Wonder Boi Writes

GCLS 2017 Recap

I know I haven’t blogged in ages, and I have lots of excuses for that, but they are mostly boring, so let’s skip that part and say I’m sorry as we move on to what I’ve been up to!

As usual, the Spangler family has been in full travel mode this summer with trips to Kansas city (Susie’s work), Chicago (my work), Lake Puslinch, Canada (family), and Central Illinois (family).

I won’t bore you with all the work and family details, but I’ll show you this picture of my adorable nephew because I love to show him off,

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and this one of my nephew kissing Jackson because I love how much they love each other.

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Now I will put on my author hat and update you on my trip to the Golden Crown Literary Society’s annual conference, because that was both work and play at the same time.

There are so many reasons why I love attending the GCLS con each year, and this year was no exception. Between readings and workshops and book talks, I went non-stop for days.  Some of the highlights of my official responsibilities in Chicago were two fantastic panels I got to be a part of.

The first was a panel in which authors of faith talked about our experiences being gay in our faith communities,  our experiences of being people of faith in the gay community, and how that lens affects who we are as artists. The panel consisted of Nell Stark, Georgia Beers, Alison Solomon, Rachel Gold, and myself. Aurora Rey moderated.  I know I’m probably biased, but I thought the conversation was open, frank, and affirming, both on behalf of my fellow panelists and the audience members. The feedback we got from other conference attendees suggested this topic is one we should be exploring a lot more in our communities.

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The other panel I got to take part in was on the editorial relationship, alongside Melissa Brayden, Georgia Beers, Susan X Meager, and the woman brave enough to edit all four of us, Lynda Sandoval.  Nikki Smalls was the moderator crazy enough to moderate.  This panel was tons of fun as we focused less on the nuts and bolts of editing craft, and more on the types of relationships that lead to productive teamwork between authors and editors.  Also, we laughed a lot, which might, in fact, be one of those relationship keys!

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Then in addition to my author work at the conference, I also got to wear my social media director hat as I interacted with my wonderful Bywater colleagues. We have occasionally joked that trying to wrangle everyone’s events and social media accounts while juggling my own author appearances on- and offline is like herding cats, but thankfully someone snapped this great picture to show what that job actually looks like in action.

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Seriously, if anyone ever asks me to come in for career day, I’m just going to send them this picture.  So much love and joy and smile-for-the-camera and gentle redirections that could turn into chiropractic adjustments if need be.

The last of my must-do’s for the conference every year is the annual awards ceremony.  I have been honored to present awards to my fellow authors for several years in a row.  This year I got to be part of the crew that presented a Goldie to my awesome friend and role mode KG MacGregor for her book Trial By Fury.

Then, shockingly enough, I ended up back on the stage after I won one of the contemporary romance awards for Perfect Pairing.  I would like to say that I made a dramatic and moving acceptance speech; however, as it had been so long since I’d won anything, I stopped writing acceptance speeches a couple of years ago.  And in my excitement, I think I managed to bumble through only a short bit of thanks that went something along the lines of Jesus, Bywater, Susie, Jackson and the GCLS readers. Not my finest moment, but I did get my picture taken with the famously awesome Susan X. Meager, who also won a Goldie in the Romance Category.

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Side note: Susan and I are both from neighboring, tiny towns in Central Illinois, so two-thirds of the  romance winners that night were from the same 15-mile stretch of farmland where they grow corn, beans, and apparently, lesbian authors!

I also got to share my awards-night fun with my friend and Bywater colleague Ann McMan, who won the prestigious Director’s Award for all the amazing graphic design work she does in service of the organization.  Here we are with our Bywater management team, Marianne K. Martin, Salem West, and Kelly Smith.

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From there on out it was fun and friends as we danced the night away! What follows is a few of my favorite photos from the rest of the conference.

Here’s a shot of me with my Bywater buddies. Isn’t that an awesome group of kick-ass women?

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And of course there’s my besties, Melissa Brayden and Georgia Beers, because it wouldn’t be a party without them.

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This one is with my friend Jane. She won the first dance with me via the author auction, though by next year I suspect I’ll have to pay to dance with her, because I hear she’s got a book of her own in the works.

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And here’s me having selfie time with the epic Nikki Smalls, who is not just a fun friend to dance with, she’s also a member of the all-volunteer board of directors who helps make GCLS the smashing success that we know and love.

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And while we’re on selfies, here another, this time with one of my all time favorite funny women, Fay Jacobs, who writes not only hilarious memoirs, but also a fantastic one-woman show called Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay.

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One more selfie with the Dirt Road Books crew.  If you don’t know them, you need to be sure to check them out at https://www.dirtroadbooks.com.

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Finally, one of my favorite photographs ever (thanks Brenda Barton!) is of me, Nikki, Georgia Beers, and Jackson all saying goodbye.

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Someone also took a picture of Georgia and I crying while Jackson hugged us both, but this one has smiles, so let’s leave it here until we’re all together again for GCLS 2018…in Vegas, baby!

 

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August 9, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. I love that you are friends with Melissa Brayden and Georgia Beers – I love all of your books!

    Comment by Kirsteen | August 10, 2017 | Reply

  2. Congratulations, Wonder Boi—your entire Bywater Books family is crazy proud of you!

    Comment by Salem West | August 16, 2017 | Reply


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