friends and I interrupted his lunch, and he was totally cool with it. Later, when I got one of his books signed, I confessed that my first novel included a character who was basically a carbon copy of his Captain Valithor, except in dragon form. He seemed to think that was the coolest thing. He told me Valithor's famous jibes were straight from a book of Shakespearean insults.

Nadine Brandes // She is my top favorite Instagrammer ever. I love her color theme, I love her posts, I love how she interacts in the comments. Every time I see a new Nadine picture scrolling by, I smile. (Her YouTube channel is also the best!) And you know what? She is just as kind and encouraging and dorky in real life as she is online. I want to be that genuine too, the kind of person who is the same no matter where you meet her.

Mary Weber // Maybe it's because she's a youth pastor and counsellor as well as author, but this woman has an insane memory. She remembered my name, she remembered meeting me last year, she remembered I have a year left of college. I was blown away, especially after seeing her signing line stretching out the door. She took the time to talk to each and every reader in that three-hour lineup--she made them feel like they mattered.

So many other authors were also wonderful! Not one of them put on airs. I want to be as authentic as they are.

The Story of With

This is actually the title of Allen Arnold's book, but it's also become the title of my own personal encounter with God during Realm Makers.

I'd noticed fear creeping into my writing recently. Feeling the pressure of summer winding down and classes starting soon, I knew my writing time was limited. I found myself projecting this book months into the future and worrying about getting an agent, building my platform, deciding between the general market and the Christian market, etc. When I sat down to edit, I felt like I was spinning my wheels.

This is the mental debris I took with me into Realm Makers.

Then I attended Allen's class and I was reminded of who I am. Who my Father is. I reawakened to the truth that God invites me to co-create with Him joyfully and with abandon. He wants to create with me, not just have me write for Him or about Him. (I wish I could share all my notes with you, but instead I'll just recommend you buy the conference audio!)

I sat there through all three sessions and soaked it all in. This is what I was missing. This joy, this freedom. It dovetailed so beautifully with the little nudges God had been giving me all summer. "Slow down. Pace yourself. There's no rush." But it was about more than just adjusting my pace, it was about the whole act of writing, the entire life of a creative person.

See, when we are faced with chaos in life--which is pretty much most of the time--we react with fear, anger, confusion, and doubt. We try to control it, suppress it, or ignore it. But what did God do in the face of the chaos that was the void, before creation? He stepped into the void and called forth beauty and order. He created. He created in the chaos, and He calls us to do the same.

But not on our own. With Him.

So by the time I sat down in Allen's last class, I was already telling God, "I get it now. I'm surrendering this to You--all the to-do lists and stress and burdens I'm not meant to carry--they're Yours."

Halfway through that final class, I slipped out to a pitch appointment. And it went really well, like I mentioned . . . except that it kind of came with a suggested deadline. A deadline I realistically couldn't meet unless I worked my tail off in the next month before the semester kicks off.

"I just told You I wasn't going to do it this way, God," I told Him. "And now there's this opportunity, and I don't want to miss it."

I hurried back to Allen's class to catch the last half, my mind spinning. At the end, he opened it up for questions. I'm going to ask him about my dilemma afterward, I thought to myself. One on one. No way am I going to open up about it in front of this whole room of people. Yet I found my hand slipping up in the silence, and then I was blurting out my situation and fighting off tears.

Two things you need to know: one, sleep is a low priority at a conference. Two, I'm an easy crier. Mix that with a dream that matters deeply to me, and the waterworks start.

I felt a little embarrassed, wiping my eyes as Allen responded with the encouragement to pray, to tackle this question with God, and to surround myself with prayer warriors. If this was an opportunity God wanted me to take, He would provide everything I needed to make it happen. If not, maybe this door would stand open until next summer (when I'd have more time to walk through it) . . . or a better opportunity would come up. Ultimately, what would give me more life? My old way or God's way?

Turned out that I didn't have to seek out prayer warriors--they found me. The minute the session ended, I was fiercely hugged by two dear friends who shed tears with me and prayed for me right then and there.

As the day wore on, I slipped often into snippets of conversation with God, turning this dilemma over and over. I realized that I felt peace about waiting. About giving myself and my manuscript the time we both needed. It's what I had been getting little nudges about all summer, and here it was: the chance to choose a path of peace rather than one of striving.

Later that evening, I had the chance to chat with Allen again. He asked me if God had given me any direction so far, and I shared the decision I'd come to. We then had a very encouraging discussion, and now I know.

If there was one reason I had to attend Realm Makers this year, this was the reason. This reawakening of my heart, this peace. I'm walking into my story with my Father.

Realm Makers was a power-packed experience, brimming with the laughter of fellow dreamers and the buoyancy that comes only from bumping into God and realizing He was right beside me this whole time. I'm planning to attend again. Next year, same time, same place! Maybe I'll see you there.


  1. AAAAHHHH TRACEY! *hugs* Your post was so wonderful because I felt like I was reliving the conference...I just want to echo everything you said here XD

    And the Story of With...WOW. I just finished reading it. I was blown away and deeply touched. I can only imagine how incredible Allen Arnold's session must have been. I'm SO glad that it was just the thing you needed. <3 God can do some pretty amazing stuff through Realm Makers conference! (and I'm an easy crier too, as proven by the raffle XD).

    Miss you, girl! <3

    1. Awwww, AUDREY. <333 It was so, so good to meet you again! Thank you!

      I am hugely looking forward to reading his book too! Allen's sessions were so inspiring, and his book looks like it will be more of the same. I'm grateful for all the ways God has and is using this conference--it's impacting so many people! (The raffle was one of my favorite moments. I'm still all excited for you, girl!!)

  2. oh, Love this so much, Tracey. It sounds like an amazing conference, and I hope to go next year to spend time with you all :) Love the stories . . . and praying for peace of mind to remain with your writing and life. Know how tough that all can be ;)

    1. Thank you, Keturah! Missed seeing you there! Hopefully next year works for you. ^_^ Thank you for the prayers too--they're much appreciated. <3

  3. Wow. Realm Makers sounds AMAZING! I hope I can go next year so I can finally meet all my blogger friends in person! I will be praying for you!

    1. IT IS! :D That would be wonderful if you could make it next year! There's so much to learn and so many people to meet at a conference. Thanks for the prayers!

  4. Thank you, Tracey. This is a great blog.

    1. Thanks, Esther! I appreciate you stopping by. :)

  5. I've been waiting for this post. You got to meet so many cool people. I love that God used it to speak to you. It's amazing when he does that. This conference seems like a lot of fun, I'm going to try to go next year.

    1. Aw, really? ^_^ I was a little late... I underestimated how long it would take to get all the pictures and links worked in. XD

      I'm incredibly blessed by the way God used this conference, especially this year! It would be AMAZING if you could attend next time too! (I'd get to meet my favorite Skye!)

  6. *sobs because I missed out this year*


    Honestly this just makes me really excited for next year. Sounds like so much fun!!

    1. YES, NEXT TIME, JULIAN. It's actually in the same city on the same weekend next year! I'd love to see you there! ^___^

    2. I did hear that, and so I hope to be able to make it this time!

  7. AWWWWW! I loved every single bit of this post. It gave me a few minutes to relive every amazing second of RM. NOW I'M FEELING ALL EMOTIONAL. :') Don't worry, you're not the only easy crier. Hehe.

    But oh my goodness, I did not realize the amount of emotional depth you got from Allen Arnold's class and everything. Man I wish we had had more time to chat! We really might should plan to stay an extra day next time and just spend that day chilling and talking. But ANYWAYS. This is so beautiful, Tracey! Isn't it so amazing how God cares about us enough to put us in the right places at the exact right times and show us what we need to do? I'm so proud of you for speaking up in Allen Arnold's class and seeking God so deeply.

    God did some utterly amazing work on me through RM as well, to the point that I started crying happy tears to my mom when I was telling her about it. I'd love to discuss these things in a Hangouts chat or something sometime! But I just wanted to tell you how happy this all makes me. God's got some utterly extraordinary plans for you, and I cannot wait to see them unfold. It's going to be wonderful. <33333

    Also I LOVE how you named the authors as people you want to be when you grow up! Because YES. I went home with dreams of being a Mary Weber or Nadine Brandes. All the authors there were so genuine and full of love.

    AGH. There was just so much amazingness there. I'm so, so, sooooo happy I got to go and meet you in person and just LSKDJFLJSLKJDFD. IT WAS THE BEST. <3

    1. Now if only we COULD go back in time and relive all the memories! :') I'm glad I'm not the only emotional one, lol!

      I so wish we could've had more time to chat too! (I also couldn't remember how much detail I'd told whom... I feel like all my friends got incomplete pieces of the story.) An extra day next time would be absolutely perfect; I hope that works out. <333 I'm pretty much speechless at the way God used this conference, yes!

      Oh, darling, I can't wait to hear about YOUR special stories too! We need to talk soon!!! And all that stuff about extraordinary plans? Right back at you, Christine. Seriously.

      YES! Mary and Nadine are such beautiful people. ^_^

      I still can't believe I actually got to meet mah Christine! Finally! That in itself made the whole trip worth it! <333

  8. It looks like you had an absolutely amazing experience at Realm Makers, a really blessed time! So glad that you got to go! <3 Thanks for sharing your experience with us! Also, you can never have tacos too many times. ;)

    Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels

    1. It was even more incredible than I was expecting! God is pretty amazing. ^_^

      Oh, no, neeeever too many tacos. ;D

  9. I'm so happy that I got to meet you at RM this year, Tracey!!! And I'm glad that God helped you find peace and direction. Allen's book is so good, you will enjoy it, I'm sure... I've been listening to the audio version since the middle of June, so making my way SLOWLY through it because I have little time to read and even less time to listen to things these days... but it's so good!! It's actually the reason I ended up being in that class on Saturday, as well, because I was feeling discouraged and I knew based on that book that Allen's class would be a source of encouragement to me... and I'm so glad I could be there to give you a hug when you needed it, friend!

    Can't wait until next time!

    1. Oh, me too, Jenelle!!! <3 You're so fun to hang out with.

      I cannot wait to dive into the book. It has soared close to the top of my TBR now! How neat that listening to the audiobook prompted you to sneak into Allen's class right when you needed it. God is good at orchestrating those little things. ;) And thanks again for the hug, my dear!

      I can't wait either! :D

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.


  11. Tracey, this is awesome! I love that this isn't some kind of business conference for us. We're not just there to pitch and learn technique. God uses these things to change our hearts! Alan's Chaos and Creativity class was so edifying.

    And of course, it was epic to meet so many fellow realmies. I keep telling people here at home how unusually perfect it was to be surrounded by hundreds of people who just...get it. We're all awkward introverts, but we all understand each other so well.

    Good luck with the proposals!

    -Andy Sheehan, Ginger Steve Rodgers

    1. Thanks, Andy! That's so true--it's just as much about the heart of writing as it is about the craft. I'm glad you enjoyed the Chaos & Creativity class too.

      The Realmies: they're the highlight every year. I remember last year (my first time)... I hopped on the shuttle to the hotel, and all around me, perfect strangers were chatting about vampires and critique partners, and that's when I knew. I'd found my people. ^_^

      Thank you! Happy writing, Cap!

  12. Sounds like you had fun ^.^ That's so so cool how you got to meet Wayne Thomas Baston and Bryan Davis!

    1. I sure did! ^_^ Yes, it was amazing to meet those authors and get some books signed!

  13. Also, I love the Cinder costume XD!

    1. Yay, thank you so much! Lostfairy tells me you read The Lunar Chronicles in about a week? O.O

  14. Hey! *waves back* It was super cool getting to meet you in person at RM this year! :D Also, you make a great Cinder. I don't think in pictures, but if I did, you'd probably look just how I would imagine her. XD

    1. JESSI! You commented! ;D I'm still so, so glad you introduced yourself to me. Awww, that's so sweet of you to say--thank you! I pictured her a little differently than myself... but I love Cinder so much and had a ton of fun pretending to be her for a night. XD

  15. It looks like you had a great time! I'm really glad you were able to walk away with peace about your writing future. Waiting stinks sometimes, but the Lord makes it worth it!

    1. Thank you, Sarah! <3 It's funny how we have to re-learn patience every time, isn't it? But looking back, it has ALWAYS been more than worth the wait. ^_^

  16. Wow -I had so much fun reading this wrap up post,and I'm glad that you had such a great time! The pictures were all so neat to see, and your story of with was very moving. Thank you for sharing it all!

    1. I'm so glad it was entertaining! These things always get super LONG. XD Thanks so much, True!!!

  17. Realm Makers was such an incredible experience. It was amazing being able to go this year, and to finally see you in person! (and please don't feel bad- I'm not an easy creature to photograph. I suppose you could say I'm non-photo Blue.)

    That's a great picture with you, Mary, and the photobomber squeezed in between. Did you happen to see Sairu from Golden Daughter at the dinner? Seeing her was one of the many highlights for me.

    Allen's sessions sounds like such a good one, and I'm glad to hear you had prayer warriors to rally around you. People like that are good to have as part of the creative community!

    1. And I'm so very glad you were able to come! I loved meeting you, frined! (Next time, though. NEXT TIME I WILL GET A PICTURE.)

      Haha, when I saw Audrey's face peeking in, I just had to include that shot in the post. XD I did see Sairu! Sadly, I didn't figure out who she was until afterwards when someone mentioned her costume. So neat to see a Goldstone Wood costume, though! ^_^

      It was fantastic, and prayer warriors are such a blessing! Which continuing session did you attend?

  18. Great post, Tracey! I'm so glad you had an amazing time and received confirmation about your decision to take your time and not push things. I'm confident that everything will come together at the right time and place and that you will be sensitive to the Spirit and be ready.
    Bless you!

    1. Thank you for such sweet encouragement! God has proven Himself trustworthy time and time again with these things. Every time He says "wait," I end up being grateful for the roundabout path. Blessings to you too! <3

  19. Great post, Tracey, and very timely! I think a lot of us get in a similar mindset where we never allow ourselves to rest because it's like we're afraid of missing out on something if we dont get the thing done RIGHT NOW. But like you realized God is great and more than capable of opening more doors for us. We just have to trust Him. Before reading your post, I was considering going back on my plan to take a week-long writing break after the end of Camp Nano in order to rest that part of my brain and get some other stuff done that I'd been putting off, but you reminded me that it's not helping my creativity to run myself ragged, so I've been sticking with the break and enjoying the rest.

    I'm so glad you had fun at Realm Makers and made such great connections! Sound like a blessing for sure. :)

    1. I'm so glad it came at a good time for you! That FOMO (fear of missing out) is alive and well, unfortunately. But in my short twenty-some years, God has proven to be faithful every time He asked me to wait on something. :)

      I hope your week-long break was restful! Good decision. I underestimate the value of breaks myself. ;)

      Thank you! It was an amazing time! <3

  20. Thank you for sharing your journey with us! This touched my heart. I've been going through struggles with writing and with book cover design this year, but I know it's given me a chance to grow as a person and to remember that God is always there by my side; He matters most.

    1. I'm so glad to hear that! (Not the struggles part, but the timely part.) Keep digging into those things *with* God--it's so much more fulfilling than going at it alone! <3

  21. You are amazing, Tracey, and I'm so glad you experienced God's peace during the conference. You write with such beauty and candor that I found myself almost in tears during your 'the story of with' recap. I relate so much to the fear you described and it was a blessing for me to get to hear about your experience.

    Do you think you'll attend next year? I'm considering it & it would be fabulous to meet you if God opens that door! (also, I need to comment around here more often! I love reading your words.)

    1. whoops, just saw that very last bit of your post! So excited that you are hopefully attending again. :D

    2. Awww, thank you, Emily! That's almost enough to move ME to tears. <333 I'm always blown away by the way one person's story can impact someone else's, so THANK YOU FOR TELLING ME THAT.

      Yes, I'm definitely planning to attend next year if I can! I would absolutely love to meet you there--hope everything works out!

      *bear hugs*

  22. LOVED reading this post!! It was so amazing getting to meet you in person!!! *internet hug* And seriously, your Cinder outfit was just AWESOME. :D Haha, it was a lot of fun dressing up steampunk style. ^_^

    Oh Tracey, thank you for sharing your story. It is so amazing how beautifully God can work through our struggles. That is awesome. <3

    1. Thanks, Maddie! I loved meeting you too!!! *more hugs* Your steampunk coat was #goals right there. :D

      I'm glad it touched you, friend! I'm incredibly grateful for all the ways He reminds us of His love.

  23. I'm so glad you had a great experience at Realm Makers. You look amazing as Cinder and Nadine looked awesome as Trelawney! I'm hoping to attend again next year!

    1. Thanks so much, Tori! I missed seeing you this year. <//3 Hopefully next time!!!

  24. Oh. My. Word. What an incredible experience! I loved reading every word of this post and seeing all of the pictures (especially the one with all the SilmAwards peeps!). Also, I think that it is so so so cool what you experienced in Allen Arnold's session. You slowed down enough to listen to the Holy Spirit. Blessings will come from that. Thank you for sharing about Realm Makers, friend! I hope I can make it there one day.

    1. It was incredible, every bit of it! So glad you enjoyed reading this long ramble. ^_^ Wish you could've joined us as a fellow SilmAwards host! Hopefully next year? Thank you so much for the encouragement, Abbey! You're very kind. <3