Realm Makers and Novel Writers Beach Retreat Part 1

This summer was super busy for my husband and me, and I’d like to share why:

The Set Up

I first heard about Realm Makers in March or April and really wanted to go.
At the same time, I learned about the Novel Writers Beach Retreat to be held in Daytona Beach the last weekend in July. Once my husband heard that RM would take place at a university in St. Louis with dorms as lodging, he said no, that the NWBR would be better for us.

I prayed God would make me able to accept his answer and be content with the closer conference. I knew my husband was right; dorms aren’t known for being wheelchair friendly.

At the local ACFW meeting in May, a friend mentioned RM again since she’d be teaching there and knew we’d be interested in a speculative fiction conference. I told her we couldn’t go because of the dorms. And again submitted my disappointment to God.

Meantime, the meeting was about synopsis writing. They announced a contest for a 1-pg synopsis to be held in June. I’d thought I wouldn’t have to write a synopsis since I received a request for a full manuscript, but one of the other authors mentioned sending one with every request he’d received. Since his experience sounded similar to mine, I realized I should indeed write one. Seized with inspiration, I spent the next few weeks writing and editing it.

In June, we contacted  the NWBR host about handicap accessible rooms at the hotel in Daytona, and he said spots were still available and the rooms would be no problem. We signed up for it, and I sent in my first page for a critique session to be held during the retreat.

I thought about surprising my husband with a getaway at the hotel so we could check the bed height but decided against it.

I wish we’d gone.

The weekend before the NWBR was another ACFW meeting and my friend mentioned RM again. All this time, I’d not been able to accept that I couldn’t go. It honestly felt like I’d be at the adult table while all the cool kids got to go to St. Louis. 😦

I talked to my husband about it again, and he was surprised (as was I, truthfully) at how much I really wanted to go. We discussed the ins and outs of how we might make it work.

Finally, he agreed that if the doctor had an opening for him to get a leg bag, we could go. Monday (July 22), we called and scheduled the appointment for the following Monday, anticipating a quick turnaround between the cons. I also booked the hotel room in St. Louis and arranged lodging for the cats since my sister would be in Vegas the same weekend.

But then I was on Facebook and saw a post by the host of RM. The con was full. 😦 I felt hollow inside. So close…

I emailed her to have our names put on the waiting list and spent the rest of the day reading a book while again trying to be okay with God’s obvious NO. But I couldn’t bring myself to cancel our hotel room. My mother-in-law called because my husband’s uncle and aunt would be in town Sunday (the night we’d get back from Daytona) and wanted to meet for dinner. We agreed, looking forward to it.

I’d love to say I’m steadfast in my faith and trust in God, but I’m not. Let’s just say that was a very, very dark night.

Tuesday, I woke to an email from RM that there was room. I talked to my husband as soon as he woke, and then emailed and asked if she could fit both of us. She responded that if that was the determining factor, she’d make it work.

Feeling like an errant child given a hugely undeserved blessing, I signed us up and immediately began preparations…with one less day to do it all.

It’s a fear I would continue to have in the back of my mind for the entirety of the trip. Did I push too hard to get what I wanted? Not accept God’s no, so he left me to my selfish desires?
I don’t think He punishes with blessings and guidance, though. So I have to believe He wanted us to go.

My sister and Dad helped us shop, get the car checked out (a blessing because the mechanic didn’t charge us for it!), consult maps and try to plan the drive to St. Louis. We signed up for AAA and printed out a trip tik. And packed…


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