I Went To Realm Makers 2017

I am the luckiest author alive.

Why, you ask?

Because I was asked to teach the teen track at this years Realm Makers conference.

It was amazing.

I had three, two-hour sessions with my class, plus a separate two hours in which we all got to play various video games and eat pizza. Here are a few pictures:

My amazing class.


The story we brainstormed as a class.


Our attempt at plotting out our story.


Riding the Jet Buzz 360 with Jonathan.


Rose standing in for Steve Laube.


Where was Maple?

And that was just my amazing, fabtabulous class. Realm Makers also had lots of other workshops for people to attend. I spent most my time under David Farland and Ted Dekker’s tutelage. And since I couldn’t go listen to Mary Weber teach, I sent my husband to take notes for me!


Something new this conference, my husband came along. He has always been a writer. About eighteen years ago he wrote his first screenplay. He wrote his first novel back when I started writing. I remember him saying to me that it looked like I was having fun, so he wanted to try it too. He has written dozens of plays and skits. And two or three years back he wrote a stand-alone time travel novel. And right after that he wrote two and a half books in a separate trilogy. He is currently bored out of his mind with his trilogy and has put it aside. But being at the conference inspired him. He came home and picked up that time travel novel, which I had edited for him way back when, and he’s slowly started working through his edits. He’s also working on a few screenplays. Time will tell if the writing bug has infected my husband indefinitely, but it sure was fun to have him with me at the conference, seeing the world in which I live. He writes under the pen name Casey Oswald, so if you see Casey around, that’s him.

Something else cool about Realm Makers, I got to cosplay with my husband. How did we look?

Peter Quill (aka Starlord) and Gamora.


And of course, with every writers’ conference, I get to see old friends and make lots of new friends too.


Dinner with Steve Laube and several Enclave authors (and my husband).


Failstate was there! (From John Otte’s superhero YA novels of the same name.)


Tim Akers gave me this cool fidget spinner he made.


I met Lisa, a former Go Teen Writer.


John and me.


Me and the talented Jim Rubart.


Me and Rose from my teen class.


Me with Keturah, a Go Teen Writer.


My class!


Me with Tanara, who will someday be published with an amazing fantasy novel.


Me and Khylie from my class.


Me with the talented Jamie Foley. I wanted to go buy one of her books, but they were sold out! So I got a Kindle one later.


Me and Mary from my class.


Mary Weber up close, me in the middle, and Steve Rzasa in the distance at the book signing.


My author friend Diana Blackstone as (Hem, hem) Dolores Umbridge.


These two Go Teen Writer girls are AMAZING! Meet Cassia and Victoria.


Starlord and Gamora were recruited by Agent Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Steve Rzasa), who had already located a middle-aged Peter Parker (John Otte).


Gamora and Emma Swan (played by Tracey).


Just B. Jordan attacking Morgan Bussie. (Writing conferences are filled with peril.)


Me and my #1 Jost. He and his name are so cool I think I need to put him in a book.


Morgan, Mary, and me, trying not to laugh. I’m clearly losing . . .


Were you at Realm Makers? If so, what was your favorite part?

26 Responses to “I Went To Realm Makers 2017”

  1. AAHH LOVE ALL THE PICTURES. I had so much fun in your class also and it was super cool meeting you and Brad! ๐Ÿ˜€ Maybe we’ll bump into each other again, at some conference or another… xD

    • YAS! The pictures. ;-D

      I’m thrilled you had fun, Jonathan. So enjoyed meeting you too and riding the Jet Buzz 360 with you. I hope we do bump into one another again. So many conferences, so little time. Yet I will make time, because, WRITERS!

  2. Hann Remraf says:

    EEEP! The picturesss <3

    Jill, your class was seriously the highlight of my time at Realm Makers, and I enjoyed getting to know you and Brad!
    My mom told me Brad offered to hang out should we ever make it up to Washington. Hopefully we can take him up on that offer :DD

  3. Jost Leavell says:

    Great seeing you and everyone else at Realm Makers! I regret not taking your class. It looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

  4. Rick Barry says:

    How cool. I have yet to do a Realm Makers, but all my friends who attended definitely make it look intriguing!


    I totally loved being in your class and learning from you!! I had such a fun time meeting you and Brad, too!


  6. Pam Halter says:

    I loved RM this year! I also enjoyed getting to talk to you a little. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My favorite part was meeting with Lisa Mangum and she gave me the COOLEST, out of the box thing to try to pitch an early chapter book (for ages 7-9) that involves talking food. It’s a secret. Heh. When she suggested “sneaking in the back door” I responded, “Well, I *am* the Sneak Fairy!” hahahahaha!

    Can’t wait until next year!

    • Yes, it was fun talking with you, Pam. I missed talking to Lisa. I missed talking to several people on staff, and I kind of regret it. Lisa is a fascinating lady. I’d love to chat with her sometime. Were you pitching her a chapter book?

  7. Keturah Lamb says:

    It was a great conference- loved meeting everyone, and just being surrounded by writer’s ๐Ÿค—

  8. Kristen says:

    Great post! My favorite part of Realm Makers is seeing in person people I normally only interact with online and getting to know them better. Thanks for being there and teaching our teens, Jill. I know they benefitted greatly from it.

  9. RJ says:

    Jill, didn’t get to meet you, but your husband harassed *ahem* teased us all weekend. ๐Ÿ˜€ He’s hilarious!
    Thanks for being great new Facebook friends and helping me with my synopsis! <3

    • Ha ha. Yeah, he’s good at “teasing” people. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m sorry we didn’t meet, either, RJ. There were so many people I had planned to meet and just never got around to it. That’s typical of a writers’ conference, though. Next time, perhaps. And by then you will have sold your cool YA book and Brad and I can buy one! ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Tanara McCauley says:

    My favorite part was the people and the opportunity to connect in person! I also really enjoyed talking with you and appreciate your heart and your stories:).

    • So fun to see you again, Tanara, and to read some of your writing. You were the one person from my SoCal class who I didn’t hear much about your story, so I’m glad I got to see you again and find out. It’s fabulous. Keep at it! I believe in you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. Cassia Schaar says:

    I loved meeting you! I’m so glad you had a great time too ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully this isn’t the last conference we see each other at ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. GAAAH it looks like it was so fun!! Was so sad I couldn’t make it to see aaaall my writer friends… Maybe next year? Glad you had fun and thanks for the pictures! ๐Ÿ™‚

    *scrolls through pointing at all the people I know* Ooh, and Jamie Foley’s awesome! And you got to meet Tracey and Mary and Victoria and Lisa and ack I wish I was there. XD Hope to meet you again sometime!

    Love your and your husband’s cosplay together. XD

  13. Justin Giles says:

    I’m currently writing my books, how do I get started with finding a publisher?

    • Hey, Justin. A good place to start is to look on the spine or in the front of books that are similar to yours, then start making a list of those publishers. Then I’d Google “NAME OF PUBLISHER + writing conference” and see if you can find out what conferences some of their editors might be attending. Then try and go to one of those conferences so you can meet the editor and tell them about your story. That’s how I got started.

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