Featured Image is designed by Marilyn Busch (2019). Photo by A. Keith Carreiro, 6 August 2019.1
From Thursday, 18th July to Saturday, 20th July, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the 2019 Realm Makers Conference that was held in St. Louis, Missouri. It is a Christian science fiction, fantasy literary event. It was a delight to be one of the 300+ conferees. I do not know of anything else like it in the nation.
This kindness is what I experienced throughout my whole time getting to, while there, and returning from the conference. Everyone I met was personable, friendly and went out of their way to be of help to me. The registration, cleaning and restaurant
staff at The Comfort Inn and the Sheraton were outstanding in their service.
During the whole conference, I looked forward to, and dreaded, my appointment with Steve Laube [pronounced “Lobby”]. Steve is a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, which is located in Phoenix, Arizona. The firm represents 300 clients. He has been involved in the book industry for almost four decades. His reputation is stellar and his contributions to the industry are legendary. He has a very quick wit and a unique and rather droll sense of humor. He had the rare ability to put me at ease while at the same time keeping me on my toes when I was around him.
Conference speakers mentioned him in their talks with us and would state that when they interacted with Steve they did so with high anxiety and apprehension. Every one of them, those who were successful in having him represent them, mentioned how nerve–racking the experience was in pitching their writing to him.
“Where will you be selling these?” he asked me.
I gulped. I think I even forgot my name at that moment. “Book signings, festivals, stores…”
I was stunned. You cannot imagine how many people have seen these books. No one said “Boo!” to me about this aesthetic flaw in marketing them. I thought That’s what I have come here for—an honest, straight–forward professional critique. I actually started to relax. Well, sort of. I was amazed at his insight. He had done me a tremendous favor.
Since last December, I have been working on republishing the first two novels and releasing the third for the first time. The release date to do so was scheduled on my birthday, 18 August 2019. I have been working with Dawn and Steve Porter of Stillwater River Publications, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in getting all three novels ready for this event. We were right down to the wire on making sure everything was ready to send to the printers. A paperback version and another in eBook format will be offered to potential readers.
Travis Perry,3 owner, and founder of Bear Publications was also on the Thursday evening panel. He provided excellent and thoughtful answers to audience members’ questions to the panel. When the session ended, I checked to see if Travis was available for a conversation. After about fifteen minutes passed, I went over and pitched him my story premise. What ensued was a delightful conversation and one in which he challenged the arc of my story over the length of three trilogies. His questions, far from being unnecessarily argumentative, were thought provoking, instead. The ensuing conversations that we had over the remainder of the conference maintained this quality of reflective engagement. I look forward to staying in touch with him and seeing him again at next year’s conference.
The opening and closing keynote addresses, given by Brent Weeks, were powerful, mature and straight forward in his message to the conferees. His closing address was far from being Pollyannaish. Instead, it was challenging and realistically based on the present–day human condition. Complementing this reality check—remember he is mainly addressing authors and writers—was his statement to us “to be bold; be courageous; write what makes you cry & laugh. Understand that we have a duty to love those around us.”
The generosity of everyone I met was truly inspiring. I think that one of the main lessons I learned from this experience was to carry the same sense of hospitality and kindness in my own literary walk. After all, the world sure is in need of such inspiration.
1Marilyn is an extremely talented and gifted New England based publicist, graphic designer and journalist, who runs her own consulting business, Camp Busch Communications. The featured image at the head of this post was designed by Marilyn for the 2019 Realm Makers Conference program. It was a quarter–page ad that appeared on page 32 of the program.
2Here’s Gen’s Facebook page link: Genevieve Gavel
3“Travis Perry was born in Montana and raised in that state. The Crystal Portal, published in 2011, was his first novel. He also contributed to the short story collections Stories From a Soldiers Heart, Aquasynthesis, Aquasynthesis Again, Avenir Eclectia Volume 1, Colony Zero, No Revolution Too Big, Medieval Mars, and Avatars of Web Surfer. As a publisher and owner of Bear Publications he has produced a number of short story collections, including most recently Mythic Orbits 2016. An Army Reserve officer who deployed for the Gulf War and later to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa, his writing reflects his lifelong interest in science fiction and fantasy, his strong Christian beliefs, and his knowledge of modern warfare.”
4Information about Brent Weeks can be found at the following listed links:
5Author Terry Brooks is one of my favorite writers, so much so, I used to read his Shannara books to my children starting when they were very young.
6The pre–conference workshop was given by Robert Liparulo who gave a six–hour session on Thursday entitled, “Writing, Selling, & Marketing A Series”.
Friday’s schedule alone had the following elective sessions: “Technically Speaking” with Ronnie Kendig, “Writing & Christian Worldview” with Morgan Busse, Ninja Editing with Patrick Carr, “Do You Need an Agent” with Steve Laube, “Cinderella 2.0” with C. J. Redwine, “25 Publishing Trends” with Alyssa Roat.
Saturday’s schedule for panels had the following presentations: “Grittier than PG-13 Writing and the Christian Author”, and “Crowdfunding”.
The two–hour, Sunday post–conference workshop, “How to Launch Your Book,” was presented by Jill Williamson.
7Ted Baehr also “has written, edited and contributed to 37 books including … Frodo & Harry: Understanding Visual Media & Its Impact on Our Lives. In the ’80s, he was president of the organization that produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe for CBS-TV, boasting 37 million viewers and winning an Emmy Award.”
Baehr, Ted. How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul). WND Books, 2011.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. As the sole author of the first trilogy, the Penitent, in my series The Immortality Wars, and as the sole proprietor of Copper Beech Press, I have a material connection to these books, as well as to the publishing press, I have just listed. Other than my previously stated novels and publishing press, I have no material connection to the brands, products or services that I have mentioned here. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
© 8 August 2019 by A. Keith Carreiro
For information about my series, The Immortality Wars, please go to my home page: https://immortalitywars.com/