Summer News

Summer News

I’m taking a short break from my ‘I Dare You’ series to bring everyone my summer news. Many things have happened this year so far, and I’m bursting at the seams to share it all.

April 4th I received an email back from Splickety Publishing Group about a manuscript I had submitted to them last year. It’s my contemporary young adult novel about a girl dealing with alcoholic parents, and the fallout of the lies she tells to try to cover it up. Splickety’s acquiring editor fell in love with it (her words, not mine), and she offered to help me publish it in partnership with SPG. You can only imagine the elation I felt that 1.) someone loved my story, and 2.) they wanted to help me get it published. Since this novel was one I had planned on self-publishing anyway, this is a real coup to get a publishing company to help me navigate these indie waters. We are currently working on the edits for this story, and when something more newsworthy such as a publishing date, or front cover comes, Inkspirationalmessages will be among the first to know.

ACFW logoOn May 4th I received a call telling me I was a semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest for my fantasy submission. This isn’t the first time I’ve submitted, but the first time after a professional editor went through it first. I’d sent this in without any real intention of being a finalist, but God has a sense of humor. Maybe because I had given it fully over to Him this time, He blessed me. Later I received notice that my submission moved on to the finals rounds. The winner is going to be announced on August 27th at the ACFW gala in Nashville, TN. I quickly gathered the money needed and booked the conference, and later a flight, and hotel room. I’m beyond elated with this news, and a little queasy at the thought of having to have a speech ready, just in case. Talk about jitters!!

This past month I went to one of the most fulfilling conferences for Christian Sci Fi and Fantasy writers Davis Bunn RMever: Realm Makers. There I got to meet up with my Splickety editor, Sarah Grimm, and meet all of the SPG staff who came to the conference face to face. They are all amazing in so many ways. As are Becky and Scott Minor, who along with Ben Wolf, spearhead the conference. This year it was an honor to sit through a class with Davis Bunn, aka Thomas Locke. I almost envisioned gold coming out of his mouth as he spoke. Next year will be bigger and better. It’ll be held in Reno, NV and it boasts Ted Dekker as our feature speaker. This group is one of the most accepting and helpful I’ve ever met. It’s almost as if you assimilate when you sign up. (Dr. Who reference for those other nerds out there.)

And two days ago I received notice that one of my short stories has been accepted to a magazine. Because I don’t have anything signed yet, and I’m using a pen name, I can’t give you any details on that, save to say that my smile is breaking the sides of my face at this point. It feels like all of my hard work is finally coming together in fast succession. I don’t know what to do except praise God for giving me the stories of my heart that I can turn around and share with others.

It’s been an eventful year, and it promises to keep getting better. Normally I would knock on wood, or toss some salt behind my shoulder, but I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt this has all transpired due to God’s great and powerful favor. When people told me it would take ten years to get published, I used to scoff. It’s close to ten years for me now, and I’m not scoffing any longer.

So, how has your summer been?

Return to Realm Makers

This year I’m going to return to the best Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy conference ever: Realm Makers. Founded by the Faith and Fantasy Alliance, it is a conference that focuses solely on speculative genres.



Becky Minor at Realm Maker's
Elven Becky Minor at Realm Makers

I attended the first Realm Makers back in 2013. I was impressed then of the caliber of the classes and talent they had teaching. It was my first experience with a class showing others how to write believable fight scenes by having students mock fight. So much fun, and very informative.

Realm Makers 2016 is to be held July 28th and 29th on the campus of Villanova University. Thomas Locke (AKA Davis Bunn) is the Keynote speaker. The faculty includes Kathy Tyers (who has written for the Star Wars brand), Tosca Lee, Mike Duran, Steve Laube, Julie Gwinn from the Seymour Agency, Kirk DouPonce, Suzanne and Shawn Kuhn (AKA Suzy Q), Patrick Carr, and Thom Black. This faculty is award winning and impressive for a conference that started three short years ago.

The banquet features attendees who dress in costume. And they’re still having a Fight Workshop. I’m so excited to beSplickety Logo able to go this year, especially since I’ll get to meet all the fabulous people from Splickety Publishing Group, whom I work with as Operations Manager.

Me as a Steampunk Mad Hatter

So, if you were to go to the Science Fiction/Fantasy banquet, what character would you like to dress up as?


P.S.: Steve Laube just moved Enclave, formerly Marcher Lord Press, to Gilead Publishing.

P.P.S. Becky Minor gave me the numbers. Last year, 2015, there were 150. This year she hopes to top over 175. Not bad, considering! 

Steampunk Summer

I have spent my summer watching videos on You Tube for tutorials on how to put a steampunk/mad hatter outfit together and making cheap steampunk accessories and scouring second hand stores for just the right piece to add to my costume for the special dinner we will have this evening at the Realm Maker’s conference in St. Louis. I am quite happy with what I’ve come up with, and I hope it won’t look as contrived as it probably is. Here’s a what I did:

I started with a dress Lorna and I found and I bought on sale at Dillards two years ago. The neckline was a bit low for my taste, though, so when I found something I liked better, I wore it to the ACFW conference instead. I loved the rich chocolate color and the feel of the skirt so with a little help from a good friend of mine who is able to wield a sewing machine (shout out to Cathy B.!!), we got that pesky top removed from the skirt. Cathy hemmed the skirt up and voila! We have an amazing start to an outfit.

Steampunk AccesoriesThe blouse I found at a costume shop in one of the malls in Omaha in the RenFair section. I was amazed to find the blouse compliments the chocolate skirt, which is great because I wanted it to be brown, not white or black like most steampunk chemises are. Add a leather and crochet jacket from the Goodwill, along with a large feather and netting flower which I glued cogs and watch parts on. I’m loving it so far.

My oldest son Austin bought the cutest pair of boots for me at Christmas. They are brown and although they actually zip up, look like they are lace-up. Then, for my birthday this year hubs bought me a “watch” which is actually the inner workings of a pocketwatch set in leather to look like a watch and a spring banded ring which sports a propeller, owl head and matching bead (can you say AWESOME!). This will go nicely with the magnifier necklace of my mother’s which I added a small skeleton key to round it off.

The hat is really the topper of the outfit, though. A few years back our local IN writer’s group got together for the Abraham Lincoln Steampunk Hatdisplay in Omaha. While there I bought a top hat which mimicked President Lincoln’s. I dusted it off, added a beaded scarf, beaded bobby pins, and a decorative watch pin I found at a second hand store. Lorna’s father was called upon for a special favor and he found a pair of old welding goggles in his basement for me to borrow. They are wire rimmed (!!), have green glass lens (!!!), and the sides flip in (!!!!!!!!!!!!). As Lorna would say: Oh. My. Cow! They are more than amazing. I will add a 10/6 sizer card to complete the steampunked Mad Hatter theme.

Whew! That was a lot of work, but so much fun to put together. I promise to post the end result on Facebook.