The Art and Science of Writing

We’ve probably all heard that writing is both an art and a science. Like many endeavors, particularly artistic ones, that is true. But how does that play out in actually trying to write a good story? If you break down those two elements, art and science, it helps to explain the why and the how. […]


Learning to Trust

I still remember the moment when I first saw him. He was everything I had ever dreamed of. He was tall, well-muscled, and had a red coat that rivaled the brightest flame. In addition to his dashing good looks, he was the most gentle of giants. I was pretty sure that I would never see such […]

Baggage Claim

YHWH Jireh Cares For Me (For me, for me)

Or, as Adam Graham would’ve titled this, “The Realm Makers After Action Report.” Guest Blogger: Andrea Graham This year, Adam Graham determined to send me to Realm Makers, to keep his promise that it was my turn next time, so he could go next year. After being persuaded he had just enough money on our […]


Impostor Syndrome: It’s a Thing

Many of us suffer from the feeling that we’re about to be found out. If someone digs a little deeper, they will discover that I’m not what I pretend to be. That I’m not as smart, talented, or praiseworthy as they think. It’s not only creative people who feel this way, though I suspect that creatives […]

Rejection Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.

Eat Rejection for Breakfast

Rejection is hard. It hurts. Some people handle it better than others, but it affects us all. A post popped up on my “Memories” on Facebook. I think I had just gotten a rejection from someone I’d pitched to and was processing through it with a friend. She said, “We eat rejection for breakfast,” to […]


Joy In The Day To Day

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.” ― Elisabeth Elliot


An Extrovert Among Introverts – The Good, the Great, and the Never Again

At one point during Realm Makers, I sat with a fellow extrovert and we started counting. Of the 180 attendees, the count was 11 by the end of the conference, the count soared to 13. By this proportion, NAF is teeming with writerly extroverts. Brittany Valentine is another in this count. Even among us extroverts, our […]


Traveling With Tolkien Part Three

“Yes, I am here. And you are lucky to be here too after all the absurd things you’ve done since you left home.”


A Case for Participation Trophies 

Friday marked the opening of the 2016 Rio Olympics. We hear about and celebrate the gold medalists but others are competing to bring home a medal of any color. Today they profiled a swimmer who is hoping for silver. She’s second best in the world, a distant second to her teammate. For some, just making […]

Keynote Speaker Thomas Locke

Walking the Realm

Guest Blogger: Josh R Smith I’ve returned from Realm Makers 2016, and have finally caught up on enough sleep to be mostly coherent. Realm Makers is a Christian writer’s conference that focuses on the speculative side of fiction. Speculative is just a swanky word for Fantasy and Science Fiction. This was my second year attending, […]

Carla Cook Hoch demonstrates her Jujitsu moves on Ben Wolf. Photo by Kristen Stieffel.

Conference Notes: Fight Workshop

One of the most talked-about features of Realm Makers 2016 was Carla Hoch’s Thunderdome Fight Workshop. Every year at Realm Makers we’ve had some sort of session about fight scenes, because they are so important in most of our stories. 2013: Ben Wolf taught about choreographing sword fights. 2014: Travis Perry taught about battlefield psychology. 2015: Travis, Carla, and many […]

Heart Collage

The Greatest of These

I spent last weekend at the annual Realm Makers conference, the writers’ conference dedicated to people of faith who write speculative fiction. Realm Makers was developed in many ways because us lovers of science fiction and fantasy felt as if we had no place in the Christian marketplace. We were in sort of a no-man’s-land […]

Christian SpecFic

Zippy’s First Conference

Zippy’s First Conference

There’s no such thing as a free conference. Gretchen stayed up too late Nerf warring, so she made me write her blog post, not that I minded. Realm Makers 2016 was my first writing conference. It’s a good thing my species doesn’t require much sleep because Vlad, I mean Gretchen, is a vampire. I swear […]

Creative Nook

Yridessa the Dragon

Yridessa the Dragon

I’ve been looking for ways to expand my platform, and of course one thing that is totally necessary for a writer is to have a solid social media presence. I keep up with Facebook and blogging, but I don’t do much else. But I’ve been realizing that I need to up my game a little […]

Critical Views

What Matters

What Matters

If anything good has come out of the events of the past few weeks, it’s that I’ve taken the time to think about race. My world has been pretty homogeneous. I went to a mostly white grade school. My middle school and high school was rural, almost totally white, with a bit of a racist […]

Guest Blogs

Playing the Race Card

Playing the Race Card

Guest Blogger: HG Ferguson Like it or not, no one can escape it these days, not even us writers—The R-Card. Race relations—or the lack thereof—confront us daily everywhere. To ignore these issues is futile, and to address them is fraught with peril because all too often, on every side of this question, worldview, presuppositions, and […]

Life and Such

Packing List

Packing List

Realm Makers is this week. It starts Thursday with the Early Bird session. Traveling from a small town in the Southwest, my journey begins Tuesday morning with a shuttle ride, an all-day stay at the airport, and a red-eye flight. There are a couple of other people who are also arriving early on Wednesday. I’ve […]

Marketing and Promotion

Conference Notes: Realm Makers Early Bird

Conference Notes: Realm Makers Early Bird

We’re here at Realm Makers, which kicked off today with a great early bird session by book marketing experts Suzanne and Shawn Kuhn of SuzyQ. For those who couldn’t be there, here are my  notes, keeping in mind that I missed the first half hour or so while I was at the registration desk. You are […]

News for Writers

Crosshair Press Open for Submissions

Crosshair Press Open for Submissions

Guest Blogger: Amy Davis The Crosshair Press founding team members are Amy Williams, Katie Morford, and Amy Davis. Our respective backgrounds include copywriting, journalism, copyediting, and missionary work, and a plethora of random things like insurance, plumbing, and research. The idea of Crosshair Press hatched around a restaurant breakfast table in Wichita, Kansas, over toast […]

Our Faith

A Reminder

A Reminder

Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Random Things

A Day in the Life of Gretchen E.K. Engel

A Day in the Life of Gretchen E.K. Engel

So what does a day in the life of Gretchen E.K. Engel look like? Good question because that’s a dynamic answer. And one that got a new plot twist–early mornings. First I wouldn’t say my life is as busy as it is complicated. I work part time for an engineering firm, so that’s what dictates […]