The past and future of Christian SpecFic

We didn’t deliberately plan for this to be Realm Makers Week here at NAF, but with several of us in attendance, it kind of follows that we’d wind up writing about it. Any good writers conference leaves you with that mountaintop feeling Avily described yesterday. This conference does that double, because every single person in the room not only shares your faith, but also writes in broadly the same genre.

Which is, of course, why Becky Minor organized the thing.

As Steve Laube was discussing the renaming of Marcher Lord Press to Enclave Publishing, he mentioned Jeff Gerke’s importance to the genre and said the Realm Makers conference wouldn’t exist if not for Jeff and Marcher Lord Press. Across the room, Becky Minor nodded vigorously. I was tempted to give an “Amen.”

(As an aside, Clay Morgan did a great interview with Steve Laube about the genre and its future.)

Many of us love Marcher Lord Press because that’s where we met: in the Anomaly forums where Jeff ran the Marcher Lord Select contest in 2009. That was where we first met one another, but it’s also where we first met Brett of Alpha Redemption and Danae of Curse Bearer (then Sword of the Patron) and Cassia of Star of Justice. Plus Winter and Ocilla and many others.

specfic future

Photo © nicolesy • iStockphoto

That was where we started critiquing one another and forming friendships that outlasted the contest. That was where Keven Newsome got the idea that seven authors with one blog could reach more people than seven authors with seven blogs. And that was where Becky Minor started thinking that maybe there could be more to this than online chatting.

As I described all this to a friend at the banquet Friday night, I choked up. It has been such a privilege to be witness to, and play my small part in, the growth of this movement. And the most remarkable thing is that we are just getting started. Everything to this point has been preparation for a great journey.

The more we draw together, the more we consolidate our efforts and support one another, the more this remarkable genre will flourish. At least one new publishing house, Crosshair Press, was formed as a direct result of last year’s Realm Makers conference. This year, I know at least one writer who got a request for a full manuscript from Enclave. Others have seen the potential in self-publishing. There is so much territory yet to explore—I am in awe of what we all are doing in this adventure, and I am eager to see what lies ahead.


About Kristen Stieffel

Kristen Stieffel is a writer and freelance editor specializing in speculative fiction. She's a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Christian Editor Connection, and American Christian Fiction Writers.

8 comments on “The past and future of Christian SpecFic

  1. Glad you all were encouraged and renewed at the conference. I wish I could have been there. I could use a dose of that encouragement myself. Up here in Canada I feel quite lonely as a Christian spec Fic author, and with rejections piling up, discouragement is creeping in. But I’m glad to hear your reflections on the conference, to gather up some of the crumbs from the table, so to speak!

  2. Reblogged this on Tales of the Undying Singer and commented:
    So many interesting things to learn about when I am at a crossroads myself as to what to do with my spec-fic writing…

  3. Thanks, Kristen, I’ve sent a join request!

  4. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to make either Realm Makers conference. I am always envious when I read y’all’s marvelous and tantalizing recaps.

    I am confused though because I was under the impression that while Marcher Lord (and Jeff himself) have done wonderful jobs of sponsoring Realm Makers they were co-sponsors alongside Splashdown Books. In fact many of the fantastically fantastic characters you mention (including my good buddy Cassia and the lovely Ocilla) are actually dwellers in the house that Grace built.

    I won’t ever deny Jeff Gerke and Marcher Lord their due but as a woman it’s important to me to make sure that the women who’ve gutted out a place for themselves in this business get their due.

  5. It would have been nice to see all of you there. I’m glad to hear it went well!

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