Wonder Boi Writes

Look What I Got!

So this is just going to be a short, happy blog with two main points.

1) I am going to Toronto tomorrow!  I freaking love Canada.  And on this trip I have the honor of reading with several other Lambda Literary Award finalists at Glad Day Bookshop (the worlds oldest LGBTQ bookstore!). If you are in the area, I sure hope you will join us at 7:30.

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2) I got a box in the mail yesterday, and I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t think I’d ordered anything, until I saw the return label.  Not going to lie, first I tried to rip it open, then I tried to use my keys, which didn’t work because I drive a Prius.  Finally I found some scissors.

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Thankfully, I got it open without cutting myself, and yup, it’s my books! <new release squee> Check out that sexy cover, and look away from the fact that I look like a big goober with that cheesy smile.

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Really though, that’s book number 12 in my hands, and I know I’ve said this before, but I’m happy to report it still hasn’t gotten old yet.  This is always the moment it feels real,  like up until this point I have just been hanging out with my imaginary friends. It’s not until I hold it in my hands that I really feel like I’ve written a book.

So maybe, if you want to hold one of these babies in your hands, you can pre-order your copy of In Development right now!

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April 26, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In Development Sights and Sounds

Blog Subtitle: When Taylor Swift and Ellen Page Make Out In My Mind.

I am an auditory person.  I suppose this shouldn’t surprise anyone.  Between my affinity for words and my never-ending need to verbalize any complete thought, it’s pretty clear that nothing in my life is really set until it’s been spoken or read or sung aloud.  This aspect of my personality informs my writing in several ways.  One of the big ones is that I always read my novel, out loud, front to back, before I send it off to my beta readers.  Another important factor is that I (almost) always have a soundtrack to every book I write. Some books have full-length, album-style soundtracks.  They have enough music on them to get me through a full 1-2 hour writing session. Spanish Heart was like that and was filled unsurprisingly with Spanish-language or Spanish-influenced pop.  Timeless‘s play list was over 2 hours of songs mostly from my own time in high school.  Does She Love You? was a Reba McEntire greatest hits collection (duh). Poor Edge of Glory, on the other hand, was four of the most random songs. I cannot even tell you how they were connected to each other, much less the story.  I listened to them on repeat for about 4 months.

Thankfully, for my wife’s sanity,  In Development went in a very different direction in that 6 of the 11 songs came from a surprising source: Taylor Swift.

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I had never been a Taylor Swift fan until this book. That isn’t to say I disliked her. I simply didn’t know enough to form an opinion. Of course, I’d heard her songs on the radio and seen her on the TV a bazillion times, but I’m not sure how many of her catchy hits I could’ve pegged as hers, much less been able to sing along to. Until I heard Blank Space.

I am not at all ashamed to admit that Lila Wilder, one of my main characters from In Development, found her voice in that song. However, Lila, like Taylor, would not be content to be confined to one song.  Soon I was a proud owner of 1989 on my iTunes.  And I listened to it A LOT over the next few months. Slowly, Lila got sassier and stronger and savvier, and at times, shadier.

She also got a fashion upgrade.  Lez be honest: I am no fashion icon.  I own suits in black, gray, and navy.  Beyond that, I’m a jeans-and-T-shirt boi.  Most of the time when I’m writing a scene where characters have to dress up, I just look at the Eddie Bauer or Athleta catalogues online.

This is usually enough to rip a few descriptions needed for my girl-next-door characters.

This was not enough for Lila.  The pop star/social media mogul/designer put me through many hours of Pinterest searching for what super-famous, super-fancy women wear to work and on stage and at home, and once again I kept coming back to Taylor.

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It was an easy jump, seeing as how her voice was already inside my head. And boy, does that woman have all the outfits. All. The. Outfits.  Honestly I’m not sure at what point they stop being outfits and start being costumes, but I feel certain that line got blurred in the book and on my Pinterest board.

Before long, all my listening and the pinning got into Google’s metrics. Soon I was bombarded with ads for Taylor Swift fragrances and gift sets and movies and concert tickets and unauthorized biographies and interviews. Taylor infiltrated every inch of my work space, and most of my brain. Then for some reason I started getting ads for Justin Bieber. Clearly the Sales Guardians of All Things Online had pegged me as a 16-year-old girl. And then at the moment I needed it most, a 16-year-old girl appeared on my pages…but you’re not getting that spoiler in this blog. Let’s stick to clothes and the admission that when it came to dressing Lila, I was in over my head and way outside the realm of personal experience. Thankfully, the Internet giveth in abundance.

But what about my other main character, my actress, Cobie? Despite being named for one of my few TV crushes, Cobie Smulders, she didn’t have much of a face or an image.  As I mentioned before, I’m an auditory person, so I heard Cobie’s voice very clearly early in the writing process, and generally, that’s enough.  Voice, heart, motivation, these are the important aspects of character development for me, and they’ve been more than enough to turn out some of my most popular characters over the last ten years.  However, when compared to the Lila/Taylor mash-up, it felt like poor Cobie was getting the short end of the stick.  And to be honest with you, Cobie has been under-appreciated and undercut in a lot of areas of her life, but that’s another spoiler, so let’s just say I started to feel like she needed a visual counterpart too.

Re-enter Pinterest.  You see, it’s a bit if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie, because if you listen to Taylor Swift for mood, you get voice, but if you give a character that voice, she demands a look, and when you’re on Pinterest looking for, well, looks, you might as well look for all the looks, which led me to search for things like “lesbian girl/boi next door,” or “lesbian boi,” or “boi fashion,” and low and behold, all of those search terms eventually led to one person.

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Yeah, I should have seen that coming.  A better lesbian would have seen that coming.  As someone who has literally answered “Ellen Page” to several interviewers who’ve asked “Who should play you in the movie of your life?” I should have seen Ellen Page coming when writing a novel about a lesbian actress who got her start in teen movies.  I am embarrassed to admit I did not.

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I do not watch a lot of movies, okay? I’m poor. I have a ten year old. I live in a small town without a lot of entertainment opportunities. I missed the obvious connection right up until Pinterest smacked me over the head with it.

Suddenly, my actress didn’t just have a voice and conflict. She had style.  If you go to my Pinterest board for In Development you will find several outfits/costumes/looks on Ellen Page that will be described piece for piece on Cobie throughout the course of In Development.

Right now, I should probably stop and give the disclaimer that In Development is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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No, really, this is true…for everything but the characters’ clothes!

I mean it. I do not know Taylor Swift or Ellen Page in person (duh!).  I have not read a single one of the unauthorized biographies Amazon tried to sell me when Google sold them my search histories. I have read a sum total of two articles about them (this one about Ellen Page’s #MeToo moment because I support the movement, and this one about Taylor Swift’s love of read and writing because I am a whore for books).

Neither Cobie nor Lila’s central conflicts are based on their actress/songstress they look like, and I know nothing about either of their relationship histories, so any similarities truly are coincidental (Okay, if pushed, I would have to admit that I think Taylor Swift dated that one guy, from that movie with the other guy who is super-pretty, but whose name I don’t remember).

I did not/do not hold either of them up as role models, nor am I encouraging my readers to. Nor am I saying other people shouldn’t consider them as role models. Maybe they’d be good ones; maybe they’re terrible. I don’t know!

I’m just saying, all I stole from them were my own descriptions, mostly of their clothes.  I hope there is no copyright infringement on descriptions of beautiful women in tuxedos and flapper dresses, because if there is, a lot of authors are in trouble.

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That being said, I will admit that playing character dress-up with two stunning, heavily photographed, outgoing women in the public eye is not the worst form of “research” I’ve ever had to do. Right?

Also, if visualizing Taylor Swift and Ellen Page making out on a grand piano is a copyright infringement, well then, I didn’t do that either, but fair warning, you might want to lawyer up before you read In Development. 😉

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April 19, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Big Announcements

First of all, thanks to everyone who commented on last week’s catch-up post. I drew a random name from the computer generated hat, and stephanielaz won a free audiobook of Does She Love You?. Congrats stephanielaz,  email with your info and I’ll get you the claim code.

If you didn’t win, do not despair because I have a pretty awesome prize in store for you.  Not one, but TWO new books on the 2018 calendar!

That’s right, I’ll be publishing two, full-length contemporary romances novels in the next 6 months!

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Those of you who follow these things closely have already noticed that the awesome Ann McMan cover and blurb for my October release, Love All, appeared on Amazon and the Bywater Books website.

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Love All is a fun and fast sport novel based in the world of tennis.  Think hot locations, hot bodies, and hot tempers thrown into the pressure cooker of the women’s professional tennis circuit. I have had such awesome fun with my other sports romances I just can’t wait to share this one with you starting at Women’s Week in October. But, as I heard from several of you, October is a long way away!

So, I’ve got a special treat for you. It’s another release, and this one is coming out NEXT MONTH.  This one is called In Development, and it’s another high-stakes romance, one featuring an actress and a pop star who might have bitten off more than they can chew when they agree to a headline-grabbing fauxmance.  As you can imagine, when two powerful, driven, talented women get thrown together in a myriad of situations meant to showcase their sex appeal, fun times ensue.

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I will be sharing A LOT more about this novel in the coming weeks, but there is something I want to address straight away to stop the rumor mill before it starts. Because In Development was written so fast, and because I already had a book in Bywater’s summer/fall catalog, my friends and colleagues Susan and Carolyn over at Brisk Press are doing me a huge favor by letting me piggyback on their catalogue. They have gone above and beyond the call of friendship in holding my hand and answering a billion questions over the last few months. Without them, In Development would be on the back burner for months and months. That being said, Ann McMan of Bywater did the insanely sexy cover design; Kelly Smith, owner/editor at Bywater, did all my typesetting.  The ebooks are formatted by Toni, who does my Bywater books, and Lynda Sandoval did the substantive edits the same way she has for all my Bywater books.  I say all this to announce that I am NOT leaving Bywater Books, which is why my fall release is currently in their very capable hands.  Everything is copacetic, and I am still a proud member of the Bywater team. That said, I am beyond grateful that the Brisk brand found In Development worthy of the their high standards they uphold in the genre of Lesbian romance.  This entire experience has reaffirmed for me what an amazing lesfic community I am part of.

So with that in mind, let the countdown to May 29 begin. That’s less than 7 weeks! Not going to lie: I feel a little bit like Beyonce dropping a secret book on such short notice, but hell yeah, let’s do this!

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April 11, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

We’re Baaaaaack!

Hey All,

Sorry I haven’t been writing as much here over the last couple months.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know I’ve been traveling steadily since early February.  For those of you who don’t follow me on those social media platforms, you can still catch up with the Spangler family adventures by checking out my son’s blog at www.jackietrax.wordpress.com.  Not going to lie here, I’m pretty proud to have another blogger in the family.

But long story short, at the end of a couple of very eventful months, the whole Spangler clan is back in America and working through some re-entry bugs, so I wanted to take just a few minutes to catch up on some miscellany ahead of a HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT coming (hopefully) next week.

The first thing I want to mention is that it’s award season.  It always feels a little awkward to toot my own horn, but I also don’t want to seem ungrateful, either, because I really am truly honored to be a finalist this year for both the Lambda Literary Awards, where Close To Home is a finalist in the Lesbian Romance category,  and the Golden Crown Literary Society, where Edge of Glory is a finalist for the Ann Bannon Popular choice award.  Both awards have wonderful fields full of great nominees, including many of my favorite friends and colleagues, and it’s wonderful to see my work counted among them. I’m also thrilled, though I can take zero credit for this one, that Ann McMan’s wonderful covers for both Close to Home and Edge of Glory are finalists for the Tee Corinne cover design awards. The Lammy winners will be announced in June, and the Goldie winners will be announced in July.  On a related note, I will be attending the Annual GCLS conference in Las Vegas this July 4-8.  I hope to see some of you there.  I also hope that those of you who are members of this amazing organization have voted for your favorite books and book covers here.

Next, I’m proud to share that I was selected as one of this year’s inductees to the Steve and Sandi Adams Legacy Hall of Fame at Illinois State University.  I have always been a proud ISU alum, and I can’t express how much it means to me to be considered part of the Redbird Legacy.  ISU was the first place I ever felt free to be myself.  It’s the place I started to date the woman who would become my wife.  It’s the place where I met my son’s donor and countless other friends I now consider family.  It’s the place I learned to speak up for my community and other vulnerable populations.  It’s the place I cut my teeth on campaign politics, LGBT rights, and women’s rights.  ISU is also the place where I wrote all of my first book, and most of my second. I am looking forward to returning to my alma mater for the Adams Legacy Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and if any of you happen to be in Central Illinois on Friday, April 13, I’d be honored to have you join us for that event.

Third, and finally (because Sandra Moran taught us there’s always three things) Does She Love You? is now available as an audiobook!  For those of you with long commutes or vision impairments or those who just simply love of having stories told to you, you can now get your copy on Amazon, Audible, or iTunes!  This is my 7th audiobook release, and I’m so stoked about it, I’m going to have to give one away for free.  So, just comment below telling me what you’re most looking forward to about this spring, and you’ll be entered to win a free claim code for the audio version of Does She Love You?

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Then be sure to check back next week to see if you won, and also to find out about the super exciting news I’ve been dying to share with you all.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments

   

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